Dec 15, 2009 at 8:01 pm #1252750
Did anyone else just get the "Holiday travel GoLite-style"??Dec 15, 2009 at 10:59 pm #1554263
Golite went mainstream in 2000.Dec 15, 2009 at 11:47 pm #1554276
@djohnsonLocale: Washington State
Yeah, I hear what you're saying. I just looked at the gear a few minutes ago and thought, "what the…"
But then I started to think about my travel pack- it's a nice travel backpack by Mountainsmith, but it's really heavy. Golite's a growing company and yeah, travel isn't backpacking…but I think these are cool products. I'm not sure that ultralight travel packs take away from the coolness of the Pinnacle, Shangri La 3, Jam, Dome, Breeze, Gust, poncho tarp, Reed, Sun Dragon, or any of the other still-cool Golite products. Maybe this just extends from those products.
It's the same as other markets. The purist in my wants a De Rosa, but the Trek Madone is pretty amazing. Do crappy cross bikes really take away from the Madone? Just depends on what you value, I guess…
Bottom line- I want one of those travel packs!Dec 16, 2009 at 12:03 am #1554279
@backfeets1Locale: Midwest.... Missouri
I bought a pair of reed rain pants several years ago. Weight..3.85 oz size medium. Their new line is almost double in weight. In my opinion the company has lost its original mission. Sellouts!!!!Dec 16, 2009 at 6:57 am #1554307
I know the company got bought and had to diversify to stay competitive but, I find it sad that companies these days can't stay or find it hard to stay true to their original values.
Half of my gear is golite because of the warehouse sales I can't stay away from so I'm not a hater but, just a little sad that nothing seems to be remaining constant these days.Dec 16, 2009 at 8:40 am #1554327
@jhawkwxLocale: 38.97˚N, 95.26˚W
I think we are just getting older. The ebb and flow of business goes like this. Right now the next Golite is grooming a dedicated following, but 2 yrs. from now they will go transnational and offshore production and the loyal followers will cry sellout and the new customers will ooh and ahh over their product line and the fancy color catalog. I was looking at my Sierra Trading Post catalog and noticed the several pairs of Chaco shoes in there. Remember when Chaco was made in Colorado and only consisted of a few models of very well made, simple sandals. Now they've got shoes and shoe-sandal crossbreeds that look like the b@st@rd child of Keen and Merrell's one night stand. Good grief, if it ain't broke don't fix it. However, if money calls sell it all!Dec 16, 2009 at 9:14 am #1554342
I'm sorry guys, but I just don't see it. Golite "sold out" at their inception. They "sold out" why they decided to make a mainstream commercial enterprise out of Ray Jardine's products. They sold would when they became a glitzy mass market company to market towards people who didn't want to MYOG.
Isn't "selling out" what companies do?
Golite stuff is made in Asia. This isn't selling out, it isn't something new.
Golite has a complicated ownership structure. My understanding is that Timberland owns the name and the trademarks, not the whole company. Golite LLC, and Coupounas LLC might be the owners.
What are your gripes about Golite? That their gear is heavier than it "should" be? That their stuff is made abroad? That they are selling (minimally) through retail channels? In my mind, Golite stopped being a fringe ultralight company when they dropped Jardine's designs around 2000. Every product since then has been a compromise between weight, features and durability.Dec 16, 2009 at 12:16 pm #1554437
Thanks for the info, I heard ramblings about that story but, never as detailed as you put it. I am not as concerned to 'selling out' as I am disappointed that I liked there gear more 6 years ago then I do now.
Of course they manufacture over sea's, what major doesn't. My main thing was 6 years ago to the present. Before that I did not see the light so didn't care.Dec 16, 2009 at 3:41 pm #1554494
Golite stuff is made in Asia.
Jack — Many things are made better in Asia — such as cars, for example. I wouldn't touch American junk coming from GM, Ford or Chrysler.Dec 16, 2009 at 4:19 pm #1554508
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"Now they've got shoes and shoe-sandal crossbreeds that look like the b@st@rd child of Keen and Merrell's one night stand."
Man, you've got a way with the words! Freakin' HI-larious.Dec 16, 2009 at 4:25 pm #1554512
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
Pretty tough to be profitable in the cottage industry. I suspect that most cottage owners are making a living, not a profit.
So if GoLite went 'main stream' to become more profitable, one cannot blame them. We all need to remember that UL gear is a niche, and no one is going to get rich filling this limited demand for products.
Regarding US cars… better check your facts. The domestics are getting very good in quality. Actually Ford is breathing down Toyota's neck in the quality realm. Here are the top 11 in the 2009 JD Power Initial Quality Survey (and the manufacturers buy into this survey). The other 25 manufacturers are below the industry average, with Smart, Land Rover and Mini Cooper as the worst.
