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The first real snow of the season is about to dump in the Sierra this week. In anticipation, I began sorting through my snow gear. Baselayers are in perfect shape. Gloves are good to go. Shells are newish, beanies too, gaiters only have two winters in them, they’re ready. Have a couple pairs of insulated boots that will last another decade, and my snowshoes will last forever. It’s the first winter I can remember that I don’t need to buy anything for the season’s first snow trip. Even my infant daughter has all the hand-me-down, uh, down, she needs.

Rad. But also, no new gear thrill.

Even though many of us are already over-burdened with gear and outdoor stuff, for those of us who obsess over it, getting new gear to play with can be a motivator to get outside. It can feel a little like Christmas bringing home something new to use in the snow, on the trail, in the ocean. It’s perhaps the last vestiges of kid-dom. Or maybe just human nature to like shiny things.

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But there’s something equally awesome about having everything you need. One, being prepared feels great, but it’s also liberating to not have to spend more money this year, or the next five, really, on outdoor toys. Took me a long time to get to this point, and aside from mountain bikes and surfboards and wetsuits, I don’t think I’ll be buying anything new for quite a while.

I also love the patina well-used gear earns. Little memories baked, sweated, frozen right into the fabric and plastic and carbon.

What about you? If your gear lasted forever, would you miss the new?

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