Like almost every other outdoor enthusiast I know, I love gear. I like looking at it in stores and at shows, and poring over catalogues. I like talking about it with other anglers and hunters. And most of all, I like getting it. Not surprisingly, I’ve amassed a pretty substantial volume of outdoor equipment. My fishing reels alone cover everything from Abu Garcia to Zebco. But I am not a collector.
“Collecting” means accumulating useless stuff, such as teaspoons or baseball cards or cow figurines, just for the sake of having it. That’s ridiculous. Every piece of gear that comes through my door is something I need. Or something I’ll soon need. Or something I might, conceivably, if a very specific chain of events happens, one day need. The fact I don’t actually know how many fishing rods are in my house, for example, simply means I’m well equipped. I admit, the chance that someone is going to call up and invite me to go fly fishing for giant steelhead on B.C.’s remote Dean River is, well, remote. But to my mind, that’s no reason not to grab the beautiful 10-weight rod I saw on sale last week. Better safe than sorry, I reckon.
So, why do we obsess over equipment? It’s simple. Very few of us are fortunate enough to spend as much time on the water or in the field as we’d like. Buying new tackle, carefully cleaning a firearm in the off-season or just pulling everything out and reorganizing it is a way to stay connected to our outdoor passions when we can’t be out there ourselves. Which reminds me, I need a pack of pink marabou feathers so I can tie some Intruder flies. I hear that’s the hot pattern on the Dean, and you just never know.