Final choices and the things that stay with you

Sometimes things that are taught to you by important figures in your life become second nature to you. You carry that knowledge forward and it becomes part of your life, part of who you are. You also pass this forward.

I’ve talked in the past about my drill sergeant and keeping our pockets closed. This same drill sergeant made sure we understood the importance of taking good care of our gear. Time and again, he would tell us: take care of your gear and the gear will take care of you. Simple things such as carrying the tactical vest by grabbing both straps, so not one strap will get extra stress; or taking apart each magazine and clean it, then clean each bullet after a training session in the desert. We would clean our weapons and vehicles before cleaning ourselves and go to sleep.

Take care of your gear and your gear will take care of you.

It became a part of us. Even today I take proper care of my gear. I am a firm believer of what my friend Patrick Rhone calls Final Choices.

Anywhere I can make a buying choice that I, with proper care and maintenance, will never have to make again for the rest of my life, I do. In those cases, I’m willing to pay far more for an item if I know it will last a lifetime and, even more importantly to me, I will never have to spend the mental energy making a choice again.

I believe in buying quality. I believe is spending the extra money in buying something that is properly built, that will last. However, like Patrick mentioned, you also need to take proper care of it.
I can still see my old drill sergeant yelling at me. Telling me to take care of the gear. It is part of me. And I do, I do take care of ALL my gear. My wife is amazed on how my computers look, how my backpacks look, how my climbing gear looks, yes including the alpine climbing boots. She and my friends often comments on how good my rain jacket looks. Guess what? That rain jacket is more than 12 years old, it has been on top of the Aconcagua, Mont Blanc, Eiger North Face and Mount Washington. Yes, it has scars, but that old Patagonia jacket still has more years. I take care of it, I wash it after every climb, I renew the water proofness every year and I never store it dirty. I payed a lot of money for that jacket 12 years ago, but that money has been recovered since. I haven’t bought another jacket.
Or my GORUCK GR1. It’s a quality piece of gear, one planned and built to last. I spent good money on it. I took the GORUCK Challenge with it, I use it for all my travels and other fun stuff. I wash that rucksack every time. I clean it and I make sure it’s ready for the next trip. It will last and my taking care of it will make sure of it. It’s the same with all my stuff. I am very careful with everything I own, that doesn’t mean I don’t use it, no, I do and I really give my stuff a run for the money. However, because I take care of each and every piece of gear, they live to tell the story and go for another adventure the next year.

Yes, buying quality stuff is expensive. Yes, spending time maintaining your gear can be bothersome to some. Still, I love my gear. It keeps me warm or comfortable. It keeps my stuff dry and organized, and it keeps my feet happy.

Take care of your gear and your gear will take care of you.