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Cottage Stagnation and Recent Gems
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Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: design on 12/28/2011 00:03:59 MST Print View

Well, the HMG packs are all very similar (hip belt, frameless with stays, same shoulder straps and padding, same fabric) so I guess the question would be what sort of input did Ryan provide?

Edited by FamilyGuy on 12/31/2011 10:12:52 MST.

Richard Scruggs
(JRScruggs) - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Re: $$ on 12/28/2011 00:37:37 MST Print View

Just my opinion, but I didn't read Ryan's commentary on "cottage stagnation" as attacking cottage folks generally or any cottage outfit in particular, nor as motivated by financial stake (if any) in a particular product or business.

Rather, at least from my perspective as a prospective user/customer, I took Ryan's article to be merely his personal judgement that "cottage" products in the past year seem to have become less "innovative" in ways that he (and/or others) would value, and less faithful to qualities than he (and/or other patrons) might hope to see.

After all, this must be the same Ryan Jordan who wrote the following comment, a real glowing ode, to the cottage industry a little over a year ago for BPL's "Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2010: Introduction and Tribute to Small Ultralight Gear Companies not Exhibiting at OR" --

"I love this.

"We used to do the cottage roundup towards the end of the show. I'm glad we're doing it at the beginning now.

"I'm really, really happy about more options being made available to us by budding cottage manufacturers!

"It will be fascinating to now review the rest of what comes out of OR in the context of some of this really cool new gear from the little guys."

Copied from comments at:

The general theme of the Ryan's commentary now -- a little over a year after his glowing praise for the 2010 cottage gear state of affairs -- regarding his concern about the "stagnation" that he now bemoans appears (to me, anyway) to reflect views he expressed at his blog a few months ago regarding "value" in "innovative gear" now, whether cottage or mass marketed, and how sparce that innovation has become.

Here's a link to Ryan's discussion of that issue at his blog:

After reading Ryan's "Stagnation" commentary and then rereading his earlier blog musings at the above link, I was curious about how the current BPL staff picks (for 2011) compared to BPL staff picks of the past. It was an interesting comparison.

Like, for example, I couldn't recall that an SUV had ever appeared in any of those staff picks for past years, yet there was one listed as a 2011 pick (a 2000 Nissan Xterra SE 4x4)!

But that's OK. I like my 3/4 ton 4x diesel Ram PU, too.

Just can't wait to see one of the cottage outfits put out a "lightweight" SUV in 2012 -- hopefully with cuben fiber upholstery, carbon fiber body, and a wood-fired engine! /;>)

Seriously, though, I understand Ryan's "stagnation" article as a call for greater, or renewed, focus on creating "innovative gear" meeting evolving lightweight values described in his blog at the above link as simplicity, a concept he refines to mean a blend of "natural" and "practical" simplicity.

One thing I do not understand is why, in the "stagnation" article above, Ryan has any optimism at all that "mass marketers" can/will provide innovation he values when his blog states his own expectation (quoted below) that those "mass marketers" are incapable of hitting an innovative "home run" like a Tenkara fly rod or whatever:

"Mass market manufacturers are incapable of designing and marketing gear that blends both practical and natural simplicity because the concept is too hard to educate people about. You simply cannot appreciate the value of it, until you (a) experience it; (b) practice it; and (c) refine it. Mass manufacturers don’t have the time. The sales season is only a few months long, after all – and with the need to make sure they are addressing the latest trends in colors and fabrics and features – who has time to educate consumers – or allow them to experience the benefits of simplicity?

"And so, as usual, it seems like it’s up to the cottage industry.

"That’s not a bad thing."

Copied from

So, aside from Ryan's infatuation with Mass Market Mavens in the above "stagnation" commentary (probably brief insanity born of despair), I believe he is just calling on someone, anyone -- most likely cottage folks (new or old) -- to fill a gap by again producing gear that meets evolving needs and desires for "simplicity" gear suited to evolving "lightweight backpacking" values, like they've done often in the past.

Just one person's no doubt delusionary thoughts.

