Friday, 10 October 2008

why I don't like trail magazine

It's Friday, the end of the week, and I'm feeling in a critical mood.

I was flicking through the current issue of trail on the train this morning wading through the adverts looking for something to pique (should that be peak?) my flagging interest when I spotted a review of kids waterproofs. Handy I've been thinking about getting Ben a 'proper' waterproof for when we step out onto the hills.

Six jackets tested; each review read.

The Berghaus jacket pros and cons was most revealing: "... not as waterproof as other jackets." Strange, I thought, did I miss something? Five of the six jackets were given the same rating* which included the Berghaus jacket.

Then the second half the paragraph stated: "...not as light as other jackets." Another second take revealed that three of the jackets were heavier, one was virtually the same weight, and the Marmot was lightest by far.

Journalistic licence or just laziness.

At least they've cut down on the number pictures of people mugging at the camera.

*They rate jackets using three levels of waterproofness; waterproof, very waterproof and extremely waterproof.


Martin Rye said...

Baz I don’t understand this posting. What are you hoping to achieve init? Trail has an experience team of outdoor enthusiast who do the kit review. What is waterproof? Well British standards have a view and Trail rate their tests on that. Hence those that meets the minimum under British standards. Those might keep the rain off you, but not to a stranded you might envisage with the term “waterproof”. Also breathable is rated from the minimum standard up. The waterproof rating also is about durability of the jacket to continue keeping out the elements. On the weight issue of the jackets. It is always about the size and cut. So they might have made a mistake? It happens. On smiling. Maybe they enjoy the hills. Just a thought for you to consider.

baz carter said...

It's constant gripe of mine of how they do these very condensed reviews. It comes across as being half arsed as if they are looking for something, anything, to bolster the jacket they think should get the rating.

Other examples include stating that a primaloft top isnt as warm as a down jacket, and using that as an against. They might as well write for What Car and use the the phrase: "the Robin Reliant isnt as fast as a Porche 911..." It's that lazy/stupid.

On the mugging at the camera they have a policy to show pictures people enjoying themselves. It's so false (these aren't actors) that it shows! I enjoy the outdoors but I dont see why I have to have a botox smile to 'prove it.'

Anonymous said...

Surely the figures and terms should be irrelevant. This is supposedly a real world test, we want to know how they found the jacket when wearing it in the rain. Anything can be proved in a lab, usually means sod all in the real world. Paramo isn't called waterproof, but many people find they don't get wet when wearing it!

Trail reviewed Rucksacks a few months ago. One pack with a roll top got marked down because 'roll top bags can leak'. That is not a relevant point, did this one leak or not? If it didn't then the designer has improved on previous attempts. If you don't know if it leaks or not, how on earth have you tested it? How can you possibly mark it down on an assumption. We want to know how things perform, not how they are exoected to perform based on reading a spec sheet.

It pee's me off too Baz!!

Martin Rye said...

Hi Baz,

I kinda think Shuttleworth put it well. It makes a more clear point to me. I understand the moan more with you reply to me. I use roll top bags and the like. In real use they are not an issue. In real life gear testing gets out in the rain and works the kit hard. That is why I like BPL. They find things break on their testing and the like. I think Trail and TGO need to have long term testing on kit. Then we would know how good it is.

baz carter said...

The example of the roll top bag is exactly the kind of statement that litters their reviews and as Shuttleworth points out is entirely irrelevant.