On the Water And In The Woods

Sea kayaking, sailing, and lightweight backpacking in the-Chesapeake Bay, Mid-Atlantic region

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Why manufacturers should answer their email

Not all manufacturers take the time to answer questions from potential customers. It takes time, and it's not a sale. However, sometimes it pays off - not only in selling to that customer, but in getting a new retailer involved in selling your products. Below is a short email chain I had with Northwater:

From: Greg Welker
Sent: Saturday, September 27, 2008
Subject: question about your deck bags
Hi,My wife and I own some of your kayak safety products and find them tobe very high quality products.
I am looking to purchase a new deckbag. I don't like deck bags that are "waterproof", preferring to letmy equipment in the bag get wet, but then be able to dry out, ratherthan steam and get all clammy when a "waterproof" bag takes onwater. I am looking at two of your products and have a couple of questions.
1. On the Expedition deck bag, is the fabric just nylon, or is itwaterproof coated nylon (I would like it to be just nylon, not coated).
2. On the Mesh deck bag, is the opening secured with a zipper?
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions, andhopefully I will be owning some more Northwater products in the future.

At 12:14 PM 9/29/2008, Will Davis wrote:

Greg -You have come to the right place for non-waterproof deck bags. We do notbelieve in waterproof as well. I find it to be quite the misnomer even onproducts that claim to be 'waterproof'.Our Expedition Deck Bag is not coated with anything with any sort ofsealant. And yes, the mesh deck bag is secured by a #10 YKK zipper.Let me know if I can be of any more help.

DavisNorth Water Customer Service

Date: Tue, 04 Nov 2008 21:49:38 -0500
To: "Will Davis" northwater@northwater.com
From: Greg Welker
Subject: RE: question about your deck bags
Will,Just wanted to let you know that I got one of our local kayaking stores to order me your bag and they are now also carrying your deck bags and some of your rescue gear - they are Annapolis Canoe and Kayak Company http://www.annapoliscanoeandkayak.com/.
The deck bag is what I expected - well made and well designed. I've been using it on my Outer Island for several trips now and it is working well. The velcro attachment system under the bungees provides a pretty solid attachment (wondering how it will work in surf?). The zipper that allows the full opening is good, as is being able to zip it from either side. Haven't figured out a use for the mesh section yet - too small for many things - so far only used as a place to store granola bar wrappers. I paddle greenland paddles, so the webbing on the bag sides work as the rear half of a paddle park for a paddle on the front deck. I've been using it without the plastic insert - it allows me to cinch down the bag using the webbing straps if I don't need all the volume, and keeps the bag lower on the deck.
One potential improvement for you to consider - I keep my water bladder in the bag, and snake the hose out by leaving the bag unzipped about 1/2 inch. Perhaps you can consider adding a water bladder hose pass thru like you see on backpacks on the left side of the bag as it is facing the kayaker? Locate it low down in the lower left corner just under the zipper. Otherwise, great bag!
I really enjoy dealing with a good gear manufacturer - I'll add Northwater to the list with Impex and Kokatat. And it's great having a responsive and obliging local kayak company like Annapolis Canoe and Kayak - thanks Dave and Manuel!


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