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Trying Not to Be a Brand Whore Snob

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Trying Not to Be a Brand Whore Snob

Postby MichaelRyanSD » Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:47 pm

So I'm posting some random thoughts I've been having as I start to purchase gear for Denali. When it comes to clothing, I've been buying almost exclusively TNF stuff. Since a lot of the cold weather gear is so expensive I'd like it to serve somewhat dual-purpose. As in I can wear it while climbing and in public, for me at least TNF seems to fit the bill between stylish and useful. It seems like a lot of other brands use neon colors and fruity designs.

The problem is now, I've been looking at 4- season tents, -40 degree bags, etc. And I pretty much always look at TNF gear first. I just purchased a Kelty 110 L bag and sort of cringed a little that it wasn't TNF. Has anyone else experienced this with their brand of choice. Am I doomed for the rest of my climbing career to spend almost twice as much to satisfy my need for TNF?
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Re: Trying Not to Be a Brand Whore Snob

Postby WyomingSummits » Sat Mar 09, 2013 1:13 am

It's not unusual. I was buying TNF 20 yrs ago before it was popular. My main rock climbing pack is TNF and I've been dragging that thing to crags all over the US for 17yrs and it doesn't have one hole or tear. I buy TNF for that reason.....everything I have of theirs has lasted a long time. You may pay more up front, but if you don't have to buy replacements it pays for itself. That being said, I do have other brands. Marmot sleeping bag, Scarpa, Salomon, Salewa, GoLite, etc etc. I just bought one of TNF's light summit packs and am loving it so far. 2000cu in and packs down to the size of a large wallet.
Last edited by WyomingSummits on Sat Mar 09, 2013 1:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Trying Not to Be a Brand Whore Snob

Postby mrchad9 » Sat Mar 09, 2013 1:18 am

What's the name of your summit pack or a link please.
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Re: Trying Not to Be a Brand Whore Snob

Postby WyomingSummits » Sat Mar 09, 2013 1:32 am

mrchad9 wrote:What's the name of your summit pack or a link please.



It's the Verto 32. Part of their SummitSeries line. Has a removable back pad and great attachment points. I liked it because it's light and packs so small.....I can put it in the cargo pocket of my pants, but still fit a full 60m rope, rack, shoes, harness, down jacket, and shell gear on alpine rock.
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Re: Trying Not to Be a Brand Whore Snob

Postby Kiefer » Sat Mar 09, 2013 3:42 am

Michael,
Bare with me on this. Gonna be a bit long-winded.
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT pigeon-hole yourself into just one brand. If you're looking at clothing & gear just to get the job done, you might as well stay away from TNF and buy Coleman and Go-Lite.
In my opinion, TNF use to be a great company for gear & clothing. They, along with Patagucci and maybe Sierra Designs were the biggest kids on the block, so to speak.
I no longer buy TNF nor do I own any pieces from them, not even a mesly T-shirt. They have kinda cornered themselves into a cul-de-sac in that, in a retail environment, clothing has a better profit margin than gear. Now, all TNF is good at is clothing...pants, jackets, shirts et al. They've slipped with gear. BUT, as your post exceptionally illustrates, people still buy TNF because their brand recognition is catastrophically huge!

Also. Other brands like Mamut, MHW, MSR, Gregory, Black Diamond have pieces that in my opinion, will serve you great on the mountain and probably deliver better function to boot AND look great if you're wearing it around town. Mamut has some killer looking pieces (clothing). Don't. Please don't buy mountain-orientated clothing just for the sake of 'owning it.' We have jokes for people like that (Mountain sexual's).
Lately, I've been looking at two brands we don't have here in the States, 66° North and Norønna. Both companies make some great gear and clothing. I'm waiting for my Heimaklettur Softshell (from 66 North) I ordered last week.
If you pigeon-hole yourself into only one brand, you're missing a multitude of other brands that could perform better and look just as good if not more stylish in town.
For instance.
In terms of brands, I own pieces & gear from: Black Diamond, MHW, Arc'Teryx, Mamut, Petzl, Marmot, Osprey, Mont Bell, Nemo, Scarpa & Hilleberg.
Most people will own pieces from a multide of different companies. Some brands are better at insulated pieces. Some are better at water-resistent shells and some make better climbing equipment.
I would buy older stuff from TNF but nothing new, at least in the last 7 years. And I won't EVER buy anything from Go-Lite or Red Feather...Pure crap.

