If you’ve followed this site and this is your first visit in some time, you’ll notice quite the change in look. Aside from the overall look and feel, I made a conscience decision to close down the online store.
The decision to close the online store really had nothing to do with sales, more the confliction with my core philosophy. Here I am the guy whom always admonishes the pervasiveness of gear hype and aggrandizing, yet I’m not behaving in a manner congruent with my beliefs. I’ve all but rid myself of all my outdoor gear, as an affront to the mainstream idea you need this widget or that gadget, yet here I am selling those very chachkies. Who was I kidding? Every time a sale would come through I would feel guilt. I was not being true to my beliefs; moreover, I was conceding to an ideology I do not believe in.
Christian Noble, of Master Woodsman, some time ago wrote, “I hate gear. Outside of doing what its supposed to do, it really gets in the way… physically, psychologically, and especially financially.”
The philosophy is so simplistic it can be ill interpreted as coming from someone who merely says that because they can’t afford any gear. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
When so much emphasis and time is placed on gear, it handicaps skill and lore. Oh the irony. So many in the bushcraft and survival community are fascinated with the young man on the primitive technology you tube channel who demonstrates acute skill at building and making things from sticks and stones. They desire to have his skill and dream of being able to do the things he does. At the same time they’re staring, in awe, at their computer screens and the actions of this young man, they have another window open on their screen showcasing a knife or other tool they are ready to purchase.
It is so disheartening when someone new expresses interest and asks what tools they need to get started, only to receive responses from everyone of item after item of kit. Where is the reference to knowledge? Where is the reference to learning the lore of the land—weather patterns, animals and their habits, plants and their uses, Natural navigation, etc.? Why not direct newcomers to books and other reputable knowledge resources? Is it better to fill their bag full of kit rather than their head full of knowledge? Though the intent is noble and kind, the direction is misguided. A person with knowledge of the woods and little to no kit can do a lot more than a person with a bag full of kit and no knowledge. So many people are fond of and like to repeat Mors Kochanski’s bit of wisdom,
“the more you know the less you need.”
If you’re so fond of that philosophy, how about sharing that path with others first. Who knows, maybe after you fill that person’s mind with so much wisdom, they may find they don’t need all the gear you recommended.