Unsponsored, Unaffiliated, Unbiased, and Unfiltered Gear (and Travel) Recommendations

Unsponsored, Unaffiliated, Unbiased, and Unfiltered Gear (and Travel) Recommendations

September 14, 2021 fmg-adminGear Reviews Guides' Tech Tips Travel Recommendations and Tips

Climbing gear is great. FREE climbing gear is awesome! I mean, who doesn’t love free gear? We all certainly do, but our guides also want to be able to make gear recommendations to you based on their personal favorites and not because they are sponsored by a particular company. With sponsorships and partnerships so ubiquitous in the climbing industry these days, it can be hard to know if someone making a recommendation “really” prefers a particular item or is perhaps making a decision that’s influenced by their sponsorship. Sometimes you even see recommendations on a forum where the person answering says, “Even though I’m sponsored by ___________, I really do think their __________ (rope, shoes, helmet, etc) is the best.” Really, I do. But how can you be sure?

Petey climbing in his Misty Mountain harness.
Petey in his Misty Cadillac harness

Because of this dilemma, we as a company made a decision over a year ago to forgo sponsorships so we can allow our guides to recommend their favorite gear without bias. We give them a yearly gear allowance to purchase whatever climbing gear they want to try rather than requiring them to wear and promote a particular harness or brand of shoes or rope or helmet because that company gives us free gear.

When you ask one of our guides for a recommendation, they will tell you what and why and will also be able to give you several other options from other manufacturers and elaborate details for why they prefer one over another. It’s honest and objective. And as you can imagine, they sometimes have wildly different preferences! For example, if you ask our guide Petey Guillard what his must-have harness is, he will hands down tell you it’s the Misty Mountain Cadillac. If you ask Doug Lutz the same question, he’d say the Petzl Sama. They both have great reasons for their choices and can give you advice that will help you make the best decision for YOU.

Want to know more about our guides’ preferences? Keep an eye out for our upcoming “Things We Love Thursday” series on Instagram, where every Thursday we will feature something we are crazy about. It won’t all be gear recommendations either, but also other “favorites” like favorite things to do when you are visiting our area: places to eat, stay, and recreate for example. We’ll post them on our blog too under the appropriate category (gear reviews, travel recommendations) because these are the questions our guests regularly ask us when they are booking a climbing trip; climbing may be their primary goal, but they also want to go mountain biking, or rafting, or eat at a foodie-worthy restaurant. We love sharing our unbiased recommendations with them to help make their trip to North Carolina awesome, and we are excited to share them with you too!

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