When is it ok to buy cheap?

  • Hey Guest, We've had to cancel our 2020 Summer BushMoot PLEASE LOOK HERE for more information.
Status
Not open for further replies.

Tony

White bear (Admin)
Admin
Apr 16, 2003
22,163
706
50
Wales
www.bushcraftuk.com
I'm prompted to start this thread after reading through the Sports Direct reducing Karrimor backpacks thread, I was going to comment there but it would have taken it way off subject.

So, we all like a bargain and we search them out whenever we can, looking for that cheap but amazing piece of kit. In the other thread Nice65 said this "There’s a lot of talk on this forum of cheap this and cheap that, like it’s a good thing. It sometimes is, but it’s often not."

I completely agree with him, but also, as I think he does, recognise that often it's the circumstances or activities that dictate if something is good, ok, or rubbish...

I sometimes by tools from Aldi, but only things I'm not going to use very often or I want for just one thing and and I don't care after that, If I want something to last me a long time and perform well I know that generally that's going to involve more money, time researching etc.

So, here's my question, when is cheap good and when should you be spending more money and not going cheap, I'm interested in sharing others opinions and experiences....
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
3,588
2,744
Mid Wales
It comes back to the old 'fit for purpose' question. A Ford Fiesta will do just as good a job as a Rolls Royce if all you want to do is drive five miles to get some groceries. It means you start by defining your requirement and then buying to fit it - not exceed it without justification and not skimp and compromise to save a few quid.

All too often people buy for a name or a reputation when that reputation is built around some well known user (often paid to promote a product). There are real bargains to be had in this pastime especially if you're buying to 'use' as opposed to 'collect and show'. Look at the material that stuff is made of and compare that first; very often you can get an item made by a less well publicised manufacturer for half the price - OK, yes, then look at how well it's made etc. but don't assume that a well known make is better quality. The same applies to tools such as knives and axes. If you defined what you want to use it for you'd never spend £300 or more on a knife when sub-£50 will do the same job (usually) - you're not spending that much on a tool, you're buying a craftsman's work of 'art' (which I understand and have nothing against).

So, cheap or not cheap? - aim to satisfy the defined requirement at sensible cost :)
 

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,262
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
I would lie to say I do not look on prices, but the cost is for me a secondary aspect.
The best possible quality is what I am after. I find it more and more difficult to be able to judge quality.
You were able to see the brand, and know what quality level it was on.
If the brand was unknown to me, I checked the country of manufacture.

This search for quality equipment was specially and hugely important during the pinnacle of my ‘bushcrafting’ when I spent weeks in the Scandinavian wilderness on my own. Quality, simplicity (less to go wrong) and fuctionality.

Cost: it used to be fairly simple: European made = quality = costlier than Asian made = low quality - cheap.

(Today you can find cheap, wellmade Asian stuff, unfortunately knockoffs ( copies) often.
I do not buy knock offs or copies, however cheap or well-made)


Important equipment I never buy over the Internet which limits my purchases to three shops in Northern Norway.

Well stocked thank the Gods!

I find for example that the s/s Mora is for me the best knife when outside the house. The steel is fantastic. Tip is difficult to break, edge difficult to chip.
The carbon or laminate blades are excellent too, but I do not like a rusty blade.
So - Cheap but top quality.

My cooking system of choice is the Trangia, including burner.
I bought last year a fancy Optimus multifuel POS quality burner, wanting to go modern and less messy. Pure POS. Noce design, components are junk. Assembly too.
I am not saying where it is cobbled together. Would I trust my life with it on a weekender in the mountains in Sweden?
Over my dead body I would!
Trangia is cheap but top quality
 
Last edited:

John Fenna

Lifetime Member & Maker
Oct 7, 2006
21,844
1,328
63
Pembrokeshire
For me - as I am sure it is with many - buying cheap is often the only option, due to lack of funds...
Sometimes cheap has to do and is often the poverty trap (buying cheap means needing to buy replacements more often while buying expensive well made stuff means less frequent replacement - if one good one outlasts cheap by a factor of four then if the cheap need replacing 5 times in the lifetime of one expensive item then the cheap works out more expensive in the long run, despite your not initially being able to afford the good item...) landing you in that place between a rock and a hard place!
 

