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However, I seem to be the only person that gives a shit about this issue because you are all still buying those magazines and watching those TV shows. Right? This has been a big topic of conversation around here for some time and I am a one man minority with my position. Everybody else says I am over thinking it and being too high minded about it. Really. Is it possible to be too committed to the principle of independence when it comes to recommending best-in-class gear that people depend on? Maybe it is. So I ask you, my readers, do you care who advertises on this site? Would you still value and trust my recommendations if I sold ad space to companies whose products I was also reviewing? Do you think I can maintain a church and state distinction between advertising slash revenue and editorial content?
Not liking what was being proposed to me I came up with a couple of my own ideas.
First, from this point forward you will see a PAYPAL DONATE button at the bottom of each post. They are not there for decoration so I hope, ask, politely suggest, that you use them occasionally, especially if you like that particular article. If you like what we do here I ask that you prove it by supporting this site.
Second, you all know that I have had a long relationship with WILDERNESS ATHLETE. My family and I have been very satisfied users of their products since the company started. Based on the many positive comments I have received from you, it is clear that you like them too. To that end, I applied for and have been approved as an official Wilderness Athlete dealership. So, if you are going to buy WA products, I hope you will buy them from me. The proceeds from those transactions will directly fund what we do here in the future. To order, just click on the ad to get to my ebay storefront or call the telephone number listed and talk to one of us in person.
In a nutshell I think Hardcore Outdoor has a great deal of potential and can do some very special things but in order to make that happen it has to pay its own way. I think the Paypal button and Wilderness Athlete mechanisms are a fair and honest way to do that. Whether we add a third component in the form of outdoor equipment related advertisers is up to you.
So lets hear it. Don't be shy.
UPDATE - I am getting quite a response to this post. Thank you, I appreciate you all taking the time to share your opinions. It is valuable input.
There are two other changes you might have noticed on the site. I am now publishing some comments. I have received thousands over the last five years but have never posted them until now. You should know that they are edited for inappropriate language (although that has never been a problem with you guys) and the use of full names. Also, the subscription block is gone so unless you have already signed up you are going to have to come to the site to find out what is going on.
UPDATE #2 - Well, after much consideration I have decided that the best thing to do is what my gut told me to do from the very beginning. No advertising, no sponsors, no more Paypal buttons, no compromises, no distractions. Just me, my opinions on great gear and the occasional commentary on other things I find interesting.
This wasn't about money when I started it and it shouldn't be about money now regardless of how much traffic this site gets. Money in this case just muddies the water and it never comes without strings attached. This way is just cleaner all the way around. Independent and influence free is what works for me. Please forgive my brief swerve off the high road.
That is all.
...or this one?
Kuiu or Sitka Gear, that is the question.
So, who is winning the hearts, minds and patronage of high activity, western style, mountain hunters right now. That is an interesting and ongoing question that we will revisit from time to time.
I think it is interesting because the two guys that run the companies, Jonathan Hart and Jason Hairston of Sitka Gear and Kuiu respectively, serving this specialty niche were once partners and are in fact responsible for creating the high end hunting gear segment. Although, regular readers know that bringing best in class mountaineering level clothing to the hunting community is an issue I have been griping about since the early 90's, before Messrs. Hairston and Hart began the revolution or at least the civilian side of it at Sitka.
UPDATE - So, who is winning?
Kuiu has come out recently with updated products and new offerings like tents, sleeping bags and boots so it looks like they are building a one stop shop for the high end hunter. Advantage Kuiu.
I understand that they may have had no other choice but Kuiu has gone full speed ahead with a customer direct sales model where they cut out the middle man retailer and it appears to be working. After some consideration I have to say that I like it, a lot. If you could get a comparable or potentially superior product in a color that you liked for two thirds or half the price why wouldn't you buy it? Advantage Kuiu.
At this years SHOT show in Vegas the Kuiu booth was mobbed every time I walked by compared to a relative ghost town over at Sitkas which indicates a shift in momentum to me. Advantage Kuiu.
Sitka's biggest asset, parent company WL Gore, looks more and more to me like it is its biggest liability. Big corporate mentality, trying to manage something way out of their core competency, and a severe lack of organizational agility amongst other things are hobbling Sitka. Advantage Kuiu.
Kuiu is the independent start up and seen by many as the scrappy under dog. Advantage Kuiu.
I take issue with their sizing, question a number of his claims, and think he could do a much better job of responding to my inquiries but the founder of Kuiu seems to be in charge of and fully engaged with the running of his company. I can't say the same for Sitka. Advantage Kuiu.
Stay tuned for much more on this later.
Sorting through the fads and fashion of the outdoor equipment industry to identify and promote the very best wilderness gear for high end recreational users, backcountry professionals and government agencies.
We can be educated and persuaded but not bought, bullied or bs'd.
Hardcore Outdoor is dedicated to those who can't or won't turn back.
The Boundary Stormtight Jacket from First Lite comes in solid Dry Earth, ASAT, Realtree Max 1 and Realtree Xtra.
It was about 0300 when I walked in the door from our trip back from SCI in Vegas and I was having a hard time keeping my eyes open until I saw the box from First Lite on my desk. I immediately opened it and gave the shell layer jacket that was inside a quick once over. It looked right, the sound was muffled and it felt good weight wise. Then I tried it on over my fleece jacket. Ahhhhhh. I was afraid it was going to be another Kuiu type sizing disappointment but it was wasn't. They told me the Stormtight was sized properly for layering and they were indeed correct. The size XL fits the way it should.
Here is what the First Lite website says about this product:
"The Boundary Stormtight Jacket is the weatherproof shell component of the First Lite Layering Kit. Using patented Cocona Technology and the industries best DWR and lamination combined with custom constructed fabrics made to First Lite specifications, the Boundary Stormtight provides unsurpassed protection against the harshest conditions Mother Nature has to offer. There are so many features in this compact, packable jacket that they can't all be listed making the Boundary Stormtight the perfect jacket for chasing that monster bruin in B.C.
Available in men’s sizes: s, m, l, xl, xxl"
This jacket reminds me of the old Sitka Gear Nimbus Jacket which I liked very much. This is a touch heavier at 21 ounces but it has the same slick type interior backing, minimal three pocket set, and relatively quiet exterior fabric (feels like the Patagonia Storm jacket).
I noticed a few other things. The top of the main zipper swerves off to the side about an inch, the cuffs have both elastic and hook & loop so you can keep them set the way you like but still don/doff the jacket (I like that). It also has water resistant zippers all the way around.
The hood adjustment cord holes on the back are unprotected, the Dry Earth color has orange trim and the zipper pulls are metal but those are about the only nit pics I can see at this stage of the game.
I am anxious to see how the Cocona performs in the field. To my knowledge this will be the first time I have used it.
Now remember how I do things here. I don't test any junk so if you see it here it must be pretty good but if I really like this piece and want to make it part of my system then you will hear more about it from me, if not then you won't. Make sense?
UPDATE - I wore this jacket working around the house and walking the neighborhood for several hours Saturday during a heavy rain storm. I am pleased to report that it was comfortable and completely watertight.
I am still getting used to the off set main zipper but it doesn't bother me, it is more of an aesthetic thing for me. Also, I prefer my cuff adjustment straps to run out away from my body as opposed to inward. Overall, so far so good.
Can't wait to get the matching pants.