Edited by JRScruggs on 12/28/2011 00:46:43 MST.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
mass market on 12/28/2011 01:30:41 MST Print View

well if you look at the "mass market"

youll notice that quite a few companies have very credible lightweight products

- osprey and their hornet/exos packs
- TNF and their verto windhsell and packs
- REI/MEC/EMS and their very light minimal packs (ie flash 18, mec travel light, etc ...)
- jetboil and their new SOL TI which BPL did an excellent review
- everyone and their doggay has very light down and synth jackets now
- etc ...

just as a simple example the MEC reflex has 10-16 oz of down (depending on the size), a >50% down to weight ratio, uses 800 fill, and UL shell ... and is anywhere from 1/4- 1/2 the costs of a certain cottage brand name down jacket/quilt maker ...

note that many of these products come with very good warranties, or you can buy em and try em at a retailer with no questions asked return policies ... and often on sale as well

you can easily go UL with "mass market" products and often end up spending less as they are often on sale ... and still be able to return em after using them if they dont work out ...

whether one buys cottage or "mass market" is up to that person ... but those old REI threads slamming UL are way out of date ... you can go UL just shopping at mec/rei/ems/backcountry ...

Serge Giachetti
(sgiachetti) - M

Locale: Boulder, CO
hmmm.... on 12/28/2011 03:35:46 MST Print View

I admire someone who is bold enough to contradict themselves. That said, this contradiction has me a little confused. Lets face it, this site is fueled by oz counting gearheads (reluctantly, counting myself as one). It has some of the more civilized and thoughtful forums that I know of, but I've become convinced that all the gear tinkering and oz counting taking place in the forums has less and less to do with actual backpacking. Its more like 'outdoor gear theory', which is admittedly fascinating. Its a great hobby. Its also a form of escapism when you are at the office and you would rather be in the mountains. The gear fetishizing helps us imagine we are actually out there, or to prepare ourselves for the the next time that we are. I'm talking from my own experience here, as I've spent a good portion of this past year struggling with injuries, planning long adventures that didn't happen, and endless gear tinkering/theory. It sort of has me wondering why I didn't pursue a career in fabric technology (?).

I've also spent a great deal of my time actually backpacking, hiking, trail running and more recently skiing and climbing. Its extremely satisfying to have all your gear dialed in, working as a system with as few and functional items as possible. I aim for this in all my possessions. When there is less to meditate your experience of the wild, adventures are more raw and beautiful. That said, I've actually noticed that all my (I like to call it) gearfectionism can really take away from the experience. Its seldom that I go on trips these days when new product ideas, purchases, custom designs etc. aren't popping into my head. Gear optimization is an endless process, with diminishing returns. I do get something out of this, otherwise I wouldn't do it. Humans are tool-users, and men are particularly tool-centric. Gear nerdery is satisfying (esp. for gear nerds) and I'd go as far to call it instinctual for some. My point is, I think there is more to be gotten out of taking a more experiential, less fetish based approach. Chenault's reflections over at are a perfect example. He gloats over his packrarft because it gives him another way of experiencing the wild, not because he likes how it looks on his spreadsheet or in his closet (although that may too be the case ;) The packrarft has no power when its sitting in your closet.
Similarly, McClalland's tips: he treats gear as just one means to the art of lightweight backpacking.

(Wow, didn't realize I was about to rant, but I guess the above article/rant got me in the mood.)

I originally intended to write a few simple things: the key innovations in lightweight backpacking were brought to light by Jardine long ago.

Next was Ryan's article 'clothing and sleep systems for ultralight backpacking' ( i forget the name. ) In a couple words: wool, windshirts, puffies, tarps, frameless packs

Perhaps Ryan has just gotten bored because much the forums have more or less just reiterated those principles in a 1000 different ways. Or, like someone else suggested, bitter since BPL's own attempts at the cottage industry were somewhat of a bust.

I might suggest that the lack of recent innovation has much more to do with the fact that backpacking is in the scheme of things a fairly simple activity. Its just walking through the wild for multiple days. As a species we are so far beyond surviving (in style) and with minimal weight while foot traveling. Thats why IMO we've gotten down to oz quibbling between 6 and 4 lbs on BPL--for those of us who choose to walk as a mode of wilderness transportation, we need to find a way to stay entertained when we aren't . For the newby, the information here is nothing short of an epiphany, but my point is that its an epiphany based on the collected insights of a rock climber/engineer/hippy adventurer some 20 years ago. Its no wonder to me all the interesting modes of travel that Jardine (quintessential gear nerd) has tried over the years.

