From the Editor
We occasionally write to manufacturers we like, when we feel they're in the process of blundering. Normally these correspondence remain private. At Scramble we test gear and review products, but we also buy gear; we're customers too. So, if a manufacturer can't be bothered to respond to us (when in essence we're also providing them free advertising), that would seem to indicate a potential disregard for their customer base, which often doesn't bode well. So, we've decided, when we don't get a response (after a few months or so), as long as the letter is of interest, we'll publish it here.
The first such letter is one we wrote in August 2019 to Blue Ice.
Dragonflies & Warthogs: Defenceless Creatures as of 2019?
Dear Blue Ice
We just updated our review of the Blue Ice Dragonfly.
In our review of the 2015 and 2017 versions of the Dragonfly 18L pack we wrote:
"Blue Ice have armoured the two areas most likely to take a hammering: the base and the front face (that's the bit you land on, if you're lucky, when your foot hold crumbles from under you - don't ask). These areas are reinforced with heavy duty 420D rip-stop Cordura, and give the pack a spine."
It would appear the "spine" was removed in 2019 presumably because 420D ripstop Cordura is not cheap. In fact the high stress areas (on both Dragonflies and Warthogs) now have zero additional protection. You've also removed the daisy-chain webbing that was extremely useful.
We wish you luck with the latest Warthog and Dragonfly packs, however we have made it clear that we do NOT (and cannot) recommend these latest incarnations which we believe will severely hurt Blue Ice's reputation; a reputation that the older models had helped foster.
What made these packs so good was their weight to toughness ratio: ballistic nylon on the Warthogs (base and lower front), 420D Cordura on the Dragonflies (base and front). They were stripped down, relatively light, yet super tough. Now they're just light with increasingly less useful features. It's a shame.
In our view these packs were not broken and yet, in attempting to "fix" them, Blue Ice have broken them. We very much hope Blue Ice will return to making high quality, tough, minimalist gear its primary concern and that this move of production to the Philippines is not a signal that cost-cutting is king.