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Waypoint and Azimuth 2018

Waypoint and Azimuth

The purpose of this newsletter is to formally announce the sale of Jacks ‘R’ Better LLC.


We have thoroughly enjoyed these last 14 years and truly appreciate the loyal support of all our customers. But, life goes on, and it’s time for the Jacks to move on to their next adventure(s). As of 1 March we have passed the baton to our good friend and hiking partner, Don Gravatt AKA “DGrav”, and his business partner, Dave Gallagher. On 5 March Jacks ‘R’ Better LLC formally opened for business in its new location in Hulmeville, Pennsylvania. For the immediate future, nothing has changed but the owners and the location. You can expect the same speedy service, quality products, and customer service from the new management. In return we encourage you to provide them the same dedication and loyalty that we enjoyed from you for the past 14 years. With that said, we thank you and wish everyone good luck, good hiking and warm comfortable camping. God bless, be safe and enjoy the outdoors.


Jack & Jack


Over a decade ago I had the pleasure of meeting The Jacks at a hammock hang, a few months later we did our first of many AT section hikes together. The Jack’s have become friends, mentors and family to me. Ten years prior to meeting The Jacks I met Dave Gallagher at a Viking funereal for a goldfish (true story), we quickly became friends and each other’s bad influence. Words fail to express what an honor it is to be the next part of the Jacks R Better story! We look forward to providing great customers service, fast shipping, quality products and a few new surprises in the coming months.

Dave & Don

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Waypoint and Azimuth 2017

Waypoint and Azimuth

March 2017

A long overdue report


It is time to review how the last couple of years went and plot the course of progress for the next year. As we stand here in the middle of the shop, surrounded by hundreds, if not a thousand quilts, tarps, hammocks and other stock items we are in our thirteenth year.  We have already registered for JRB’s 14th Trail Days at Damascus in May.  And the following month on 4 June Jacks ‘R’ Better LLC will celebrate our 14th Anniversary.


2015 & 2016 were excellent years by every standard. Quilt sales, our primary yardstick, continued our 13 year growth pattern.  We are thankful to the Lord and our customers.  We hope that our business conduct is pleasing to Him and you, and that you are warmly enjoying your JRB gear.

These last two year have been hectic … Continued sales growth kept us busy maintaining inventory levels to keep filling your orders the day you placed them. We added a large tarp model, the Universal Tarp,  Spring Poles for that tarp, made minor improvements to the Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock and reduced some secondary items such as pots and food when Enertia Trail Foods went out of business … We are hoping they will come back.

The Double Down Dreamcatcher was introduced in 2015 primarily for the Overlanders, the 4×4 RVers. Initial sales were solid and we have continued to make this large quilt available.

Late in 2015 Jacks R Better LLC joined the trend to use sub one ounce rip stop nylon with a Durable Water Resistant (DWR) finish … And by late Spring of 2016 all quilt models were shipping in the new material … Overall, quilts were reduced approximately one half ounce in weight … More importantly, the soft hand or drape improved in all cases … This resulted in a smoother buttery feel of the material and closer drape in use, which increases the warmth … overall nice enhancements especially when paired with high fill power water resistant down, Activ-dri Down, which was introduced in 2013.

Therm-A-Rest NeoAir Trekker pads were introduced for both hammock users and the ground dwellers in 2015 … They will continue but with a shift in models from the Trekker to the XLite for the ultra-light ground dwelling backpackers.


Looking ahead to 2017 Jacks ‘R’ Better will tighten its focus on our primary product group, quilts and under quilts … And our Cottage Industry leading shipping standard of “Same or Next Day Shipping!”

Currently, there are no totally new products under development for 2017.

Maturing our business has resulted in greater focus on production flow, techniques, larger just-in-time batch work, as well as material order efficiencies … So, the Good News … Perhaps Great News is: Jacks R Better LLC is going to help the economy, “Make America Great Again” by significantly lowering prices this Spring … Most quilts are being reduced $20 and some under quilts are reduced by much greater amounts … If you have not visited the Quilt Selections of our web site for a while take a look around …

In closing, we intend to make 2017 a great year of value in both products and customer service.  Our pledges:

*Great Quality.

