Jan 3, 2013 at 11:55 pm #1297660
Taking a cursory look at some gear today, I noticed price increases amongst some companies:
Six Moon Designs- Was going to purchase Skyscape X as soon as it became available but with the increase from $450 to $550 I'll be content with my Skyscape Trekker for some time. Cuben products are realizing a price increase. SMD released a statement regarding this.
Katabatic Gear- Price increase across the board. Looks to be around $15 or so dollars if memory serves correct. Was going to purchase the Sawatch, but with pricing just shy of $500, I believe I'll be purchasing a couple ounces of down to overstuff my EE quilt myself.
Enlightened Equipment- Small price increase (can't exactly remember template for last year's quilts). New features on quilts for 2013. What caught my eye was the reduction of space between baffles. I like the idea as my 2012 quilt baffling I didn't quite care for too much. Of noticable improvement is an increase in down amounts per temp/size.
Zpacks- Pricing seems to be the same. Took a quick look but correct me if I'm wrong on some items.
Gossamer Gear- Retained 2012 pricing thus far.
Popping around different websites, what price increases have you fellow ULers observed?Jan 4, 2013 at 12:47 am #1940729
The Katabatic Alsek has gone up by $40; the 5'6'' version was $380 several days ago :(Jan 4, 2013 at 4:56 am #1940734
–Jan 4, 2013 at 9:14 am #1940774
Well, that sucks about the price increases with Katabatic. I myself was actually considering paying their already obscurely high prices to get an Alsek (even though for the price, the quilt weight is way to high). That pretty much eliminates them from my consideration now. Those quilts would need to be stitched with gold thread to justify a $40 increase on top of an already outrageous price.
Looks like Enlightened is now going to get my business. Good to see that Tim is fine tuning his quilts. THAT is a justification for a price increase. Time and resources dedicated to improving a quilts performance.
I really can't believe Katabatic though… *shakes head* There is a point when someones pricing is just crazy and they were already sitting on that tipping point with last years prices.
Javan!!! Please start making quilts again!! PLEASE!!
KJJan 4, 2013 at 9:44 am #1940780
@mikefaedundeeLocale: Under a bush in Scotland
I'm often surprised at how low the prices are for high quality, Western made gear.
Folk have got used to the prices of gear made in sweatshops. Those days are passing, as other cheap labour countries improve their standard of life.
How much would YOU charge for something that took 6 hours of your labour, plus material costs?Jan 4, 2013 at 9:51 am #1940782
Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
"Folk have got used to the prices of gear made in sweatshops."
It seems good to get cheap stuff made in sweatshops from low wage countries,
but then the number of jobs here is reduced which makes our economy worse and then we have less money to spendJan 4, 2013 at 9:57 am #1940784
@mikefaedundeeLocale: Under a bush in Scotland
I guess that's where the thinking that capitalism will eventually kill itself, comes from Jerry.
When there is no longer any low wage economies to exploit, what happens?Jan 4, 2013 at 9:58 am #1940785
eric chanBPL Member
and yet the stuff made in "sweatshops" work perfectly fine … many of em last just as long and have better warranty than "cottage" stuff … and you can often find em on DEEP sales
buy and use what you want … but chances are that quite a bit of the gear that cutting edge alpinist or other such pushing the limits is made on some "slave nation" … gear that their life depends on
generally gear is getting CHEAPER once you factor in the intrawebs salesJan 4, 2013 at 10:01 am #1940786
Even if I paid myself a very satisfactory amount of $45/hr (@ 6 hours of work), I don't see how the cost of materials to produce an Alesk quilt would be $165, especially buying fabric, down and tread in bulk.
I honestly can't make an educated guess as I'm not versed in material costs and what other costs Katabatic incurs. Maybe I should shut my mouth, but compared to others out there the price seem very high…even with them being produced here in the States.
KJJan 4, 2013 at 10:26 am #1940789
Randy MartinBPL Member
There are many things that go into price besides actual cost. The basics are cost + profit. Cost includes design cost not just the cost to build something. So the time that Aaron spent modifying designs, doing destructive testing etc…You are paying for a little bit of that design cost in each bag he sells. In addition, supply/demand enters into the picture. Prices go up not necessarily because actually cost goes up but the amount of demand exceeds supply.
