/ Outdoor companies and the military

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SteveoS - on 14 Sep 2013
Having bagged a free ticket to this years DSEI and as a cheap day in London, I went along. Now of course there where guns and missiles everywhere but I never expected to see Patagonia and Arcteryx tags on camouflaged clothing.

I understand there is a market for quality gear for soldiers across the world but from a company as peace loving and environmentally sound as Patagonia? Arcteryx to be fair to them have their camo gear easily accessible online but Patagonia only have this: https://www.patagonia.com/us/patagonia.go?assetid=52569

I know a few of you have heated opinions on armed forces (from reading Syria threads etc.) so what do you think of companies providing for armed forces? Would you boycot them? Question their ethics? Bear in mind DMM have a tactical version of their gear who also had a cool stand this year.

I also found MMI Outdoors who make a brilliant 1 man side entry tent that's 'squaddie resistant' tough.
Graeme Alderson on 14 Sep 2013
In reply to SteveoS: The forces also uses computers, Landrovers, wear socks and eat food. Should we also boycott these suppliers?
Firestarter on 14 Sep 2013
I think this raises a bigger question - does this mean that to get 'quality gear' the members of our Armed Forces have to buy their own clothing/equipment? Is what the military provides not good enough? And as for companies and their ethics they are in the business for profit, surely? I read with interest last week that Hugo Boss used to make uniforms for the German Army in WWII - are you suggesting that any company with links to the military should be subjected to the same? (Volkswagen, Mercedes, Landrover, and so on).
ice.solo - on 14 Sep 2013
In reply to SteveoS:

its hard finding companies that dont have military lines.

some dont actually supply direct, they produce compliant stuff that military can use. others have contracts to specific units. works great for the company, avoiding retail. in fact lots of the fabrics we see come from military development projects.

one of the more well known companies is directly owned by a major military manufacturer, and for decades climbers have assisted with design projects.
many of us mught be surprised to find out just who is involved and how.
SteveoS - on 14 Sep 2013
I'm glad you are all so positive.

I'm sure cost has something to do with primaloft not being standard issue.
GridNorth - on 14 Sep 2013
In reply to SteveoS: Ironic isn't it? Back in the 60's most of my gear was ex WD. That was all you could get but I have no idea who manufactured it. I remember a lightweight "combat jacket" that was as affective as any modern soft shell and a tenth of the cost.
SteveoS - on 14 Sep 2013
Should have really said that I'm fully supportive of the armed forces getting the best kit available.
Keeping cool in the army isn't that hard those horrible scratchy green fleeces however..
OwenM - on 14 Sep 2013
In reply to Firestarter:
> I think this raises a bigger question - does this mean that to get 'quality gear' the members of our Armed Forces have to buy their own clothing/equipment? Is what the military provides not good enough?


The beloved bean counters at the MOD have never provided quality kit, red dye was the cheapest hence red coats. When I joined up in 1978 I was issued a poncho this was meant to be both a bivi and a set of waterproofs.
Jonny2vests - on 14 Sep 2013
In reply to Graeme Alderson:
> (In reply to SteveoS) The forces also uses computers, Landrovers, wear socks and eat food. Should we also boycott these suppliers?

Excellent point!
Jonny2vests - on 14 Sep 2013
In reply to OwenM:
> (In reply to Firestarter)
> [...]
>
>
> The beloved bean counters at the MOD have never provided quality kit, red dye was the cheapest hence red coats. When I joined up in 1978 I was issued a poncho this was meant to be both a bivi and a set of waterproofs.

To be fair, the kit has moved on somewhat.
Ben Watts - on 14 Sep 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:

Just a point on kit, I'm currently a serving soldier (Sapper) and I'm about to come to the end of nearly 7 months in Afghanistan in a little over a weeks time and I can honestly say some of the kit we now receive is honestly the best in the world.

I'm been privileged enough to work with Americans, Danish and Estonian forces out here and for the most many have longed after our kit as the quality and certainly blast protection: body armour, helmets etc are simply the best.

