Sunday, October 6, 2013

"infinite" defined

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.


1 comment:

Bill said...

Don't you love companies like that? L.L. Bean is another one. Funny coincidence is not 5 minutes ago I was downloading and printing out the warranty return form for my Leatherman Wave. I managed to snap off the large screwdriver blade. They have a 25-year warranty to repair or replace the tool if it breaks. So we'll see how this goes.

Duluth Trading Company is similar. I bought a great leather belt from them about 12 years ago and wore the hell out of it. About a year or two ago, it started to come apart - the stitching had broken and the layers were delaminating. Went to their website, filled out the form and about a week or two later, a brand new one showed up at my home.