*Fair, Competitive Pricing … Actually lower pricing!

*Responsive Communication.

*And, as always, “Same or next business day shipping.”

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JRB Universal Tarp Introduction

This large JRB tarp is the most capable tarp available for either hammock or ground camps. Loaded with perimeter tabs, ridge line tabs, panel pulls, pole grommets and spring pole guides  this tarp may be configured to conform to a nearly any configuration required or desired.

It’s an ideal shelter for large and wide hammocks like bridge style hammocks. It can be pitched in a classic A with open ends, or closed ends for storm protection.  Interior volume is easily expanded by use of panel pull tie-outs; alternatively, interior volume can be increased by the addition of JRB Spring Poles (separately available) to create either single hoop or a tunnel style shelter.

Gathered end hammocks users can arc the center area with a single spring pole.  Bridge style hammock users can use two spring pole to create the tunnel style sought by many.  In either case the ends may be closed or nearly closed for storm protection.  Open pitches like the Baker style lean to or the three sided Adirondack shelter are also possible.  In classic “A” Pitch it can easily accommodate 3-4 ground dwellers with generous overhang.  It can be pitched high and wide for maximum overhead shelter providing almost 120 square feet of overhead cover if needed.  This will accommodate multiple hammocks in close proximity or quick easy coverage over a picnic table for a lunch reprieve during inclement weather.

The JRB 12’x10′ Universal Tarp has a true 12 foot ridgeline and a width of 9 feet 8 inches.  It weighs only 21 ounces in a 1.1 oz. silicon impregnated nylon woodland camouflage pattern or 24 ounces in a dark brown silicon impregnated nylon with a urethane coating for security in severe storm plagued locations.

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Waypoint and Azimuth 2014

Waypoint and Azimuth

January 2014


It is time to review how the year went and plot the course of progress for the next year.  As we stand here in the middle of the shop, surrounded by hundreds of quilts, tarps, hammocks and other stock items we are in our tenth year.  We just registered for JRB’s eleventh annual Trail Days at Damascus in May.  And the following month, on 4 June, Jacks ‘R’ Better LLC will celebrate its 10th Anniversary.

OMG, I just realized the Original under Quilt, The JRB Nest, prototypes actually had their 10 year anniversary last month … They were literally sewn up during the Christmas Holidays of December 2003 and tested on a 27° night the week between Christmas and New Years on a windy bluff high above the James River a few hundred yards north of Jamestown, Virginia, the site of the first permanent English settlement in America.   Guess that settlement and the JRB Nest under quilt have success and staying power in common.

Like our country which has sure seen growth and change in the last 237 years, the Nest has seen its fair share of growth and change … 19 changes and improvements in its first decade.




2013 was an excellent year by every standard.  Quilt sales, our primary yardstick, continued our 10 year growth pattern by an amazing 50 percent.  We are thankful to the Lord and our customers.  We hope that our business conduct is pleasing to Him and you, and that you are warmly enjoying your JRB gear.

2013 saw the conversion of all top quilts to the new 14 baffle design for improved down control.

2013 saw the introduction of hydrophobic down, Activ-Dri down, as an option in all quilts and our standard offering in both JRB down hoods and down sleeves.  Activ-Dri Down is a polymer treated down, independently tested to be five times slower to absorb moisture and three times faster in drying than un-treated down.  The recognition of the value added by Activ-dri down is shown by the high rate of customer preference.  Fully 75 percent of quilt orders since its introduction have opted for Activ-Dri down.

Our continued growth demanded increased capacity for 2013.  For the second consecutive year we added permanent staff and machine capability to the JRB shop.  As importantly, we increased USA factory production by well over 50 percent and local sub-contractor production by 25percent.  These increases insured our fundamental commitment to customer service.  Our goal of same or next business day shipping was met on 99 % of orders.

Rounding out our tenth year we added new items to both our kitchen section and repair section.

