May 2015

May 2015 
Blog of Education
Sins of Accessories

Sins of Accessories Blog of Education May 2015

Expensive mess kit and the only fuel source available.Pair quality accessories with quality gear like this Titanium Canteen Kit from Heavy Cover.

Talk to anyone in retail and they’ll tell you a large portion of profit comes from accessories. Think about it, your car can be equipped with any number of roof racks and parts, there are floor mats, organizers, cleaning products and plug ins for all your electronics. On a smaller scale, your cell phone has countless potential accessories. Ear phones, screen covers, cases, arm-mounted carriers, extra batteries and on and on and on. The world of accessories is one that can get very expensive and all together, it is a multi-billion dollar chunk of all these industries combined. Handguns need holsters, knives need sharpeners, boots need fabric/leather treatment and so goes the big-ticket item/accessory relationship. With all the options out there and all the money at stake, there are certain to be mistakes in pairing accessories to certain items. Here are some of the most common.

High-End Product/Low-End Accessory
Ever see an expensive pistol in a universal nylon holster? It breaks my heart. How about a guy who buys an expensive camera and uses the cheapest camera bag? Ever hear of a person who spends hundreds on footwear but wears white cotton socks? If you have enough for the product, you should have enough for an appropriate accessory. It might just be my opinion but pairing something quality with something substandard is just wrong. On a recent camping trip, my plastic tarp stakes failed me snapping in two. That link in my shelter system was eventually replaced but I never should have skimped in the first place. What good is a quality tarp if it can’t be held down? Sure, I whittled wooden stakes but in an emergency, I want shelter now! I believe when you buy quality, you only cry once. Call me elitist but that’s how I see it. You should always buy the best you can afford.

Too Many Accessories
There is a thing as too much of something good. On my belt, I EDC a Victorinox Spirit. When I’m camping and in the woods, I’ll add my belt knife and firearm if laws allow. That is about all I want around my waist but some guys can’t stop there. They have to have a flashlight pouch with room for the optional IR filter, they want a spare mag holder or maybe double mag holder, they want backup knife, they want more and more until they become a drowning hazard if were to fall in a lake. Some fishing vests are equipped with dozens of pockets allowing for the carry of unnecessary gear. If you have the space, the temptation is there to take it up. So many ultra-light set-ups have bucked this trend and their are guys who are now paring their gear down to the basics. The real test is knowing when to say when by basing your realistic needs with realistic gear.

Accessorizing Beyond Ability
Some products are simply beyond the ability of the user. A lot of shooters carry trauma kits to treat sucking chest wounds without any training in how to use them. There are also no shortage of guys who have Hi-Lift jacks and shovels mounted to their vehicles because they look cool. There’s a problem when neither show any signs of use but a bigger problem if the user thinks owning the product without trying it makes him/her ready for an emergency. The best compass in the world will do you no good if you can’t read it and owning gear is never enough.¬†Having good gear is only part of the formula, being trained and knowledgeable of it’s use is another. False beliefs in ability are dangerous to all parties. If you’re just starting to learn how to ski, kayak, climb or any other sport with a high degree of skill involved, invest in lessons and time to practice. Lessons aren’t as sexy as accessories but they do pay off.

Not Accessorizing
O.K, so I’ve pointed out some problems associated with accessorizing in the sports and pastimes we love. You may be a purist or at this point you may think you shouldn’t accessorize at all. This too is a “sin” of accessorizing. If you’re paddling a beautiful wooden canoe, getting it to and from your location is important. It’s not a task for simple foam padding and some straps. A dedicated rack will last longer and be safer. Your sleeping bag will perform better with a pillow as it will help trap warm air in. Using a rolled fleece jacket is nice but a pillow (like the one included in all bags from Wiggy’s) is my choice. Just remember, you’ve already spent “X” amount of dollars on the big-ticket item, now isn’t the time to skimp to complete your outfitting.

To reiterate, there is a fine balance between needs and wants when it comes to accessories. The money wasted on bad decisions can be used elsewhere or good training or travels. Ultimately, it’s your money so do what you want with it regardless of what I tell you. just remember, accessories, like all gear can be lost and while the thrill of the chase is part of the fun, it wears off. Experiences are harder to forget than accessories. I don’t know anyone who vividly recalls buying an accessory as a marker moment in their life but plenty of people who can’t stop talking about the trips they’ve taken. Think twice before you pick up that impulse item and remember the sins of accessorizing. They may save you time and money.

-Kev