Duffle Bag Lifestyle Review

In my estimation, the biggest problem with any new hobby is the gear. The expense isn’t even the major issue of which I am speaking. The problem is the collection, preparation, and transport of said gear so that when you are out “hobbying” you actually have what you need when you need it.
Let me better explain with an example. Suppose you are a 30 year old little boy that wants to live out his Rambo induced war fantasies without the commitment, work, or threat of personal injury that comes with joining the armed forces. Instead you head to the store and pick up a paint ball gun, mask, and some CO2, convince no less than 3 buddies to do exactly the same and head out to the foothills to shoot one another. Day one goes great. Everyone has fun, you had that barrel cleaner the guy sold you so when you were firing 23 rounds a second and the first one exploded in the tube, you were able to clean that gallon of wasted paint and continue with your day in a timely fashion. The next day that you head out is where the problems start. You put the mask on the freezer when you came home the first time and the gun in your closet. The barrel cleaner is in the bottom of the Walmart bag still caked with paint. Your buddy asks you to come last minute and you dive out the door with your gun and mask after hunting around for it for a half hour. You get to the foothills and after your 2nd shot disintegrates in the barrel, you are out for the day. You spend the next 3 hours trying to fashion a makeshift cleaner out of your shirt collar and sock and end up dismantling the entire gun only to find that you don’t have a half inch wrench let alone the 1.045748 mm star-head-Allen-inverted-Torx bit required to remove the barrel. Instead, you’re done, no fun. You will go home, throw the gun in the closet next to your inline skates and electric guitar, never to be used again. Total cost for one afternoon of fun, $342.
This same scenario goes for pretty much every hobby I have tried in my youth.
Float tube fly fishing: been out on the lake without flippers.
Basketball: got to the court and the ball was flat.
Baseball: Brought a mitt but my friend didn’t. Can’t play catch with yourself.
Hunting: Been on the hill and found that I had only 2 bullets left for my 270. Unfortunately, I was carrying a 30-30.
Guitar: went to a buddy’s house to jam and didn’t have a cable to plug in. The Fender just don’t sound the same on mute.
RC Trucks: Took a Nitro truck off a 30 foot jump and didn’t have replacement A-arms, axles, frame, bumpers, shocks, engine, or transmitter. (Side-note: when the guy at the store recommends you just go electric. Don’t get all proud and say you can handle Nitro because you are an engineer… no..you can’t. Just take his condescending advice. It will be the best thing you ever do.)
Kickboxing: Got to gym with a cup but no jock. Duct tape is not really going to hold that in place.
Tennis: All racquet, no balls. (Need I comment further?)
Time and time again, I would plan a Saturday of fun only to spend half the day looking for gear I knew I had already purchased, followed by spending even more time in the store, repurchasing said items. Ultimately I would get to the “place of hobby” ill-equipped and frustrated.
With a history like this, I decided to make a change a few years ago. I now employ the Meatwad duffle-bag-organization-method-of-hobbying-and-exercise. So far, it has been flawless. Here is how it works. My entire life is now compartmentalized into dozens of duffle bags. The bags are multi-colored and of different design based on the hobby. Within that bag is EVERYTHING one would need for the hobby. Upon return, I instantly replenish hobby supplies and zip it up until the next time, which may be a year from now. Note, that in a year from now, if someone asks me to go hobby, I will grab that bag with confidence and be out the door in a flash knowing that I am prepped and ready.
Here are a few examples. In the morning I may go play racquetball, do some kickboxing, go running, or lift weights. I have a different duffle bag for each of these sports. There are some common factors among them, but I cannot rely on a different bag to cover me, so some things I must buy twice, maybe even 3 times. For instance, I need hair gel, deodorant, a brush, underwear, a towel, etc. for when I finish these activities and have to get ready for work. Every duffel bag has all of these items. I refuse to try to remember each of these things or even to have a smaller bag of these things that gets transported separately every day. One day, you will forget and have to work the entire day in a sweaty jock strap. (“Free ballin’” isn’t recommended if you wear Dockers to work) I’ve even put spare belts in the bags just in case.
I do this with every activity listed above and now have dozens of duffle bags for everything I do. My wife mocks me about this compulsion, as she calls it, but I am continually vindicated when unpredicted things happen at family outings and I am absolutely prepared, always. I just look and smile as I pull a pair of needle nosed pliers and the 17/32 socket out of the bag to fix leaky valve on the Camp Chef stove…because those tools were in the camp-cooking duffle bag in anticipation of such an event. Yeah, I'm pretty much a planner these days.
I promise, once you try this, you will love it, and although the cost may seem to be more up-front, your play-to-cost ratio will go up exponentially making it worth every penny. The only words of caution I have are that you may also start buying spare equipment for the friends you take, because partner activities are only as good as the weakest link. Your ill prepared buddies will waste your time and drive you mad, so you might as well just eat the cost of their gear too if you ever plan to have any fun or get in a full work out. Unfortunately, you will need another bag for that.


Matt said...

There isnt a duffel bag big enough to hold the a-arms you would need.

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