Understanding Gear

This stuff better drain well.

With everyone trying to sell you the latest and greatest outdoor gadgetry, buying (or making) even the simplest gear can become a saga of confusion. Sometimes we feel like every pack has to be horrendously overbuilt and under-useful, every butane lighter has to have six LED lights and a laser beam, and every man jack of us should be packing a titanium spork. Yes, that's right. YOU CAN NOW BUY A TITANIUM SPORK! We are not kidding.

Any piece of equipment (commercial or home-made) is a series of compromises. Economy, convenience, style, and convention are just a few of the factors at work in the creation of any single piece of gear. Fact is, understanding outdoor gear is just common sense, augmented with a little technical savvy. We've built this section to try to help other, more intelligent people - no doubt like yourself - learn from our long and comical history of mishaps.
Design Considerations
Here, we talk about some of the assessment process we now go through when evaluating or designing gear.
Gear Ecology.
Understanding how the marketplace works.
Junk is OK
Falling in love with substandard, overpriced, shoddy, jury-rigged junk.
Materials & Components
This section details some of the relevent properties of various materials, like polar fleece, gore-tex, and webbing.

Beyond Spec Home
Gear Reviews Understanding Gear Ensembles & Kits