I often wonder how many in the cottage industry actually have full time jobs outside their company. I have a hard time imagining that Aaron makes enough money from Katabatic to be his sole income. If that is the case then I personally would charge a premium for my time.Jan 4, 2013 at 10:36 am #1940792
@pnwhikerLocale: Pacific NW
I've been waiting and waiting for the Skyscape X and now this! I'm really unhappy. It's left a pretty bad taste in my mouth regarding these guys. Zpacks has been great on the other hand and I'll take a deep look at their options. Sigh.Jan 4, 2013 at 10:53 am #1940796
Ryan SmithBPL Member
To be fair, I think SMD did lower their pricing on a couple other items. From what I've read, their demand for cuben products was very high this year which usually means an increase in price is soon to follow. Don't get too upset about it, we would do the same thing in these people's shoes.
RyanJan 4, 2013 at 11:47 am #1940807
Tim MarshallBPL Member
I just wanted to shed some light on the increase in quilt costs.
Down has gone up a lot since last year. My supplier raised his prices so i checked out the major supplier Katabatic, WM, Hammock Gear, UGQ, Arrow Head and goosefeet all use and their prices were much higher than even the increased price i will pay this year. I couldn't believe the cost honestly for 800-900 fill down.
My price increase actually wasn't much affected by down costs as like i said my supplier has a great price even at the slight increase over last year, but has more to do with the fact that my prices last year were based off a bad model that needed correction. It didn't make sense to me to just raise the price so i set out to improve the product so you were getting more when you paid more. My guess is high end down costs are only going up and you may see price increases every 6 months from companies using the "BIG" supplier. I only hope I don't out grow my current supplier or i will too be faced to charge a lot more. Fingers crossed!!
We need a larger source of this high power down as the source shrinks the cost just drives up. Regulation is good but this is the result.
-TimJan 4, 2013 at 2:08 pm #1940838
Jennifer MitolBPL Member
@jenmitolLocale: In my dreams....
One of the great things I've gleaned from this site is learning about cottage manufacturers in general. Previously the best I could do was thinking I was doing well by spending my hard-earned money at REI…at least it *kind of* wasn't one of those awful multinational corporations with nothing but profit for motive…
And while I regrettably don't make enough money to ensure everything I buy is properly sourced (do you have ANY idea how much a single pork chop costs at a farmers market??!!! Goodness gracious!!), I do feel happy to give my money to true small businesses (not necessarily Romney's idea of a "small business") who do the work themselves and take pride in what they build. That pride is reflected in their product, their customer service…and it makes me feel much better about shelling out $500 for a shelter, or $250 for a quilt…
Anyway, just my little shout out to stuff NOT made in third world sweatshops by nameless slave labor. Thanks guys, and keep up the good work. Ill keep buying your stuff as long as I can afford to…Jan 4, 2013 at 2:11 pm #1940839
Any additional information about the new straps and how they function?
KJJan 4, 2013 at 6:51 pm #1940885
I just received my '13 enLIGHTened equipment quilt today, and I have to say that I absolutely adore the new features. I owned one of the '12 quilts as well, and this one is a nice step up and a refinement of what was already a nice quilt. Well worth the price bump. Thanks, Tim.Jan 4, 2013 at 9:32 pm #1940932
Hamish McHamishBPL Member
How would the cottage industries make their goods without raw materials like nylon, Epic, dyneema, cuben, etc that are sourced from international corporations?
RE: capitalism: no exploitation or greed in the good 'ol USSR or other centrally planned worker paradise, no sir!Jan 4, 2013 at 9:42 pm #1940934
Six Moon Designs actually dropped the prices on other models, including the Lunar Solo. By $35. This would be a gear price decrease.Jan 4, 2013 at 9:58 pm #1940936
Eugene SmithBPL Member
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
Is the SMD Lunar Solo one of the shelters Ron has made overseas? That could explain the generous savings there to the consumer. Either way, a decrease in price is good for anyone looking for lightweight affordable backpacking gear that works well.
