/ Simond W's Alpinism trs & other goodies at Decathlon
The well-regarded Simond Alpinism trousers (see threads passim</>) are reduced from the already bargain rrp to £30. For women only, fortunately, otherwise I'd have bought a 'spare' pair.
They also have a Wed'ze lightweight down hooded jacket, reduced to £45. The flyer claims it's a mix of synthetic & down, but the one I bought says 90/10 down, and feels like it; no sign of synthetic wadding anywhere. Lightweight shell and nice-feeling down, and decent fit for me. Basic hood fits okay.
I also picked up a pair of Quechua 900 warm trousers, reduced to £40.
A bit off topic perhaps, but I know that we've both spent some time working out a solution to what to wear under the Simond stretch woven trousers. I recently got hold of a pair of Buffalo Teclite pants, got them shortened to 3/4 length and turned them inside out. They seem to make a perfect base layer under stretch woven trouser. Did I read on a thread that you made some Thinsulate liners for yours? How did they work out?
Interesting on the Teclite.
> Interesting on the Teclite.
You're welcome to try on my modified pair under your Decathlon trousers.
I made the liners way back in 1997, and used them under some gore-tex sloppets for a few years, then got swayed by various TKMaxx bargains... I dug them out and repaired them, and have used them for the last few outings. I've also used power stretch leggings underneath when it's a bit warmer.
The Forclaz 900 warm trousers are a slimmer fit, so better suited to my winter walking.
What's wrong with some nice wooly longjohns? That's worked fine under mine.
> What's wrong with some nice wooly longjohns? That's worked fine under mine.
I've tried wool long johns, but I found that when it is really windy the wind cut through and left me feeling cold. Wearing an under layer with some Pertex in it seems to stop that, without having too great an effect on the breathability.
I agree (I ordered some posh new shell trousers at the weekend).
I anticipate that the new shell trousers will only get used on about 20% of days, as I generally find them too sweaty for walking or skiing up hill. When I've used soft shell over pertex in the past I've found it to be a great compromise between breathability and windproofing, and suitable for most conditions.
Obviously YMMV due to physiology and location. I reckon that if I was as far north as you I'd probably use hardshells more.
Actually I rarely do! :) Ice climbing here is often in forests so we don't get too much wind, so even when its cold I'm normally OK in longjohns and softshell trs particularly as those Decathlon ones are reasonably heavy weight.
Been wearing the Wed'ze down jacket a bit, and I rather like it. The fill label actually gives the fill weight (down & feather) for each size, and seems centred around 100g total fill for size L. Actually, like most Decathlon products, you get massive label overload, and they need to be cut out. Fortunately, the English care instructions are closest to the seam...
The shell is a lightweight nylon, so the entire jacket (in small) weighs 250g, and it stuffs easily into the left hand pocket (with double-sided zip & hang loop), into a pretty small package. The shell feels very soft and silky, with a fine denier fibre; very much a microfibre nylon, so don't expect great abrasion resistance.
The hood, hem and cuffs are all simple Lycra-bound, with no adjustment, but seem perfectly sized. There's no zip placket, other than a short section of plain fabric at the chin. Zip is single-ended, lightweight coil. Twin zipped hip pockets are behind the down, and are simple fabric, sewn into the hem to make 'internal pockets' between the pocket insert and the shell.
I can see this replaing my Montane Solo as my default skiing overlayer, stuffed into my little MTB pack. That and mooching around town/pub/cold house... Being a lightweight jacket, with smaller baffles, it doesn't have the 'Michelin Man' thing going on, so it just makes you look a bit beefier than you are, which, for a puny weed like me, must be good...
I've got a pair of the Simond Alpinism troosers. They are top notch and an absolute bargain. Does anybody know if Simond or Decathlon do a Winter softshell jaiket version? I know they do a hoodless one but that's no use for me.
I've just checked out Simond's website and it looks like the answer is a 'no' to my q's above. What a shame. The Alpinism troosers are belters and a matching hoody jaiket would sell like hot cakes...
I can feel an email coming on... ; )
> The Alpinism troosers are belters and a matching hoody jaiket would sell like hot cakes...
