Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

Why no direct selling?

8th February 2007

When I was looking for a new waterproof hillwalking jacket last year, I was struck by the sight of outdoor equipment manufacturers having extensive websites and not using them to sell direct to outdoor enthuasiasts. When you consider that some may like to go to a shop and get advice from knowledgeable and experienced staff, it is understandable. However, I recently discovered PHD, a manufacturer that believes in doing things differently. They sell their specialist wares – down-filled jackets, sleeping bags and the like – through their own website. Then again, the ethos of the company is to be more of a personal business, one not being carried along on the treadmill of supplying the outdoor shops. That was one thing that founder Peter Hutchinson wanted to avoid after leaving another company that he founded, Mountain Equipment. It’d be interesting to see if there are more companies doing this with the ultralight outdoor kit making a comeback. PHD’s “Mountain Software” – an odd term for outdoor clothing to someone like me who develops computer software for a living – is very much in on this trend.

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