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BPL reviews etc.
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Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
BPL Stock + recession on 05/05/2010 05:05:25 MDT Print View

My father owns a small business, and he is keeping inventory of supplies at a bare minimum. It means more trips to local distributers and more orders from national ones when necessary, but he doesn't want to get burned with excess inventory--and thats even with mass-produced and easily stocked items! This is a guess, but for BPL to keep everything in stock would almost amount to custom order prices for most things.

Don't be mislead by anyone, especially the media or politicians (duh), saying the economy is on the road to recovery. Sure there are pockets of improvement, but overall, things aren't really getting better.

john Tier
(Peter_pan) - M

Locale: Co-Owner Jacks 'R' Better, LLC, VA
Inventory in stock on 05/05/2010 07:58:49 MDT Print View

Roger, et al,

Jacks 'R' Better, LLC knows about capital investment and the length of manufacture lead time...

Having everthing in stock on a continuous or near continuaous basis has been great for JRB's business growth all through the current economic period.

BTW, JRB has started its annual Trail Days Sale now thru the 18 of May...It may test us on an item or two for a couple of days but we expect to continue to provide same or next day order fulfillment.


Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: BPL on 05/05/2010 10:57:08 MDT Print View

"Any idea of how much capital that takes? Or what the manufacturing lead times are like? This recession is not making it easy for anyone."

Recession? We've been seeing bare shelves at BPL for years!! Think about all the business BPL lost because I (and many others) were forced to click over to somewhere else. And long manufacturing lead times can actually be the reason for BPL to stock up more!

Also, face it, much of what we buy aren't "need" items -- but (dare I say it) impulsive. You have saved our wallets many times by displaying -- but not stocking -- what we want.

Finally, I can see "custom ordering" large, high dollar value items. But BPL habitually runs out of many, many small and low cost items as well.

Edited by ben2world on 05/05/2010 11:07:44 MDT.

Lawson Kline
(Mountainfitter) - M

I know what its like on 05/05/2010 11:46:34 MDT Print View

Most products require minimum orders and come in cases so I know what its like to have $500 worth of survival blankets, $350 worth of survival whistles and $250 worth of sporks no one wants to buy. Especially when the manufacturer or distributor sends them in a weird color that won't sell.. It takes huge amounts of capital to hold lots of inventory.. My website looks like the desert but to have 10 of everything in stock it takes roughly $60,000... If they are having gear made they have to meet minimums... I would say a few hundred plus..

The main focus of this website is provide top notch gear reviews, how to's and trip reports...I have a subscription to Backpacker and Outside Magazine and atleast 50% of the magazine is full of ads.. Hell go to or and see how quickly your screen fills with ads..

Give them a break!

Edited by Mountainfitter on 05/05/2010 11:52:18 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: I know what its like on 05/05/2010 12:02:38 MDT Print View

Yes. Stocking up does require capital. As a customer, I'd rather see BPL display 50 truly useful items and keep them in stock most of the time -- versus 300 items many of which are out of stock most of the time.

Truth be told, I use to browse through BPL's online shop regularly. But not so much anymore. It's just too annoying to see items that I want -- only to be told -- again -- that the item is out of stock.

Edited by ben2world on 05/05/2010 12:08:41 MDT.

Lawson Kline
(Mountainfitter) - M

Re on 05/05/2010 12:09:32 MDT Print View

Its hard to anticipate what's going to sell. When I started my business I sold 3 Trangia Stoves within the first week. So I figured I better stock up on these...Lets just say that re-tock took forever to sell.. I think Google might have alot to do with it...It can either help or hurt you especially when you have the big guys spending thousands to hundreds of thousands a day on advertising and Ad word space..

I agree that inventory should be in stock.. My system is set up so once inventory goes out of stock its no longer shown. I figure out of sight out of mind... BUT that doesn't always work and sometimes (very rare) I have to contact someone saying what they purchased wasn't in stock.

Edited by Mountainfitter on 05/05/2010 12:12:17 MDT.

mark cole
BPL stock on 05/05/2010 12:13:44 MDT Print View

China. Everything that is made in China has huge lead times. Pan has no problems cause he's a good business man and his stuff is made here at home.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: on 05/05/2010 12:18:05 MDT Print View


Yes, I do agree with you. It's a juggling act for sure.

