Aug 24, 2007 at 8:32 pm #1224759
@einsteinLocale: Big Apple
I see most are listed "Imported." But so are Swiss Army knives, which are made in Switzerland (still, surprisingly). Are Gerber's now made in China? What's it say on yours?
SimonAug 24, 2007 at 8:40 pm #1399916
Most are made in China, but there are still a few (such as the LST) that are made in the USA.Aug 24, 2007 at 8:41 pm #1399917
>"Are Gerber's now made in China?"
Depends on what you're buying. Last I knew, the LST was still made in the US. Most Gerber knives are not.Aug 24, 2007 at 9:49 pm #1399921
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
May be happening soon…
http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,2140645,00.htmlAug 25, 2007 at 4:30 am #1399925
@einsteinLocale: Big Apple
Thanks for the info. Can't tell if they're made from US materials (like a lot of clothing with Polartec or Gore fabrics), or if the entire manuf. process was off-loaded to China using their materials (from God knows where).
This could be the beginning of a new thread: in light of the recent problems with Chinese products, have you considered choosing "made in usa (or elsewhere)" over "made in China"? Or is China getting a bad wrap since it's up to the US co. to manage the manuf. process and provide the final QA?
That said, I own (and continue to buy!) tons of gear made in China, although I've always leaned towards the "made in usa" label (mainly select Patagonia clothing, as they do manuf. in usa, at least partly) when possible.Aug 25, 2007 at 6:42 am #1399929
I bought a new LST in May after I lost my old one. At least as of then, they were still made in the USA.
I always try to buy American products when I can, in fact I actively try to avoid Chinese products, but it is not always possible. That is not saying that China can't produce good products, but overall I don't think they make as good of products as the USA. I think a lot of that comes from the fact that they are an outsourced supplier and for example, that a China manufactured Gerber knife might be made in the same factory with the $5 knifes in the hardware store. That factory that makes Vasque boots may also make boots for Walmart, etc.
Like I said before, it is not that they don't produce good products, I have a friend who has a Marmot Hydrogen that is a very nice bag and seems well made. I just chose the USA made Western Mountaineering Summerlite a similar weight/temperature rating bag that sold for the same price.
In many cases you don't even have the choice to buy American products anymore, and when you do you generally don't have a lot of choices. There are no true tents manufactured in the States that I am aware of (excluding tarp tent style tents), and the only packs that I am aware of still produced in the US are McHale ($$$), Mystery Ranch (heavy), and ULA. I will definitely look at ULA when my Mountainsmith Phantom wears out for that reason, but with packs it would be impossible for one company to make a pack that is comfortable on everyone.Aug 25, 2007 at 7:33 am #1399935
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Many of Cascade Designs and MSR products are still made in the US btw. My buddy works for them, and he gave me a tour last year (only a gear freak like me would enjoy the tour……). They make a lot for the military as well.
People complain about how pricey Thermarests are, but everyone of them is made in Seattle. So are the Ridge's and ZRests.
The water filters are made here was well :-)Aug 25, 2007 at 9:32 am #1399943
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
*Some* Gerbers are made in Portland, some in Taiwan and some in PRC. Other than looking for "imported" when shopping on line, I don't know how to easily determine which models are still made domestically. Probably safe to presume most of the more expensive ones are, and most but not all of the small, inexpensive models are not.Aug 25, 2007 at 10:03 am #1399946
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
What Does "Made in XXX" Mean Today?
This day and age, "Made in xxx" simply means that country xxx is the place where final assembly occured! In some cases, the entire thing — components and assembly — can take place all in one country. But very often, components can come from all over the world. Even with the exact same brand/model/make — the component origins can be totally different between batches, and the final assembly location too can be different. It's one of the reasons why they have batch numbers!
Who's Responsible for Quality, Safety
China is not one giant monolith. When it comes to imports, we are talking about thousands of factories — contracting, subcontracting… Just like with businesses here in the US or anywhere else in the world, some will be honest, others will cut corners, and a few will be downright crooks!
Who's responsible? I would say every entity up and down the supply chain, but the PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY lies with the brand. If TNF (using an example) sells me a jacket, I would expect it to perform as advertised, and also conform with safety laws (e.g. fire retardant). If someone in TNF's factory neglects the fire retardant coating and I get burned, I would go after TNF. It's then up to TNF to discipline/improve its own factory.
Nothing should change just because TNF decides to outsource. If my "Made in XXX" TNF jacket fails, I will still look to TNF. TNF can then turn around and work out the bugs with its supply chain — be it a design problem, a component sourcing problem, or an assembly problem.
China has its share of crooks who cut corners unbeknownst to the Brand (the buying company). But there are also cases where the brand outsources to save cost / increase profits. The brand may be the one providing a lousy design and shoddy components (e.g. cheap glue) to China. And when our boots fall apart in the first week, many of us end up blaming "cheap Asian imports" unfairly. Products are made to the specs of the brand. The brand is ultimately responsible to the buying public.Aug 25, 2007 at 10:24 am #1399947
To muddy the waters further, most people assume that because Nissan, Toyota, and Bridgestone tires are Japanese companies, these are Japanese products. Yet all three companies own major factories within 50 miles of my home here in Nashville, Tennessee. In fact the reason I have settled in Nashville is because I used to be a supervisor at the Bridgestone/Firestone factory in LaVergne.
Many native Tennesseans, who 20 years ago would have deplored the thought of buying a "rice burner", now proudly buy a Nissan pickup truck as a "Homegrown" purchase. Are the Nissans they're driving Japanese or made-right-here-in-Tennessee American trucks? The waters get pretty murky.
As for gear, I tend to go with those made in America because that's where most of the best cottage gear for backpacking is made nowadays.Aug 25, 2007 at 11:11 am #1399948
Disclaimer: The below are my feeling on this subject. They are not and should not be agreed on by everyone else. I think no less of anyone for their opinions on the matter and hope that nobody thinks less of me because of mine.
Ben has some good points about todays economy being global. Just because it says made in USA (or anywhere else for that matter) doesn't mean that all of the components are made in that country. I do however feel that by buying American made goods from American companies that I am helping the maximum number of American citizens possible. I can only hope that for the jobs of people in my area, that people will do the same (Which indirectly affects me and my job) Another reason that I prefer to buy USA made goods is generally speaking any company still making products in the States is competing on quality not price. If they would have been competing on price they would have outsourced their manufacturing process to a country with cheaper labor. Now days you can generally count on American made products to be of the highest quality, not because we haven't made junk products before, but if you are not competing on quality, you have moved production outside the country.
I am not saying you should absolutely avoid buying Chinese made goods or that some American companies don't make bad products. For example "American" cars are not as well made (generally) as "Japanese" cars. Both are made in the US, but Toyota, Nissan, etc are Japanese's companies. At least these companies are employing American Workers and putting money into our economies by building plants, etc. I have owned a Toyota truck for 10 years and only spent $180 on repairs in that time (new starter), but I will give Toyota and Nissan a serious look when I buy a new truck this spring. Toyota because my last gave such good service, Nissan because they are made locally.
All of that being said Ben is right about many Chinese products being made with US materials (TNF Fleece jacket made with polartec for example) and many US products being made with Chinese products.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.