I could spend hours upon hours of the correct gear to take for the HMHDI (Hike My Hike Damn It) truth. Luckily, there are many fine places to get the proper gear to properly HMHDI. If you don’t want to look like a pack sniffer, simply go to the Very Expensive Outdoor Store and only get items advertised in Way Cool EXTREME Outdoors Magazine. Or just ask any hiker on-line. They’ll tell you the right gear to take!
“Make your own gear, without all the making part.”
Sometimes you just want something you can’t get at the store; maybe a bit simpler, a bit lighter, a bit better- or just plain cheaper. Making your own gear is a rewarding hobby in and of itself that can lead to a nice kit at a good price.
But making your own gear isn’t for everyone. Unless you’re already a decent home sewer with all the fixin’s it can be an expensive hobby in and of itself to get going. Then you have to figure out what fabrics to buy and negotiate the mystery of how something so deceptively simple sounding as nylon can come in more flavors and colors than a gourmet jelly bean. How to cut it, where to cut it, what to do when you cut it wrong, finally in frustration you learn how to order more because that’s all you can do when you cut it wrong. What thread? What needle? Wait a minute… “I didn’t even sew anything yet @!$#”
I started making gear because I had some ideas. Sometimes I wish I didn’t.
Ideas lead to late hours in the basement. I’ll tell you a little secret; I hate making gear. I’d rather be out hiking, paddling, or playing with my kids to be honest. It’s tough to spread out the fabric, hard to mark it, tricky to cut. You have to force your mind to do three dimensional origami to sew everything in the right order. So you have a beer, scratch your head a bit and discover for some reason the beers you knock back as you sew tend to make this difficult. You piece it together, mess up, rip a seam and try again.
Sometimes your ideas are a bust. You toss your hours of effort and the empty six pack in the recycle bin and vow to sell that damn machine in the morning to the first sucker you can find. But you come back the next day anyway. Sometimes you get it done and admire with pride your finished product. You get a little thrill that you get to take this baby on the trail and get back to what you built this thing for in the first place. But you come home in disappointment; maybe you cut that quilt a bit too small or that shoulder strap idea didn’t pan out come mile 12. Closer for sure, but still one or two kinks to work outta your back because of that busted hammock design.
I’ve never been much for making a knock-off. Some folks get along okay making gear by taking apart somebody else’s gear. They trace the pieces onto patterns, take some notes, and sew up a replica. Maybe change one thing that bugged em, maybe not. Knock-offs are nice ways to save a few bucks I suppose, but personally, not my thing. I started sewing because I had to, because what I wanted couldn’t be knocked off, because it didn’t exist. I kept sewing because I kept getting closer to truly making my own gear. Making gear sucks. It really does, there’s few things I hate more.
Right up until that day I get one.
It doesn’t happen in the basement, there’s no eureka moment when the last needle drops and the drawcord gets the last cordlock. It doesn’t happen when you try the gear for the first time either, all new stuff is fun really. Everybody gets a little tingle for the bright and shiny toy, no shame in it. It doesn’t even happen when you realize you busted that drafty quilt, nailed that shoulder strap, or slept like an in vitro fetus in your bridge hammock.
One day you head out, you grab your gear off the shelf and get outta town…
And that piece of gear never crosses your mind. It just works. That’s when it’s done, that’s when you got one.
Gear is just stuff, and you headed out to forget about stuff. I hate sewing and I ain’t too fond of gear truth be told. I make my gear to be forgotten. To be something I need to accomplish something I want. It won’t make your life better. But, when a piece of gear is right, it won’t get in your way when you head out to the places you go that do make your life better.
Yar, I’m proud of my stuff. There’s a bit of a silent, rewarding satisfaction you can only get by making something with your own two hands. To plucking an idea outta thin air and having it magically appear on the sewing table in front of you. To solve a problem for someone nobody else could. Making your own gear isn’t fun, but sometimes you get one. That makes it worth it.
If making your own gear sounds pretty cool, but that whole making it thing isn’t really ticklin yer toes… Well that’s one of the reasons I started this company. To help you get outta town without spending your weekends in the basement. To sell it at a fair price so you don’t spend your next vacation working overtime to pay off the gear for the vacation you can no longer afford to take. So if something a bit different, a bit lighter, a bit better, or a bit cheaper sounds good to you…
Then let me make your own gear.