Rags. There are a lot of meanings for this term, and in this post, I’ll be using two of those definitions – one meaning “clothing”, and the other meaning “magazines”. Which one should we begin with?
Let’s begin with what I read. My favorite rags are “Rock and Ice” and “Climbing”. Of these two, I have to say that “Rock and Ice” is my absolute favorite. “Climbing” has a lot of good tips, tricks, and gear reviews in it, and I enjoy it for those, but the photography in “Climbing” just doesn’t compare to the spreads in “Rock and Ice”. There is some fantastic photography in “Rock and Ice” magazine, and I, being a bit of a photographer myself, can’t take my eyes off of some of the photos in this magazine. The articles in “Rock and Ice” are good, too. You won’t find gear reviews in “Rock and Ice”, but you will find some great reading and unbelievable images. Every May, “Rock and Ice” comes out with their “Ascent” issue, which is always especially good. Their 50th anniversary issue of the “Ascent” last year had an article in it about the mental aspects of climbing that was downright brilliant! I have a couple of copies of that particular issue for that reason. That, and it happens to be a collector’s issue, too. I just got this year’s issue and it’s beautiful!
Okay, now for the rags I wear. Underwear, obviously. Good start, right? I thought so. That’s all you get to know about my underwear – that I wear it. Now, for socks, I wear Darn Tough Merino wool cushioned boot socks, which are heavenly and don’t stink at the end of the day. On top of that, they don’t make my feet sweat nearly as much and are pleasant to walk in due to that cushioning. They have a lifetime guarantee and last extremely well. Though, they’re more expensive socks, they’re well worth it in the amount of money saved and comfort gained. And they’re made in Vermont. Don’t wash them with towels. That’s the only thing. If you wash these socks with towels, you’ll end up with colored dingle-berries all over your socks. I wear DuluthFlex Fire Hose cargo pants from Duluth Trading Co. in Minnesota as far as my lower half goes. They’re tough, gusseted, and stretchy. I love these pants because I can go for a high step and not worry about my pants splitting a seam or something dumb like that. Again, super-comfy apparel. Are you seeing a trend, here? I like comfy clothing. Upper body? I have an older button-down, long-sleeved shirt – khaki tan in color, with grease stains around the collar and a small hole ripped in it here and there – that I wear when it’s a bit chilly or when I don’t want to get sunburned. It’s ripstop cotton and has lasted me many moons. I love this shirt because it’s representative of me and my character. Of course, if it gets too hot, I lay my favorite shirt aside and run around in my classic sand-colored T-shirt. Sometimes, over the top of my sand-colored T-shirt, I’ll have another T-shirt that is goldenrod yellow or light washed blue in color, but it depends on how much layering I have to do on a given day and what time of day it happens to actually be. As far as outdoor clothing goes, that’s about the extent of it with the exception of my cap, which could be any one of several ball caps that I wear and are greasy as all get out and covered in dirt because I wash them infrequently. With my crag pack on, I look rather upscale-homeless in nature until you look at the helmet and shoes. My approach shoes are top-notch and have to be because I have osteoarthritis and if my feet are hurting, so is the rest of me. The rest of me hurts all the time, but my feet are the final straw. If I’m not in my approach shoes, though, and am instead in my brown leather Ariat Groundbreaker work boots, then you could mistake me for upscale-homeless instead of a dirtbag climber. Whatever works, right? Comfort is my goal, and I meet that goal with clothing that becomes more special to me the dirtier it gets. I don’t like to stink, but there’s a certain allure to that smell of dirt and sweat and sage that I love, too. It means I worked hard that day, and it was most likely climbing and hiking to and from the crag, so it’s all worth it! This is the life for me!!!
So that’s my blog “rag” on rags. Think about it. Everybody has their favorite rags, whether they be clothing or reading material. Think about yours and write about how meaningful they are to you and why. You’re asking why you have to write it down. The reason for writing it down is that there’s something special in having something like that down on paper, or on a computer screen in saved digital file format. I would recommend using paper and a favorite pen or pencil to write this out with. Heck, start a journal while you’re at it! There’s some very special power to writing in a journal every day. Again, digital is okay, but the old-fashioned pen-and-paper method has more meaning in the long run. If you’re paranoid about the pen-and-paper method, write it out on paper, then type it or dictate it into some digital device and save it both on that device and on a flash drive! I’ll write a blog post about the power of journalling shortly. In the meantime, just give it a try. Write about your favorite rag…