Buy More Gear.

There are countless sound arguments against this article’s title: Consumerism begets waste. Materialism amplifies economic inequality. Supporting corporations is unsustainable. Better to use what you have. Etc. But given the outdoor gear industry’s position and reach, as evidenced in the aftermath of last Monday, consider this…

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To preface, this is an op-ed for our US audience…

Just a week ago today, in response to the government’s executive order to dismember Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments — the largest elimination of protected land in American history — several US-based gear makers took action and ultimately created an avalanche of protest on social media. It all started when Patagonia blacked out its homepage to feature the message “The President Stole Your Land,” which had a matching Facebook post that’s since been shared over 82,000 times with likes on all those shares in the millions. REI, the North Face, and others followed suit by posting similar, yet less harsh, messages on their public-facing websites. All of these dispatches had a ripple effect and directed readers to public lands advocacy organizations as well as those specifically working to protect the two national monuments in question.

This isn’t the first time that outdoor gear companies have stepped up in defense of the environment. Until recently, most of that support has come in the form of philanthropic donations to the NGOs that champion environmentally responsible policy. Back in February, the Outdoor Industry Association, a nonprofit membership-driven trade organization that represents outdoor companies, relocated their annual trade show from Salt Lake City to Denver in reaction to Utah’s political action toward public lands. In addition, OIA has two registered lobbyists in Washington. Unfortunately, lobbyists are a “dime a dozen” in DC, and those fighting for the energy industry have much deeper pockets than those defending our public lands. Enter the game changer…Donald J. Trump.

Unlike other less audacious actions made by politicians in the past to dilute and strip protections from natural lands, this one is so egregious that it’s forced members of the outdoor industry to take a stand and fight. So, as ironic as it may seem, I guess we can thank Donald for one thing… as Christian Beckwith, founder and director of SHIFT (Shaping How We Invest for Tomorrow) said: “We’re all activists now. That would not have been possible without Trump.” (Friedman, V. A Call to Activism for Outdoor Apparel Makers Unbuttoned, New York Times)

Grand Staircase Loop, Bikepacking Grand Staircase - Escalante, Utah

Photo by Jamie Mefford from the Grand Staircase Loop.

From proposals to liquidate millions of acres, to an attempt to get rid of the Forest Service, there are extremist lawmakers actively trying to privatize, develop, or just sell off our national public lands… all for profit and gain. In many cases the effort is to transfer land to the state government, which can open it up to other fates, including mineral development, subdivisions, extraction, logging, or other uses that the appointed and elected state officials see fit, or profitable. Even as many individuals and much of the outdoor industry advocate for public lands, attacks on our national monuments, forests, wilderness, and parks are gaining steam.

Inciting social protest and taking legal action against the government are risky propositions for private companies. It’s no doubt that taking a political stand during such divided times will cost Patagonia and other such companies hundreds, if not thousands of sales and customers. As this article will likely cost us a few dozen readers. But, they have reasons to stand up for wild places, as do we. Some might argue that outdoor brands are making noise as a publicity stunt in order to actually sell more gear. And perhaps that is a strategy for some companies. After all, without these places that we cherish, open spaces where we are able to hike, climb, fish, camp, and bikepack, where would the outdoor gear companies be? But, more importantly, where would we all be? Just speaking for this website, 98% of the US bikepacking routes we’ve published utilize federal public lands. So, for whatever the motive, if the private sector has the guts, reach, and wherewithal to stand up and help defend our outdoor playground, and in turn help preserve public land, wilderness, ecosystems, and nature as a whole, we are all for it.

buy More Gear, Protect Public Lands

  • buy More Gear, Protect Public Lands
  • buy More Gear, Protect Public Lands

Consider this issue during the holiday season before you throw your dollars at an iPhone, pair of earings, fruit basket, or LED TV. Contrary to this article’s title, I am not saying that buying outdoor gear is going to save our public lands. Nor am I advocating for people to spend money on gear for the sake of doing so. If you can donate to a public lands conservation organization in someone’s honor, that’s without a doubt the best option and a gift that will keep on giving (see below).

