Dec 13, 2010 at 6:37 am #1266534
a few choice excerpts … gear as substitute for our abilities???? … NEVER !!!!
Adventure gear deploys the classic trick that marketing plays on the consumer, that sense that only certain equipment will do. We buy into it so readily that we convince ourselves we need things that we don't – especially men, who are natural gear que-rs. Is the equipment a substitute for our physical abilities? Here I am with a mountain to climb. I'm togged up in technical gear. I haven't done any exercise in two years but – technically – I'm ready.
Of course, the excessive detailing on that shoe, indeed on much adventure clothing, is a form of decoration. Those ribs, stripes and seams are meant to connote performance. They aim to awaken in the potential buyer a sense of his latent potential. And that psychological effect should not be underestimated. You want to buy something that makes you feel like you can take on the wilderness, that you are protected and empowered.
Part of the problem is the heavy branding – we look owned. The adventure clothing industry is years behind the fashion world, which has long since recognised the seductive appeal of non-conspicuous branding, subtle details such as the four stitches that signify a Martin Margiela jumper. By contrast, adventure clothing brands have information that they are desperate to convey. A good deal of clever design has gone into these clothes. The evidence of it is daubed on sleeves, lapels, trouser legs and shoes: Polartec, Titanium, Paclite, Pro Shell, Soft Shell, Triclimate, Windwall, eVent, Power Stretch and – my favourite – HemLock. Each of these is a registered trademark, each one a patented material or system. Technical clothing comes with its own language, the language of performance. The marketing strategy revolves around presenting clothes as engineering. Sometimes, though, I suspect that we are being blinded with pseudo-science.Dec 13, 2010 at 6:51 am #1673778
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
While I agree with the writer's overarching thesis, the examples he uses betray a rather substantial lack of actualy knowledge. I can call a building ugly, but I'm not a qualified architecture critic, and shouldn't be allowed to publish as one.
Meh.Dec 13, 2010 at 7:30 am #1673786
I would not say should not be allowed to comment.. but in al reality who is going to listen to you if you have no credentials? I cant say i don't also agree to an extent with the thought behind the writers rant. However i think some of this stuff really does work and makes life much more easy. The real question is when is enough enough and when does it stop. The way modern day society is set up and with people being so motivated by STUFF it never does! Gear dorks label whores and un fit men unite lol.Dec 13, 2010 at 7:52 am #1673794
@olivernissenLocale: Yorkshire Dales
A small part of me wishes the author of this article was right, but so little of what he says has any grain of truth to it at all…
Fortunately the comments left by most readers put him right, which made for much better reading. Journalism at some of its worst.Dec 13, 2010 at 8:41 am #1673809
I don't really agree with this on the grounds that branding like what is discussed is much more pervasive throughout the clothing industry than the writer suggests. Yes, these garments are technical in nature, and might therefore label one of those branded technical aspects in addition to the brand of the manufacturer (ex. integral designs + eVent), but I hardly think it's out of character compared to a lot of "everyday" clothing items. Last I checked Ralph Lauren is still putting a little polo player on almost every piece of clothing they make. And when is the last time you watched a sporting event where a team wasn't plastered with the Nike swoosh, Reebok, or UA? Or saw a woman's purse with an LV stamped all over it? I've seen quite a few pieces of technical gear with branding subtler than these examples. Montbell uses a basic, color-matched, stitching from what I've seen that blends in quite well; I've seen TNF doing this on some items too.
In my mind there are two distinctions much clearer than the one the author is trying to make. Bargain brands compared to higher end brands in any clothing genre, and formal wear compared to informal wear. If you look at these two distinctions we find many of our technical garments falling into the higher end range and in the informal range. Both of which already have a propensity for branding. And here I would argue that technical gear is actually more justified in their branding than those non-technical items. Will my eVent rain jacket perform better than a bargain brand rain jacket not using eVent? In many ways, yes it will. But will my Ralph Lauren polo perform better than a polo from Wal-Mart? Maybe, it could have a better cut, or it might last longer, but the distinctions are not nearly as clear. The vanity associated with purchasing branded, non-technical items is much less justifiable and much more prevalent than that associated with technical wear.Dec 13, 2010 at 10:12 am #1673835
@areichowLocale: Northern Minnesota
I agree with some of his points- technical clothes are often incorrectly presented as engineering and that there is a lot of pseudo-science hiding behind proprietary names. That's nothing new, nor is that observation; that kind of hype exists because we are a community constantly looking for the next real engineering improvement.