John Brochu
(JohnnyBgood4) - F

Locale: New Hampshire
Re: Re on 05/05/2010 12:22:59 MDT Print View

I've got zero sympathy for the plight of the BPL Gear Store. There is a cost of doing business, so imo either pay the cost, get creative and find lowet costs methods (lean manufacturing, JIT, etc), or reap the consequences and watch someone else fill the void.

My opinion on the rest of the thread regarding people complaining that they're not getting their monies worth and "the forum is free" and that's where they get the most useful info. I don't think the forum would exist without paying members. The site has no advertising and I doubt any other significant revenue stream - so in essence we are paying in large part for the quality forum. And membership is really cheap too so it doesn't take much to pay for itself.

I look at my annual membership as a donation to keep the forums running.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
BPL reviews etc on 05/05/2010 12:24:55 MDT Print View

Keeping shelves bare to minimize overhead and / or the result of requirements to make / purchase large quantities of product really doesn't apply here. Why? Because the market demand exists to buy the products! This certainly isn't the first thread about bare BPL shelves. It has been like this for years and really is a condition of BPL never focusing on being a gear producer or supplier but instead a provider of UL information. The products available were a side bet.

Because of the size of BPL, I don't think we can have both. I would prefer the information, reviews, and technical articles. Leave the gear production to MLD, GG, tarptent, etc.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Purposes on 05/05/2010 14:28:28 MDT Print View

"I look at my annual membership as a donation to keep the forums running."


"I suppose I ought to be less flabbergasted than I am. (I certainly couldn't be more so.) Firstly, how gear is used is more relevant than the bare specs insofar as lightening the load. Second, travel is the point!"

Wow, I actually flabbergasted someone! Lightening my load has been about going to places I would have gone anyway, just with a lighter load. There has only been one member trip review since I've joined that covered an area of interest to me (thanks Pedro), and that got buried pretty quickly due to lack of general interest. So it's not surprising that the trip reviews are not my cuppa tea. I'm glad some folks get value out of them. I already know HOW to use my gear.

My two favourite trip reports, both free on the forums: The first video report is particularly entertaining...

Pedro's South Island Trip

Mueller Hut, NZ Trip

Edited by retropump on 05/05/2010 16:04:32 MDT.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
LEGS! on 05/05/2010 15:39:18 MDT Print View

DAYMN! This topic has got some LEGS!
8 pages and counting...

Charles S. Forstall
(csforstall) - F

Locale: The Appalachian Foothills of TN
RE: RE: RE: RE: BPL on 05/05/2010 16:30:07 MDT Print View

"This is a guess, but for BPL to keep everything in stock would almost amount to custom order prices for most things."

We already pay custom order prices on most BPL Gear. Stealth Nano Tarp, Hane, BushBuddy... The only stuff here sold at "nominal" value seems to be the Ti pots and other smaller items not "custom manufactured."
I think if it is part of the vision to see member dues used to create new equipment then it should be stated in the mission statement. After all many members here say they would like to see their dollars go to equipment R&D. Why not oblige them. In every case obfuscation or even the appearance of obfuscation is bad. Then is it any wonder that such "conspiracy theory" threads like this one pop up. Of course people want to know where their money goes.

I was a bit surprised to see that half of the 'M' tags on the main page had dropped since the last time I was on the forum.

Zpacks is still backordered and unable to fill any orders till June. I think the demand is there, but who knows I don't have any way to prove my conjecture. Yet its true the store is always out of everything. I was honestly surprised by how much the pulled out for their moving sale as much of it wasn't listed as being in the store yet the product was obviously in someone's warehouse.

I don't want to tell anyone how to run a business, I am just a customer. But I still think it is fairly obvious BPLs vision tries to accommodate too much for too many people for its investment of capital. The store being just one such manifestation. Others have pointed to the lack of the recent reviews of much of the equipment most likely to be purchased by the members here, another manifestation. I know the reviews of "members more likely to buy" equipment are here, just as of late most of them are in the archives (SUL Pack comparisons etc).

Don't take any of this the wrong way. We know things aren't easy for you, things aren't easy for some of us either. And if BPL want to end such "conspiracy theory" threads then they need to connect in peoples' minds just what exactly is payed for when you sign up for membership other then access to another part of the forums, and a few dollars off store purchases. Let me re-iterate, like I've said before I am only a customer and sometime forum contributor.

Misfit Mystic

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
Membership on 05/05/2010 16:30:55 MDT Print View

I also consider my membership fee as going to support the community that has been created here. The information shared here is worth much more than $25/year. Let's say you use this site 100 days/year. Is it worth 25 cents per day? I say that's about the best quarter I spend on a day to day basis; I sure get ALOT for my money!

