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Off-Brand Product Thoughts
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Ozark Trail, Coghlan, etc..
“What're your guys thoughts on off-brand products like Ozark Trail, Coghlans, and so on? In my personal experience, there not the best brands to buy. There okay for some stuff but when your talking about big investment type stuff there cheap. I bought a sleeping bag [url]http://www.walmart.com/ip/Everest-Mummy-5F-15C-Degree-Sleeping-Bag/2581360 for 30$ because I figured you couldn't beat the price. But first out of the bag, it felt thin and flimsy. On the first night out, temps dropped to 20F degrees and I froze my ass off. Granted, it was conciderably warmer than nothing at all. But no where NEAR where the temperature rating was. So I'm wondering what you guys thought of these cheap brands and their products.”
“You get what you pay for”
““You get what you pay for” BackSlacker
if you are lucky.”
“I might use a bag like that for car camping in the summer at the lake to keep mosquitos off.”
“True Ped, but you know as well as me, high end gear company's stand behind their product. No questions asked.”
“I bought a lot of cheap crap at Wal Mart etc. over the years - almost everything they sell for camping including boots. I currently only use those weird yellow camp towels (but wouldn't recommend them), some polypro underwear and Wigwam wool socks.
I can't think of any of that cheap stuff that's worth the savings. Splurge for the gear that's made for real backpackers.”
“Just thought of something - Coghlan's Sierra saw. Available at WalMart - cheap, lite & easy to carry.”
“Sven Saw kicks ass”
“the sven saw kicks all kinds of ass!”
“My mindset is that even the simplest and temporary trot into the "woods" can turn ugly. Therefore, when putting your backside on the line you have a better chance of success by going with quality equipment.
Also, high end gear usually means less gear turnover. I've cheap'd out too much when accumulating bping gear. I have found, through an informal evaluation, that I've spent more money buying cheap stuff than I would have if I bought quality stuff.
“I like Coghlan's camp soap.”
“I've only used camp soap once, and that was just for "doin` laundry" for socks on an extended hike.
I can't remember if that was the brand I used. What was your experience with that brand? I'm interested because there are a few family car camping trips I'd like to plan with kids on board. A little "freshin` up" on those types a trips sometimes goes a long way for morale.”
“It works good on dishes,handwashing clothes and good for showering. Very concentrated, goes a long way. For car camping I just use what I use at home but for backpacking, its an excellent soap for everything.”
“Is it biodegradable? I know that even those types of soaps should not be used close to water sources. I throw waste water into the fire pits as far away from water sources as possible. But being biodegradable, I think, is better than chucking other types of bases around.”
“Yes it is biodegradable.”
“Don't know if it's cheap but Dr. Brommer soap is great!”
“There is a brand of body wipes out there, not sure of the name, but a few in a zip loc bag and you got that fresh feeling all day! Say goodbye swamp ass!”
“Wipes don't work in winter (Canuck logic).
Coghlan's is good for gadgets, but I relie on brands for the important stuff. You can depend on REI, MEC and Campmor for decent prices, good customer service and comprehensive guarantees on a wide range of gear.”
“Neither do Mex.....oh never mind just kidding, I never thought of that, I guess you would have to keep them in your inside pocket”
“I used Coghlans fire paste when I used to camp in the wet. I think I used to have a travel mirror by them also.
An important distinction is that cheap gear doesn't necessarily equal crappy gear. I bought a 4 man Kelty tent for car camping last year for $100. It has a full coverage fly and looks pretty solid (haven't had it in serious weather and really, don't plan to). I have a cheapie slumberjack synthetic 45 degree bag that I bought over 20 years ago that still has loft and that I can take as an extra liner on really cold campouts. So, sale stuff on the cheaper brands can be good.
But yeah, I basically buy the best I can afford now. Buy right, buy once (or until you wear it out).
Skip the crappy off brand junk. It won't last and will fail when you need it most.”
“Good point BackSlacker about the top brands and perhaps I should have said "careful" not "lucky" - there is overpriced, over-hyped crap out there, but the best brands do stand behind their stuff.
Two good things to keep in mind: First, there are bargains out there and substantial discounts are almost always available if you look and are patient.
Second, don't pay for features and capabilities that won't make much of a difference to you.”
“Toejam, its funny you mention the seirra saw. I actually bought it about 3 days ago. It cuts VERY nice for being a little 7" folding blade. But when I first pulled it out of the package, the lock wouldn't stay down. So that's another thing that makes me skeptical. I really need to start putting money forward for better quality gear. Do those small fleece sleeping bags really make a difference in cold weather? Sleeping bags have ALWAYS been a HUGE problem for me. I want a 0 degree bag that's actually going to keep me warm in 0 degree weather. But I also want it to fit in my pack. All the sleeping bags I see now'a days that are rated that cold are either wayyy to big to fit in a pack with other gear or there so expensive that its unreal. 200$ for a sleeping bag like that is rediculous to me. But anyone that could help, I would imensly appreciate it.”
“A sleeping bag is crucial. Moreso than a tent or pack. A really nice down 0* will cost you every bit of $200 but it will give you many, many years of reliable protection. I found a really nice down American made zero for less than $50 on eBay last winter. It's really old but works perfectly.
I'd stay away from off brand bags. Hold out for a deal on a nice used one. ...or just spring for the one you really want and take good care of it.”
“"I want a 0 degree bag that's actually going to keep me warm in 0 degree weather."
That's probably not going to happen. The rule of thumb has always been, no matter the manufacture, buy a bag that is 10* lower than your lowest temps you expect to be in. You can pump that rating up through base layers but you're then adding bulk and weight, and most folk do not want to feel too restricted when they zip up for the night.
So, you should be looking for a good, -10 bag for 0* weather.”
“I went the cheap gear route when I first started. It got me out into the woods, but I wish I had had the money to spend on good, lightweight gear. Heck, I once used my Navy seabag to hike in a couple miles with my kids. If you can stand the weight and bulk, you can get away with buying inexpensive but sturdy gear. But if you think you can get the same performance for the same weight as the high end gear for only $30 you are going to be disappointed.
Buying the best gear you can afford is good advice, but you better be sure you like backpacking before you do. A weekend hike of only a few miles with gorgeous weather won't let you know if backpacking is for you. you can get away with using a bedsheet and a ground tarp in that situation. But cold, rainy day and no fire will let you know what you really think about it and the gear you chose. In the beginning, borrow as much as possible. You don't want to buy a $400 sleeping bag then decide you hate backpacking.”
“There is a difference between cheap and inexpensive and don't confuse them. Cheap is flimsy and won't last. inexpensive just means you got a better deal.One good example is the Cohglan's fuel tabs don't cost as much as Esbit branded, but are both hexamine .I've noticed for a long time that sleeping bag ratings are really optimistic, there is no way anyone prove to me that a bag with a 2" loft is good for 0 degrees.I live on a slim budget and often find the better deal is in lesser known or less popular brands.I still miss the Decathalon stores, their store brand stuff was good quality for half the price. I got my first midsize internal frame pack there for 40 bucks, and still use it.”
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