If you’ve never been to a trade show, it’s hard to imagine the maelstrom of activity, sights and sounds which constitute the four days of the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Salt Lake City. Huge booths, thousands of people, the noise of promotional parties – it’s all pretty overwhelming.
And – I’m happy to report – a lot of the hustle and bustle centered on the Sea to Summit exhibit. We had a new, two-level booth with clean, elegant lines designed to showcase our lightweight, functional gear, and this drew as many positive comments as the products themselves. If I had to single out one product which generated the most interest, it would probably be the Specialist Shelters – we had a Solo pitched on the booth and it seemed to be at the very vortex of activity from the time the show opened in the morning until the last journalist, buyer or sales rep had moved towards the exits in the evening.
I’ll write more about the Specialists in my next blog posting.
For now, I just wanted to share one impression which has stayed with me long after the memories of the madding crowd (with apologies to Thomas Hardy) have begun to fade.
One of our appointments was with a media person who writes for a website, one of a couple of dozen presentations we made to journalists. What makes this appointment stand out in my mind was this – it became clear very quickly that this person believes in buying good gear once. This is a refreshing attitude in a world which has become driven by ever cheaper, short-lived consumer articles. Buy the right piece of gear the first time, and – while it may cost you more on that occasion – it will last longer and often perform better than inexpensive ‘alternatives’. The proof that many don’t live by this maxim is that a lot of outdoor users have closets or garages full of gear that they bought, then replaced and no longer use, perhaps several times over. In the process, they have spent more than what the right piece of gear would have cost.
That’s not the way we build gear at Sea to Summit. We honestly look for the most appropriate type of fabric and the most functional hardware, and we construct things to the highest standards in the industry. We do this because we want our products to last, and to work well for a consumer each and every time they use it. And not end up gathering dust in a gear storage area – or worse, in a landfill.
John Keats once wrote, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever”. He might not have specifically had Sea to Summit in mind, but then again, who’s to say that he didn’t envision Big River Dry Bags, TPU Accessory Cases and X-Bowls?
Would you like to know what makes a piece of Sea to Summit gear work as well as it does?