Thrifting Awesome #5 (It Pays To Look Around)

So, as I was flipping through the shirts at my local GW store, I made an interesting find. And I’m not even talking about the Bill’s Khakis shirt and Paul & Shark Yachting shirts that I picked up. Those were nice, but the better find illustrates one of the key fundamentals of thrifting successfully.

One of the biggest keys to thrifting for profit involves looking around. It involves not just looking at what you’re looking at, but noticing things. Don’t get pigeonholed into thinking, “I’m on the shirt rack, I’m looking for shirts!” to the detriment of seeing what is truly there.

This is how I’ve spotted really cool vintage GoreTex jackets (see the post a few back about vintage outerwear), it’s how I’ve spotted Paradise Found “Magnum PI” shirts from across the store, it’s how I found a brand new in box triathlon wetsuit in the electronics department. Tom Brown, Jr., a survival expert, referred to a concept called scatter vision. You take in everything, not just what’s directly in front of you. This is me in a thrift shop, it’s a survival instinct. I will find the good stuff…

Anyway, back to my local GW store… I was cruising the shirt rack, not finding a whole lot worthwhile, when something catches my eye on the rack above the shirt rack (which is filled mostly with hats). I wasn’t looking at it, but the texture of what was there was what caught my eye. My first thought was, that looks like old school cordura nylon, the sort found on cool vintage outdoors gear. When I looked up, my jaw dropped. It was a pair of expedition down mittens. The same model, in fact, that was used by the first American Expedition to climb Mount Everest back in 1963. As it turns out, the material that caught my eye wasn’t cordura, but aramid (Kevlar is the trade name you likely know this wonderfabric by).

So yeah, a pair of expedition weight goose down filled mittens from probably early to mid 1970s! In mint condition, and in my size (like that’s going to keep me from selling these!). And I would have missed them if I wasn’t using my version of scatter vision in the thrift shop tonight…




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