Posted by Dave on September 24, 2013
I spent the past weekend getting rained on and frozen in the middle of Algonquin park with my brother on a canoe trip. I really enjoy the middle of nowhere, even though it means I don’t get internet. I like the planning – ensuring there’s enough food, clothes and other gear to withstand nature. The outdoors itself is fun to experience once in awhile, to be away from everything “normal” and to spend my day paddling, hiking, and scavenging wood for a fire at night.
Like most activities, these kind of trips could be really expensive, if you make them that way. High-end canoes made of a carbon/kevlar can cost over $5,000 – they are very nice, but definitely increase the average cost of a trip. Packs and other equipment, like stoves, tents and other accessories are also super expensive if bought all at once.
My brother has cobbled together a bunch of equipment that works fine – it kept us relatively dry in a very crappy 24-hour teeming rainstorm and allowed us to cook dinner. He found most of his equipment used off of Kijiji, having the advantage of being on the road for work and being able to stop all over Western Ontario to pick up the bits and pieces of his kit. His canoe is not a 45 pound well-balanced boat, but it provides a really good workout when you throw it on a shoulder for a 2.5 km walk through a bush.
A mistake that a lot of people (including myself) to get involved in a new hobby and drop a ton of cash, only to find that a couple of months later the hobby isn’t as interesting as they thought it would be. While a $5,000 canoe is one extreme, other smaller hobbies are just as bad for being wastes of money and storage space.
I prefer to start small with hobbies – to buy decent used equipment to start. If I find I enjoy the hobby and continue to do it, I have much less of a problem spending money on higher-end stuff, knowing I will enjoy the higher quality. I have utilized this strategy with beer-making – buying a simple 1-gallon kit for all-grain brewing and using ordinary cooking implements to make beer for the time being. Later, if I keep making beer, I can buy fancy propane burners, kegging equipment, and a fermentation fridge, along with other super-specialized equipment that allows for much more precision in making beer (which would cost hundreds of dollars).
Have you made the mistake of going too big too early with a hobby, only to lose interest in it? Are you “storing” remnants of this hobby?