M.A.N. K.R.A.P

Kit. Everyone needs it. It's just everyone has different ways of justifying that need.

Chris here.

First of all, I should point out (although it is probably blindingly obvious) I am not a professional writer. I am a professional outdoor person.

By that, I mean I have spent the last 20 years working in the outdoors.Therefore, I feel well qualified to write about 'KIT' and its acquisition. Judging by the fact that I have loads of it, I am extremely good at buying kit!

Over the years, I have discovered that my kit acquisition is motivated by a number of factors, either collectively or singly. Digging a little deeper, I realise there are three main factors affecting my kit acquisition which can be categorised nicely by the TLA (that’s a three letter acronym, just in case you were wondering): MAN

MAN stands for:

Magpie: The magpie effect. It could be that I just want it, for no other reason than it’s new and shiny. It may be just like other bits of kit I have already but, obviously, I still need it. For example, my MSR Dragonfly stove is not unlike my Jetboil (in that it’s a camping stove), but I need them both! Just like I need my MSR Pocket Rocket too. They all just looked too good in the shop, so now they all sit in the plastic containers in my store room. They look good there too.

Aesthetics: I could never be accused of being trendy (ask my children). Personally, I take comfort from the fact that it is always hard to look fashionable in zip off trousers or 5 season boots! In today’s world, though, the challenge is that everything dates so quickly. Should I really change a perfectly good Black RAB Neutrino from 2009 for the much cooler looking 2015 Rab Electron jacket in an atomic orange? Well, of course. Duh! I just need to make sure my wife doesn’t find out until its too late!

Need: (note this is bottom of the list!) It’s true: sometimes you do buy kit because you need it!?!?!? If you are going on an expedition and you need a new rucksack then it is likely you are on a budget and, therefore, have to think more about the cost and less about how cool it is (if indeed a rucksack can ever be cool). Therefore, it is always a good idea to acquire kit when you have sufficient funds available. I call this KRAP, or the Kit Required Acquisition Paradox.

When you need kit the most, you don’t have the money! And it seems there is a direct correlation between needing the kit and not having the required funds to acquire the kit - and that is the said trip or expedition that you need the kit for. There is no doubt this is a KRAP situation.

Therefore, I suggest you consider a BIN philosophy!

'Buy It Now' is a way to justify kit acquisition and avoid the KRAP situation. It ensures that when you need something for an upcoming trip you already have it. No panic purchasing here, I’ll have you know.

For example, I don’t use my Eagle Creek shoe bag very often. It normally sits forlornly in my store, on the shelf dedicated to luggage. However, on any trip where smelly and dirty shoes, sandals or boots are likely, this is a piece kit you cannot be without. It means you can confidently place the said footwear in your rucksack / day sac / grip, in any condition or state, confident there will be little or no collateral damage to other items in the luggage. This versatile addition to my luggage shelf has a handy strap for hanging and can also double up as a ‘smalls’ packing cube and ‘smalls’ laundry bag. I have used it in the past for keeping books clean and also as a toiletries bag. You never know when it could be needed, so there is sits on the shelf. Just in case.

Of course, most people just use a plastic bag, but I think they are rather missing the point.