Making and Mending - Creating the perfect outdoor setup

January 09, 2010

Making and mending
Summiting at Dusk

Outdoor equipment of some kind is a pre-requisite for doing most outdoor activities. Jackets, bags, bottoms, shoes, gloves, hats, skis, crampons, ice axes, bikes, ropes, wax, tents, stoves, sleeping bags, pans, food, maps and wetsuits to name but a few.

It is easy to let all this equipment get out of control, spend too much packing for a weekend away, take far too much equipment or replace equipment that doesn’t need replaced.

This is where making and mending comes in. Here are a few core elements to this philosophy.

  • quality – this relies on the equipment being of good quality that can handle many years of use. Cheap throwaway equipment is a false economy, and may let you down in times of need.
  • minimalism – take and keep around the best tools for the job, get rid of the chaff.
  • making – improve your tools to make them even better. This could include modifying a rucksack to better suit your needs, custom upgrades to bikes and general small improvements to existing setups. You could even attempt to make your own equipment.
  • mending – when stuff is used it gets damaged. There is no way around this and it should not be tiptoed around. Not skiing a line because there might be some base scratching rocks is lame. To keep your equipment in good working order you should repair problems when they occur yourself. This will make your expensive equipment last longer. This could include base repair and ski servicing, mending holes in clothing, washing ropes etc.
  • your tools – think of your equipment as YOUR equipment. Something you have chosen and created rather than just a collection of brand names.

Making and mending is best done when there is unavoidable downtime. Snowed in and got nothing to do for 12 hours? Pap on the telly? Do a bit of making and mending.

Got any making and mending experiences?