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Golite has Officially Lost Their Mind
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Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re. Golite has not lost their mind. on 01/18/2010 19:57:52 MST Print View

John may have a point. When I went to a Golite warehouse sale they had plenty of packs and tents, but I was impressed by the amount of clothing that was for sale. There was also a lot of running gear. I would guess the market for that stuff is a lot bigger than the market for packs of any kind. People all over run, and wear fleeces but wouldn't dream of hiking off into the woods and camping out under a poncho. In that case judging Golite on their packs and shelters may be too narrow.
I still think Golite is going to gradually lose more of the UL market. If thats their choice more power to them. I hope Golite stays somewhat in the market however because its a more accessible brand to your average Joe than MLD or GG.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Golite on 01/18/2010 20:19:51 MST Print View

To be fair -- I think they're taking the Middle Way. Not a bad choice, really.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: "Golite has Officially Lost Their Mind" on 01/18/2010 20:34:37 MST Print View

> At 8oz and $80, the updated GoLite Poncho tarp looks to be the clear winner over all other poncho tarps except for cuben ones and poncho tarps that setup to be more than just a tarp (ie. the SMD Gatewood cape). For example, I don't know how one could justify spending $155 on the 8.8oz MLD silnylon poncho tarp when the GoLite is half the price and lighter.

My lovely wife took my Magellan Backpacker Poncho to the Post Office and weighed it for me on their postal scale. The final tally was 9.5 ounces for a ripstop nylon polyurethane coated poncho. If memory serves me I paid right at or below $15.00 for this poncho 2 years ago at Academy Sports.

I'll keep my $65.00 or my $140.00 dollars for the higher priced spread if all they can do is save me 1.5 ounces.
I was interested in the GoLite poncho tarp last year and after comparing the relative sizes I figured the difference had to be the wieght. I was still set on the purchase until my wife gave me the news from the postal scale.

Weight is weight and $$$ are $$$. If all I can save is 1.5 ounces and I have to spend an additional $65.00 or more I'll carry the 1.5 ounces.

Party On ! 2010


Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Golite on 01/18/2010 21:30:32 MST Print View

"To be fair -- I think they're taking the Middle Way. Not a bad choice, really."

The middle would be okay. It's what they have done over the past 3 years. But now they have gone too far to the mainstream. Heck, they are mainstream now.

Brian UL

Locale: New England
Re: Re: "Golite has Officially Lost Their Mind" on 01/18/2010 21:39:25 MST Print View

I think Golite is risking not being competitive with either the UL or mainstream market.
Golite should concentrate on its clothing line and really scale back on its gear. Go back to its core products and stop being over ambitious and trying to offer something for everyone just to say that they do.
Golite was known for making durable lightweight gear for a fair price. It wasn't the lightest out there but it was light, well designed and well liked. My 08 Jam2 is one of the best packs out there.
They should make their money in clothing, keep their core products and not put anything on the market until they really have something to write home about- how about a double wall freestanding to compete with the Fly creek? or a lightweight external frame?

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
GoLite on 01/19/2010 09:36:05 MST Print View

No, GoLite hasn't lost their mind. In a sense, you might even argue that they found it.

As I've written before, when GoLite first came out we couldn't sell their product for beans in a retail environment. The people who would buy the minimalistic, frameless sil sacks were far, far on the fringe of backpacking. Most people wouldn't give the packs so much as a glance; those who did take notice usually laughed, almost, at the unfinished look and flimsiness of the products. While there were (and are) some people concerned primarily with ounces, most people are looking for more comfort, durability, and quality finish.

The weight gains in GoLite packs do indeed bring the line more mainstream. But the packs are still not mainstream packs. Truly "mainstream" backpacks still start out around 4 pounds or more. Incidentally, the Jam has the same basic "frame" as a Vapor Trail; the VT has a wafer-thin sheet of plastic, the Jam has stiff pieces of foam in the backpanel. Having played with both, I find the support between the two roughly equivalent... and I don't think most people would consider Granite Gear a mainstream company, per se. Mainstream is more the realm of Osprey, Gregory, Arc'Teryx, and so forth. Smaller companies like GoLite and Granite Gear can be found in better shops or shops with more UL interest.

