Something that occurred to me over the weekend: Almost every piece of gear I’ve ever bought has turned out to be the wrong thing. Tents, packs, sleeping bags/pads, you name it. They serve their purpose but are always flawed — primarily in comparison to some other piece of gear which has the attributes my gear lacks. The only thing I own utterly without regret is my Therma-Rest Lite Seat, an inflatable pad that doubles as a pillow for overnighters and ensures I always have something dry and comfortable to sit on. Of course, some day it will spring a leak and then I’ll have a 100 percent collection of regrettable gear.

I could’ve taken my bathtub-floor backpacking tent hiking over the weekend and stayed much dryer — and warmer — but no, it weighed over four pounds, and this was a “fast and light” outing, which meant I had to take my GoLite Hut2 shelter, which has no floor and guarantees something inside is going to end up on the ground, and get wet. Come morning there’s so much condensation that it’s wetter on the inside than the outside, which would’ve been much less of a problem in the heavier tent because the condensation collects on the rainfly, where you don’t have to worry about brushing up against it because it’s outside the bug mesh. Of course I could’ve used my little tarp to reduce condensation worries, but it didn’t seem like enough protection for a rainy outing.

It never ends. This might be part of the reason why backpacking’s going out of fashion: people have already driven themselves nuts trying to find the right digital camera, cell phone, computer, stereo system and countless other fonts of consumer remorse. Say they like to hike and camp and want to combine the two. They walk into their REI and are flooded with a zillion more choices, each one fraught with the potential of wishing they’d bought something else. Who needs that?

The one smart thing I’ve done lately is move to a place that has just enough storage for the junk I already own, but no more. This provides an excellent excuse to opt out of the consumer madness and just get along with what I’ve got, or endure the hassle of selling one thing to make room for another.

For now my I’m in no-new-gear mode, a condition that will last until my brain fully digests the news that our apartment complex provides free bicycle-storage areas …