Skip the -40 sleeping bag as well. It's cold on Denali but a -20 bag should serve you just fine. And it'll be lighter on your wallet.
I would advise do some more research and ask questions. Big mountains like Denali are expensive to climb for VERY good reasons. If you exclusively stay with TNF, you could be setting yourself up for a miserable time on the hill. Don't underprice yourself.
Ask yourself this. Is spending an extra $300+ now worth a better success, chance of attaining the summit? I know people who skimped on gloves for Alaska and turned around (no summit) because their fingers were going blue. Now, they're back home with hundreds and hundreds of dollars in clothing and no summit to show for it. Don't set yourself up for failure.
And PLEASE don't read into this as a personal attack. I'm just trying to get you to see the big picture, situations that COULD happen. As a mountaineer, when I head out into the hills, I always plan for worst possible conditions.
Are you going guided by chance?

MichaelRyanSD wrote:So I'm posting some random thoughts I've been having as I start to purchase gear for Denali. When it comes to clothing, I've been buying almost exclusively TNF stuff. Since a lot of the cold weather gear is so expensive I'd like it to serve somewhat dual-purpose. As in I can wear it while climbing and in public, for me at least TNF seems to fit the bill between stylish and useful. It seems like a lot of other brands use neon colors and fruity designs.

The problem is now, I've been looking at 4- season tents, -40 degree bags, etc. And I pretty much always look at TNF gear first. I just purchased a Kelty 110 L bag and sort of cringed a little that it wasn't TNF. Has anyone else experienced this with their brand of choice. Am I doomed for the rest of my climbing career to spend almost twice as much to satisfy my need for TNF?
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Re: Trying Not to Be a Brand Whore Snob

Postby jesu, joy of man's desiring » Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:33 am

I bought my first packs/bags etc from North Face in the mid 70s when they were just a few climbing hippies sewing shit together in some shed in Berkeley and likely stoned out of their minds, tripping on LSD, etc

that stuff was rock solid and made by hand, attention to detail no doubt abetted by premium Bay Area ganja

Now TNF is mass manufactured i'm sure by Chinese slave laborers, and the last pack I bought from them had holes in it after just one afternoon of grainy monzonite at Joshua Tree

for Denali you may as well get outfitted at your local thrift store--just drag up a 100lb canvas tent like the pioneers did on that mountain. Nam boots from the local Army/Navy should also suffice. Slather them in bacon grease and yer good to go

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Re: Trying Not to Be a Brand Whore Snob

Postby WyomingSummits » Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:33 am

Kiefer Thomas wrote:Michael,
Bare with me on this. Gonna be a bit long-winded.
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT pigeon-hole yourself into just one brand. If you're looking at clothing & gear just to get the job done, you might as well stay away from TNF and buy Coleman and Go-Lite.
In my opinion, TNF use to be a great company for gear & clothing. They, along with Patagucci and maybe Sierra Designs were the biggest kids on the block, so to speak.
I no longer buy TNF nor do I own any pieces from them, not even a mesly T-shirt. They have kinda cornered themselves into a cul-de-sac in that, in a retail environment, clothing has a better profit margin than gear. Now, all TNF is good at is clothing...pants, jackets, shirts et al. They've slipped with gear. BUT, as your post exceptionally illustrates, people still buy TNF because their brand recognition is catastrophically huge!

Also. Other brands like Mamut, MHW, MSR, Gregory, Black Diamond have pieces that in my opinion, will serve you great on the mountain and probably deliver better function to boot AND look great if you're wearing it around town. Mamut has some killer looking pieces (clothing). Don't. Please don't buy mountain-orientated clothing just for the sake of 'owning it.' We have jokes for people like that (Mountain sexual's).
Lately, I've been looking at two brands we don't have here in the States, 66° North and Norønna. Both companies make some great gear and clothing. I'm waiting for my Heimaklettur Softshell (from 66 North) I ordered last week.
If you pigeon-hole yourself into only one brand, you're missing a multitude of other brands that could perform better and look just as good if not more stylish in town.
For instance.
In terms of brands, I own pieces & gear from: Black Diamond, MHW, Arc'Teryx, Mamut, Petzl, Marmot, Osprey, Mont Bell, Nemo, Scarpa & Hilleberg.
Most people will own pieces from a multide of different companies. Some brands are better at insulated pieces. Some are better at water-resistent shells and some make better climbing equipment.
I would buy older stuff from TNF but nothing new, at least in the last 7 years. And I won't EVER buy anything from Go-Lite or Red Feather...Pure crap.