I'm much more curious about the innovations taking place in other forms of outdoor adventure these days. For example, super lightweight ski touring boots capable of technical ice climbs. This presents far more of a game changer for wilderness adventure than a slightly lighter version of cueben fiber.
Packrafts, another obvious example.

I know thats getting away from backpacking, but thats what I'm suggesting: equipment for backpacking is far less interesting/relevant to the activity, than other modes of transport like skiing, packrafting, biking, climbing/alpinism etc. Layering systems for ice/alpine climbing or backcountry skiing are far more difficult and vital to get dialed in than for the general three season backpacking that most BPL's do. So, yes, this is a suggestion to us who have been around for a while: 1) present the info to the newbie as effectively as possible 2) spend more of your indoor time with maps, less of it in the gear forums (as I continue to boldly contradict myself ;)

Other ideas: try skiing, biking, climbing, rafting...wing-suit base jumping (?!? ;)

I think cottage manufacturers are not to blame for the stagnation. We are, for still being preoccupied with the next big innovation in walking with a pack on and sleeping outside.

If this forum is about backpacking why don't we talk more about technique? Philosophy? Trips? etc. Despite my love for the site, I think the answer lies in that its always been a little bit more about gear nerdery and consumerism than actual backpacking. Ryan's suggestions as of late are on point, but this definitely leaves me wondering about what's in store for the future of this site and will we continue to take an interest?

+ 1 on Katabatic.

Edited by sgiachetti on 12/28/2011 05:50:49 MST.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: put down - Porter pack on 12/28/2011 05:21:23 MST Print View

This is my understanding of how it went..

Ryan had a pack design in mind (he's had it in mind for a long time) and asked HMG to build it. They agreed and we now have the Porter. In the interest of full disclosure, I tested several revisions of the pack and also provided feedback on it. I know I don't get any kind of sales commission and I doubt Ryan does either.

Also, it is my understanding that Ryan had asked another pack builder for something similar many years ago, and was basically told to shove it.

David T
(DaveT) - F
serge/craig's. on 12/28/2011 09:54:26 MST Print View

A big +1 to Serge and Craig W's posts.

Ryan's coming full circle perhaps, like many other people had or will. I definitely have. I don't think about gear almost at all any more, unless I am expanding into sea kayaking or snowshoeing, not about backpacking. I have a couple of good setups and options and now I just try to use them.

The same question that has been raised before: how can BPL continue to provide help to the "noobs" to move from those 60 lb packs to 10-15 lbs, while keeping the "already-converted" engaged? To me, the latter mostly means info on trips, routes, new forms of self-powered/combined travel, meet-ups, photos, and inspiration, ideally with updated forum software. It doesn't mean gram-weenie-ism, endless gear talk, rampant consumerism, and chaff for chaff's sake. My 2 cents.

I think the "cottage stagnation" concept isn't entirely fair. Backpacking involves a shelter and a backpack and something to sleep in; it's just walking in the woods. Materials like silnylon and cuben have been innovations, but where can you really go from there once you have already combined them? I'm sure there are more innovations, but for companies like Tarptent and MLD, they are making relatively light, relatively durable gear for people to actually USE, at a fair price and with great service. If that's stagnation, it sounds pretty good to me.

Edited by DaveT on 12/28/2011 09:57:20 MST.

Aaron Croft
(aaronufl) - M

Locale: Oregon
Agree on 12/28/2011 10:37:51 MST Print View

"Despite my love for the site, I think the answer lies in that its always been a little bit more about gear nerdery and consumerism than actual backpacking."


I stumbled upon BPL earlier this year when looking up gear reviews for backpacks. One thing led to another and pretty soon my pack weight was lowered significantly and trips (well, other than Uath where I carry all my water...) became much more comfortable. I drank the UL kool aid, and am thankful for this site for giving me the knowledge base to make informed decisions regarding gear.

On the other hand, UL equipment (and outdoor equipment in general) breeds rampant consumerism. Replacing a tent after only one use with a lighter, shinier model, buying the newest/lightest alcohol stove, or owning 5 or 6 packs for different situations proves this. In this sense, I agree with Ryan. I've come full circle from trying to religiously cut my weight by buying the newest and lightest to selling all of the extraneous gear in my closet. I don't need 3 packs. I only need one stove. My duomid is fine for year round use. I'm tired of having to pick exactly what I need for each trip out of my gear closet. I'd rather pick up what I have and go.

