A slight hiccup

As mentioned, I spent the last couple of weeks on the west slope of the Teton Range, backcountry skiing and camping. I had an amazing time but…it turns out that my theory of having everything I need, or being able to make do, doesn’t account for any future backcountry expeditions. I kind of hate to break my rules so soon into this project, but the fact is: I love being in the backcountry and I want to do everything in my power to get back out there, as soon as possible.

So I bought a few things already (that I’ve put on my spreadsheet that I created to track everything bought in 2012) to keep my backcountry dream alive. I didn’t buy a -30°F rated sleeping bag, or an avalanche probe or shovel or transceiver, or a stove (yet!) but if I get the chance to go back out into the woods for a few days, I’m reserving the right to buy some things to do so.

On one hand I’m kind of bummed I’ve “failed” already. On the other it’s hard to give up the ability to do something I love simply because I didn’t already own the stuff to do it. I consider this my “NOLS Backcountry Exception Rule”. I’m pretty sure I won’t have to come up with any more exceptions. I guess we’ll see.

Gifting exception

Clump of bean bags

As I suspect, another exception had reared its ugly head. Gifts! We went to a birthday party over the weekend and I realized I wasn’t clear about gifts in my guidelines. Since I am a passionate gift maker, rather than buyer, I feel like I probably don’t have to declare this exception. 

One gift I love to make when we attend birthday parties for classmates of my 4-year-old son is pine needle sachets (I use needles I save from our Christmas trees). Another are little bean bags made with scraps of fabric leftover from pants and shorts I’ve sewn for my kids. The checks above are from a skirt I made and the red stripes are shorts from Ollie.

So the exception will be: gifts must be hand-made, not bought, but supplies can be purchased if all other supplies are used up. Gah. This project is getting complicated!


In 2012, I'm not going to buy anything except what I've used up or worn out. For all else, I'll make do with what I already own or I'll do without. I've come up with some guidelines.


I'm Meg Hourihan. I live in New York City but was raised in Massachusetts. I blame my Yankee-ness for this crazy idea. Read more about me and this project.


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