Another Kr..pmandu story

john_k

Hard Yards
Jul 21, 2008
112
91
98
Melbourne
Back in 2000 bought a thick fully lined thick fleece jacket. The jacket survived several high and low altitude expeditions, a dozen trips on the MR in winter, skiing etc etc including being worn under my down jacket on my Everest summit day - it has also survived several washing machine washes without any signs of tear and wear – an excellent jacket!!

So just under 2 years ago decided to stay brand loyal, and rather than walking around in a jacket that looks like it has an early 2000’s styling, dished out some decent cash to get the thickest looking fleece jacket from the same retailer/manufacturer. With Covid hitting, and with just less than a dozen uses hiking/skiing and one wash, the thing starts falling apart. Material looks like it’s delaminating from the jacket and the thing looks like it will develop small tears in it now time. So being unhappy about this, I email the retailer/manufacturer directly with photos and actually I get a nice response! They tell me that all their products are covered by Australian consumer law and essentially they are warranted for life telling me to simply return the product in store.

As such, the other day when the lockdowns were relaxed, I turn up to the store I bought it from, and after a search as I am also a member, we find the relevant purchase on the member database, as well as about a dozen other purchases I have made over the years showing how I have been supporting their brand. Also show them my 21 year old jacket that I have which is in fine working order.

The initial response from the store manager was interesting:

1. Sorry but we only provide a guarantee for about year – your jacket is nearly 2 years and tough luck that even with Covid you have hardly used it
2. Sorry but his just looks like just tear and wear
3. …and product quality with our products has gone down and they are not what they use to be – in other words tough luck my friend, stick with your 21 yo jacket! and be weary buying our stuff.

So, I pull out the email I received from their H/O, and then mention consumer affairs…..

Response now changes to: ….well…. because you have an email from our H/O we will now make an exception and happy to give you a gift voucher for the same amount. Great….I’ll be buying another brand for a softshell and save the gift voucher as a Xmas present for someone or buy things like climbing pants which I’ll trash anyway.

Ok, I’m happy with that (mostly) but dispute with them that product quality should be going down, it should be staying the same or going up! A general trend in outdoor clothing I guess where they are moving to where the volume is ie. Retail streetwear made as cheaply as possible.

Too high expectations? Yes, possibly, and what did I expect right? So yes, I agree. But if you are going to run any business try and stand behind your products cheap(er) or not and if someone is brand loyal at least try and keep them as a lifetime customer.

Caveat emptor and let the snow begin!

You will know it's me on the slopes when you see someone with a 21 y.o. fleece jacket.
 

crackson

Part of the Furniture
Ski Pass
Oct 20, 2006
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3rd world manufacturing at 1st world manufacturing prices.

It's the new black for shareholders. Dividends are a billion times more important than stupid customers.

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Billy_Buttons

Part of the Furniture
Ski Pass
Mar 25, 2011
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A recent purchase of Quicksilver - made in Myanmar. Haven't seen that before.
 

john_k

Hard Yards
Jul 21, 2008
112
91
98
Melbourne
Having spent a lot of time in the product sourcing/mgmt/innovation area my view is place of manufacture only plays a small part. Good product sourcing, design and testing are the key. A lot of these retailers I think have lost touch with their products and target market. The good outdoor product CO’s have people who take products home, use them, test them and refine them. The bad ones don’t and simply look at product samples from suppliers and then put their brands on them.

My 21 yo jacket was made in China. The new one in Vietnam. Pics attached.


@john_k A bit of a thread derail here but do you have any photos of your Everest summit trip? They would be great to see.
Hi Aazz,

recently took my Everest website down that had a lot of pics as I got tired of dealing with trolls. There’s a couple of vids on YouTube:


1AC746F5-7218-4351-8C6A-5E67674F95D1.jpeg
7D9924D4-6A19-41DC-86C4-5B4389A758C2.jpeg
53389572-B914-4E37-AA8B-77AA754CCEE4.jpeg
C84C88C8-3BC9-4103-8C90-71A7634429C6.jpeg
 
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almontyrat

One of Us
Ski Pass
Apr 16, 2005
2,100
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Lachlan, Tasmania
Still have and regularly use my 30 ish year old 3L Goretex krapmandu rain jacket. It was probably bought at their first bricks and mortar store in Melbourne circa 1990 ish. It has no "made in" tag left (recently re seam sealed) but still has the original Goretex tm Aus and NZ label.