I don't write this to disparage those who enjoy backpacking gear as a hobby. It the reason BPL exists and I have gained invaluable tips and tricks from contributors on this site. But like everyone else mentioned, it's just walking in the woods, not rocket science.

Other than selling extraneous gear on gear swap, I'm going to make a more concerted effort to post mostly in trip reports, and the philosophy/technique sections. Or maybe I'll just shut-up and go for a hike.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Stagnation on 12/28/2011 11:02:06 MST Print View

I suspect the narrative mentioning 'you don't need to go from 5.2 lbs to 4.6 lbs,' pertains to everyone's personal journey as a outdoor enthusiast, and how that journey matures beyond the gram counting / gear replacing stage.

When you're moving beyond traditional hiking, the phase of buying a scale, replacing gear and sweating the grams is really important. I'm sure we all learned an immense amount from this period in our own lives and it's really important for anyone to go through. You learn how pack weight affects your outdoors experience, how a bunch of light items can add up to a heavy load, and what difference it makes when you're modifying gear.

There comes a point however when you've learned pretty much of these lessons and your time and money may be better spent elsewhere. Still weigh your gear and replace it with the best item when it wears out, but you no longer need to replace perfectly good gear just because there's something a smidge lighter. You can tone down the money being spent, and you can also reduce the time being spent on studying your gear.

As with anything in life, there are diminishing returns. Notice that Ryan didn't say that it doesn't' matter if you're at 52 lbs or 4.6 lbs. He said 5.2 lbs because someone who is at 5.2 lbs has almost certainly already spent countless hours learning the lessons, honing their kit and now they can enjoy the fruits of that by getting outdoors.

Edited by dandydan on 12/28/2011 11:06:01 MST.

Paul Fitzner
(etowahoutfitters) - F
Cottage stagnation thoughts from Chef Paul of Etowah Outfitters on 12/28/2011 11:41:27 MST Print View

Great article.. opens up much dicussion. Since I've been around for longer than almost all in the ultra light revolution, I figured I would add a thought or two.

As I told you a few years ago, Its time we turned ultralight from a marketing term, to an actual definition that would fit the industry, and participants better. The definitions I developed in 2008 fits: Ultralight- The lightest weight an individual can carry without effecting someone elses outdoor experience (hiking trip).

Its not the gear, but the experience level, ones own comfort threshold, physical condition, and natural conditions (weather, terain, seasons, etc.) which really determines how light some one can go.

I think materials have hit a plateau to where durablity with the lowest wt. is doing a re-orginization. Most of the gear has been out there for a long time; better/ lighter materials are the difference. Most gear designs have been out there for awhile also. It really comes down to the basics and our experience level.

The "Holy Grail" of ultralight backpacking is a spark within each of us to make the journey into the outdoors as enjoyable as possible with the friends and views we treasure so much, carrying just what we need as light as possible.

Your friend,
"Chef Paul" Fitzner
Etowah Outfitters/ Etowah Gear

dan mchale
(wildlife) - MLife

Locale: Cascadia
point on 12/28/2011 11:43:29 MST Print View

"Also, it is my understanding that Ryan had asked another pack builder for something similar many years ago, and was basically told to shove it."

Chris, what's your point here?

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Stagnation on 12/28/2011 11:46:02 MST Print View

If we say the market has "stagnated" that implies that it should be "going" somewhere. My question is where should it go? What would qualify as improvement? I don't think we'll see any huge breaththroughs on the SUL fringe for example so I don't think weight reduction by itself is a place for improvement. On the other hand I think making light gear more capable is a good place for improvement. One example would be the HMG Porter pack. Its about the same weight as a frameless Golite Jam pack but way more capable. Another example would be the MLD pyamids. They are just barely heavier than a nylon tarp but offer more protection. Also both of these products are much more user friendly.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Cottage Constipation and Recent Gems on 12/28/2011 12:02:29 MST Print View

I believe this cottage constipation will be quickly cured next spring when the ZPacks XLax hits the market.