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,262
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
If the cheap equipment fails you you might not need to worry about buying it again.

It depends on where you are bushcrafting, are you a kilometer from the nearest house it is ok.

There is a reason equipment designed in Fenno Scandinavia is as functional and high quality as it is.
Unfortunately, due to the taxation system, it is usually expensive.
 

Duggie Bravo

Nomad
Jul 27, 2013
422
74
Dewsbury
Like others it depends what I am buying.
I will often wait for the end of line sale and get last years model, in most cases there are only cosmetic changes eg colour etc.

One advantage of buying cheap and replacing regularly is that you get a new item. I used to wear Karrimor trail shoes at £19.95, they would last a summer and get thrown out. Each year I would have a brand new, pleasant smelling pair of shoes to live in. One year I had some extra cash and bought more expensive shoes that lasted longer, 2 Years, but I was glad to see the back of them!

Also with some kit the new item that you replace 4 times is 5 Years is lighter and has new features compared to the old expensive item. My Berghaus Crusader is 30 Years old and still in excellent condition, but how does it compare to a modern one?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
  • Like
Reactions: KenThis

Erbswurst

Native
Mar 5, 2018
1,590
579
Berlin
What I am carrying in the rucksack is light, durable and may cost a bit more.
My shoes are expensive, but for the rest of my clothing I use Decathlon hunting equipment or military surplus, for example the olive Austrian uniforms.
They are (each) round about 100 to 200 € cheaper, than the same polycotyon mix clothing from Fälräven, and in my opinion it is a better quality.

So by using Austrian army shirt, jacket and trousers I can easily save 400 €, compared to Fälräven. And so I am free to invest it in light weight equipment, I have to carry in my rucksack.

I highly recommend to every beginner to use his money in this way.

(Who is interested in Austrian Uniforms can find them at "Army Warehouse".)
 
Last edited:
Jul 24, 2017
1,162
443
somerset
Tools I'll spend and not mind the cost same with anything I know I have to rely on to work, also they tend to last. I consider both brand and word of mouth to sum up what is good, boots and packs I like surplus which will tend to be cheap but tough, just make sure its a good fit, things like saw's, jeans, socks an pants cheap as I tend to kill them! I think if you go cheap it may need uprating, fixing or replacing more so.
 

Nice65

Full Member
Apr 16, 2009
4,748
1,367
55
W.Sussex
One advantage of buying cheap and replacing regularly is that you get a new item. I used to wear Karrimor trail shoes at £19.95, they would last a summer and get thrown out. Each year I would have a brand new, pleasant smelling pair of shoes to live in.

Also with some kit the new item that you replace 4 times is 5 Years is lighter and has new features compared to the old expensive item. My Berghaus Crusader is 30 Years old and still in excellent condition.
Thanks for starting the thread Tony, I’m no eco warrior or fighter for human rights, but I do have an increasing respect for the planet we live on and its inhabitants.

Duggie, I disagree that the manufacture of your trail shoes and the ability to easily replace them is justified in any way. I’m not trying to miff you at all, I think it’s a fact for many of us that we ignore the pillage of the planet and its human workers. It really is easily ignored while we enjoy our shiny new gear.

Your comment about the Crusader suggests you’re well aware that good kit can last a long time.

Plastic, both it’s production and lack of proper disposal, is big news and rightly so. In real terms it’s not cheap at all. Every time we wash our amazing fleeces, we wash microfibres into our oceans. I’m tending to take a gentle and learned approach rather than a ridiculous kneejerk reaction and consider how I buy. If it costs me very little, then the chances are it’s cost a lot somewhere down the line.

I will buy cheap. If, for instance, I see a stove for sale on a Chinese supermarket website that I see on eBay or Amazon at twice the price, I’ll tend to go for the Chinese one because the seller on eBay or Amazon is hiking the price by importing the exact same stove. I don’t want to go into politics, but Amazon, Sports Direct, and many other companies treat their workers with no respect, forcing them to perform for naff all money. This is the same with the delivery companies who must complete their deliveries to get paid.

