Wow sorry Parky, perhaps a bit uncalled for to call me spiteful!
I was actually quite pleased to get a new jacket, but at the same time it worries me that Rab seem to think ttheir products should only last 2 years. If the new jacket lasts 5 years then they will have recovered their reputation in my eyes. The montane jacket it replaced never really had a problem after 5 years but the cut was too short and I was starting to feel it was losing it's waterproofness.
The main point of posting this up here was to say 'should we really expect this?' I'm sorry if I touched a nerve
I sent my Rab Stretch Neo Jacket (£220) back to Rab on Wednesday 1st class. It had delaminated at the neck (massively) and the collar (slightly) after 26 months. In that time I estimate that I have used it for 30 full days. I washed it just once in cold water (because it always looked perfectly clean, I only washed it when the DWR went)
Rab sent me an email at 10am the next day.
"Hi Alex, We have received your stretch Neo jacket back with the faulty neck membrane. On inspection the jacket looks fairly well used. There are several areas around the face of the jacket showing signs of high wear. We also note that you have only cold washed the jacket once – this may not have been sufficient to keep the inner membrane clean enough to prevent contaminates for eroding the membrane.
I was happy to have the jacket replaced. The replacement Latok Alpine (also in Large and blue) arrived today (Thursday) and given that in my covering letter I had requested an eVent replacement I was pleased with the service.
I was however slightly concerned at their definition of 'well used' and 'high wear'. I actually try to avoid bad weather because I go out to take landscape photos (hopeless in the rain). I know that any climbers etc would put their gear through far more in much less time. Perhaps Rab don't make things to last?
Next came Extremities. I bought their Storm GTX Glove from them in February, which describes itself as a skiing/hiking glove. After just 1 day of skiing a couple of seams started to split. By the end of the week there were 13 separate (unconnected) seam failures. I pointed this out to Extremities in my covering letter. They replied before noon the day they would have received them. (very fast)
Our ref: PR14598
Received: Storm GTX Glove
We have assessed the gloves and we are sorry that you are disappointed with the product. We are happy to issue a full refund or exchange the item for a different model. If you are interested in the exchange, we would recommend our Corbett Glove GTX (http://www.terra-nova.co.uk/clothing-accessories/all-gloves-mitts/corbett-glove/). However, there is a difference in price of £10.00 which can be paid using your debit/credit card. If you prefer to have the refund, please can you let me have the following details so we can transfer the money directly back into your bank account.
Bank Name Account Name Account Number Sort Code
Please confirm how you would like to proceed."
Two things bothered me about this. The first is the response "we are sorry that you are disappointed with the product" as if it's my problem. I would have expected "we agree that these gloves have failed and fall significantly short of the quality standards we set. We are sorry etc etc."
The second part was suggesting that I should pay an additional £10 for a better pair of gloves. Why on earth would I do that? Aside from the fact that it took me 30 minutes walking to the post office and back, and £5 in postage, the only thing they could possibly do to restore their reputation in my eyes is give me a pair of gloves that were actually half decent.
It's fair to say that I sent a strongly worded email back and requested a refund.
We can go through my kit list if you like and see if you can find 500g! I appreciate from your perspective it may seem easy to save 500g. Fact is if I could save 500g somewhere I would replace it with food, not an extra waterproof! I'm at the point where it's coming close to costing me ??1 per gram saved. When I say my pack can weigh 25kg that's not the base weight. A rough breakdown would be 9kg camping kit, waterproofs, river shoes and backpack, 6kg camera gear, 8kg food, 2kg water.
I am also giving Rab a wide berth now. My Rab Bergen trousers have also delaminated at the knees. Not impressed!
Wow, that's a lot of reading. Thanks for all the suggestions. As to a 2 jacket approach....that would be ideal but I have to keep my pack weight at a reasonable level. A waterproof that I don't often use is not a garment I would consider duplicating. I also don't expect a jacket that will allow the jacket to loft fully but a tight/alpine fit won't cut it. Why is it that we have to get so fussy about these things! Choosing gear is never easy!