Gear Check #2 or How to Break Your Equipment Before You Start

The Gear
The Gear

It is a well known fact that men like gear. Trigger alert – this post may disturb some of you gentlemen so continue to read at your own peril.

My husband is no exception. He has studied the meaning of “soft shell guide pants,” weighed the respective benefits of Black Diamond vs. other brands of crampons (that dilemma was easily resolved when the Black Diamonds wouldn’t fit his boots), and by now has a vast knowledge of the respective merits of multiple types of plastic boots.  The number of emails he receives from  Moosejaw is by now probably equivalent to those he receives from the president or other political luminaries.

I realized gear was a large part of the male enjoyment of the Great Outdoors many years ago on a one night camping trip in the Adirondacks with the husband and several of his male buddies. We arrived in the small town outside the state park about noon, and then proceeded to spend the entire afternoon buying equipment for what was probably no more than a six mile hike the next day.  We got to the camp site just in time to drop off all the new gear before heading back to town to have dinner at a restaurant.

The wind up for this trip has been no different. The husband’s latest mail order has been the much wondered about soft shell guide pants made out of some special fabric apparently guaranteed to turn the most inexperienced climber into something worthy of Everest. But in all fairness, I have to admit I have not been immune from the gear bug. At Travel Country’s last sale (by now they recognize us and devote an entire cash register to us as soon as they see us coming in) – I found unbelievably expensive hard shell pants at half price. Water proof, breathable – clearly if my body fails, these pants will surely walk me up the mountain by themselves.

But yesterday we decided to practice putting our crampons on, zipping and unzipping pants over our plastic boots, etc. Unfortunately, I forgot that my highly exotic full side zippered pants zip both up and down. After I couldn’t figure them out, I resorted to my husband’s clearly superior gear skills to solve the problem by yanking on the *#%@ zipper. Following a fair amount of cursing and blame and tugging – now the zipper doesn’t work at all! The pants are now off at a tailor in the hopes they can be fixed, labels still pristine.

All I can say is, despite all my maligning of my husband’s obsession with his equipment, all his stuff still works. At least so far.

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