From a boot perspective out here in desert boots - Meindl and Lowa are what the army uses and both are a quality boot. I've worn my meindl boots everyday for the whole time out here, yes the sole is starting to degrade and a few stitches are showing but not bad for nearly 7 months of wear at plus 15 hours a day. I'm looking for some new 3 season walking boots when i return and i'll certaintly be looking at Meindl more closely now.

From a clothing point of view, although the issued softie (synthetic jacket) is good, many a squadie (myself included) opt to buy our own. Me, a Buffalo which I also use in the hill and Rab down jackets are also popular .

Just my view anyway.
James91 - on 14 Sep 2013
In reply to Ben Watts:

the new waterproofs are nice.
1906johns - on 14 Sep 2013
In reply to SteveoS: i served for 6 years in the Army and you're quite right in saying that there is a market for good quality kit, any fool can be cold and uncomfortable. I fully agree with Ben's comments that we have some excellent kit and we also have less brilliant kit.
I hardly think that boycotting a company making soldiers lives more bearable is a sensible idea, especially when you consider the difficulty of the job we actually do.
If military personnel said we'll boycott Patagonia and Arcteryx because they supply good quality kit to a certain type of person i imagine the public would consider it ridiculous...
GrendeI on 14 Sep 2013
In reply to SteveoS: Arc'teryx LEAF and Patagonia MARS gear has been around for ages! Some 6 or so years now. Its nothing new. Don't forget ME used to make sleeping bags for the Marines. Snugpak, Berghaus and Karrimore are renowned for their military lines. Plus you've already mentioned the DMM gear.

Uniforms were always designed to be trashed but when a Patagonia or Arc'teryx gore tex jacket rolls in at around 600 or so, it does not make it justifiable imo and I doubt they will ever be on general issue (although I see plenty of Norwegian Squaddies wearing the stuff).

What concerns me is the move towards more synthetic materials. What do you think this chap would have looked like if he had been toting the latest in the LEAF or MARS line...

http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/49877000/jpg/_49877092_hospital_101110_for_tankonlinestill.jpg
jimtitt - on 14 Sep 2013
In reply to SteveoS:
Boycott ALL companies who supply ANY armed forces and your going to be hungry, cold, walk everywhere, probably naked in bare feet and die early from some vile disease which can easily be treated by an off-the-shelf drug.
Patagonia market thier psuedo military gear to right-wing nutters through Elite Defense;- "Official Sponsor of the Good Guys", need one say more?
Jonny2vests - on 14 Sep 2013
In reply to Ben Watts:

Yeah, I think a series of embarrassing kit related news items really gave them a kick. I was a serving Sapper for 15 years by the way, REspect.
mgco3 - on 15 Sep 2013
In reply to SteveoS: As a battle hardened ex member of her majesty's army I think that the more kit manufacturers can sell then the better the quality and price is likely to be.

As none of the gear I buy is made by any manufacturer also making weapons of mass destruction ( that I know of) I am ok withit .

Ps I every so slightly exaggerated the service record . I actually did 3 days at Harrogate army camp before I decided it wasn't for me . Still I did my bit for queen and country
sbc_10 - on 15 Sep 2013
In reply to SteveoS:

This company looks to be upfront about it all,

http://www.wildthingsgear.com/

Don't know how good it is, don't see much of it around, probably due to stealth properties(!)...anybody used the non-tactical stuff and recommend it?
Ridge - on 15 Sep 2013
In reply to mgco3:

> As none of the gear I buy is made by any manufacturer also making weapons of mass destruction ( that I know of) I am ok withit .

Good job too. You'd have waterproofs made in Barrow that cost 14,000 and csme fitted for, but not with, zips and arms.
birdman - on 15 Sep 2013
In reply to SteveoS:

Bumped into some of the Sf (special forces) lads in Cyprus whilst they were getting photos with the red arrows, they were all decked out in very swish arcteryx kit all issued and quite right too! Best kit around functionality, design and build.

gethin_allen on 15 Sep 2013
In reply to SteveoS:
I have a friend who trades in ex military kit from all over the shop. Some used some not. It's quite surprising to seethe labels on this kit; meindl, Oakley, camelback, dmm etc. All good stuff. The one thing that amazes me is that the squaddies are selling all this gear, I'm amazed they are allowed to do so. Do they then go and buy other stuff or are they getting surplus?
a crap climber - on 15 Sep 2013
In reply to gethin_allen:

