BPL reviews etc.
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Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
On trip reports on 05/02/2010 12:36:21 MDT Print View

The fact the site includes trip reports was a major reason I joined. What would make the site even more useful is if the trip reports were organized and indexed by geographic region, total miles, elevation gain/loss (if available), etc. I realize that it would take a major redesign to do so, but it would be much more useful to me when I am planning a future trip to be able to peruse the "Pacific Northwest" trip report section...

The Washington Trails Association website generally does a good job with its trip reports. WTA members have submitted in excess of 28,000 trip reports to its website. These reports cover day hikes, weekend trips and longer, making it easy to find a good choice for a weekend. Also, more than once I've made other plans based on the fact that a trail was washed out or there was major blow down.

They have a hike search page which, if you pick advanced options, allows you to choose from a variety of hike criteria, limiting results by geographical region, elevation gain, high point, features (lakes, mountains, rivers) and distance. It includes a full description, many from guidebooks (with the agreement of the publishers, of course), that make finding a hike a snap.

I wouldn't necessarily advocate such an elaborate system, but one that did organize the trips in a more logical fashion would help.

Dirk

Edited by dirk9827 on 05/02/2010 12:37:37 MDT.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
"WHINERS" on 05/02/2010 12:53:26 MDT Print View

My Dear Mr. Thompson,

Yes, ya pays yer money and ya gets to sound off. That's only right. I pays my money here too and have sounded off once regarding the extensive but unclear (to me) "Winter Footwear" article when I felt there needed to be some clarification.

I have asked BPL in the past to include some reviews of mainstream vendors like REI & Cabela's for more balance and greater diversity. And they have done just that.
So that's one of the reasons I renew my subscription.

As mentioned, BPL's reviews are fairly thorough. No one could do better, more authoritative or more scientific reviews on stoves than Roger Caffin. Clothing and other gear reviews are in depth and useful. Then there are the subscriber reviews which are instructive. All said I feel my subscription is worth the money.

All I was saying, in a caustic manner, I confess, was that not ALL equipment can be UL. If ya don't like it or use it then move on instead of carping.

Winter gear must, of necessity and for safety be heavier in some ways. "Fair Weather" winter campers who go quite UL will someday get caught out when Ma Nature unexpectedly slugs them with her worst. Then maybe they will remember some BPL reviews of not-so-light winter gear they wished they had.

Eric

Edited by Danepacker on 05/02/2010 12:55:12 MDT.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
BPL reviews etc. on 05/02/2010 13:43:58 MDT Print View

Eric, You seem to posses the skills and experience to fill in the gaps on the winter footwear article. So when will you be submitting your article? BPL needs you! Have you posted those pack photos yet? All my love, Ken

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Re. Winter Footwear reply on 05/02/2010 13:48:38 MDT Print View

Ken,
I posted my 2nd reply on Winter Footwear (3rd section) last week.

Taking more photos of my winter pack mods today. Will try posting tonight.

Rakesh Malik
(Tamerlin)

Locale: Cascadia
Re: Rakesh, thanks! on 05/02/2010 22:35:50 MDT Print View

Dirk,
No need to thank me, but I appreciate it anyway :)

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: "WHINERS" on 05/02/2010 22:52:46 MDT Print View

All I was saying, in a caustic manner, I confess, was that not ALL equipment can be UL. If ya don't like it or use it then move on instead of carping.

Winter gear must, of necessity and for safety be heavier in some ways.


I think there is general agreement that "ultralight" must be taken in context.

For example, there was a recent thread on the lightest weight tent for sub-Arctic to Arctic canoe tripping (the main problem is you have ferocious bugs and/or sustained high winds, and little or no place to shelter from them).

No one was suggesting a 1 lb tarp setup. Many of the suggestions were in the 5-7lb range -- which is ultralight for that environment when you consider traditional solutions are 10 lbs - 12 lbs or more.

One can discuss gear that is heavier than most we talk about on this site, and still be ultralight -- in the right context.

--MV

Alex Gilman
(Vertigo) - F

Locale: Washington
Cottage This Cottage That on 05/03/2010 02:47:07 MDT Print View

I thought the MSR Hubba Hubba review was great. Is it UL? no... Do I think this site needs more reviews in general YES. I'd like to see at least two tent, one bag, one stove and one trip report posted per week. This way EVERYTHING gets covered.

As for the crying please, knock it off it's starting to get really old. Seriously. People (mostly those affiliated with a tentmaker) complaining about exposure and "pay to play" and blah bla blah.

Who gives a crap? They're a business too. YES YOU DO HAVE TO PAY TO PLAY! Use the BPL money to buy gear to review? Sure... But why don't they just send in some gear for reviews they're the ones needing the business right? It's called advertising. Get with the program and stop babying them.

I am a small business owner and work in marketing. I'm not crying because I don't get easy money from McDonalds but Leo Burnett does.

Seriously get over it and move the EF on. Tarptent.com is one of the worst websites I've seen online. With a great product and that crappy company image they have there's no good reason to shoot yourself in the foot like they are. It's their fault they aren't selling more product to customers. This goes ditto for SMD ...nice logo GET OFF YOUR WALLET. Marketing works PERIOD. Stop cbabying these companies and kissing their butts. Yes we should support small business but they should also know how to help themselves.

As for talking crap about REI ..get over it, the day I can find a local dealer with a return policy and great prices like REI is the day I'll give them business.

Stop coddling businesses and let them take care of themselves. Survival of the fittest. Sometimes they need to step up or get left behind.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Cottage This Cottage That on 05/03/2010 03:11:35 MDT Print View

I'm pretty sure Henry Shires' and Ron Moak's customers are quite happy that they haven't commissioned expensive fancy websites and passed the additional costs onto them.

