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W/B jackets and fragility
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Joel Benford
(Morte66) - M

Locale: Surrey flatlands, England
W/B jackets and fragility on 05/17/2013 06:53:30 MDT Print View

It seems W/B jackets have a bit of a reputation for fragility (and expensiveness). I've always been very careful with mine, not rolling/folding/stuffing them too tight, to protect the seam tape and the zips. I've been fine so far. But ever since I subscribed to a certain lightweight backpacking publication, I've started obsessing with making things smaller and my pack lighter.

So is everybody reading this thinking "I've rolled mine up to the size of a coke can for years and it's fine", or do I really need to worry about this?

Also, any thoughts about alternative ways to stow them? E.g. maybe I could hang it off the outside of the pack somehow, meaning bulk doesn't matter so much.

Edited by Morte66 on 05/17/2013 09:45:39 MDT.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
OR, REI, MEC, EB and bears ... on 05/17/2013 15:22:11 MDT Print View

buy from OR, REI, MEC, EB, or other places with no questions asked warranty

ALL things fail ... generally the lighter it is the less durable it is ... and the more you use it the faster it goes kaput

buy it from somewhere that will take care of it even if you get mauled by a cute friendly bear ;)

Julian Bender
(jbphilly) - F
REI policy on 05/17/2013 15:36:39 MDT Print View

This is tangential, but I just today found out that REI's policy is apparently not unconditional anymore...I think there's been some discussion about this elsewhere.

If people want to know, I had a mini tool that I found was just not adequate in terms of the leverage it gave me and the access it gave to the torx bolts on my disc brakes, because of its size, so I was essentially going to swap it for a different tool or type of tool. It was in virtually new condition, i.e. could probably be sold for a few bucks off list price at a garage sale - this is definitely not a worn-out piece of clothing that would have to be thrown away.

Anyway, I was told that they now only accept returns if the product is faulty in some way. I got the sense that if I put up a fuss, I could probably get my money back, but I didn't feel like busting the clerk's balls and ruining his day over it. However, what bothered me is that nobody there there acknowledged that the policy used to be different, which seems dishonest.

I've heard a few mentions here and there, over the past months, of people encountering similar issues, though it doesn't look to me like their wording of the policy has changed (not that I can remember what it used to be).

What that will mean for their business model remains to be determined, though I bet it's not good...

Edited by jbphilly on 05/17/2013 15:56:50 MDT.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: OR, REI, MEC, EB and bears ... on 05/17/2013 15:44:48 MDT Print View

Going along the same tangent, I recently had an issue with my Cabelas Rainy River jacket. One of the toggles on the elastic in the waist was broken and since Cabelas has a "lifetime" warranty on all their house-branded products I took it to see if they'd repair/exchange it. Apparently in the past couple of years Cabelas has changed the meaning of "lifetime" to one year. They didn't offer to replace, give me a discount, repair it for a fee, or anything. The customer service guy just said sorry, its out of warranty and handed the jacket back.

TL;DR avoid Cabelas if you want a company that will stand behind their product.


eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: REI policy on 05/17/2013 16:25:21 MDT Print View

if REI doesnt take care of it ... complain publicly in the fbook page and to the BBB bureau ...

they DONT lists exceptions on their website

The REI Guarantee
We stand behind everything we sell. If at any time your REI purchase doesn't meet your expectations, you can return it for a replacement or refund. What's more, if you're an REI member, you don’t even need a receipt—we'll have a record of your purchase.

We have been outfitting outdoor adventurers since 1938. And in that time, we've learned a lot about what makes great gear. Our employees continually use all the gear we have to do the same activities that you do—from weekend day hikes to ascents in the Himalayas.

Plus, we listen to your feedback. All of it. Bottom line? You can count on everything we offer to be highly functional and 100% satisfaction guaranteed. Which means you can't go wrong with gear from REI.

If you're ever dissatisfied with an item, you may return or exchange your or purchases at any REI store or through mail order.

they re falsely advertising if they dont honor it ...

steven franchuk
Re: W/B jackets and fragility on 05/17/2013 17:27:03 MDT Print View

"It seems W/B jackets have a bit of a reputation for fragility (and expensiveness)."

