How to Take Advantage of Gear Warranties

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.

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  • I gotta give kudos to Marmot, too. The shock cord in my tent poles was all stretched out and the poles wouldn’t retract anymore. I sent a note with the poles to Marmot and my CC info to pay for the repair. They sent a brand new set of poles for an 8 year old tent they don’t even make anymore, free of charge, even shipping.

    Also, Granite Gear repaired a ripped seam on my backpack for free and sold me a slightly used (looked brand new) replacement hipbelt for only $10. I think they retail for at least $30 or $40. It definitely pays to ask.

  • I like the stickers, but, as you’ve experienced, mine kept coming off as well. The first couple of times I did get a replacement ‘sticker’, since then I’ve been doing what you suggested, putting 3 dots on each half: -60,0,60. I use a ‘paint marker’, and it stays on quite a while, but eventually wears off as well (then I put it on again). (I use -60 so I have a ‘redundant’ reference in case others wear off before re-application, also, for the heck of it, I like to practice ‘left-handed’ feathered paddling)

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