Some of gear you get issued you're supposed to keep as when you leave you'll be asked to give it back, however a lot of it is basically written off once you receive it, particularly the kit you get for ops. I've sold off the off bit, but after two tours I have three big holdalls full of crap that I really don't need. I don't think you're supposed to sell it, but the alternative is to hand it back to the storeman, who'll probably turn you away if its ops issue kit and he can't be bothered selling it himself, or will just dispose of it
In reply to gethin_allen:
> It's quite surprising to seethe labels on this kit; meindl, Oakley, camelback, dmm etc. All good stuff.

I was quite amused earlier this summer to see in some pictures of the al Shabab militia where one of their guys seems to have a camelbak http://thewasat.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/n-pictures-somalias-harakat-al-shabab-al-mujahideen-part-6-... (check the guy with machete). But then again he could be from Stockholm or Minneapolis so why not?
LastBoyScout on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to SteveoS:

Bearing in mind that squaddies can buy pretty much anything themselves and then take it "to work", are you saying that decent outdoors gear from such companies should have a tag saying "not for use in war"?

I used to work for an outdoors supplier that offers 15% discount to military personnel on everything - perhaps they should scrap that too?
mgco3 - on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to Ridge:

Just a minute, the map pocket in me Berghaus jacket is just the right size for a General Service Gas Mask CBRN Respirator.

Coincidence??

(Before anyone starts quoting sizes etc, I am takin the piz)
Alex Slipchuk on 17 Sep 2013
In reply to mgco3:
> (In reply to SteveoS) As a battle hardened ex member of her majesty's army I think that the more kit manufacturers can sell then the better the quality and price is likely to be.
>
> As none of the gear I buy is made by any manufacturer also making weapons of mass destruction ( that I know of) I am ok withit .
>
> Ps I every so slightly exaggerated the service record . I actually did 3 days at Harrogate army camp before I decided it wasn't for me . Still I did my bit for queen and country

Hahaha,




You seem to forget you worked for a country that wishes to maintain its monopoly on WMD,
Timmd on 17 Sep 2013
In reply to 1906johns:
> (In reply to SteveoS) i served for 6 years in the Army and you're quite right in saying that there is a market for good quality kit, any fool can be cold and uncomfortable. I fully agree with Ben's comments that we have some excellent kit and we also have less brilliant kit.
> I hardly think that boycotting a company making soldiers lives more bearable is a sensible idea, especially when you consider the difficulty of the job we actually do.
> If military personnel said we'll boycott Patagonia and Arcteryx because they supply good quality kit to a certain type of person i imagine the public would consider it ridiculous...

I think some people are just pacifists and don't support armies of any kind in principle. Whether this is sound logic could be argued over indefinitely, but that's why some would boycott outdoor companies who make army gear I think.

Richard Wilson - on 17 Sep 2013
Who do the military buy their fuels from?

Timmd on 17 Sep 2013
In reply to Richard Wilson:

My dad brought up the oil thing when a sis in law gave him grief over buying Nestle KitKats, with sis in law driving a car.

One could argue every little helps?
another_alex - on 17 Sep 2013
In reply to SteveoS:

:( that annoys me as I was buying DMM stuff on the grounds that if it's made in Wales it's not being made in sweatshops. It's difficult to know which ethical thing to prioritise, but I think the sweatshops thing trumps the making stuff that could be used for war thing for me at the moment.

Though if somebody wants to start making fairtrade non-conflict-supporting climbing gear I'll be very happy.
( in my imaginary dream world it'll also be super-cheap and shiny :P )
andrewmcleod - on 18 Sep 2013
In reply to another_alex:

Sweatshops are complicated :(

It would obviously be best to always get Fairtrade, and for suppliers to pay a reasonable living wage to all their workers.

However...