Couldn't agree more on the troos. Bought a pair on Tues, and used them at Snow Factor last night. The quality and features for the money is incredible.
This is going to sound like a dig, but its not. Genuine interest.
Do folks ever worry about the lack of R+D and the production ethincs of super cheap gear?
At £40 they will be made as a copy of things already on the market without any of their own product development or testing and they will be made as cheaply as possible. Cheap production is pretty hard on the labour-force involved too.
It all feels a bit Primark to me....
I think that Decathlon do a good amount of R&D for their products, they mitigate its cost by the volumes they are able to sell (they are god-like in France). At least I know they used to do before and I guess it goes on now. A friend used to work in their labs in France. Not sure for other equivalent brands (Regatta & Berghaus I would classify as cheapish), but I would guess they follow the same process.
The production ethics are questionable though. Lots of made in Bangladesh labels on my decathlon stuff. But on my ME as well...
quite, spending more far from guarantees that its not made in the same factory (or a similar one) anyway.
Same two quid tshirt I suspect in both cases........
No dig taken!
No, I think it's a good but difficult to answer dichotomy.
In a global economy, looking on the absolute macro scale, we can only achieve equality and parity of wages and conditions by a market 'settling', similar to that we experienced with the Eastern European situation since 1989.
The problem is, unless that happens, and it is VERY unpopular with us more affluent socities as it inevitably means a lowering of our standard of living, there will always be disparity.
It is a difficult scenario to say 'I won't buy cheaper brands' for so many reasons -
1) I can't afford the outrageous prices asked for by some (Arc'teryx jacket in Tisos the other day at £400. I mean, come on! And who makes that btw?)
2) If I don't buy, do they go bust and the guys lose work anyway?
3) If I don't, and buy dearer, can I be sure that will be reflected in their living standards, or in someone else's profitability?
4) Isn't this a local government issue to enforce basic minimums? India spends a fortune on it's nuclear weapons, and yet expects us to be its conscience for its poverty?
I did support one cottage industry when I paid to have Cioch make me some climbing trousers, which were not much more expensive than off-the-peg, and they are excellent. The only problem was the kids have been on bread and dripping ever since......
It really doesn't take vast R&D to design a decent pair of trousers. What it does take is someone with pattern-cutting skill and understanding of the needs of outdoor users, and the ability to find and select suitable fabrics.
Manufacturing ethics? Is Bangladesh worse than China, for instance? Even the lauded Arc'teryx manufacture in China.
Decathlon have a different business model to Arc'teryx; they go for adequate design and build quality, in high volumes, at affordable prices. Arc'teryx go for a smaller, elite market that is prepared to pay for the cachet of the lauded R&D & attention to detail, provided it fits you; it doesn't really fit me very well, because I'm not a wedge-shaped superhero...
BTW, have you seen this thread?
Oh, and as for the 'made as a copy', I'd be interested to see the item that Decathlon have copied for the Alpinism trousers. They've been around for years, with UKC references going back to at least 2007. They may have taken features from here and there, but everyone does that*. I certainly don't think the pattern blocks have been copied, but then it's basically a jean-cut (yoke seat) trouser with some ease, but with nice touches like side vents. It doesn't even have refinements like a gusset crotch that might be better for a pair of climbing trousers, even in a stretch fabric.
* take a look at all the clones of Patagonia's R series fleeces; R1, R2, etc. even down to the panel selections in the pattern blocks.
>Do folks ever worry about the lack of R+D and the production ethincs of super cheap gear?
It's Simond who make the Alpinism trousers for Decathlon. I have no idea what their particular ethics are but there's no doubting the firm's pedigree as a climbing brand.
Most of the sports or electronic gear I buy comes from the Far East. I have no idea what the conditions are for the workers and am unsure how I would be expected to find this out? Can you provide Tiso customers with detailed terms and conditions for the Far Eastern workers who produce the brands you sell?
I would advise you you to have a look at the Decathlon trousers next time you're passing- they really are top quality and well designed. I have to admit I wasn't expecting the earth at that price but they really are incredible value.
No it's not. Simond is just a brand name they bought some time ago. And now they use it for various products. They have been selling similar trousers almost ten years.
