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Thank you for offering this drop. Is the main cost savings accomplished by moving production to China, versus in-house production at EE in Minnesota? The only other difference I can find is a very slight increase in weight (2-ish ounces?).
Just as a follow-up point/question: If the production is moved to China (vs their typical inhouse production), is the quilt still an Enlightened Equipment one or merely Enlightened Equipment designed/inspired?
Exactly. I'm trying to balance my desire to support cottage industry makers (meaning small, in-house production) with my need to save $$ and my desire to avoid mass-produced products from overseas where I can't be certain of the process or the treatment of employees. I love the idea of an EE quilt, but this is EE designed which is quite different.
The cost savings come mostly from two factors:
1) The materials: down (800 fill vs. 850) and fabric (15d vs 10d)
2) Focusing on the most popular temp rating (20°) and sizes. This allows for a much more streamlined, predictable production scheme with low overhead and smaller material investments and wastage. For camprison, for just the Revelation model, EE offers 3 down choices, 6 temp ratings, 5 lengths, 4 widths, 16 fabric colors and 8 options for weather resistant striping. EE could be really well run and super efficient, but all those options add up to increased costs averaged across a lot of quilts.
That's a fair question to ask, but maybe missing the point slightly - we are having this made in China because of limited capacity to have this made in the US. We are not taking EE's design to China to make it cheaper, or making a quilt and slapping EE's name on it. Let me reassure you and all of our members that we've been working with Tim Marshall and the production team at EE for months on this project and the quilts will be every bit as good as you expect from them. They are controlling the production of this from beginning to end. EE sought out, vetted, and approved the manufacturing partner. They have invested great time in communicating the exact specifications of the quilts, and then ran testing and quality control on all prototypes and samples. All quilts will meet or exceed EE's standards. We are providing them input on the product that we want and the platform to sell these quilts while maintaining the ability to sell through their website custom US-made quilts.
To turn the question to other brands, does anyone question that validity of Patagonia products, even though the US-based company has everything made overseas? Are the Gorilla and Mariposa still Gossamer Gear backpacks? What about Black Diamond, whose carabiners are made in Utah, packs are made in Vietnam, skis used to be made in Austria by Atomic but are now made in China in their exclusive factory, and so on?
In the end, Enlightened Equipment owns this process, and is merely partnering with an existing manufacturer to increase the supply of their products beyond their current capacity. If they didn't continue to make quilts in the US and offer all the great custom options that they do, THEN we'd certainly have something to talk about :)
Enlightened Equipment has been very careful to only partner with a trustworthy manufacturer that has the same work ethics regarding employee treatment, using responsibly sourced down, and so on. As an example, check out their post about the new storage sacks made by FreeSet: https://enlightenedequipment.com/blog/new-storage-sack/
I hope this answers your questions, and I'm happy to discuss this as much as you want. I can't speak on behalf of EE, but I can certainly share what I know. Thanks for asking!
Is there going to be any kind of implied or printed warranty on this?
So where is this product being produced at? China, India, Taiwan, etc.
This comes with the normal Enlightened Equipment product warranty. The only difference is that whenever buying on Massdrop, all sales are final (meaning, if there's an issue with shipping or the product, we'll take care of it but if you want to exchange because of color, size, or you changed your mind, then we can't accommodate).
As stated in the specs, these quilts are made by a trusted manufacturer in China.
Lol, well you DID ask. I just purchased a Gossamer Mariposa and was disappointed to find out it wasn't made in the US. Furthermore, I had to return the pack 3 times due to quality control issues. Issues were stitchings were already busted, internal stay severely bent out of shape, stitching was not on point grabbing more fabric thus creating strange stress points, and a few other tidbits where I was disappointed to was "passed" through quality control. If Gossamer has been doing this for a few years and still has products like that get through the quality control process, the confidence isn't strong (at least on my end) that this new venture will yield 100% or better standards of EE.
I think that it's a valid concern of consumers to question the quality control. Patagonia products are excellent but are nowhere tiered in the same level as the quality and care of EE products. Not dogging on Patagonia at all, love their products and for most of what they stand for, but EE products are on a different level.
Taking a gander at the "warehouse" deals, they have discounted many sleeping bags/quilts every week because of a small minuscule detail like a "discoloration" that runs on for less than an inch. They have an off stitch here or there, or they had a slight scuff that has been well patched.
