Ford vs. Chevy


The stuff out there is good. Unless you buy your backpack at Walmart or the Silk market in Beijing, it is getting increasingly harder to go wrong.

The stuff out there is just too damn good.

Sure, we have strong opinions about our gear.

Tech weenies argue and nearly get into fisticuffs over whether or not Arcteryx is better than Dana Designs, whether Mac Pac
is better than Eagle Creek, whether Mountain Hardware is better than Sierra Designs, Berghaus better than Karrimor.

Strong opinions are good. And what would America be without strong opinions? We would be Canadian.

The Jansport packs are even good. It pains me to say this. My snooty pride wants me to endorse only the backpack equivalent of rare and expensive French varietals, but I have to admit that most of the stuff out there is pretty good and is now largely the same.

It’s increasingly become a “Ford vs. Chevy” argument.

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This won’t stop me from lambasting shameless garbage, such as the Kathmandu line of packs (not sold in the U.S.) but if this trend keeps up, I will be forced to make up obvious lies about the outdoor industry, much in the same way that Bush believes that tax cuts will be a really good thing for the U.S. economy.

People like their stuff.

Everybody loves what they bought and will gleefully tell the world. Asking someone “How do you like your pack?” will send you down a boring road that you clearly don’t want to go. People don’t just like their stuff, they love their stuff. They researched it carefully in the annual Backpacker gear guide, researched it on the internet when they were supposed to be working, bored the spouse with their picky-ass findings and then strode down to their nearest backpacker boutique armed with the information that they had researched with all the skill of a forensic scientist.

The sales clerk then listened carefully, told them exactly what they wanted to hear and then closed the sale.

Of course the customer loves his purchase, after all, they did the research. If it is subsequently proven that their choice was erroneous, it is a slight upon their intelligence, their decision-making ability and their pride. These are people with college degrees! They can’t possibly make mistakes.
I have a Platinum Visa card, hear me roar!

Luckily, it is hard to go wrong.

Within the same price points, it is largely the same.
If you are at the top end of the price points, considering such premium brands as Mountain Hardwear, The North Face, Dana Designs, Gregory, Arcteryx, etc., there is little real difference between the stuff. It’s all excellent.

Buy what serves your needs and (more importantly) fits you best.

If you are at the medium price point, it is really hard to go wrong with the amazingly good house brands from MEC, REI or EMS.

These companies save money by not investing in entire words. Sure, it’s only a few letters, but when you add up an entire year of worth of embroidery thread savings, it makes a real contribution to the bottom line.