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Old Gear Still Using

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Wow...old stuff is the order of the day for me. My favourite pack is a 60s era rucksack, I have a Bastien wood canvas canoe circa the 1950s?, and my two burner Coleman naptha stove from god knows when. I can take canvas packs when the mood strikes me..one Woods, one unknown...and of course the ultimate old piece of kit...Karin. LOL.
 

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Some old things are tried and true to their task, and need never be replaced. Such as my old pot set. I bought it long before I figured out the small details that made them a regular tripping item for nearly three decades now. Aluminum skinned and nesting, these pots with folding wire handles in addition to bail handles are light, compact and easy to "maintain". "Maintain" = hammer out the dents and scour the scorch marks and they're good as new. As new as I need them to be. Another old item still tripping with us after all these years are the two sets of Army surplus rain gear, pants and jackets. One pr of pants have elasticized waist and ankles, the other have drawstring. We flip a coin to see who gets the much favoured elastic ones. It never really matters though, heads or tails, because I lose. Just because. She flips a coin just to make me feel like I stand a chance in these important decisions. So I wear suspenders with the drawstrings. And speaking of old, I rarely wear anything that's new on canoe trips. Most outerwear is simply an extension of my Saturday clothes wardrobe. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4anOSSGm6U
 
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Doug, isn’t that the Almighty Coffee pot that percolated out a wad of mold to some gastric distress before it was retired ;-)

We have a couple old perc pots, kept only for remember-when reasons. Unless very carefully tended percolators can make some gawdawful over-boiled coffee. Long live the coffee press. Or Starbucks Via.

I still have some 40 year old gear, Optimus and Svea stoves, wood paddles from my teen years, even a near 50 year old backpack, but I don’t use any of it these days. Aside from a mid-70’s hiking staff, which I still use occasionally for sentimental reasons, everything I routinely use is from the last couple decades.

I never bought any traditional Duluth or Frost River packs or wannigans, and I have never owned a WC canoe, or the story might be different. We do still have and use some high end sleeping bags from the 70’s and 80’s, now mostly dedicated to car camping trips.

I know the old Svea and Optimus stoves would fire up, I have de-varnished the tanks and tested them, but I haven’t brought one on a trip in many years.

Having never gone the traditionalist pack or WC canoe route, I have replaced and “upgraded” gear a time or three. Especially outdoor wear, from socks to shoes to pants to shirt and jacket. I appreciate the ever improving changes in Breathable-Waterproof, Quick-dry and UV protective clothing.

Another old item still tripping with us after all these years are the two sets of Army surplus rain gear, pants and jackets.
I rarely wear anything that's new on canoe trips. Most outerwear is simply an extension of my Saturday clothes wardrobe.

Brad, I think I have gone the other way; I rarely wear anything new around the house and property, or to the local country store or diner; I’m the Raggedy Man thereabouts, styling knee holed pants, frayed collars and cuffs, and, yes, sometimes Crocs with socks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZla--A1s5w

At home there is a closet full of change-of-clothes a few steps away if need be. Not so much in the dry bags in camp.

I will admit that I am, right now, wearing some clothes that I might take tripping, or once took tripping, and when I go out to shovel snow later I will be clad in mukluks, fleece and Gore-tex. And a Seattle Sombrero.

My “Saturday clothes” (I’m retired, every day is Saturday!) in winter or foul weather are usually my old worn tripping duds. When it hits 7F in couple days I will be wearing stanky worn out Capilene long underwear, saved just for frigid snow shoveling sweatiness.

But not my precious paddling gloves; I don’t like wearing gloves for tactile paddling purposes, and the pair I found best suited are discontinued. Same goes for my precious (or at least un-holey) Smartwool socks, new-ish fleece and most recent raingear. My precious, my precious. . . . .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gk4Ntcq5uNg
 
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"Brad, I think I have gone the other way; I rarely wear anything new around the house and property, or to the local country store or diner."

I don't know much about other people's weekends but my Saturday clothes are broken in and well worn. They're only new to me, as they usually come from Value Village. I don't take pride in my dishevelment, I'm just a tad forgetful about appearance is all. But I'm not a complete slob. Tripping / Saturday clothes that have seen even the smokiest fires and dirtiest days can be dealt with, so long as you have fruity soaps. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNUMbBQd-yU
 
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Percolators - I have my mom's old electric percolator at work. I keep it pretty scoured and boil just water every 10 pots or so. I also unplug within a few hours of brewing to keep it from overcooking the coffee. The pot is famous in my 120 person office, as I use it at the communication duty desk when I pull that duty. Even the UPS/FedEx/US Mail people know I'm on duty when they smell hazelnut as they come in. When I retire in June, I will probably take it with me.

