Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Do you support the vendors that support our sport?

Feb. 01, 2001 By Greg Lonero
In these greenie-wienie times I find myself putting more thought into the places where I spend my money, making sure my dollars don't support anything green organization that is trying to prevent me from enjoying the outdoors. I stopped spending my money at places like REI, Columbia, and Eastern Mountain Sports while increasing my search for vendors like R.U. Outside. There was a rumor floating around that R.U. Outside was supporting some green groups. Unfortunately, many vendors and advocates of the sport spend little time in Rec. Sport. Snowmobile, (RSS) newsgroup, a communication pulse for this sport. The reason I mention this is with sleds plastered all over R.U. Outside's brochure, this just didn't add up.

So I called Rick LaBelle, president of R.U. Outside. I introduced myself and advised him I needed to clear the air and I wanted to validate that I was fulfilling my shopping list from a vendor that supported the sport. Rick advised that he recently wrote an article for Jackson Hole Magazine entitled "Extreme Snowmobiling: the ground is the only limit." He then advised that "R.U. Outside has never supported the Sierra Club or other such organizations that actively campaign against trail access and the sport of snowmobiling." He further added that they are a sponsor of the World Snowmobile Association, the Rock Maple Racing Circuit, Rocky Mountain Cross-Country & SnoCross Circuit, and many individual racers.

So, I gave them my credit card number and ordered the Napsack. I ordered it for my girlfriend Melba and when I saw the photo of the model, I immediately pictured my girlfriend in the photo. It took longer then expected to get delivered but it did make it to me just before Christmas, as a result of a couple of follow up calls. That was aggravating, but the product did finally arrive. I am sometimes amazed by the lack of service I receive when I call customer service lines of the vendors within this industry. Even being a writer for Snowmobile Online, with a rather large audience, is no assurance of perfect service.

Then comes Christmas, Melba opens the present and unpacks the garment. My mouth dropped open. Holy Smokes! - What did I buy and did I get the right product? As you can see from the photo, it looks like a warm and fuzzy garment, which it is. What the photo does not show is that there are no legs, hence the name nap SACK. The bottom of the garment is square, like a SACK. Then, in the two corners are two holes for her feet. So just be aware about that. If nothing else, it was worth a good laugh. And for those who don't mind the looks, it is warm.

Other products I own from R.U. Outside are the BackThing and the Bridger Boots 2 & 3. Both are super products and I am very happy with them. If you don't own a BackThing I strongly encourage you to own one. Even though I am fairly fit, I don't realize how much blubber I haul around until I take off the BackThing at the end of the day and my gut rolls back into place like a lava lamp. It really is worth the coin because it does a great job of holding the mid-section in place.

And finally the boots. I have gone through many boots over the years and so far, the Bridger Boots are holding up the best. Well, except for the Bridger Boot 2. I had a warranty problem with them as the material was separating down by the ankle. I called them up and advised them of the problem. Since I bought them at the Denver Snow Show, I asked them if I could bring them back the following season and they said "O.K.." At the time this occurred they were still under warranty. They exchanged them for the Bridger3 and they are holding up great. They are relatively light and very warm and like the BackThing, you won't be dissatisfied.

Bottom line on this company is you'll be very happy with their products and they support the sport, at least the racing sector. Off-road.com only wishes the majority supported so enthusiastically that supports them with our hard earned cash. I'd recommend you only support the ones that support us. It can make a difference.

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