Friday, September 16, 2011

Skate Banana

After a season of heavy riding on the Lib Tech Skate Banana 156 I have nothing but praise for a snowboard that’s a step above the competition. Pacific Northwest snowboarding demands a snowboard that can stay on top of heavy deep powder and also be able to edge on a surface of iced over Pineapple Express leftovers. This snowboard can really be a “my everything” board from big mountain to park and everywhere in between. By the end of the season I was comfortable enough on boxes with the rocker on the Lib Tech to handle a Boardslide 360 spin. It made it all that more satisfying for me because I won the board in an employee raffle at the ski resort I worked at. This year I tried a bunch of other snowboards from friends and demo days but I was always most satisfied with my Skate Banana.

Camelbak Cloud Walker

I bought the Cloud Walker day pack the year I started getting into hiking and oh the amazing things Cloud Walker and I have seen. It has been a great hiking backpack for me because it is spacious enough to fit a rain jacket, lunch, and emergency kit. The reason I recently replaced it was because it causes some discomfort when I'm bicycling. The new pack I got is slimmer and built specifically for bicycling (has a helmet mount, etc.). I've also had some problems with the Cloud Walker reservoir leaking from the container itself and the hose nozzle. The air flow on the back padding for the backpack is also pretty bad. I usually would have dripping back sweat after coming back from a long day hike.

Kelty Red Cloud 6650

My negative experience with the Kelty Red Cloud 6650 probably stems from the fact that I didn't get the pack custom fitted when I bought it. On backpacking trips I took it on I was constantly adjusting the hip strap and would feel pain in my back and shoulders. The padding on the hip strap is very stubby and has a lot of girth. The strap does not extend far into your mid-section and perhaps is too wide to fit in between my pelvis and ribs. This is why I thought I experienced so much discomfort on extended backpacking trips.
The Kelty Red Cloud comes with a lot of pockets. Most of these pockets are unnecessary and adds weight to the pack. A multi-day backpack only needs one big pocket for all your overnight/dinner stuff and very few outside pockets to hold day-use stuff. I also wish there was a key hook for car keys on the Red Cloud like those in most day packs.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

REI Return Policy

The company has the most liberal return policy on earth...and it is ingenious. Marketers are always searching for a way to create loyalty beyond reason for a company's consumer but the problem with this is that it lacks substance. REI has created a loyalty with a reason; they're generous return policy. I am at the state now to where if anything that I need is available for sale at REI I will buy at REI because of their return policy. The assurance that if a product doesn't meet my fullest expectations I can return it even if it is years old is worth my complete loyalty as a consumer. Granted I have stretched the limits of "satisfaction guarantee." Particularly with a rain jacket that was originated purchased for $100 in 2005. The jacket was falling apart after two years of heavy use so I took it back to REI for a full refund. I used that money to exchange for a new jacket by a different company. I did the same process one year later with a rain jacket from another company. Then just recently I exchanged that jacket for the high end event REI jacket. So I ended buying the most expensive jacket at the store but just had to go through three poor quality jackets over six years to get there. I used the $100 I spent on a jacket in 2005 towards this new $250 jacket I just bought. Oh the beauty of REI. Plus I think it will work out in the end for the company. I don't mind paying extra for a product that's sold at REI as long as it has that great return policy attached to it.