Sep 21, 2013 at 8:05 pm #1307893
Dan DurstonBPL Member
Clever and unique. I prefer to keep things simple but some may like these ideas.Sep 22, 2013 at 7:11 am #2026911
Daryl and DarylBPL Member
@lyrad1Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
I like the built in hood.
I've been using an MSR Haven (now discontinued) this year and it too has a built in hood but the bottom is open like a quilt. The hood adds a lot of warmth.Sep 22, 2013 at 7:29 am #2026912
Dan DurstonBPL Member
The hood on this SD quilt looks like it only works if you're laying on your back.Sep 22, 2013 at 8:34 am #2026919
nmSep 22, 2013 at 8:48 am #2026926
Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
That's my question, what if you sleep on side or stomach or roll from one side to the other?
I think I'de rather wear a hatSep 22, 2013 at 9:27 am #2026933
William ChiltonBPL Member
I reckon they'd fit in with my sleeping style, but the I agree with those who think the hood is unnecessary.Sep 22, 2013 at 10:29 am #2026961
Aaron SorensenBPL Member
@awsorensenLocale: South of Forester Pass
I've made a quilt with shoulder pockets. Each corner was sewn back about 10" so when you get in you just tuck your shoulders in and the entire side would follow.
The longer area made it much better as a side sleeper as you now had room for your arms and hands to be in that now empty space.Sep 23, 2013 at 9:35 pm #2027570
I bet I make them crap their pants:). I don't think they're making quilts to protect sales from quilt guys. I think they just want a piece of the quilt market. That money is being spent why not grab some of it? They are not nervous, but this trend makes me nervous.
-TimSep 25, 2013 at 3:34 pm #2028253
I am the Vice President and brand manager for Sierra Designs. So I guess you could say that I am "affiliated"….;)
I see comments focused on the hood design and hand pockets of the Backcountry Quilt, but what makes this quilt truly special is the size.
First, I should say that our philosophy on lightweight is slightly different than many of the cottage brands. To us, the whole goal of going lighter and simpler is because lighter and simpler is MORE COMFORTABLE. When lighter is LESS comfortable, we think the goal is lost, and we stop. I understand that for some, hitting a certain number is important for performance or whatever reason. But for us, comfort is the goal. Light is the means to the end.
That said, in our opinion, most available quilts are simply too small to be comfortable, and specifically, way too short. Because of this, they almost always require additional clothing (usually a down hoodie) to address this, minimizing some of the weight advantages, and narrowing the usable temperature range. Mostly, this additional clothing is required to insulate the head and neck, which traditional short quilts fail to do.
We wanted to make a quilt that allowed comfortable side, stomach and back sleeping in a wider range of temperatures, without having to carry an extra garment (and associated weight) to extend the comfort range. A quilt that someone who was suffering in a traditional mummy would try and use, and transition to a more enlightened approach to their sleep system. And in order to do this, we needed to insulate the head.
When you sleep in a bed at home, and you get cold, you naturally (without waking) wrap your covers tightly around you. If it gets really cold, you naturally wrap the quilt around the back of your head too. So while the hood is indeed the head insulating solution for back sleeping, the solution for side and stomach is the long quilt itself, simply wrapped around your head like a bed at home. So if you NEVER sleep on your back, I agree that the hood is not a value added feature. (That said, some testers do use the hood in other sleeping positions.)
Way more important than the hood feature, is the "hand pocket" which creates a natural un-sewn baffle that folds the side of the bag inward, helping seal out side drafts. The hand pockets allow for very simple manipulation of the quilt, and natural wrapping of the quilt without having to grab. You don't need this at home because the quilt at home is so large, but on these narrower designs, it makes all the difference.
Finally, I find it funny that anyone would refer to Sierra Designs as a "big brand", because our new team rallies around our common disdain for the big brands, and the products that they make that we truly just don't like. We are getting into quilts and beds not because we want a piece of the action (there honestly currently is not enough business there to make it worthwhile), but because we believe they are simply better ideas than the tired old status quo. We certainly don't want to negatively impact the cottage industry, that is currently driving virtually all the new ideas and smart thinking in the market. If we have our way, new-better-different ideas, and the brands that drive them, "cottage" or otherwise, will flourish. Tired old big brands and the sea of sameness is where we want to take our marketshare.Sep 26, 2013 at 6:39 am #2028421
NMSep 26, 2013 at 8:39 am #2028456
Michael, if it's cold enough, most are already going to be bringing something like a down jacket with a hood for hanging around at camp at night. So it's not really extra weight, because it's dual purpose weight.
I would rather have a lighter quilt with no hood, etc, and use my Stoic Hadron with same than have a heavier quilt with a hood, etc. I don't think it uncomfortable at all.