But if you are into buying wrappable presents for loved ones, support a small gear maker who speaks out for public lands, or consider items such as a wool shirt from Patagonia, a Black Diamond Headlamp, an Osprey Pack, or something from REI or another company that’s invested in our public lands. Leave the recipient a note describing why you bought it, as well as a reminder that our national public lands are under threat. As for yourself, if you have such gear that you’ve considered replacing with the latest and greatest, give/donate your gently used items to local orgs such as The Mountaineers which takes kids on outdoors adventures in effort to pass along the value of conservation. If bikes are your thing, how about donating time or equipment to Trips for Kids which helps children from all walks of life experience nature and outdoor spaces on a bicycle.

You may not agree with how some of the companies mentioned choose to run their businesses. But in times like this, it’s important to recognise the message they’re sending… which you can do by supporting them directly, or sending some hard earned dollars directly to the causes they’re actively promoting.

#protectpubliclands

Unfortunately, Bears Ears and GSENM are just a sampling of the threats that our public lands face here in the US. On the flip side of the mainstream atrocity, there’s a lot more unfolding behind the scenes. All the more reason to tune in. Outdoor Alliance (creators of the #protectpubliclands hashtag as well as protectourpublicland.org) seems to be leading the way. In short, they are advocating for outdoor recreation on America’s public lands with current campaigns in Southern Utah as well as the Sierras, PNW, and my neck of the woods, Pisgah and Nantahala national forests. Here’s how to tune in: Learn about various legislative issues that affect public lands, track new legislation, and join Outdoor Alliance by signing the petition. You can also make a donation to the organization here and learn how to take further action here.

  • Pistil Pete

    Thank you for bringing the details into this discussion. While many attack an unpopular figurehead we need to look deeper,at the underlying powers and interests that will continue to subvert the people’s will and interests for the benefit of a connected few. We need to stand together, shoulder to shoulder as individuals and groups in our vigilance to protect our natural and cultural heritage against those who would privatize our birthright for private gain.

  • Good article, Logan. I’m sure most of your readers will wade in past the headline, set skepticism aside and realize that businesses can indeed be forces for good – big forces in this case. We should all appreciate that brands like Patagonia routinely take action in favour of causes rather than profits, and support them when possible.

  • Agreed. Not sure if you saw the link up there, but a few politicians that are being singled out, although I am sure there are more. And of course, as you mention, there are underlying private interests at work behind these figures: http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/public_lands_enemies/index

  • Thanks Pete. Admittedly, the title was written to be a little clickbaitish. Some who don’t read the article fully might assume I’m suggesting to spend money with companies such as Patagonia in order to directly support the cause. However — as you suggest — it’s more about appreciation and supporting them when we can. Whether that’s in media (such as this), sharing their brand message, or using their products. Of course, financially contributing to NP organizations that dedicate the majority of revenues to public lands is certainly more worthwhile as far as dollars spent. In any case, as you point out, corporate dollars at work for the sake awareness can also be a force of good.

  • Kurt Wold

    Once again a very insightful article from an amazing website… Wilderness has existed long before capitalism, and wilderness is where we retreat to when we need to “recharge” and reexamine human values. Human beings are the only life form on Earth that are ruled by money, as animals, plants, and geology have thrived since time immemorial without it. These rape and pillage practices upon the land are crimes of the highest magnitude, and everyone needs to become a steward of their own living planet.

  • There’s a fine line between clickbait and establishing curiosity, and I think you hit the mark.

  • Thanks Kurt. Unfortunately, we’ve come to “capitalism vs capitalism”, but if one branch of the private sector can help halt or slow another branch from influencing the elimination of wild places — or at least spread awareness — then so be it.

