Sep 9, 2011 at 3:15 pm #1279144
I recently ordered a piece of custom gear and while it looks great and the build quality is excellent, the pieces is over the what the specified weight was supposed to be(overall the weight difference is a few ounces but it is about 15-20% over spec).
Now it seems like a am kvetching a bit, but I did pay extra to have the piece done a certain way and I am not really sure what to do about it. It seems silly to return something for a few ounces (I am shaking my head writing this), but it was a custom order and for a standard order and pretty much the same weight I could have saved myself a few $$$. Not sure what to do and was curious as to what others experience is with custom or standard orders and weight discrepancies.
If you do have an opinion please dont list the name of the maker so we can keep this on track and not start a flame war against a certain company. ThanksSep 9, 2011 at 4:28 pm #1777905
You never stated what kind of gear it is.
If it is a purely fabric garment, then it ought to be closer to the spec. Note that some manufacturers will call the weight for a medium size, and if you purchase a large size, then it will weigh more.
If it is a down item like a sleeping bag, then humidity may make the weight inaccurate. When they manufactured it, the down was extremely dry, so you get one standard weight. Then, if you leave it out in the humidity for a while, the down absorbs water (weight). If you think that this might be the case, then place it in a clothes dryer and run it on very low heat. If it does weigh less afterward, then humidity was at play. Note that if you use too high of a heat, then you can damage the item. All you want is 10 or 20 degrees F warmer than ambient.
Also, it is not clear what was custom about this. If it was a custom size, then that would account for weight change.
–B.G.–Sep 9, 2011 at 4:32 pm #1777906
4Sep 9, 2011 at 4:50 pm #1777911
@rayestrellaLocale: Northern Minnesota
So it seems what you were told was going to be 15 oz turned out to be 18 oz. As you paid extra to get the 15 oz item I would ask for it to be redone to what they promised. If I bought a pair of CF tent poles that came 20% over-weight (to give an example of custom gear I have ordered) I would send it back.Sep 9, 2011 at 4:50 pm #1777913
Andy FBPL Member
Like Bob said, being custom gear, the person making it wouldn't know exactly how much it weighs until it's done.Sep 9, 2011 at 4:55 pm #1777917
jim drauckerBPL Member
@mtnjimLocale: Shenandoah Valley VA
I feel your frustration. If you order custom gear, it should weigh what was quoted. Some companys have return policies for custom builds.We pay a premium for ul/sul gear.
JimSep 9, 2011 at 4:59 pm #1777919
@bob – it is a down item that was made smaller than standard with a lighter fabric and is still over spec. That being said I think that was a good suggestion about the humidity having an effect on the down and to run it through the dryer or at the very least wait until the humidity dies down to re-weigh it.
@tim – luckily i dont have to use it right away, would like to but dont have to.
@ray – That is exactly what happened. I paid for x weight and was delivered x+ weight. I think I will contact the maker tonight to see what they say.
@andy – the maker did know how much it should weigh so that is not the issue.
@jim – exactlySep 9, 2011 at 5:03 pm #1777921
@socal-nomadLocale: North San Diego county
If I was a manufacture I would post a disclaimer: Items can have 10 to 25% weight difference from advertised weight specified.
Because of fabric,Insulation and material sources may have changed manufacturing techniques or thread count, carbon fiber, resin weight, Or we made changes manufacturing techniques slightly to make stronger pack or other variance beyond my control.
Personally I would just not worry about 2 to 5 oz. variance all the major manufactures do worse some times 1 lb. over specified weight. The reason I am posting this you should see how fabrics bolts change color from different Dye lots. Manufacturing fabric and insulation or weighing goose down is not a exact science. Depending on so many variable and human error.
TerrySep 9, 2011 at 5:22 pm #1777930
Steven EvansBPL Member
I would contact the manufacturer and open up a discussion on why it is overweight. If they knew the weight because they had made one like it before than there would be a reason for the additional weight. If they calculated/estimated the weight based on experience than perhaps they made an error. At the very least, it is good to let them know so they don't do the same thing to someone else.
I think the only way I would want my money back is if there was another product on the market that I passed on because theirs was stated to be lighter (assuming identical specs). I remember when I bought a custom "down filled garment", it came in about 2 ounces overweight, I was pretty bummed out, but there was still nothing on the market that would be as warm for the same weight, so I kept it.
