Let's get high...

6:05 p.m. on December 3, 2017 (EST)
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I've seen too many posts on the internets recently from folks very displeased with a certain product or manufacturer. People rightfully peeved, and publicly calling out the accused. Whole threads dedicated to empathy around displeasure.

I propose we elevate ourselves and relate our own outstanding experiences of exemplary kinds. That is, I find many things in the world bring me joy through being well designed and well made by people who care about what they're producing; I suppose you do, too. I'd be pleased, then, if this conversation...you know...took the high road and centers on the gear--or its makers--that rise above the rest.

6:07 p.m. on December 3, 2017 (EST)
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1,515 forum posts

I'll start by saying that over the period of four or five years I've found the quality of Z-Packs gear consistently high for the price and construction/weight. I've also found their customer service to be responsive and professional, bar none.

10:28 p.m. on December 3, 2017 (EST)
107 reviewer rep
527 forum posts

I like it.

# 1 Clark Jungle Hammock - It does everything the manufacturer said it would. Kings wish they could waste the days away lounging in such heavenly comfort! $500

#2 Hilleberg nammatj-3 Gt wow what a wonderful condo to spend those winter weekends and vacations at and never have to worry about reservations or over booking $800

#3 Brunton Raptor stove- always ready to cook for you with no hassles and always ready on time$29

#4 Gregory packs always up for a haul and ready to make you feel like you just slid into you favorite chair. Just plain comfy $369

#5 anything made by Marmot- man do they understand what we do and why we do it.

Rain Jacket& pants$295

#6 Petzl myo-xp headlamp $79

all are at least 5plus years old and still rocking the trail. $2072.00 not including tax and man do I wish I had more $$$ to throw at them they make me look a whole lot smarter than I am cause they covered everything I didn't know. In short they idiot proofed their gear.

and the list goes on

who's next?

9:00 a.m. on December 4, 2017 (EST)
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492 forum posts

I have been a Patagoniac, appreciating their products starting with pitons and carabiners.  I bought my first fleece jacket in 1981, and several items since then.  i do appreciate Chouinard's conservationist philosophy and their efforts to defend Bears Ears.  I would say that their clothing line has become more fashionable and "trendy" of late, although they still produce good outdoor stuff.

I agree about Marmot - fine items.

Zebralight headlamps are the cat's meow...

9:43 a.m. on December 4, 2017 (EST)
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4,074 forum posts

Patagucci, Pendleton, Filson and some others.  Sure they cost a lot but you only have to buy them once. 

10:36 a.m. on December 4, 2017 (EST)
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1,553 forum posts

Second or third many of those above...a couple of additions:

- Mountain Hardwear gave me fantastic customer service when an old tent fly had issues.  Couldn't repair so offered me a good credit toward a new tent (which I declined) and then to other equipment (which I declined) and then they sent me a check!

Let's not forget the kudos for those cottage manufacturers that make excellent products and I think made some of the big boys (and girls) in the industry take notice and ramp up their offerings:

- Trail Designs - including the fantastic Caldera Cone variations in alcohol/esbit/wood stoves.

- Feathered Friends - I sleep in a cloud of warm air thanks to these folks!

- ULA Equipment - one of several manufacturers putting out excellent backpacks

- NEMO - Some excellent air mattresses

- Tarptent - Still in my first year with a new TT tent but already the craftmanship and quality and thoughtful design are clearly evident

I am sure I have left some out...

2:05 p.m. on December 4, 2017 (EST)
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Yeah I have to give a shout-out to Patagonia as well. I can't think of anything I've bought from them that didn't meet or exceed my expectations. It is often the case that when I'm assessing an item for review I use a Patagonia product as the standard for comparison.

4:09 p.m. on December 4, 2017 (EST)
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2,296 forum posts

Western Mountaineering!


11:45 p.m. on December 4, 2017 (EST)
940 reviewer rep
783 forum posts

Zpacks, pattagucci, marmot, Enlightened Equipment, Gregory, Zimmerbuilt

12:37 p.m. on December 5, 2017 (EST)
125 reviewer rep
3,522 forum posts

I'll chime in with a brand oriented shout out.

MSR - good value product - superlative standing behind what they sell.

Vasque - They only issue I ever had with their foot ware was due to extreme off trail incursions with sharp scree - which will thrash any foot ware.  But a trip to the cobbler fixes cut stitching.  Otherwise the welted sole boots will last decades if resoled, while the non-welted boots are good as long as the soles last. 

