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RedBeerd
03-23-2014, 13:09
It wasn't easy moving away from REI. I was scared. But am I glad I did. Over the past few months I've finally made the switch to cottage and so happy I did! Traded my osprey for a ULA circuit. Love it. Upgraded my too-big-for-me stinky REI halo 25 down bag for an EE 20 prodigy. Just came in today (ordered march 4. That's fast!!) Its fantastic. And lastly my BA Fly Creek for a Contrail. Still playing with it in the backyard but overall a great lightweight shelter. Picked up some small things from Zpacks.
But the point is any question I had was promptly answered by all of them. These companies just have the best customer service and that is what will keep me coming back. Solid gear.

Hoss Cat
03-23-2014, 13:31
I agree - these small companies are great to deal with. I have an EE quilt that I love - I don't know if I can go back to bags (although I do very little cold weather camping). I also just ordered a notch. I'll still keep my free standing tent for bike touring. I still plan on keeping my REI flash 45 pack form most of my backpacking. It is great, but I usually keep my base weight around 9-12 pounds depending on the time of year. I will probably upgrade to a bigger ULA pack next year for out west where I will be required to have a bear canister. So far all of the cottage companies I have dealt with have been great (Joe/Zpacks, Henry/Tarptent, Tim/EE. They are everything that is right with outdoor equipment - they are all dedicated to helping people enjoy the outdoors, and base it on their extensive experience.

Odd Man Out
03-23-2014, 17:47
I have received lots of good feedback and info from all the suppliers I've used. Elemental Horizons pack, SMD tent, Zelph stove, ZPacks food bag, UG Quilt. Excited to try it all out if the snow ever melts.

pyro_
03-23-2014, 18:24
I have spent way too much money with zpacks in the last year. They have great communication and always willing to answer questions you might have

Going to be buying thing from a few other cottage companies this year. Much prefer helping out the smaller companies rather than some of the large manufacturers

lonehiker
03-23-2014, 20:55
Take away special interest and lobbying efforts and this is how the free market is intended to work.

Coffee
03-23-2014, 23:03
I have no regrets about moving away from REI to the cottage manufacturers, but too bad I don't get a dividend for the $$$ I spent on cottage gear in 2013!

WakyWalker
03-24-2014, 00:02
I really like my Notch.I enjoy the extra wing space to cover gear,or get out of the weather when only a tarp is needed.Easy and fast set up.I still like my Osprey,it meets my needs at this point. Ready to pack up for our April AT section hike. Also like the versatility
of my lighter Ursack.

Shonryu
03-24-2014, 01:58
I have pretty much moved away from most of the major manufacturers and about 75% of my gear comes from cottage shops. Best customer service, exceptional quality, true UL equipment, and the ability to have them customize your work. Just to name a few I support and will continue to support.

Hammock Gear
Dream Hammocks
Dutch
Zpacks
Henry Shire
ULA
Traildesigns
JacksrBetter
Minibull designs
Fourdog stove
Gossamer Gear
Litetrail
Antigravitygear
Six moon designs
Quiwiz

Hill Ape
03-24-2014, 08:56
cottage customer for life. when you're on a first name with the guy that makes your tent, the tent means a little more. they are part of our herd, not just a conglomerate. you may see them on the trail, and that makes a world of difference to me.

my big three
ULA Circuit
Shires TarpTent Squall (Henry may be the standard for all cottages to measure themselves against)
EE Enigma Quilt 20*

5 3/4 lb $714

there are other choice combinations that may be lighter/cheaper, but i'm lovin it, and its hard for me to see changing it

Kerosene
03-24-2014, 11:25
I've purchased numerous items from cottage manufactuers over the years, including 2 tents from SMD, a Hennessey hammock, a tarp from MLD, my latest tarp and various Cuben fiber gear from zPacks, a lightweight torso pad from BMW, accessories from AntiGravity Gear, my first alcohol stove from Zelph, Goosefeet down socks, a Packa, and I'm sure a bunch of other lightweight stuff. I have a Granite Gear pack that I hope to replace with a zPacks ArcBlast for my section hike this fall.

bamboo bob
03-24-2014, 12:43
I have no regrets about moving away from REI to the cottage manufacturers, but too bad I don't get a dividend for the $$$ I spent on cottage gear in 2013!

You have to be a member so you can get the dividend so the price just gets back to normal retail. REI is a clothing store that sells gear. Like Eddie Bauer before and EMS now and Abercrombie once upon a time.

bamboo bob
03-24-2014, 12:46
Lightheart and Mountain Laurel Design for sure

Ktaadn
03-24-2014, 12:47
I have no regrets about moving away from REI to the cottage manufacturers, but too bad I don't get a dividend for the $$$ I spent on cottage gear in 2013!

I use my REI CC for just about everything backpacking related, so I still get the dividend.

RockDoc
03-24-2014, 13:29
If you wait until July you can get cash for your REI dividend, and then buy gear from USA boutique companies that make lighter, better gear and have excellent follow-up service. If you are really measuring weight, there's little at REI that's of any interest.

lonehiker
03-24-2014, 14:07
If you wait until July you can get cash for your REI dividend, and then buy gear from USA boutique companies that make lighter, better gear and have excellent follow-up service. If you are really measuring weight, there's little at REI that's of any interest.

Not entirely true, but of course you must be speaking in generalities. It is very easy to hit a sub 15lb base weight from REI.

Coffee
03-24-2014, 14:17
Not entirely true, but of course you must be speaking in generalities. It is very easy to hit a sub 15lb base weight from REI.

Every REI salesperson I've ever spoken to about backpacks has very conventional thinking when it comes to "weekend", "week long", and "extended" hikes - recommending higher and higher pack volumes for longer duration trips. It isn't so much that lighter gear isn't available at REI ... it is just that the salespeople aren't typically going to recommend lightweight options. I'm happy that I questioned the conventional wisdom on packs and ended up with a ULA Circuit.

lonehiker
03-24-2014, 15:10
It is your purchase, it is your responsibility.....

RedBeerd
03-24-2014, 17:35
Right on guys.

LIhikers
03-25-2014, 00:50
I have no regrets about moving away from REI to the cottage manufacturers, but too bad I don't get a dividend for the $$$ I spent on cottage gear in 2013!

Well, actually you do, but it's not in dollars and cents. The dividend you get is increased enjoyment of your outdoor trip.

Sara
03-25-2014, 09:37
I love the personal service with the cottage industry guys. I've had many pieces of gear customized to suit my needs. It is great knowing that my stuff was designed and sewn by a fellow backpacker. :clap

Coffee
03-25-2014, 09:38
Well, actually you do, but it's not in dollars and cents. The dividend you get is increased enjoyment of your outdoor trip.

True enough. Money well spent.