So, if goose down costs are increasing as demand rises, will there be an impending synthetic insulation boom over the next few years as a response? I'd like to see improved synthetic insulation incorporated more into jackets and sleeping bags. PL1 has proven to be a really good alternative to down in some applications.Jan 4, 2013 at 10:11 pm #1940940
@Kenneth- I was going to buy a Kat Sawatch last year when they were $450 for the 6'wide. Held back and heard good things about Tim and EE so I decided to try it out. Fast forward to this winter, after testing out my EE, I was going to drop the hat for the Sawatch again, but $450->$480->$495 increases in one year swayed me otherwise. I would like to try the baffling and draft tube on the Kat for cold weather, that's about it really. Originally I was looking at the Alsek vs EE 20* fwiw. I agree, too, where's Javan?
@Rich- I hear ya. Skyscape X is out of my shopping cart. I have been overly excited for SMD to have it ready for shipment and now not so much. Shy of 25% price increase overnight is just too much. I do agree with Ryan though; SMD has seen demand for their cuben products. Wonder if this will work for round 2? Without refinements (Kat in mind) the price increase seems, well, monetarily selfish. Which is fine. We will see how this business maneuver works for them in 2013. I wish the best. As for Zpacks, I'm continually impressed with Joe for pricepoint, customer service and innovation. I'm just hoping he produces something similar to the Skyscape this year; I'm in for that.
@Tim- Thanks for chiming in, always great to hear from you. Your price increase really doesn't need any explaining but thank you for "enlightening" us (I just had too). The enhancements to your product are very cut and dry. I think it's a great evolution for your product and the pricing warrants that. Reworking the baffles has brought my interest back to your quilts. I'm still on the fence for quilts vs. bags in cold temps. I firmly believe 2013 will be an outstanding year for EE; you have a great momentum going and it will continue. I probably don't stand alone with this though- your forum presence here at BPL is admirable and certainly swayed myself towards EE. You're not an enigma; it's like meeting the farmer selling their vegetables at the farmer's market. I'm more likely to buy from such a vendor. Congratulations and may this year be tremendous for you.
David- I wonder if the price drop for the Lunar is to garner more interest from beginners? Not sure.
@All- I try to buy American as much as possible, particularly in the camping segment. We have seen great innovation, and now refinement. It's very nice to support these folks that have quit their full time jobs or are doing it on the side. Another bonus is we can often call them up real quick and speak to them directly, or someone who works there without resorting to an automated program. That's worth something, right? My friends and family, particularly my Dad, are pretty impressed at how much of my camping gear is American made. The materials are a different debate though… In the end, yes, these folks do have to make a living and furthermore make it worthwhile to some degree. Without them we would have some wonky looking MYOG (at least myself lol)!Jan 5, 2013 at 4:11 am #1940963
eric chanBPL Member
So, if goose down costs are increasing as demand rises, will there be an impending synthetic insulation boom over the next few years as a response? I'd like to see improved synthetic insulation incorporated more into jackets and sleeping bags. PL1 has proven to be a really good alternative to down in some applications.
for the smart shopper, i doubt that itll matter
with so many big names getting into the 800+ fill down category … you will see highly competitive pricing at clearance sales if nothing else … point in case you can buy it from costco now, and the EB big sale is still on …
the flip side is that youre jacket could have been made with live plucked down in a slave labour country … and doesnt carry that special fancy cachet or logo ;)
if you arent totally obsessed or picky about getting a specific item … deals abound for perfectly functional and light gear
the wonder of the intrawebs and big box retail =PJan 5, 2013 at 4:57 am #1940965
Gary DunckelBPL Member
The only thing that troubles me is Tim's observation that "Down has gone up." Man, that changes everything–gravity, how airplanes work, and what happens when I drop something. Not bad when you climb a peak, but a bummer when you head back to the truck.
Edit–Oh yeah, and what about ski areas and kayaking? How's that going to work?Jan 5, 2013 at 10:20 am #1940999
@pnwhikerLocale: Pacific NW
RE: the SMD Skyskape X price increase
Yes an overnight 22% price increase is maddening, but I do get the supply/demand imbalance. What really ticks me off is the communication. SMD has been out of stock for at least 5 months on this item. For all that time it was listed on their web site at $450. Never once did they communicate that when they would be back in stock they would have a huge price increase. And, I've kept up with them on all their channels: web site; facebook; and twitter. In fact, I sent in my email for the 'notify me when available'; and, also, I've asked a few questions about the tent directly by email. So, in the meantime I've passed up a couple of opportunities to get competing products at really good prices. I really feel like I've been 'bait and switched.' Now, an obvious choice for me would be a Trekker or Lunar Solo. But, I'm just so pissed off right now I wouldn't buy an ultralight toothpick from them. But, perhaps I'll cool off in a few weeks.Jan 5, 2013 at 11:43 am #1941005
I realize that a lot of people are disappointed in both the lack of availability of the Skyscape X and now the sudden price increase. Let me say that it was never my desire for it to play out in this manner. So I hope you'll accept my apologies. I would like to address some of the issues raised so you'll know the backstory. Maybe it'll help with your understanding.