On top of that, think of this community; how many of us would have ever met? This is the ONLY place I know of where I can interact with kind folks who share my passion for wild places. So many times I've been inspired to go to a new place, learn a new skill, or even shift to a new way of thinking, because of this community. I get to "talk shop" with people who make some of my gear, and learn the motivations behind people who push the boundaries of the outdoor experience. I've been fortunate enough to share in so many victories, and mourn so many losses. I chat with people from every continent everyday, just like we're sitting around a campfire. And nearly to man (or woman!) they are kind, thoughtful, humble and gentle. I've yet to find another place quite like it, though I search everyday.

Thanks BPL. And when I use the term "BPL" it means much more to me than just a shop and an e-magazine.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Membership on 05/05/2010 18:59:11 MDT Print View

Scott's post.


Ron Bell
(mountainlaureldesigns) - F - M

Locale: USA
Re: BPL reviews etc. on 05/05/2010 19:17:16 MDT Print View

The thread has wandered a bit- but I wanted to comment on the BPL Cottage Gear Reviews part since a few folks mentioned about MLD and wanting to see more reviews.

It has been a while since an MLD item was reviewed. That is because we did not send any free gear to be reviewed - for lots of reasons- one was that we were in backorders.

We did send one pack recently and think it may be reviewed closer to mid summer when the reviewer would have appropriate weather to test it properly.

I did find it interesting that no one in these posts (I think) directly noted that sometimes the BPL Store directly competes with the gear being reviewed.

Each business (BPL and any other gear maker) is unique and different. BPl is unique in that it has many parts, editorial, gear sales, education, etc. and that should be admired.

I think that each BPL gear reviewer is independent and is not influenced editorially on a micro level in anyway by the BPL mgt.- These guys are great! That's not an issue.

But there are many other considerations a company would have before sending free gear fro review.

One Example, if a gear review came out at the exact same time as a new launch BPL product of a similar type. The BP product - with all the accompanying prime marketing and push in the same editorial space - may impact the potential sales of even a Highly Recommended reviewed product.

Overall- the small UL/SUL community of BPL + other online editorial contents/forums and the ever more numerous smaller gear companies seem to work together fairly well. I see it as all fairly symbiotic- up till now anyway- I do wonder about the future - it's going to be interesting!

I'm probably just opening a whole new thread and will get skewered a bit- oh well. Just wanted to throw in my 2cents and point folks to another way to looks at the question.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: BPL reviews etc. on 05/05/2010 20:34:06 MDT Print View

Hi Ron

> if a gear review came out at the exact same time as a new launch BPL product of
> a similar type. The BP product - with all the accompanying prime marketing and
> push in the same editorial space - may impact the potential sales of
> even a Highly Recommended reviewed product.

Yeah, well, I understand the theory here.

But the practice is a bit different. Personally, I would make very sure nothing I wrote was biased in any way whatsoever, and I am pretty darn sure the other Staff would endorse that for themselves. There would be screams of outrage from within BPL if we behaved any other way.

Anyhow, your deliveries might be a bit faster ... (a non-corporate viewpoint!).
And your product range is a whole lot bigger too.
The cottage industry is a whole lot bigger than the BPL shop!


Ron Bell
(mountainlaureldesigns) - F - M

Locale: USA
Re: Re: Re: BPL reviews etc. on 05/05/2010 20:44:15 MDT Print View

Hi Roger

From Roger's Post:
"But the practice is a bit different. Personally, I would make very sure nothing I wrote was biased in any way whatsoever, and I am pretty darn sure the other Staff would endorse that for themselves. There would be screams of outrage from within BPL if we behaved any other way."

To clarify - I tried to say I have no problem with an individual reviewer or review ( heck- I even volunteer as a peer reviewers on some articles)- I feel you all are unbiased on individual reviews. No problem there. I always enjoy the well written articles. I think you and all the BPL reviewers all do a portion of the work as a gratis service to BPL the UL community and I appreciate that too!

(onthecouchagain) - MLife

Locale: Sunny SoCal
I'm in on 05/05/2010 20:54:30 MDT Print View


Feel free to send any new gear to me for pre-review of the gear reviewers 'review.' Or a post-mortem, new concept launch...a gear review of reviewed gear to give an honest opinion of that gear in light of the review given! Either way, I'm in!