Some of the GoLite product line changes just make sense. Fer example, the biggest "beef" w/their packs has been the miniscule hipbelt pads, so they're improving the hipbelt. "Feature creep" that we've seen on many of the packs just makes them more accessible and "realistic" for more end-users. I am surprised at the weight of the double-wall Edens, but they're still relatively light as compared to the rest of the market.

As has been discussed in another "GoLite has gone to the dark side" thread, one could argue that they're actually bringing the mainstream to the light side. Major gear manufacturers have been striving to cut weight of their products... you might even argue that the Exos only came about because of the influence of GoLite on mainstream manufacturers.

All that said, they do need to keep an eye on their background. If they start broaching the 4# pack range and getting into big-ticket ($350-ish) packs, then they've gone too far. You can't take a company seriously if they're known (and named!) for lightweight product, but their product weighs about the same as everything else on the market. I don't think the company is there... I just hope they don't get there.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Golite on 01/19/2010 10:20:49 MST Print View

"Fer example, the biggest "beef" w/their packs has been the miniscule hipbelt pads, so they're improving the hipbelt."

Hardly necessary with a frameless pack, with which one should carry around 20lbs. At 2 lbs for the Jam - put a frame in it and call it a day already. I still chuckle when I hear folks complain about the hipbelt on a frameless pack - the load transfer is very minimal in a frameless pack even given a sleeping pad. The torso will collapse at anything over about 20lbs. Carrying 30 pounds in a frameless pack is going to be uncomfortable with or without a belt. What you really need is wide padded shoulder straps and a waist belt (not hip belt) that keeps the pack snug. YMMV.

I predict a lot of big sales on Golite at the end of 2010.

David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 01/19/2010 10:33:29 MST Print View


Edited by DaveT on 06/16/2015 23:16:07 MDT.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: golite. on 01/19/2010 11:02:09 MST Print View

When it comes to weight, a lot depends on where the weight is. For example, a Vapor Trail is (relatively) heavy because it has a big thick hip belt and a frame. I like both (a lot). It doesn't have many zippers or other bells or whistles, so you can figure that most of the weight is in those two areas. Now, it isn't perfect (I would prefer an even simpler design, with cords instead of straps, no side stretchy fabric, etc.) but it is obvious just looking at it that is has a very simple design. The only way they could lose significant weight (without changing comfort) would be to lose the things I just mentioned and switch to Cuben.

On the other hand, the GoLite backpack has lots of compartments, a big zipper and who knows what else. I understand the value of this -- it is nice to be able to quickly get to your stuff. However, this adds weight and does nothing to improve comfort. Again, I have nothing against extra pack weight, I just want that extra pack weight to either increase capacity or comfort. I am not convinced that the GoLite packs add either.

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: GoLite on 01/19/2010 11:18:21 MST Print View

I agree with Brad, they may be losing the hardcore BPL crowd, but they will gain market share elsewhere. In the end sounds like a good business strategy to me.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Re: golite. on 01/19/2010 11:19:02 MST Print View

This isn't a VT:Jam discussion, per se, but as point in fact... "lots of compartments, a big zipper and who knows what else" is a bit misguided. There is one compartment, and one 15"-ish #4-ish zipper for that compartment on the Jam. There are hipbelt pockets as well, which it seems is an option that most people add on to their custom ULA and MLD packs. The shoulder straps VT:Jam are pretty comparable, the "frames" are pretty comparable... but the VT hipbelt has been vastly superior. I frankly have no preference for one pack or the other, but if we're going to try to compare things on an objective basis the facts are important.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re. Golite has not lost their mind. on 01/19/2010 11:41:49 MST Print View

Did they change their umbrella? Some other sites say it weighs 10 oz, but the Golite site says 8 oz.

Ian White
(DeuceRegular) - F

Locale: Southern Jefferson
Re: Re: Re: golite. on 01/19/2010 11:54:21 MST Print View

I have four GoLite products. One is a Hut1 tarptent that I got back in '05 before I knew about this site. It weighs 16 oz on my scale. This was a huge improvement on my 4.5 lb non-freestanding kelty tent I had used on the entire JMT the year before (only used on 3 nights).