I wrote about these trousers here maybe 6-7 years ago but nobody got interested because this stuff was too cheap at that time. Now they have three different trousers, two softshells and one with a membrane. Quechua used to have only two, softshell and hardshell but now it's bit different.
I've been very happy with the Quechua/Simond clothes and I've used their clothes about ten years. 3-5 times cheaper than the brand names and the quality is okay.
It's more like Decathlon market them under the name Simond. Decathlon (or whoever) bought up Simond to give themselves some street cred - Simond is probably the oldest and most respected gear manufacturing business and just happens to be based in the Chamonix valley. Decathlon/Quechua have always had a very agressive marketing attitude and are out to systematically destroy the opposition.
I bought a pair of those trousers about four years ago when they were branded Quechua. They are brilliant and perfect for winter climbing with a pair of thermals.
I have bought absolutely loads of gear from Decathlon over the years for myself and my kids. I shop around for all of my outdoor gear and have found that for clothing, footwear and packs you cant really beat Decathlon for value. Their ranges for other sports are similarly good.
There is no way i would pay full price for any of the more well know brands as outdoor gear is now what skiwear was like in the 1990's. ME. Arcteryx et al seem to change their colour scheme every year and are constantly bringing out new product lines. Who do you think those costs are passed on to? Plus the expense of all those marketing campaigns...
Quechua/Simond have made a really good heavyweight shell jacket for years now in the same design and colour and is priced around £150.
Decathlons stuff is under-marketed if you ask me. You rarely see any of their products discussed anywhere whereas there are countless threads dribbling on about the latest offerings from the bigger names.
£400 for a cagoule....really??
Yes, I too have lots of Quechua gear from clothes to rucsacs to rock shoes to tents. But that doesn't alter the fact that they are intent on putting small shops and I'm sure, if they can, larger manufacturers out of business. And you and I are helping them. Does that make us bad people? I wonder how many of the people who recently laid into Rockfax because they want to bring out a selected North Wales guide in competition with the local North Wales Limestone guide would shop at Quechua Decathlon with a clear conscience.
Cagoule eh? Haven't heard that in a while!
A business trying to make money is automatically attempting to create a monopoly if it prices it's goods competitively? And we should feel a moral responsibility to give somebody a job because they want to make trousers and won't / cant do it cheaply? You guys have some weird f*cking morals.
> Yes, I too have lots of Quechua gear from clothes to rucsacs to rock shoes to tents. But that doesn't alter the fact that they are intent on putting small shops and I'm sure, if they can, larger manufacturers out of business. And you and I are helping them. Does that make us bad people? I wonder how many of the people who recently laid into Rockfax because they want to bring out a selected North Wales guide in competition with the local North Wales Limestone guide would shop at Quechua Decathlon with a clear conscience.
> Cagoule eh? Haven't heard that in a while!
I doubt very much Decathlon have any interest whatsoever whether other businesses survive or fail and much less a secret plot to destroy the entire outdoor equipment industry. In fact most companies require thriving competitiors to increase awareness/build market synergy and allow them to establish their own market niche, without Arcteryx Decathlon wouldn“t be budget any more.
Their business model will be like everyone elses, maximising return from investment.
Maybe not, but actually I know two shop owners in Argentiere and Sisteron who would dispute that with you. How can small shops compete against a big company with such an aggressive pricing policy. It's not like they're ripping folk off and walking away with a huge profit. Corner shop vs Tesco... Interestingly, the guy I referred to in Argentiere, has an Au Vieux Campeur catalogue in his shop that he uses for his own pricing so that he can point out to his customers that going down the valley isn't going to get them a better deal. AVC's prices are low to average (why is it that can I buy Fixe bolt hangers cheaper from AVC than I can buy them direct from Fixe even with a trade deal?) but are still way above Quechua's.
Again maybe not, but I think you know what I meant though.
But cagoule, Jim?
Yeah, I think they bought out the Simond name to give themselves a bit more chche.
The reason I was thinking about it was I've just spent some time with Millet. The level of R+D they do is incredible - all the techy stuff spends ages with the Cham Guides before hitting the shops. The Guides have a real input in modifications and inmprovements.