I am in the process of "Marie Kondo'ing" my possessions and gear right now. I have purged a lot of old gear - tents, cookware, stoves, etc. that went to others over the years, but as we get ready to move to Colorado from the Chicago area, I feel a deep need to lighten my load. Pop's old square stern fiberglass 16' canoe needs to go, a lot of old tools, sports gear I no longer use. I have a hard time parting with my old Peak 1 pack frame (the bag wore out long ago), my Coleman 2 mantle lantern and the Coleman suitcase stove/antipersonnel device. My cast iron is not up for discussion, nor are my various coffee making devices. Old hunting jackets and bird vests are also no-nos. But I do feel better clearing out and gifting stuff I haven't seen, much less used, in years. When I know where my stuff is and it's organized it's less to think about.

Now I have to go write some thank you notes with my Pop's old Mont Blanc Meisterstuck fountain pen...…..
 
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Yessss Martin, the beloved Huron. Regardless of how much it weighs, which isnt a lot really, it is still my boat of choice.
 
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Well, this is a fun thread. I guess my oldest gear would be my coffe "corn" boilder, and my old tin mug. They ahve been with me on every trip I can remember, all 4 seasons, lots of states and two countries, they have seen some country.

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Tin mug with coffee

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Coffee boiler in action

The only other piece of kit I always have with me is my old piece of crap hat. It has been to 3 countries, as well as every trip I ahve ever been on. If I ever went on a trip without it, I doubt it would forgive me. Good thing I go solo most of the time.

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Percolators - I have my mom's old electric percolator at work.

I am in the process of "Marie Kondo'ing" my possessions and gear right now. I have purged a lot of old gear - tents, cookware, stoves, etc. that went to others over the years

I have a hard time parting with my old Peak 1 pack frame (the bag wore out long ago), my Coleman 2 mantle lantern and the Coleman suitcase stove/antipersonnel device. My cast iron is not up for discussion, nor are my various coffee making devices. Old hunting jackets and bird vests are also no-nos.

We still have a 12 cup and 20 cup perc pots in the box marked miscellaneous camping gear. Not sure why, we have a couple presses and a drip cone that would get used first.

The 20-cupper at least has some infamous history; we have a “coffee flag”, depicting a pot pouring a steaming cuppa. On group trips my sons and I would parade around the sites, carrying the 20 cupper and the waving the flag.

Sometimes with cream and sugar (and maybe some hair of the dog), and even spare cups for folks who barely managed to poke their head out of the tent. We usually had to brew a second pot to satisfy the still bleery eyed de-tented Homo almost erectus.

BTW, on car campers, if there is an electric site around, I bring an extension cord and an old Mr. Coffee drip machine. Oh so freaking handy, especially if I want to stay up around the group campfire later then yawning 9 pm.

Same can’t quite let it go for the last of the white-gas Coleman two burners. We rusted one to smithereens on salt water trips and the mostly-sound replacement has not been used in years. Still not ready to part with it. I had less problem letting go of the blindingly bright Coleman gas lanterns (OK, we kept a little one-mantle Peak-1)

Hunting jackets and camo stuff was harder to part with. Some of it was high quality expensive, but after I hadn’t been out hunting in several years, and didn’t foresee ever doing so again, most went to friends and the rest to the local Goodwill.

The latter in part because this is still a hunting community and I liked the thought of someone OMG finding a Mossy Oak rain jacket or camo boots. I did keep the size 12 camo hip waders, ya never know about wading needs.

The “things that are not up for discussion” are undoubtedly even more personal-peculiar. My old Jansport backpack has far too many sweat stained memories. Lots of duplicate tools from my father; I don’t use a 20 oz roofing hammer very much, probably more than I should, but it was Dad’s and I smile every time I pound a nail with it.

Same for his 1956 all-metal, worm-drive original Skill-saw. I haven’t used it in years and expect my sons not to use it ever either. None the less. . . . . .

I expect we all have things of special memories, that we may never use again but will never part with.
 
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...Lots of duplicate tools from my father; I don’t use a 20 oz roofing hammer very much, probably more than I should, but it was Dad’s and I smile every time I pound a nail with it.

I have two small adjustable spanner wrenches that were my Grandfather's. Grandad was a blacksmith and machinist. One of those wrenches was commercially manufactured, but the other one was made by him, and is as good as or better than the one he copied. Yeah, I use them occasionally. I wasn't around him much at all, and don't have much memory of him - but the history!.....

When Dad died 30 years ago, he left a project he had just started in his little wood shop - a doll cradle he intended to give my daughter on her second birthday. He had all the parts cut out and partially assembled. I took it upon myself to finish the work, so she could have something "from Grampa". That rekindled my interest in woodworking, and when Mom moved to a smaller house, I ended up with all his tools. Most have been replaced with upgrades over the years, but there are a few with which I will never part. One is his Stanley Bailey no. 7 plane, another was his Plumb fiberglass handled F571R 22oz claw hammer. I remember seeing these in his hands so often throughout his life, from the time I was about four. And the Columbian vice on my workbench was also always a fixture in Dad's work space. Yeah, I still feel the connection with Dad when I use them.
 
