Six reasons I’m not convinced by the Apricoat

Some of you may, like me, have been identified on Facebook as the kind of adventurous go-getter who would be in the target market to see a million adverts for the Apricoat, a kick-starter project to design a new coat. But obviously because it’s a kickstarter project it’s not just any coat, it’s the world’s most innovative coat designed by a man who nearly died and then decided to make a coat.

Great.

It might be a brilliant coat, and I might be slightly biased against it having been pissed off by seeing their crappy clickbait adverts one too many times on Facebook, but whatever. I watched the video (see below) and here are six reasons (with quite a few sub-reasons) I’m not going to be funding it.

1. Punching Teddy Bears

It opens with a man punching a teddy bear. And I really, really like teddy bears.

2. Dubious claims

20 seconds in, it claims to be cheaper than ‘big-brand’ companies because ‘they spend their money on ads and stores’ while Apricoat spends their money on ‘research, development and materials’.

  • Apricoat have quite clearly spent a lot of money on Facebook ads so, you know, their argument starts to fall down there but I accept that Facebook ads are probably cheaper than double-page spreads in Outside magazine, or TV spots. Fine.
  • Does he really think that big-name brands aren’t spending money on R&D and materials? Sure, a Patagonia, Rab or Arc’Teryx coat is incredibly expensive but it is the product of years of R&D, of working from the experience of countless outdoors enthusiasts, of adjustments and improvements and learning what works and what doesn’t. And I’m also pretty confident that they use some of the best materials available. So, yes, when you buy your Patagonia coat you’re partly paying for the name, you’re partly paying for the bricks and mortar stores and maybe you’re sort of paying for the advertising (but I’m going to dispute that in a second) but you’re also paying for the certainty that comes with buying from people who really know what they’re doing.
  • If big-name brands spend money on advertising does that necessarily make their products more expensive? Maybe, but maybe not. Advertising increases sales, and more sales generally means greater per-item profitability, which might actually keep the prices of items down. It varies a lot from business to business but my point is that it’s nonsense to try and claim that just because you don’t advertise (even though you do…) your product will necessarily be cheaper.

3. The thing with all the pockets

So, when I looked into this coat and what all it’s innovative features were, it basically comes down to ‘it has a fuck-tonne of pockets’. Which is fine, but I’ve got a couple of small issues with that and one big one. Firstly, it’s very gadget-centric; like, this coat will save your life because you’ve got so many gadgets in your pockets, not because the coat is actually any good. Realistically what’ll probably happen is you’ll end up with pockets full of old sweet wrappers and bits of fluff, and chuck your phone in the one nearest your hand, but whatever. My bigger problem is that having a single coat with a pocket for everything makes no sense for anyone who dresses using a layering system. Which, as far as I know, is every serious hiker/adventurer. I love all of my outdoors kit, but no individual item stands alone – it’s all part of a system, where I’m taking stuff off and putting it on depending on my activity level and the weather. That’s one reason why I hardly put anything in my coat pockets on a hike.

4. The harness feature

Honestly, I feel like this project started with an idea – a hi-tech outdoorsy coat filled with interesting features*, and then the designers realised that actually there aren’t many features you can throw into a coat to make it more useful for adventure, because all anyone wants is for it to be warm, waterproof and breathable, and all the big companies are already spending millions on R&D to achieve that, so they just started to throw anything at it they could think of. So we get a load of pockets… and a built in harness.
Look, the idea is ok, but: a) you’ve got the same problem as above in terms of layers, b) you’re adding a whole major feature to a coat for a very, very niche scenario. Presumably it adds both cost and weight, so you’re taking that hit for the unlikely event that you need to be hauled up by somebody who has a rope but no harness (so not a professional rescuer then) and also doesn’t know how to tie a basic under-the-arms loop, which I’m pretty sure is all this inbuilt harness is anyway.
And, you know, if you really want the ability to easily clip in for safety – wear a rigger belt with a tie-in point. It’s what I do and it’s a lot easier, cheaper and more comfortable.

In addition, it’s worth bearing in mind that the Apricoat safety harness isn’t properly tested to the relevant safety standards and may well break if subject to a non-static load, such as a small fall. 

5. The built-in features are either irrelevant or pointless:

  • GPS spot – you can just buy one if you want one. This is nothing special.
  • A built in solar battery – see above. And, once again, having it ‘built-in’ just makes this a pain when layering.
  • An inflatable pillow. Really? Can we rewind to the bit where they said this is a coat for ‘real adventurers’? See point 4 about desperately scrabbling around for features. Once again, you’re adding cost and weight for a totally pointless feature. I don’t ‘nap’ when I’m hiking, and if I really do need to get my head down I’ll sleep on my backpack or on a rolled-up jacket. I mean, come on.

