This winter, I came up with a goal to cut my spending habits by only buying backpacking gear that I could fund with sales of my existing gear. I had a list of things that I could sell in order to buy things from another list, and I thought I had it all worked out just right. It’s been almost six months (where does the time go?), and I’m about to embark on yet another chapter of life, so it seems like a good time to assess things.
The reason I set this goal was simple enough– I have more backpacking equipment than I need, and a habit of spending too much money on more of it. That kind of thing was okay when I had no expenses to speak of, but I’m not a through-hiker anymore. Disposable income is a thing of the past at the moment. This is a good thing, in a way, since I can pare down my possessions, and get back to that ultralight way of living.
So how has it gone? I think I’ve done pretty well. I sold three sleeping bags, a tent, two pairs of mittens, a pair of soft shell pants, a day pack, and a cook pot/alcohol stove system, none of which I was using anymore. I could probably find a handful of other things to get rid of, but that’s already more than what I was expecting to liquidate.
Of course, the other half of the equation is how much new stuff I bought. Working at an outfitter for the winter helped with employee discounts, but I didn’t use that very much. I ended up with a new winter sleeping bag, a winter down jacket, and a wind shirt since I’m trying to outfit myself more for winter backpacking. I still have some of my budget left over, but I’ve decided to put a hold on any new hiking equipment purchases. Not because there’s nothing left on my wish list (that will never happen), but because my need for new equipment isn’t great enough to overcome the rest of my budget shortfalls these days.
I realize this probably comes off as a bit whiny, and this is definitely a first world problem, but I’m actually very happy about all of this. I looked at my gear closet this morning, and the only things in there that I don’t use regularly are little things like carabiners and tent stakes. Everything else I either use regularly or have sold off. Here’s a brief inventory of the big stuff, with age and approximate mileage:
-Mountain Laurel Designs Exodus for three-season backpacking (4 years, 3000 miles)
-ULA Circuit for winter or three-season backpacking. (3 years, 1000 miles)
-MEC Cragosaurus day pack for winter. (7 years, hundreds of miles)
-Gossamer Gear RikSak day pack for three-season use. (1 year, 200+ miles).
-Stateless Society down quilt for three-season backpacking. (2 years, 400 miles)
-EMS Mountain Light 0 for winter backpacking. (a few months, not many miles)
–Caldera Cone Ti-Tri for three-season backpacking. (3 years, 3000+ miles)
-MSR Whisperlite for winter backpacking. (10 years, a few hundred miles)
-MEC Silicone Scout tarp for everything. (5 years, 3000 miles).
How do you like them apples? I’m particularly proud of every piece of equipment I own that has more than a thousand miles of use. I should really start keeping track of that kind of thing more thoroughly.