When I was in college at Penn State, I never bought anything new. Considering the budget I had to work with, I rarely bought anything at all, but when the need for a pair of shoes or a warmer coat became unavoidable, I'd even pass up Walmart prices in favor of the local Salvation Army. I was a champion of second hand shopping, and considered it a personal triumph every time I outdid the last deal I'd scored.
These days, I've broadened my buying horizons a bit. Although I still pride myself on occasional Salvation Army buys, I get a big kick out of getting new stuff. And gear is a personal weakness -- especially the accessories categories. I do my best to buy based on need, but sometimes the desire to get something just because it's cool is hard to talk down. Packs are a big one for me. New lumbar packs, a better day pack -- it seems like the more pouches and organizers, the more I want it. So are gloves - I'm very picky about them, so if I see a pair that just might work better than what I have already, I'll talk myself into picking them up. And those by-the-register impulse buys are deadly. Key chains, mini-compasses, those little Purell-holders -- I'm a sucker for the $1.99 gadget.
Even just the promise of getting something new is enticing -- it's embarrassing how much I enjoy going through catalogs or cruising Cabela's or Campmor online, even if I have no intention of buying. And around Christmas, I've been known to order something for myself even before I start my gift purchases.
So what are your buying habits? Do you tend to be pretty disciplined in limiting yourself to legit purchases, or do things get out of hand once in awhile? And if there's any particular piece of gear you have a weakness for, feel free to fess up. I'd feel better knowing I wasn't alone with my day pack obsession! -K.H.