Got Stuff?

Technically speaking, gear is gear as long as it is actively useful. After that, it becomes stuff. At a certain point, it becomes certifiable crap, such as the 25-year-old randonee boards taking up space in a certain writer’s garage. Or that single climbing skin. Or the abandoned blades used in a cross-country ice-skating experiment. With the exception
of other primates using crude tools, humans are the only species that utilizes gear, which gets put to use every time we step outside.

1) This may shock you

If you like really big gear, you’d best settle down in Wyoming or Montana, which rank first and second in U.S. truck ownership. In Wyoming, you’ll find .55 pick-em-up trucks per capita, with Montana coming in at .51. The District of Columbia, comparatively speaking, lags at .0734, despite the vast amount of bullshit that someone needs to haul away.

2) Gear for swingin’ free

Guys: How many times have you been out on the trail, on your bike or hitting the links, when you’ve said to yourself, “WTF, I wish I’d had the foresight to wear a kilt!” Sport Kilt, which manufactures all manner of models to suit the manly modes, has what you need in the form of the Boulder Kilt, Commando Kilt, Hiking Kilt and even the Comfy Kilt, which is an oh-so-soft flannel model designed for the privacy of your own home. (“This is the kilt in which you can completely unwind.”) It doesn’t hold a pleat real well, so the makers recommend you upgrade to a Sport Kilt if you plan to go outside.

3) At altitude, holding your drink isn’t easy

If you’re like me, many a backpacking trip has been scuttled because of the lack of classy, packable martini glass. GSI Outdoors has taken care of that with the Glacier, a 215-gram stainless vessel that has been likened to the ware that James Bond drinks from. The company also makes a nesting, two-speed hand-crank blender (the ice supply remains problematic, though), as well as the most stylish cathole trowel you’ll ever see.

4) A scrotal sanctuary

According to the New Mexico Department of Public Safety, there is a search-and-rescue mission underway every 36 hours. This includes overdue aircraft, hikers, hunters and you-name-it who are using the outdoors and don’t know where the hell they are, or do know where they are and really wish they could get somewhere else. Wouldn’t it be good if each of them were carrying a Cocoon, a lightweight shelter that slings over a tree branch and resembles an inordinately large bull scrotum when occupied? It keeps a person warm and sheltered from wind and wild animals, and inside “The user is comforted by warming colors and materials.”

5) Poor delivery of gear

Daredevil George Hopkins had it all planned out when he stepped from a small plane over Devil’s Tower on a $50 bet (this was in 1941) and parachuted safely to the top of the formation. The next and critical part of the experiment didn’t go so well, though, when the plane made its second pass to drop off the gear he needed to descend the tower. When his buddies tossed out a rope, pulley, sledgehammer and axe, the stuff fell to a ledge beyond anyone’s reach. A second attempt to drop another rope worked, but it tangled the rope beyond use. The nation’s best climbers assembled to try to find a way to get Hopkins down, and the Goodyear Blimp was dispatched from Ohio with the idea that it could help pluck Hopkins from his perch in three days (it made it as far as Fort Wayne before crapping out). The good thing: A follow-up drop soon after the failed rope delivery provided a tent and bottle of booze to Hopkins. Subsequent drops yielded huge amounts of food and luxuries like a fur-lined flying suit, all of which got heaved over the edge when a team of climbers got to him six days and five nights after his landing. He reported feeling fine after rappelling down.

6) Failed retrieval of gear

What happens when idiots try to load a jet ski into a van: