Great pack deals at EMS

Gregory Z55 on sale!

Packtastic.

Eastern Mountain Sports is having a clearance sale on packs and has the Gregory Z55 on sale for under $140. That’s a solid deal for a serious pack. A quick glance and blind trust in the digital asset manager for the company’s Web site tells me it’s the previous model, which is not a detriment by any means but may explain the price.

I’ve owned this pack for years and its a great model, perfect for trips a few days in length. But it could do more, easily. It’s safe to say this is the stallion in Gregory’s stable.

Get on it!

Big box or local outfitter?

REI

LEED, anyone?

REI, EMS and Patagonia retail centers sure do have a lot offer. REI’s co-op membership even offers a sweet refund every year of a small percentage of your annual buy. Pretty solid.

But do the larger outdoor retailers leave service behind? How about knowledge of local destinations, trail access or climbing routes?

I think your level of service can vary, really. I’ve visited some small local shops only to feel like some sort of interloper. Now, I should note that sort of reception is more common in the surfing culture, especially when it comes to local breaks (there will forever be debate in the surfing world about the role of localism) but there can be an equally negative vibe in gear shops near highly coveted climbing locales.

For the most part, I’ve almost always had good service in an REI, for example, but have occasionally been challenged by a customer service rep or two about returning an item. Hey, it’s in your policy.

Anyway, what’s your take?