Sports Gear Inventory

My sports gear is as much a part of who I am as anything else I own.  I spend almost every weekend doing some kind of outdoor adventure which lends itself to having a variety of different pieces of gear for each activity.  From my inventory, that’s exactly 51 different pieces of sports gear.  Some are used only in the summer (road bike), some are used only in spring/summer/fall (3 season tent), and some are strictly for winter (snowshoes, 0F sleeping bag, mountaineering boots, crampons, etc etc).  In order to (safely) do many of my activities I need lots of “stuff”.  Being outdoors is inherently “stuff” intensive.  However, it can definitely get out of hand.  That’s why I can’t be left unsupervised in an REI, I’ll end up coming out with something that I don’t need or can’t afford.  There is lot’s of room for multifunctional pieces of gear that can span many seasons and activities.

I read a good Henry David Thoreau quote recently that said said “Beware all enterprises that require new clothes.”  That’s definitely what I used to do before I started getting serious about the outdoors; I did winter hikes in normal day-day winter boots (not water proof), cold weather camping with a 35F sleeping bag (not a great idea), hikes in the rain with “weather-proof” jackets (weatherproof does not = waterproof), road biking without bike shorts (sore ass), etc.  So over the years I’ve acquired the proper gear that I needed to safely and (sometimes) comfortably go on adventures.  However, I’ve acquired so much that I don’t really have time to use it all.  I definitely fall into the category of, jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none thing.  I don’t really want to be a master of just one sport because I enjoy doing so many things so I’m okay with a little bit (or a lot) of variety.  Here’s a glimpse of all of sports gear sprawled out on my bed:


Tennis racquet, snowshoes, tent, sleeping bags, three backpacks (different sizes for different trips), sled, trekking poles, road bike, and the list goes on.

“Why buy two pieces of gear when one will do?” (Yvon Chouinard).  I found that out of all the gear that I have, I pretty much have one of everything which is a comforting thought.  One major thing that has helped with this challenge is the idea of multifunctionality.  This notion was reinforced when I read, “Let My People Go Surfing” by Yvon Chouinard.  I was totally drinking the Patagonia coolaid for about a month after reading this book but the concept of multifunctionality still holds true.  I see these in my base layers that are “stylish” enough to wear to work as well as my 3-in-1 jacket that I can use in the fall, winter, and spring.  Before I went out and bought a climbing helmet I used to use my ice hockey helmet with my half-visor.  I figured it was rugged enough to protect me in the event of some falling ice and it provided full eye protection with the half shield.  Great functionality although a little odd out on the mountain.

The items I had in excess I simply either gave away or paired down to one of that item; winter hats, broken hockey sticks, leaky thermos, replacement bike shoe cleats, replacement bike pedals, baseball bat, and swim cap.  These are all items I either gave away to friends or sent off to Good Will.  The one exception to the “one item thing” are my two road bikes.  They serve two very different purposes and one of them rarely even enters Boston.  I keep one chained up at the train station near work so I can bike instead of spending money on the (often late) shuttle bus.  This is kind of a beat-around bike that I spent around $150 on.  The other bike is a nice Trek 2200 that I acquired with my graduation money to do extended bike trips.  I’ve used it quite a bit throughout Boston and NH over the past few years.  It’s a beast and I love it.

I started with 51 items, purged 11, and ended up with 40.  Thus 40% of my foreseeable 100 items are sports gear.  From my last month’s photo-challenge I found that 24% of my photos involved something sports related, I also spent 29% of my pictures outside.  This is at least analogous to the percentage of sporting items I have in my arsenal.  We’ll see how much farther I have to go in order to try and reach my 100 item goal.

Sports # Before # Purged # After
Road Bike (racing) 1 0 1
Road Bike (to/from work) 1 0 1
Foam Roller 1 0 1
Baseball Glove 1 0 1
Snowshoes 1 0 1
Winter Hats 3 2 1
Winter Gloves (Goretex) 1 0 1
Liner Gloves (Polyester) 1 0 1
Expedition Hat 1 0 1
Balaclava 1 0 1
Mountaineering Boots 1 0 1
Gaiters 1 0 1
Thermos 2 1 1
Camp Bowl 1 0 1
Camping Stove 1 0 1
Hobo-Tool 1 0 1
3-Season Tent 1 0 1
Thermarest Sleeping Pad 1 0 1
Head Lamp 1 0 1
White Mountains Map 1 0 1
Sun Glasses 1 0 1
Rock Climbing Shoes 1 0 1
Rock Climbing Chalk 1 0 1
Climbing Harness 1 0 1
Trekking Poles 1 0 1
Crampons 1 0 1
Microspikes 1 0 1
Camelbak 1 0 1
Nalgene 1 0 1
Expedition Down Jacket 1 0 1
Sleeping Bag 0F 1 0 1
Sleeping Bag 35F 1 0 1
Sleeping Bag Liner 1 0 1
Expedition Backpack 70L 1 0 1
Backpack 40L 1 0 1
Backpack 24L 1 0 1
Ski Pulk (Haul Sled) 1 0 1
Hammock 1 0 1
Ice Skates 1 0 1
Hockey Gloves 1 0 1
Swim Cap 1 1 0
Tennis Raquet 1 1 0
Hockey Sticks 2 2 0
Roller Hockey Puck 1 1 0
Replacement Bike ShoeCleats 1 1 0
Replacement Bike Pedals 1 1 0
Baseball Bat 1 1 0
Total 51 11 40

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