you can buy DIY

Over the last year there have been a lot of changes in my garage. First of all I have one. It is nice having somewhere to store my adventure gear without having to get into a car and drive. But the subject matter has changed as well. Mountians and snow are now more important and beach activities have disappeared completely.

In focusing on the new activities snow brings, I've increased my understanding of all outdoor equipment. By having knowledge of what is needed and what can be left behind I can focus on the most important part of outfitting...finding the sale. This task usually brings enthusiasts to Bass Pro shops or Cabelas, or other regional outfitters.  And at the top remain the huge box stores as overall king of the deal. But there is a surprise.

My search for a new cold weather sleeping bag has taken me across cyber space and the real world. So far what I've found is to be expected, every price matches across sellers and the price range for the features I'm looking for remains the same. At the top stores that provide the best deals, like, what I need is not available and what I find does not have enough info to make me want to squeeze the trigger. The cheapest bags are often from unknown manufacturers and have little info in technical specs and the reviews differ dramatically. (I need to do my part and review more myself.) What remains lost in the sauce are the smaller mom and pop style manufacturers who rely on more look oriented or uber ultralight hipsters.

More specifically my search took me to, where I found a wide range of unique products. My favorite was the big oak pack, just looks amazing.

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bringing sexy pack

But I began to wonder, "Can I sew this?" The answer for me is  'kinda', but I'm sure for others it is 'hell to the no'. It is a shame as there are plenty of designs for sew your own for DIY packs. In fact there is a lot of gear you probably already know of that you can make at home. Alcohol stoves come to mind first, however, there are also tents, cook sets, clothing, and even shoes. But sewing and building your own gear is probably for most is not cost or time effective. For me, I do not care to have left over material or spend hours constructing an altered kit or a pack of my own design.

Great for me there are plenty of hobbyists one google away that will happily create whatever you have in mind, wether you be all thumbs or don't have the time. The good news is that many of the products are very well made, the bad news is that most of the products do not out perform already existing and readily available options. And if they do perform well you will most likely pay for it.

So in my search for the best deal, I found the most expensive stuff usually ended up being something originally created to save money. Funny how that works. REI, here I come. And, oh, don't worry, I have my credit card with me!