/ Go Outdoors - opinions?
That rather depends on who you get, doesn't it ?
Depends if you get a knowledgeable member of staff or not and how enthusiastic they are about climbing. As for the shop in Blackburn, the kit is good but limited in brands as would be expected in a store trying to tick all the boxes of products under one roof.
You can find bargains but a little personal knowledge will go a long way before you walk through the doors and flash the cash.
Thanks for the replies - generally confirmed my impressions - I was rather surprised that somewhere that sells technical packs like the Lowe Alpine Peak/Alpine Attack and Osprey Mutant had no weights available to insert in the pack....
> That rather depends on who you get, doesn't it ?
In a nice way, not for all shops it doesn't, hence his question I think.
> Thanks for the replies - generally confirmed my impressions - I was rather surprised that somewhere that sells technical packs like the Lowe Alpine Peak/Alpine Attack and Osprey Mutant had no weights available to insert in the pack....
That surprises me. All the GoOutdoors stores that I have been to have had weights. And if there aren't weights in the shop, I always use ropes. It's not usually too hard to improvise.
I like Go outdoors for what it is - somewhere that sells clothing and camping gear for general use and family holidays at very good prices. It is not a high-end, specialist store although does stock some higher end products at times.
Generally they wont have a clue in go-outdoors, if you need advice read reviews online and visit a shop such as The Outdoor Shop (Stony Stratford) or similar, where the staff will be knowledgeable....
I really hate spending money in go-outdoors; their staff are (though normally friendly) pretty useless when it comes to advice, their stock is unpredictable and often only in odd sizes and I'd really much rather give my money to a small store with a good range of stock (variety of brands and sizes) and that'll give me good advice.
Unfortunately however the price match offer is annoyingly good, especially on higher value items, and with this I've spent (and saved) a lot of money with them....
Competitively priced, good selection, good offers, good for families, very good parking, found in decent out of town locations to good for traffic, ranges from 'basic starter' to many of the brands you might find in specialist stores, great clothing range.
You wouldnt go to a B&Q and expect to see a qualified plumber or brickie on every isle any more than you would expect to see a qualified chef next to the chickens in Asda. Why would you therefore expect to see a qualified climber or moutaineer in GO. At worst they are there to direct you to the appropriate isle. At best their profession will also mirror their hobby.
The staff are trained to a certain level on loads of products, often as a first or second job. Lower you expectations folks - you get what you pay for.
If you want specialist knowledge then go to a local specialist retailer or Cotswolds at a push - Nottingham is pretty good. Thing is, you will complain when you have to pay that slight premium.
Never had any problems myself. Been to leeds wakefield and york stores and all seemed knowlegable and overall very helpful. I think its a place where people who have an interest in the outdoors go work there and are reasonably knowledgable!
Whats the general opinion of Snow and Rocks staff when it comes to climbing gear/mountaineering knowledge?
I haven't experienced GO yet - although as they appear to be "opening soon" just opposite the office, I'm sure I soon will.
But it doesn't sound that different to any of the chains. I wouldn't rely on getting decent advice in Cotswold, Snow and Rock, or anywhere similar, although many staff will have a fair experience behind them. If I actually want advice on climbing gear, I'll head straight to Needlesports (or similar, when I've lived in other parts of the country), where I know the staff will be talking from experience and not regurgitating what the last rep they spoke to had to say. Can't beat a decent bit of banter whilst you browse ;-)
And yes, I'll generally try and buy from the specialist shops to support them.
Go Outdoors is an outdoor supermarket that stacks it high and sells it cheap. If you don't know what you are after, go somewhere else.
think you hit the nail on the head Carolyn, you try and support your local retailer.
Some peoples usual retailer is one of the major larger stores be it Cotswold, Snow and Rock or ellis brighams. They all have good, experienced members of staff who will go the extra mile to impart their collected knowledge or experience but those members of staff are becoming few and far between as the companies who employ them, who used to spend a great deal of time and effort on staff training and trips cut back on spending. Its a shame as the experienced staff who work in those stores are generally underpaid and undervalued by their employer....hence your just gonna get a load of inexperienced or unsympathetic employees imparting mediocre service and advice.