I'd have to say it shows - the boots and softshell clothing is amongst the best I've ever tried.
I know that we're comparing apples and oranges a bit but the increased price of Millet gear includes (amongst other things) the cost of extensive R+D.
Decathlon will on the other hand buy a heap of well thought out lines, take them to China and say make this but at this price.
I bought one last year but sadly it was in a less fetching grey colour.
Its a synthetic insulated jacket with a nice big hood, pockets where you need them, no faff you dont need, basically a really good belay jacket, have used mine in Scotland a number of times and been very happy with it. For £49.99.
I'm sure Millet stuff is better quality but guess what, I'm not a guide and I'm not about to go to Patagonia or the Himalayas.
If people want to spend a kings ransom on outdoor kit to make them feel good about themselves then good luck to them! I on the other hand prefer to buy kit on the more functional value for money end of the market. Softshell pants for £40! I bought some from Mountain Equipment ages ago for nearly £100 and they were crap.
As far as ethics go - Its a private firm, if it doesn't make money it'll go bust. All of the other big names have outsourced production as well, Rab for instance. Or are you trying to say that Millet stuff is hand stitched by a load of retired guides in a hut out the back of Ensa??
If you can find value-for-money and cheapness in the same package then great ... fill your boots.
The ethical concerns of cheap clothing and equipment are there to be seen. The big label manufacturers either take a strong personal stance on it (Patagonia, Sherpa) or they do it for business reasons (ME ethical down etc).
Personally I am (usually) happy to pay the extra for that.
Please, please, don't give me that corporate social responsibility marketing guff.
These companies are only taking that stance because there is a market for it. Do you seriously think that their shareholders would let them carry on (appearing to) taking that stance if it meant them losing money??? Think about it.
If paying three times as much for a jacket makes you feel like your striking a blow for the downtrodden masses in the developing world then get stuck in. I think you're being mugged off but that's only my opinion.
Cheers for the heads up on the jacket, looks a good bit of kit and more importanty, a better than average price.
I don't think Simond are exclusive to decathlon, I've seen simond axes and crampons in Snells in Chamonix. I try to use independents myself as much as possible but recently ended up getting some Outdoor Research winter Cirque trousers from Sports Direct after seeing them in the sale at a well known store in Hathersage but they didn't have my size.
I think you are wrong and have a very unfortunate misunderstanding of things but that's only my opinion.
They will be making a very small amount of money against cost but not enough to call it a profit - especially when additional costs of getting them to market are included (staffing, merchandising, delivery etc).
Unless of course they are a very cheap buy-in from a clearance either by Sportiva or one of their distributors.
Either way, they are hoping to pull in winter climbers who will then buy Simond trousers at a massive margin.
Simond is just another company in the Oxylane group, they supply other people as well as Decathlon. Their distributor in the UK is ClimbHigh for example.
> Do folks ever worry about the lack of R+D and the production ethincs of super cheap gear?
Hmmmm.....worrying about R&D is one thing, but worrying about ethics of production of cheap gear is another.
Why should anyone worry about lack of R&D? Mammut and Millet do a lot of it but you pay top whack for it. There's nothing worrying about the other end of the market, Regatta and all those companies. Worrying is a very odd word to use about R&D. So what if a company doesn't spend a lot on R&D? Why is that worrying?
I've also read your posts here and you haven't brought any evidence here, you've just rehashed and repeated a vague thing about mass production in China. Just because something is made in China, does that make it unethical? You know what? Shock horror, there are in reality plenty of factories and businesses in China that meet your ethical standards. Or do you believe that just because large volumes of something are made in China (or other countries), they are therefore unethical? That does seem to be the crux of your view here.
The China reference was made in relation to the R+D issue. Without R+D, things are not, well, researched or developed. Seems pretty obvious really...
Agree in terms of simple things like tees, cragging pants etc. There is nothing to really improve.
I think it is good that some companies spend time/effort r-ing and d-ing techy gear. It drives improvement and things are generally better now than they were ten years ago.