However, his overall thesis is shallow and wrongheaded. More than anything else, it seems an attempt to justify the fact that he doesn't like the aesthetic of outdoor gear and prefers something more understated and neutral. Fine- if you don't need its functionality, don't wear it for fashion's sake. That's not why it's there. If you want to climb Everest with waxed canvas cut like an Armani suit and layer with a handmade loose-knit jumper, have at it.
Besides, I like lime, blood red, and tangerine. I like Dark Honey, Miro Blue, Fatigue/Forest and Mango. So sue me. :)Dec 13, 2010 at 10:14 am #1673837
@socal-nomadLocale: North San Diego county
"Of course, the excessive detailing on that shoe, indeed on much adventure clothing, is a form of decoration. Those ribs, stripes and seams are meant to connote performance. They aim to awaken in the potential buyer a sense of his latent potential. And that psychological effect should not be underestimated. You want to buy something that makes you feel like you can take on the wilderness, that you are protected and empowered. "
This guy does not know what he talking about The ribs and most of the stripes on athletic shoes and boots serve a purpose of added lateral support on the shoe. For example the Adidas 3 stripe logo serves to functions lateral support in the arch area of the shoe and a logo for the company.
But I would like to touch on the bright colors of old still being used in backpack like hunter orange,reds,yellows. Even the light Grey trim on the Osprey Talon that gets dirty before you walk out of the door of the shop. And other bright colors in backpacking still being used.
The bright colors are like pollution for the eyes here we are out in the wilderness we can see a person 1/2 mile away. I like to have colors blend in instead of color that can be seen from a half a mile away that say here I am.
I sometimes think the Backpacking Industry is in collusion with the state and national park rangers services so they can spot us easily.
I understand the bright colors for rescues purpose or if your hiking in a place were hunter are.
But I wish the backpacking industry would give 4 to 6 choices in equipment colors 2 to 3 in bright garish colors for people who want be seen. 2 to 3 in solid colors[ not camouflage] that blend in with the surrounding of nature for people that don't want to be seen and hike in peace.Dec 13, 2010 at 10:19 am #1673841
F. Thomas MaticaMember
@ftm1776Locale: Vancouver, WA
I hate to drag "their" advertising with me into the forest. I'm not a bill board!
I try to cut off or cover the logos. I really don't see them, but if I'm advertising, I want to be paid for it…..like with some free gear with the logos on it ! ! ! !!
I'd like to see some labels that say "NO LOGO" with which I could cover those darn embroidered logos! ! !! !
I do love the gear, though, and the obsessive, compulsive ruminating over it!! ! ! !
I'd also like to see more gear made from non-petroleum base, like wool or hemp.Dec 13, 2010 at 10:40 am #1673851
I hit the dollar menu at mcdonalds yesterday and the girl at the window said I looked cute in my blue marmot beanie. I felt good. In a few years,(when she turns 18)I might ask her out. Thanks marmot.Dec 13, 2010 at 10:54 am #1673856
@woodenwizardLocale: Greater Mt Tabor
How else are we to determine the outdoor abilities of others?
especially now, that there are no BPL ranks anymore?Dec 13, 2010 at 11:07 am #1673863
the author may or may not be correct
but there must be a reason why they put all those big shinny logos on my jackets … not only "ARCTERYX" … but also "GORETEX PRO SHELL"
you know the bomber rain jacket i wear to the grocery store through raging sprinkling machines and brave preying (urban) cougars …
hmmmmm ….Dec 13, 2010 at 12:56 pm #1673898
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Of course a huge amount of the decoration is marketing, aimed at the wanna-bees. Big market, big dollars, there. So what? As long as it does not actually detract from the functionality of the gear, it does not matter too much, and the increased sales usually mean a lower cost.
There's an obvious exception here: those parts of the cottage industry which are focused on performance and walkers. The difference is visible. That said, there is no reason for their gear to look daggy, and having a distinctive look helps even them.
