Possessing a love for the outdoors isn’t cheap. With companies continually using studies, testimonials, field work, and technology to create better products, an outdoorsman’s arsenal seems to grow each season. However, no matter what facet of the outdoors we enjoy—hiking, camping, kayaking, hunting, fishing—and no matter how much new gear we pick up, there will always be a few items that have been with us from the beginning that we’ll never get rid of.
Certain pieces of gear in our collections have earned a permanent spot among the myriad of equipment for a number of reasons. For anglers, it might be one of the first lures used or one that was used to pull in the first keeper. Hikers and campers may have a raggedy old backpack or a particular caribiner that has seen them through several trips. Each of us is different and the gear that holds sentimental value for us differs as well.
Among my fishing tackle, for example, there are several items that I’ve held onto, and continue to use, to this day since I first started fishing. I still have the very first rod and reel setup that I bought for my first fishing trip years ago (7-foot, medium action Ugly Stik and a bubble-pack Shakespeare Catera spinning reel). Both still work just as great as the day I picked them up and I’ll never get rid of either. Furthermore, if you’ve read my article on customizing spinnerbaits, then you know about the spinnerbait that I customized last summer and used to pull in bass after bass over a few hour period. I’ll hold onto that spinnerbait forever, as it provided me with one of the best memories of fishing that I’ve ever had.
As far as my hiking gear goes, there are a few pieces of gear that I always keep with me. The most important of which has to be my boots. My Keen Targhee mids were my first high-quality hiking purchase and were worth every penny. They’ve kept my feet warm and dry among two-foot snow trails. They’ve kept me alive while standing atop slick rocks along a waterfall in Honduras. And they’ve kept me comfortable during day-long hikes along Canada’s Bruce Peninsula.
The one item that I never go anywhere without—whether it’s somewhere among the outdoors, work, or just running errands around town—is my Gerber Ripstop II pocket knife. While it may not be the biggest or fanciest knife on the market, I stumbled upon it while working at Bass Pro Shops (it arrived in a shipment of lures by mistake) and I decided to purchase it that day. I’ve worn in every day since and feel naked without it.
I’m sure every outdoorsman can relate when I talk about particular items that we can’t get rid of or refuse to leave home without. While the specifics differ from person to person, the sentimental value and attachment we form with our equipment doesn’t. These items keep us safe, comfortable, and sometimes, alive, while enjoying the outdoors and any time you have that connection with anything, it can’t be replaced.