3 Items Every Man Should Own

There are a few things every Fierce Gentleman ought to own. Call these the “Fierce Gentleman’s essentials.”

(Of course, nobody ever really owns anything, at least not in a metaphysical sense.)

It’s all destined for dust, and we keep things in perspective when we remember that.

Even so, we need to buy and own things. . . durable things.

But, not a lot of them.


A durable, attractive set of clothing, plus footwear

A good pair of shoes is invaluable. Another part of the gentleman's essentials

A F.G. may look good naked, but he need not be naked at inappropriate times.

It doesn’t matter if this “suit” is an actual suit, or simply a set of casual clothing that he knows sets off his best physical features and conveys his unique value to the world.

Clothing is communication, and a clean, well-kept, attractive suit of clothing and footwear says a lot about what you bring to the world.

A man who won’t take the time & effort to take care of himself will not be trusted to take care of much else.

This also speak to the quality and durability of what you buy. Buy local, if possible, and buy for the long term. A man who cuts corners when taking care of himself will cut corners when taking care of others. A temporary value is no value at all.



toolzEvery man has tools.

Your tools are what allow you to make your way in the world.

It could be a full set of traditional tools. It could be a styrofoam cup for change and an upturned bucket to sit on. It could be a latest-generation high-speed laptop.

Whatever your tools are,

  1. They should be kept clean.
  2. They should be of high quality and durability.
  3. You should know where they are at all times.

A man who loses his tools is a man likely to lose his purpose.

If you’ve ever wondered why the military instills such vigilance and discipline with respect to the soldier’s “tools” (i.e. rifle), this is why.


Readiness gear

Sometimes, dangerous things happen.

When they do, while others are pulling out their now-dumb smart-pmora-triflexhones and trying to dial 911, the F.G. will be opening his desk drawers or bag and pulling out rations, first aid, food, emergency portable radio, climb gear, water purification, and, oh yes, his good camp knife.

(A good camp knife, by the way, is a knife you use around camp. Humans have had them for thousands of years. They are multi-purpose and they are functional. They are not weapons. They are for cutting wood, whittling, preparing traps, making cordage, and other things a man must do if the luxuries of civilization are not immediately available. They are an essential part of the Fierce Gentleman’s essentials.)

A prepared man has a chance. He has a bag of “readiness gear” in his house, his office, and probably his car, and he keeps them clean, freshly-stocked, and ready to go.

This does not make him a “prepper;”  it makes him prepared.

This readiness gear is not about the macho need to prove oneself or out-compete the other guy. It is kept so the F.G. can render greatest possible aid to greatest possible number of folks adversely affected by a natural disaster or other calamity. It has nothing to do with personal aggrandizement or base fear; it’s sole purpose is to ensure that one can help others, in the most dire of situations.

flourish4In theory, a Fierce Gentleman could carry all three items on his person at all times.

This is the ethos of material minimalism; the idea that if we own much more than we can carry, we own too much.

The dominant Western narrative of material success — requiring the outfitting of a mortgaged suburban home with material possessions similar to those owned by one’s peers — is psychologically comforting, yet psychically and spiritually debilitating.

To pursue a lifetime of purchasing, accumulation, and upgrading is to miss entirely the point of life, which is not to build outward in ostentatious shows of material prosperity, but to grow inward in the simplicity of spiritual depth.

As above, so below; as outwardly, so inwardly. Material minimalism frees our mental energy to relax into the depths of our own being, and as such is an essential practice for the Fierce Gentleman — especially as it pertains to the Fierce Gentleman’s essentials.


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Also published on Medium.

13 Comments 3 Items Every Man Should Own

  1. Pingback: How To Become a Fierce Gentleman

  2. W. T. Johnson

    Thank you for the great post. I do have the three things on this list pretty well laid out in my life but what I don’t have is materialistic minimalism. I’m working on downsizing my material possessions on a daily basis and my Ebay account doesn’t mind it either. I’m getting the unnecessary clutter out of my life and gaining a few dollars in the process.

  3. Miguel

    I don’t get it. Shouldn’t it be “own”. and not “own.” ? “Own” is between quotes. Then you end the sentence.


  4. Andrew

    What are your tools?

    Here are mine:

    1. I have my favorite blue jeans, and favorite wool hoody. It’s falling apart in places, but it’s exceedingly comfortable. In the future I plan to replace it with a USA-made, 10-year hoody (http://www.flintandtinderusa.com/hoodie). Finally, I prefer Vibram five-finger shoes for comfort & support. Many will sneer at this, but if you’re looking for a more upscale product, try the Primal Professional shoe: http://theprimalprofessional.com/

    2. My Tools: MacBook Air. On which this site is created and I do all my writing. I bought it used for $1,000 more than 2 years ago and it’s still going strong. One of the greatest laptop computers ever made.

    3. I am still working on my personal stock of readiness gear. I recently went through a 90%+ reduction in material goods as part of a move, so I’m going to add this piece-by-piece. I can already strongly recommend the Mora Triflex camp knife.

    1. adam fox

      I live in an area close to where a recent natural disaster took place and it shook me up so badly that I put together a readiness kit. It pained me excruciatingly to imagine how I would take care of myself and my loved ones if something were to happen and we had to survive for a few days without the things we daily take for granted, such as warmth, drinking water, and refrigeration.

      There are a hundred resources available online and most metropolitan areas have an army surplus store where reliable, durable items can be purchased inexpensively. The peace of mind for myself and my partner, despite the thin likelihood that we’ll ever need to use the gear, is infinitely rewarding and I admire you for prioritizing this.

    2. Dee aka Tuesday DangerGirl

      I wouldn’t normally respond to a post titled “Gentleman’s Essentials” since I’m a femme but given the fact that I recently had a man in my car who proceeded to make fun of my miscellaneous items, I feel rather more justified at this moment in time. I thought that my own tool must be my little pink netbook since I take it with me everywhere (it is my ‘office’) but perhaps my tool is my car. I keep all the essentials on hand and organized in my car – first aid kit, blanket, camp knife, deck of cards, power source, etc. I own a Honda Fit which is a hatchback so I can even sleep quite comfortably in the back. Probably wouldn’t work as well for anyone much taller than I am though.

      When it comes to clothes, I have to admit that I’m almost 100% girl. I have all the outdoor essentials but I’m a slave to what looks good as well as what functions well. Additionally, I have to admit that I adore wearing heels and a dress. However, IMHO there is no reason why one cannot be dressed appropriately for the conditions while still looking fabulous. Which brings me to my final reason for commenting on this post. I happen to enjoy my Vibrams and was surprised to find them mentioned here.


      1. Andrew

        Thanks for your thoughts Dee! As it happens I try to have a journal / notebook with me at all times as well — you never known when a million-dollar idea will strike you (or your phone battery dies and it’s important to take down an address or contact number.)

        Plus, I can give major props to any woman who can appreciate heels, a dress, AND vibrams. Stay classy.

  5. Oliver Hartner

    Excellent article!! Also, just a general note of kudos for you starting this up and saying so many of the things I’ve been thinking for quite a while. For several years now, I always had my “tools” handy, and when I think of accumulating another item, regardless of size, I always take a minute to think about it before just buying it. I’m constantly downsizing!


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