When you are looking for hiking equipment, there is a lot to choose from, including a wide choice of high quality products. But, while it is easy to find something that kind of works for the purpose intended, it is not as easy to find a perfect match. I am very picky about what I buy and generally spend some time researching what is available before making a purchase decision. I believe that it has saved me, in the long run, a lot of time and money and avoid too much of buyer’ s remorse. There has been, though, something that has been bugging me a lot that I call the update and discontinuation plague. Maybe, it is just me but almost every time I find an item that really works for me, it gets discontinued !
Truth is : It does not matter whether I am buying a bag , a piece of clothing, or a camera : things I buy are either discontinued or “updated” ( see next paragraph). If I get lucky, it is only the color that I like which is no longer available .
A variant of this exists : It is when the product is merely updated, meaning replaced by a similar product which is supposed to be the same thing , only better.
Unfortunately these supposedly improved products are usually more expensive and,worse, often remove one or more of the features you bought them for in the first place. I could literally list dozens of equipment which falls into this category. As I was writing this article in my house , I thought that a picture of some of these items would be a fun way to “illustrate” this article.
So, I made this snapshot of my favorite hiking rain jacket , my favorite duffel carry-on (both now discontinued). Most great jackets for hiking look very “sporty”. When I travel I like to have a jacket that does not make me too much look like a hiker in case I want to go to a fancy restaurant . The Camden jacket was doing the job during my hike but would still be ok for me to go to a semi-formal place.The jacket was also one of the most comfortable and lightweight jacket in this category.The jacket was so good that as soon as I started using it, I guessed it would have a short career so I got a second one as a “back up”. I am glad I did since the jacket was discontinued a few months later and stock ran out very quickly. The National Geographic walkabout NG5070 ( bottom left on the image) was discontinued last year and replaced with a more expensive reference which adds at least 3 drawbacks compared to its predecessor. And guess what? It is also more pricey. My Briggs & Riley BRX backpack ( my everyday bag when I am not traveling) (top left on the picture) had an unfortunate pocket relocation and is no longer available in the discreet grey finish.Of course , looking at the picture afterwards made me realize that I could no longer hide from my readers what is my favorite color for travel items 🙂
It also looks like one of my favorite travel shirts (by Ex-officio) is also being discontinued. (On that subject, please note that I will be publishing a comparison of best Men’s travel shirts in the near future). I could go on and on about this..so how to go around this trend ?
Well the answer is obvious: when you find a travel item that perfectly fits your needs, buy at least one extra. Of course, that may not be an option for the most expensive items but for daypacks ,hiking clothes it should not be a problem.It may sound like a expensive proposition but, in the long run, you will be glad you did.