Now my tarptent seems heavy, and I have trouble convincing my non UL aware friends that it can be used as a 2 person tent. I have been skeptical of golite shelters as they do seem heavier than other options. Although the new poncho/tarp looks good.

My other GoLite pieces are the Quest pack (3lb 3oz), shorts w/pockets (can't recall the weight, 2-3 oz i think), and a drimove shirt silk wieght (1 oz).

Although over 3 pounds, I like the quest pack. I use it when I need to bring a bear canister. When I load up all my gear (and a five pound weight into the bear canister) into this pack and then move it into my friends jam pack, I like the feel better on my framed quest with thick hip pads. This pack is a middle of the road pack, but it suits my UL needs.

As for the two pieces of clothing: I really like them. The Drimove shirt is great for wearing around camp or for hiking on hot days. I get to bring a second shirt for only 1 0z. This lets my wash my base layer that I both hike and sleep it. Unfortunately, they don't carry these products anymore.

I would guess this is because of the move to selling their clothing to runners. The drimove shirt I have doesn't look like it will last long, especially if you wash it. I figure runners are more likely to choose a still-light 3oz shirt that will last longer for the $40 price tag.

GoLite still seems to be pushing the mainstream market in the weight conscious direction. Therefore, their name fits because they are telling the "major companies," and "the bulk of consumers, to GoLite.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Golite has Officially Lost Their Mind on 01/19/2010 12:03:57 MST Print View

"I agree with Brad, they may be losing the hardcore BPL crowd, but they will gain market share elsewhere."

This is the point. No they will not gain marketshare. Compared to 'Mainstream' offerings they offer nothing in terms of product features that would sway the 'Mainstream.' In fact, many of their products are heavier with fewer features.

They lost the hardcore UL years ago.

Ian White
(DeuceRegular) - F

Locale: Southern Jefferson
Re: Golite has Officially Lost Their Mind on 01/19/2010 12:13:49 MST Print View

Their is a question of which market they are after when we speak of them gaining market share. It appears some people may believe they will not get market share of any market. That could be entirely valid.

It still appears to me that most Mainstream packs are in the 4lb range. Though each company may have one or two that dip lower. I would not say this applies to their shelters. Also, it is in my opinion that their packs are cheaper than most Mainstream companies. Price is important this day and age. Especially for those Mainstream consumers who don't agree that 2oz is a lot of un-needed weight.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Golite has Officially Lost Their Mind on 01/19/2010 12:32:21 MST Print View

Anybody else notice how the I-hate-golite threads always start when their new gear first comes out?

I bet David will be the first to buy that Golite Peak when it goes on sale? Kidding.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Golite. on 01/19/2010 13:47:30 MST Print View

"I bet David will be the first to buy that Golite Peak when it goes on sale? Kidding."

I might when it gets blown out for 50% off. Then I can do some surgery on it to bring the weight down.

John G
(JohnG10) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic via Upstate NY
Jam on 01/19/2010 18:02:01 MST Print View

The mesh on the backpanel is important to many people. It looks finished, and doesn't slide around, and keeps your shirt a little drier. More padded hip belt is important to many people too. Seems like a better pack, and feels more comfy since it doesn't dig into your hip bones.

The 2 lb VT is a problem for people who want to put things like water or fuel bottles in the side pockets. The VT also doesn't have a kangaroo / shove-it pocket to put rain gear & a fleece jacket into. (Although I'd rather see a full height pocket with an elastic top on the Jam).

I'd rather have the ability to thread my padded camera case onto the hipbelt, and I stop for lunch so I don't need storage for energy bars - but many people will probably like the hip belt pockets.

Seems like Go Lite has added "good" weight to me if they want to sell the pack to more mainstream people.

On the other hand, for 4 ounces more - why wouldn't people go for the frame & ventilated back of the EXOS ? Fabric durability maybe 1 reason. I wonder how hard it would be to add a pair of 1/2" alumimum stays into the Jam ?

ps: Does the 2010 Jam still have an S-shaped back like the originals ?

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Golite Jam on 01/19/2010 19:14:49 MST Print View

Hi John - the Vapor Trail for mid 2009 and 2010 allows the lower side compression straps to thread through the pocket as an option. FYI.

Re: Golite. on 01/19/2010 21:53:09 MST Print View