Sorry if this post is a bit of a muddle, it’s just my immediate thoughts. I used to think you lot were a bit barmy with your repurposed blanket jumpers etc, now I’m not so sure. ;)
 

Fadcode

Full Member
Feb 13, 2016
2,341
557
Cornwall
Surely one of the highlights of this argument must be the Mora as opposed to other similar knives, what we should remember is that what may seem cheap to us may be extremely expensive to others, I remember back in the 70,s on the way back from Iraq, I had to reload in Budapest I got to the factory at night, and was let in by a young student working his way thru uni working as a security guard we got talking and it ended up me giving this impoverished student a calculator, it cost me about £2.99, he said it would take him 2 years to earn enough to buy a calculator, his yearly wage was about $25(us).
I have bought many items from China, not only very cheap but free postage, recently bought 3 cable strippers for 99pence with free postage, the same cable strippers on eBay for £1.99 each plus postage, a saving to me of £5 plus, it's a no brainier, apart from the fact that most items even branded ones are made in China, I find the quality is quite acceptable, but I must admit that I do wonder how much the workers get and the conditions they work under.
 
Jul 24, 2017
1,162
443
somerset
I hope I'm not bending the thread too off topic but a good thing to consider with all you have, is the 3 levels of purpose, prime is what it was made for, re-work and re-use can it or part of it work for some thing else? and last part out and scrap, could I use say pins or screws from it ?etc ....its also funny cleaning down you car with an old pair of the little woman's nickers as the neighbour's look on:D
 
  • Like
Reactions: Fadcode

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,262
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
What I am carrying in the rucksack is light, durable and may cost a bit more.
My shoes are expensive, but for the rest of my clothing I use Decathlon hunting equipment or military surplus, for example the olive Austrian uniforms.
They are (each) round about 100 to 200 € cheaper, than the same polycotyon mix clothing from Fälräven, and in my opinion it is a better quality.

So by using Austrian army shirt, jacket and trousers I can easily save 400 €, compared to Fälräven. And so I am free to invest it in light weight equipment, I have to carry in my rucksack.

I highly recommend to every beginner to use his money in this way.

(Who is interested in Austrian Uniforms can find them at "Army Warehouse".)
The explanation is quite simple. Army (any Army) clothing is made to very high specs of the best possible materials.
Fjällräven today is made from dirt cheap materials in the Far East.
The Fjällräven of old, before they turned ’profit hounds’ was superior in quality, fit and longevity.

Fjällräven used the same clothes manufacturers in the past as the Swedish Armed Forces

Your used uniform bits are thus of a fantastic quality! You would be surprised of the cost if a civilian company ordered clothes of similar design, same fabricks and assembly quality and then sold to you!

These is a reason ex mil stuff is so dought after. Quality and very affordable when second hand!

Btw it is Fjällräven, it means Arctic Fox in Swedish.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: CLEM

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,262
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
I hope I'm not bending the thread too off topic but a good thing to consider with all you have, is the 3 levels of purpose, prime is what it was made for, re-work and re-use can it or part of it work for some thing else? and last part out and scrap, could I use say pins or screws from it ?etc ....its also funny cleaning down you car with an old pair of the little woman's nickers as the neighbour's look on:D
My womans knickers could maybe clean the spokes on the rims.......
:)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Chomp

Macaroon

A bemused & bewildered
Jan 5, 2013
7,115
270
70
SE Wales
To buy something cheap just to throw it away after one year's use is, as far as I'm concerned, totally immoral; just completely wrong in all respects. To base any purchasing decision soley on your own convenience is unacceptable when you consider the environmental problems we now face; it's just unsustainable and is a prime symptom of the disease called affluenza.

There's just more to it than personal considerations now, and the sooner we all face that fact the better the chance we have of collectively bettering the place we, and everybody else, live in.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.