An Ode To The Gear That Lasts

Gear that wears in is best than gear that wears out. In any case, it’s sustainable, uniquely fitted to you due to years of use, and in one of the best of circumstances, it might probably even grow to be part of the household.

Fifty years in the past, my dad walked into REI’s first official retailer in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. He was searching for a sleeping bag—one he would finally tackle numerous crusing journeys via the San Juan Islands, throw behind a seaplane en path to Alaska’s distant Togiak River, and haul in his pack whereas mountain climbing the Kalalau Valley alongside the coast of Kauai. I wish to think about him selecting it out from a rainbow of choices hanging on the wall. He in all probability preferred the colour—a deep blue the hue of Lake Washington on a cloudy day. He would have given it a superb squeeze, testing to ensure the down feathers rebounded immediately. Possibly he even crawled inside to ensure it match his lean 6’2” body. If he seemed carefully, he would have seen an old-fashioned brand that spelled out “Leisure Gear, Inc,” proper beneath the define of a mountain vary.

Whitney’s dad on a visit within the Alaskan backcountry 40 years in the past, together with his REI sleeping bag tucked into the cabin within the background. (Photograph Courtesy: Whitney James)

On the time, I’m positive my dad imagined the adventures he would have together with his new piece of substances, however he in all probability had no concept that at some point his daughter would proceed the custom. Though it was almost twice as heavy as the fashionable sleeping luggage manufacturers have been starting to introduce (and was with out waterproof down, a thermal hood or another tech-forward particulars these new luggage featured), it remained our favourite. As quickly as I used to be sufficiently old to hold my very own pack, he started to lend me the bag. Over time, it grew into my companion that now shares a few of my fondest reminiscences of my time spent rising up outdoor.

Whitney James with her beloved blue REI sleeping bag

Whitney along with her beloved blue sleeping bag. (Photograph Credit score: Bryan Rowe)

My earliest recollection is from the summer time of 1999, once we went backpacking on the Olympic Peninsula. I used to be 10, and it was my first time tenting exterior of a drive-up web site. I performed on the seashore for 2 days straight and crashed exhausting every night time. I used to be so blissfully exhausted that every one I bear in mind is snuggling into the lofty down till the highest of the bag got here as much as my eyebrows. I didn’t transfer a muscle all night time.

Once I was 12, I introduced it with me to my first camp away from residence within the rolling hills of Jap Washington. Empowered by every week spent driving a horse named Buck, I wrestled the bag into its authentic stuff sack on the final morning all on my own. I felt like a superhero. Grinning ear to ear, I made positive my bunkmates had the prospect to admire my work earlier than providing to stuff theirs.

Tenting final summer time with the bag on the high of Lake Chelan within the North Cascades. (Photograph Credit score: Whitney James)

By the point I absolutely inherited the bag, it had seen higher days. The zipper stuttered. The lengthy shoe lace-like strings that have been meant to tie the bag round itself all the time received in the best way in the course of the night time. The bag developed a substantial funk, which looking back was in all probability my fault. However I liked the factor for the reminiscences we shared and the best way it jogged my memory of my dad. So after I moved from Washington to Colorado a decade and a half later, I snuck it out of Dad’s gear shelf within the storage and tossed it into the mattress of my pickup. That summer time, I labored at a ranch within the Rocky Mountains, and I slept in it each night time. Folks requested why I didn’t use the sheets supplied like a standard grownup. I shrugged off their judgement and continued to sleep like a child every night time.

A few years later, I began to marvel why I used to be all the time desperately chilly tenting within the excessive nation within the fall; even on some summer time nights I shivered. Once I lastly requested my dad, he burst out laughing. The sleeping bag I had cherished through the years, he instructed me, was the least costly choice out there on the time. Simply one thing he received for a visit with just a few mates within the Cascades. Nothing particular, only a blue down sack not even rated for 20 levels. All these occasions I defended the sleeping bag immediately got here to thoughts, together with a contact of sheepish embarrassment. It seems my tenting companions with all of their superior technical gear had been proper to name my bag a dated relic of the previous.

Finally, I grew out of the bag and bought one that might preserve me heat all night time in my new residence state. However each time I can, and particularly on tenting journeys with my dad, I go for the Leisure Gear, Inc. bag from 1967. There are nonetheless extra reminiscences to be made. In any case, it’s a household custom. And it solely stinks a bit of.

Photograph Credit score: Bryan Rowe

قالب وردپرس

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

An Ode To The Gear That Lasts

log in

reset password

Back to
log in
Choose A Format
Personality quiz
Trivia quiz