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Gear, Not Stuff: August Edition

Gear, Not Stuff: August Edition

Featuring one fitness item I’ve used weekly for nine years, an app that saved my sanity, the best (and strangest) sub $50 purchase I’ve made, and thoughts on trail running shoes.


  • My next book, Scarcity Brain, is available for pre-order—and pre-ordering gets you killer free bonuses like the SUPERMEDIUM Training, Eating, and Living program.
  • This post is for Members, who are people who like to have fun and not die. Become a Member below.

It’s the second Friday of the month, which means it’s time for Gear, Not Stuff.

The concept for Gear Not Stuff is simple.

We live in a world of mass consumerism. It’s easier than ever to buy and accumulate lots of stuff. I recently spoke to a psychology researcher who studies hoarding. She told me, “People today are all hoarders in the grand scheme of time.”

In thinking about how we can make smarter purchasing decisions, I’ve begun to delineate between gear and stuff.

Stuff is a possession for the sake of it. Stuff adds to a collection of (too many) items. We often buy stuff impulsively as a fix for boredom or stress or to solve a problem we could figure out creatively with another item.

Gear, on the other hand, has a clear purpose of helping us achieve a higher purpose. Gear is a tool we can use to have better experiences that make us healthier and give our lives meaning.

I’ve had to learn and think a lot about gear due to the nature of my work and the wild scenarios it throws at me. And so this column covers a few items I’ve (over)used and thought were worth the purchase and space in my home or travel bag.

  • Side note: If you’re interested in the concept of gear not stuff, I have a whole chapter on it in my new book, Scarcity Brain, which is available for pre-order now. The chapter investigates how our relationship to material possessions has changed over time, how curious forces are now leading us to acquire more stuff than we need, and how minimalism has failed to solve the issue. Luckily, I found a smarter way we can get more from less.

This month we’re covering:

  • A $55 exercise tool that is particularly great for ruckers, runners, and aging populations.
  • An app that helped me make better use of my time.
  • A totally wacky everyday item I love. It stands for a larger concept worth thinking about when we buy.
  • A brief dive into trail running shoes.

Let’s roll …