Being a Gear Monger Isn’t so Bad

When you’re a gear monger, you tend to be looked down upon, and laughed at, in the outdoor community, especially among the ultralight folk.

Kyle and I pulled up to the trail head to find our friends Jess and Armando already waiting for us with their two dogs. We all hopped out of our cars and got ready to hit the trail for a quick overnight backpacking trip. After seeing everyone’s pack size, I realized I was “that” guy and straight out said it–

Crap–I Packed too Much…Again!Florida hiking lunch break

Come to find out, Jess called it before we got there and bet Armando that I’d over pack because I’m a gear monger. Everyone else manged to cram what they needed into pack sizes that ranged from 34 liters to 50 liters and there I was with my 50 + 15 liter pack busting at the seams. I didn’t weigh my pack, but I certainly could have left some things at home like my bear canister, rain jacket, cooking pot, and packed half the food that I did pack. Come to think of it, going ultralight and ditching the tent body would’ve been just fine, but here’s the thing.

Sometimes being a gear monger is a good thingCooking dinner after a day out on the trail in Florida

My back and feet certainly didn’t agree with me at the end of the 20 miles on Sunday, but I was comfortable when it got into the 30’s at night. I slept for 12 hours in my sleeping bag on my sleeping pad inside my cozy tent. I had plenty of food to share with my friends and was offering to give the dogs some of my water to cut down on my weight because I packed too much water.

When you’re a gear monger and over pack things for a quick trip (of any kind) you stay comfortable, rationing never crosses your mind, and you get to be the hero. You get to be the one in the group that gets to share their Swedish Fish with your friends that have a sweet tooth. The dogs love you for the extra water, so they can mark more plants as their own, and you can be the handy man with the duct tape around your trekking poles (that stayed fastened to your backpack the entire trip) to cover a hole in your buddy’s puffy jacket.

Even though we gear mongers are typically at the bottom of the proverbial food chain within the outdoor community, I’m completely content with being the gear monger of the group. I get to be comfortable, work a little harder after sitting at a desk all week, and I get to share my stuff with my friends and their dogs.Hiking the C Loop of the Citrus Hiking Trail

Are you a gear monger?

What are your thoughts on being a gear monger, or having a gear monger friend?

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Comments

  1. says

    My over packing is mostly the result of two things extra comfort gear, like my Helinox camp chair (light & compact, but not by lightweight BP standards) and my camera gear.

    But I’m definitely in the gear monger camp!

  2. says

    I get the sentiment–I used to be an overpacker and heavyweight backpacker as well… But the thing that always rubs me the wrong way about people who pack heavy is when they see themselves as somehow being more comfortable at camp or that they bring along things that their ultralight companions are neglecting to bring due to weight considerations. In reality I am just as comfortable as an ultralighter at camp as anyone else… I’ve got a warm sleeping bag, cushy sleeping pad, spacious shelter, etc. I have hot meals, hot drinks, etc.

    Ultralight does not mean suffering or doing without, it just means packing smartly. I have never run out of food or had to ration my meals. I used to lead groups with DC UL Backpacking and everyone packed their own gear (everyone had their own stove, water filtration, etc), and no one was mooching off of others or hacking the ends off their toothbrushes as the bad rap so often goes.

    In any case, I’d encourage you to take a look at your gear and packing list. It’s very easy to be comfortable both on the trail and at camp.

    • The Weekend Warrior says

      Interesting stuff here Ryan. You know–I’ll definitely take your advice on my next trip and be a little more methodical with my packing list.

  3. Jess says

    Haha I didn’t think that bet would make it into your post. The dogs definitely appreciated the extra water, but we’ll make an ultralight backpacker out of you yet 🙂

    • The Weekend Warrior says

      Bet you thought I was going with the dog idea (which I still might). This idea popped into my head late Saturday or early Sunday and I totally dug it, so I ran with it and just didn’t tell any of you haha 😉

    • The Weekend Warrior says

      Yea we did 13.5 miles on Saturday and 6.5 miles on Sunday. So 20 miles in total, but we certainly didn’t want to hate ourselves and do 20 in one day.

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