  • Kurt Wold

    Yes, “unfortunate” is the operative word, as with no caps on election money, government is now capitalism. But I wasn’t being cavalier in suggesting that none of the planet’s other life forms (or even rocks, as the Native American people believed) get to vote on their fates under man’s governing laws for profit. So realistically, yeah – like the Athenians vs. Spartans – weighing ideas through debate are not recognized, and we are forced to fight. I need to ride my bike…

  • multisportscott

    Awesome essay Lagan, thank you.
    I am not aware of this sort of thing being mooted here in New Zealand but with more and more pressure on our public lands it is just as relevant to us to be cognisant of.
    I have spent a lot of time in US public lands, it’s what keeps bringing my wife and I back to your wonderful country. I hate the thought of that been eroded away by business.
    Profits, or in my opinion jobs, should never come before Nature. It’s a pity your current President is treating your country like his own personal business rather than doing what he was elected for, Governing the country.

  • Well said, Logan!

  • Andrew Yapp

    Like millions of other people across the world, I am so heartbroken over the attack on these beautiful scenic and cultural landscapes! This unprecedented action threatens millions of acres from protection, if each new president can decide which lands are worth protection. Basically this issue is the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and Glen Canyon Dam controversy of the 21st Century. Write your representatives and donate to land conservation organizations.

  • Thanks!

  • Thanks Scott! Please continue to come back… there’s much to explore; and hopefully we can keep it that way…

  • Howard Matthew

    Great article. It restores my faith in human nature to know that private companies put themselves on the line and choose not to ignore such damaging policy changes. Here in Australia, a smaller economy we get buffeted around by larger countries and the swell of climate change deniers is very evident in political discourse.

    With respect to routes published on bikepacking.com as one point of advocacy get this:

    I just completed the Attack of The Buns route last weekend. I was stopped on the main street of a tiny town, Braidwood by the tourist officer: He claimed the publishing of this route is getting an average of 5 riders a week passing through this tiny town in the heart of The Morton National Park. Getting like minded individuals out there advocating for the outdoors and bringing in $$ to local economies DOES have an impact. Cycling is a philosophy, a way of life and in countries dominated by cars it is a political statement.

    Good on ya Logan

  • Henry

    I turned my back on Patagonia when they made it personal against all Trump voters and republicans by saying they wouldn’t kowtow to the red necks. Not cool. I’m a treehugger but not a Hilary fan so some ceo has to lump me into a derogatory comment. I totally support protection of land from growth but not Patagonia’s blanket dismay for citizens that don’t vote exactly as they wish. I do like REI. Love your bikepacking site too so keep up the good work.

  • Dan Hemme

    It’s been a year since the election. This has nothing to do with Hillary–NOTHING. Don’t deflect from the actual issue, federal land protection. If you support land conservation, you’re against the positions the president is taking.

  • Thanks Howard!! And I appreciate the feedback on Attack of The Buns too. Great to hear that it’s getting consistent riders. I really want to come ride that route one day…

  • Zachary Brown

    The title threw me off but after reading this article I was intrigued at the perspective. There were a lot of new ideas in here for me to think about further. Thanks for opening my mind up on this!

  • Stephen Reynolds

    Trump is a complete Jackass (shameful President) and this is totally unacceptable as I read about this last week on CNN.
    Great article by the way about the whole mess in So Utah!!

    As someone who has backpacked in my younger years into the wilderness areas of the Rocky Mountains
    and now getting into bike packing, I can’t tell you how disturbing this is So Utah is incredible and these lands belong to the citizens of this country period!!!

    Great Article. Happy Holidays!

  • Stephen Poole

    I’m probably going to ride it over Xmas/New Year. It was nice to see a route on my continent, and not even that far away. :-)

    Thanks for this article, and for the site as a whole. I doubt you’ll lose any readers by supporting conservation – that shouldn’t happen!

    As for politics, I’d certainly vote for Yvon Chouinard a long time before Trump and co. My guess is that most people here probably know that companies like REI and Patagonia support conservation groups, but it doesn’t hurt to publicise the fact. I regularly get campaign information from Patagonia about issues here in Oz, so being on their mailing lists is one way to keep at least a bit informed.