Skip the -40 sleeping bag as well. It's cold on Denali but a -20 bag should serve you just fine. And it'll be lighter on your wallet.
I would advise do some more research and ask questions. Big mountains like Denali are expensive to climb for VERY good reasons. If you exclusively stay with TNF, you could be setting yourself up for a miserable time on the hill. Don't underprice yourself.
Ask yourself this. Is spending an extra $300+ now worth a better success, chance of attaining the summit? I know people who skimped on gloves for Alaska and turned around (no summit) because their fingers were going blue. Now, they're back home with hundreds and hundreds of dollars in clothing and no summit to show for it. Don't set yourself up for failure.
And PLEASE don't read into this as a personal attack. I'm just trying to get you to see the big picture, situations that COULD happen. As a mountaineer, when I head out into the hills, I always plan for worst possible conditions.
Are you going guided by chance?

MichaelRyanSD wrote:So I'm posting some random thoughts I've been having as I start to purchase gear for Denali. When it comes to clothing, I've been buying almost exclusively TNF stuff. Since a lot of the cold weather gear is so expensive I'd like it to serve somewhat dual-purpose. As in I can wear it while climbing and in public, for me at least TNF seems to fit the bill between stylish and useful. It seems like a lot of other brands use neon colors and fruity designs.

The problem is now, I've been looking at 4- season tents, -40 degree bags, etc. And I pretty much always look at TNF gear first. I just purchased a Kelty 110 L bag and sort of cringed a little that it wasn't TNF. Has anyone else experienced this with their brand of choice. Am I doomed for the rest of my climbing career to spend almost twice as much to satisfy my need for TNF?


Yes, TNF is largely clothing and packs. They have recently shifted gears and started to branch out into other areas....trying to get back to their adventure roots. My large pack is older....hence the durability. Jury is still out on the summit pack, but it's up to the buyer to decide what thickness of material to buy. You cant expect thinner denier to hold up. Like the others posted, I have a collection from a lot of manufacturers. Black Diamond, MHW, Kelty, Jansport, Marmot.....blah blah blah. :) The important thing is to find a piece that works for you. TNF is my go-to for Down and shells......oh, and they make some great winter boots for ice fishing and snowshoeing. :) I'm pretty excited to see the new outerwear Black Diamond is releasing this fall, and to try out some stuff made from Polartec Neoshell. Has anyone tried the Neoshell? I know TNF and Marmot have some shell jackets made from it already, but both had some major design flaws. TNF's rode up pretty dramatically when arms were raised and Marmot's hood wasn't helmet compatible.
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Re: Trying Not to Be a Brand Whore Snob

Postby Ben Beckerich » Sat Mar 09, 2013 7:05 am

Of all the brands to "snob" over.... TNF??

When I think serious, technical clothes, I think Rab, Westcomb, Arcteryx, NW Alpine....

When I think TNF, I think manila yuppies going to the mall
where am i going... and why am i in this handbasket?
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Re: Trying Not to Be a Brand Whore Snob

Postby MichaelRyanSD » Sat Mar 09, 2013 2:16 pm

I'm glad I could spur a light-hearted discussion on the subject matter lol. No offense taken Keifer, I sort of just made this post as collective therapy to justify my spending habits on an over-priced brand. I was hoping to find more people who do it do I don't feel like I'm the only one lol.

On a serious note, when it comes to clothing, yes TNF is my first brand of choice because like I said, in my opinion makes the best looking clothing. While I hardly care what I look like on the side of a mountain, I do care when I'm walking around the town.

When it comes to gear, other than the summit series pack mentioned above, I own no TNF gear and usually get what's on sale from REI-outlet.

I'm in the Army and going to be stationed in Anchorage so I have the benefit of not having a "do or die" mentality since I can always come back relatively easily.
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Re: Trying Not to Be a Brand Whore Snob

Postby Sierra Ledge Rat » Sat Mar 09, 2013 2:57 pm

I have to admit that I am emotionally tied to TNF.

