Cottage Stagnation and Recent Gems
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John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Cottage Stagnation and Recent Gems on 04/08/2012 09:34:23 MDT Print View

This article used to be open to non members.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Simple, strong, durable on 07/15/2012 12:58:01 MDT Print View

I hear Ryan Jordan and Miguel D' Arboleda when they talk about durable, simple and yet innovative gear.

MY SIMPLE,RELIABLE STUFF:

MY BACKPACK> an older REI Cruise UL 60. True, NOT a cottage industry but REI has to build packs that hold up to teenagers and other careless hikers' misuse, thus my pack has held up well over the years. All I've done is change the belt buckle/webbing configuration to make it adjustable by pulling the belt ends to the center to make adjustment easier, as on newer waistbelts.

MY TENT> a TT Moment, ain't the lightest at 28 oz. but it has so many great design features and great build quality that I'm sticking with it for the forseeable future.

MY SLEEP SYSTEM>
BAG> WM Megalite (overfilled to be good to 20 F.) A fantastic bag. My only regret?
I wish it has Dri-Down technology.
MATTRESS> Thermarest ProLite reg. Still my fav. There's not a better lightweight
self-inflator on the market. Neo-Airs? Not fer me Bub, but STILL innovative.

STOVE(S)> Trail Designs ti sidewinder W/ wood-burning Inferno option
Brunton Crux canister stove which has a nice w-i-d-e flame ring

All in all I've found what works over the long haul yet is innovative as well. Like Miguel said, if gear LASTS you stick with it. Mostly cottage industry stuff except my pack & canister stove.

I agree with Ryan about QUALITY. My choices have that quality and even further they have design and manufacturing DETAILS.
As Goethe said, God made the universe with details, and so must good cottage manufacturers make their gear - QUALITY being the main detail.

Edited by Danepacker on 07/15/2012 13:00:31 MDT.

Thomas Trebisky
(trebisky)

Locale: Southern Arizona
I can't resist posting to this 1.5 year old thread on 01/04/2013 07:14:15 MST Print View

Well, I have been busy backpacking rather than honing my gear and missed this great article when it first came out. Not that the article is all that great, but it is a key player in the ULB community throwing a rock at a pack of dogs (or something like that, pardon the obnoxious metaphor), which is always a fun thing to watch and even participate in.

Several thoughts came to mind reading the article:

1) I buy gear from cottage industries in part because I like supporting mom and pop businesses. I would prefer to do that even if the big companies began producing polished versions of what the cottage folks were making. Not that I am willing to buy grossly substandard items mind you, but I like being able to look at a pack and see that it was sewn by a living human.

2) Not every cottage maker wants to transition into becoming the next North Face or Dana Designs or big company. I doubt that I would want to if I were a cottage maker and I would not label that transition as success (unless I was a Harvard Business School minded person). Success is being happy and able to get outdoors a lot -- in my book.

3) While I am eager to see new gear innovations, I am really quite happy that I have a good ultralight setup and am out doing what I want to do with it (witness this absurd post over a year after this all came out). I don't want to be spending money and time and brain cells fussing over the latest gear. In fact at some level, I don't even want to know about Katabatic quilts because it will make me dissatisfied with the quilt I already have. :-)

My greatest concern has been with BPL itself - I think it has definitely degenerated from a information saturated gearhead site to a somewhat dumbed down gear hawking and reviewing site. Just a few more steps and it will be something like "Runners World", owned and seemingly run by the industry that buys its ads.

Edited by trebisky on 01/04/2013 09:06:42 MST.

D LARSON
(epilektric) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Cottage stagnation is just another way of saying main stream progress on 01/04/2013 13:04:51 MST Print View

Computers used to be built in garages by a cottage industry. These days computers are so complex, intricate and miniaturized that building one in a garage isn't even an option. That's what happens when technological advances in production move beyond what is possible by home-grown hobbyist and the cottage industry.

Certainly the gap is narrowing between the cottage industry and the large manufacturers but that doesn't mean the little folks are too lazy to innovate. It means that the tech required to really move things forward is sliding out of reach for the little guy.

For example, 3D printing makes it possible to prototype things that would be impossible to mill or mold. But printing at a production level requires equipment that is cost prohibitive for all but the deepest pockets.

This "stagnation" is the natural evolution of things.

Snowboarding used to be a cottage industry too and now look at it. You can't just throw some bindings on a plank of wood. The performance modeling and the material physics involved in creating a new board require talented professionals form a variety of fields for even a marginal improvement.

My point is that moving forward requires R&D. At first advances can be made by a regular guy with an idea but eventually it requires a professional team with a big wallet.

Edited by epilektric on 01/04/2013 13:07:25 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Cottage stagnation is just another way of saying main stream progress on 01/04/2013 14:20:46 MST Print View

Personal opinions, not any form of BPL statement.

> BPL itself - I think it has definitely degenerated from a information saturated
> gearhead site to a somewhat dumbed down gear hawking and reviewing site. Just a
> few more steps and it will be something like "Runners World", owned and seemingly
> run by the industry that buys its ads.
Could be difficult to get it 'run by the industry that buys its ads' - BPL does not run ads like Running World, and probably never will.
Gear hawking ... the For Sale department seems hugely popular?
Gear reviewing ... isn't that 'information'?

> moving forward requires R&D. At first advances can be made by a regular guy with
> an idea but eventually it requires a professional team with a big wallet.
This bit is TRUE. Very true. OK, maybe sad as well, but.

Cheers

Jan S
(karl-ton)
Boilerwerks on 03/07/2013 22:02:22 MST Print View

While I think it's great that there is a new stove system I must disappoint a bit: It's not exactly new. Apparently these guys http://www.kellykettle.com/ have been making a quite similar design for about 120 years (http://www.kellykettle.com/history-of-the-kelly-kettle.html).

I also guess innovation gets hard at some point if you aim to make products that are simple and durable. There is always demand for quality workmanship, customisation and good company-buyer relations though. So I can live quite happily in a world without groundbreaking new stuff each year.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Boilerwerks on 03/07/2013 22:05:13 MST Print View

"While I think it's great that there is a new stove system I must disappoint a bit: It's not exactly new."

You're not disappointing a bit at all. Devon was quite up front about where his idea came from, you're not telling us some secret we didn't already know.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Boilerwerks on 03/07/2013 22:23:30 MST Print View

If you were to do a search on the site you would know the history,but I'll make it easy for you here is the original 6 year old thread that started it all.

Jan S
(karl-ton)
Re: Re: Boilerwerks on 03/08/2013 09:43:00 MST Print View

Note to self: Don't try to write something humorous in a foreign language at 4 in the morning.

Sorry if that came out all wrong. I did not want to say that Devin somehow stole the design or did anything wrong. Quite the opposite actually, they do look terrific.

But I do think there is a bit of irony that a concept that is at least 120 years old gets featured at the end of an article that mainly talks about a lack of innovation. But then again I have long suspected that my understanding of innovation is somehow flawed.

Right. I said enough given that the article is 2 years old.

dan mchale
(wildlife) - MLife

Locale: Cascadia
memborship on 03/08/2013 14:47:46 MST Print View

"This article used to be open to non members."

What I like about having become a life member is that it makes it look like ALL of my old posts were made as a life member. Nice perk.