  • PNT

    Good article and wisdom behind it, happy that you are not afraid to show what you think. Patagonia in my opinion should be an example for other brands showing them that you can make business and take care about our planet. You may not like the way they do it but the others are doing nothing because of greed and fear.

  • Brady

    Henry was coming from a balance place with his comment and yet it still triggered you? Patagonia is ultimately just trying to sell product.

  • Brady

    Give this a watch for a different perspective:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGv2dkhzSqo&t=506s

    I, like all of you, want to see land preserved and be able to be enjoyed by all the public, but a balance that meets the needs of all those use the land, would be ideal.

  • Scott Campbell Neale

    Right on guy’s. I’m with you all the way. Keep up the good work!

  • N5500

    I’m a bikepacker and all for utilizing land for bikepacking. But public land essentially means everyone in the country is subsidizing the outdoor industry and outdoor enthusiasts by providing the land. If Patagonia and hundreds of other companies and individuals (like yourself) are so concerned, Buy some of that public land, conserve it and allow public access. Of course you wouldn’t do that, neither will patagonia, because everyone is selfish. When these lands go from being a part of public to private, everyone in the country can compete and whoever needs it more, will win. Now, most people aren’t benefiting from these lands. Forest lands are a different matter as they are also a carbon sink, but most of the land in the west, specially Utah is not dense forest land.

  • Smithhammer

    I would beg to differ that “Patagonia is just trying to sell product.” They, and a number of other outdoor-oriented retailers, realize that without public lands, and widespread opportunities to recreate, their bottom line is directly affected, which is different than just trying to “sell product,” as though this was just a marketing gimmick.

    I would go even further and say that the current movement to reduce/privatize public lands is an attack on the very heart of our democracy and what makes this country so special. Public lands in America, and the opportunities they offer, are a unique and visionary system, not to mention a privilege not enjoyed by people in most other countries. We would do well to appreciate what we truly have, while we still have it, and before we let our opportunities be sold away by greedy pilferers seeking to twist/politicize the conversation for their own ends.

  • Kurt Wold

    Well, if by “a balanced place” you mean an administration that champions antiquated frontier land grabbing, promotes antebellum racist behaviors, and views groping women as good ol’ fun, then once again, I am made keenly aware of the deep divide in this country.

    I hate to be the buzzkill here, but shopping is not going to save the day. I believe Logan’s caption was tongue in cheek – “clickbait” to use his words. I believe his article was written to draw attention to the looming crisis, and actively canvass support for those organizations who are politically engaged in this battle.

  • Thanks Zach. Obviously this is a deep topic, and the relatively tongue and cheek title is just something more to consider, but glad it got you thinking…

  • Howard Matthew

    Hey Stephen
    The route is a good one and the scenery is every bit as good as the photos. Someone else commented that they felt the rating of this route was a bit low at 3 and I would agree. There is a fair amount of climbing on this route and whilst it’s not technical you’ll know that you’ve done a good three days in the saddle. I also did it in reverse so the section from Nowra to Braidwood was predominantly uphill. Enjoy.

  • Dan Hemme

    Brady, I’ll disagree with both the major and minor premises of your argument – first, that henry’s comment was balanced.

    A balanced argument will stay on point at a minimum. I believe the comments already made in reply are sufficient to address the issue of balance, so I’ll constrain my point to the simple issue that henry couldn’t keep it reined in. ‘Kowtow to the rednecks’ and ‘treehugger’ don’t exactly belie a reasoned position. And deflecting an argument to the election of yesteryear is ‘moving the goalposts.’

    Second, as to your minor premise that Patagonia may be trying to sell product (and more to the point, that this calls their position into question)–that may be, but the two aren’t mutually exclusive. Its product is intrinsically linked to the use and enjoyment of public lands. There is a direct corporate interest in preserving land in that its users are also consumers of their product. Your suggestion that Patagonia is disingenuous because its trying to sell product is quite the straw man and a piss poor bad one at that. Do I need to further spell out the connection here or can you follow along, lad?

    To your suggestion that I was ‘triggered’ – I hope this response thoroughly dispels you of that notion. I’ve got a decent amount of disdain for bad arguments and worse rhetoricians. See too many of them in court.

