In the outdoor world, that means click bait listicles for gear used in the dog park as THE BEST GEAR OF 2016.
My gear pick of the year for 2016 came out of a recent life change.
Moving to a new town and establishing a new residency means I was bereft of that critical piece of equipment for my day-to-day life: A library card.
My gear pick of the year for 2016? A library card.
I am truthful when I make this statement.
I have a reading habit that is only affordable because of my local library.
And your local library is an excellent source for getting materials about the outdoors.
At least for the initial part.
But not everyone feels comfortable planning their trips.
Guidebooks are still helpful for that niche.
And with the wonders of the interlibrary loan network, you can check out books from other libraries across the country.
And for free!
Going to Big Bend and you live in Rhode Island? Use your library and get a Big Bend guidebook delivered to your local library.
But more than planning, your local library lets you access books that provide a deep background of an area.
Whenever I visit an area, I am not just interested in the topo lines and trails.
I want to know the area.
The history. The culture. The people who inhabit it.
I have developed an undeniable love for the Colorado Plateau and the history of the people who created an amazing culture derived from that area.
It is one thing to walk past ancient dwellings in a remote desert canyon.
At least for me, I simply can’t walk through the canyon, mountains or plains.
I want to savor the area as much as possible.
And the means reading about it. Knowing the background. Getting a feel for the area beyond the contour lines.
But it is only a small fraction of the books available at a library.
And not just print books either. Most libraries are typically part of a cooperative network that offers books in electronic format.
Beyond knowing an area, the library offers books that make you think of the greater questions about the wild places.
My personal rule is if I read a book more than twice, I will buy the book. It is obviously a book I love. And will probably read again or least refer to frequently.
But how do I read these books initially?
So, get a library card.
It is a piece of gear that will expand your outdoor skills, knowledge, and appreciation of where you walk more than the top ten clickbait pieces of crap you probably don’t need anyway.