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–
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.
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.