Around the time we left for this trip, Morgan forwarded me an article by John Swansburg of Slate.com on the marketing success of Patagonia, the mountaineering clothing company. In it, the author coined a term to describe the brand’s most loyal customers. “For nearly 40 years, Patagonia has prided itself on selling high-quality, high-performance outdoor apparel to dirt bags.”
Dirt Bags. We both loved the expression.
According to Urban Dictionary, a dirt bag is:
1. (noun) A person who is committed to a given (usually extreme) lifestyle to the point of abandoning employment and other societal norms in order to pursue said lifestyle.
2.(noun) A dirty individual. Someone who doesn’t clean often, or lacks a certain understanding of hygiene. Usually associated with white trash, or trailer park trash.
For an avid sportsman, it is the ultimate compliment. It implies you’re hardcore, that you don’t care about normal social rules. Of course, embracing the dirt bag mantra is just as much defacing, an acknowledgement of the uncleanliness and stinginess that come with the nature of pursuing thrills.
Over the course of this trip, we’ve gone down that path more than a few times. We know, because there are signs.
Here are 12 signs that you’ve become a dirt bag:
1. When there’s been an algae bloom in your water bottle for months and you still haven’t cleaned it.
2. When you steal your couchsurfer’s shampoo to refill your travel-sized bottles
3. When you air dry using the ceiling fan rather than get your travel towel wet
4. When you bring your own peanuts to the bar
5. When you wear the same bike jersey for a week to see how cool you can make the salt residue patterns
6. When you use your hands to clean the cooking pot because you don’t want to get the sponge dirty.
7. When you prefer Nescafe from the camp stove over the finest ground coffee.
8. When you wake up in the tent and pull a tick off your groin
9. When you’ll eat the potatoes a little raw rather than use the extra fuel to cook them properly
10. When you are elated that someone would let you sleep in your tent…on their roof.
11. When you consider beer-drinking to be carbo loading
12. When you wouldn’t trade an amazing campsite for a luxury hotel room any day