I know if anything I made was 25% over the stated weight I would want to be contacted about it.
edit: removed name of "down filled garment"Sep 9, 2011 at 5:27 pm #1777932
If they were making a _small_ custom bag, then they might have fouled up and used the standard amount of down. Now, the way that I look at it is that you got a little more of the expensive down than what you needed for a small size. I know that still leaves it a bit heavier than the plan. However, just think how you would be screaming if they had used much less down than what they should have. That would make it colder than its rating.
–B.G.–Sep 9, 2011 at 5:50 pm #1777942
Sumi WadaBPL Member
@detroittigerfanLocale: Ann Arbor
>> it is a down bag that was made smaller than standard with a lighter fabric and is still over spec.
So, the maker actually gave you an exact "spec" weight for a custom sized bag with a non-standard fabric? I guess I find that surprising. When I bought my FF bag off their cut-list (i.e. it hadn't been made yet), they gave me an "average" weight with a +/- range. It just seems unrealistic to be able to promise an exact weight.
That said, if the maker did, in fact, give you an exact weight and didn't meet it, I would expect an option to return it for a refund. But if the maker explained that he/she'd used more down than expected, I would probably consider keeping it anyway.Sep 9, 2011 at 5:51 pm #1777943
@steven – I did contact the manufacturer and am awaiting a reply. I really dont expect any problems whatsoever as the maker has been great in the past and has had really exemplary customer service. I think I just needed to wrap my mind around the fact that I am actually questioning a few oz over the spec weight.
@bob – could be, but I will need to hear from the maker first. Extra down is never a bad thingSep 9, 2011 at 6:16 pm #1777947
@blackrockLocale: Pacific Northwest
If you bought the standard bag and it were a few ounces off I might return it for a standard bag that meets the manufacturers specs. I manufacture gear that has listed specs and work to get every single piece out the door on spec.
Now… If somebody calls me and wants a custom item that I can make they need to specify exactly what they want. If you were ordering a shorter bag out of lighter material I would expect the item to weigh less, but I'd also mention and/or expect the customer to want or ask what I think the new weight will be.
Did you ask how much lighter the bag would be with the change in material and size of the bag? Either way I wouldn't expect to get an item that met the same specs as the listed standard item and I don't think you can hold them to that standard. I'd expect it to weigh less, but since it's not the difference has got to be in goose down. It doesn't mean you shouldn't ask them, but I wouldn't be upset about it. They probably took a good amount of extra time and care to make that one off item and if it were me I'd probably have over stuffed it slightly just to make sure the customer was happy. Not everyone weighs their gear with a number in mind and is upset if a bit more down got in the bag.
I'd check to see the specs on the material you requested wasn't heavier as well. Either way, I'd be really nice and ask them why the bag turned out heavy because if it's a difference in down they probably did it thinking they were doing an excellent job and to keep your business.
Anyway, thats my take on it. I also assume people weigh my stuff, so I'll weigh out hundreds of items then post the average weight just so people get what they bought.Sep 9, 2011 at 6:39 pm #1777952
don't settle for poor customer service. if you paid for a custom piece of gear then you should get what you paid for. it shouldn't be that hard to figure the numbers. x.x oz fabric + x ounces of down = a number. i've gotten accurate custom builds from both zpacks and hammockgear.Sep 9, 2011 at 8:27 pm #1777984
Dan DurstonBPL Member
The acceptable amount of weight discrepancy varies by circumstance IMO. If I'm buying a traditional or 'lightweight' piece standard gear from a major manufacturer I pretty much accept that it's going to be 10-15% over spec and if it comes it on spec or less then that's a bonus. Mainstream gear varies a lot, and so a good way to purchase mainstream gear is to bring a scale with you to a local shop.
With gear that is being custom made specifically for the purpose of shaving weight, makers have an obligation to be more accurate. The manufacturer should understand the importance we place on weight, and be reasonably accurate with their estimate and delivered product. For custom UL/SUL gear, I would say 5% higher is a bummer and 10% higher is about the limit. 20% over is normally totally unacceptable.
