Gear, and the love of it

I am not sure how, we have not previously posted about one of the core basic elements of THPL – GEAR!  Yes, we can run in cotton tee shirts, converse sneakers, tube socks and Bermuda shorts.  But just because we can does not mean we should.  In the past 10-15 years, gear has undergone a dramatic shift from basic function to high tech.  Gear now is often the difference between good and great performance.  This post could be pages long if we were to chronicle all of the advances that have been made with gear in every sport from golf to running to mountaineering and tennis but we will not do that. Instead we will set out a thesis that states we need to be active in making choices about the gear we are going to use based on the features and functions that it provides.  Today, we can be very specific about what we want , how it should function, how we are going to use it and how often will be using it.  The good news is that with a little bit of effort the right solution (gear) can be found.  And BTW - it is no longer “cool” to rebel against synthetics if you are to pursue THPL in earnest.  Whatever the endeavor it is important to have the right gear and synthetics trump all in this category.  I remember seeing a sign at the base of Mt. Washington in NH that stated – Cotton Kills. Yup, the wrong gear might not just impede performance it might prohibit your ability to perform.

I would be remiss not to mention the other side of this topic is the love for gear- this phenomenon is hard to explain and so we just mostly go with it.  We love gear and lots of it – even if we do not use what we have  we want more.  I think these kinds of behaviors are just fine – and at some point in your gear gathering process you might even find out how to use it so that your performance improves. 

And so it is – gear does make a difference in performance, we like collecting it, we like using it and we love showing it off.    It therefore seems essential that we do one more thing to round out the gear story.  We must tell each other what we have found out from using the gear we purchased.  What works, what does not – there really is a lot of variability in the quality and the reliability of the gear we buy.  So, please do tell all – the THPL community will benefit immensely from it.

And so here are my three recommendations for today’s post.  I am a big fan and user of the brand Craft for base layer clothing – warm or hot their stuff works like magic keeping me warm or cool as required.  I have been using Craft for 15+ years and some pieces might just outlast me.  Castelli makes great bike shorts and shirts – a slight premium but they are worth it.  I have been buying outdoor gear from Mountain Hardware for over 20 years.  While they are now owned by Columbia they still make awesome gear, especially for cold weather

I leave you with the following story about gear.  When I was in Alaska a few years back I asked a veteran of the Iditarod about the gear that he wore when out on the race course for 10+ days on frozen tundra.   My silly question was does it keep you warm.  His answer was NO, it keeps me alive.  Right, that is the answer.  Gear doing what it is supposed to do.

Loving life when I am buying new gear