Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Good back-up service from Eiger Equipment and Cape Union Mart

In November last year, in preparation for Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge, we bought 3-litre Nalgene CXC Rapid Fill, Get-A-Grip hydration reservoirs from Cape Union Mart. I opened mine the day before we left and started racing with this reservoir. We'd decided to go with 3-litre reservoirs as we knew we'd need to be able to carry as much water as possible in the desert.

This reservoir has a really good mouthpiece - you don't have to suck like a leech to get water out - and the opening is nice and big - very easy to fill.

On the long paddle stage - day 3 - I wondered why I felt so thirsty when my reservoir, which was tucked under the bungee straps on the top of the boat, was almost empty. I couldn't remember drinking such a lot but as I usually drink really well and have no problems with dehydration because of the volumes I drink, I didn't think too much of it.

Later that night, when preparing my pack for the next day, I discovered a big wet patch on my backpack and found a large leak in my reservoir. It stemmed from an abraision on the body of the reservoir. Luckily I had packed an old faithful, just in case.

Back home I returned the reservoir to my local Cape Union Mart store in Eastgate. I also dropped an email to Eiger Equipment, the importers of Nalgene products.

What I couldn't figure is that the top of the boat is smooth and the bladder stayed in the same place all day. The other two bladders of the same type were rigged just like mine and they were fine throughout the race. But, somehow the plastic on my reservoir was 'injured'. What bothered me is that I've had my other reservoirs for almost a decade; and they've been to hell and back - in rafts, on boats, in daybacks and backpacks, in crates and on staged races, multiday races... My reservoirs work hard because I use them for everything. One of this Nalgene reservoir's selling points is "Superior abrasion resistance".
Just over a month ago I got a call from Cape Union Mart to say that Eiger would replace my reservoir and that they'd call again when new stock arrived. Two weeks ago they called to say stock had arrived and that I could come through to collect.

The gear we buy is rarely inexpensive; and I expect it to work hard. I also measure products against past experiences and I expect new items to perform like or to better old items - regardless of brand. Adventure racing can be hard on equipment, but if looked after you will have trekking poles, headlamps, drybags and reservoirs for 5-10 years. And that's why I returned an item that had only made it through 2 days. I have good faith in the product though, because the other two reservoirs were A-ok. And I really like the volume and the mouthpiece.

So this is a posting of thanks and appreciation to a) Eiger Equipment for assessing my reservoir and deciding to replace it; and b) Cape Union Mart, for following up on my returned product and for keeping contact.

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