I'm currently getting a custom down quilt made with the intention of shaving every bit of weight that I can. The regular model of this quilt is 16.3oz and mine is supposed to weigh about 13.1oz with M55 fabrics, cuben baffles, 900fp down and a trimmer cut. If my quilt comes in at 5% over (13.8oz) I would be slightly disappointed but still happy with the product. If it comes it at 10% over 14.4oz then I would be disappointed, although I would likely keep the quilt. If it hit 15oz then I would be left wondering why I bothered paying the extra money and waiting a month just to get something barely lighter than the regular model.
The trouble seems to be that usually the initial estimate is what is inaccurate, and the actual delivered product was done correctly but the target was unrealistic. So a gear maker gives a unintentionally poor/optimistic estimate and then they simply can't deliver on that estimate because it wasn't realistic. I think the lesson here for gear makers is to understand the importance many in this community place on weight, and to be caution and responsible when weight estimates are given out.
A lot of this varies by your circumstance. Did the maker say it would weigh X? Or weight ABOUT x? A lot of it depends on what was promised and what accuracy was implied.Sep 9, 2011 at 8:38 pm #1777986
@halpottsLocale: Middle Tennessee
I think we should all be thankful that our lives are so good that this would be a serious discussion.Sep 9, 2011 at 8:44 pm #1777988
eric chanBPL Member
1. as suggested down items may be lighter when measured at low humidity than higher humidity … im not sure of the difference … but some people here have found measurable difference
2. for a down items id be more worried about something being UNDERWEIGHT … how do you know you havent gotten an underfilled item then? … your overweight down items might be overfilled a tad …
3. just contact the manuf and work something out
at the end of the day, i myself dont worry that much about it …. but then im not buying custom gear right nowSep 9, 2011 at 9:02 pm #1777990
"at the end of the day, i myself dont worry that much about it …. but then im not buying custom gear right now"
Understandable given that you tend to trash gear quickly…. ; )Sep 9, 2011 at 9:21 pm #1777997
eric chanBPL Member
OMG the flames are jumping threads … help the OP David?
;)Sep 9, 2011 at 9:25 pm #1778000
I'm the wrong person to ask but agree that if it is a sleeping bag, there is a good chance that it has some additional fill – always a good thing. 2 oz is nothing to worry about. You can lift it (I only deal in absolutes and not percentages that are meaningless).
Now THAT should get the flames going.Sep 9, 2011 at 10:55 pm #1778022
@sgiachettiLocale: Boulder, CO
i agree that quibbling over oz is absurd….but from my experience of this site, thats exactly what we specialize in (myself most definitely included). Lets face it: the pleasure of going UL only increases so much after you've gotten yourself to about 7-8lb base. What we do here on these forums would fall more or less under the category of obsessive hobbiest. (If this is flaming, I am also burning myself.)
That said, its a pretty cool hobby, & as legit as most quirky little preoccupations that humans take on, given the leisure. (Although I'd rate actual backpacking, regardless of the weight, quite a bit higher).
Don't mean to get so pedantic,but if you care enough to participate in an internet forum dedicated to lightweight backpacking, then you've already entered that very peculiar realm where every oz counts. If you've researched materials/design & invested your money in a custom made peice of gear from a specialized UL gear company based on a certain suggested spec, then you've most definitely already begun quibbling over oz.
I'm here to tell you: its OK. Most of us do it. Rant over.
I'd ask for a return.Sep 9, 2011 at 11:04 pm #1778025
"I'd ask for a return."
We understand your opinion. However, with a custom-built product, there may be some heavy discussion from the company about a return. You almost have to research, in advance, what the company's return policy is for a custom-built product. Then ask more questions. Some companies will promise a return. What they do not always talk about is a restocking charge which might be significant and might make the whole return deal impractical.
This is one of the few areas where a big company may have an advantage over a small cottage company. The big company may have a customer service staff who will take care of these things. The small company may be a one-man shop that is fighting to stay out of the red. A company's reputation has different value depending on its size.
–B.G.–Sep 10, 2011 at 7:14 am #1778089
Serge, A 7-8 pound base weight, not to mention a 10 pound base weight, is a completely arbitrary number. It will mean something different to a fit 140 pound person than a fit 240 pound person. For the former, perhaps that is the limit required to feel comfort on the trail (assuming adding food and water). For the latter, not at all.
What about geographic differences, climate differences, and overall weather conditions. Again, your numbers are arbitrary.
What I want to know is – who made these distinctions and who gives them the right?
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