It has however been many years since I bought anything there, maybe a bottle of Nikwax down wash when I was caught short. I do look though every time I am in the market for some new outdoor gear (they have a local store) but L am always underwhelmed by quality and scared off by the price. They certainly seem to cater to the urban fashionista pseudo outdoor peeps, their "technical" gear is almost non existent and way under spec for the price they are charging.
 
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whether

One of Us
Ski Pass
Feb 22, 2014
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I brought a windproof fleece off them a couple of years ago and they don't sew the pockets in, looks like they are welded in. The welding has come loose so now have big holes in the now useless jacket. Anyone know some preferred brands that will last (not Arcteryx too expensive).
 

almontyrat

One of Us
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Apr 16, 2005
2,100
3,940
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Lachlan, Tasmania
I brought a windproof fleece off them a couple of years ago and they don't sew the pockets in, looks like they are welded in. The welding has come loose so now have big holes in the now useless jacket. Anyone know some preferred brands that will last (not Arcteryx too expensive).
I find the XTM offerings generally good for the price, Aussie owned company too. They have a rather eclectic range but might have something equivalent.
 

DPS Driver

A Local
Jul 18, 2014
5,728
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Only ever purchased some kids base and mid layers from Kathmandu. Never was a fan of their product quality. In that space I always went with Mountain Designs.

In saying that, MD's quality has dropped as well but nowhere near as low as Kathmandu.
 
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tcornall

Hard Yards
Jul 12, 2019
64
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Melbourne
I like K...mandu for some things, but not for others. Here's the Pros and Cons:
Pros:
I've bought a 4 season tent from them ( 30 years ago) that proved to be absolutely bombproof (albeit a bit heavy by today's standards) and a 3 layer Goretex jacket (same, a long time ago and bombproof but heavy. Still use it when weight doesn't matter.). More recently Polarfleece 100 jackets that were good quality and work well as mid-layers. An alpine sleeping bag (Moonraker) about 10 years ago that did quite well in Australian snow (was a teensy bit cold but nothing another layer couldn't fix) However I've read complaints about their more recent version of the Moonraker being not so good as the older ones. (low quality zips, easily torn fabric)

One of their 'water resistant' XT down jackets saved my life in a blizzard on the Main Range in NSW (under a rain shell. I'm not that trusting) and their XT gloves do a fairly good job, though they are not quite waterproof. (If I am silly enough to immerse the gloves in water a tiny bit slowly leaks through one fingertip. I have come to accept that as inevitable with 'waterproof and breathable' membrane-based gloves.)

One of the Paclite raincoats they sell has become my go-to jacket for light weight rain protection (might be a bit too light for alpine blizzards or skiing though. I like a bit of stiffness in the fabric in that situation. Besides, I think that a fall onto an elbow in Paclite might not do it any good...)

My wife likes their everyday clothing and travel stuff explicitly for their quality compared to many other vendors.

And finally, on the Pro side, they have a bricks and mortar shop quite near where I live. Same cannot be said for Mountain Designs (used to but they closed it. Booo!) or Macpac.

Cons: (but actually a Pro when I think about it)
The only things I have ever had to return to them because of manufacturing faults were boots and they have gracefully accepted them back as warranty returns because they weren't 'waterproof' like it said on the box. (I did have to successfully get Gore Australia involved on one pair of Salomons but the two pairs of Oboz I returned recently caused no kerfuffle) And I can't really blame them for the boots as they were all made by quality boot manufacturers. (I can and will blame the boot manufacturers for extravagant claims about 'breathable and waterproof' though).
 

Tanuki

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Sep 29, 2010
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And finally, on the Pro side, they have a bricks and mortar shop quite near where I live. Same cannot be said for Mountain Designs (used to but they closed it. Booo!) or Macpac.
 

