When an expensive piece of equipment breaks during an expedition, you fix it, swallow your losses and then get home. Once home, it sucks having to buy a new piece of gear, especially if you loved the broken one, and it was expensive. Luckily, most outdoor equipment offers some type of warranty and many brands offer lifetime warranties. Before you buy a new piece of gear to replace your old make sure you try and take advantage of the warranty.
Recently, I had a small problem. The feathering sticker on my Werner Cyprus’s adjustable ferrule came off. The first solution that popped into my head was to paint dots corresponding to 0 and 60 degrees onto the shaft. Then I decided to drop Werner’s repair and warranty department a quick email to see how much a new sticker would cost. A few days later, new stickers showed up in the mail for free. Thanks, Tammy.
In the past, I’ve used other warranties. A couple of years ago, I had problems with both of my Marmot Dri-clime Windshirts (the best coat on the planet–you should buy one now). The zipper was failing on the oldest and the stitching on the shoulder of the other was coming out. I liked the cut and fit of the older version better than the new ones, so I knew I wanted it back. I sent both in with a note asking to repair the old one and repair or replace the new one. I gave them color choices for the new one. A few weeks later, my coats showed up. Marmot gave the old one a new zipper and sent me a new replacement for my other. Thanks, Marmot.
When I hiked the Appalachian Trail, several pieces of my gear failed during the 6-month trip. TNF sent me a new Cat’s Meow sleeping bag, Raichle boots replaced my delaminating soles with a new pair of boots, and Gregory replaced a defective backpack. Recently, Big Agnes replaced a rainfly on my Seedhouse SL2–not because it was broken but because the newer version was better. And when I needed a new spring clip for my Aquabound paddle, they sent three for free.
When you’re buying high-end gear, you’re not only paying for quality gear, you’re paying for a companies guarantee and warranty to back that gear up. If something goes wrong, take advantage of the warranty you paid for. It’s as simple as going to their website and finding a phone number.