My Outdoors Research Bivy, the orange shelter system at right in the photograph below, is about six years old. I am sometimes hard on gear and admit that the bivy has treated me better than I have treated it. It kept me dry and comfortable during a lightning and thunder storm that raged for hours at Tangier Island's Cod Harbor. The mosquito mesh kept me bug free when I mistakenly anchored in a little cove at Pamlico Sound's Great Island, since renamed Mosquito Island.
Snuggled in my sleeping bag, it kept me warm when ice was forming on the boom tent during an unexpected winter storm on the Chester River. And it has allowed me to peel back the hood and enjoy the view of the Milky Way at anchorages from Cape Lookout, North Carolina in the south to Chesapeake City, Maryland in the north.
In return I've stepped on the bivy, set the anchor down on the gore-tex material, jammed it roughly into a stuff sac wet or pushed the bivy, inflatable mat and sleeping bag up under the foredeck while I resolved whatever issue was at hand. The bivy has seen its share of wear and tear.
It is one of those pieces of gear that I use every day - really, every night - on every sailing trip. And all that use has caught up with the bivy. The three layer gore-tex hood, I noticed while sleeping during a light rainstorm in Beaufort, leaks. The hydro-seal coated boot has begun to delaminate and the single shock-corded pole has punched a hole in the material and pokes out of the side. The bivy needs to be replaced.
I emailed customer service at Outdoors Research, telling them that my bivy was wearing out. Admitting to them that I did not know the expected life span of the piece of gear, I asked if there was any warranty where I might get a partial credit for a new one. If not, I said I would gladly purchase a new one. In less than ten minutes I received a reply, telling me that they had started the process of sending me a new bivy under their "Infinite Guarantee." I was both surprised and pleased. I had bought the bivy through LL Bean at the cost of about $160. Current price is $240. Cost to get my replacement - a few dollars of postage to ship the old one back. Thank you, Outdoors Research. You now have an infinite customer.