    Don’t wade into the deep end unless you’re prepared to swim.

  • Dan Hemme

    Great article Logan. I’ve been a bike tourist for years but the Surly LHT doesn’t exactly handle off-road conditions as well! Got a hardtail for some better trail/bikepacking experiences and am trying to encourage others to do the same. Lots of love for lands out here in Eastern NC, but not enough of an understanding of what we’ve got and how bikes draw us closer to our natural environment. Purchasing power (or brand influence) won’t ever be enough on their own, but the collective action can make a difference. Thanks for calling attention to it – our hobbies are a power political force. :)

  • simon kirk

    A very good read, we have a few good companies here in the UK, one being Alpkit; strong ethical core and they set up the Alpkit Foundation to help people over come obstacles and get out and do cool things, well worth supporting.

  • Brady

    Oh I can swim just fine, so no worries there. Frankly, Patagonia doesn’t have a dog in this fight. It’s between the government and the people of Utah. Patagonia is just using the situation to sell their product. N5500 supported my argument below by stating, “If Patagonia and hundreds of other companies and individuals (like yourself) are so concerned, Buy some of that public land, conserve it and allow public access.”. All Patagonia cares about is profit and paying the million dollar salaries of their upper executives.

  • Andrew Yapp

    Patagonia and The North Face founders have actually bought and donated over 2 million acres for protected public lands. http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-patagonia-park-donation-20170315-story.html. Also a lot of U.S public land was paid for by taxes, so in a way we each have contributed to the purchase of public lands, which is why it belongs to the American public.

  • N5500

    It’s good that they did. It was in Chile and Argentina though. And Public land means everyone should be able to benefit from it, not just bikepackers and outdoor enthusiasts in particular. For most people, using the land for other purposes would help. Why should a person living in Miami pay taxes for some other people to enjoy mountain biking in Utah?
    And I believe states still have control over that land. They can protect it in that level.

  • Generally speaking, land is not necessarily protected once it goes to state control. “… state lands are held by state governments to generate revenue. They are not owned by state residents in the same way as public lands, and they are not owned at all by Americans who live in other states. While many states do a fantastic job of managing state parks and protecting recreation, state lands are not public, and are governed by different rules than federal public lands. You don’t have a right to be on state lands, or the same rights as to how they are managed and sold.” … managed and sold are the key words there. http://www.protectourpublicland.org/news-collection/2015/7/28/7-differences-between-state-lands-and-public-lands

  • Thanks Dan!! Make sure to go down and to the Croatan loop that’s in our routes map… it’s oddly pretty cool (aside from the section on the road recently added, which ironically is because of some former public land leased by a private hunting club).

  • Thanks Simon! I have been in touch with AlpKit… seem like nice folks.

  • N5500

    Still doesn’t explain why ALL Americans must subsidize the outdoor enthusiasts. Again, Forest lands are a little different. These “nearly” desert lands benefit outdoor enthusiasts, but hardly anyone else. A lot of people want to conserve the forest lands, that can be taken up separately.

  • IMO, having wilderness and open space is what makes this country special — be it desert, forest, wetland, or rubbly mountains — and if spending $4 per year (avg taxpayer dollars that goes to federal public lands) can make that happen, fine by me. Hell, I’d pay $4 per day, without question.

  • N5500

    I agree that it is good, one of the main reasons I came to US. I’d be willing to pay too, maybe not 4 a day. But maybe 100 Per year or so. And If other outdoor enthusiasts are too, I’m sure we can manage the lands currently available. But that’s not the real cost. Real cost is the cost of not using it for other purposes. I don’t think we can pay that. It would mean competing with other businesses who can use those lands for other purposes, say mining or drilling for oil for example. That would benefit a lot more people and hence, companies would be willing to pay more. If outdoor companies can compete, great, if not, someone else needs the land more, and I believe we should tolerate their wishes.

