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900 Fill Power

900 fill power down is back in stock.  You will find that option under all quilt pages and quilt sets.

As a side note, 900 fill power  is not yet available in activ-dri down.  We will post a notice when it becomes available, which may be a while, given the ongoing shortage of 900 fp.

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Best Value Approach

Well the first day of reckoning has arrived… 900 fill power down is no longer available from the largest down importer in the USA.  From alternative sources the cost of 900 fill power down is nearly double the recent cost of 800 fill power down… Arguably the value of extreme fill power down’s minor weight reduction is seriously diminished as that would cause a major price increase to customers or a severe, unsustainable margin reduction of 900 products.  Neither of these alternatives is acceptable.  Thus, Jacks ‘R’ Better is returning to our previous position that 800 fill power down is a super product that represents the ”best value approach” for both the customer and the market.

When the late spring imports of down begin arriving in the USA we will reevaluate the sustainable availability and cost of extreme fill power down.

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900 fp Down shortages

At this time, 900 fill power White Goose Down is posing inventory issues.  Our source, the major U.S. importer, continues to receive down from the supply chain that does not test to this top quality level that we have enjoyed.

The issue with the high fill power material is a complicated matter, and one that is affecting the entire supply chain around the globe.

As the global demand exceeds the supply we have been informed that 900 fill power orders may wait or have the option of fill at then current fill power available as tested.

Here at Jacks ‘R’ Better we have chosen not to adjust our optional 900 fill power with weekly fluctuations of say 850 or 870 as it may test in any given shipment.  Therefore, the 900 fill power option may only be available on an occasional basis for the foreseeable future.  When it is not available the option will be removed from our website.  When 900 fill power is available we will make ever attempt to hold to our current price reductions for 2013.

At this time we do not expect shortages in the more popular, very high quality 800 fill power down.

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Way Point and Azimuth 2013

 

We are over the Fiscal Cliff…And Rebounding. What is next for the economy is anybody’s guess.

The Jacks have spent the Holiday season, like always with family, and stealing a few hours to ship the post-Christmas orders. This period is, more importantly, used to close the books on the old year and set the goals, priorities, projects and key timeline details for the year ahead. Yup, planning 2013 has been a challenge.

Luckier than most small businesses Jacks ‘R’ Better LLC has come through almost nine years of strong growth and investment.  The business is now mature, facilities for all functions are first class, a huge operating inventory has been capitalized and is on hand to start the year, computers, servers and commo systems have all been upgraded along with the new website in 2012. The budget is planned and costs have been continuously trimmed over the years.

Sooooo, JRB figures the best way through the fiscal uncertainty and the possible recession or near recession that will again grip our economy and has mired the country is to focus on doing what we do best and delivering even greater value in JRB products.  2013 at JRB is the year of Greater Value.

For some time now JRB has been reducing baffle width and increasing the number of baffles in its top quilt, multifunctional rectangular and large family quilt models. This significantly improves down stability in use for top quilts, especially those used on the ground.  The Sierra Sniveler and the High Sierra Sniveler were increased from their initial 10 to 12 baffle sections. And by the end of 2013 they will be again increased to 14 baffle sections. The summer season Sierra Stealth has already been increased from its initial 10 to 14 baffle sections.  The multifunctional rectangular quilts, our high value economy valued quilts; Shenandoah Quilts, Hudson River Quilts, and the Old Rag Mountain Quilts have all been increased from 10 to 14 baffles. The JRB Large Family of Quilts including the Mt Roger Quilt and the Katahdin Quilt have both had baffles increased from 11 to 14.

For 2013 there will be a special limited quantity run of digital camo and and intrepid 20, 900 fill power, 13 oz. down quilts.  Like always, these 40 degree summer quilts will have great value pricing and will likely sell out within days of announcement. First announcement of availability will be to subscribers of our newsletter.

Several new products have been added to the web site.  These include an ultra-light, full quart capacity pot with a heat exchanger for faster boils and better fuel economy that will work with virtually any stove to include alcohol, wood burners, and esbit tabs. A nice addition to the Enertia meals and Ti long handled spoons and sporks which were added last fall.

JRB now stocks Hennessy Snake Skins #4 and the value priced large Hennessy Hex Tarp. While this tarp is a bit heavy at 24 oz. it comes complete with hanging cords and pockets for cord storage in each corner and the center seal is sealed by factory taping.

