It is frustrating that gear manufacturers often introduce new models of gear rather than refine and develop existing gear. Just as bad is continuing with products with design flaws and not addressing them.
The reason for thinking about this is the pending launch of the eagerly awaited Tarptent Scarp 1 mk2. Here is a relatively isolated example of a manufacturer listening to criticism and responding positively. I shall be placing my order soon.
Contrast that with the lack of change with the TN Laser Competition. Why wasn’t the pole hood addressed in the mk2? I find it odd that none of the mods that I and others have made seem to have made it into the latest version. This is disappointing as the Comp could be a much better tent.
Indeed, I’ve got some ideas for a Comp Ultra version such as A frames at the ends instead of single poles. I probably ought to approach them, but I think whatever they do the Scarp is likely to be a better tent.
Another reason for thinking about this is a small modification my mother has made to a Macpac Matrix jacket that I’ve owned for about five years. The Matrix is a really good jacket marred by one design flaw. It is like a lightweight Paramo in that it has a water resistant shell of Epic (a nylon material coated in silicone, making it highly water resistant), a thin fleece lining, an unlined fold away hood and weighs about 380g.
This should be an ideal soft shell jacket, but it has underarm mesh vents, making it cold in windy conditions. It would have been better to have pit zips. I had the idea the other day to cover the mesh on the inside with some pertex type material, making the jacket more wind resistant but maintaining ventilation. My mother has duly delivered the modified jacket and I’ll report on it at a later date.
Macpac stopped producing the Matrix about four years ago without developing it. If they had put in pit zips and two large chest pockets, they would have had a real winner, in my view. It will be interesting to see whether my mod works. If it does the Matrix may replace Paramo in certain conditions.
That’s just one example but there are many other occasions where a good product has not been developed into an outstanding product. Clothing and boot manufacturers are particularly guilty of this. Why did Aku drop the Icaros and NS 564s. With a bit of tweaking, both could have been outstanding.
That’s enough ranting. If any manufacturers are out there reading this, please try to develop products to make them better rather than feel that products need to be completely new.