When companies like Disney stopped using sweatshops, the quality of life for their workers went down. People in these very poor countries flock from rural areas where the only option is very poor agricultural work to urban areas because there is more work, such as that in the sweatshops. When the sweatshops are closed, they don't even have that.

Fairtrade is (part of) the answer.
wme - on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to SteveoS:
>
> I know a few of you have heated opinions on armed forces (from reading Syria threads etc.) so what do you think of companies providing for armed forces? Would you boycot them? Question their ethics?

Are you seriously suggesting that there are people out there small-minded enough to deny the armed forces the best kit available because of what some politicians have decided? FFS that's weak - talk about being wrapped in cotton wool away from the harsh realities of life!
Milesy - on 19 Sep 2013
Don't forgot the good old internet that we are all using all came out of a US military project. ARPANET - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARPANET

wme - on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to Milesy:

I think there are people in society today who, if they banned everything they disagreed with, would drive us back to the dark ages - just out of principle, and a complete unwillingness (or intelligence) to understand their actions!
nniff - on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to SteveoS:

Don't forget that your GPS is military; you could throw that away and rely on your map, which in the UK will probably be an Ordnance Survey
map (the clue's in the name). Still if it's going to be a sunny day, maybe you could do without a map, so best check the weather forecast provided for you by the Met Office, which is a department of the MOD.

Still, you could go sailing if you don't use a Hydrographic Office chart, or go cycling as long as you don't use Strava. Best fly off to somewhere else - just make sure that none of your flight is controlled by an RAF air traffic controller.



wme - on 20 Sep 2013
In reply to nniff:

Nice! :)
James Jackson on 20 Sep 2013
In reply to nniff:

... and all the imports you enjoy (and yes, we are a net import nation), most of which come by sea, which is defended by the naval fleet.

Of course, I expect most of this 'armed forces' stuff is aimed at the Army, as all we do is kill babies and things like that. As George Orwell (who, somewhat ironically, people also use as an anti-state icon, and I bet there is a correlation between those and the 'anti-military' brigade) said:

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf".
nufkin - on 20 Sep 2013
In reply to nniff:

Or find yourself needing rescuing by one of those nice yellow RAF helicopters






(Though maybe the government's already taking care of that one)
nufkin - on 20 Sep 2013
In reply to James Jackson:

> "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf".

On the other hand, do the rough men (and women) appreciate the efforts of those who try to prevent their having to do violence in the first place?
Paul F - on 20 Sep 2013
In reply to SteveoS:

I do like to look Tactical at the crag.

(but you will never know i'm there)
James Jackson on 20 Sep 2013
In reply to nufkin:

If you mean due political process, then yes, certainly.

(P.S. I don't consider myself rough, but happy to do what needs to be done, should it need to be done as part of the above).
James Jackson on 20 Sep 2013
In reply to Paul F:
> (In reply to SteveoS)
>
> I do like to look Tactical at the crag.
>
> (but you will never know i'm there)

You ain't seen me. Roight!
MG - on 20 Sep 2013
Johnny_Grunwald on 20 Sep 2013
In reply to SteveoS:

To maintain a complete list of companies to boycott you would also have to add all those who give forces discount. In effect this would preclude you from going to most theatres, gigs, watching live football, shopping at just about EVERY outdoor shop in the UK, fuelling at any MOTO service station etc etc etc.......the list is long and distinguished :)
James Jackson on 20 Sep 2013
In reply to MG:

Quote, or misquote, the point still stands.
dissonance - on 20 Sep 2013
In reply to nniff:

> Don't forget that your GPS is military;

ok.

> you could throw that away and rely on your map, which in the UK will probably be an Ordnance Survey map (the clue's in the name).

ermm is it? Its a legacy from the past and doesnt reflect their current position and hasnt since the 1870s.

> Still if it's going to be a sunny day, maybe you could do without a map, so best check the weather forecast provided for you by the Met Office, which is a department of the MOD.

Nope it aint, although admittedly this was a lot more recent.

> Still, you could go sailing if you don't use a Hydrographic Office chart

ok this one still is.

andy.smythe - on 20 Sep 2013
In reply to OwenM:
> (In reply to Firestarter)
> [...]
>
>
> The beloved bean counters at the MOD have never provided quality kit, red dye was the cheapest hence red coats. When I joined up in 1978 I was issued a poncho this was meant to be both a bivi and a set of waterproofs.