  • Kurt Wold

    Welcome to the US N5500. I might encourage you to take a civics class while you are here, to temper your mercenary views towards public land, however. US federal public land is a shining beacon of its US citizenry’s shared public commonwealth, and is part of a greater societal bond this country cherishes. You could be forgiven for missing this point in that our “conservative party” seems hellbent on raping and pillaging any and all public assets. Maybe I need to relocate… From what part of the world were you christened N5500?

  • N5500

    India. I support the “conservative party” in this regard. I believe this land would serve better in private hands because that would create opportunities and growth instead of stagnation. That also seemed to be the goal of this country until recently when socialism became cool. I don’t think it is.

  • Kurt Wold

    Ah, the old “growth vs. stagnation” argument. A classic rhetorical dialectic dichotomy! We all innately know growth in the land sector is an oxymoron sales pitch, as the planet is finite. However, the US does like to brag about its freedom – so unfortunately we are free to make it as ugly and unnatural as we wish…

    Thanks again Logan for this important topical article. I think, by judging the reader’s responses, it warrants revisiting, alongside quality bikepacking gear reviews and inspirational exotic backpacking adventures. Sterling work!

  • We can look at this a couple of ways:

    1. When someone starts a company, the position of the company is exactly the same as the founder. In this case, if Yvon Chouinard calls someone a redneck, then the company calls them a redneck.
    2. The company is a separate entity than the founder with its own CEO and Yvon Chouinard’s opinions are his own. And, the company doesn’t believe that.
    3. Or somewhere in-between.

    As far as them doing this just to profit, I disagree. I have a friend that works for Patagonia and their employees, CEO and Yvon Chouinard believe in protecting our public lands with all their hearts. The are true believers and not trying to cynically profit from the loss of public land protections.

  • Smithhammer

    Our public lands have collective value far beyond recreation. To frame it as “ALL Americans subsidizing the outdoor enthusiasts” is incredibly myopic.

  • Smithhammer

    I think you need to read a little, or maybe A LOT, more about U.S. history. Conserving public lands for a variety of reasons is not some “recent, socialist” idea. Yellowstone, for example, is more than 140 years old. Socialism was hardly a popular concept in the United States at that time.

    Far from being aligned with socialism, our visionary approach to public lands is firmly rooted in a highly democratic ideal.

    As for the notion that our public lands would be better served in private hands, I would vehemently disagree. These lands would be locked away, denuded and extracted, and anything left that continued to resemble the land in a natural state would be high-priced “pay to play” for the elite who can afford it.

  • N5500

    Public land was always transferred to private hands historically. If yellowstone was transferred to private hands, they would run it as a business. Charge an entry fee, charge for camping or other activities but if it is not profitable, that is, if people are not willing to pay for it, they would use it for some other purpose, or just leave it. This is how people vote with their money. If yellowstone would be more profitable if turned into a geothermal power plant for example, it would be because more people are willing to pay for the energy than for the recreation at the forest/park. By imposing restrictions on a land, you are making it impossible for people to decide that way. The companies are doing it for profit, sure, but it’s profit that thousands or millions of people are willing to give them, because it benefits those thousands or millions.
    And if it is in a natural state for the elites, it will remain that way until they see a profit in it by opening it to the public. Which it will be.

  • Ross

    This sort of free market extremism bullshit is destroying the planet. You know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

  • Dan Ransom

    This argument glosses over American history entirely. Government has always subsidized public lands. Wars were fought and paid for by American citizens and taxes. When these lands were conquered, the government paid to manage them, and gave them away free to people to move west with the Homestead Act. What lands were not homesteaded (because of extreme conditions like being in a desert, or in the alpine) remained in the federal land portfolio. When states joined the Union, they signed enabling acts. As a condition of those acts, the States had to agree that all federal lands would continue to be run and managed by the federal government.

    All Americans are not subsidizing the outdoor industry, any more than all Americans subsidize every industry that relies on American infrastructure to operate. Ever used Amazon? Who paid for the airport that flies in your package? Who paid for the interstates that trucked across state lines? Who pays for the postal service that delivers a package to your house? It is impossible to draw a clear line where any industry could exist without being federal infrastructure that we all pay for.