Later in the year the web site will gain an “Our Favorites” section that will feature products we use and have grown to cherish.  Again these are from other manufacturer’s.  All products that combine top function, low weight, and value level price points. “Jack Certified”, if you will. Two of these items, the head lamps, are already in stock in the miscellaneous section of the site.

Finally the web site will get new photos and have videos added this year to enable better understanding of the tips and tricks of use for various JRB products.

Come May you will find us at our Tenth Annual Trail Days in Damascus. Stop by, say hello, share a story, and grab a piece of trail sugar or just hang out for a while.

And Best Value of all, against all trends, though refined techniques, material sourcing and management quilt prices for 2013 have been reduced.

2013 and Jacks ‘R’ Better;

More choices, Better Quality, Better Value, Better Prices!

Hoil fyn!

Jack & Jack

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Summer Tips Recalled

Summer lingers on here in eastern Virginia.  We just returned from a float fishing trip on the upper James River, in the mountainous western part of the state, testing gear and demonstrating the value of hammocks on rocky river island camps.  Sandy beaches are rare in eastern rock carved river areas and hammocks really shine.  Perhaps the greatest value demonstrated by the Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock is the supported chair back sitting.  After 6-8 hours in a canoe with no back support sitting back in the hammock is absolute pleasure.  Sure you can carry a folding chair in a canoe, but having less to lash down and being three pounds lighter, all translates to less stowage issues and a more nimble vessel.

Last weekend also reminded me of another tarp benefit in hot muggy weather, the ability to channel cooling breeze over the hammock, or even a ground camper.  The river was running south west.  I selected trees as close to the river as possible and with a SW-NW orientation, with as little underbrush between the river and my site (just the opposite of selecting a sheltered site in bad weather).The open water and westerly breezes inflated the west side of my tarp which was deployed parallel with the ground and a full 6 foot high while the inland side of the tarp pitched steeply just out board of the hammock turned these pleasant breezes on me…Nice, cool and bug free!  Try it next time.

Jack/Pan

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Way Point mid year 2012

Keeping up seems to get a little harder each year.  Having a blog is a great reason to write this annual update to our Way Point History Series.

Way Point

As JRB enters into its ninth year, the upward growth trend lines continue in all areas. Business is good.  Once again, it is estimated that well over 98 percent of all orders received during this period were shipped on the same or next day.  Thus our primary customer service goal was achieved.  This year, during The Trail Days period in the middle of  May, there was only one order past that shipping goal; a phenomenal improvement in a month that experienced 50 percent growth in sales over same period in 2011.

January saw the introduction of the JRB Spreader Bar Bag designed to accommodate the BMBH spreader bars as well as tent pegs or a long handled spoons.  It is quite efficient in design, durable and secure.  Its emerging popularity has proven its value.

The Greylock 3, a sub 14 ounce, torso length under quilt was introduced right after the first of the year and promptly sold out of its initial production five months ahead of our expectations.  An extra production run of the Greylock 3s was added and they were back in stock, “just in time” as we headed off to Trail Days in May.

Also debuting at Trail Days was the Ultra Light model of the Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock.  Similarly sized but sans the pad pocket, and four inches shallower; this lay flat, lay straight hammock improves scenic views and reduced a full half pound from the BMBH Deluxe.

In our Dutchware department JRB added the popular Dutch Tarp Flyz and Dutch Hooks in the fall of 2011.  The Dutch Whoopie Hooks were added last month. Additional Amsteel Blue and Zing-It products were added that incorporate these Dutch items in their splices for customer convenience.  These are the Ultra Light Ridge Line Cords with Tarp Flyz and the Whoopie Slings with Dutch Whoopie Hooks in the adjustable loop. As a side note, JRB converted from use of the continuous loop to the use of a “12 inch Dog Bone” of Amsteel Blue which has locked brommel loops in each end.  The Dog Bones serve the same purpose and work better with the Dutch Whoopie Hooks for those seeking the lightest of the light suspension approaches.

Turning from new products to advertising, JRB is now in OUTSIDE magazine in addition to every issue of Backpacker magazine.

With the New Year and all this growth came the addition of a dedicated shipping clerk.

