I’m a big believer in supporting small local businesses. From clothiers to bookstores, if I can find what I’m looking for locally from the little guy, I’m willing to pay a small premium in order to drop a bit of fuel into the local economic engine.
The backpacking gear community is awash with cottage manufacturers, the internet version of the local retailer. And I’ve been so tempted by much of the stuff I’ve seen, and the sterling reviews of said stuff. Seriously, who wouldn’t want a Tarptent Rainbow? But being a bargain hunter by necessity on my initial gearing-up has kept me from this wonderland of full-price kit.
In my quest for a sleeping pad, I cruised over to Amazon and discovered a self-inflatable from a mom-and-pop company I won’t name. Yet. The reviews have been impressive, the price is as good or better than comparable pads from the major makers, and it seems to me to be a good, low risk bet. So I’ll order one and, when it comes in, I’ll do a little indoor campout (still buried in snow here) and post a follow-up.
I hope it’s as good as other backpackers say it is. Giving a cottage manufacturer a small boost would give me great pleasure…