Marmot - Was superior back when they first they started as a cottage operation in the early 1970s, and still crank out good stuff.  Cannot comment on their warranty policies, as I never had problems with their gear.

Sierra Designs - good price/weight/quality ratio.

Black Diamond - Pricey, but often the best solution.  My BD purchases have been mostly technical items: tele skis/boots hand tools, rack hardware, and tarp pyramids before cuben textiles came along.

Mountain Laurel Designs - Well designed cuben fiber products, good craftsmanship, and offer customized mods to their products upon request. 



2:59 p.m. on December 5, 2017 (EST)
273 reviewer rep
1,962 forum posts

I would have to agree with Phil ULA makes a very good product...

Mountain Hardwear for some items I own by them

Msr has their stuff  together well like Ed said...

Pretty much love western Mountaineering...Be giving feathered friends a shot this spring....Sure be the same excitement and delight WM...

Way to many to think through at this point...Got lucky with people recommending outstanding companies

8:30 p.m. on December 5, 2017 (EST)
148 reviewer rep
118 forum posts

I can't argue with anything posted. I will throw my two cents in based on 20+ years of outfitting a family of four, which requires you to be on a budget. 

Kelty: I couldn't have dumped weight off my back and on the kids without them.

Merrell and Keen: kept them from going barefoot

Slumberjack: sleeping bags that kept us safe without a bankruptcy lawyer

Columbia: Kept us warm and dry year round in anything Southern Appalachia could throw at us.

Eureka: well built tents that didn't cost a fortune...they just weighed a fortune.

10:00 a.m. on December 6, 2017 (EST)
73 reviewer rep
4,074 forum posts

A little THC has never hurt anyone. 

8:02 a.m. on December 7, 2017 (EST)
12,294 reviewer rep
1,413 forum posts

GrandTrunk--ENO gets all the love and attention (better marketing), but I think GT products are superior. 

DreamHammock--While I can give props to GrandTrunk, my DH DangerBird remains the best hammock I have ever tried, with the exception of...

Clark Jungle Hammock--wish I could afford one of these!

Dutchware is innovative and fantastic

Cottage industry companies in general are superior and deserve the love of our $$. 

1:09 a.m. on December 9, 2017 (EST)
1,757 reviewer rep
743 forum posts

Thermarest - Sleeping pad and Thermarest are nearly interchangeable

Sawyer - I remember when filters were bulky and prone to failure

Patagonia - Mainly for their innovation of low-volume fleece...but they set the standard for layered clothing

ULA - I love my Ohm!

Z-Packs - Great workmanship (razor fine)...so many tarp options!...and the prices make DIY not worth the savings.

Six-Moons Designs - They immortalized Grandma Gatewood with a shelter that captures her converse and shower curtain gear choices...but also because they make great lightweight tents.

2:39 p.m. on December 12, 2017 (EST)
2,017 reviewer rep
403 forum posts

I have been fortunate to have had mostly very positive experiences with my gear and the companies that make it. I think a good part of that is due to my pedantic style that leads me to meticulously research each purchase I make.

I wanted to give one special shout-out to LightHeart Gear: I bought their "Solo" shelter about 5 years ago when I was first getting into ultralight (the Solo is very roomy for one and weighs 27oz), but when I received it I was having some trouble getting it pitched just right. I spoke with Judy and Marc, the owners, and Judy had a personal trip to my area coming up and volunteered to come to my house to help me with the situation. And she did come over, and she did help me work out the kinks. That is a very literal definition of personal service! Thanks!

3:02 p.m. on December 12, 2017 (EST)
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@JR: That's perfect.

You: "I'm having trouble getting this pitch right..."

Judy: "I'll be over this weekend."

1:10 a.m. on December 20, 2017 (EST)
129 reviewer rep
11 forum posts

Sawyer: They make a ultra-rugged and lightweight filter you simply cannot beat.

Salomon: They make some of the best ultralight weight stuff I've used, and they're QUEST hiking Boots are something to talk about.

Gregory: Most comfortable backpacking pack I've used thus far.

Kelty: If you're not looking to spend your retirement savings, then Kelty makes amazing products. 

Black Diamond: Only headlamps I buy are from them. Never failed me.

MSR: They've got the snowshoe game down, along with their cook-wear.

North Face: While commercial now, their line of true technical hiking apparel is quite good. I've put their Paramount hiking pants just about through everything.

Columbia: Their new line of OutDry is something else. I've got a down jacket that has a OutDry waterproof layer that has replaced my outer shell in many situations. 

April 6, 2020
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