A good quality Event or Gortex jacket will last a long time. They are not fragile in my experience. However they cost more. Low cost WPB jackets typically use Polyurethane which is not as durable or as breathable as the PTFE membrane used in Event and Gortex jackets. Polyurethane will eventually delaminate, peal or flake off.

So in short you get what you pay for.

Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
W/B ? on 05/17/2013 19:00:45 MDT Print View

I don't understand what half of the posts are about due to the extensive use of abbreviations with unknown meanings... at least to me... though I doubt I'm the only one that encounters this... Even in technical journals they at least spell it out in full the first time a term is used and then the abbreviation the rest of the article...

so... what the heck is W/B ???? Probably something obvious, I just can't think of it right now... :(


steven franchuk
Re: W/B ? on 05/17/2013 19:28:37 MDT Print View

"I don't understand what half of the posts are about due to the extensive use of abbreviations with unknown meanings... at least to me."

W/B is referring to waterproof breathable. More often referred to as WPB.

PTFE is referring to Polytetrafluoroethylene which is commonly called
Teflon. When a sheet of PTFE is stretched, microscopic holes open up in the material allowing air to flow through yet still block the flow of water.

The remainder of the abbreviations are for outdoor gear retailers or manufacturers.

Edited by Surf on 05/17/2013 19:38:45 MDT.

Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
thanks on 05/17/2013 21:36:05 MDT Print View

Thanks for clarifying W/B. The way the original post was written it made me think W/B was a brand name... a specific band jacket...

Anyway, regarding REI, I don't believe their return policy has changed in decades. Nor do I believe it has changed now. I think the post relating a different policy was perhaps just one single REI employee who had gone 'off the reservation' ... so to speak.

I asked recently and they will even take back opened mapping DVDs and used ropes... return policies don't get better than that !


Julian Bender
(jbphilly) - F
REI policy on 05/18/2013 13:52:09 MDT Print View

If you don't believe me about the REI return policy change, just google "REI return policy change" and look at any of the results from 2013 - you'll find a number of people confirming it. What bothers me is that in all cases, mine included, the staff didn't seem to acknowledge that anything had, in fact, changed, when any long-time customer would know it had.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: REI policy on 05/18/2013 15:25:40 MDT Print View

well first of all theyll need to change the wording on their website ...

second of all theyll need to implement a cutover date ... as all good purchased prior to this date they would have the "old" guarantee

like i said itll be false advertising notably this part

if at any time your REI purchase doesn't meet your expectations, you can return it for a replacement or refund.

if you need to start screaming to get them to honor their policy ... or if they change it ... vote with yr dollars, dont shop at REI anymore

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: REI policy on 05/18/2013 15:33:39 MDT Print View


"...If you don't believe me about the REI return policy change, just google "REI return policy change"..."

I googled your exact phrase and found nothing. I googled other phrases, and found nothing.

Please provide One link that reflects the policy change that is from REI, and not just heresay.


Edited by greg23 on 05/18/2013 15:57:32 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: REI policy on 05/18/2013 15:40:33 MDT Print View

... and everyone know about Patagonia's "bomber" warranty, right?

"If you are not satisfied with one of our products at the time you receive it, or if one of our products does not perform to your satisfaction, you may return it to us for repair, replacement, or refund. Damage due to wear and tear will be repaired at a reasonable charge."

To repeat: Damage due to wear and tear will be repaired at a reasonable charge

They learned how to deal with abusers long ago. So far, REI is still bending over...

Edited by greg23 on 05/18/2013 15:58:45 MDT.

Julian Bender
(jbphilly) - F
REI policy on 05/18/2013 16:22:12 MDT Print View

This is starting to derail the thread but...some 2013 results from the first few pages of googling for "REI return policy change". Did you really do the search and not see these?!
Relevant quote from a manager: "policy hasn't changed, we just don't take returns for wear and tear anymore as people have been abusing it"
(since the policy before was that ALL returns are accepted, that means policy actually has changed)
There's the initial story, but several pages in also an account from Denver, where "They guy told me that rei is moving towards a new policy but he would go ahead and do the return this time. He said there needs to be something actually "wrong" with them for return... So I purchased a mug last week and when I got home it turned out it leaked. So when I went in to exchange it, I asked the ladies up front about my experience two weeks prior. They both thought the guy was crazy and one hasn't heard about the upcoming policy change. The more senior lady said that it was going to be more for more refusals of normal wear and tear returns."
Here's an REI employee discussing it.

I've also seen someone on Facebook complaining about it in the DC area, though I obviously can't link you that.

And there's this thread on BPL discussing it:

It seems changes are going on behind the scenes, but even staff haven't been clearly instructed on any kind of official change, and possibly are being told not to acknowledge changes explicitly? In any case, my returns (which were in the nature of an item not working out for me, not excessive wear and tear or heavy use) were refused, and so have other people, which demonstrates that SOMETHING is changing.

Edited by jbphilly on 05/18/2013 16:25:15 MDT.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: REI policy on 05/18/2013 16:28:52 MDT Print View

im not quite sure what recourse you have down in the states ... but with the way their policy is worded i would complain to the BBB and also whatever body regulates false advertising down there

if they want to change their policy its their call ... but claiming the 100% satisfaction anytime guarantee at the same time is a total lie

like any company, theyll get away with it if you dont speak up loudly and file official complaints

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: REI policy on 05/18/2013 16:30:29 MDT Print View


All three are forum posts.
Just like yours.

I'm not denying them, or discrediting them. I'm sure everyone believes what they heard.

But with 128 stores, and 11,000 employees, more than a few are certain to be frustrated with abusers, so it's not surprising to hear these reports.

I still don't see anything from REI.

Just saying...

I will welcome the day that it happens.

Edited by greg23 on 05/18/2013 16:52:12 MDT.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Re: REI policy on 05/19/2013 05:46:43 MDT Print View

I just returned 2 osprey packs that I've had for more than a few years - and the guy took them back no problem. The guy was even cheerful about it.

Julian Bender
(jbphilly) - F
REI policy update on 06/05/2013 12:13:38 MDT Print View

Just stopping in to say it looks like it's finally official

We stand behind everything we sell. If you are not satisfied with your REI purchase, you can return it for a replacement or refund. Items must be returned within a year of purchase, except items purchased from REI-OUTLET which must be returned within 30 days of purchase.

REI’s guarantee doesn’t cover ordinary wear and tear or damage caused by improper use or accidents.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
WPB jackets and fragility on 06/05/2013 13:06:44 MDT Print View

Joel, I think your impression comes from several areas. Some more valid than others.

In the last ~3 years we've seen a lot of light PU WPB jackets with very thin coatings, which seem prone to delamination on the shoulders (presumably from pack straps). I think the frequency of this has been overblown, but it is a relevant concern IF you wear your jacket a lot.

My own experience is that comparably light Goretex does not have similar issues. These start at 250 MSRP, generally. My 6 oz Haglofs Ozo (Paclite) is a little over 2 years old now, has had a ton of use, and functions as good as new. Yes, Haglofs doesn't make it anymore. Sadface.

I haven't heard of any Event (or the more recent knock offs) delamination issues, but there are not infrequent reports of wetting out not due to DWR failure. I'm not if this is the membrane being contaminated easily, QC issues, or something else. Probably all of the above. In any case, I still consider these fabrics less reliable than G-tex.

The final issue is that all WPB jackets have fairly acute performance limitations, and manufacturers have shot themselves in the foot repeatedly by claiming otherwise. Most egregious of this is a lack of education on how and when to maintain DWR treatments. I would estimate that 95% of the "worn out" WPB jackets in the world just needed a simple DWR reproof.

I cram my Ozo into tiny spaces in my pack, roll it tight, sit on it, and generally don't worry about babying it. I do not believe this detracts from longevity.

Edited by DaveC on 06/05/2013 13:09:46 MDT.

Joel Benford
(Morte66) - M

Locale: Surrey flatlands, England
Re: WPB jackets and fragility on 06/05/2013 15:46:16 MDT Print View

Cool. I do look after my fabric/DWR -- I wash the jackets to get the sweat out, and I reproof them before they need it so there's plenty left for the new proofer to bond to.

I was mostly worried about zips deforming or seam tape peeling off due to tight folding. Nice to know somebody is getting away with that. I think my jacket is pretty well made, so I'll push it a bit more.