I've been less than impressed generally, but when I was looking for a lightweight sleeping bag for the OMM I went in to look at some Tundra sleeping bags. And there, sitting amongst all the heavy solid stuff was a superlight, floaty Marmot bag going for a song.
Since then, I won't hear a bad word said about the place :o)
I've had good and bad advice in supposedly specialist shops just as I've had good and bad advice in GO outdoors. To be fair its unlikely anyone in any shop will have first hand experience of all the products they sell and be able to make objective recommendations.
GO outdoors are my local retailer. Noone else is interested in selling climbing and outdoor gear in Harlow where I work (OK the climbing wall do have a very small selection of DMM gear)
You know you are getting good advice when they'll advise you that they haven't got anthing suitable.
When I went to go's bedford store the staff were really helpful and they got the climbing guy out of the back to help me and then the caravan guy after that! so considering it's supermarket for outdoors stuff I thought the staff were good. Although I also knew what I was going for.
> You know you are getting good advice when they'll advise you that they haven't got anthing suitable.
I dunno about advice, but when I went looking for a primaloft jacket for Mrs Ridges birthday at a certain specialist shop I had to put up with a running commentary of what he'd worn on what route, how shit jacket x was compared to jacket y with it's cool technical features and a lot more in what he preferred as a belay jacket. The look of revulsion, and disgust when I told him it was just to keep Mrs Ridge warm while she ate her butties on Catbells was priceless though.
I overheard a walking related conversation in which they said "Solomons were good but they are selling their patent so if you wait there will be cheaper, just as good alternatives"
Overall my experience has been positive and knowledgeable.
A few other companies use their sole unit (contragrip) but the companies that do (including Meindl) aren't exactly 'cheap'..
Their price match is pretty decent, half my time in that shop is on googles shopping comparison on the mobile.
The intelligence is less to be desired.
when I asked if they had a grigri2 he just shrugged his shoulders, then i had to ask him if he would look in the back, or if i could reserve it.
Then trying on shoes they brang out like 5 pairs that were in the wrong boxes(sizes)
Different days, different staff. same training i'm guessing.
The climbing sale they had a year or so ago was brilliant as well. Ice Screws and Cams and all sorts at half price.
Rant over. :)
The S+R I worked in (in Sheffield) seemed to focus very much on the skiing side of the business. There were experienced climbers in the shop but the extensive training was almost entirely skiing related or generic (i.e: gps watches or clothing). That said, it is (was) at the ski village! I suspect climbers and mountaineers aren't S+R's biggest customers though..would be interesting to know if other S+R shops were more climbing/mountaineering orientated in their training or staff...
So at the store i work at, there is just me that climbs, and i don't do it very often anymore, nor at a high level!
As mentioned, the specialist sections, i.e climbing and mountaineering, makes very little, this includes mountain jackets, the mountaineering style tents, the mountaineering stoves the packs and climbing kit. Which may be why there moving away from it now, as they can push their own branded stuff
out and lower end branded stuff including berghaus and northface at a higher mark up and more of it?
Not all the staff are necessarily into the outdoors, but a lot are, normally on a low level, but as mentioned what do you expect?
In reply to Helnorris:
That's a very daft rant! The person on the door isn't there to bring in business, they are they to make a presence for thieves! The ques that form are not because there putting staff in the wrong place, but because not all staff are trained on a till. And taking staff of the shop floor, would reduce the customer service everyone has mentioned, the ques can be avoided but realistically on a busy day, when there are offers etc, there will be ques.
I find that the so called specialist shops just try to sell you the most expensive items if you ask for advice. Also find that the staff sometimes have a bad attitude if they think you are a bit of a punter.
If i want advise on gear i will ask people that are not selling it.
Great place. Got the entire family sorted with camping gear in one visit. Friendly and smiley. Cheap as chips.
which suggests they must be doing something right
Yes staff can be useless-i have gone on holiday with a friend who is a staff member of Go Outdoors who couldn't put up a tent but she tells me she works in the clothing department not tents!
Sales staff can feed you a load of bull to make a sale no matter where you go. I live near Go Outdoors and Tiso and I rarely shop in Tiso. Go Outdoors has cheaper prices for the same stuff as Tiso sell and they have a far better selection of climbing guide books.
