I've been competing in agility for about 7 years now (this May it will officially be 7), and I've earned the title "Gear Queen" from my friends. Let me explain...
My husband's hobby at one time was mountain climbing. Not rock climbing, but mountain climbing. For that venture he needed a lot of gear: climbing harness, boots, ice ax, protective clothing...you get the idea. When he would be getting ready to pack for a climb, he'd "gear fondle." This was his term for putting all his stuff all over the floor of the den, examining it for soundness, and packing it carefully so he knew where everything was. That's important when you leave for a climb at O'Dark Thirty and have to find things by touch.
When I started agility with Brisco, I, too, started to collect gear: shoes, dog crates, mats, and various treats and rewards. At that time I ran at outdoor trials. That meant I needed a tent, waterproof tarps, and sun shades. Here's a picture of our set up. Pretty cool, huh?
Over the years I've collected so many items for every type of weather that I've had to inventory it all. And that led to the Gear List.
When I get ready for a trial, I print a gear list. As I'm packing I check off the items. This helps as I'm leaving for a trial at 4:30 a.m. and not exactly keen of mind! Because I'm organized, my friends have learned to come to me for things they forgot or don't have.
Here's my top three tips for becoming a true Gear Queen:
Tip #1 - Get only the best. If you buy cheap (as in poorly made), it will not last and you won't get your money's worth.
Tip #2 - Buy items that will keep your dog comfortable. Cosi has a foam pad in his crate that is better than my matress at home! He rests well in his crate and is ready for action when I come to get him for a run.
Tip #3 - Look around at conformation shows for dog gear. Conformation shows have the best variety of vendors.
Anyway, that's notes from a Gear Queen. I even created an Access database to track all the trial information as well as results. But that's for another post...