The writer appears to be having an inner simplicity crisis, where his thoughts on natural and practical simplicity are clashing.

Edited by jshann on 12/28/2011 12:25:16 MST.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Cottage Stagnation and Recent Gems on 12/28/2011 12:09:09 MST Print View

Interesting post/thoughts, Ryan. Taken together with some of your other musings this past year, you seem to be at a number of crossroads, perhaps some conflicting, and searching for, or trying to refine, the direction in which you want to head. I'm enjoying the parts of your journey you've decided to share.

Not sure why you felt the need to take some swipes at specific gear makers (though, since you didn't name them, it's up to each of us to decide who you're talking about if we care to) - I felt that was rather unnecessary and didn't contribute to the points you're trying to make, but I've done such things myself often enough that I can't criticize you for it all that much.

Anyway,self-reflection is a wonderful thing. Thanks for sharing.

Edited by idester on 12/28/2011 12:14:19 MST.

Kurt Lammers
(lammers8) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
BPL Stagnation on 12/28/2011 12:26:36 MST Print View

Forgive me but I think it's comical that Dr. Jordan has taken a moment from his own, separate blog to criticize a perceived lack of cottage innovation while this endeavor, Backpacking Light, appears to this BPLer to be a rudderless shell of its former self. Original content at BPL has slowed to a late August high country muddy trickle. Gear store: no more. I urge Dr. Jordan and the remaining BPL staff to focus inward rather than accuse others of stagnation; more recent innovation lay in the MLD Exodus FS than in any non-forum content I've found relevant here in too many sad months this year.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: put down on 12/28/2011 12:32:57 MST Print View

"When you put down a blanket criticism of practically the entire cottage industry without disclosing your own interest in the brand you are singling out and promoting, you have a conflict of interest - especially at a site that reviews the gear being put down! "

This is a fair point. Even if there is no financial conflict of interest, there can be a perceived conflict of interest, and the owner of this site should avoid even the perception. That doesn't mean he can't have an opinion, but he should have added, in his piece (whether or not it is elsewhere on the site is immaterial), what his relationship was to this pack/HMG. That is standard practice.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
BPL articles on 12/28/2011 12:41:09 MST Print View

articles from BPL where you WONT find anywhere else ... no one else does as comprehensive and thorough investigation of fact, and not just the standard rah rah rah, marketing rah rah rah

- Sleeping pad test where they measured the R values
- WPB tests where they did real measurements and not just take gore or polartecs marketing spiel
- jetboil tests where they contradicted the "established" BPL forum wisdom about jetboil being useless
- alternative raingear test
- frameless pack tests where they measured actual collapse of different frame types

part of the problem IMO, is that many BPLers seem to ignore the above ... they believe what they want to believe and are likely set in their ways and gear ...

fanboism exist in BPL as much as for any other gear centric forum ...

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
yes and no on 12/28/2011 13:08:23 MST Print View

I would agree with some of the assessments made but maybe not some of his conclusions.

The HMG looks like a very nice pack but at a $275 price point I will never know and will have to see instead if the Golite Jam I just picked up for $70 on sale will work out better than the last few packs I have had. The same with a Kabatic quilt. Looks dynamite from here and also costs more than I pay for a month for rent and utilities. I can't do tarps like a lot of people so the MLD can be the best -gon out there but I will never know.

I guess what I would like to see is good, simple, strong and durably built gear at a decent price point. Like he says, cut all the extra crap off the pack beyond maybe a hydration sleeve, dual water bottle holders and maybe a back mesh pouch. I know there are a lot of tarp lovers out there but all of the poles and stake tie outs make me want to just crawl into a vented tube tent after about 5 minutes. And I am not saying that the tents are much better with all of the odd configurations and wasted geometric space. Is it so hard to just create a tent to keep me dry and with some venting that I can just crawl into and go to sleep?

But I try to keep it simple. I mainly use a wood stove and an alcohol stove that is actually the cosmetic top of a flask. Solite pad to sleep on. Sawyer gravity filter for the water. Yeah it may weight a few more ounces but I don't worry about and don't have to.

