Forum Index » Editor's Roundtable » The Politics of Cottage Consumption


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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.

Kronos Master of Fate
(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.