These small manufacturers serve a small and well informed community. I don't need to see a fancy website, just the dimensions, photos and materials lists are fine.

I haven't heard any of these manufacturers complaining about their sales volume either. I think they are happy to have some time to *get out and hike*.

I suggest those who seem to want to wind this thread into a flamefest do the same.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Cottage This Cottage That on 05/03/2010 04:22:05 MDT Print View

great prices like REI

Eh? As far as I can see, REI charges full MSRP (except for items on sale, obviously).

The only way I can see calling their prices low is if you area a member and factor in the dividend. That is worth doing, but if you shop around, there is often a less expensive place to buy (even allowing for the dividend).

--MV

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Cottage This Cottage That on 05/03/2010 05:23:46 MDT Print View

> BPL money to buy gear to review?
If only we had that sort of money ...

Cheers

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
BPL reviews etc. on 05/03/2010 06:51:54 MDT Print View

I see 18 reviewers listed in the corporate masthead. But I have seen reviews from only a handful of those. Reader reviews have been quite helpful. A more formal approach like Backpackgeartest would be good for a standard testing procedures the readers could follow to submit. I don't recall anyone complaining about the cottage manufacturers websites in this thread, so I don't know where that is coming from.Or what good it is doing for this discussion, The gear is out there to be reviewed regardless. And as a long time paying subscriber I don't consider my opinion to be whining, just my opinion.

Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
BPL on 05/03/2010 07:17:41 MDT Print View

BPL is expanding guys, they will always market to their biggest audience as any company does. AS the audience grows, more and more people are coming in who are not ul, but more in the lightweight category, Expect to see more lightweight stuff instead of ul. Just my 2cents.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"BPL reviews etc." on 05/03/2010 07:52:20 MDT Print View

What % of our membership is going into R&D and production for current and future BPL manufactured (or sourced) gear? (ex: packs, bivys, quilts, shelters, Bozeman Mountain Works lineup etc.) Is a % going towards this?

Perhaps, a larger portion of the BPL budget for 2011 could be set aside towards acquiring gear "ahead of the curve" from the UL "cottage" industry that seems to be well represented amongst the BPL subscribers. I believe this would help guide incoming new readership and members alike in making informed decisions concerning: current and upcoming UL frameless/framed packs, quilts, tarps/shelters, clothing, etc.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
What is UL? on 05/03/2010 08:57:18 MDT Print View

There are diverse opinions from people who participate on this forum.
The perception of UL is different for different people.
Some wouldn't consider carrying a pack or shelter that is heavier than 1 lb, but there are many that scream bloody murder that is too extreme and unsafe. They will only carry a 5lb pack and/or shelter made by the typical car camping suppliers.

So I can see why you'd want to include those reviews. The issue I have is you can find hundreds of reviews of the big name car camping gear on the internet, but very few serious reviews of what I consider UL gear.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
BPL reviews etc. on 05/03/2010 08:58:32 MDT Print View

Readers,

Most of the suggestions I've been reading in this thread are great (some were terrible but I'm an opinionated guy, what can I say?) But in all seriousness since we're a small company each member of which has multiple job descriptions our editorial content is mostly contract work. I urge those of you amongst us who have a knack for the written word or those of you who are analytical and objective to consider submitting proposals for articles to share with the community.

- Sam

ps - thank you for the hilarious Photoshop work of my head!

Warren Wilkinson
(icensnow) - M

Locale: New England, USA
"BPL reviews etc." on 05/03/2010 09:01:13 MDT Print View

I cast my vote for both.

BPL reviews of mainstream manufacturer efforts at "lightweight/UL" gear are appreciated by me. Osprey's Exos packs are a case in point.

I see too many "user" reviews on other sites done by people who have little experience or basis of comparison, sometimes reviewing gear that they haven't even taken into the field yet!

Thank you BPL reviewers, you're the best!

Edited by icensnow on 05/03/2010 12:37:07 MDT.

ben wood
(benwood)

Locale: flatlands of MO
Re: BPL reviews etc. on 05/03/2010 10:04:00 MDT Print View

good call sam...

Rakesh Malik
(Tamerlin)

Locale: Cascadia
Re: Re: Cottage This Cottage That on 05/03/2010 11:56:09 MDT Print View

"I'm pretty sure Henry Shires' and Ron Moak's customers are quite happy that they haven't commissioned expensive fancy websites and passed the additional costs onto them."

A good web site doesn't necessarily translate to a fancy and expensive one.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Re: Re: Cottage This Cottage That on 05/03/2010 12:27:31 MDT Print View

True, and I think both the Tarptent and SMD sites are quite good enough for purpose. However, the person I was responding too obviously doesn't.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Cottage This Cottage That on 05/03/2010 12:45:10 MDT Print View

Whats wrong with their websites? I can get all the info I need from them. Well, maybe there are a few dimensions that are left off, but overall I think that they are good especially when given the size of their companies. (cottage, remember?) I've definitely been on many, many worse sites. Salomon is a HUGE company with 500 million in profit last year (according to their rep) their website sucks- bad- and they have people who design and keep up the site for a living.

Maybe Henry and Ron should stop innovating gear and take a year to dial in their websites... oh wait, that would mean less reviews and you'd cry about that too

Alex, man... of all the folks to tell people to stop crying...

>>Tarptent.com is one of the worst websites I've seen online. With a great product and that crappy company image they have there's no good reason to shoot yourself in the foot like they are. It's their fault they aren't selling more product to customers. This goes ditto for SMD ...nice logo GET OFF YOUR WALLET. Marketing works PERIOD.<<

I see tons of Tarptents and SMD stuff on young and old alike- Crappy company image? -yeah, everybody around here HATES Tarptent-

You say marketing works and you hammer SMD for theirs in the same breath.

Lets see your logo and website then, champ...