I still like BPL, learn a lot from here and have a membership now to help out.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

2011 Innovation on 12/28/2011 13:25:31 MST Print View

Off the top of my head, some 2011 cottage gear innovations which impressed me were:

- MLD Exodus FS
- TarpTent StratoSpire (actually just ordered one)
- Zpacks Exo
- HMG Porter (interesting that three of these items are lightly framed packs/packs with stays)

Not be a downer, but I don't see anything too impressive with the Katabatic quilts. They look to be very nicely made and great quilts, but innovative?, Aside from their strapping system there isn't much new. Normal fabrics, normal down, normal shape. GoLite has been making similar quilts for years. What seems more innovative from me are the quilts from guys like Virga Outdoors and The Stateless Society that are at least using innovative 7D fabrics and trying unique designs like Virga's 19 baffle Wendego which holds the down in place a lot better than other quilts with half the number of baffles.

Looking forward, I hope Pat's Backcountry Beer hits the market in 2012. Serious innovation here:

Edited by dandydan on 12/28/2011 13:27:31 MST.

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
Welcome insight on 12/28/2011 13:49:40 MST Print View

Welcome synthesis of the history of the Ultra Light Gear industry over the past half dozen years. Someone had to say it so why not the host of the congregants? The development into this present state of stagnation is a natural one. They all took risks and suffered personal costs by participating as players. No one is eager to constantly put past achievements on the line with continual risk taking of everything earned. But this observation made by the author is not something we haven’t sensed the last recent two years or so. It acts as a rock thrown into a pack of dogs and the dog taking the hit yelps the loudest. By the way, we all have bias and self-interest. This doesn’t disqualify of us from observing fact and serving as witnesses. But the cross-examiners have brought some of this bias to the fore to allow us to give appropriate weight. Good article!

Edited by johnk on 12/28/2011 13:53:32 MST.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Pack Design, Conflicts of Interest, Etc. on 12/28/2011 14:44:55 MST Print View

I have zero financial interests in any of the companies that make the gear that I promote, and never, ever, ever, enter into a contract whereby my ability to get paid depends upon the sales of a product. The only ones in the past that I've done so for have carried the Backpacking Light label. My financial interests lie a little bit in BPL (to the extent that I wish to sell memberships and offer adventurous education opportunities), but mostly in my consulting work - the vast majority of which lies well outside the outdoor industry and is focused on my "real" field of expertise (which FYI is NOT gear design), but lean business process design and implementation, and engineered systems for delivering potable water in remote, underprivileged, disaster relief, and combat environments (and no, I don't work for any manufacturer of water treatment products for outdoor users). Oh - and I am shorting the euro.

FWIW, I told Mike St. Pierre (HMG) that I needed a large pack. The Porter is what he came up with. I replied with a request to change the fit a little, to support a heavier load, strip off some features, and he sent me a new pack. As Dan said, don't confuse designing with specifying. This is an HMG pack of HMG design and they deserve full credit for creating a pack that really works - don't pass any of that credit on to me, please.

And, I paid full price for my HMG pack. I've paid full price for all of my McHale packs - two products that I've "promoted" extensively because they just plain work.

The HMG pack absorbs less water than my McHale as a % of pack weight, but a lot of this water weight appears to be absorbed into the McHale's harness, not *just* the fabric (the HMG fabric absorbs less water into the fabric, however, but it does have a more spartan harness). It's very low in the HMG. We'll put that data out there in the HMG pack review that's forthcoming.

In addition, my coatings on my 210d Spectra grid McHale packs have started to hydrolyze and are starting to peel. But then again, so are the coatings on the fabrics of my Arctic pack (this one is really bad - but it's been my packrafting workhorse), a little bit on my Pinnacle, and just starting on an MLD pack I picked up used. Such is the nature of using gear, and using fabrics with some types of PU coatings. I don't consider this a defect in Dan's packs - far from it. In fact, I rather like that Dan's manufacturing will outlast the (lighter) fabrics he uses. That's how it should be. That's NOT been my experience with most of the "SUL/UL" cottage packs. Every one of the failures I've had thus far in cottage packs has been from manufacturing, not fabrics (seams can't hold up to heavier loads - something that is unacceptable to me, even for so-called "UL" packs). That's why I'm critical towards the attention that cottage manufacturers are placing on fabrics. If they only put that attention towards manufacturing quality. They could learn a quality lesson from McHale.


Edited by ryan on 12/28/2011 15:50:03 MST.