Mike Frazier sells caving gear around here. He calls his small business Rocky Mountain Caving Supply. I have bought several Polish made packs that I love and they really hold up to abuse. He has good prices on his stuff too.
REI is where I get lights and helmets from. One of our grotto members has worked there for years and keeps us posted on sales and new equiptment as it comes available. He recently did a helmet test with a hammer. The Petzl Roc Ecrin held up the best, but the Petzl Eleos broke on the first hit. REi is hard to beat for price, in this town.
Dan Sullivan Member Southern Colorado Mountain Grotto Co-chair Colorado Western Slope Grotto NSS Youth Group Regional Coordinator
Post by Sharon Faulkner on Jan 16, 2007 21:59:17 GMT -5
I like Howies Harnesses too. Other favorites are IMO and On Rope. All of these folks are friendly, but they also have good service and availability of the products I am interested in. I also see these vendors at most caving events I attend, so I guess there is the added bonus of a personal relationship at play.
I am a comparison shopper and do compare prices between vendors before buying.
If anyone knows of a caving vendor or other supplier who carries the inexpensive Ozark Trail Brand 100% Polypropylene tops and bottoms, please let me know. I had bought them at Walmart previously, but haven't been able to find them there in the last couple of years. They are great for TAG caving and thin enough that you can pull a wetsuit or cave suit over them without a hassle.
Post by Brian Roebuck on Jan 19, 2007 6:25:38 GMT -5
Sharon I suspect the entire third world country that manufactures Ozark Trail polypros was likely bought out by Walmart a couple years ago! ;D
In reality Wallyworld probably does not get the kind of deal they want and thus stopped carrying them. The store has low prices but they do tend to strongarm suppliers - sometimes so badly that they go out of business! But some other third world place crops up to take their place. Hopefully Ozark Trail gear is out there still - somewhere. Have you tried K-Mart?
Post by Sharon Faulkner on Jan 20, 2007 14:18:30 GMT -5
Thanks for the link. I checked it out and it looks like I may have to order them from another source. I will check a K-mart and see if I can find the polypro there first.
I also plan to stop by that big Outdoor store just outside South Pittsburgh Tennessee too. I would have stopped by last Sunday after caving, but time was a factor.
Lynn, I bought one piece of the new brand our Walmart carries now and it was not the same. I haven't had them long enough to determine if they will hold up to caving over time, but they don't wear as well as the Ozark Brand. I found they do not wic water as well and they are thicker, albeit only millimeters thicker, but still thicker. The two problems may be one in the same.
I don't go to Wal-Mart except in sheer desperation after having exhausted other resources and if I were stupid enough to have to get something at the last minute.. I think I was in a Wal-Mart only 6 times last year. There is a long story how they messed over our town which is behind this--we no longer have any department/discount stores here except for a Dollar General, which barely qualifies as a store.
I buy on price from various online vendors-- Karst Sports seems to have the best selection of things I am looking for--not the brightest, bestest or newest equipment. I always made a point to buy something from Bob Liebman when he was coming to MVOR--that's a thing of the past. I check out the prices at REI, but they only occasionally have the best deal, and recently their in-store service has been the pits. We've got a local outdoor store called the The Alpine Shop, who has a senior manager who is a caver--they are usually willing to work with you for some good deals. I also look at Ben Meadows, Forestry Suppliers and other similar industrial outdoor suppliers. Occasionally I buy stuff from MVOR vendors--IMO for one, but those are usually impulse purchases--only rarely will I wait for MVOR or Convention to purchase an item, except for carbide.
Post by acenthahole on Jun 27, 2007 22:38:34 GMT -5
I buy from OnRope whenever I can. But they don't always have everything so I do have to buy from other vendors from time to time. I am a personal friend of Chad Dubuisson, the production manager at OnRope and fellow ACE, so I may be a little biased. I always enjoy chatting with Bruce at the festivals. He seems to have infinite knowledge and understanding of the hardcore caving mentality.