Learn 10 different uses for a 14er Patch! Cover photo by Maddie Anzovino.
10 Ways to Use Your 14er Patches
Let’s talk about the 14ers. No, a “14er” is not the development team for the San Francisco 49ers or a term that describes how many years I spent in high school.
14ers (or fourteeners, or 14ners if you want to spell things wrong) are the big, bulbous 14,000-foot beauty marks that accent the face of mother earth like the best kind of acne. They’re big honkin’ mountains. Hills on growth hormones. Sledding hills for large dinosaurs. The serrated edge of America (wait… that’s a phenomenal name for an emo band. TRADEMARK!)
Colorado has a lot of 14,000 foot mountains, and Buena Vista is in the heart of 14er country. Heck, you can’t even swing a dead rat in this town without hitting a majestic, Instagram-worthy, John Denver song of a mountain. And our county has more 14ers than ANY other county in the country – eat it, California.
If you’ve ever climbed a 14er, partially climbed a 14er, saw a 14er one time in a Cat Fancy magazine, or imagined what a 14er looked like because we just kind of described it to you, you might want to commemorate that experience. No, swinging a dead rat in the mountain’s general direction is not the answer. It’s never the answer. Unless the rat asked you nicely for a swing – in which case, you need better friends or a better therapist.
It’s for this very reason (commemorating fourteeners, not recommending rat people to various mental health outlets) that we, the good people of the Trailhead, peddle 14ER PATCHES. We have a patch for every single 14,000 foot peak in the great state of Colorado. Quandary? Yes. Pikes Peak? Yes. Sneffels? Yes, that is the name of a 14er for some reason, and yes we have the patch. Snicklefritz? That’s not a mountain… but it definitely should be.
And while these patches can definitely be sewn onto your merit badge sash, we’d like to encourage you to be bold. Do something cool with your bandolier of 14er patches. Be creative. Be a renegade. Be bester than you did in that time you didn’t be best (GRAMMAR!).
With all of that in mind, here are 10 casual suggestions for freestyle 14er Patch application:
#1) SEW THEM ONTO YOUR BACKPACK. Wait, this isn’t courageous. But it’s a thing people do. Really cool hipster hip people who spend their free time sipping mochas and pondering life while staring at the sky. Be hip — add one onto your backpack.
#2) CREATE DRINK COASTERS. I know you’ve been using stolen Buffalo Wild Wings coasters on your coffee table for some time now. We all know. We’ve been quietly judging you. Those things are weak, thin, and probably made of asbestos or ground up Adam Sandler albums or something. We all know you’re a high-class kind of buckaroo, and your Mad Dog 20/20 deserves a high-class coaster. You’ll need some acrylic “showcase” coasters and will use the self-stick mount to add your patch. Slide a Torreys Peak patch under that champagne of budget malt liquors and watch your polo club buddies turn green from envy… or nausea… might be nausea, actually. MD20/20 does that to people.
#3) SEW THEM ONTO YOUR FAVORITE JACKET. This is a sure way to get 200,000 reposts on Pinterest. Find that perfect thrift store jacket, add, and wear.
#4) MAKE A PIN. Have commitment issues? We get it. That’s why we wanted to let you in on our little secret: noncommittal pins. Pins allow you to add a removable patch to jackets, clothes, hats, backpacks, or whatever your OOTD entails (that’s Outfit Of The Day for all of you non-millennials). Maybe even use it to update your brooch collection. Grab some flat backed pins, add some hot glue, and attach to the back of your patch. We sell pins too, but this is obviously to achieve the patch look without the commitment.
#5) SEW THEM ONTO A PIECE OF FABRIC, FRAME IT, AND HANG IT IN YOUR RUMPUS ROOM. Consider using a shadow box from Hobby Lobby for an extra special touch. You could even save all those pebbles that got in your shoe during your 14er hike and add them to the memory box for an authentic flare.
#6) ATTACH A MAGNET TO THE PATCH AND STICK IT ON YOUR FRIDGE. This one is just wholesome and practical. Buy some refrigerator magnets, add some hot glue to the magnets, attach the magnets to the back of patch with that glue, and use these 14er magnets to hold up Christmas cards, dentist appointment reminders, court summons, finger paintings of pastoral 16th century French landscapes, and all those Waffle House receipts for… you know… uh… taxes I guess?
#7) IMPROVISE AN EYE MASK FOR SLEEPING. Eye masks are great, but they’re not, like, GREAT great. Your standard drug store eye mask doesn’t say much about you as a person. If you were sleeping next to me on a long flight, I bet I’d look over at you and think, “yes, that eye mask is blocking out ambient light and is probably soft, but I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THIS PERSON’S SOUL.” Instead, rig up some 14er patches into a makeshift eye mask and let the world know you climbed some mountains at some point... and also, you’re crafty and industrious and kind of a silly goose.
#8) PUT IT ON A KEYCHAIN. This is a straightforward, easy way to flaunt that amazing 14er you climbed while your friend was watching Neature Walk YouTube videos. Make a small hole in your patch (a push pin works well for this), attach a swivel clip with ring, add to key collection, and flaunt.
#9) USE THEM AS ARMOR PLATING FOR YOUR DAEWOO SEDAN. If I’ve learned anything from both Red Dawn films, it’s that people will invade this country by parachute at some point. Statistics scientists have proven that Kentucky will invade the United States some time before the next Caddyshack reboot. When that terrible day occurs, we’ll be left to fend for ourselves (now that Patrick Swayze has gone to that big roadhouse in the sky, and I don’t trust those Hemsworth boys). That’s where 14er patches come in. “14ER PATCHES ARE NOT BULLETPROOF”, you say? Anything will stop a bullet if it’s thick enough — Legos, chorizo, pirated DVD’s, applesauce, some breeds of horses, flan, etc*. Slap enough of those puppies onto your 1997 Daewoo Leganza, and you’ll enjoy the confidence that only comes from bulletproof-ness and maybe that first time you wear a nice new pair of pleated slacks. (*Please don’t try this at home. Or away from home. Or at a bachelor party or something. You know what, maybe just don’t try it at all. These patches can definitely stop bullets, but only if they’re thrown by hand from a toddler that’s, like, kind of far away. At least 20 yards. Underhand. With a headwind. Please don’t sue us).
#10) USE AS EXTRA LARGE POGS. Does anyone play pogs any more? Just our staff? Well, 14er Patches would probably work for pogs. Check with your local pog club rules and regulations before trying to pull this off.