The OliCamp XTS Pot, with its heat exchanger, for faster boils and fuel savings, joined 2012’s selection of 15 tasty Enertia Trail Foods Meals, the Vargo Titanium Long Handle Spoons and the Vargo Titanium Spork.

Mc Nett product availability increased with the addition of Tenacious Tape and SILFIX to the previously available SILNET, SEAMGRIP, as well as their ReviveX Down Cleaner Concentrate and ReviveX Durable Water Proofing.




Looking ahead to 2014, Jacks ‘R’ Better will debut a new quilt for our Tenth Anniversary.  Initial prototyping and testing is well underway.  It will be available at Trail Days … We expect it will be a big item on launch.  Hope to see ya’ll in Damascus.

We will be expanding our available pads for the ground sleepers.

We currently have two prototype tarps in development, both with increased design capability and new material capabilities.  Look for a spring introduction.

Minor design improvements are in store for the Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock, deluxe models for 2014.

In closing, we intend to make 2014 another great year of value in both products and customer service.  Our pledges:

*Great Quality

*Fair, Competitive Pricing

*Responsive Communication

*And, as always, “Same or next business day shipping”



Jack & Jack


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Hunting season safety

Fall also brings a variety of hunting seasons in almost every location.  It is always best to “Know before you go”.  So check you state and county game regulations before heading out.

A good safeguard is to insure adequate visibilitry and identity.  Break out your blaze orange gear and use it. Hats, jackets or vests and pack covers all add to your safety outdoors.  If you are unsure of the regulations in your planned trip area, be safe and use your blaze orange.

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Tech Talk: Testing Treated Down

Backpacker Magazine, September 2013, p 55 reports.

“International Down and Feather Testing Laboratories, the world’s largest independant down-testing facility, confirmed that in controlled testing (In the Hydrophobic Shake Test, water and down are combined in a jar and agitated until the feathers start absorbing water.) of feathers alone, treated down resists moisture up to 60 times longer and dries faster than conventonal stuff.  Our field testers also found that treated down bags feel more breathable – likely because the insulation stays drier and fluffier in humid conditions.  We hammered this crop of contenders (plus untreated down and synthetic models as controls) through months of diverse field conditions.  Lessons learned? 1) After a six hour soaking, synthetic bags absorbed a lot more water (more than 5 pounds) and dried much more slowly than the fastest drying treated down bags (days compared to hours).  2) A bag is much more than its fill.  Many facors are at play, including shell and lining materials and DWR treatments. High-quality untreated down bags performed better than expected in wet conditions, but we like the added insurance and increased comfort range of treated down.”

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active-dri down update

The short outage of activ-dri down has ended.  Last weeks backorders should all be shipped by the close of the week. Current orders will experiance a two day delay, but by 12 or 3 June all should be shipping same or next business day… We appreciate everyone’s patience this past week or so.

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Activ-dri down

We are now past the first two months of offering active-dri down in 800 fill power.  It is pleasing to report; that, you also see the value of this improvement in the hydrophobic quality of down. In fact, well over half of the recent orders are for active-dri down.

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900 fill power

Well we have come to the end of 900 fill power down again.  The global shortage persists.  The pricing is in a bubble state. The value is not what we consider approriate for our customers, thus JRB is again discontinuing it.  We do not anticipate re-offering 900 fill power until 2014, if then.


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Trail Days Sale

Well… It is that time  of year when everyone strarts hitting the trail… The AT community will gather at Damascus Virginia the weekend of 17,18 and 19 May 2013… This will be our TENTH Trail Days in space numbers one and two… If you are in for the week end please stop by and say hello… As always the sale will be worthwhile and the famous bargin bin will again be phenominal for value and savings… As always we expect the bargin bin to sell out on Friday.

For those using the web site the Trail Days Sale has already started with a coupon for ten percent off entire orders less quilts … The coupon is “TD2013″… Use it or loose it.

We will also have several quilt specials over the next couple of weeks so be sure to monitor the site and sign up for the news letter or like us on FB as we will post them there also.

We plan to end the TD2013 coupon and specials after we return from Trail Days on 20 May… But Hey, since my birthday is the 21st you might see it extended thru then… 🙂