View Full Version : Quality in Service

30 Large
07-12-2011, 18:42
I have an MSR Hubba tent and recently switched to a Tarptent Rainbow for the extra space. I really like the small, lightweight "J-style" stake that came with the Hubba. After searching online and REI, I ended up having to settle for the MSR Groundhog stakes. These stakes really do an amazing job at holding down my shelter in some unforgiving winds. The only catch is, they are nearly 8 inches long and nearly an ounce a piece (0.71oz), while the "J-style" is about 5 inches long and weigh in under a half ounce (0.4oz).

I sent an email to Cascade Designs inquiring if I was able to purchase the shorter/lighter stakes individually. Within an hour, a very helpful representative by the name of Chuck had replied to me saying that unfortunately the new style of stakes were not available for individual sale yet. He mentioned that they did not even have them at the warehouse yet and they came straight from the manufacturer with the tent. He offered up an alternative, the Needle stake set, coming in at 0.35oz and just a hair over 6 inches. I had previously looked at those and decided against them because they are more for hardpacked ground. I was worried about the holding power in high wind. He offered to ship me a set of the needle stakes for free to try out.

In this day, I find it rare for a company to go above and beyond for the customer. It is situations like this that make me happy to be a backpacker.I thought I would share my good experience with Chuck of Cascade Designs :D

07-12-2011, 21:04
I've had good service with Cascade Designs over the years, particularly with Thermarests.

07-13-2011, 09:58
Yea, I've also experienced good, fast customer service from MSR/Cascade Designs.
I have and used the MSR Needle Stakes. They are OK, and very strong. The only thing I don't like about them is the very small hook. Kelty Nobendum/Sierra Designs Hex Stakes are still my favorites.

Tipi Walter
07-13-2011, 10:07
In the old days (1980's) Cascade Designs would replace my Thermarest pads---old for new---no questions asked. Punctures, delamination, you name it. Then sometime in the 90's they grew more picky, or at least outfitter store clerks hemmed and hawed over perceived User Abuse and got particular, although I've had very good service and replacements with Backcountry.com and others.

07-23-2011, 08:21
Funny how we all get our little preferences.

I love needles for most applications involving webbing tiedowns, use groundhogs exclusively for guylines, and generally sneer at Js for their propensity to bend.

I was going to hacksaw some groundhog-style stakes to a more practical length until I bought a Luxe Twin Peaks this spring (roy somebody on eBay).
It came, quite unexpectedly to me, with what I would call shortie groundhogs. Just perfect for anything using guylines in conditions short of truly high winds. I assume Luxe has a website.....

Jack Tarlin
07-28-2011, 13:42
The best customer service I've had over the years from any gear company came from Chris Hall and his great crew from Leki. The number of folks who've been helped by these good people simply can't be counted; I personally saw Chris meet and help dozens and dozens of folks at Neels Gap this year, just 30 miles into the hike....he answered their questions, gave advice, did free demonstrations and clinics showing people how to get the most out of their sticks, and did countless free repairs; I even saw him help and repair people's stuff even tho it was his competitor's equipment, i.e. he'd spend time helping people out even tho he and his company had nothing whatsoever to gain. There are people who will make it to Maine this year thanks to this guy.

Chris did all this for decades, and was about the finest manufacturers representative I've met in all my time on the Trail.

He recently parted ways with Leki, and no, the decision was not his.

Just wanted to throw 2 cents into this discussion since it's about "quality of service."

For around 25 years, Leki in the Eastern United states has enjoyed an extraordinary reputation for having absolutely unparallelled customer service and representation, and this reputation is deserved.

That being said, this was due in no small measure because of Chris' dedication to his job, his company, and most of all, to the hiking community.

I would also be derelict and dis-honest if I didn't say this: Leki will suffer in the future from his absence, and whatever they might have "saved" in letting him go, well these savings are minimal compared to what they just lost.

People in our community who go the extra mile deserve our thanks and deserve public recognition, so Chris, thanks for everything you've done for hikers, especially A.T. hikers, and very best wishes with whatever company is lucky enough to engage you as their representative.