If it wasn't good the wouldn't issue it to you. At least thats what I always got told
wme - on 21 Sep 2013
In reply to andy.smythe:

Yeah, and they never lie to you at the Careers Office either!
Firestarter on 21 Sep 2013
In reply to andy.smythe:
> (In reply to OwenM)
> [...]
>
> If it wasn't good the wouldn't issue it to you. At least thats what I always got told

I did 25 years in the mob - dms boots that gave you shin splints, camp beds so low to the ground you may as well just sleep on the floor, webbing that rubbed you raw....then we hit the 21st century (and I must admit the kit did get a whole lot better - probably because of a couple of ding dongs). But if its not good they won't issue it? I beg to differ.
Firestarter on 21 Sep 2013
In reply to Firestarter: But then life was tough in The Womens Royal Auxiliary Balloon Corps! !
RCC - on 21 Sep 2013
In reply to James Jackson:

> Quote, or misquote, the point still stands.

At a fairly superficial level, but it has nothing to do with the point that Orwell was making at a very specific point in history, against a very specific political ideology.

You cannot move from that position, to the view that a nations military must expect the automatic support of its citizens. That doesn't follow any more than the suggestion that a totalitarian government must expect the support of its citizens because it gives them everything that they have.
muppetfilter - on 21 Sep 2013
In reply to SteveoS: Having been on Holliday in Serre Chevalier this year while the forces took the resort over. I can say the massive amount of taxpayers money squandered on top of the range ski gear was all of the finest quality. I have to say if the Taliban ever decide to invade via giant slalom then our Military Officers will be ready.
CorR - on 21 Sep 2013
In reply to SteveoS:
Killing people is big business.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QL_3Qg-SADY
You can hardly blame a business for going where the profits are,
as far as I know (which is vast) most US SI is shite and a lot of GI's buy there own knives, socks, etc
birdman - on 22 Sep 2013
In reply to dissonance:

RE Met Office,

A lot of the readings for actual weather comes from RAF stations, Army bases and Naval Stations... Plus the individual service Met Officers also contribute to the Met Office predictions etc.
OwenM - on 22 Sep 2013
In reply to andy.smythe:
> (In reply to OwenM)
> [...]
>
> If it wasn't good the wouldn't issue it to you. At least thats what I always got told

Yes, I'm sure that's what they told you.

James Jackson on 22 Sep 2013
In reply to RCC:

My point was implicitly based on the fact that the majority of people who are anti-military don't actually understand the bigger picture of what we do, how we do it, and the kind of people that do it. It's very easy to just see the guns and tanks and think it's all about wanton killing.
JayPee630 - on 22 Sep 2013
In reply to James Jackson:

That's a very broad statement, and an incorrect one I'd say. I know a number of pacifists and anti-militarists and they don't hold a knee jerk reactive anti-gun position, but have very well though out critiques of both the military and the system that needs and uses them. This includes many ex-military folks.
JayPee630 - on 22 Sep 2013
RCC - on 22 Sep 2013
In reply to James Jackson:

> My point was implicitly based on the fact that the majority of people who are anti-military don't actually understand the bigger picture of what we do, how we do it, and the kind of people that do it. It's very easy to just see the guns and tanks and think it's all about wanton killing.

OK, that's fair enough.

nufkin - on 22 Sep 2013
In reply to James Jackson:

> It's very easy to just see the guns and tanks

You have to admit those are the most apealing bits of the adverts
ads.ukclimbing.com
Ridge - on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to nufkin:
> (In reply to James Jackson)
>
> [...]
>
> You have to admit those are the most apealing bits of the adverts

True. The 'join the Army for a career in social work' ads never really reached the target demographic.
James Jackson on 23 Sep 2013
In reply to Ridge:

Well yes, indeed. Being a tank troop leader I can identify with them too. However, it's important to emphasise that lethal force (or, indeed, the threat of it, which can be just as useful) is a last-ditch measure we have.

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