One man's GAS

One man’s GAS

It is commonly said that, “an apple a day keeps the Doctor away”. As much as eating healthy might help stave off a visit to the doctor, this 19th century proverb is not the solution to my most recent condition. Since taking up hunting I have found that I suffer from a bad case of GAS.

I know this might be an uncomfortable topic, and a little personal too, but I feel it is important for me to talk about my condition. I want to be unburdened by the constant pressure and get it out in the open. Better out, than in, they always say.

I hope that in taking this monumental and brave step to share my story, I might be able to provide you with some helpful advice on alleviating the symptoms of GAS. If you do suffer, please know that although you can’t be cured of GAS completely, you can get rid of excess or trapped GAS by following a few simple steps. 

So, before you stop reading in disgust or disinterest, please know that I am not talking about having gas pain; i.e. the buildup of excess gas in your digestive symptom from bad eating habits or a disorder. I would never expose my devoted international readership to such a topic. Nor would I divest in their intelligence by making shameless fart jokes. I am of course talking about GAS, or Gear Acquisition Syndrome in its long form.  

Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS)

Adjective: Relating to or affected by GAS.

Noun: A person with GAS.

  1. a widespread condition involving recurrent purchasing of hunting, camping, fishing and other outdoor gear. It is often associated with hobby-sickness, but can also be related to an underlying medical condition. People suffering from GAS are often referred to as GASies, or a GASy.

“He felt bloated with the copious amount of camping gear he had bought at the Boxing Day sale. His wife was worried he might suffer from GAS.”

When I first became a hunter, I suffered desperately with GAS. I hit the industry like it was a game of monopoly. I spent up big early to secure as much gear as possible, stopping only briefly to consider what I was buying and why I was buying it. Unlike monopoly, I was not locked in a fierce contest with my siblings, striving to beat them at all costs only for the game to end abruptly in a tantrum. Unfortunately, I was also not dealing with flimsy colourful paper money with no real currency or purpose. I was spending my own hard earned cash, quickly becoming bloated with gear myself. 

I started to suffer from aesthetic pains too. I had no loyalty to the brand or store from which I got my gear. To this day I carry at least half a dozen or more brands of gear on my person when I hunt; from unmatched clothing to different glass between my bino and my rifles. I guess you could say I was just sharing the love between brands, but I have come to regret some of these purchases. For example, I own a few different camouflage shirts. The moisture wicking, odorless technology on the synthetic fibres didn’t seem to work. It took me a few rounds of purchasing before I finally found one that didn’t cook me in my own juice.

I am sure many of you have been on the same journey as me, or have watched helplessly as your mate or partner slowly accumulates enough gear to start their own outdoor store. If not, here is a list of some of the signs and symptoms to be wary of.

  • Vigorously burping out cash online
  • Regularly passing wind-ows of camping stores 
  • Cramping or a knotted feeling in the stomach after a large purchase
  • Severe bloating of your credit card statement
  • Uncomfortable distention of your debt

If you suffer from these symptoms, book in for an appointment with your chartered accountant as soon as possible. If left unchecked, the damage to your bank account may become unrepairable. The accountant will likely run an assessment of your financial condition and discuss some of the possible treatments. 

You might be thinking that you don’t suffer from this debilitating condition or that you have your GAS under control. If that is the case, then the best method for managing your GAS is to remain vigilant of the common causes. These include:

  • Pay day and/or receiving an annual tax refund, giving the illusion that you are strapped with cash.
  • Social media and internet cookies, designed to specifically market products that you find irresistible.
  • Online shopping and interest free credit cards.
  • Irritable Buying Syndrome, leading to uncontrollable bouts of gear purchasing when bored. 
  • Jealously, brought on by Instagram photos of an influencer laying out all their sponsor supplied gear before a hunt #thevenisondiplomatlikesfreegeartoo
  • See’U’Lack disease, a hereditary condition that affects a person's ability to forgo the purchasing of gear
  • Wild Deer Expo

For all those fellow GASies out there that are planning to visit the Wild Deer Expo in Bendigo this year I have one piece of advice, good luck. You will be bombarded with display stands on hunting, guiding, taxidermy, firearms, fishing, swags, archery, camping, 4WD accessories, GPS, communication, optics, quad bikes, generators, camper trailers, boats and marine. It will be the hunter’s equivalent of Comic Con, but instead of swarms of Millennials dressed in Cosplay, you will be surrounded by gaggles of middle aged blokes dreamily fondling the latest and greatest gear like it were their newborn. 

Before you lock yourself into a self-mandated quarantine on the 4th and 5th of September to avoid the temptations of Wild Deer Expo, please know that there are treatments available to alleviate the symptoms of GAS. As a fellow GASy, I have found the following tips and tricks useful.

  • Exercise can help release trapped GAS. Try taking a long walk before purchasing, preferably to a different store to reconfirm just how good a deal you are getting..
  • Buy from a smaller budget. Lots of small purchases can sometimes keep you satiated longer.
  • Take regular breaks during an online spending spree. Research suggests that this can provide time for your mind to adjust to your financial situation.

If all else fails, just give in to your urges and buy up big, running your finances into the ground. After all, what is wrong with buying another hand forged skinning knife with an antler handle? Why not just trust your instincts and buy what you crave? At least when you are broke you will be the best geared up bum on the street, sleeping cozy in your insulated duck down sleeping bag. Each morning you can pour the O3 treated pond water from your jet boil over a Dog and Gun coffee pouch and into a stainless steel camping mug. You can hide from the authorities with ease in your full body ghillie suit, in bushland pixelated print.    

Do not despair my fellow GASies, despite all my words of warning and advice, having GAS isn’t all bad. In truth, it is a natural part of being a hunter, fisherman or outdoors person. Being a gear fiend provides you the opportunity to hone your kit, a trial and error process of finding exactly what works for you. It keeps the economy ticking along and your outdoor opportunities endless, if only you had the time. To buy and store countless items of unused gear in your shed is natural, and should be celebrated. In fact, I urge all of you to stop reading now, put down the magazine and get yourself to the nearest outdoor store immediately for some retail therapy. That way, in a year’s time when whatever you buy inevitably ends up on Gumtree, I can buy it. Buying cheap second hand gear is one of the treatments, but I keep that little secret to myself. One man’s GAS is another man's treasure.