Edit: i should add the hand pocket idea does sound interesting and worth looking into more.Sep 26, 2013 at 11:43 am #2028562
Christopher *BPL Member
@cfrey-0Locale: US East Coast
Ummmm … did anyone else notice that the Sierra Designs VP of design became a BPL lifetime member moments after obviously hearing about this thread?
I feel naked.Sep 26, 2013 at 12:44 pm #2028580
Good point Christopher… now if Sierra Designs happens to soon come out with a woven Spectra or Dyneema wind jacket, I will definitely raise my eyebrows more than a tad.. Actually, I wouldn't mind as long as they don't charge an exorbitant amount of money for it.Sep 26, 2013 at 1:09 pm #2028593
I have been a member of BPL since its inception (I was with MSR at the time and we were an advertiser on the original print magazine) , and a lifetime member for a couple of years. I just have never posted on any of the forums before yesterday.Sep 26, 2013 at 1:26 pm #2028598
I sure hope that nobody would mind if we come out with anything that is cool.
I do understand the skepticism from members about the intentions of a "big brand", especially since you are all unaware of who the new SD is, and what we are all about.
I don't see it as a traditional brand coming into the core backpacking space. I see it as core backpackers taking over one of the big brands.Sep 26, 2013 at 2:56 pm #2028643
Dude, I'm glad your here. One of the reasons my company even exists is because the common man never really had acess to influence decision makers of larger gear companies. You may not think of SD as large but people sew my stuff in their family rooms:).
I think you being here to consider the needs of common users in a very niche sport says good things about the future of the market and the products this groups of users may have a chance to influence. So from my perspective its a very good thing that you're here as part of this community hearing our voices.
Strictly thinking of my business its terrifying, this is my place go away:) take you're quilt too:)
Glad you're here
-TimSep 26, 2013 at 3:21 pm #2028657
Steve KBPL Member
@skomaeLocale: northeastern US
Thanks for chiming in Michael and talking to us about the work you guys have been up to. I've noticed that Sierra Designs lately has really started to make truly relevant stuff and it's exciting to have another player innovating. Awesome work all around.
I have a funny and completely unrelated story for you. I used to work for REI and the SD Microlight was our number one hated item in our store as employees. People would come in, ask about rain jackets, and then proceed to buy the SD Microlight while ignoring all of our advice how it isn't a true waterproof (because it was cheaper than all the WP/BR we sold, then return it later complaining it wasn't waterproof. On the other hand, all of us thought the SD Gnar Lite was the bees knees and drooled over it.Sep 26, 2013 at 3:39 pm #2028662
Its not just that Michael.. its the corporate mentality that almost invariably comes a long with a big business. Is Sierra Designs a for profit company that is beholden to share holders? Some of S.D.'s products are reasonably priced, but heck some of your stuff is friqqin ridiculous, like your Cuben tent.
There are cottage companies that make great quality Cuban tents at a fraction of what S.D. charges YET I bet a large company like yours can get better prices on Cuben than any cottage company could because you have the buying power to buy in mass bulk and have connections.
This is exactly why I hope a cottage company comes out with a woven, UHMWPE based fiber wind shirt or jacket because chances are your company would way over charge for it. I realize that SD has a lot more employees to pay, mainstream marketing to pay for, etc which in some ways makes it more expensive for you…
However again you can buy in mass bulk and pay much less for the basic materials, and no matter how you cut it, your Cuben tent should not cost 1800 dollars, that's borderline egregious.Sep 26, 2013 at 3:50 pm #2028664
Thanks for your kind message. I just looked at your profile, and it is really funny, because I know exactly who you are. Your brand anyway.
You are going to find this hilarious, especially given the "big guy / little guy" dialogue. But 10 years ago, I left Cascade Designs/MSR and started a start up brand (this was before the "cottage" industry began to really fourths) that was a response to what I believed (and still believe) is terrible gear being sold to backpackers. I was a one-man-show, working out of my attic (funny, because now I work in my basement). Eventually (wife being pregnant), I decided to stop and took a job with GSI Outdoors to pursue some of the ideas I had there (Dualist, Soloist, Minimalist, etc.)
The vision for this brand is EXACTLY the core of what you will begin seeing from Sierra Designs in 2014. I have been waiting for the opportunity to really do something special, and when SD came a knockin', I leapt. You have not seen it yet, but we DROPPED EVERY SINGLE ITEM IN THE 2013 LINE, and replaced it with a whole new collection for 2014, based upon the original vision for the brand I started in 2002.
But the part that will amuse you is the brand name. Check it:!
