Dec 12, 2012 at 12:44 pm #1297005
@tdkoszegiLocale: Southern Michigan
I work at a small apparel manufacturer in Michigan (yes, a real-life apparel manufacturer here in the US) It is a great company, but some of their contracts (mostly military, but also Patagonia and New Balance to name a few) are winding down, so in order to avoid layoffs, they are looking at creating their own line of gear. They have years of experience, top of the line machines, and plenty of ability, but almost zero knowledge of the market. I offered to help since this is a passion of mine.
The question is, what are your needs out there? What things would you like to see made that aren't being made right now? Any and all help in this would be helpful. Even if you have a suggestion, but aren't sure if it applies, please comment. There is a ton of potential here, and the company has room for major flexibility. Wouldn't it be great to have a direct line to a backpacking gear manufacturer? Please help me out. Also, if yo have any other suggestions or questions about this opportunity, please ask. I'm also fairly new to this idea of manufacturing and selling gear (other than a few DIY projects), so any advice would certainly be appreciated.
TroyDec 12, 2012 at 3:33 pm #1935078
@moxfordLocale: Silicon Valley, CA
I want a jacket with inflatable air-struts and (partial) vacuum chambers. Just to see how well it works against the Argon-filled Klymit vests. =)
-moxDec 13, 2012 at 8:42 am #1935218
i'd probably try to find a particular group to cater to. if you try to make everything for everyone you'll get swallowed up by big brands like TNF and others. Think of a particular crowd (think warbonnet – catering to just hammockers) or blackrockgear (making just hats and mittens). that would be how i would direct my attention…Dec 13, 2012 at 8:53 am #1935223
How about a complete line of quality VPL clothing (tops, pants, hats, gloves/mittens, and socks), to fit into the large cost/quality void between RBH Designs and Stephenson's Warmlite?Dec 13, 2012 at 9:45 am #1935233
I have thought for a long time if I had waterproof/breathable pants that had zip off legs and pockets, I could get rid of one pair of pants I usually carry. If it looked lke normal pants and not shiney rain pants that would even be better. The shorts maybe too hot in warmer climes but vent pockets and other vents could make it work. Of course I might be your only customer.Dec 13, 2012 at 10:09 am #1935242
A line of Paramo type clothing for the US would be great, they aren't imported from England (no US dealers) and the existing designs need considerable work to make them more streamlined and less clunky.
RonDec 13, 2012 at 11:19 am #1935256
@baughbLocale: So Cal.
Merino wool. Although may need some stretch to keep snug but not cut for a 23 year old "actor" whose been doing P90X for 6 years….
Expedition weight in the torso (250-320+), light weight (150 ish) in the sleeves (long) with Thumb holes.
3/4 zip with high neck that does not choke. Some Ibex tops are good like that.
Small chest pocket zip gun style.
NOT embarrassingly bright colors.
I need to learn how to sew!
BobDec 25, 2012 at 8:12 am #1938118
@tdkoszegiLocale: Southern Michigan
Good stuff.I like the waterproof gear idea. Definitely a néed there.Dec 25, 2012 at 8:38 am #1938120
Here are some products I've looked for but could never find:
Large-sized hats for big heads
Hats that have a recessed space for the ears (like, a beanie where the headband section is cut looser than the scalp). Sleeping in beanies wakes me up with ear pain from the slight but constant pressure.
Rain jackets with zippable vents along the backs of the shoulders for cycling. Long arms, drop-tail hem in the back.
Backpacking jackets with big cargo pockets mounted mid-chest where they won't interfere with backpack straps or hipbelts.
A jacket that has a small hole in the back of both shoulders so you can snake a hydration pack hose from your backpack down your sleeve, so it's insulated in the winter.
I'll try to think of more. The last two are just a matter of taking products that already exist and editing them slightly.Dec 25, 2012 at 1:14 pm #1938159
FYI, I also have a larger head and the ZPacks beanie is exactly what you're looking for where the headband section is cut looser than the scalp…or at least mine is. I was guessing that it's was purposefully made that way.
KJDec 25, 2012 at 3:24 pm #1938169
@marty_mcflyLocale: Southeast US
I really like the idea of making quality VBL products in sil nylon and/or tyvek or similar materials. I'd love the option to buy a silnylon rainjacket and pants, as well as rainmitts.Dec 25, 2012 at 4:11 pm #1938174
The question is, what are your needs out there? What things would you like to see made that aren't being made right now?
So the company you are working at is in the outdoor/military apparel manufacturing industry and wanting to branch out their product line and you want to know what does not exist that you guys could start making, is that the gist of it?
If so, I think what you really need to do is start attending OR events (there is one in SLC in a couple of weeks) and start going to all of the different hiker gatherings around the country. If you really want to be serious about knowing what needs there are out there, you first need to get your development team out of their offices and see what is out there, and from there, buy some of what is out there, and then go hit the trail and decide what changes need to be made in the hiking industry clothing world, and then fix them to ways that make you guys happy.
This year I have worked with over a dozen cottage industries on product conceptions, prototype development, T&E, and it has been an amazing opportunity but an insane amount of work. I have developed two products myself and have worked with different cottage companies to see them come to market and are now being used by hikers around the world. Each of them are things that came about while I was out on the trail. Walking mile after mile for thousands of miles gives you a lot of time to think about what part of your gear setup sucks.
Like any industry, if you want to expand your market share, you better get out there and understand what your market is.Dec 25, 2012 at 6:03 pm #1938181
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
I would like to see somebody make an 800 fill weight down sleeping bag "topper", i.e. a sewn-thru top to fit over a summer bag to extend the bag's range. It would be mummy shaped, essentially the top of a mummy bag, complete with vertical foot coverage.
The "topper" would have about 6 Velcro strips sewn to its inside edges – one at the foot, two on each side and one at the center top. The buyer would have to sew or have a tailor sew on the mating Velcro strips to the sleeping bag.
A bag "topper" like this DOES work, I have one. I get 20 F. warmer bag with my cheapo duck down topper.Dec 29, 2012 at 3:12 pm #1939133
@stephen-mLocale: Way up North
Is your company based in Jackson?
StephenDec 29, 2012 at 3:26 pm #1939136
@backfeets1Locale: Midwest.... Missouri
Simple W/Breathable rain pants , like Golite's reed pants. No ankle zips just thin elastic, no fly zip just thin elastic at waist, no pockets. 3 to 4 ozs wt.
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