First off we were quite surprised, though overwhelmed might be a better description, of the response to the release of the Skyscape X. Both of our initial production batches sold out within days of becoming available. Unfortunately we were not able to respond to the demand. This was due, in part because our US production facility was already slammed with trying to keep up with demand from our normal items. Sales of the new model of Lunar Solo also took off beyond expectation. Plus our normal dealer sales and international sales also exceeded our expectations.
The second part of the delay was due to our own lack of internal resources. Our Cuben Fiber products are produced with a mixture of in house and out of house resources. With just two people on staff, myself and my son, we've been scrambling. In addition I've spent a significant portion of the last four months working on a new product line.
Going forward, we're in the process of making changes that will reduce the backlog. First, we've moved some more of our production offshore to free up our US production. This resulted in the reduction in price for the Lunar Solo. Second, we hope to be changing facilities sometime this year. This will provide us more space and make it much easier to bring in additional personal. After over 20 years working out of my home, transitioning to a new facility is no easy task, physically and emotionally.
Pricing is always a difficult issue. This is particularly true when it comes to Cuben Fiber. The extremely high cost of the material clashes with the desire to provide reasonably prices goods to service our customers. Knowing the cost for Cuben Fiber and silnylon, it's pretty clear that none of the cottage gear manufactures are marking up the price of Cuben Fiber in the same way that other fabrics are. In addition noone in the UL community is attempting to sale these products in a retail environment. The result for the end user is that you're able to procure these products at what would be less than wholesale cost.
Thus far, this has been a good deal for consumers. It's not clear if this is a long term winning strategy for producers of Cuben Fiber products. People complained about the high cost of Skyscape X with the new price increase. However, the X has over $200 in raw cost for the Cuben Fiber material alone. This is before we've cut the first panel, sewed the first stitch, or taped the first seam. In normal retail mark up, that $200 alone would account for between $700 and $800 dollars of a retail tent price. Add in the cost of labor and you're easily pushing $1,000 dollars.
Therefore it's not surprising when you see the Terra Nova Cuben Fiber tents priced at $1,000. The Sierra Designs CF Tent announced at Summer OR was $1,800. Easton also displayed a CF tent with price well over $1,000.
We raised the price of our CF products because of demand from our Retail channel. These small shops are always desperately looking for ways to differentiate themselves from the big box sporting goods stores. However, even with the price increase, they are still taking a big hit on margins.
No doubt, that many will still be upset with our price increases. I hope you'll also understand that I'm working seven days a week to try and bring out the best gear available. Tomorrow, we start cutting up $10,000 worth of Cuben Fiber for our next production run of X's. We hope they'll be available in early February.
Six Moon DesignsJan 5, 2013 at 10:04 pm #1941124
@Ron- I must say the quality of my Trekker is exceptional. The zipper is phenomenal; one handed zipping with pure ease and no hangups- brilliant. First (tent) I've had the joy to encounter this. Thank you for chiming in on my subject and providing insight to your operations. You bring up some very fair points and I'm sure the public is glad to hear them. One that caught my eye was normal retail mark up. It is correct that large companies like the ones you mentioned do have an absurd final price point on their cuban products. Some folks are willing to pay this which leaves me wondering if they're educated about the cottage industry? In regards to retail channels, is it more your interest in supplying to these stores the get the SMD brand better known or that they inquire and want to stock your products to differentiate themselves from larger stores?
@All- Ron brings up a very good point with retail mark up. A recent instance I can think of is a Terra Nova bag I inquired about recently in December- the Laser 300 Elite. My only reason for wanting to purchase it was to assemble a very narrow and specific hiking kit for a small portion of the year. I found it for $230ish online (usually around $400 mark), went to the store and, alas, it was a special order and not in stock. I held off on buying it. I glanced at it again last week and it's price is now $400. That goes to show how much wiggle room there is in the price..
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