Regarding business: If I can beat North Face, Marmot and Mountain Hardware (I can and I will), you can win too. In today's world, it is no longer the big eating the small, or even the fast eating the slow. Passion, connection and authenticity finally matter. Even if SD and enlightened were going after the same customer, there are things that enLIGHTened Equipment can do things that Sierra Designs cannot. Plus, I think if Sierra Designs is successful in expanding the idea that better sleeping solutions exist, I would view that as a good thing for your business.
Thanks again for the kind words. And best of luck to you!Sep 26, 2013 at 4:22 pm #2028672
1. Yes we are a for profit company, and yes I am beholden to ownership (not shareholders, but private equity), and yes, I need to make money for my owners, my company, my team, and myself.
2. I agree the Cuban tent is ridiculously priced. I honestly don't know the margin on that particular tent, but I know there are several reasons: Expensive USA-made carbon poles sent to Asia, then shipped back. A small-run tent being produced on a mass production line, with huge set up surcharges for less than MOQ (minimum order quantity). Cuban fibre (though I seriously doubt we are paying significantly less than anyone else, but that may be true, I just don't know). But I also think the fabric goes from the US to Taiwan and back too, which is costly. I really don't think that our pricing is the issue for the huge cost of this tent. I just posted a response to Tim from enLIGHTened, and this is a perfect example of something that his company can do better than Sierra Designs. Our model and production is not optimized for short-run, uber-premium products, with USA-sourced materials. So this tent is dropped for 2014, along with anything else where SD cannot be both different and better than anyone else.
3. The bigger issue with this tent, and I hope you appreciate the honesty, is that it sucks, regardless of how light it is. Using uber-lightweight materials in a freestanding design is simply poor design, in my opinion. It's disingenuous, even dishonest. Plus, any tent that you can't get in and out of while it is raining is simply defective. From now on, everything SD makes is going to work, and be designed around our core philosophy of simplicity and honesty in design. No more bullshit. Not while I am in charge.
5. One area where SD CAN do things that the cottage industry cannot is make top-end, expertly fit apparel that actually works. That is EXTREMELY difficult to make in your living room. Our new creative director, Martin Flora, is a French educated designer and tailor, and while we were necessarily more conservative in our 2014 collection, when you see 2015 I think you will be blown away by what modern thinking, fearless bucking of status quo, and uncommon skill can produce. Even the BPL crowd, which is a bit beyond our core target, will have to take notice. Stay tuned…..Sep 26, 2013 at 4:26 pm #2028674
Thanks for your comments.
The Microlight is a tough one for us, because it is the best selling item in our line-up. In fact, we just met today to discuss what to do with that item, because nobody on our team likes this item. Is it a leaky rainjacket, or a sweaty wind jacket? Either way, it does not belong in the backcountry, and thus cannot survive in the new SD line.
I am not sure what we are going to do about it, but rest assured we will make it great, or it will be out the door like the rest of the stuff we just dropped. We just need a little more time on this one.Sep 26, 2013 at 4:32 pm #2028676
I saw that on your blog today (yes I was checking you out ;). In 2002 I was finishing college!
I hadn't heard of your brand as I came around this world in 2006 or 2007 so hopefully the name similarity is a result of great minds thinking alike and not seen as me trying to steal your brand.
I totally agree that there is plenty of room and I'm in no way seriously concerned nor should it matter if I was. Good design is what we need. The more good designs being made the better it is for the community as a whole.
Being small comes with its advantages for sure and ill gladly focus on those. I can change faster, make adjustments easier, respond to new products in the same season and sleep in my hammock and call it work! I'm good:)
Like I said, glad you're here
-TimSep 26, 2013 at 6:39 pm #2028697
Tom ClarkBPL Member
@tomclarkLocale: East Coast
I appreciate your candor and promises of a better future. SD has made some great stuff over the years…my first shelter was a SD Clip Flashlight, which was one of the lighter 2-man tents at the time (6.6 lbs…yikes!). I still have it and have lots of great memories with it.
TomSep 26, 2013 at 6:42 pm #2028699
nmSep 26, 2013 at 6:57 pm #2028706
I appreciate your honesty and directness Michael. I hope it didn't appear that i'm anti Sierra Designs. I have a sleeping bag made by your company and all in all i like it and think it was a good value and reasonably priced (the Zissou Dri down model). I'm probably going to sell it, but only because i'm more interested in quilt designs overall (and bought an EE quilt to replace same).
I brought up the Cuben tent thing because stuff like that does kind of irk me sometimes. I'm not a fan of greed, and i see that is so pervasive and dominant in the corporate world. It's one thing making some money and a living but greed and being only concerned with profit (and always having to have more, more, more) is another thing and unfortunately the latter is the quintessential corporate mindset.
Well, baby steps eh, some things are starting to change for the better and hopefully the company you work for will be part of that. I like a lot of Patagonia's principles for example, but they're another company that i think sometimes charges way too much.
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