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Recently I read a question about the failure of waterproofs on an outdoor forum. The explanation was that the moisture had come from sweat due to the waterproofs wetting out in the persistent rain. I suggested cleaning & treating the waterproofs with Nikwax products, whilst another forum member suggested using a similar product from Aldi or Lidl.

Logos of TNF, Berghaus, Mountain Equipment, Salomon and more!

We ask “What added value do outdoor brands
provide for outdoor enthusiasts?”


This discussion concentrated my thoughts on the benefits of buying branded outdoor products instead of similar products from a supermarket.

Why Choose Outdoors Brands?

Whether we agree with it or not, for many people certain brands offer kudos. Since this is a very subjective argument I will leave it well alone and concentrate on other points!

There is, of course, the issue of quality. You often get what you pay for and more expensive brands usually do offer better quality products. That said, I have bought some gloves and gardening tools from Aldi and found no issues with the quality of these items. So for the purpose of this post, let us assume that quality and price are not issues.

What have outdoor brands ever done for us?

Innovation

Many of the famous outdoor brands were founded by outdoor enthusiasts who saw a need for innovations in gear design. Take Berghaus, for example. In 2006 Berghaus received the Queenโ€™s Award for innovation in the design and technical development of outdoor products. You can see their impressive range of design innovations on the history page of Berghaus website. This includes developing the internal frame rucksack, incorporating Gore-tex into clothing and creating products designed specifically for women.

Supermarkets would never design innovative outdoor equipment. They simply reproduce products that are already on the market. If it were left to them we’d still be wearing tweed jackets and hobnail boots!

Innovative back systems on Berghaus rucksacks

Berghaus designed the internal frame Cyclops rucksack
and more recently the bioflex back system.

Inspiration

Outdoor brands sponsor the athletes who inspire us and who are also closely involved with testing and developing new products. For example, The North Face sponsor many climbers, mountaineers and runners who go on amazing expeditions. They bring back photos, videos and write blog posts that inspire us to get outdoors and have some adventure ourselves. Take a look at the athletes page on The North Face website and check out the Athletes and Interviews section of this blog!

Supermarkets are not interested in the outdoors and would not sponsor these people who inspire us.

TNF sponsored athlete David Gottler

The North Face sponsor athletes such as alpinist David Gรถttler,
who can be seen climbing Nupste in the Himalayas.

Support

Outdoor brands also help fund organisations that promote outdoor activities and the protection of wild places. For example, Mountain Equipment support Plas Y Brenin and The John Muir Trust amongst others, which are listed on their website.

Whilst supermarkets do generously fund charities, they are unlikely to fund organisations that support outdoor activities.

50 Years in the Mountains from MOUNTAIN EQUIPMENT on Vimeo.

It’s also worth mentioning that Vango and Salomon have supported outdoor blogger and photographer Terry Abraham, giving him the opportunity to make promotional videos and partially funding his feature length film “The Cairngorms in Winter with Chris Townsend”. Terry’s photos, videos and film have received a lot of praise from the outdoor community on Social Media. These are ventures that supermarkets would not be interested in.

Choose Outdoor Brands!

Without taking brand kudos, product quality or price into consideration, there are several important reasons why it worth buying from outdoor brands instead of supermarkets.

As hikers, climbers and campers we should choose outdoor brands because they are run by outdoor enthusiasts who drive product innovation, sponsor athletes who inspire us and fund organisations that support our interests.

Buy outdoor brands for innovation, inspiration and support!

What are your views? Leave a comment!

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  • http://www.pilgrimchris.com PilgrimChris

    Some very good points Daniel ๐Ÿ™‚
    Mind you – not all of us can afford to sponsor bloggers and adventurers by paying premium prices for branded products. Innovation costs, yet if Aldi sell products cheaper that means more folk can get out and adventure themselves ๐Ÿ™‚

  • http://www.pilgrimchris.com PilgrimChris

    Some very good points Daniel ๐Ÿ™‚
    Mind you – not all of us can afford to sponsor bloggers and adventurers by paying premium prices for branded products. Innovation costs, yet if Aldi sell products cheaper that means more folk can get out and adventure themselves ๐Ÿ™‚

  • http://blog.cheaptents.com Daniel

    Thanks for your comments Chris ๐Ÿ™‚

    The availability of lower priced products can help encourage people to take up outdoor pursuits as a hobby. But whilst innovation costs, it does bring benefits which make hiking, camping and climbing more enjoyable and safer. For example, breathable waterproof clothing is far more comfortable than the older, non-breathable raincoats, and modern lightweight gear means that we don’t have to struggle with such heavy backpacks.

    So if you take up outdoor pursuits as one of your hobbies then you will benefit from these innovations over your lifetime. The extra cost of buying from outdoor brands will bring you improved products when you replace worn out gear over time. The cost of not spending on innovation is stagnation, resulting in no improvements to the gear that you use to enjoy our hobby.

    If the outdoor brands stopped innovating they could sell their gear at the same price as Aldi, but outdoor enthusiasts would ultimately lose out.

    The sponsored adventurers help to design new gear and test it too, so that when you buy something from outdoor brands you know that you can rely on it when you’re out on the hills and mountains.

  • http://blog.cheaptents.com Daniel

    Thanks for your comments Chris ๐Ÿ™‚

    The availability of lower priced products can help encourage people to take up outdoor pursuits as a hobby. But whilst innovation costs, it does bring benefits which make hiking, camping and climbing more enjoyable and safer. For example, breathable waterproof clothing is far more comfortable than the older, non-breathable raincoats, and modern lightweight gear means that we don’t have to struggle with such heavy backpacks.

    So if you take up outdoor pursuits as one of your hobbies then you will benefit from these innovations over your lifetime. The extra cost of buying from outdoor brands will bring you improved products when you replace worn out gear over time. The cost of not spending on innovation is stagnation, resulting in no improvements to the gear that you use to enjoy our hobby.

    If the outdoor brands stopped innovating they could sell their gear at the same price as Aldi, but outdoor enthusiasts would ultimately lose out.

    The sponsored adventurers help to design new gear and test it too, so that when you buy something from outdoor brands you know that you can rely on it when you’re out on the hills and mountains.

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