I may have an unfortunate misunderstanding of the intricacies of the R&D and ethics behind a £200 pair of softshell trousers vs a £40 pair of softshell trousers but from my punterish viewpoint I'm only ever going to be paying top whack for something that is going to directly save my life ie. climbing hardware.
A debate that exactly mirrors this in the world of cycling is the argument about buying carbon bike frames direct from the factory in china for a fraction of the price versus buying exactly the same product with someone elses decals on it plus a massive markup...
Maybe not but I'm sure it has investors? I have some patagonia products and while they are very good, I cant afford to dress in head to toe Patagucci.
I guess its fine as long as the folks chsing online bargains and direct purchases (Alpkit, YT Bikes etc) don't also complain about LBSs shutting down, dumbed-down ranges in outdoor shops and a diminshment in staff training/knowledge.
>I guess its fine as long as the folks chsing online bargains and direct purchases (Alpkit, YT Bikes etc) don't also complain about LBSs shutting down, dumbed-down ranges in outdoor shops and a diminshment in staff training/knowledge.
I think the opposite.
Competition from Decathlon gives the specialist retailer (Tiso, Dales Cycles etc) the incentive to really strive to satisfy the specialist needs of the consumer. It's an opportunity to hone your ranges to appeal to serious enthusiasts, really get your staff clued up- and also offer deals that they will be attracted to.
Decathlon's climbing range is crap IMO. It just so happens that they sell a pair of trousers and a synthetic belay jacket for Winter climbing that tick all the boxes- at a 1/3 of the price of any competitor.
Do you not see the difference?
I do see the difference Davie, yes.
Decathlon can be a good competitor to have. Thier Quechua (sp??) range is functional kit allowing folks into the outdoors at a manageable price.
Many of those folks will then go on to shop elsewhere for more technical stuff later on.
I issue I guess is that we (me too) are keen to chase down every bargain and have access to every shop in the UK. That's fine and it is our money.
Issue it gives is that technical lines are now hard to sell, esp at a decent margin.
Margin is not profit - its the bit left over that lets shops buy in other techy slow-sellers, worry less about cutting staffing costs to the bone and spend time/money training.
When Amazon does a Black Friday on GPS and it gets round a forum, some shops will not see a GPS customer for months and months.
If Decathlon decide to dump Nepals on the market at £230 the suddenly no-one else sells any.
It all feels a bit like an ouroboros to me.
Anyway - back to the trousers. Are they as good as the Aldi soft-shell breeks of 2007 ;)
> Maybe not, but actually I know two shop owners in Argentiere and Sisteron who would dispute that with you. How can small shops compete against a big company with such an aggressive pricing policy. It's not like they're ripping folk off and walking away with a huge profit. Corner shop vs Tesco... Interestingly, the guy I referred to in Argentiere, has an Au Vieux Campeur catalogue in his shop that he uses for his own pricing so that he can point out to his customers that going down the valley isn't going to get them a better deal. AVC's prices are low to average (why is it that can I buy Fixe bolt hangers cheaper from AVC than I can buy them direct from Fixe even with a trade deal?) but are still way above Quechua's.
> Again maybe not, but I think you know what I meant though.
> But cagoule, Jim?
I bought my first cagoule (and the rest of my climbing gear) mail order from Blacks, YHA, Army and Navy and so on before there were ANY independent climbing shops. The small independent is probably a transient marketing phenomenon.
> I think it is good that some companies spend time/effort r-ing and d-ing techy gear. It drives improvement and things are generally better now than they were ten years ago.
No one would dispute any of that. But your 10:36 post asked if a lack of R&D is worrying for people. I just don't see what a lack of R&D is worrying.
> When Amazon does a Black Friday on GPS and it gets round a forum, some shops will not see a GPS customer for months and months.
> If Decathlon decide to dump Nepals on the market at £230 the suddenly no-one else sells any.
I always find your posts abrasive and irritating so I'll leave it thanks.
You did indeed, and your posts are probably what I remember at being 'at least 2007'. But I think that the problem then was the limited roll-out of Decathlon shops in the UK; my local branch only opened in late 2010. Now that there are more Decathlon shops in the UK, the word-of-mouth recommendations can be taken up, and the rolling pebble has turned to an avalanche...
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