Tanuki

Part of the Furniture
Ski Pass
Sep 29, 2010
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Rays outdoors purchased Macpac and is rebranding all the Rays stores to Macpac. Anaconda bought MD and now uses it as it's 'premium' in-house brand. Macpac and MD were already owned by private equity prior to sale.
 
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tcornall

Hard Yards
Jul 12, 2019
64
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Melbourne
So wait, if I buy Macpac stuff it's really Rays? I hope to heck the old Mapcpac staples like Olympus tents are made to the Macpac standard, not the dodgy stuff you can find in Ray's. OMG, who can I trust?
 
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Tanuki

Part of the Furniture
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Sep 29, 2010
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So wait, if I buy Macpac stuff it's really Rays? I hope to heck the old Mapcpac staples like Olympus tents are made to the Macpac standard, not the dodgy stuff you can find in Ray's. OMG, who can I trust?
As far as I can tell both the Macpac 'Alpine series' and the Kathmandu XT range are still good quality products, the rest is just more fast fashion crap with a outdoorsy veneer. Who knows where they're going.
 
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Telezacski

A Local
Ski Pass
Mar 19, 2010
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@zac150, say it ain't so !

yeah it is, it’s subsidiary owned by Anta, but they still do some manufacture and design in Canada as well as having design teams in Europe and Japan.

manufacturing o/s is not a death knell, I have some great gear made to measure in Vietnam and other places and it’s good kit.

for mine their is a huge difference in companies that design gear, get it tested, make changes accordingly, re test and send specs to manufacturers to produce and then check quality etc.

as opposed to share price driven companies that spec a product based on what they want to pay for it, so they can sell it for x and make a product.

that’s not to say that all design isn’t cost driven
 

GS

Part of the Furniture
Ski Pass
May 20, 2004
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Yarra Valley Vic
I recently purchased a pair of their shoes and a couple of pairs of merino socks. So far so good.

I've been using Montbell for fleece tops (made in Indonesia), happy enough with them
 
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DidSurfNowSki

One of them
Ski Pass
Jan 19, 2014
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Canberra, ACT
yeah it is, it’s subsidiary owned by Anta, but they still do some manufacture and design in Canada as well as having design teams in Europe and Japan.

manufacturing o/s is not a death knell, I have some great gear made to measure in Vietnam and other places and it’s good kit.

for mine their is a huge difference in companies that design gear, get it tested, make changes accordingly, re test and send specs to manufacturers to produce and then check quality etc.

as opposed to share price driven companies that spec a product based on what they want to pay for it, so they can sell it for x and make a product.

that’s not to say that all design isn’t cost driven
+Bangladesh
 

john_k

Hard Yards
Jul 21, 2008
112
91
98
Melbourne
Did the rounds the other morning at some of the outdoor shops in the CBD as there are lots of sales on ATM.
Walking into North Face was more akin to walking into a bar with a lot of glitter; Kathmandu even the XT stuff is questionable and a bit overpriced I would say - $250 for one of their premium soft shell???; probably Macpac is somewhat ahead I would say and has stayed more true to its heritage and for $150 offer the good value for a windproof/water resistant soft shell with a hood. All the places I visited were pretty much deserted and staff were really friendly though and keen to "help".

Still disappointing to see that most of these brands have gone for where the profits/volume are into street wear like clothing. This is where the USA market has it over us in a lot of ways and given it's population and terrain has been able to keep afloat a lot of the hard core outdoor manufacturers/retailers as they have the volumes to support them. My mountain hardwear expedition pack is now on its way from the US but it took a friend to ship it to OZ and I could never get something like this here as it's too specialised and they would not sell enough of them. The equiv. pack at Bogong in Little Bourke street retails for $800.00 which is ridiculous.
 

rowdyflat

One of Us
Ski Pass
Jun 21, 2003
4,861
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Yackandandah NE Victoria
3rd world manufacturing at 1st world manufacturing prices.

It's the new black for shareholders. Dividends are a billion times more important than stupid customers.
Yep .
Its buyer beware .
Do due diligence , check materials and simpler designs are good.
Some brands are failures .
generally hifrequency welding isnt great = be prepared to sew or glue it.
Generally the midsole of boots and shoes will fail when wet = repair with seamseal.
 
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