This topic could have been Lamest Hiking Gadget(s) Received from a Relative
, but I’m not that crass.
You know, we can get addicted to these backcountry gadgets. And in our attempt to go brighter & lighter, we can focus on them to the point that we drag family members into the quest with us, with interesting results. Example:
During the weekly phone call with my 78-year-old mother in Dallas (to “verify” that I’ve received her once-a-week, pre-addressed letter filled with clipped grocery coupons), the conversation invariably lags after discussing those coupons, then the weather and finally the economy. I try to avoid talking too much about life at the marina (since she has a severe phobia of water), especially after getting her upset when I told her a friend took some photos of a 9-foot alligator swimming around here a few months ago. So I’ve been telling her about coming hikes, new hiking gear and attempts at “going lighter & brighter.”
That resulted in this arriving from her in the mail:
This was sent because she thought I could use a campsite candle that wouldn’t (as she had envisioned as it tipped over) turn our tent into a silnylon pyre. It runs off a little quarter-sized battery and puts out something in the range of one nano-lumen. She didn’t get it off the Internet (since she isn’t on
the Internet), but through some snail-mail flyer filled with cheap, superfluous, inessential Chinese-made trinkets that’s strategically targeted at the senior set. This came from StarCrest, I think she said, which has had some hearty reviews at ripoffreport.com.
I thanked her profusely the next time we talked, which had the unfortunate effect of reinforcing her purchase, resulting in my soon receiving a package in the mail containing this:Not the Night Scope 7x20mm!! YES, it's the authentic Night Scope 7x20mm!!
I hadn’t seen a night scope since the last of the bootlegged Russian night scopes were apparently snatched up off that crazy Sportsman’s Guide military surplus catalogue a few years ago. And those things ran in the hundreds of dollars and weighed a ton.
But this Night Scope 7x20mm was light as a feather. This essential piece of outdoor survival gear is made of cheap plastic, has a little focus wheel for its crackerjack-toy lens, and a little clicky button on top to enable its night-scope feature to become operational
. And just what is that? A dim krypton bulb powered by two AA batteries that doesn’t bathe the subject in infrared light, but in dim incandescent light, light that can't be projected more than ten feet away; it's really sort of the antithesis of a “night scope.” I had a good laugh over it, unfortunately at my mother’s unknowing expense. (I’ve never really told her what I’ve thought of it, other than to say it will be “helpful.”)
Anyone else received a piece of lame hiking or outdoor gear from a loved one?