The Birth of “GEAR CHECK”

24 10 2009

Here we go…

So I have this vision of what I want this blog to be. I want this to become the best and most comprehensive blog and website on the Net dedicated to outdoor gear and everything about it (heretofore referred to solely as “GEAR”). I know that’s lofty and ambitious but  guess I’m just that cocky to think that it’s possible with my affinity for gear.  You see, I’m a bit of a gear head / gear junkie / gear geek / gear addict…I love it!

I was raised with an appreciation of the outdoors and some of my earliest and fondest memories from growing up are of standing in a cold mountain stream in southern Colorado with my dad and grandfather learning how to cast a fly-line. I went on to work as a whitewater rafting and adventure guide during my summers while in college and that is where I began to really appreciate “gear.”

I think it began by simply liking the way it looked. I liked the cheesy North Face rain jacket that I had and day pack that I used for my school books. When I became a guide, I started to actually use gear. Using gear for what it is made for completely changed my attitude about it. I went from liking the way it looked to appreciating all of the engineering and design that goes into it. I began to understand the features and benefits of well-made gear and understanding why (sometimes) it can be a little expensive.

I also love gear stores. I love that smell that all really good gear stores have…you know, that fragrant cacophony of synthetic fiber, shoe leather, bicycle tire rubber, burnt rope and dog treats. Gear stores are like art galleries to me. When I travel, I like to seek out local gear stores to see what they have. I couldn’t begin to tell you how many gear stores I have been in and how much money I have spent at them. Of course, the Mecca of gear stores is REI, but I love them all.

I still use a lot of gear. My wife and I currently live in Chicago and along with (bad) deep-dish pizza, the Cubs, corrupt politics, bad traffic and Barack Obama, our great city is known for its weather. Good, bad, windy, wet, dry and cold…we’ve got it all. The best thing about that is that it allows you to use a lot of different gear. At 660′ above sea level, we don’t have the mountains and rivers that I associate the most with gear, but when you have 4 very distinct seasons that throw every kind of weather event imaginable at you, good gear is just about all that gets you through sometimes.

My wife and I also travel frequently to exotic places around the world. I’ve found that one of the best uses of gear can be while traveling. Where? You’ll find out soon enough but gear is always involved.

What kind of gear do I like the most? ALL of it! I’ve done lots of water and mountain sports. I’m also a runner and triathlete. I play golf and work out at the gym a lot. If it is found in a gear store, I’ve either used it, something similar to it, or plan on using it!

I’ve brainstormed broad scope of ideas on what I want this to be but I want the common denominator to always be GEAR. These are just a few things that I have in mind for what I will cover or what I want to include:

1. Gear reviews

2. Gear news

3. Gear store reviews

4. Travel stories related gear

5. Reports from events such as races or festivals and talk to people (maybe professionals) about their gear and why they have chosen certain products

6. Gear forum for readers to discuss gear

7. Gear Swap

8. Female gear reviews by my wife and other ladies

9. New stuff from gear manufacturers

10. Much, much more…

I’m not a professional writer and certainly not a computer guru. However, I have a passion for the outdoors and the gear that we all use to enjoy it and get the most out of it. That may seem a little strange to you, but hey, we’ve all got our “thing” and I don’t judge your love of chess or poodle grooming! As much as I could tell stories of carnage on the river, I could talk about gear; after all, gear is often what keeps us from dying as a result of that carnage.

So read away and enjoy as posts are added. I welcome your comments and suggestions and I encourage you to participate with me. Maybe I’ll have you write an entry one of these days. Tell me your stories of gear – what you like and don’t like; that piece of gear you can’t live without; great gear stores with good prices or service; gear “diamonds” in the rough…Geek out with me on gear…

Peace, Dan Robertson

(This post is dedicated to Colin Schafer born October 24, 1980)

Dan and Amanda Robertson on Mt. Kilimanjaro

Dan and Amanda Robertson on Mt. Kilimanjaro