Does the author of the article have much knowledge of what he is talking about? Probably not, but so what? Who cares? A cheap shot. Ignore, and keep walking.
CheersDec 13, 2010 at 4:27 pm #1673979
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"How else are we to determine the outdoor abilities of others?"
By their deeds shall ye know them. Think Skurka, Sawchuk/Chenault, Dial/Keck, Townsend, and numerous trip reports by others less well known but highly capable nonetheless.Dec 13, 2010 at 4:35 pm #1673982
@woodenwizardLocale: Greater Mt Tabor
Yeah, when Ed V was with TNF he was the man. Now that he's old and strugglin he's reduced to EBFA gear. HA HA what a wuss!
OK OK I was feelin loose when I wrote this FWIW its tongue in cheekDec 13, 2010 at 5:07 pm #1673996
20 years and still kicking. The only logo is on the sleeve.Dec 14, 2010 at 12:00 am #1674102
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
The main piece of outdoor gear I feel is WAAAAY too flashy are shoes/boots.
Some hiking footwear, usually low cut shoes, are SO flashy they look like clown shoes.Even if they were exactly what I wanted I wouldn't buy them . I'd be embarassed to wear them.
I do have an electric blue EB First Ascent Down Sweater but that's because it was the only sale jacket in my size. Plus it's not a bad color for around town. Normally, on a trip, I'd wear it under a shell or in my sleeping bag anyway.Dec 14, 2010 at 7:37 am #1674146
@simauliusLocale: Bohemian Alps
Ugly, weird clown shoes may be some peoples' interpretation, but HYOH.
I live in these and on old pair of sportiva's. If everyone chooses to buy funky colors, then companies will be forced by the demand to make more and more until the world is flooded in fuschia and mint! Horrors! Hello Kitty backpacks on the PCT, YIKES!Dec 14, 2010 at 10:47 am #1674184
I spent the last 10 months in the 5 fingahs. Yes they are ghey/silly as hell looking but who cares when your feet are cozy and your knees and hips don't ache!! I am def one of those people that could give a crap what other people think about me thought so? If i did care most of my gear would be a problem. People worried about what i or they look like are exactly the kinda people i stay far far away from anyway.Dec 14, 2010 at 8:18 pm #1674338
@matthewbrownLocale: Blue Ridge Mtns
I wish the author of the article would also focus on the subliminal messages incorporated into alpine gear. If I hold my Mountainfitter drybags at a 45 degree angle and look at them in the mirror backwards, I can see the word "SEXY" printed into the cuben fabric.
I think not.Dec 14, 2010 at 9:38 pm #1674358
It's going to take all my control not to hold my Mountainfitter drybag up to the light now, next time I pull it out.Dec 14, 2010 at 9:42 pm #1674359
if i wear my dead bird backwards …. i hear satanic messages telling me that yuppiness is the epitome of life
hmmmmm …..Dec 14, 2010 at 9:55 pm #1674362
You're obsessed. Or possessed.Dec 14, 2010 at 10:07 pm #1674363
I have been informed by the Dyslexic Untie! Association that Satan is coming soon.
FrancoDec 15, 2010 at 7:28 am #1674427
"…i hear satanic messages telling me that yuppiness is the epitome of life"
Methinks thou dost protest too much.Dec 15, 2010 at 9:35 am #1674456
@socal-nomadLocale: North San Diego county
I was looking at some Gregory packs yesterday I noticed the even Gregory put the name Gregory on the metal eyelets. This got me to thinking maybe that strategical logo placement serves a other purpose also to tell the difference in counterfeiting of their products, The real products.
Looks like a lot of you have taken Ray Jardine mantra about covering up all logos as religion.
I like some of Ray writings in his books but he still has bitter taste in his mouth after going after the golden ring with Golite and mass manufacture of his ideas. Only to be told at a Golite corporate board meeting we can't do that or we want to tweak your idea a little bit.
Guys like Ray Jardine ,Dana Gleason ,Patrick Smith are mavericks in backpacking. After they give in to the temptation of the sale of their company to larger company for profit.
They find out the corporate company will not give them full creative rights. So they quit and wait out the number of years till their non compete clause is over start their own company back up to run their way.
Ray's way backpacking ,Mystery Ranch,Karfu are now successful and their all happy to be back running their own company's their way.
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