Give your old gear new life while helping aspiring hunters and anglers
Lately a cottage industry has sprung up around the idea that happiness comes from purging objects from our lives. “Clutter consultants” and other gurus urge us to turn our homes into spare spaces that look like something from a design catalog, not a place where actual people live. This is a hard sell for a guy like me. The mantel over my woodstove is covered in feathers and antlers, drawings from friends, battered flies—stuff that may look like clutter to some but means something to me. Then there is the gear I’ve gathered over the years to support my love of hunting, fishing, and camping. It’s all stuff that I use, or at least thought I’d use. But this is one area where I think the idea of simplicity has real merit. Here’s my solution to gear overload. First, I’ve gotten rid of the marginally useful stuff that either got in the way or was barely used. Second, instead of having several items that perform the same job, I got just one that’s of the best quality I can afford. For example, I recently sold, traded, or gave away a drawer full of perfectly okay knives and traded up for just a couple of truly fine ones, including the Schmidt Knives & Forge (406-862-6471) hunting knife shown above. They’re all working knives, meant to be used, but they are built by craftsmen or companies that make products that last a lifetime. Hunters have a long, and fun, tradition of selling gear in order to buy something else that has caught their eye. It’s certainly an economical way to pay for better stuff. But I’ve found another rewarding way to part with extra raingear, rods I don’t use often, lures I have duplicates of, neglected members of my arsenal of box calls: Pass it on to a kid. Give it to a new hunter who is intimidated by the high cost of getting into these sports. Donate it to a local Scout Troop. We’re lucky that so many companies are making such terrific stuff. (Check out our exhaustive test of new guns and bows on p. 99.) By all means, go out and buy what you need and enjoy it. But liberate the stuff that is mostly sitting unused on your shelves. Get it out where it belongs: in the field and in the hands of someone else who is falling in love with the outdoors.