we are good at recognising good kit and also letting other people know about it. Are we as forthcoming about poor kit? Kit that we bought and didnt work. Kit that we bought and lasted 5 minutes. Worst of all, whim-bought kit that never got used! How “good” are we are at seeing the “bad” kit buys?
Looking back at my own gear buys, I have made many mistakes and they span the above reasons. Far too many if truth be known but taken over 30 years of walking and camping I guess the average is probably no better or worse than the next person. First up, kit that I bought and it didnt do what it was supposed to or I expected it to:
1000mile socks. Ugh, eek, good grief! These were worn once and then binned. They were horrible. They bunched up under my toes after each few hundred paces meaning I had to stop and readjust them every 10 minutes. A complete nightmare and a complete waste of money.
Vargo Ti stove. Indestructible? Yes, Light? Yes. Good stove? Erm….not for me. It didnt flame particularly well and the meths lasted only a few minutes. Completely failed to boil 500mls of water.
Next up, kit that didnt last very long:
Rab VR jacket. Ok, to be fair, this did get a little bit of use (a couple of months) but the pertex on the back and shoulders wore and bobbled horredously badly so that any claimed water resistance vanished. A nice jacket but just didnt last as long as the pricetag and brand led me to think it should.
The North Face Triclimate jacket. This was a present. It wasnt the kind of thing I would buy but as it was a present, I thought I would use it in the winter (I am not a North Face fan as I think they have become too “trendy” rather than functional with kit design). It was certainly waterproof and it was certainly warm. However the cinch toggles on the waist hem failed miserably after one use (failed completely to hold the cord at all) and popper stud fell off completely on the front of the jacket. Really poor workmanship and went back for a refund after these 2 failures on the 1st use. £150 for a shoddy piece of workmanship…just goes to show, as per my last post.
Finally, kit that got bought on a whim and not used. Guilty as charged. Many times over. In fact a serial perpetrator of this, the most heinious of outdoor crimes…..
Black Diamond Trail poles – thought I would use them….nope. I can see maybe one day I will use walking poles but not for a long time.
Vaude Odyssee tent – spent ages researching this and similar tents. I liked the design and spec and then realised I didnt need it or indeed like it when it came…
Luxury Lite Cot – the concept of a lightweight camping bed appealed to me but the reality of the bulk and faff of it didnt when it arrived
Torsolite sleeping pad – lightweight, good reviews but completely failed to inspire me upon receipt…just too darn titchy!
I could go on, and on and on about whim, or carefully thought out but ultimately really bad, buys. Luckily I have always been able to sell these items on, sometimes for more than I paid. However, the regularity of poor purchases was beginning to get me down a bit and I had to concede that I just used to buy too much kit.
Of course all that has changed now and I am a new man with regards to kit purchases. I dont buy unless I sell something to keep things cost neutral and this has worked for a while now. I just need to remind myself of my past failures with kit buys and I am normally ok. That and hiding the credit card 🙂