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OTG: Tips and Tricks post: Gear Research Point Blog post_001

How To Do Research Before Buying Adventure Gear

“My budget is Rs. XXXX, which jacket will be perfect for me?”

“I want a waterproof bag, do you stock any?”

“I leave for a trek tomorrow, what should I take with me?”

Outdoor Travel Gear completed 10 years in 2015. Over the decade that we’ve been in business, we’ve been asked these and other similar questions, a countless number of times.

We don’t mind it when you ask us questions. On the contrary, we encourage every shopper to engage with us, in-store or online. That way we can be of best service to our customers’ needs.

More often than not, a buyer seems to have started his purchase process with either a specific product or a price point in mind. This reduces the options / choices that they would otherwise have had, and in that case, there’s a great chance that they end up with the wrong product.

From our experience, here’s our recommendation of the steps / process to follow and the research to be done before buying adventure gear, to ensure that the gear you end up buying is best suited for you.

  • Identify your need

Never start the process of gear purchase with a product in mind. Identify your need first. Contrary to popular belief, your need is not in terms of a product. Be aware of your need in terms of the utility that you want fulfilled.

For e.g., if you’re going on a himalayan adventure, you’ll need to stay warm and dry. If you’re getting into an action sport, you’ll need to stay safe while enjoying your sport. If you’re going camping overnight, you’ll need shelter and sleeping support.

  • Identify the features

Match your need with the features that will provide that utility. You shouldn’t be thinking in terms of a physical product yet. More than one type / category of products can fulfill your specific need. In listing the products, get as detailed as you can.

  • Understand jargon

In this decision making process, to make sure you end making the right purchase, it is very important to understand the jargon used for defining the features you want to understand.

For e.g., with the varied advanced methods of waterproofing available today, it isn’t enough for a brand to simply say that their product is waterproof. A product can be waterproofed up to various levels. The IPX grading system classifies these levels from IPX1 to IPX8, based on various parameters. The higher the number, the more waterproof that product is. In simplest terms, though an IPX1 rated product is waterproof, it is not submersible and the protection from water ingress lasts only for a short period of time. On the other hand, an IPX8 rated product can be submerged in water and remains waterproof for a long time. It thus becomes crucial to exactly specify your need and to match that need with the exact feature and degree of performance.

  • List the products

Prioritise the features you’ve identified. Mark them as “must-have”, “good-to-have” and “need-not-have”. Now find out products which are accessible to you and which match the list of features you’ve made.

  • Do your research

Most of the reviews are product oriented. So they’ll be of help to you only once you have arrived at the shortlist of products. Try to get your hand on comparative reviews. See online user reviews. Look for first impression reviews and long-term ownership reviews. Try searching for user videos.

But more than just that, talk to your friends, others who’re in the same sport/ adventure as you are in.Try talking with people who’ve been using the products you’ve shortlisted. Ask their opinion. Also find out the places that sell the gear you want to buy and go see the options available.

  • Project your usage

Think ahead and try to project how you’re going to use the gear. Be realistic about variables like frequency of use, seasons of use, ideal longevity, is this your first purchase in the category. Prioritize this list and keep it agnostic of budget.

For e.g.: Sleeping bags come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, warming factor, etc. If you walk into a store without knowing exactly when, where and how often you are going to need to use the sleeping bag, you’ll end up buying the wrong one and might end up in a tight spot, somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

  • Make a shortlist

While shortlisting products, eliminate products from your original list that don’t meet your basic need criteria based on your online/offline research and understanding of the terminology.

  • Find parity and take your time

Now you have a shortlist of products. This is when you think about money for the first time. If any product is out of your range, but if it’s the perfect product for you, you should think of the following:

  1. How soon and urgently do you need the product.We repeat“NEED the product” and “Not WANT the product”.
  2. By how much can you stretch your budget.

Ideally, if you don’t need the product immediately, put aside the money you have and save up the difference and then go for the product. You’ll thank yourself for it later.

For e.g.: Let’s say you need to buy a helmet for motocross. Motocross is a high-risk sport. There really is no point in compromising on quality and your own safety, just because you can’t afford your ideal helmet. You might as well wait for a while, save up and then get that helmet.

Depending on the importance of the product vis-à-vis the sport / adventure that you are going to use it for, if needed, you may consider postponing your plans to get into that sport / adventure instead of using a sub-optimal product.

On the other hand, even if you can spend more than what the minimum required product costs, don’t overspend. Save the extra cash for a rainy day.

  • Be sure of size and fit

If you are sure about your size, shop online. Look for a sizing / fitting chart on the site where you’re shopping from. If this is your first purchase in the category and you want to shop online, be completely sure of the size and / or buy from a brick and mortar store.

If you are buying a motorcycle bag in a store, take your bike with you, if you are buying an overjacket, try it on with all the layers you’ll be wearing inside. If you’re buying an expedition pack, try it on for shoulder size and be completely sure that you can carry all that the bag can hold once it is completely loaded.

  • Caveat emptor (Let the Buyer Beware)

Anywhere you buy your gear from, online or offline, every brand is likely to have their own terms of guarantee / warrantee conditions. These conditions are set down by the manufacturing brand and followed by the reseller. The reseller typically cannot give warranty / guarantee if not supported by the brand.

Also, every reseller will have their own terms and conditions for incorrect size being bought, the customer not liking the product after making the purchase, defects in / after warranty period, etc.

Be apprised of these conditions before the purchase. Always carefully read the warranty, guarantee and returns procedures before purchasing online or in-store. Make sure none of the intrinsic terms of purchase are going to be a hurdle later on. If you are not able to get the complete return / warranty information from the website, then contact the seller through email, chat or phone and clear your doubts with specific questions.

  • Buy!

Go ahead and make that purchase confidently. You’ve done your research. You’ve deserved it!

 

We’ve really tried to detail out the purchase journey as we see it. Depending on your previous experiences, you may or may not go through all the steps individually. The basic idea here is to be aware of your specific need and the various ways in which it can be fulfilled.

Once you know exactly what gear you need, go ahead and buy it!

We love talking to our customers and sharing our experiences about the gear we sell. Do feel free to get in touch with us. You can:

Or, you can walk in to any one of our stores: https://www.outdoortravelgear.com/storelocator

Have a crazy adventure! And be safe out there!

www.OutdoorTravelGear.com
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