6. Mercedes Benz
11. MercuryDec 16, 2009 at 6:01 pm #1554547
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
And of course many "asian" cars sold in the US are made in the US.Dec 16, 2009 at 6:22 pm #1554555
Which just goes to show how erroneous one can be about making blanket statements — and hopefully this illustration will help Jack H. see the light…Dec 16, 2009 at 7:26 pm #1554588
@cameronLocale: Idaho Falls
I don't think Golite can profitably market a lot of fringe gear succesfully. First most of the people I see in the woods would either trash it or not know how to use it properly.
A lot of my "outdoorsy" friends can't start a fire in the rain or set up a tarp properly. Skills that some people here take for granted like packing frameless pack etc. are just too much for your average joe to handle. Beside that a lot of my backpacking friends see nothing wrong with a 40 pound pack.
Since UL backpacking is either beyond the ability or beyond the mentallity of most backpackers Golite is just making what most people will want to buy.Dec 16, 2009 at 7:27 pm #1554590
Selling out probably isn't the right term, but what has happened at Golite is a shift in innovation. They may have not totally abandoned lightweight innovation, but they currently seem more focused on innovating in other areas like pushing the limits of how environmentally friendly gear can be. They have made huge strides in this area for 2010. This is still a noble objective, but one that resonates with a smaller portion of us here.
Ideally, I would love to see GoLite doing both. I don't know if environmentally friendly gear and lightweight gear are mutually exclusive, but I suspect they are not. It would be neat to see GoLite get the 2011 Jam pack back down to around 20oz while still using recycled materials etc. That would certainly would create some buzz around here.
Hopefully in the years ahead we will continue to see lightweight innovation from GoLite. GoLite will always have a soft spot in my heart as the company that got me into all of these. I remember sneaking onto the computer at work a couple years back to drool over the 2 lbs, 10oz GoLite Lite-Speed pack when I owned a 7 lbs North Face behemoth.
My bewilderment about GoLite's new TraveLite line comes from my belief that weight doesn't really matter that much for wheeled luggage. If I'm only moving my luggage from the trunk to the airport counter and it's got wheels, why do I care if it weighs 5 lbs instead of 7 lbs like their competitors? The appeal is much less than backpacking, where you need to carry the extra weight on your back for possibly hundreds of miles. For travel luggage, environmental friendliness is a bigger concern than weight. If I did buy a TraveLite piece it would be because of recycled fabrics etc.Dec 16, 2009 at 7:36 pm #1554593
@hellbillylarryLocale: southern appalachians
This matter has bothered me for some time as well. I understand going "main stream" if you can call it that but the least they could do is still sell some lightweight gear. I mean some of the stuff they had was great. The speed pack, the Breeze. I have been using my breeze for 10 years almost and i love it.
I think they should change their name to gokindalite.
As for asain cars vs domestic cars.
Most "domestics" are actually either rebadged imports or built in other countries like Mexico or Canada.
Toyota, Honda, Kia, Hyuandi all make quite a few cars right here in the USA.
The JD power survey is about the worst indicator of the quality of a car out there. It's based on the first 90 days of ownership. And only Land Rovers break in the first 90 days.Dec 16, 2009 at 8:12 pm #1554608
@cameronLocale: Idaho Falls
I understand Golite marketing to a more mainstream crowd than Gossamer Gear for example. Here's what doesn't make sense to me about Golite. If I wanted to market "mainstream" lightweight gear I would focus on offering light versions of the big three. However for the most part their packs, sleeping bags and some of their shelters aren't much lighter than comparable stuff from other large companies.
I think there is a lack of inovation in trying to make gear for average hikers that lighter than what other companies offer but not fringe.Dec 16, 2009 at 8:58 pm #1554626
I've worked with GoLite since 2003 and have watched the company transform from a very small company designing lightweight gear for a very small customer base into a still very small company designing heavier gear (but still light by mass industry standards) for a much larger customer base. I don't see this evolution so much as "selling out" so much as a business decision to go where the money is — because the alternative is never recouping the investment in the company.
I think this is a good moment for everyone to step out of the lightweight bubble and see how few of us there actually are. Not only do I see hardly any lightweight backpackers in places like national parks, but I also see very few backpackers compared to, say, downhill skiers at the local resort.