I get that warm, but empty, inner glow of self satisfaction.
Mammut Galaxy ropes, price matched ?
That's very true, they're rarely the cheapest place to buy things, however that means you can nearly always find somewhere cheaper to price match. I've had some awesome deals there; rab alpine 600 sleeping bag; £220 (rrp £345) and mammut galaxy rope; £90 (rrp £130) for example.
The only place that normally come close, or cheaper, is the outdoor shop with their awesome BMC discount (Which GO won't price match)....
Scarpa Mantas £50
Grivel Matrix Lights £60 each
Edelrid Perfect 60m single, £50
Climb X Pilot harness bundle (harness, chalk bag, belay device and HMS) £30
Never paid more than £40 for climbing shoes there and have had some pairs at £25
None of the above were even on their infamous "all climbing stuff at 50%" day (I just bought a couple of guidebooks and belay that day)
I have the advantage that there is one close to where I live so it is easy to pop in and see if they have any random clearance stuff.
Until two years ago my local branch had quite a few knowledgeable staff, sadly now I am not sure that any of them know anything more than the sales training script.
I think there was a bit of sarcasm there but still, a very peculiar way to get your kicks.
> Yes staff can be useless-i have gone on holiday with a friend who is a staff member of Go Outdoors who couldn't put up a tent but she tells me she works in the clothing department not tents!
What an odd thing to say. I bet she knows a fair bit about the clothing though.
> I think there was a bit of sarcasm there but still, a very peculiar way to get your kicks.
I think he was taking the mickey out of the thread.
I find Go Outdoors to be quite cheap with frequent sales. IT is an 'all round' shop so advice can be a mixed bag but it's always been friendly in the Stockport one I go to.
No issues with it for what it is. If I wanted real advice for a specific item I'd probably go to a shop dealing in that area of expertise. But really, most of us have a good look at reviews of things before we buy so have a half decent idea of what we're after.
I'd say Go Outdoors are one of the better chains.
It's possible I've been around long enough that my intolerance of sales bullish*t is well known ;-)
Though actually, I suspect it's more about knowing a fair chunk of the staff and choosing who I ask. Which is a nice position to be in.
A standard information-gathering technique: ask a question you know the answer to, and see if the person you're questioning knows the answer. In this way, you can make a judgement as to whether they have any idea what they're talking about or not, and therefore whether or not to ask them for advice.
>....to make yourself sound better in your own eyes?
How does that work, exactly ?
I think other S+R shops are a little more focused on climbing or mountaineering based than the sheffield ski store, but the majority of their business was ski equipment. it always depends on the staff i the shop though where ever you go. if their interested in the subject they will learn more about it than if their not.
I dont know. Im only saying :)
> Competitively priced, good selection, good offers, good for families, very good parking, found in decent out of town locations to good for traffic, ranges from 'basic starter' to many of the brands you might find in specialist stores, great clothing range.
> You wouldnt go to a B&Q and expect to see a qualified plumber or brickie on every isle any more than you would expect to see a qualified chef next to the chickens in Asda. Why would you therefore expect to see a qualified climber or moutaineer in GO. At worst they are there to direct you to the appropriate isle. At best their profession will also mirror their hobby.
> The staff are trained to a certain level on loads of products, often as a first or second job. Lower you expectations folks - you get what you pay for.
> If you want specialist knowledge then go to a local specialist retailer or Cotswolds at a push - Nottingham is pretty good. Thing is, you will complain when you have to pay that slight premium.
As for specialist advice, I have to agree with many of the post on here, if your lucky to have a local shop such as Urban Rock go there or time spent on the numerous online review sites is well worth while I wouldn't bank on Go outdoors for in depth knowledge, but I wouldn't expect it. Look online before you go and reserve and collect and you won't be disappointed.
