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Favorite gear you've lost

The question:
What's your favorite item (clothing, equipment, whatever you want) you've lost, broken, worn out, etc...

I'll go first.
Post inspired by a true story.

I got a pair of Chaco flips probably in 2008 - can't remember exactly when.
I didn't think much of it then. They supposedly had better arch support than most other flips at that time otherwise I just wanted better flips than the $3 pairs I kept having people give me.

These things have been to most countries I've been to, on snowy summits, in the ocean, pedaled an unknown numbers of bike rides and waded through an unknown number of rivers, been on hundreds if not thousands of miles of hikes, been both my backup shoe and my primary hiking shoe (when I probably should have been wearing mountaineering boots), been casual wear and (semi?) formal wear, and the list could go on.

One of the toe straps broke out this week. I was devastated. I went to order another pair and they've been discontinued so I'm now combing amazon and eBay for a pair...
I superglued the toe strap back in hoping it would last. So far it has.
Today the other toe strap also broke out.
I'll glue it back but I think it's a lost cause.
To be fair, the sole is more gone than there now too.

I'm gonna look at Chaco's classic but REI doesn't have it. I may check out some other options as well.
Feel free to give recommendations.

Chaco, if you're reading this, it was these. Please bring them back. 😊

What are your tragic gear loss stories?

9 Replies

I've lost minor items such as a pocket knife and too many bandanas. Lost of year has run it's course as well, but I've been fortunate enough to replace them all with the same item or an even better one. 

Sorry about your Chaco dilemma though! That is sad.

in 1981  I walked into my local climbing shop in Tucson, AZ, and the owner said, "Chouinard is making clothes now" and he showed me this gray fleece jacket that I promptly bought.  One of my best buys ever.

That jacket has been with me on countless cold nights doing search and rescue, including one during which we found thee lost girl just at daybreak.  She was cold and shivering. i gave her all my warm clothes , saving my gray jacket for myself.  Another time, I was participating in historic shipwreck investigations in Isle Royale NP, diving in 34F degree water (surface temp) and that jacket kept m warmer than the stuff furnished with my dry suit.  

In the early 80's, NPS uniform gear was laughably inadequate with respect to cold weather gear, and I took to wearing this grey jacket with my uniform on colder days, especially when out in the park.

Eventually, after about a decade of constant use, the zipper gave up.  Living in the city that then was Patagonia headquarters, and willing to spend some dough to get  new zipper, I took my trusty jacket to their retail shop. where I was promptly told, "We will repair it, no charge there is a lifetime guarantee, but it won't be a high priority.  It will take about two weeks."  Two weeks later, I picked up my jacket, with a zipper that has performed ever since.  No cost whatever.

That jacket is still in my closet, but it is showing its age (as am I), the fleece is a bit thin in the elbows and it is probably not as warm as it used to be.  Its presence is a constant reminder of successful trips and climbs and forty years worth of other happy memories.

The Park Service did eventually get its act together and produced, along with other quality gear, a fleece jacket much like my good old gray (made by North Face).

I understand Chouinard is still making clothes....









Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

My largest impact loss was my wallet in the mountains of NC.  Hiking with a friend was a savior that trip. 

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.


REI Member Since 1979

I am extremely careful to keep track of my outdoor equipment, some of which have served me well since 1984 and are still going strong. 

I am a strong advocate of leaving the campsite as good or better than you found it. 
Last year, while camping in the Coronado National Forest in Arizona, I lost the thread protector of my HK USP Tactical .45

I retraced my steps around my campsite many times even sifting through the sand, without any success of finding it 😞

Fortunately, I discovered a spare back home in a secure location. 

I took a group of army buds up the via ferrata on the Alpspitz in Garmisch Germany one saturday. 

I had my brand new REI day pack, don't recall the name, but it was a green very thick nylon with a leather bottom and leather triangle shaped things on the side to attach stuff.

In it was my brand new REI gore tex jacket, my wallet, car keys and military ID. 

One of the guys offered to carry my pack for a while, when we reached the summit, he placed the pack a little too close to the edge...and you guessed it, someone touch it and and it started rolling to the edge, but too late we dived for it and over it went...I truly believe that pack is still falling.

I had to get someone in Nurnberg to drive down with the spare car keys so we could get home.

sigh....I had just bought that darn jacket

here's a photo of it, just arriving at the Zugspitz summit

37 xOct82.jpg

REI Member Since 1979

That is the #1 pick for this thread of lost item(s).


"I truly believe that pack is still falling." That's the quote of the post!

Thanks for sharing @Philreedshikes. I always enjoy your photos and stories!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

That's the best one so far for sure!