As you get older, life serves up certain inevitabilities.
In 1994 I was contacted by the Boy Scouts of America to inform me that I’d been successful in applying to be a summer camp counsellor, and would be heading off to Mississippi in the near future. This meant acquiring some new outdoor gear, and I really pressed the opportunity with my Mum to push the boat out and buy some decent stuff that would last a while, rather than more of the barely-adequate gear that fell to bits after 3 or 4 uses that I’d been living with up til this point (I get it – outdoor gear’s pricey!).
ANYWAY – I successfully petitioned the acquisition of a solid pair of hike boots (Scarpa Trek), a new rucksack (Tatonka, no idea what model), and a waterproof jacket: the Snowgum-branded Gelanots Goretex-alike. All capably advised and sold to me by my Scouting chum Mel[i]At this point I feel I ought to have more to say about Mel, but I don’t – she was just a generally awesome sort that I met in Venturers, but that in later years I didn’t do enough … Continue reading.
The boots lasted a good long while and then following some sole-splitting symptoms were replaced under warranty, but sadly the pace of constant daily urban & offroad use saw their demise in the mid-noughties.
The rucksack’s still going strong and in use on most long-haul trips, although it’s been a long time since it saw any hiking action I will confess.
But I’m here to salute the waterproof jacket. For, upon returning from Monday’s dogwalk, I finally came to the realisation that after nearly 30 years of service, it’s over. There are 2 main reasons for this:
- It’s a bit “snug”.[ii]Or to put it more correctly, it makes me look like some sort of articifial blue sausage
- A waterproof jacket has one primary function, and the clue’s in the name.
I remember selecting it at the time due to its impressive indigo colour – one of the few genuine things I’ve ever seen delicately tread the line between blue and purple. Also, the oblate spheroid shape of the hat-bit gave it a kind of Martian Traveller vibe. And, it was about 1/4 of the price of Goretex.
Of course latterly the magnificent indigo was augmented with general crud.
Truth be known, it was probably time to decommission it some time back, as what I understand to be the lining membrane has all but deteriorated – and not recently.
In recent years its main function was as a windstopper layer over the correct gauge of sweater for the weather condition, as I mainly wore it on dogwalks and nobody REALLY enjoys walking a dog in the pissing rain.[iii]Actually, the dog seems to quite enjoy it – but that’s more than counteracted by how tedious it is to towel him off when we get home so he doesn’t leave muddy streaks all over the … Continue reading
Coming in from Monday’s walk in a saturated waterproof which had done a better job of keeping the sweat in than keeping the rain out made me realise that it’s just time to call it a day.
Farewell, overly snug blue rain jacket. I can only hope your replacement lasts as long as you did.
|At this point I feel I ought to have more to say about Mel, but I don’t – she was just a generally awesome sort that I met in Venturers, but that in later years I didn’t do enough rockclimbing or living in the northeastern suburbs to see much of socially.
|Or to put it more correctly, it makes me look like some sort of articifial blue sausage
|Actually, the dog seems to quite enjoy it – but that’s more than counteracted by how tedious it is to towel him off when we get home so he doesn’t leave muddy streaks all over the downstairs floor.