Hope that helps :-)
I got my BD primrose harness there for £15! While looking for it though, I asked a guy working there if they had it in my size through the back, as the ones on the rack were all too big. He said he didn't but the mens BD ones were just the same but in a different colour!! Yeah, it's not a place for advice, but I'm happy to research what I'm looking for in advance then get their prices. It's them or Tiso for me, and having worked in Tiso I know that most of the staff were not outdoors people either, just better versed in the sales patter. So GO wins for me!
go to a specialist retailer and get all the info you need about a product + read reviews online ..... then you go to "GO" folks - i went into nevis sport and tried on my Evolv Pontas £90 odd(when i had then) and sapped all the info from that little shop assistant then read about them online and found a funny little website that had them on sale for £60 (limited sizes) then went to "GO" that night tried them on again in range of sizes and picked the best fitting pair and walked away with them for £56 :D
thats how you do it in "GO" folks!
If I choose not to use small indepdendent specialists because they are more expensive, I don't use their service at all. It's a bit unfair in my opinion.
If I go to a place and get advice I consider that a service which the owner and staff have provided and believe in paying for services I use.
Ditto, I agree, it's not fair to use one shop's knowledge and not spend your money there.
Totally agree. What happens when everyone does that and the specialist shops close?
That is exactly why its not worth spending money on training staff - because people aren't willing to pay (through small mark ups) for the service. Either buy from the specialist because you value their input OR go to a budget place and use your own judgement.
I'm with Soren.
It is a general store, aimed ordinary families. They sell into the same market as Decathlon, supplying good kit at a sensible price, with the usual "bargains" to tempt you in...
I pop in form time to time and pick up the odd bargain fleece or whatever. They kitted out my bro and his brood with a decent tent, bags and stove - adequate for what he wants. If he then elects to head for the Trango Tower then I would point him in the direction of Outside for his bivvy ledge.
I wouldn't expect the bloke in Halfords to be able to strip the transfer box on my Landy, but I go in nonetheless for the bits and bobs that I need.
And their Pro tools are blooming good :D
> go to a specialist retailer and get all the info you need about a product + read reviews online ..... then you go to "GO" folks - i went into nevis sport and tried on my Evolv Pontas £90 odd(when i had then) and sapped all the info from that little shop assistant<
So you think its fine to go and waste the time of trained knowledgable staff in a specialist shop and then go and use that knowledge to buy stuff as cheap as you can? Its really no wonder that the specialists are a dwindling breed. Where you going to get your info when their all gone?
Their offers can be very good.....a while back they had 50% off their entire climbing range so I got two double ropes, 5 camalots and some other bits & bobs for around £250
That said I wouldn't go there for advice but that's not really what they're about.
i have a "friend" who does that - goes to the LBS, gets them to give them lots of free advice then orders it from the interweb.
A real wakners trick.
> i have a "friend" who does that - goes to the LBS, gets them to give them lots of free advice then orders it from the interweb.
> A real wakners trick.
Think of the extra cost as a 'consulting fee', because that's what it is..
Also: you get to take your new stuff away with you there & then instead of fannying about going somewhere else & waiting in a queue.
And, for climbing shoes...they vary in fit, even between same sizes, same brand, so when you get ones that fit, keep 'em!
Now whilst I totally agree with that in principle, it also explains why I have over the years made some rather expensive mistakes due to holiday purchases from specialised gear shops (see other thread about useless gear).
For some reason, it tends to be the same well known gear shop in the N Lakes that I find myself in on a wet day (rare occurrence in the Lakes I know) and after much debate and lots of help from the shop staff I feel guilty if I don't buy the object in question. Not pressured sales, just guilt on my part. I have learnt from my mistakes however and now try staying out of the aforementioned shop unless I'm pretty sure beforehand. In which case why not buy it on line you might ask). Catch 22.
Agree in full. There was quite a nice little climbing shop here in Leeds, Mountain Intelligence, a bit more expensive than the big chains but the staff knew their stuff and gave good advice.
Sadly it couldn't compete and shut.
My dog had a pi$$ inside the shop once. She was only a puppy. Made me chuckle given the name of the store.
If I'm looking for advice and some customer service in the future then its the more specialist gear shop for me. For example I have bought 4 vaude mk2's over the last few years in the same shop when I probably could have found a cheaper online price. The young trainee kit testers who use the tents(if it can be broken we will learn how to break it), have broken 3 sets of poles so far. That same specialist gear shop has helped and fixed them very cheaply each time. I will be buying another one from them shortly. Horses for courses!
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