By: Blonde Two
Although I would like to say that I am an innocent; I have to confess that I am as guilty of Outdoor-Gear-Snobbery as the next Blonde. I can spot a Paramo jacket at ten paces, smell anything to do with RAB on the wind and would be really cross if anyone expected me to wear anything other than Meindl walking boots.
However, Outdoor-Gear-Snobbery in other people really annoys me! (contradiction = woman) There is, I feel, a fine balance between appreciating a brand because their kit does the job that it is supposed to do, and appreciating a brand because … well, it is a brand.
If for example, Blonde One and I produced our own range of outdoor gear (it has been suggested). The name “Blonde” would have an interesting effect. Mr Bearded Mountain Walker from Up-North would shudder at the thought of wearing one of our jackets but Miss Dartmoor Expeditioner might recognise that two Blondes who spend so much time outside would know what a jacket should provide.
It is easy to dismiss gear that is cheaper in price or maybe not from the ‘right’ shop as being lacking. All gear, however, should be judged according to how well it does the job and whether or not it is in the price range of the person (often young) who needs it.
Merino would be an example. I love a bit of New Zealand (or Chinese) sheep against my skin, and have been so much of an Icebreaker fan in the past that I have even travelled to the Merino-Motherland in order to buy some. Icebreaker, however, are in danger of pricing themselves out of the market. I have two long-standing merinos that are of other, cheaper brands and both have done their job as well, and lasted as long as their Icebreaker equivalents.
Don’t get me wrong Gear-Gurus. I am not against branding. Look at Two Blondes, we have just realised that we have a successful brand which sells books. The proof of the gear though, should be in the wearing and the proof of the Blonde should be in the gearing!