6. “We tried many other coats and just weren’t happy”.
What with? Their lack of pockets? The fact they don’t double-up as a safety harness? That there’s no fucking in-built fucking pillow? I don’t get it! I’ve watched the whole video and I can sum up what’s so innovative about this coat as:

  • Lots of pockets.
  • If you buy a more expensive version of the coat it’ll come with things in the pockets, but you can also buy those things on Amazon and put them in the pockets of your own coat if you like.
  • It’s warm and cool and waterproof and lightweight. I can’t test this claim but I’m going to hazard a guess that this coat hasn’t invented any mysterious new fabrics that the combined R&D departments of every other outdoor gear manufacturer on the planet have failed to. Despite being shiny on the inside.
  • Has a fucking pillow in the hood.
  • Looks good everywhere (unlike, say, a Patagonia coat which obviously no one ever wears as a fashion item because it looks so terrible.)
  • Aaaaand, that’s it.

I feel bad (a bit) because I’m sure these are nice guys, and I’m sure they’re trying to do something cool, but like so many things on Kickstarter it seems to be 60% over-inflated claim of being innovative and unique, 30% cool/funny/quirky video and 10% actual substance.

If anyone gets one of these coats please do get in touch and I’d genuinely love to know what you think.

 

*I’m right by the way – I noticed after writing this that the Kickstarter page even says that the coat started with a discussion between two friends on a hiking trip about ‘what would make the best adventure coat’. Well it kinda shows.

13 thoughts on “Six reasons I’m not convinced by the Apricoat

    1. Ah, I’m sure it won’t be terrible – I’m just not convinced it’ll be quite as good as they’re making out. I guess it hasn’t been sent yet? When it arrives I’d love to hear more about what you think of it.

    2. THIS COMPANY is a SCAM, they STEALED my MONEY, and 1 year later the said this.

      According to BackerKit, your item was shipped on May 23, 2018. Unfortunately, tracking information that was provided by our courier service is no longer available to view online. Feel free to contact FedEx (1.800.463 3339) in order to locate your package FDX 2907169156.

      We, sadly, cannot take responsibility for jackets that were shipped and were not received. We sent out tracking numbers and made it possible to notify us regarding any changes in address prior to shipping

      THIS PEOPLE THINK WE ARE STUPID. THE NEVER SENT A TRACKING, NOR THE JACKET, AND 8 MONTHS LATER SAY THEY ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE, AND THIS TRACKING NUMBER IS INVALID…. ARE YOU KIDDING ME

      REFUND OR SENT THE PRODUCT.

      THIS IS A SCAAAAAAMMMM. !!!!

  1. I will get one as well and about to write a review once it arrives. You have some good points here but it’s hard to judge before testing it first. You could add an update as they actually cancelled the whole harness thing from the jacket (the most unique idea of it) as it might not be safe after all.

  2. Thankyou!

    I found the pocket in the back o hold your water bladder particularly hilarious – given that a water bladder is by nature heavy and water proof this will make for a very sweaty back and also make wearing a rucksack uncomfortable/impossible?

    1. Amazing – somehow I missed that! I cannot see any good reasons why I’d want a water bladder in my jacket and, like you say, about five reasons I wouldn’t!

  3. Hi, you were right. This was a well prepared scam.
    This jacket is cheap production from China without half of features it was advertised.

    There are many pissed of people.

    It is not even winter jacket, as it lacks any insulation.

    Criminals.

    1. Really interesting to hear – I’d love to know more about the final product if you can point me to any reviews you’ve seen, or if you have any pictures of your own one?

  4. yeah the jacket is shit.. its not made for winter and they “forgot” to add items i paid for. also they stiched their logo (upside down) on the hood without notifiying the backers. the material is some cheap chinese crap which stinks like a factory.

    they badly scammed us.

    you can view the reviews on kickstarter

  5. I’ve been following the kickstarter with something of a morbid interest since I was bombarded we ads last summer

    Looking at the kickstarter page comments section now, it’d be easy to feel smug that it looks like it was a somewhere between a total bait and switch scam and just some people with no idea ehat they were doing promising what they couldn’t deliver with a flash you marketing campaign. (if you read the comments you’ll see that the jacket variously: never arrived, is bizarrely sized, isn’t breathable, isnt warm, isn’t waterproof, has stitching errors, didn’t come with the proposed gadgets and features etc…)

    However I just feel sad that a SO MANY people could be so easily fleeced (no pun intended) of their money for an outdoors product, simply by flashy marketing. The platform has potential to support the creation of innovative new outdoors kit, and I guess there have probably also been really good ideas on there that have turned into successful and useful outdoors products.

    Perhaps instead of a review of the jacket, you should do an article
    about the relationship between crowdfunding and outdoors gear in general?

  6. As one of those suckers that was sucked in by the flashy marketing campaign, I can tell you that the jacket was a piece of shit! It very obviously was simply a jacket they had sourced from some Chinese manufacturer of very dubious quality, added a few pockets and minor customisations, and that was it. The sizing was very obviously Chinese type sizing, way too small.

    For me what is worse than this company ripping people off, is the lack of any care whatsoever by Kickstarter. They simply don’t give a shit once they have taken their cut. My first Kickstarter investment, and it will be my last. Lesson learned…

    1. Sorry to hear it. The coat sounds even worse than I expected.
      Not sure if you’re familiar with the plot of The Producers but sometimes Kickstarter feels a bit like that: someone has made the calculation that there’s more profit to be made by raising a tonne of money for a product that quickly fails than there is by investing it into developing a high-quality long-term venture.

      Offer is still open to purchase or borrow someone’s Apricoat for review!

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