    When Hurricane Irma destroyed Florida, were you arguing that taxpayers in Utah shouldn’t be subsidizing the recovery effort? I sure hope not.

  • Smithhammer

    Not everything comes down to money and profit. Clearly, you are someone who can’t understand that, and I feel sorry for you. But this is the USA, and we’ve deliberately set aside land, with the overwhelming support of the public, for other “values” besides what those lands can be stripped and sold for. Tough shit if you don’t like it.

  • N5500

    It does. Money is what dictates our lives. It is what people “Value”, literally. It is the USA and Trump is elected and he is giving away the land to public, I support that and I will continue to support the ideals of liberty and capitalism. Tough shit if you don’t like it.

  • Smithhammer

    The notion that “liberty and capitalism,” and a healthy system of public lands that are are available to all, are mutually exclusive concepts is exactly where your lame philosophy falters. “Giving the land away to the public?” How much more can you possibly pervert the situation? The public already owns these lands. He is giving it away to those who would privatize them and lock them away. That isn’t what “liberty” looks like – that’s what a big contribution to the emerging corporate-oligarchy looks like. Which, whether you realize it or not, is exactly what you are arguing in favor of, while using libertarian bullshit language to sell it.

    I won’t argue your asinine points with you anymore – but I have a hard time believing that you are someone who actually engages in and supports the the activities promoted by this website. You’re just another troll.

  • debineko

    And not even from India I suspect.

  • ansis maleckis

    As always this infomercial site is shilling for the industry. Patagonia, REI and others are just looking for cheap publicity. All they care about is money.

  • Please read the WHOLE article before commenting.

  • ansis maleckis

    I read the WHOLE article twice. It is well written. You’re a good writer. However, it does not change that fact that you’re an industry shill. You’re making money from the industry. There is nothing wrong with that. But please don’t pretend that this article is an unbiased piece of writing with the whole purpose of protecting public lands! You could have written an article about how Trumps administration is selling out public lands and you could have described legit courses of action that your reader can take to influence politics. But NO! You have to sneak in REI, Patagonia, Osprey and Outdoor Industry Asociation. I am just not convinced that buying china-made plastic crap is the most efficient way to protect public lands.

  • I could have written an article about the plight of the snow leopard in Central Asia, but I chose to write a timely OPINION piece about something that happened, just after it happened, in effort to educate people on the surrounding and underlying issues. And I agree re your final sentence, but we are talking about a complex issue and political landscape to which there are many angles. The title and idea of this article are partially tongue and cheek as a way to get people reading about this issue. None of those companies have ever given us a penny; nor am I pandering to the industry. However, as stated, I do think there is viability in the voice and reach in the outdoor industry. Especially right now as so many things are happening. There is a large percentage of the population that is uninformed on issues such as this, and in my opinion a massive percentage of the US population is malicious toward the environment. Again, IN MY OPINION, the voice and reach that these companies have shouldn’t be ignored. Obviously there are better ways to spend money and support public lands, as I clearly point out in multiple places.

  • Herr Simon (Mr Simon)

    I would never donate to ANY NGO, never. They are all fraudulent because they have to.

  • Paula Product

    I agree about the redneck comment, Henry. Perhaps it would have been more accurate to refer to your crowd as “people who clearly care about public lands less than they care about hating Hilary, or brown people, o4 the truth.” I’ve got lots of redneck friends, and not one was so stupid or mean as to vote for the man stealing land from the American people (along with a thousand other sins), or so mendacious as to try to defend that theft.

  • ansis maleckis

    Free air and free water essentially means everyone in the country is subsidizing drinking and breathing enthusiasts by providing a free air and water. Water and air should be commercialized. Sun light also should not be free for all.

  • Christopher Spatz

    Patagonia et al are posers who fought off the “backpack tax” in 2000 that would have funded 12,000 at risk species and their habitats to the tune of several $ billion dedicated annually. Now, those 12,000 at-risk species and their habitats get $60 million each year that advocates have to go begging for on K Street. Stepping up to fight the land grab now is way too little way too late.

