Spending your outdoor dollars with intention

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If you’re anything like me, in an attempt to overlook your unintentionally discarded resolutions, you have been occupying time on the recent frigid evenings by dreaming up schemes for the warmer days to come. And what fun is it planning future adventures if you’re not also making a list of necessary new gear?

Most likely, you didn’t put that Scott Radian 906/4FB fly rod on your Christmas list. Why not? For starters, many people would be uncomfortable asking for an $795 present. Price aside, would you trust your loved one to get the exact right model? If the shopper doesn’t fish, that is a lot of ambiguous information in a short title. But, as we gear junkies know, the devil is in the details and each number and letter in that title make a significant difference in the fly rod. Clearly, you need to start saving so you can buy it for yourself.

There are a lot of factors that come into play with our gear purchases, perhaps even more than many folks realize. Price and convenience are at the top of most buyers’ list of shopping influences. This stands to reason because most of us are shopping on a budget and in this fast-paced age we have become accustomed to getting what we want pronto. If you are spending a substantial amount of money on a piece of gear, you also want to learn as much as possible about it before you open your wallet.

A quick online search will tell you that The Fly Shop of the Bighorns sells Scott rods. It is always much better to see, feel and test out equipment before you commit to buying it, so you head downtown. Peter cheerfully welcomes you as you walk in his store, he has a lengthy conversation with you about the rod you’re interested in, he may even offer you a cup of coffee while you chat. You leave Peter’s store confident in your choice and you tell him you will be back soon to buy.

Then, it occurs to you that if you buy the fly rod in Billings this weekend you would save nearly $50 by not having to pay sales tax. Another quick Google search tells you that you can buy the rod for $665 from an Internet dealer, and you can have the rod shipped to your house in two days for free. Even better! Or is it?

How important is it for you to save that $130? Who will help you with your warranty when you break the tip off of that rod this summer? What does The Fly Shop of the Bighorns give back to our community? How do you benefit from thriving brick and mortar businesses in Sheridan? What does it take for those businesses to keep their doors open?

I don’t pose the questions with the intention of guilting readers into shopping locally.

The answers to those questions are different for every recreationalist and every business respectively. However, they are important questions.

It doesn’t have to be a fly rod or The Fly Shop of the Bighorns; it could be a snowmobile, rock climbing essentials, a fat bike or a sleeping bag from any number of local businesses.

If you want high quality outdoor equipment it generally comes with a high price tag attached. As you contemplate your upcoming outdoor gear purchases, please consider the impacts your purchase will make not only on your bank account, but on your community.

Julie Greer is a member of the Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources Commission.

By |January 19th, 2017|

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