Bill Interview #4: Why Choose Outdoor Connection
So yeah, we're selling to families so you just can't sell stuff to a family that first isn't gonna last them and be good value you know cuz even if something's cheap if it doesn't last it's not good value just costs them money and the second thing is people are going to take their kids on holidays you know.
So you want them to have a good time you know and to feel good in the tent comfortable in the tent so kids aren't whingeing because they're hot you know everything doesn't get wet if it rains like yeah we're trying to make a product that people will enjoy and families enjoy it we're really into our forte is the family camping market and we really try hard to make good product that familes can take away and be confident in it and that they can enjoy their holiday you know that's why we try better.
Wow that's the question of the modern age isn't it really things look cheap but really what what are we doing you know we're all trying to look after our world better so why get a tent that's that's used up resources to make and then use it once and then throw it away and it goes in this landfill and fills up the world with rubbish you know by look look to buy a tent that will last you a few years you know and one of my philosophies was has been that we want to sell a young fella or a tent then that might be a cheap 2- man that might sell for forty nine dollars or something rather when I say cheap in inverted commas you know you can buy for 30 bucks or 40 bucks for 50 bucks.
But buy a quality tent that you can enjoy and then you know our my things being if young fella buys a tent that's good and it lasts in a few years and it's still a good tent when he's finished with it then he'll come back and he'll buy the next model might be a tent like the our Weekender where you know go away with your girlfriend for a weekend and you've got a tent you can really enjoy and then you have a family well you get a two room or a three man tent and at the same time that's got to be comfortable.
So people can enjoy it and your own kids can then enjoy their camping so that's the that's really why we try to do things the way we do to make things good for people through all the stages of their camping lives you know and later you can see now with these air pole tents they're just ideal for people going on tours and so forth you know pull the thing out if you don't want to pump it up yourself put an electric pump on and sit down and have a beer and enjoy the sunset you know.
So you know this tents within the range and and people can go from being young blokes going camping for a weekend through to doing four-wheel-drive trips around Australia when you're retired or semi-retired or whatever so it's it's again that's a nice part of the business you know that association with people right through.
It flows over to into other products of course things like chairs you know why why why have a chair that why would anyone want to buy a chair that's not really comfortable and it's not gonna last a long time you know I remember I was a at a show in Cairns and I was helping the local retailers and there was a fella sitting in a chair and I sort of went up to him I said, “Oh, can I you know help you with anything?” and he said now he said, “I'm sitting in this chair I bought one here last two years ago last year I just forget which,” and he said, “it's been all around Australia and I'm just here with my mate and we're gonna buy another one,”
So and that that sort of feedback really makes you feel good you know around the tents you know it shows again I've done a few shows giving the local retailers a bit of a hand and telling people about the tents and I remember walking up to to a woman in Cairns and she was standing in front of a Weekender and I said to her, “Can I tell you anything about the tents?” she said, “No. I've got one of these,” and she said, “I've been standing here trying to work out how I could design it better and I haven't been able to think of anything,” and I thought what a great tribute to Sandy.
And the quality of the product and you get we get that sort of feedback you know particularly around the design of the tents they're easy to put up and they're so comfortable and open and airy and cool you know as compared to a tent of lesser quality so yeah you get that sort of feedback all the time makes you feel pretty good one of the problems that you have people have is that they think they're trying to buy something and they don't know about camping and so it's very hard for them you know so I'm not sure I have the answer to that but our tents are the answer to that.
When people go to buy a tent I think they're looking for two things one is comfort and the other is security so in in the comfort ventilation the two two things ventilation you know we live in a hot climate and we generally go camping when it's hot in the holidays and so you need good ventilation so you need windows and the Ventura flow and the big you know most of our tents have the big omega good door so you get maximum air to flow through your door and the whole tent is designed.
So that if there's a sniff of breeze from any direction you can pick it up and then get it so that would be the first thing waterproofing all our tents are between two and three thousand millimeters water head now you know some people claim it and don't have it we definitely have it matter of fact the tents we say a three thousand test out to about four and a half thousand now that means you can get into a heavy tropical rainstorm and there'll be no spray or mist inside the tent you can have the tent up for you know two days of rain and you're not going to have water inside your tent.
So I think those are the two things you've got to look at you know it is the tent water is it comfortable and is it waterproof so comfort nice height and ventilation and the waterproofing is in the quality of the fabric and then you want to know for your own security when you spend the money is it going to tear apart in the first windstorm so with that probably the the weight of the fabric is probably the best indicator I guess have a have a feel of the fabric you can you can feel the difference in a good fabric if you you know get used to if you go around and feel a few different ones you can get a feel for the fabric and look at the advertised water head.
So you know we do all sorts of little things little gussets on windows to protect the zip so what like if you don't have a little gusset on the window and then you pole your window out and then you get a heavy wind you you could rip that apart at the end that zip and all the sudden you've got to put a new zip on a window and you're up for a hundred dollars or something or other so you know little gussets on a window save that and it's all that kind of small detail reinforcing around the floor you know reinforcing where your zips are where your poles are you know looking at your tent for example we have sleeves in the top of our tents now that that supports the whole tent a lot of people do you know a lot of companies do it cheaply and just have hooks that go over the poles well that puts a lot of pressure at one point.
So there are things to look at things that that take the pressure off the tent you know it every tent's good when the weather's like this and it's nice and calm and all that sort of thing it's it's when the pressure comes on when when the big storm hits that's that's when you need a good tent. We want people to be confident that what we say is is true and again load ratings you can you can put you know 250 or 300 kilos you can probably stack 300 kilos in cement bags on this chair and that's fine you know when it's new and one thing another but give it a few years and it's been knocked around a bit you know someone falls into it from six feet away when they have full of beer one night but you know all of a sudden the thing tears and collapses and so forth.
So that's the reason really you can you know load ratings should be about is the chair going to last for years if we put this load rating on it all the time and load ratings when you when you when you're sitting in a chair you know sitting in it's one thing you know but when you when you just sit down like that you're putting about well I just forget the number but it's two to three times your weight in pressure on the chair at that point in time so there's no point in saying the chairs 400 kilos if you could get a 400 kilo block into one
But you know all of a sudden you'd have someone drops into it and they've got a ton of pressure on it you know or if we call the chair you know we say chairs suitable for 110 or 120 kilos maximum then if omeone plonks into it you know they've got three or four hundred kilos worth of weight going down on a chair so you really can't give it that weight you need to give it a proper you know a reasonable weight that a reasonable person can accept that they'll be safe in you