A Campfire Chat With Bill

A Campfire Chat With Bill


What's Your Favourite Camping Memory?

I think as a young bloke in Western Queensland, traveling around. I used to work out of Charleville. And, yeah pulling up a swag behind the gidgee log on a winter's night in Southwest Queensland with the stars... It was just fantastic. It'd take your breath away.

Then, camping with the family. After we left Surat... came down and we were in the camping business. And we went back and camped on the river with the family. And that was... that's very, that's memorable to me. 

And then, what I call camping with the cat. I've got the dog now. But I'm camping with the cat, with the catamaran up on Lake Cootharaba. There was a great thing with the family....You know, just...It made a difference! There was no TV. There was nothing. It was just us.

What Sets Outdoor Connection Apart?

As you say, there are other products which are slightly in different fields to ours. For example, we're not particularly in the four-wheel drive field, although we have very good products for that field, but that's not our specialty. Our specialty is family camping. And within that range we have always tried to produce something better. And, we have very experienced people who all camp and who've all camped with families.

So, we have a very good grip on what a family needs when they go camping. And then, we look at it and we think, "So what do we need to do? What is it that would be good to do?" So, what we do that is good is produce a better quality product. We take a lot of time.

Sandy, our general manager, takes a lot of time over going over chairs in detail to make sure they're  they're sewn right, they're built right and they're comfortable. He takes a lot of time over going over tents. They're sewn right, how do they work and how are they comfortable, how are they... Does it serve people when they actually use the thing? 

I think that's what sets us apart. We have a group of people who really think about, carefully about, what we do, and what we produce,  and is it good for people. It's not just some thing we make up a story about and want to flog. It's a real product that will be great for people.

What Experience Does Outdoor Connection Offer New Campers?

It's hard, I think. You know I've got degrees and I understand physics and chemistry and stuff, and we put a bit of that into our product. Sandy has this great experience in camping. Peta the same. And we put that into our product. The average person...It's like me buying a computer. I don't have a damn clue about how the things work. And when a person goes to buy a tent, it's the same.

And I think that people can have confidence in our brand.  We try to do the right thing. We try to build a better product. We try to make a product that will last a long time. We try to make a product that makes camping enjoyable for people.

So, that's where we aim to be. We want to be people that families and other people can have confidence in.

Who's Your Ideal Customer?

I think they're mainly people... Firstly, we would like to have customers who really want to look after their gear. Our gear is worth looking after. Secondly, I think that our customer is really interested in quality and they're really interested in the technical details, and they're prepared to look further.

Our stuff's not expensive if you look at it in terms of what it gives you. It's really good value, and people are prepared to look at a bit of technical detail about things. Our stuff is, it's stronger or it it provides more...  You know when you're camping, a several years ago and there was some three things there were most... three things I can only remember two, but  waterproofing, of course, and ventilation you know, and if you look at our tents... they're far superior to anything else around in both those categories.  

We need people who are interested in having that quality of product and that's what they want. They want something that will last and they want something that they will enjoy for a long time.  

What Features Do You Believe Quality Camping Products Should Have?

They have to be suited to the purpose. They have to be useful. There's a lot of products being sold that aren't useful as far as camping goes. Camping's, in its own way, is pretty simple. They've got to be useful to people and they've got to be easy to use. So tent's got to be easy to put up. 

The furniture's got to be easy to assemble. Your kitchen tables and so forth have to be reasonably easy to assemble, compact. There's a whole lot of considerations there and we try to cover a few options in that regard. I think above all, that the gear is of a quality that it will last. It's not going to fall apart on the first use.

The other thing about that is providing the accessories for the gear. For example, if you have a tent and and you put it up. You buy this tent  and you put it up, and it's got little pegs. And you know, in soft ground, the first  thing that's going to happen in the wind is they're going to pull up, and the whole thing tears apart.

Having good pegs in the tent might add 30 or 40 or 50 dollars to its retail price.  But what the heck is a tent without pegs that will stay in the ground? So we pay attention to accessories that will make the whole thing work. It's... you don't buy just a tent and you don't buy just a table. You're buying a system of things that you need to work. That's what we  try to produce, really. It's a system of things that work for that group, a particular group of people.

A Campfire Chat With Bill


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