There’s no shortage of clickbait-y lists on the internet. 10 wardrobe staples every man must have. 8 things every guy should purge from his closet. All of the big sites have them as filler all the time. They usually include items like bespoke suits (on the list of things you should have) and fedoras (on the list of things you shouldn’t.) But none of those things are applicable out here. Those lists tend to be directed just at city folk.
And so, I bring you …
Five Things Every Country Gentleman Should Have (and one thing he shouldn’t)
1. Boots that you don’t mind destroying
My boots used to look like that! For a day, maybe. Consider the terrain that you will be covering out here. Instead of an urban jungle of concrete and asphalt, we have mud and muck; we have heavy brush; we have places where you might step on a nail; we have animal poop of all kinds. Protect your feet with a solid pair of boots. I found mine at North 40 Outfitters on sale for $80. After you buy your boots, protect them to extend their service life! I use Huberd’s Shoe Grease (available on Amazon, or All Seasons, if you’re in the area.) You might also want to get some Shoe Goo (available on Amazon.)
2. Vet wrap
I use this for my right foot, which developed plantar fasciitis shortly after we moved here. I just wrap it up in the morning, put on my boots, and I’m on my way. Vet wrap is intended for horses or other animals and is self-sticking and usually a little wider than wraps or bandages intended for human use. The best part is that it costs about 90% less than similar wraps that you’d find in Walgreens or wherever. I pick up my vet wrap at the Country Store for $1.75/roll.
Why flannel? Because country. My flannel collection has exploded since we moved to the country, which is really saying something considering that I moved here from Seattle and I lived through the ’90s. Flannel is the perfect final layering element. It’s light enough to move around in, heavy enough to take the chill off, and it goes perfectly with boots and vet tape. My mum bought me my last two flannel shirts from Cabela’s, but they’re too nice to work in. My work flannel is a wardrobe staple that was standard issued in 1997, and when I get mud on that, I have a couple of other pieces that I picked up at Goodwill.
4. Indestructible pants
Unfortunately, I haven’t actually found indestructible pants yet, but I have found some that work a little better than the flimsy jeans I moved out here with. My first solid pair of pants came from Goodwill, but next time, I’m going to get them from Bi-Mart, where they retail for $22.99. (Side note: did you know that Bi-Mart is employee-owned? I like that!) Back to the pants, though — for the same reasons that you need sturdy boots, you need a solid pair of pants. Just be sure to check your pockets before washing them so you don’t run nails, screws, or Chapstick through the washer.
5. A dependable pocket knife
It doesn’t need to be fancy; it just needs to be sharp. You will use it for everything. My brother-in-law said he goes through at least three a year. I pick mine up at Double Eagle Pawn, where they have an entire bin for $5/knife, but depending on how fancy you want your knife to be, you can also find them at most hardware stores, or online at Amazon. I have another knife that cuts seat belts and breaks through automobile glass, but I keep it with my travel gear.
And that brings us to one item you don’t need.
6. Oversized belt buckles
Unless you are a rodeo champion or a heavyweight fighter, I can’t think of any reason you should go wandering around with a small patriotic vivatone dinner plate hovering above your groin. And even rodeo champs and heavyweight fighters know that the buckle is just for show. I see this trend more often than I should (which is never) out here, so please, gents, for the love of all that’s holy — ditch the belt buckle.
I hope you enjoyed this list! Mindy will be following up with items the country lady should have at some point, so be sure to watch out for that.
Finally, a little bit of housekeeping: we’re going to be switching to a Tuesday/Thursday posting schedule starting today. It’s just a more even distribution of blog posts. Unfortunately, that means Walden Wednesdays will go away for the time being, but don’t despair — we’re replacing them with Thoreau Thursdays!