If you are guaranteeing that all quilts meet or EXCEED EE standards, thats a big promise.
I only say all of this because EE products are excellent, at the pinnacle of quality, and is unwavering in letting a stitch even be out of place. I am skeptical.
Yikes, quality issues with three different Gossamer Gear packs? That's wild. I hope that's just a bad batch and not reflective of their existing standards or a new direction for the company. I never bought any of their packs but am surprised to hear about your experience.
Your post is well received and makes some valid points. To say that these quilts will be as good as EE quilts - well, that's saying a lot. But, I believe it to be true based on numerous reasons. As for production flaws, that is another benefit of this production - our factory will make hundreds of the exact same quilt, whereas EE probably never makes two of the same quilts in a row.
Additionally, EE has been working with this factory for a while, and just recently starting selling a few Revelation quilts that are cut and sewn in China, and then stuffed and finished in Minnesota. To be clear, EE only does this for 'on-the-shelf' Revelation quilts, as it helps them meet demand and offer fast shipping.
I appreciate your skepticism as I too am often the skeptic. So, for both of our sakes, let's hope you're wrong :)
Thanks for the reply!!
You really cleared some stuff up. I had no idea that they did this process with their on-the-shelf products. Its great to know that they are being sent to MN for filling and finishing, I wasn't aware of that. I thought they were gonna be shipped as finished products from China.
I think you should definitely state that it's being finished in MN for quality control, it surely swayed me towards trying it out.
And yes, I hope I'm wrong! lol
Hmm, perhaps I didn't clear *everything* up. EE makes the bulk of their products completely in Minnesota. Though, they have recently introduced on option to buy a ready-made Revelation quilt (in their "on the shelf" options) that are cut and sewn in China, then stuffed and finished in Minnesota (which is clearly stated on the webpage for those products).
Our quilt here is completely made in China, under EE guidance, with an EE warranty and going through a quality control process. So, it's not like we're starting from zero here. I hope to this clears it up, and trying not to speak on behalf of EE here.
[edited to correct timeline, and that the Revelation is the only quilt that has an option to be made overseas]
Ha! My GG Gorilla has same issues -- I didn't notice missing stitching where stays pop out until I took the belt off a week ago. Now I need to contact them to see what they'll do about it. :-/
They have decent customer service but I'm right there with you. Especially at this pricepoint, I wouldn't have figured that we should have to worry about quality control. Looking for a winter pack and I'm looking at ULA for that.
You might want to consider putting this information somewhere in the product description. It might just be me, but I'm seeing what almost seems like a coordinated disinformation campaign about this drop where people are commenting "Made in China" with no other context. I mean, I'm in enough online groups about outdoor gear to know that there are plenty of people who only know how to respond negatively to everything they see, but it seems a little too widespread and consistent to be completely coincidental. Maybe a more proactive approach is required.
+1000. Not saying it is not possible for quality goods to be made in China, it obviously is.... but I am much more nervous about the quality. Plus, to me, the point of supporting cottage manufacturing is you are supporting American craftsmen making small runs of things. That is what makes me fall in love with my gear and treasure it and take care of it vs just treating it as a disposable item.
I would not hesitate to order a USA made EE quilt, but I have no interest in one made in China, no matter who QC's or warranties it. I do feel it diminishes their brand... I won't buy a GG bag now that they are not made here. Plenty of great makers right here to support who are making fantastic quality stuff.
But that is just me, and everyone has their own focus and opinion and preference, to each their own, I say. Most people don't care where their stuff is made and I am sure this will sell well.
I can bet that’s been the sentiment a lot of people have. That’s why it hasn’t sold out yet.
Think my next bag bag will be a ULA...and then Zpacks. I’m too much of a gear junkie to just have one which I understand is ironic with the whole “ultralight”.
As they say, you vote with your dollar.
For me, I bought one of these because I wanted to get a quilt for someone who might not use it very much. For myself, I will order a custom made in MN one, because I know exactly what I want and will likely use it a lot. I have limited funds, so I must choose carefully. So I buy a mix of US and outsourced products (I think most of us do).
I still think buying a made in China bag by EE is better than buying a bag from a company that outsources 100% of manual labor (most brick & mortar retail sleeping bags).
You said it! An ultralight hiker's closet is definitely not ultralight! However, it makes sense. They take only what they need; therefore, a different bag for every 15 degrees F temperature change..!