BackCountry Review

Editor’s Rating: 4.8/5
reviewed March 13, 2015

BackCountry.com is a website for rugged outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen. If you’re outdoors right now, climbing up the north face of Mt. Everest and reading this article on your smartphone during a break, than this firm is definitely for you. And if you seek outdoor adventure on a slightly lighter scale, than they will likely be of interest to you as well.

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Back Country offers rugged outdoor clothing for men and women, and their line-up encompasses a remarkable range of makers, with Black Diamond, Patagonia, Marmoset, North Face, and Mountain Hardware all included. A full accounting is not really possible. The website itself is forced to list the brands it carries alphabetically, and the “A” section alone contains sixty listings. So everything you could imagine is here.

The company was started in 1996 literally in a garage in Park City, Utah. By fixing their sites on providing the best outdoor gear available to its customers, as well as expert-level gear knowledge, the company has attracted both the committed outdoors sports community and the community of occasional explorers as well.

The company is part of the Backcountry family of companies, and as a result BackCountry includes, and links to, Competitive Cyclist, which provides the gear and information you would need to pursue biking “on trail or tarmac,” and promises that even though it is an online store, visitors will lose none of the personalized service that can be available at a local bike store. Their site boasts of expert knowledge, an impressive product line, and exemplary service.

BackCountry.com - Online retailer site for outdoor gear, clothing, ski, snowboarding equipment and more

The BackCountry family also includes Dogfunk, which provides an online board shopping experience serving skaters, surfers, and ”shredheads,” Motorsport, which serves power sports enthusiasts for all “throttle-powered gear,” BergFreunde, which is an online source for high-end outdoor gear in Europe, Steep& Cheap, for the budget-minded outdoors-person, and Chainlove, which refers to all things biking.

Let’s take a rugged mountain bike-like tour through the twists and turns of BackCountry, the firm that lies at the heart of this online empire of an emporium.

Product Offerings

The site starts out by offering to fully clothe you for any outdoor activity you could imagine. Not just underwear, but “base layers” are offered for that mountain-climbing or winter camping excursion, and these include stylish form-fitting thermal underthings from Giordana, Mavic, and Spyder and more. Just in case the worst happens on Everest, this is definitely underwear that you would be willing to be caught dead in.

BackCountry.com - Online retailer site for outdoor gear, clothing, ski, snowboarding equipment and more

The site wisely includes articles, linkable directly from the shopping pages, that offer instruction on what items you will need to pack for particular trips (whether for biking, camping, or for other activities), along with useful explanations. Sample titles include The Art of Layering for Cycling and The Transition to Trail Running. With this site, as you become physically equipped as well, you will become mentally equipped as well.

Their women’s listings include dresses and skirts. A glance at their rugged offerings in this category shows some very flattering items of apparel that can be work perhaps on the way to outdoor sports activities, if not necessarily while you’re pursuing them.

Once you’re clothed, the company offers gear for any number of outdoor activities, with links direct to gear from hiking and camping, biking, climbing, skiing, snowboarding, running, fly-fishing, and paddling, which encompasses kayaking and canoeing. Just peeking at the snowboarding offerings shows us freestyle snowboards, all mountain snowboards, and others categorized as wide, women’s freestyle, women’s all-mountain, and men’s or women’s lace or speed lace, among others. Accessories include stomp pads, split snowboard skins, and binding accessories.

The firm serves your avalanche safety needs with avalanche beacons, and avalanche survival gear including probes. And to enhance your snowboarding experience right up until that avalanche hits, they sell helmet and audio accessories as well.

BackCountry.com - Online retailer site for outdoor gear, clothing, ski, snowboarding equipment and more

Camping gear starts with categories for sleeping bags, including liners, which will let you convert a spring/fall bag into a winter bag, tents for any combination of seasons, and backpacks for any combination of treks. Kitchen gear includes, well, everything, and in the lightweight and packable forms critical for outdoor exploring, and their accessories include trekking poles, solar power, wilderness first aid, lighting, camp furniture including showers, and GSP navigation devices. The only thing missing is a mule to carry it all.

BackCountry.com - Online retailer site for outdoor gear, clothing, ski, snowboarding equipment and more

Prices

The price range for the company’s products is a wide as the brand name selection is vast. You can get a Crux Torpedo 350 41-degree sleeping bag for $850, or find cheaper bags for under $100. Their Steep & Cheap sister site is clearly the place to go for deals and discounts, but good value is very much available right on backcountry as well.

BackCountry.com - Online retailer site for outdoor gear, clothing, ski, snowboarding equipment and more

Criticism Of The Company

The company has secured a loyal and satisfied customer base, and positive reviews center on the quality of the products sold by the company and on customer support. The company was also praised for being one of the few that accepts PayPal, which is particularly useful for consumers who are purchasing from outside the U.S. There have been criticisms of a change in store policy, under which a prior lifetime guarantee for identified products was terminated, and customers complained that this change should not have applied to past purchases.

Customer Support

The firm regularly offers shipping deals, such as a current offer for free two-day shipping on orders of $50, and this will prove attractive to shoppers who wish to focus their expenditures on the items they buy. The company also offers 24-hour chat support, so you can find out anything not already described on the website or in one of the many essays and articles shown to you as you pursue your shopping experience.

BackCountry.com - Online retailer site for outdoor gear, clothing, ski, snowboarding equipment and more

The firm recognizes that slap-yourself-in-the-head feeling that occurs when you buy a product just before it goes on sale, and they have found a remedy. If you buy an item that is put on sale within thirty days of your purchase, let the company know and they will credit your account for the difference. Now that’s an idea so crazy it just might work. It certainly works for us.

The firm uses UPS for international deliveries, and USPS to Canada. Fees and taxes do apply to purchases. You can contact the firm through live 24/7 chat, email, or by calling during regular stores hours to their main offices in Salt Lake City, Utah. If you order during the day on a weekday, and use two-day delivery or next day delivery, your item will be shipped out on that same day if it is in stock. UPS of course does not count weekend days as business days, so the company doesn’t either. Economy shipping, for those who are willing to wait in exchange for keeping a little money in their pockets, will take 10-12 days, and APO/FPO overseas delivery will be 3-6 weeks.

Parting Thoughts

BackCountry.com - Online retailer site for outdoor gear, clothing, ski, snowboarding equipment and more

BackCountry really is a one-stop shop for all things outdoors. Probably the most welcoming and thoughtful feature is the article links that are included on the product pages that take you to information about the sport you’re dressing up and getting equipped for, providing you with what you need to know at just the time when you need it. And the decision to back-credit your account in case you just missed a sale is another good feature. While there will always be a place for in-person sports stores, if you’re comfortable with online purchases for your sports apparel and equipment, this company is for you, and if you haven’t yet tried online shopping out for such goods, there’s a good chance the site will make you feel right at home.

BackCountry.com - Online retailer site for outdoor gear, clothing, ski, snowboarding equipment and more
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