  • Simon, Mr

    Trump – Hillary, Hillary -Trump … Sheeple. It doesn’t matter. Any president will continue forcing “democracy and freedom” on people because they have to. The system (aka the “game”) needs to go on because that’s all THEY got.

  • Hi Chris, I’d be interested in reading more about this subject. Are you able to point me to a good summary of the issue somewhere or tell me what to search?

  • Your points aren’t entirely without merit, but I wonder how it is you think that anyone running a website, in any industry, is able to keep the lights on? If a website devoted to bike packing can’t write an article that mentions industry companies and activity without being called a ‘shill’, then tell me what the alternative is? Because I can tell you: the alternative is there is no website and you’re left with facebook. Sad future. Think about it.

  • ansis maleckis

    I can think of several ways of making money without shilling:
    1) Selling more space to conventional ads. Everyone understands that
    conventional add is just an add. It does not insult your intelligence and it
    does not leave a bad taste in your mouth.
    2) Selling gear via Amazon links or via a dedicated online store.
    3) Selling maps and route descriptions. Basically, monetize Routes section.
    AdventureCycling does it. Andrew Skurka does it. I would pay a reasonable price
    for a well developed route and I am sure many others would also. It does not
    have to be in a paper format. It would make more sense to sell gpx/pdf files.
    4) Running organized and/or supported trips. It does require time, work and
    effort. However, if owners of this site don’t want to do it themselves, they
    could “outsource” it to someone else. I am sure it would not be
    difficult to find “qualified people” to run trips.
    I don’t have a problem with bikepacking making money from the industry. I have
    a problem with bikepacking’s “new-age/lifestyle” marketing BS.
    Oftentimes such an aggressive strategy creates opposite effect. I cringe every
    time I see an “unbiased” gear review on this site. Most people
    consciously or subconsciously understand bikepacking fad is fueled by the
    industry to sell more gear. Gear is the least important thing about adventure.
    It is possible to have a great trip with a $500 bike and a $50 sleeping bag or
    with a $5000 bike and a $500 sleeping bag. It really is not that important.

  • Our reviews are not biased. We write about gear because A. we are nerds; B. people ike to research stuff before thy buy it. If you don’t like our free content, go away. And don’t let the door hit you on the way out… troll.

  • ansis maleckis

    So you are saying that you bought all the gear yourself with your hard earned money? And you never received money or free stuff from the manufacturers and/or distributors? Can you still call it an unbiased review of a product when in addition to the review you have paid advertisements by the same manufacturer on your site? For example, there are numerous reviews of Surly and Salsa bikes while there are also Surly and Salsa banners on this site.

  • Yeah, there are always pros and cons. We are honest. Period. We have tested equipment that we don’t like, and choose not to review it. From those same manufacturers. Read our mission statement. We have nothing to hide. And again, if you don’t like what we have to say, you are free to find your content elsewhere. I am pretty tired of replying to your infinite negative comments. Go away.

  • ansis maleckis

    So why not review stuff that you didn’t like? Wouldn’t that be useful to your audience? You could save us some cash and bad experiences!

  • read the mission statement. Do you have any idea how much time it takes to write reviews? It’s about being positive. gear you find in reviews/roundups on our site is gear we recommend. Period.

  • p.s. so you consistently bash what we/I do and then have a request for more free content so we can ‘save you some cash’ !? Think about that for a minute.

  • ansis maleckis

    My comment was written with a tongue in cheek. Anyone with a bit of critical thinking would have understood that. I don’t expect you to save me some cash and I don’t expect honest and/or negative gear reviews from you. Also, I won’t be using your reviews to make purchasing decisions.

  • ansis maleckis

    Also, nothing is ever for free.

  • I beg to differ. If you are reading or using any content on this site, it’s free information.

  • ansis maleckis

    I am paying with my clicks and traffic. Human attention is one of the most valuable assets. It all counts.

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