This reality means that you can't be big if you want to stay light. At its founding the owners, Kim and Demetri Coupounas, had aspirations of growing the activity of backpacking and converting every backpacker into a lightweight one. The teachings have spread but not enough to support companies larger than 2 or 3 people. The companies that have not "sold out" and stuck to their lightweight mission — e.g. BPL, MLD, GG, TarpTent, Six Moon, etc. — are mom-and-pop shops. Another reader correctly assumed that these guys are making a "living," not necessarily a "profit."Dec 16, 2009 at 9:27 pm #1554633
@onthecouchagainLocale: Sunny SoCal
It has been mentioned in prior posts that the larger the company grows, the more "mainstream" the product becomes in relation to backpacking gear. Reason being, durability, customer care and servicing and inevitable complaints. The UL/Sub UL community it would seem is much more accepting of this apparent opposing spectrum of weight and durability.
The companies Andrew listed certainly seem to be making high quality products but I wonder what would happen to quality and or design if say, Ron at MLD suddenly had an order for 2,500 Prophet packs needing to ship by Feb. to fill the shelves by March? Ron, if you read this, please pass on that order..I for one, hope you sell a million but stay small enough to keep answering your phone, returning emails, posting on these forums and stoking us all!
couchDec 16, 2009 at 11:10 pm #1554675
"Golite stuff is made in Asia.
Jack — Many things are made better in Asia — such as cars, for example. I wouldn't touch American junk coming from GM, Ford or Chrysler.
Which just goes to show how erroneous one can be about making blanket statements — and hopefully this illustration will help Jack H. see the light…"
Ben, I'm confused. I think that you perceived an anti-asian manufacturing bias in my statement. Is that right? I simply said "Golite stuff is made in Asia". It's a statement of fact, with no value judgement implied. Was it an incorrect "blanket statement"? What "light" am I not seeing?
I did not make the connection that Asian=poor quality, but it seems like I've been pounced on for it.
In actuality, I recognize the high quality of production that comes out of the developing world. And I recognize their need for jobs and the benefits that they receive by being our suppliers. I spent six months traveling in Asia this year, it was interesting being close to the source of production.
Seems like you jumped on me for something that I didn't imply. Correct me if I'm wrong.Dec 17, 2009 at 12:02 am #1554683
I read your statement negatively. But now that you've explained yourself, I realize I've erred. Sorry!Dec 17, 2009 at 7:15 pm #1555050
No problem!Dec 21, 2009 at 8:26 am #1555843
@jhawkwxLocale: 38.97˚N, 95.26˚W
Tom, glad I put a smile on your face. Read a Captain Beefheart quote last night, "My smile is stuck, I can't go back to your frownland."
Interesting that cars were brought up in this discussion. While the car is the antithesis of our craft(at least I hope it is), the trends in its manufacturing are similar to gear. However, much slower to respond. Remember, Honda and Toyota brought cars, both economical in fuel and price, to compete against the hogs that Detroit was producing. Now that they have gained a stronghold, these 2 companies have increased prices and market big, overpriced, overgadgeted, vehicles to the American consumer. I saw a new Toyota SUV Saturday that was the size of a Suburban. Right now the Hyundai, Kia, Suzuki cars are bringing a lower price point, higher quality to the consumer who has tired of the prices Honda and Toyota are commanding. The debate over quality is a mere distraction. The bigger the company, the greater its inertia. A smaller, more agile competitor will soon emerge to give them fits. And so it goes…..Dec 30, 2009 at 6:16 pm #1558172
It is a little sad for those that bought and still use their early packs like the breeze and gust to see what they are making now. It was great to be able to buy a pack that you could use for a thruhike 10 years ago that weighed 12-14 oz. Now their "ultralight" packs weight around 2 lbs, not including the ion that is fairly small. Thankfully there are now more people selling gear from their homes to compensate. Just this year I have bought a Zpack, a poncho from MLD, and a quilt from BMW. The selection of ultralight gear has never been better, just none of it is from Golite anymore.Dec 30, 2009 at 10:55 pm #1558265
Any good company starts out with the best intentions and attempting to fulfill their "mission"…
But as time goes on the very same company will have to do what is necessary to sustain itself (TERMINATOR’S SKYNET,MATRIX-ESQUE)
It happens in all fields
i.e. outsourcing labor to increase profit margins (which can and does exploit Asia’s lax manufacturing laws), design products and lines around best selling items, etc
And as people have pointed out UL and SUL are very small groups of fringe fanatics not the mainstream, and arguably people chasing numbers to see "who is the lightest"
I would imagine it to be fairly difficult to sell average Joe & Jane on a High priced UL backpack that resembles a high tech grocery bag for their once a year three day weekend.
Even I myself can’t see the benefit of some UL stuff…
I'm just not THAT delicate and careful I try to be but perhaps I am just too American using and abusing things at my leisure… but I digress
You can’t hold GoLite accountable for pursuing a profit and people shouldn’t have allegiances to companies anyhow
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