Gearaholics Anonymous

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REI sales are a terrible thing.

I consider myself highly resistant if not reasonably immune to rampant consumerism, however gear shops have a way of bending my resolve like nothing else, and like Backcountry Jesus I have accepted REI into my life so completely that it’s impossible to escape the Good Word of 20% Savings. Wherever I turn, from my mailbox to my email inbox, even the damn app on my phone, I’m bombarded with the need to get more stuff. On the street, gear shops and surplus stores beckon me with a relentless siren call. And I always, always waver.

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The List: 2013 Edition

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For my inaugural post on this site, I published a list I had compiled for road trips and car camping that had stood by me for quite a while. While the whole point of a list is to not forget anything, the list itself is not exempt from this and has grown some, as well as expanded on a couple areas. Still largely focused on car camping, most of the items do however translate well into a backpacking checklist, usually just depending on the size of the gear. This stuff on hand, I usually feel prepared to go just about anywhere.

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Food Afield: Som Tam Goong Sod

Typically when people think of Thai food they think curry, rice, noodles, and, for those with a less adventurous stomach, massive indigestion. Less consideration goes to the fact that traditional Thai food is all about fresh ingredients that can make for some very healthy dishes. One of these I recently became obsessed with during a trip to southern Thailand: Som Tam, or green papaya salad.

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Review: Joby Gorillapod

It’s really not a question of whether you will have a camera with you when you travel anymore, it’s now more a matter of how to take the best possible photos with what you have. From the instant-upload cameraphone snapshots, to the compact crowd wanting some decent holiday photos, to the DSLR enthusiasts trying to capture the perfect shot, everyone is trying to get just the right angle. With the Gorillapod, the world is your tripod.

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Lighten Up: The Philosophies of Contentment

Rocks: assholes of the desert

It’s difficult to be content these days. With information at our fingertips and shops and services catering to every possible whim, we’re used to getting just about whatever we want when we want it. This of course has the downside of making the slightest delay or inaccessibility instantly frustrating, and more and more we get irritated and angry with the slightest obstacle.

Of course, we didn’t invent frustration with mundane things. Back in the days when committing your life to philosophy was considered a noble and respected life rather than a one-way ticket to working at Starbucks, a few people recognized that life shouldn’t be about what it isn’t, but rather what it is.

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The Most Portable Computer Is No Computer

Internet-based applications and file storage, or “cloud computing” as it’s popularly referred to, are fast becoming incredibly functional for most basic tasks on the computer, but there’s still a lot to be said for keeping the trusted essentials with you, especially when you’re traveling to places where internet connectivity and security are unknown quantities. Thankfully, not just web applications are easily portable; with USB flash drives going for peanuts, you can take your whole computer with you in your pocket, just without the hardware. Find any working computer, even one that’s been erased or locked down, and it can become yours with all your programs and files.

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Review: North Face Apex Jacket

It’s really kind of inevitable that I would do a review of the North Face Apex softshell. Since I bought my first one nearly a decade ago, it’s been indispensable in my closet. From cool days in the city to biting cold nights out in the backcountry, this jacket been nearly everywhere I have, and has rarely left me wanting.

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