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People really do fall in love with material things. Sometimes it’s not so healthy, like loving something shiny and new as a replacement for genuine human love, something marketing researchers have noted is more common than you’d think. Other times, however, it’s something perfectly healthy that psychologists call “Instrumental Materialism.” Loving something because it acts as a connection to a moment in time, a feeling, an experience, or another person. Something that forms part of our identity. Outdoor gear can be like that. Perhaps you’ve kept a tent for 20 years because it reminds you of the first camping trip you went on with your kids, for example.

Or maybe you kept that tent because yeah, it’s 20 years old, but it still works just fine. That’s cool too. Very cool, actually. Gear gets better every single year, but it has been doing that for a really long time now. A decade ago people said that too. There’s almost no reason to have replaced a decade-old tent at this point unless yours is torn to shreds, in which case, awesome, that’s probably a great story. Same with sleeping bags. Or a kayak paddle. Or hiking pants. And on, and on.

A couple of months ago, I sold a tent I bought way back in 2008. I loved that tent. Still works as good as any other tent in my garage. But it was time to cull the herd and as much as I hate to admit it, I stopped reaching for that one when it was time to head for the hills. The new owner was buying her very first tent. It couldn’t have gone to a better home.

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But dangit, I regret it. I really loved that tent.

Anyway, what piece of gear do you still use that you’ve had banging around for years and years now? What’s the oldest gear in your collection? Let us know in the poll and in the comments below. Who out there has the oldest piece of gear still in use, we wonder?


As an incentive for conversation, we’re giving away a copy of Adventure Journal to one commenter chosen at random. You can choose any issue we have in stock, and if you’re already a subscriber we can extend your sub by an issue, send you an issue you don’t have, or give one to a friend. Just include your email when you post your comment so we can get in touch.

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