Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Gear Infatuation Draws Down

For a while now I have been hung up on my gear.  I can trace this back five years or more to when I started hunting again.  On my first trip squirrel hunting in 2007, which was the first in many years, I took and old 12 gauge Remington 870 and wore a pack I had left over from packing laptops.  That was the last time I think I wasn't looking to augment the experience with new something or others to make it better.  At first it was well intentioned I think but that has morphed some.

In Sept of 2009 I was headlong down the path of building the finest 10/22 money could buy (I have (still) five of them in the configurations I like best) and elevating squirrel hunting to a religious sort of status in my life.  When I got lost in the woods, that I had been hunting for a couple of decades off and on, I decided it might be time to learn how to get along a little better since the rifle did little for me besides allow me to shoot things and lost with no plan is not a good feeling.  This in turn, led me to bushcraft.  I was dabbling in knife making by then.  I had a few under my belt and had just started to experiment with the Scandi grind and heat treatment which lead to more gear for making. (This is a bit different but still... more crap!)

As it turns out, most of online bushcraft is about gear.  I can hear most of them now, welling up and chests puffing out to say, "We use our stuff so it's not just about that..."  It's hard to argue against that point.  There's no argument to make.  To my own reasons for getting involved, it's tough to find our way out of an unfamiliar, sunless wood without a compass and a map.  So what is it then?

The adventure really starts when you are not sure what you have to work with is going to be enough. When it all may go to shit and you might get hurt, things are going well. When the unexpected winter storm wipes out your shelter and you have to cut and run for it in the dark and the cold or you have to improvise or you have to get the fire going with the last of the prep you have or whatever... This is what it's about. Or when you get to take your family out for a summer camp out and everyone enjoys it. This is what it's about.  I actually saw a thread on a forum a while back asking if people were reluctant to use the gear they had bought.  I wondered why the fu&* would anyone ask that question.  Then it hit me.

I am pretty sure going forward the premium needs to be on the experience for me.  Nice tools are nice tools but they are just tools.  The ideal kit is a distraction.  It's an insulation and false sense of security and worse, it deprives the would be owner of actual experience.  It's not what you need to be doing.  It's what you think you need to do something and an excuse for not doing it.  If you find that you need to name the maker of your knife every time you discuss using it to make a feather stick you might ask yourself why.  I did.  I didn't like the answer.  Am I preaching a little?  You bet. 

I think I'm sick of gear talk so... no more.  So I guess we need to ask then...  What's left?  I have a pretty good idea I think.  :)