Feb 21, 2017

Should Massdrop Partner with My Trail Co?

My Trail Co is a new company from Colorado, currently selling a few packs, tents and jackets with ambitious plans to expand. MTC emanates from the ashes of Golite, a company that was one of the main catalysts for the ultralight movement in the 2000s. I personally still have and regularly use my Golite Bitterroot down jacket, Jam2 50L pack, Feather 40 degree bag (now converted to a two-person quilt), and a few other things. I am very fond of who Golite was, what they made, and how they helped many of us to lighten up.
So, it seems like it would be a no brainer to partner with a company making items that are essentially updates of the original beloved items, now under a different brand name. However, there is a bit of a darkside in that Golite went bankrupt a few years ago and left debts of more than $3 million to outdoor suppliers, manufacturers, and real estate owners. Many ULers were unhappy with how Golite went out of business. It wasn't illegal, by any means, but it just felt wrong that a company could grow so quickly, end up owing so much money, and then the owners could start up a new company selling essentially the same products. You can search the forums on BPL and elsewhere if you want to hear others' opinions. I will leave my personal opinions aside in this matter as I am too involved on multiple levels. I want to hear from you. What do you think: should we work with MTC and why?
An early summer overnight trip to the still snow-covered Sierras in 2008. I had everything for me and my then-girlfriend (now wife) packed into my Golite Jam2, including our shared Golite quilt and poncho-tarp. I still use this pack on a daily basis as my commuter pack, and it is my carry-on piece whenever I fly.

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well since i have been watching their site on and off for about a year now and everything i have
interest in is out of stock i sure wouldnt join a drop to buy their products
Hello no. Don't trust this company.
I would agree it’s a little shady....... but they make the best stuff out there.
Exploring opportunities of a merger or strategic alliance are harmless. Without knowing more detailed information I have concerns about the ethics and competency of the previous owners. I have other misgivings for now however I will say that whatever arrangements are discussed the former owners shouldn't be the one's making the final decisions. As the business grew there had to be financials indicating the overextension of their business growth. Therefore it is quite likely that this advice was ignored. Finally, there needs to be an independent financial controller, and consultant advice about how to expand a business is needed, and I can argue is necessary as the former owners have likely lost the trust of the ul community and business community. I wonder if they are at the helm will actually a detriment to the success of a new business alliance? One last thought, are they approaching MD because they already have a number of challenges I have outlined? Is MD potentially the collateral and credibility that the former owners squandered? I am led to think that if the ul products were of such quality then why not have the developers work under a MD banner where ownership and its benefits are under MD. All this said, what is MD vision statement? Is manufacturing ul products the direction it wants to pursue?

There is my advice. Without being able to discuss in real time it is difficult to make a recommendation , however extreme caution needs to be practiced due to the facts that I outlined. Good luck and keep us up to date with the process.

I would echo the well articulated comments made here. $3MM in debt for what was effectively a cottage company seems like a lot. Somebody got overly ambitious and cast aside finanacial governance. I never owned any of their gear but isn’t there enough we’ll managed and successful, but still growing,UL manufacturers out there to work with? Go Lite had their day. What are they bringing to the table that a host of others haven’t already.👎
Excellent articulation. Your concerns are well founded and rightful to be raised with any possible venture between the two companies. I would have no issue with having My Trail Co. products on MD in limited quantity as the other items are being offered. That seems like a fine arrangement for the time being. I would like to see MD remain a site that offers unique items for sale that are quality and not to move down the manufacturing trail. I hope that My Trails products continue the GoLite path and that the company can remain stable as I was a fan of their products that i purchased.
I have a GoLite Pinnacle pack that I bought new in 2008. It was my frontline pack until just a couple years ago, very light weight and easy to compress for smaller loads. I still use it a bit for hacking around. The wear isn't bad, it's more that suspension systems have improved incrementally and passed it by.

Snarg I don't know about worthless warranties since my pack hasn't failed. Maybe things got sloppier after I bought it. I've always felt the real problem was trying to grow into brick and mortar retail and losing sight of the company's roots. Has any of your GoLite gear failed? I don't mean wear, I mean actual problems with "materials or workmanship" that Go Lite actually could have addressed? I'm not being snarky, I'm truly curious.

DannyMilks I'm interested to hear the details and context for the no-go you mentioned a few months ago.
Will Coupanas go bankrupt again and leave us with worthless warranties like I have on all my Go Lite Gear?
That's my fear, as he's proven he has no qualms with defaulting on millions of dollars, only to start selling the same products under a different name within a short time. I have several products that have failed, all stuff that was made in the last few years, and have no recourse for getting it fixed or exchanged. I'll post some pictures shortly.
Any update? DannyMilks
I've read some interviews from the founder on how they're going to change their business mentality and structure to avoid repeating golite's mistakes. And it also seems that they're going to begin updating their older popular products to keep up with the way product weights are declining. I understand how many people in the community were and remain upset but at the end of the day if they have learned from the mistakes of the past AND are making competitive, affordable products why wouldn't their products be sold on Massdrop?
Why the talk of change now I wonder. Maybe after MTC actually makes those changes MD can reconsider. For now, they got nothing.
My Trail has several issues I'd like to see resolved before you partner with them. Biggest issue for me is that they have not addressed the needs of taller hikers. Same issue that their predecessor had. For the record I still use a Go-Lite day pack and wore out a pair of their boots, but at 6'4" was unable to fit into their clothing, sleep systems, backpacks, or tents.
Of course you should partner with them. Legal structures existing for this very reason. The original business may have failed, but they can't delete what they know, and it would make sense to take that knowledge and build a new company. If you think they were unethical , then perhaps not. But if it's just feeling that perhaps it's not fair or right, that's an argument you need to take up with your local congressman. business iS business - if every entrepreneur that failed never got or took another chance, where would we be?
Where in the Sierras was that pic taken Danny? Would love to know.
Lake Schmidell, just north of Rockbound Pass in Desolation. We started at Wrights Lake, headed north, passing the turnoff for Rockbound pass, instead continuing on the Rubicon trail maybe, till we turned east and hiked off trail up and over an unnamed pass, then down to the lake. We camped on the east side of the lake on flat patch of snow.
Sick! I've never heard of that place at all, gonna research the crap out of it now!
No. ( edited and removed for personal reasons, feelings.) There are plenty of other companies to partner with that have similar products.
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Sorry, maybe poor choice of word(s). Maybe I'm being a bit rough. I won't buy their products on secondary market or new under new name. Even if it's the best or really good.
Is it because they never honored their lifetime warranty under the old company name? I wouldn't support a company like that either. I won't support worse companies, like Shell Oil, because unethical is unethical is unethical. Fuck unethical, do the right fucking thing you twat companies!