At Seek Outside we make a wide range of products, under one roof, for customers with a huge variety of passions, interests, and outdoor pursuits. On any given day we'll get phone calls from hunters in Alaska asking about a tipi and stove system for a moose hunting float trip, or a backpack for a 14 day self contained sheep hunt. We'll answer emails from Californians looking for a backpack for a John Muir Trail thruhike, or a car camping tent for 4x4 routes in the Sonoran desert. We get correspondence from Belgians planning a trip in southern Utah, Germans kayaking in the Arctic, and Austrailians backpacking in the rainforest. The diversity of folks to whom we cater is one of the biggest joys our business brings, as well as the primary driver that continually prompts us to make our products better.
To better understand our core customers, and celebrate 2016 by planning for 2017, several weeks ago we sent out a survey, via our email newsletter. We had an excellent response rate, and want to share some of the data with you, our readers.
47% of Seek Outside customers backpack 6 or more times a year, while 3% do not backpack at all. When backpacking 43% usually have a pack that weighs between 30 and 45 pounds, while 25% fall between 20 and 30 pounds, and 26% fall between 45 and 60 pounds. When asked for their three most important backpack features, fit and comfort (87%), ability to carry heavy weight comfortably (68%), and durability (56%) were the most frequently cited. Weight of the pack itself (40%) was a relatively close fourth.
34% of Seek Outside customers spend more than 20 days hunting big game each year, with 22% hunting between 10 and 20 days. When those hunters kill an animal, the most 36% will carry when packing out is 60-90 pounds, while 30% will carry between 90 and 120, and 5% will go above 120.
Lastly, a full 85% were "very satisfied" with their Seek Outside products, while 15% were "somewhat satisfied" and 0.25% were "not so satisfied". Room for improvement, but we'll take it.
In addition to general data of this type, our customers were very generous with their time, giving plenty of specific feedback about how they spend their time outdoors and about individual products. We have plenty of refinements and new ideas in the works for 2017. We can't release specifics just yet, but I spent the last two days of 2016 a few hours west of our home base, out in the wilds of the Colorado Plateau, testing pack fabrics and detailing in the most abusive environment I've yet found. When the final results of this, and much more, testing comes to fruition you will read about it here first.