Save 17% with an Annual Subscription

Gear Not Stuff: March Edition

The eight favorite pieces of gear from a Green Beret and founder of GORUCK.

Gear Not Stuff: March Edition


  • Full access to this post (and being able to listen to its audio version, at bottom) is for Members. If you’d like full access to this post and its audio, become a Member below.
  • The Don’t Die event is sold out. See those who signed up in the desert in April. If you wanted to go but couldn’t swing the dates, you can join the waitlist for the next event through the button below.

Now onto today’s post …

Wednesday’s post featured five lessons from Jason McCarthy, founder of GORUCK.

We pulled the takeaways from his recent appearance on Peter Attia’s podcast. We covered:

  • The value of being supermedium.
  • Why speed is security.
  • How to carry more weight longer with a smile on your face.
  • How to start rucking now.

But that was Wednesday. Today is today.

And today is 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 and have more stuff than ever. As I point out in Scarcity Brain, the average home contains 10,000 to 50,000 items.

If we want a new thing, we no longer have the pause of traveling to a store to buy it—we can buy it right from our computer, phone, or TV.

Our shift to material abundance has changed our relationship with our possessions—and curious forces are now leading us to acquire more stuff than we need.

For example, online retailers stole tacts from casinos that lead us to buy more faster. (These tactics have probably worked on you if you’ve ever bought some crap and immediately regretted buying said crap. More on that here.)

When we get overwhelmed by how much we own, we often seek minimalism.

But minimalism, you’ll know if you read Scarcity Brain, has failed us. Luckily, I found a smarter way we can get more from less.

In thinking about how we can make smarter purchasing decisions, I’ve begun delineating 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 to fix boredom or stress or to solve a problem we could figure out creatively with something we already have.

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.

This month’s Gear Not Stuff: Jason McCarthy, former Green Beret and Founder of GORUCK, shares his 8 favorite pieces of gear.

Jason serving in Iraq at the height of the war.

Our group decided that we wanted to start including voices from outside experts on 2%. I love the idea.

In looking for creative ways to do that, I thought it would be enlightening to hear about the favorite gear of others who lead interesting lives and use and abuse gear.

Given Wednesday’s post, Jason seemed like an excellent pick for our first shot.

Jason’s something of a gear obsessive. He was a Green Beret, where the right gear makes or breaks missions.

And he founded GORUCK, the maker of my favorite rucking and travel gear.

Jason can go deeper down the rabbit hole of fabrics, zippers, stitch patterns, etc, than anyone I know.

But he’s also all about simplicity and functionality. He said this about creating the GR1, the first GORUCK pack:

I wanted it to be beautiful and simple as well. ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,’ as DaVinci said. I really love that quote when it comes to design. Simplicity also means there’s less to go wrong and less to break.

His followup to that:

(When I was trying to sell the bag to retailers), people would ask me about all the features the GR1 had. But it was the anti-features bag. (Other brands) would market their bags with ‘look at all these features it has.’

I think that’s terrible because it’s more stuff to break. Instead, my thinking was, ‘show me all of this stuff it doesn’t have and why it’s going to last forever.’ That was against the grain. We didn’t have crazy colors. We had black. It was like the Model T Ford—you could have any color you wanted as long as it was black.

Given that perspective, I knew Jason would have useful, straightforward gear recommendations.

Below, Jason tells us his favorites gear and told him to interpret “gear” however he’d like.

Here are his eight picks: