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Maia
(maia) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
The Politics of Cottage Consumption on 07/03/2013 00:53:33 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

The Politics of Cottage Consumption

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: The Politics of Cottage Consumption on 07/03/2013 01:08:43 MDT Print View

Noble thoughts.

In the end the marketplace will decide -- that is: supply and demand. Light weight isn't new. I have seen very few innovative designs in the past few decades. What I have seen are new and improved raw materials that the outdoor industry uses; Cuben and titanium come to mind. The smart consumer will by the best product at the best price, without prejudice as to what segment of the industry produced it, or where it was produced.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: The Politics of Cottage Consumption on 07/03/2013 02:36:20 MDT Print View

The smart consumer will by the best product at the best price, without prejudice as to what segment of the industry produced it, or where it was produced.

Ahhhhhh, the smart consumer ... does that sub-species make up enough of the market to lead the "broad market" producers anywhere other than into the realm of perception (rather than reality)?

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: The Politics of Cottage Consumption on 07/03/2013 06:16:47 MDT Print View

"An educated consumer is the best customer"- Sy Sims

spelt the enigmatic
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Re: The Politics of Cottage Consumption on 07/03/2013 07:31:33 MDT Print View



For some, the latter things are part of the criteria used to determine best.

Curtis B.
(rutilate) - MLife

Locale: New England
True innovation on 07/03/2013 10:01:41 MDT Print View

If the answer is true innovation, how about we as UL consumers partner with a willing gear manufacturer and crowdsource new and truly innovative products that exactly meet our needs, rather than waiting for someone to get "close enough"?

Benjamin Payne
(bpayne) - M
Watch This Space on 07/03/2013 10:09:51 MDT Print View

I'm actually thinking of doing something very similar to that, Curtis.

Curtis B.
(rutilate) - MLife

Locale: New England
Crowdsourcing on 07/03/2013 10:36:45 MDT Print View

There is a ton of momentum in many different industries around crowdsourcing, which minimizes R&D costs, provides a stronger guarantee of adoption and sales. A large photography community worked closely with Nikon to build a camera that married the best features of recent Nikon and Canon cameras and perfectly met the large community needs. The challenge is the size, reachability, and financials of the desired audience which determines the ROI.

There is a HUGE level of expertise here in this community, and some (but not necessarily all) cottage manufacturers have been very willing to listen to gear wishes and design recommendations.

I wonder if the first step might be to create a crowdsourced wish-list of gear or improvements that this community would vote on. The outcome should be a prioritized list of high value, low investment gear elements to either build or use to approach willing manufacturers.

Edited by rutilate on 07/03/2013 10:41:46 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
What innovation do you seek? on 07/03/2013 11:06:58 MDT Print View

Backpacking is just walking in the wilderness. Many do it these days with some pretty light gear, to include thru hikes of major long distance trails. Given that, what innovative gear or equipment do people seek that would enhance or simplify their hiking? Do people seek solutions that are substitutes for skill and experience?

Benjamin Payne
(bpayne) - M
Crowdsourcing #2 on 07/03/2013 11:14:58 MDT Print View

It certainly is, and I think it will only become a more common way to research, develop, and fund new products. I was thinking of developing one product (a backpack, most likely) to begin with, and seeking community input on design, features, materials, etc.

M G
(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
BPL packs on 07/03/2013 11:24:13 MDT Print View

I know the collective memory here is rather short but didn't BPL take this crowdsourcing approach with the packs they briefly sold in ~2010 before fetting out of the gear business? I recall taking a survey and then being offered the opportunity to purchase a pack.

In general not sure how I feel about groupthink and design by committee. Having said that I have long felt that a crowdsourced approach to building an ultralight data logger sized GPS device with the ability to display locations in multiple coordinate systems would be a great project. One that many have asked for and spec'ed out in these forums over the years.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: BPL packs on 07/03/2013 11:41:07 MDT Print View

"In general not sure how I feel about groupthink and design by committee."

It is a recipe to inhibit innovation. It drives compromise and development of the average.

M G
(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
Re: Re: BPL packs on 07/03/2013 14:19:52 MDT Print View

Nick,

That has been my experience as well, the greater the number of people, the greater the compromises and the less elegant and successful the final design. That is only my limited experience, perhaps there are successful examples found elsewhere. I'm genuinely curious about this, and in particular how the BPL packs were received and perceived. They definitely do not seem like a popular pack these days? But that may be a function of their availability.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: BPL packs on 07/03/2013 14:51:11 MDT Print View

Seems like everyone is making a pack these days. The innovation comes from the exceptional individual who understands what works and what the public wants. Marry those two items and you can be successful. But look at everything on the market and they are just clones of something that has already been produced. They only thing that has truly changed are the materials used, and those were not developed by the backpacking industry.

Dick Kelty was an innovator. Whoever built the first internal frame pack was an innovator (no consensus on who this was).

Because I own a couple, I can say Dan McHale is an innovator. His integration of past designs by others, his awesome hip belts, construction techniques, and his patented P&G extensions and by-pass harness are all innovative and make for excellent packs. I have owned many packs over the years, and having used my McHales a lot, I now find the whole subject of backpacks boring.

Crowd sourcing is just a scam by wannabes who don't have a viable product that can secure financing through traditional means.

Bottom line... There is a plethora of good quality lightweight gear available today. This endless search for the perfect item for each piece of grear to create the nirvana of kit is just plain rediculous.

I think people should forget about what is best and just get out and hike a lot. That is the bottom line, isn't it?

Lars Laird Iversen
(larslaird) - M
Groupthing vs crowdsourcing on 07/03/2013 14:51:44 MDT Print View

I´m sure there are people here with more insight in these things than me, but I have just done a bit of reading on brainstorming, groupthink and collective creativity.

As far as I can read the research, groupthink becomes problematic when members of the group are trying to "manage their presentation of self" (ie, impress). Brainstorming and other such ideas do not work well as long as the members are trying to achieve status of some kind. And most people are, most of the time. If not actively looking for status, most people are (thank God) somewhat socially self-conscious.

I guess the problem with design by committee, is that you tend to get everyones veto-es, rather than everyones ideas.

However, collecting the ideas and knowledge from a larger team is usually a good way to higher quality (though certainly not a time-saver). Apparently, the trick is to find a situation where people generate and communicate their ideas outside of a collective group context. Brainstormings work better if the group is asked to write down all their ideas for three minutes, and then hand in their contributions anonymously to an administrator that then mixes and mashes the ideas before the group again gets the ideas in return for further refinement and evaluation.

Crowdsourcing at BPL would do well to avoid a general brainstorming in the forums. Many people would feel that the threshold is too high for their ideas, and still more would go down the "lighter-than-thou" path. But getting members of BPL to share their wisdom and experiences will certainly be useful. An anonymous poll, or a personal message system, or some other mechanism to sever self-presentation from genuine creativity would be useful.

I think one of the reasons why crowdsourcing on the web sometimes is a success, is that it is a community of strangers (more or less). You get the benefit of the group, but, if done right, not the disadvantages of status anxiety.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Groupthing vs crowdsourcing on 07/03/2013 15:43:30 MDT Print View

>groupthink becomes problematic when members of the group are trying to "manage their presentation of self" (ie, impress). Brainstorming and other such ideas do not work well as long as the members are trying to achieve status of some kind."

True that.

Dilbert bragging

peter vacco
(fluff@inreach.com) - M

Locale: no. california
Re: Re: Re: Re: BPL packs on 07/03/2013 17:05:12 MDT Print View

" I have owned many packs over the years, and having used my McHales a lot, I now find the whole subject of backpacks boring."

ya.. huh ?
it gets like that after awhile.
---
Nick and David are quite clued in on this sort of social/production subject matter.
---
i enjoyed reading the orig article. it seemed to have the word "should" in it an AWFUL lot of times. and since those multiple "should"s seem like they might pertain at me, i wonder if the guy who worte it might anti up and produce something on his own outside of directives for the creative individuals who are doing the work that makes cottage industry products available.

the whole subject of "how are we going to most effectively tell chicken little how to make bread ? " is sort of obtuse to my way of thinking.
---
peter is likely Deep into "self presentation". it's just one of a plethora of self pleauring things you can do online.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
I love it! on 07/03/2013 17:44:58 MDT Print View

> Avoiding a real need for education, the fundamental skills and techniques of
> lightweight hiking are still largely dismissed as fringe interests while the language
> of our approach has been warmly adopted and worked, without much concern, into
> technical doublespeak.
And onwards.

I wonder: was this article written in the heat of the moment? It has fire and passion and real understanding. No cold sterile maunderings from a spin doctor trying for buy-buttons.

I love it!

Cheers and Hurrahs
PS: a committee is a dead end into which good ideas are carfully herded to be quietly buried.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
about committees: The Politics of Cottage Consumption on 07/03/2013 20:01:57 MDT Print View

PS: a committee is a dead end into which good ideas are carfully herded to be quietly buried.

Here's another one ... "a camel is a horse designed by a committee"

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
The Politics of Cottage Consumption on 07/03/2013 23:57:08 MDT Print View

hi Ben,
"while those manufacturers focused on Australia and New Zealand (with a few exceptions)have continued to stagnate "

Nice to see one exception, that Aarn pack, on you back.

BTW, BPL here hasn't been the same since you left.
Yes, much better now.

Anyway , thank you for your LW evangelising efforts in the retail industry, much appreciated.

Edited by Franco on 07/04/2013 00:45:57 MDT.

Benjamin Payne
(bpayne) - M
Franco on 07/04/2013 07:03:14 MDT Print View

Aarn could do so much more, Franco. Innovation has to be tempered by a clear aesthetic in order to be successful, in my view.

By the way, Tarptent DR did well in Indonesia, tropical rain and all.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: cottage politics on 07/04/2013 14:37:53 MDT Print View

Fantastic article. It might be more clear to replace "outdoor industry" with "world" in the last sentence.

I assume a big part of what Mr. Payne is getting at here is that traditional cost-benefit models need to be rebalanced and broadened. While it may be foreign to our current definitions, it doesn't take too much imagination to see how various ethical and humanistic rubrics might be included. The world needs this, and in ignoring it I think Nick goes wrong here.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: re: cottage politics on 07/04/2013 15:06:49 MDT Print View

"I can say Dan McHale is an innovator."

Indeed, his invention of the daisy chain was...

Actually, I was surprised to see that he has adopted bottom compression straps similar to the Golite Jam packs and those available from MLD.

Viva la Cottage.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: re: cottage politics on 07/04/2013 15:24:39 MDT Print View

"The world needs this, and in ignoring it I think Nick goes wrong here."

Ah, but that is due to different philosophies. And this thread is not the forum to discuss them :)

Good news is we both like to get outdoors a lot.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: re: cottage politics on 07/04/2013 15:24:41 MDT Print View

"...traditional cost-benefit models need to be rebalanced and broadened..."

Yeah, I'd rather pay a little more if they paid their people a fair salary, or made in the U.S. (or some country we have balanced trade with), or used more environmental methods (although that can be hard to determine).

And ha, ha, ha, it's fun to think of examples where committees have made ridiculous decisions, but there are many problems that require many people to solve, computers and medical stuff and atomic bombs... Maybe making a tent or backpack can be done by one person.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: What innovation do you seek? on 07/04/2013 17:16:11 MDT Print View

Do people seek solutions that are substitutes for skill and experience?
....

Bottom line... There is a plethora of good quality lightweight gear available today. This endless search for the perfect item for each piece of grear to create the nirvana of kit is just plain rediculous.

I think people should forget about what is best and just get out and hike a lot. That is the bottom line, isn't it?

.....



^^^^ whuddah he said

there are very few "innovative" gear ... show me one specific piece of gear BPLers use that are truly "innovative" ... and ill show you someone else who is going harder, longer, stronger, more who doesnt use that piece of "must have" gear ...

at best gear is incremental ... things get marginally lighter,marginally stronger, etc ... while the aggregate can make somewhat of a difference over time ... whether you use last years model, or this years marginally lighter shiny new one doesnt make one whit of difference except n your spreadsheet

the very few truly "innovative" gear designs are quickly copied ... witness the MEC $25 dollar patacucci fleece copies (which arent really "innovative" themselves) that work just as well ...

what is "innovative" then ??? ... its how you USE your gear, and what you DO with it ...

as to "cottage" ... what in the world does that mean ... there are "cottage" makers out there that make their gear in china, while there are "mainstream" makes out there that make most of their gear in the western world ...

buy gear that works, is backed up by a solid warranty, is at the price and weight you want, and USE it well ...

i mean what most people are doing here is walking on trails ... mostly in pretty good weather ... some ole grandma did that decades ago just fine without all this "cottage" or outdoursy brand stuff at a very light weight ...

basically most of us have devolved lower than a 1950s grandma ... where we need all the fancy gear to do what she did in Keds sneakers and carrying an army blanket, a raincoat, and a plastic shower curtain which she carried in a homemade bag slung over one shoulder"

;)

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Crowdsourcing on 07/04/2013 17:58:27 MDT Print View

Having said that I have long felt that a crowdsourced approach to building an ultralight data logger sized GPS device with the ability to display locations in multiple coordinate systems would be a great project.

earl

The interest in the product is incredible. They met and surpassed their financing goal in less than a week.

Crowd sourcing is just a scam by wannabes who don't have a viable product that can secure financing through traditional means.

One of the problems in traditional manufacturing (and publishing), is that established companies want to keep their foot in the door and keep out any upstarts who might steal their parcel of land. Manufacturers will often (usually?) not give a new and unknown innovator the time of day. So many new ideas are simply lost along the way and no one ever sees them. Sidestepping the weeding out process and getting a product out there often gives new ideas a chance that otherwise never even get seen. Often the entrenched evaluation of those reviewing new ideas fail to see the value in something new. Much of the world of design and publishing is littered with rejection slips and overflowing slush piles, not all of which are bad design or bad stories.

It is important to distinguish between running a successful business and coming up with brilliant designs and ideas. They are not necessarily inclusive of each other.

I'm struck by your disdain and dismissal, Nick. Why so harsh?

Edited by butuki on 07/04/2013 18:04:26 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Crowdsourcing on 07/04/2013 19:20:50 MDT Print View

"I'm struck by your disdain and dismissal, Nick. Why so harsh?"

Yes, I guess I was a bit harsh.

I am a businessman. I have run, bought, started, and sold several businesses in my lifetime. None failed -- actually all were very successful. Since something like 50% of all new business ventures in the US fail within 3 years, I think that is a good record. Most businesses fail because they are under-capitalized and/or the owners have no idea what they are doing.

It is one thing to come up with a great idea. It is another thing to come up with a great idea AND successfully execute it.

I did some research last year and Kickstarter's own stats show that 87% of their projects do not deliver on time. Pretty dismal results.

To launch a product you need to have the idea. Then you need prototypes to test the theory. Now you need a business plan. In manufacturing you need design engineers and manufacturing engineers to ensure the product can successfully be mass produced. You need to be ability to handle liability problems, errors and omissions, product defects, quality assurance, fulfillment processes, concern resolution, accounting, etc., etc.

It is interesting to watch Roger Caffin and his product development projects. Roger is a smart guy, so he see the obstacles ahead of time. That is why an existing manufacturer is making his tent. He realizes that even with his sophisticated equipment, he cannot economically and consistently produce his stove prototypes yet. The design is not conducive to mass production at this point without some serious investment in equipment and materials.

There are tons of savvy investors and venture capitalists that are always looking to fund products. Products where both the developer and the investor can be successful. That is because the investors have teams of experts that know how to successfully launch a product or start a business.

For more thoughts, Brother Can You Spare a Dime.

Tanner M
(Tan68)
Re: Re: re: cottage politics on 07/04/2013 22:10:43 MDT Print View

I have a Gregory pack I bought in '97. The model was a few years old at the time. It has two straps that run under the bottom of the pack.

The two straps can be used to secure a foam mat. They can also be used to tighten up (reduce volume) the rump of the pack. The bottom front/back of the bag are brought together. This is handy when not much is in the bag; the load is raised.

Is this the type of bottom compression strap Golite and MLD use?

Davey Jones
> Actually, I was surprised to see that he has adopted bottom compression straps similar to the Golite Jam packs and those available from MLD.

Edited by Tan68 on 07/04/2013 22:12:33 MDT.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: Re: re: cottage politics on 07/04/2013 22:41:41 MDT Print View

Tanner,

Not exactly. These compression straps only serve to reduce volume and will not carry gear.

Here is a pic of the Golite Jam:

Jam

Tanner M
(Tan68)
Re: Re: Re: Re: re: cottage politics on 07/04/2013 23:30:17 MDT Print View

I see.

The Gregory straps run from the bottom of the back panel, across the.. bottom, and then join the front panel. The whole bottom can be pinched shut. Clothes or small stuff fit in the wedge created. A sleeping bag is moved up 5 or so inches.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: re: cottage politics on 07/04/2013 23:36:18 MDT Print View

Here is a pic of what Mchale is doing posted from the Mchale website to give you an even better look at the feature.

Com

dan mchale
(wildlife) - MLife

Locale: Cascadia
innovation on 07/05/2013 01:03:21 MDT Print View

My large packs from the 70s, 80, and 90s could do this. I simply adopted it from my own past since it is back in vogue now. All of my older Alpineers from those years had the hardware for this. Plus, my current hardware allows somebody to carry gear down there as well as compress, like my old packs did, so again, it is inaccurate to say I adopted it from GoLite or MLD. Compressing the bottom of a pack is nothing new. It is something I quit doing in the later 90s to simplify packs. The way I do it now is simply a lighter way than I once did it.

Edited by wildlife on 07/05/2013 01:04:47 MDT.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: innovation on 07/05/2013 07:41:21 MDT Print View

You had mentioned previously that this was something "new" that you had added.

I guess what's old is new again and innovation recycles itself.

Anthony Huhn
(anthonyjhuhn) - F - MLife

Locale: Mid West
Innovation at Home on 07/06/2013 08:43:47 MDT Print View

The best products for YOU are the ones that YOU make for yourself.
Making your own gear is the epitome of the lightweight philosophy and self sufficiency.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Innovation at Home on 07/06/2013 08:47:27 MDT Print View

"The best products for YOU are the ones that YOU make for yourself."

Says you. While MYOG is great. Everyone does not like making things that can be purchased rather easily. By the time you factor in your time honing your design and materials for prototypes etc.. A lot of these cottage guys are selling pretty cheaply.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
"...toward greater consolidation." Hmmmm... on 07/06/2013 13:15:01 MDT Print View

We can see from the fossil record that in the "Bronze Age" of backpacking we had a choice of Kelty or Camp Trails for backpacks. Then came Gerry's innovative modular frame pack. Then Jensen's frameless compartmentalized pack, then The North Face Ruthsack internal frame. Then Gregory, Mountainsmith, etc., etc.

Now we have some good European and Aussie packs PLUS the many packs from US and foreign cottage industries and small makers like GoLite.

WHAT "greater consolidation" of the backpacking industry, pray tell is the author referring to??

Shall I go on about tents now as a further example of production and design proliferation? No, I'll spare our gentle readers that trouble.

Edited by Danepacker on 07/06/2013 13:16:34 MDT.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
innovation and weight reduction on 07/06/2013 13:17:22 MDT Print View

Innovation in lightweight gear runs into a basic fact; there are two ways to reduce an item's weight.

1) use less material in the item's construction.
2) use lighter materials.

There are no other ways to do it. So once you simplify and reduce the size of an item as far as possible (thus reducing the amount of material) and use the lightest material available that will do the job, you can't go any further until a new, lighter material is developed. And in the ultralite gear world, that means waiting for some other industry to come up with that lightweight material, since our market is so small that it doesn't pay to develop materials just for it - we have to adapt stuff that is created for other uses. Thus, the lightest canister stoves hover around 1.5 ounces for now because you just can't remove any more material without compromising the utility of the stove. Maybe you could get under an ounce if cost was no object and elusive alloys were utilised, but that pushes the cost up to where it won't sell.

So innovative design mostly happens in that area somewhat above the lightest weight end of the spectrum, where there is still room for "features" (and features always add weight). To get into SUL and XSUL base weights you basically forgo features and minimalism controls the design. When you are carrying a total packweight of 15 lbs, with food and water and everything, your pack can be a stuffsack with straps and still work fine, so that's what the SUL packs tend towards, and there's no room for innovation in a Cuben stuffsack with straps - any innovation you make adds weight. But a little further up the spectrum there is room in the weight budget for pockets and other conveniences, and the need for appropriate suspension design, and so innovation can happen, but it is always restrained by the two basic weight reduction constraints.

Innovation can also be using a material that nobody else has yet used for that particular purpose, and that generally involves increased cost - as with Cuben and titanium taking the place of nylon and aluminum.

It seems like there is a lot of hope that some new design for a tent will magically be lighter while using the same materials, but it just doesn't happen. We don't have lighter tents today because of innovative design so much as because of lighter materials and in some cases simply smaller size.


With all of that said I do think there is room for improvement in some of the gear that is available, which is why I still make some of my own gear. I make my own packs because I think mine are better for my use than what I can buy. But I wouldn't make my own tent for 3-season use since I know I can't do any better than Henry Shires does or a few others. I might make my own spring snow-camping shelter because I don't see what I need on the market - not surprising for a niche so tiny.

And that is truly the key here - size of market. When the market is truly tiny and product development is expensive, that's when you don't see innovation because it doesn't pay. Ultralight gear hovers on the edge of that equation.

I realize I'm veering into rant territory here, but basically I wanted to point out that if we want to foster innovation we had better be clear on the factors that affect it and constrain it so that we can at least attempt to push where the pushing will be effective.

j lan
(justaddfuel) - F

Locale: MN
Re: Re: Re: Crowdsourcing on 07/06/2013 13:29:02 MDT Print View

Nick, the time you spend congratulating yourself on this forum is impressive. If you truly are the midas golden touch,I would suspect less of that behavior, let's talk about your failures you are trying to compensate for. I relate to you and I will relate to you much more if we can come together on business failures, bad ideas, etc.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: innovation and weight reduction on 07/06/2013 13:31:39 MDT Print View

"Innovation in lightweight gear runs into a basic fact; there are two ways to reduce an item's weight."

It this the only goal?

dan mchale
(wildlife) - MLife

Locale: Cascadia
Dave Ure loves Dan on 07/06/2013 13:44:00 MDT Print View

David Ure, (Davy Jones) said,

"I can say Dan McHale is an innovator."

David likes my stuff so much he is using one of my photographs as his avatar. I'm flattered Dave! Where is that lake David?

Edited by wildlife on 07/06/2013 13:53:06 MDT.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Spread the word on 07/06/2013 13:49:02 MDT Print View

>"And that is truly the key here - size of market. When the market is truly tiny and product development is expensive, that's when you don't see innovation because it doesn't pay. Ultralight gear hovers on the edge of that equation."

Paul: Agreed. Until you get to REI's shelves, it's really hard to make price points and get the exposure that would bring in more customers.

I see sustainability people in my area partnering with homesteader types, off-the-gridders, organic-food advocates, and preppers because they are all into locally-grown food for their own reasons.

When I was looking for a youtube on the Vargo Hexagon wood stove, half of them were by UL types but the other half was by preppers.

We've got some authors right on this website doing great research and write-ups but then preaching to the choir. How about submitting articles to Field & Stream and Backwoodsman Magazines? - those guys will spend big bucks if it could marginally help them bag a trophy deer or survive the coming zombie hordes.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Spread the word on 07/06/2013 13:54:34 MDT Print View

Sometimes people are driven by financial reward (let's call that the "Nick" crowd)

But sometimes people are driven by intelectual curiosity

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Crowdsourcing on 07/06/2013 13:58:14 MDT Print View

James,

I don't understand what your point is.

My point is that most start up businesses fail. You can look at failure in many ways; missing adequate ROI, product failures, missing product delivery time forecasts, or even dissolution of the company. Rates run the range of 40% - 95% in the FIRST year, depending upon your definition of success.

Even Kickstarter admits that their projects are late 87% of the time (I got this fact off the their website last year).

How do you know a product will even do what the start up person says it will do? What recourse do you have if it doesn't work as advertised? How do you know the person has a successful track record in product development.

With crowdfunding you are not investing in a company, you are taking a risk the product will work. The buyers are taking the risk, usually not the product developer. Also look at the low level contributions... these really fall into the realm of donations or charity.

If I want to donate money to someone, I will give my money to organizations that help children or to cure disease; not someone who has a dream, cannot fund it or is unwilling to risk their own money, or cannot find funding through conventional methods.

Do I want to give my money to someone who MIGHT be able to make some new gizmo that we really don't need, or a child who has suffered some tragedy beyond the control of the parents or family?

If I want to invest money, I will invest in a company that has a good chance of being successful and returning a significant profit to me in return for my risk -- and I know how to analyze those opportunities. Crowdfunding does not present these kinds of opportunities. If I am interested in a new product I will wait until it comes to market and is shown to be successful.

dan mchale
(wildlife) - MLife

Locale: Cascadia
intel on 07/06/2013 14:01:46 MDT Print View

Jerry, you misspelled intellectual. That's a no no. :>)

"But sometimes people are driven by intelectual curiosity."

Did anyone notice that Davy Jones and Dan McHale have the same avatar? What's up with that? Maybe it's because their first names start with the same letter? Maybe Dave forgot where he got it? Maybe Dave doesn't do enough hiking to take his own photos?

Edited by wildlife on 07/07/2013 11:50:32 MDT.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: intel on 07/06/2013 14:04:10 MDT Print View

Hi Trace.

Ha!

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Crowdsourcing on 07/06/2013 14:05:15 MDT Print View

Bad analogy, Midas starved to death.

dan mchale
(wildlife) - MLife

Locale: Cascadia
curious on 07/06/2013 14:09:13 MDT Print View

What are you getting at now my brilliant friend?

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: intel on 07/06/2013 14:09:14 MDT Print View

If I was intelectual, I'de know how to spell it : )

That's weird, after I hit refresh button, DJs avatar switched from squid face to mountain lake and DM from a different scene to the same mountain lake

This is so confusing that people are constantly changing names and avatars : )

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Crowdsourcing on 07/06/2013 14:10:47 MDT Print View

"Bad analogy, Midas starved to death."

But not Midas Mulligan.

dan mchale
(wildlife) - MLife

Locale: Cascadia
photo on 07/06/2013 14:11:24 MDT Print View

Jerry, I was pointing out that Davy is using a photo of mine as his avatar. That in itself is not a big deal. I wonder if he knows where the lake in his avatar is located. You'd think he would have something else to show people besides a squid face or a photo of mine he lifted.

Edited by wildlife on 07/06/2013 14:16:44 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Spread the word on 07/06/2013 14:12:22 MDT Print View

"But sometimes people are driven by intelectual curiosity"

Perhaps. But sometimes it sounds like a bunch of spoiled children wanting a new toy.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: The Politics of Cottage Consumption on 07/06/2013 14:14:33 MDT Print View

Once again the forum discussion is more interesting than the article.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: photo on 07/06/2013 14:15:50 MDT Print View

That's YOUR photo?

It was posted by someone by the name of Trace @ www.trailspace.com which is where I got the picture. From what I believe it is Pinnacle Lake. Did HE take it from you?

This can't be you, can it? If it is, that is some pretty special intel you were pulling yourself! Of course, I figured it out on the thread. Transparency is a difficult concept for you. When I confronted you, you started calling people idiots. LOL.

Here is the link: http://www.trailspace.com/forums/gear-selection/topics/113220.html#113596

I have a suggestion: maybe write your responses on word and edit them there. You keep changing your posts and it all gets really confusing.

Edited by FamilyGuy on 07/07/2013 22:25:14 MDT.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: photo on 07/06/2013 14:18:20 MDT Print View

Oh and Dan - as I mentioned to you before: Davey Jones IS the Squid Face. Cool, huh?

Would you like me to remove the picture of Pinnacle Lake?

No problem.

dan mchale
(wildlife) - MLife

Locale: Cascadia
Trace on 07/06/2013 14:19:38 MDT Print View

I was Trace. At that point in time I was trying to find out who a guy was using the avatar CWF that was saying things about my packs. I had no I idea it was you. There was no evidence of David Ure anywhere. You have since changed it to Family Guy. I'll bet you are a great family guy. Don't you have 2 boys? What do they do while you waste your time on the net?

Edited by wildlife on 07/06/2013 14:20:18 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Crowdsourcing on 07/06/2013 14:19:59 MDT Print View

Midas?

Midas Mulligan?

People constantly changing their names and avatars?

I am just getting so confused...

dan mchale
(wildlife) - MLife

Locale: Cascadia
stay away on 07/06/2013 14:22:05 MDT Print View

Jerry, I'm just pointing out you want to stay away from the Davy Jones creep.

Davy, Don't worry about anything. I saved your CWF posts. What's that stand for anyway? Should we have a guessing game contest?

Edited by wildlife on 07/06/2013 14:25:40 MDT.

Kevin Schneringer
(Slammer) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma Flat Lands
Intro music on 07/06/2013 14:24:07 MDT Print View

I think instead of Avatars that Dan & Davey
Need intro music like Pro Wrestlers.

I can't stop watching! This is so entertaining.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Trace on 07/06/2013 14:25:28 MDT Print View

"You have since changed it to Family Guy."

Nice try. I can't change that.

You sneaky little devil.

Hilarious - you edited again!!!

I have a Mchale LBP38 for sale; anyone interested? ; )

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Trace on 07/06/2013 14:25:37 MDT Print View

Ugh.
Is this really going to get ugly and personal, including the kids?
Can we rewind ?

Ed Biermann
(longstride) - F
Re: I don't really like this on 07/06/2013 14:33:54 MDT Print View

I'm lost. I don't care. You two should just get a room and get it over with. Grow up. Now back to whatever else was going on here.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: Trace on 07/06/2013 14:35:36 MDT Print View

It's okay Kat - he is wrong on the family type anyway.

Dan, it really doesn't matter if someone says your packs are great for something specific (which I did) because you will always find an issue with that. Your packs are to be the best for everything. Of course, we know that is not possible because people are individuals and want different things from their gear, not to mention at specific price points. In addition, innovation is remarkably individualistic. You say you created the daisy chain (I refuse to bring that thread up so do a search) and now the bottom volume reducers that Golite and MLD have used successfully. Fine. I thought you had adopted it from them supported by your comment to me that they were 'new.' And what is so wrong about that? Adoption. Adopting ideas makes innovation that much more effective.

But your approach has been, and will continue to be, ATTACK, ATTACK, EDIT, ATTACK, EDIT. It gets tiring.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Trace on 07/06/2013 14:35:58 MDT Print View

"Nice try. I can't change that."

At least the name in parentheses is constant so there is a chance to find my way out of the confusion.

I think mostly personal attacks should just be ignored, characteristic of the internets.

I can understand Dan defending himself when people are critical of his packs because that's his livelihood.

dan mchale
(wildlife) - MLife

Locale: Cascadia
relevent on 07/06/2013 14:37:16 MDT Print View

This is just about the people like David Ure that make the internet less valuable than it otherwise might be.

I never claimed to invented the daisy chain, and I am not editing in a way that changes things, like adding this sentence to and existing sentence or fixing spelling etc. What you did at trailspace was basically say my pack wasn't working for you while you were CWF but under other names you said otherwise. You hadn't even told me you had an issues with it. I caught you at it is all. When you changed the name to Family guy recently, it changed the context of what was there under another name.

David Ure said,

" You say you created the daisy chain (I refuse to bring that thread up so do a search)"

He says something like that and can't back it up and doesn't even try. Who is he telling to do a search? Is it for me to do or a reader? How about the guy claiming what I said doing the search?

Edited by wildlife on 07/07/2013 17:01:00 MDT.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Trace on 07/06/2013 14:38:20 MDT Print View

Indeed, Jerry. But no where were his packs criticized on this thread.

CWF? Last straw...grasped. ; )

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Re: Trace on 07/06/2013 14:47:55 MDT Print View

"I never claimed to invent the daisy chain, and I am not editing in a way that changes things, like adding this sentence to and existing sentence."

That isn't what the PM's are telling me.

"What you did at trailspace was basically say my pack wasn't working for you while you were CWF but under other names you said otherwise. I caught you at it is all."

Caught me at what? You are correct. It didn't work for me. However, your packs do work for some. So any of my comments post that pack have been positive. General, but positive. I let other's make up their minds.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Re: Trace on 07/06/2013 14:51:50 MDT Print View

"But no where were his packs criticized on this thread."

I was just speaking in general

I agree, one pack can not be best for all applications. Saying that shouldn't be considered unfair criticism.

Tanner M
(Tan68)
Re: repugnant on 07/06/2013 15:17:46 MDT Print View

What is pot roast. I will admit I find this thread confusing. I didn't really understand the pot roast thread.

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - M

Locale: Southeast
Re: Re: serial on 07/06/2013 15:30:46 MDT Print View

Dan and David,

This thread had only cemented my prior thoughts - hiking with both of you would be a hoot. Seriously, no sarcasm intended. Let's set it up.

Tanner M
(Tan68)
Re: Re: Re: serial on 07/06/2013 15:46:28 MDT Print View

I figure you wouldn't press to be up front.

PS - I know SuperGreen. What is ViolentGreen ?

Edited by Tan68 on 07/06/2013 15:48:45 MDT.

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - M

Locale: Southeast
Re: Re: Re: Re: serial on 07/06/2013 16:03:24 MDT Print View

Tanner,

Violent green is part of a lyric of an REM song from back in the early 90's. It used to get stuck in my head all the time. Jim SubZero was asking me this the other day, maybe he will chime in with his recollection of that phrase.

Ryan

Tanner M
(Tan68)
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: serial on 07/06/2013 16:30:24 MDT Print View

I like REM. I imagine I have heard the song but don't remember hearing the words. They seem to like colors in their lyrics. At least as much if not more than other bands.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Dan and Dave on 07/06/2013 16:32:22 MDT Print View

Guys, tone it down a bit please on these main forum streams. If you want to have a go at each other, please use Chaff instead.

Cheers
Roger Caffin
Online Community Monitor
Backpacking Light

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: serial on 07/06/2013 16:35:44 MDT Print View

"Violent green is part of a lyric of an REM song from back in the early 90's."

""What's the frequency, Kenneth?" is your Benzedrine, uh-huh
Butterfly decal, rear-view mirror, dogging the scene
You smile like the cartoon, tooth for a tooth
You said that irony was the shackles of youth
You wore a shirt of violent green, uh-huh
I never understood the frequency, uh-huh"

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Dan and Dave on 07/06/2013 16:38:23 MDT Print View

If you want to have a go at each other

Tanner M
(Tan68)
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: serial on 07/06/2013 16:45:01 MDT Print View

Oh, I know that song. I typically get most lyrics. Sometimes. I can't tell you what I thought 'Off to never, never land' was... Sometimes, I mishear things.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: serial on 07/06/2013 16:52:16 MDT Print View

Here I thought yo'all were talking about something to eat. Must be Soylent Green.

dan mchale
(wildlife) - MLife

Locale: Cascadia
potroast on 07/06/2013 17:02:46 MDT Print View

" What is pot roast. "


Pot roast is generally used as a filler in deleted posts. It distracts the readers enough with thoughts of holiday and family that they don't miss what was previously there in its place. What happens is a little like what happens in the Deja Vu experience; the current reality is basically replaced by a fantasy experience in the mind of the person experiencing Deja Vu. That's the most succinctly I ever said that! It was the theme of a paper I did in school.

Good to see you Nick!

Edit; the Deja Vu thing is a bit more complicated than just that, but it is an unconscious dream state that sets it in motion. I surmised that it is when somebody imagines something they have imagined before that creates the state of familiarity, and this overlays the actual reality when the person pops back into reality.

Edited by wildlife on 07/06/2013 17:24:03 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: serial on 07/06/2013 17:10:27 MDT Print View

Soylent Green

That's what I was thinking

We must be old farts

A local restaurant has a dish called "soylent green" because it has soy in it. Forget about it - I will not touch that stuff.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: potroast on 07/06/2013 17:12:17 MDT Print View

You learn something new each day

pot roast

is talking about pot roast and soylent green pot roast?

dan mchale
(wildlife) - MLife

Locale: Cascadia
very very green on 07/06/2013 17:12:50 MDT Print View

I actually mentioned Soylent Green on a climbing blog the other day. It's on people minds.

In the future there may be Soylent Green in your pot roast. There is already Soy.

Edited by wildlife on 07/06/2013 17:14:30 MDT.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: The Politics of Cottage Consumption on 07/06/2013 17:30:54 MDT Print View

I need help. I keep trying to read the forum thread for "The Politics of Cottage Consumptions," but keep getting directed to The White Blaze!! There are about 4 people here that are not contributing to any sort of productive discussion.

Nick, I think you are adding a valuable viewpoint...I thought I should state that since you can be "controversial" in your comments. I appreciate that when you phrase things too strongly you admit it.

Tom

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - M

Locale: Southeast
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: serial on 07/06/2013 17:34:24 MDT Print View

Yep, Doug has it. Not to derail the thread any further, but you guys should Google that song title and read the story behind it. Turns out Dan Rather is an evil man.

P.S.- I apologize Tom. My posts rarely offer any value but they keep letting me post anyway.

Ryan

Edited by ViolentGreen on 07/06/2013 17:37:17 MDT.

dan mchale
(wildlife) - MLife

Locale: Cascadia
much ado about nothing? on 07/06/2013 17:52:11 MDT Print View

I read the editorial again so I could respond here finally. Imagine, reading it more than once! I wanted to give others a chance to respond first. I find it to be really irritating, much like the one Ryan wrote. There is no way large manufactures are going to push the limit of light until materials get stronger and more affordable. Why should they take that risk, especially in the light of REI reducing their return policy? There are economic realities that cannot be ignored, especially during times of recession. Where is this person living? Which planet? Is he independently wealthy and independently isolated?

Besides, the industry in general is doing a great job of making things lighter. Didn't I see that Sierra Designs has a Cuben tent? In a niche that keeps moving the goal posts, like the UL community does, it can be hard to satisfy some.

As much as I would like to be more involved in the UL game I find that economically there is a big wall there. I laugh at the whole UL thing most of the time, and I tend to deal with people backtracking from it. I can understand how the big guys feel.

Edited by wildlife on 07/07/2013 17:57:05 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: much ado about nothing? on 07/06/2013 17:58:18 MDT Print View

Nice seeing you too.

Now why don't you tell us what you really think about the article?

;)

dan mchale
(wildlife) - MLife

Locale: Cascadia
:>) on 07/06/2013 17:59:02 MDT Print View

Don't get me going. :>)

peter vacco
(fluff@inreach.com) - M

Locale: no. california
Re: Re: much ado about nothing? on 07/06/2013 22:54:52 MDT Print View

this thread reads like somebody trying to tell the fox how to suck eggs.

Tanner M
(Tan68)
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: serial on 07/07/2013 03:12:17 MDT Print View

OK.

No disrespect was meant to the author of the article by at least a couple of the four Tom C. mentions.

dan mchale
(wildlife) - MLife

Locale: Cascadia
overnight on 07/07/2013 09:51:22 MDT Print View

I was thinking about the article overnight and how I did not comment on what the author was really trying to say. Without re-reading it, which I will do with more sincere interest, I remember a couple of things that stand out. First, he mentioned something about Aussies buying American goods when they could be buying Aussie goods, like Aussies may be ignoring their own cottage industries. Second, he talks about decentralization of the backpacking industry, and in particular the American Juggernauts.

Is the author clamoring for the days when things were more regional? Is he wanting to go back to the days before the internet? The days before REI smothered everyone? God, I hope so! Is he looking for some old time diversity? Well, the article probably deserves more attention, so I'm off to read it again! I'm trying to figure where politics fits in exactly though. It reminds me of one of my favorite movie scenes. It's in Fly II where the fly has an epiphany and states, "Insects have no politics!"

Before I forget though, I want to mention REI ending its easy returns policies. Thinking about it reminds me of climate change debates about whether warming follows CO2 or vise versa. Did REI end its easy return policy because of economic hard times or because it didn't need to buy off the market any longer?

Well, without making another post I will say I read the article again. For me, it's just too much. The very first sentence is inaccurate and it just goes on from there. It makes me wish I could get to another planet somewhere that is more sane. If nothing else, this article is a clear reminder of how unhealthy an obsession can become and where it can lead to.

Edited by wildlife on 07/07/2013 10:53:23 MDT.

Benjamin Payne
(bpayne) - M
Reply on 07/08/2013 02:00:01 MDT Print View

Thanks for your comments, Dan.


'Is the author clamoring for the days when things were more regional? Is he wanting to go back to the days before the internet? The days before REI smothered everyone?'

Yes, to a certain degree. My comments regarding Australian consumers/manufacturers relates to the reality that most lightweight gear (especially cottage gear) is designed (intentionally or otherwise) for US (or at least Northern) conditions and terrain, yet many of my previous customers (and me) spend our money on such gear because there is not really any local alternative. We have no REI, and most of the larger retailers have focused on capturing the travel and 'wilderness chic' market. To the smaller brands available in Australia and New Zealand, 'lightweight' means using a slightly thinner canvas.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
The Politics of Cottage Consumption on 07/08/2013 03:46:17 MDT Print View

NZ Wilderness Magazine has had a couple of relevant articles recently - one on outdoor retailing in NZ and another on the few remaining outdoor gear suppliers who still manufacture in New Zealand. Ben - did you get to read them?

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
'wilderness chic' on 07/08/2013 07:43:07 MDT Print View

"most of the larger retailers have focused on capturing the travel and 'wilderness chic' market."

that's REI

dan mchale
(wildlife) - MLife

Locale: Cascadia
pain in the rear on 07/08/2013 12:02:02 MDT Print View

Thanks for not being upset with what I wrote. The thread got hi-jacked a little and I'm sure that affected my attitude. Part of the problem down there is the small population base I suppose - less than California. Like I said though, to me it's looking like the market in general is being served fairly well. Backpacking is not the sort of thing that is going to attract the world's best and brightest minds. When you distill that down to UL backpacking nobody will care for sure. Do you have an idea of how to decentralize the big companies? Is that realistic? Wouldn't it take a financial calamity or climate meltdown? Can you sew? Are there any sewing contract shops in Australia? Start one up, do something for your local economy. The way the world is going, it may be ripe to get this sort of thing going. There's a little bit of a learning curve but it's not like making computer chips. Start with something simple like burlap sacks and let the word out that you can make a bag. It's very very easy to set up repair type shops. The overhead is low. Do it as an experiment. Rent a small shop, hire somebody with the right skills, and go to town.

I'm not writing this for just you of course - you might have better things to do!

Edited by wildlife on 07/08/2013 12:11:55 MDT.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
The Politics of Cottage Consumption on 07/08/2013 19:30:52 MDT Print View

"Are there any sewing contract shops in Australia? Start one up, do something for your local economy. "
Australians are very fond of discussing how " we" are all ripped off by the local importers and retailers however we are not prepared to work for the sort of wages that allow cheaper manufacturing and distribuition costs.

Take a look here :

http://www.payscale.com/research/AU/Job=Tailor,_Dressmaker,_or_Custom_Sewer/Hourly_Rate
note that the "median" wage for a sewer is $41,950 PA.
In other words if you want a good qualified dressmaker /sewer you need to pay more than that.
We have a 38 h week. four weeks of paid holidays with holiday loading (hourly rate plus 17.5%, yes you get paid more when you are not working) plus another 7-11 public Holidays (depending on your state)

Of course if you work alone and foryourself you can do what you like but you still need to pay for our high cost of living.

M G
(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
Some comments on things mentioned here in the last few days. on 07/08/2013 20:14:44 MDT Print View

Laird, your comments are very insightful and my experience definitely corroborates them entirely.
__________

"And ha, ha, ha, it's fun to think of examples where committees have made ridiculous decisions, but there are many problems that require many people to solve, computers and medical stuff and atomic bombs... Maybe making a tent or backpack can be done by one person."

Jerry Adams, I agree with you that we need many people to solve complex problems, but design by committee is not the same as team work. Maybe the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a recent example of too many scattered engineering teams managed by a committee. I have not heard many reports of it being a successful approach.But to be honest I'm not an aviation engineer so I'm not qualified to make that assessment.

I do know that a well integrated team can be quite successful at innovation.innovation is not synonymous with a solo innovator/engineer/designer. But solutions can quickly become problematic in their own way when teams are mis-managed, over managed, under managed, call it what you want when innovation is hampered by process.
___________

Miguel, Thanks for the link to EARL. A cool device but IMHO a perfect example of design by committee run amok. An attempt to cram all sorts of things into one box. No matter how many crowd sourcers contributed, it does not make it the best solution. Imagine a kid at a skateboard park asking his dad for a skateboard and being handed the keys to the SUV and told to use that instead. Sure they both have four wheels and both can be fun but one is more appropriate for the task at hand. Earl is the SUV in case my analogy is not clear.

What I had in mind is more like a very robust, water proof HOLUX type device (http://www.holux.com/JCore/en/products/products_spec.jsp?pno=341) with a very long battery life on a single field replaceable AAA, with the ability to display locations in a variety of datums and grid coordinate systems. Simplicity and reliability. No doubt there is a much larger market for EARL. But I also think there is a market for a very simple GPS positioning device for those of us who rely on just a map and compass most of the time but like the idea of a GPS as an additional navigational tool but not one that replaces all the other tools. A Holux is 1/10th the weight of EARL.
______________

"As much as I would like to be more involved in the UL game I find that economically there is a big wall there. I laugh at the whole UL thing most of the time, and I tend to deal with people backtracking from it. I can understand how the big guys feel."

SO Dan, I'm very curious if economics were not a challenge and during those short moment when you are not laughing at UL, what UL innovations are passing through your mind?

Benjamin Payne
(bpayne) - M
Re: Articles on 07/09/2013 11:55:26 MDT Print View

I hadn't seen those, Jason. Will check them out.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
The Politics of Cottage Consumption on 07/09/2013 15:01:41 MDT Print View

Ben,

You may be able to find them via their website. If not I should be able to send you copies if you want. Just PM me if you are interested.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Reply on 07/09/2013 19:05:18 MDT Print View

most lightweight gear (especially cottage gear) is designed (intentionally or otherwise) for US (or at least Northern) conditions and terrain,

How are conditions there so different than the southwestern US? Then there is the rest of the USA. So varied.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
HUH? on 08/13/2013 15:13:04 MDT Print View

I'm glad I came late to this "discussion".

When I read Ryan Jordan's article on the "state of the backpacking cottage industry" I thought "HUH?" What's this all about?

Gotta say, after this article I get it even LESS.

Really now, the market will take care of itself. If I opt for an Osprey EXOS 58 pack over cottage industry pack it's because I think it is better for MY reasons.

Cottage industries will sink or succeed swimmingly depending on their products.
EXAMPLE: Tarptent

Now here is a company that has expanded its product line, responded positively to consumer input and "straddled the line" between cottage industry and large companies.
Tarptent's success has come from 3 things:
1. great designs
2. great quality
3. great customer service

This is in contrast to Big Sky who only has great designs.

So backpacking cottage industries need to look closely at Tarptent for a business model.

But WE, the consumers, will do whatever we damn well please. It's always been like that and always will be, articles on the current situation notwithstanding.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Reply on 08/14/2013 04:22:45 MDT Print View

Hi Benjamin

> yet many of my previous customers (and me) spend our money on such gear because there is not really any local alternative. We have no REI, and most of the larger retailers have focused on capturing the travel and 'wilderness chic' market. To the smaller brands available in Australia and New Zealand, 'lightweight' means using a slightly thinner canvas.

Yes, yes, and yes.

Cheers