Thursday, August 5, 2010

If It’s Broken, You Weren’t Using it the Right Way!!!

We tend to hear this a lot from people when it comes to backpacking, camping and bushcraft gear. "Did your tent fail? You shouldn’t have had it out in such strong winds!" "Did your knife brake? You should have used an axe for that task!"

Those statements are technically true, but they have to be considered when evaluating a product. If I am buying a knife for $10, it is hard for me to complain when it brakes while I am hammering it through a piece of wood. It is perfectly fair to say "You get what you pay for" or "This is a good knife, but it has its limitations".

What annoys me is when people try to use such arguments to defend the position that their tool of choice is the best one. "Did the knife I recommended for you to take into the woods brake? You must have been using it in the wrong way!" Again, if it had been made clear from the beginning that this knife should only be used for x,y, and z tasks, then that is fine. Don’t however tell someone that it is the best knife around. Don’t blame the user of the tool for a failure to specify the product's limitations. Don’t make assumptions about how it will be used in the woods. If it is the "best" carving knife, then that is fine. Don’t however advertise it as the best bush knife, because for many people, using a knife in the bush may constitute a lot more than carving spoons.

The one I hear most often is "You shouldn’t have been batoning with the knife. That is what axes are for". That statement is as true as it is useless. It is the same as saying that cars are made for driving, not crashing, so why would you need seat belts and air bags. Telling someone who has had to use a tool in a certain way that that is not the intended use of that tool, does not do anyone any good. If the tool is not supposed to be used in certain ways, then make that clear from the beginning, don’t just assume that everyone’s activities in the woods mirror yours.

Just my two cents.