I bought a VE-24 tent in the 1970s and eventually the floor went bad from a lot of abuse and I sent it the TNF in the mid-1980s for a repair. I fully expected to pay to have the floor replaced.

Instead... They sent me a brand-new VE-25 tent at no expense.

Now that's what I call customer service.

Now I still look to the TNF first to see if they have what I am looking for.
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Re: Trying Not to Be a Brand Whore Snob

Postby MichaelRyanSD » Sat Mar 09, 2013 3:24 pm

Kiefer Thomas wrote: Don't. Please don't buy mountain-orientated clothing just for the sake of 'owning it.' We have jokes for people like that (Mountain sexual's).


Lol, to my defense every piece of mountaineering brand clothing and gear has actually been on the side of a mountain.

Funny story, so two weekends ago I was in Willmington NC, I'm currently stationed at Ft.Bragg. I'm not normally ever like this, but I was very intoxicated. So I'm taking a piss with a buddy, and a guy walks in wearing a TNF jacket. In my drubken state decide to start something by saying "North Face gear in NC, Ha, what mountains have you climbed?"
I actually don't remember saying this, but that's what was told to me the next morning
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Re: Trying Not to Be a Brand Whore Snob

Postby Kiefer » Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:37 pm

MichaelRyanSD wrote:Funny story, so two weekends ago I was in Willmington NC, I'm currently stationed at Ft.Bragg. I'm not normally ever like this, but I was very intoxicated. So I'm taking a piss with a buddy, and a guy walks in wearing a TNF jacket. In my drubken state decide to start something by saying "North Face gear in NC, Ha, what mountains have you climbed?"
I actually don't remember saying this, but that's what was told to me the next morning


HAHA! :lol:
Just snorted out my cheerios! Funny, b/c I haven't had any cheerios yet....eewww!
Since you'll be stationed in Anc, you gotta get up into the Chugach! They're literally on your front door step.
And make Midnight Sun Brewery your second home. :wink:
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Re: Trying Not to Be a Brand Whore Snob

Postby WyomingSummits » Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:53 pm

Ben Beckerich wrote:Of all the brands to "snob" over.... TNF??

When I think serious, technical clothes, I think Rab, Westcomb, Arcteryx, NW Alpine....

When I think TNF, I think manila yuppies going to the mall


Lol. If you look at TNF's mid-higher end models, they make some very technical apparel. Is it "worth it" as opposed to Marmot? Maybe not.....but Arcteryx isn't cheap. The companies you mention above like Rab and Arc make great clothing.....but it's for emaciated people. I'm 6-2 and a solid 210.......with most of that in my legs. There is no "stretch" left when I jam my legs in most pants made by those manufacturers. TNF typically makes things in more generous cuts. I bought some base layer tights that are supposed to be stretch. I got a large because that's what my waist size is.......my quads wouldn't fit through them. I get an extra large and the dang things are loose around my waist. My MHW pants are just about perfect.....not bulky and fit under my harness/ don't snag on crampons, but still have a little room and great stretch. However, if my quads get any bigger I'll have to buy some friggen MC Hammer pants.....who knows......but I'll still get to the top of the mountain! :) Ultimately, you can make the top of most 14ers in anything. Put me in a pink tutu and I'll still see you at the summit! :)
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Re: Trying Not to Be a Brand Whore Snob

Postby MichaelRyanSD » Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:31 pm

Just got my Kelty 110L backpack in the mail for $140, see, I'm not a complete brand whore
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Re: Trying Not to Be a Brand Whore Snob

Postby POLUKO » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:42 pm

My mom calls ANY jacket made of fleece a "north face". In a sentence it would be something like "Hey, look at the girl wearing a north face." I look and it's a Columbia or some random jacket and then make some asshole remark like "a north face what?" Or "that says marmot". I know what she means because she has been saying that for a decade. Where she is in NJ (yuppieville), it's cool to have a north face micro fleece jackets for when it's kinda cold. That is probably the only brand most people know when it comes to "real" outdoor gear. There is an outlet just over the border in NY state so most people go there because of taxes or something, and of course, because of the recognition factor.

Personally, I buy based on price and quality. Then colors. Then brand. If I had to choose between equally priced gear I would go for something more obscure just to spread out the wealth. Amongst the inner circle of outdoors types, I think the deliberate avoidance of TNF gear has caused the other big companies to also become tacky.

My main backpacking bag is a north face. I love it.
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