The first step is to sort out what I already own, as far as camping gear goes. I have quite a bit of hiking gear I bought 15+ years ago, but never really used. At the time, I’d been planning to hike some or all of the Appalachian Trail with my girlfriend, who was an experienced hiker. She ended up not being able to go, and I wasn’t willing to just figure it all on my own.
I unrolled and inflated my crash pad in my garage. So far so good. I lay down on it, and remembered why I consider it absolutely vital to sleep quality while camping. So comfy. Two minutes later, the entire side seam splits and it deflates dramatically. I cackle with laughter and inspect it. I could try re-gluing it, it’s a high-end hiking pad that comes with a repair kit. Does rubber cement go bad after a decade and a half? I decided to replace it.
Next up, I pull down my “two man” backpacking tent. It’s 7’x4′, designed to be light and compact. It’s quality, after sitting unused for fifteen years everything is in fine shape. I put it up in my backyard, and it goes up easily. The shock cords that hold the stakes together aren’t in the best of shape and they’re either too long or they’ve stretched significantly in storage. I don’t remember, but I assume the latter. I decide to cut the extra and use them as is rather than replacing them — for now. The tent goes up with no problems whatsoever.
I check my MSR mess kit. All is well there. My MSR Pocket Rocket works just fine, and the gaskets seem no worse for the wear after sitting in a hot Texas garage for the last decade.
My MSR MiniWorks filter is fine. I’d have been very surprised if it was anything but fine. I consider replacing the fill hose, but it’s held up perfectly over the past 15+ years of minimal use.
The mess kit, Pocket Rocket, and filter have seen some use while hunting and cabin “camping” in West Texas, but the tent and crash pad had been ignored. I’ve also got a sleeping bag from back when I planned to hike, and while it’s bulkier than I’d like I know it’s fine; it sees a little use here and there.
We’re off to a good start. I order a new crash pad online, and I get a pillow, too. I remember that I hated sleeping without a pillow.