inditramp

Trekking | Bikepacking | Independent travel | India

Opinion & Tip

Most underrated piece of gear – your brain!

Brain Gear

The most underrated piece of gear?

That would be the thing between your ears…your brain.

I spent all day today musing over Andrew Skurka’s GearJunkie interview and it led me to wonder on how many hours have I spent on GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) vs working on the piece of gear that matters most — my brain. If I’m honest and quantify the time I’ve spent on both these pursuits it would seem Pareto was right. With 80% time spent on drooling, writing about and acquiring new and shiny gear – Mea Culpa.

In a way writing about gear is a typical outdoor blogger’s Catch 22 situation. Readers love to read about gear and it drives us, bloggers, to write more about gear. Look at youtube – the views for unboxing videos far outnumber the ones on skill-building.

inditramp-categories-tips-outnumber-gear-reviews

Thankfully on inditramp, the situation is different. We have over 57 Opinion and Tip articles for a measly 13 gear review articles. So unless otherwise baited I propose we keep the status quo and spend more of inditramp’s efforts on this less glamorous yet more important aspect of trekking – namely outdoor skill-building starting with one video or post a week that covers one of these important skills (in no particular order)

  1. Shelter
  2. Fire starting
  3. Knots
  4. Weather
  5. Reading contour maps

This project will give me a chance to work and improve my outdoor skills and give YOU – the reader a dense summary without having to spend time researching these topics in depth. Let me know what you think of this direction I am proposing to take in the comments below?

2 Comments

  1. Amlan

    Hi,
    Sure, its a very good thing to focus more on outdoor skills. One thing i was always interested in knowing more about was water crossing on treks. I’ve seen Westerners use water shoes/sandals etc to cross streams and water bodies but on the other hand, Indians go bare feet. In either case, trekkers have to take their trekking shoes off, so i was wondering, what’s the best way to carry or attach trekking shoes while doing water crossings? Barefoot or not is personal choice and matter of comfort though i would prefer having a sandal or water shoe to avoid any cuts or injuries from submerged pebbles and stones. Maybe carrying trekking shoes on a water crossing isn’t much of a ‘skill’ but it would be handy to know.
    Thanks 🙂

    • That’s an excellent point you’re making. In my younger (and naive) days I have crossed streams barefoot, hoping that dry shoes would make up for the temporary discomfort. The last time I did this was on my chandartaal to surajtaal trek. As you may know there are two large streams along the way and on the first one I cut my foot on a sharp rock only to turn over and submerge me and my rucksack. After that I have never minded wet shoes. The only thing that I do is take off my socks and wear my shoes as is. I am also a proponent of lightweight trail running shoes over boots and believe that there’s no such thing as waterproof. Given enough water every “proofing” fails. Lightweight shoes get wet faster but they also dry out faster. So that’s my personal trick. I would carry a pair of sandals for stream crossing only if there were more than enough to keep my main shoes wet for more than a day. Otherwise the added weight of sandals does not justify itself. But this like you said is a personal thing. Let me evaluate all three options scientifically and I hope we will have a more rounded answer to your excellent question. Stay tuned!

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