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When Dad died 30 years ago, he left a project he had just started in his little wood shop - a doll cradle he intended to give my daughter on her second birthday. He had all the parts cut out and partially assembled. I took it upon myself to finish the work, so she could have something "from Grampa".

Steve, that cradle speaks to me. My father made a lot of baby and toddler sized furniture for his grandsons, including a beefy rocking cradle, made with (I wish I remembered what wood species) the last pieces of some lumber long stored in my Grandfather’s barn.

The headboard and foot board are nearly 2” thick, that thing will be rocking my great-great grandsons. Excuse the dust and cobwebs, my sons are a tad large for it these days, and we use it as a receptacle for soft-side cooler storage in the basement.

P1240028 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The last thing I brought my dad before he died was a weighty truckload of butternut, cut, milled and ricked for him by a pattern maker uncle in upstate NY. It was enough wood weight in the bed of the pickup to make the drive from New York to Georgia, uh, exciting. Especially in cross winds.

I never asked about it, mostly for fear that it got cut up and split as kindling.
 
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My old gear is HEAVY! I remember backpacking in the 70s with army surplus gear while my friends had modern stuff. No reason to keep all that old crap. I can't think of one piece of old gear that I'd take on a canoe trip today.
 
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I like army surplus...I AM army surplus after all...lol. I draw the line at sleeping arrangements though....I have a North Face tent.

Just a heads up...Frontier Firearms and Surplus is having a sale on suplus Canadian Army sleeping bag systems. Down filled three piece ones with a bivvy bag as well. I have been using mine for decades and while bulky, there is nothing like being warm. You can split it up and take only one piece if it is warmer outside.
 
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I've been going through a bunch of old journal's/stories I managed to get on line before I lost all of my paper journals. I think this tale was back in the mid to late 90's when my paddling partner and I were still wetting our feet to canoe tripping.
[h=2]Companion[/h]
By Scooter














Rooting through my wanigan I found what I was looking for. The Almighty Coffee Pot. Carefully adding water and java grinds I prepared the first taste of the day. The fire was at its peak and would only need occasional attention for the task of boiling. The Almighty would do the rest, procuring a nectar for me, which would bring me to my feet.




I settled back on my heels and watched the fire for a spell. My focus settled on the Almighty Coffee Pot. I have been canoe tripping/camping for many trips now, so many it's hard to attach a number. The trips are clear in my mind but the time frames aren't. I watch the aluminum container we call the Almighty. It has seen us through many times. It has its share of dents and dings. The top handle is slightly pushed in. Its bottom is scalded black with the remnants of countless morning fires like this one. The question came to me, slowly, like the suns rise. Where had I gotten this metal wonder? I sat there slowly feeding wood to the fire and tried to piece it together. The puzzle was missing too many parts. I could not remember where I had acquired this so important piece of my life. I decided through the cobwebs, that it really didn't matter.




The mute scream of a zipper from my partners tent broke my thoughts and I turned as he rousted himself from his cocoon. Stretching he approached the fire, then squatted next to me. The Almighty belched once, then twice and finally began bubbling its tune.

"Hail the Almighty Coffee Pot." said my partner, reached into the wanigan and pulled out the cups.

As we sat there watching the Pot perk away.



I remember the story from (I think), "The adventures of Scooter and Hal" . I think of it in the spring as I contemplate which coffee maker to pack in he barrel. Whatever happened to Hal?
 
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Here, in 2017, Kathleen and I are still using the nesting pot set from our backpacking days in the late '70s. Also still use the Coleman Peak 1, with simmer lever (circa 1978) that replaced my Svea 123.




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Everything fits neatly in our white kitchen bucket, that also includes old skillet from 1990 with folding handle, tea cups, plates, hot pot holder, cutlery, salt and pepper shakers. We will almost certainly be sticking with this system until the very end. See no reason to change.
Same with me - I replaced the Svea with the Peak 1.

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I have a Black Ice synthetic sleeping bag from the late 80s. My recollection is it is rated around 10-15 d F. It has a zip on mantel that takes it down to zero. It was my go-to bag for early and late season trips in the Adirondacks.

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My old gear is HEAVY! I remember backpacking in the 70s with army surplus gear while my friends had modern stuff. No reason to keep all that old crap. I can't think of one piece of old gear that I'd take on a canoe trip today.

Some of my lightest kitchen gear was made in the 50's! My coffee perk ( have 5 different sizes based on group size), various cups including a collaspable one, a 1 egg poacher come to mind. All the old style aluminum but lighter than titanium and far cheaper at flea markets and antique shops. I also still use my peak 1 stove from the 70's and if I take a lantern it is a 1 mantel white gas Coleman my dad got for a wedding present in 47.
 
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