We spend all day looking at gear, so you don’t have to.
Working in a gear store is tough, it really is.
Sure being able to climb, bike or ski in the morning before work is great, and constantly chatting to people who are as excited about the outdoors as you are is a huge plus, but it’s no cakewalk. One of the things that makes it just so gosh-darn difficult is the fact that we can’t seem to keep money in our wallets. Staring at gear for 8+ hours a day is a constant battle between willpower and (what I call) wantpower. Everyone has their own reasons for wanting something, maybe it’s time to replace your tattered hiking rainshell that has 3 years of Backpacker’s Pantry stains on it, or maybe it’s not okay for harnesses to have that much fraying and it’s time for a new one.
The change of season makes it even harder to fight the urge to splurge on new gear. Each week brings a tsunami of new and interesting products, whether it’s stylin’ soft goods from Tentree and Kari Traa, or new tech from rock-climbing powerhouses Black Diamond and Petzl.
In an attempt to relieve my co-workers of their temptation, I quizzed them on their gear that they’re itching to buy from Spring/Summer 2019 and attempted to figure out if they truly need their choices, or if it’s a mere flight of fancy. Here’s who they are, and what they came up with:
Greg: the Irish Ski Tech that is fully aware of how contradictory that sounds.
Black Diamond 9.4 Dry Rope: ‘The diameter of this rope makes it burly enough to handle frequent use in a variety of environments, but lighter than other wider ropes. I’m not an ice climber, but the dry treatment of the rope makes it more weather-resistant, durable, and prevents dust and dirt from penetrating past the sheath.’
MSR Hubba Hubba: ‘As much as I love my current tent, it really bothers me that it’s not freestanding. When I need to pitch a tent in the alpine or on hard ground, the Hubba’s freestanding capability makes all the difference. Plus it’s been hugely popular for several years so I know I’m getting a good product.’
Fernando: Iberian Lothario and mountaineering keen bean.
Therm-a-rest NeoAir Xtherm: ‘A good sleep is so important, to try and get an objective without a good sleep is impossible. I want to have a sleeping pad that is so light during the Summer, but will keep all my heat so I can sleep on the snow in the Winter without problems.’
MSR Pro Bivy: ‘For me, the most important thing is to move fast in the mountains. A bivy makes me use less space so I can use a smaller, lighter pack, or I can put other important things in my pack without thinking about running out of space or too much weight.’
Donna: Likes her oxygen delivered from scuba tanks at 30metres below sea level.
Atom SL: ‘I love the Atoms, I think everyone in my family has one, I’ve had at least one for years! The Atom SL is so versatile I can use it morning, noon and night and feel great. That iolite colour is definitely for me as well.’
Kari Traa: ‘It’s such a treat to have something in the shop that’s made by women and for women. The women’s stuff can look so plain and tech-y sometimes, so I love the splashes of design and colour. I feel great in their baselayers during the winter, so I’m super excited to try their summer leggings, I think they’re quite flattering on me, if I can say that about myself.’
Mary: Sent it so hard on skis this winter that Canada Post went on strike.
Mountain Phantom Sleeping Bag -1C: ‘Oooh the Phantom for sure. It’s so warm and I know it’s weird to say about sleeping bags but I think it’d be really soft too! I guess one of the big things is how crazy light it is as well, it packs really small so it would barely take up any space in my pack.’
Salewa Rapace: ‘My feet have been beaten up by my ski boots a bunch and other boots have given me blisters in the past. I like their no blister guarantee so I can skip all that and go straight to having comfy boots. They’re really stiff as well which is great when I have a heavy pack or on a longer trip, they supoort my feet so I can hike all day!’
Mariana: Prolific paddler with a heart of gold and hands of steel.
Black Diamond Solution Harness: ‘So, honestly, my harness is a little bit older than it should be, and I’m planning on doing a lot of climbing this summer so I totally need a new harness. The Solution is sport-climbing oriented which is great for where I’m at at the moment, and having a harness built for a woman’s profile makes a huge difference.’
Red Paddle Compact 9’6″ Paddleboard: ‘I’m aiming a little high for this one, but I would absolutely love to have this board. I’ve done a lot of multi-day paddle trips and canoes will always have my heart, but for single day adventures and spending the day on a lake this is perfect for me. I love how compact it is so I could take it with me super easily wherever I want to spend the day.’
Chris: Top 10’d in a skimo race, then top 5’d in a half-marathon the next day. That’s all that needs to be said really.
Norvan SL Running Shoes: ‘Well, I already have a pair of Norvan LDs which I love and I’m excited to run some trails with less weight on my feet. I’m very interested in how low profile these shoes are, and how breathable they will be because of that. The bounty of races available in the corridor give me plenty of opportunity to put them through their paces.’
Norvan SL Hoody: ‘All of the above features, in the context that we live in a literal rainforest.’
Regrettably, I think I have failed in dissuading my coworkers from their future purchases. If anything I have helped them cement their excitement about buying new gear. I limited each staff member to mentioning two pieces of gear, given half the opportunity they would definitely expand that list to 10 or more each.
Hopefully the items on their wishlists and their reasoning behind them have helped you inform and inspire a wishlist of your own. If you need any questions answered drop by any of our stores; as you can imagine we’re always happy to talk tech.