> TEOTWAWKI Blog: On gear consolidation, Part Deux



On gear consolidation, Part Deux

Original post generated some good discussion, and I wanted to throw out a few clarifying points.

First, you of course have to use good judgement on your part. Selling something at a loss to only go a repurchase for substantially more is unfavorable math.

There's a bit of informal assessment to do when thinking about throwing something onto the trade blanket:
  • How useful is this to me? Can I re-purpose it?
  • How much can I get for this on resale?
  • What am I going to use those funds for?
  • Would I need to replace/repurchase this in the future? Will I be able to?
  • Will the item be worth more or less in the future if I hold onto it?
That kind of assessment should help guide good versus bad decisions. Useless, easy to replace, high value stuff that you're using to fund important project would be the sweet spot.

If you aren't really constrained for either funds or space, then selling off excess gear makes less sense. You don't need the $$$ to fund projects and you can store the excess away for a rainy day. Most of us aren't in that boat.

Personally, I go through a cycle of testing gear, selling off what doesn't work and then usually plowing those funds back into the same projects. Allows for progress while controlling (to an extent) the out of pocket costs.

That's why I refer to it as gear consolidation - selling an old stock and an unused hand guard to buy a new stock, selling an unused knife for a new / needed flashlight...clearing out the unused excess and turning it into something more needed/desired.

Of course, very often the keep vs. sell assessment often works out as a "naa, I'd better hang onto this", too.


  1. How useful is this to me? Can I re-purpose it?
    How much can I get for this on resale? Disagree. A better way to put it would be 'What percentage of my initial purchase can I recover on the resale.'
    What am I going to use those funds for? Agreed. Selling a bunch of random stuff to buy a bunch of food or a new gun is a sound idea. On the other hand selling that beat up Mossberg 500 and Gen 2 Glock to buy $400 Crye precision pants is stupid.
    Would I need to replace/repurchase this in the future? Will I be able to? I've made some purchases based on the opportunity to make that purchase in the future being questionable.
    Will the item be worth more or less in the future if I hold onto it? A valid point.

    1. On the first point, you are talking about sunk costs at that point. Those are sunk, in the past and you can't do anything about them. The original percent of original purchase price only makes you feel better about having made the purchase in the first place. If something is entirely useless and no longer wanted, whatever you can recover from it is worthwhile, whether that's 10% or 90%. Most survival gear isn't going to fall into the entirely useless category, but a lot of other stuff will.

    2. I completely agree that there is some critical thinking that must be done, and decisions made before trying to sell off lesser used gear. I've found myself going through gear and my thought process was nearly identical to your outline above, although I'm not ashamed to admit that I've made the wrong choice more than a few times!

      I bought a nice tactical backpack, had it for a few weeks and decided that I didn't like how it fit. I sold it for less than I paid of course, and wrote it off as a loss. After trying out a few other packs over time, I ended up re-purchasing the same original pack. Although I got a good deal on it the second time, I still ended up paying about $30-$50 more in the long run. Not the best way to purchase things, but at the same time, I do not have any second thoughts roaming around about other packs now...I know this one works, I was able to adjust it for a better fit, and it should last me long enough to recover my "investment" over time with continued use.

      I've also purchased a bunch cheap stuff over the years too, prior to finding good sites like both of the blogs that you guys do, and now I realize their were better options out there. For example, I bought what I considered at the time to be a good head lamp from an auto parts store. Then I read about the Streamlight Sidewinder, and that headlamp can run circles around the one that I bought for about $25. Of course, it also costs about $50 more, but if given the choice of which one I would rather have with me in a crappy situation, I would opt for the Streamlight 11 times out of 10. So what to do with the other head lamp? I could sell it on ebay for $10-15, and make next to nothing off of it after selling fees, paypal fees, and postage...or I could save it, and use it in another context, which is exactly what I did. It has now been "re-purposed" and moved from my BOB to a toolbox that I use for home repairs.