Finally, on the 5th of July the new www.jacksrbetter.com web site went live.  We hope you are enjoying it.  Although it is faster and better laid out, we still consider it a work in progress.  There are future additions in progress, so stay tuned.

Azimuth

First, the company posture in inventory and ongoing production, as well a shipping growth, is in place to assure customers that “Same or next day shipping” goals for the busy and growing fall and holiday seasons will continue to be met.

The Greylock 4, a zero degree capable torso length under quilt, will soon be available. You will not want to miss the introductory special when it comes out.  Hint, if you are not already subscribed to our mailing list, it is worth subscribing.

Our Dutchware department will soon add the new Dutch Stingerz.  The feather light titanium goodies combine the Dutch Tarp Flyz to a micro biner and add a convenient “eye” to tie or splice the tarp line too. And, they weigh a mere 4 grams.

Additional web site improvements are planned in the coming year.  Time permitting, we will be adding some “how to” videos and some improved photos.

HOIL FYN!

Jack & Jack

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Way Point – Mid Year 2011

Just realized that it has been a while since these reports were updated… So here you go.

Way Point

As JRB enters into its eighth year, the upward trend lines in all areas continue.

We estimated that well over 98 percent of all orders received during this period were shipped the same or next day.  Thus our primary customer service goal was achieved.  The Trail Days period in May experienced slightly higher delay, but no order exceeded two weeks to ship.

This spring the Sierra Series of quilts was completed with the addition of the Sierra Stealth in both regular and long models.

An option for customers to order either 800 fill power down or upgrade to 900 fill power down for all JRB quilts was added beginning in January 2011.

The new JRB Hex Tarps were added in three materials; spinnaker (a company first for this lighter tarp material), 1.3 oz. silicon impregnated nylon (silnyl), and woodland camouflage patterned, urethane coated, 1.9 oz. ripstop nylon.

The Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock received another product upgrade to soften the front bug net zipper corners for increased ease of zipper function.

We added a mid size set of the Self Tensioning Line specifically for hex tarps.  Self Tensioning Line sets are now available in pairs or sets with two ridge line cords and one, two or three pairs of STLs for corresponding diamond, hex or large rectangle based tarps.

To reduce production and warehousing and increase capacity issues, the Sniveller line of JRB quilts was reduce from six models to three, with the retirement of the original Stealth, No Sniveller and Rocky Mountain Sniveller quilts.  These models are effectively replaced by the Sierra Stealth, Sierra Sniveller, and High Sierra Sniveller quilts.

New products also saw the successful prototype of the Mt Washington 4 Short on 1 May.  A trial production run is scheduled for later this year.  Introduction of the MW4S is planned for early this winter.

Other new product development saw prototypes, trial run and initial production of the small and medium JRB Speed Sacks. Now available, these double ended sacks provide simple, fast and effective field set up and subsequent stowage of tarps and hammocks.

The prototype of an accessory pole bag for spreader bars is underway and the trial run should be completed in the third quarter, with production hopefully in time for the winter holiday sale period.  Field testing for the last two years has proven the worth of this accessory bag to security and protection of bridge hammock spreader bars, as well as convenient, safe storage for other hard to pack metal items such as tent pegs and long handled spoons.

In advertising, the art upgrade for Backpacker magazine was completed.

During this period total inventory grew to achieve a company goal of three to six months of supply for all items.

In Late march our physical location changed for the third time.  Our larger and more efficient space has significantly improved organization and operations for production, storage of raw material and finished inventory goods, as well as shipping and administrative functions.

Azimuth

First, the company posture in inventory and ongoing production, as well as shipping growth, is in place to assure customers that “same or next day shipping” goals for the busy and growing fall and holiday seasons will continue to be met.

As noted above, new products such as the Mt Washington 4 Short under quilt and the spreader pole accessory bags will soon be available.

Web site improvements are planned in the coming year, as well as another exciting product or two for introduction by the Spring of 2012.  No details for now.

HOIL FYN!

Jack and Jack

Jacks ‘R’ Better, LLC

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Way Point – Mid Year 2010

Way Point

At mid-year 2010 Jacks ‘R’ Better, LLC again finds itself enjoying significant sales growth across the board.

From a customer point of view several programmed and unprogrammed improvements were accomplished this year.

First, the long standing JRB goal of “same day” or “next day” shipping was significantly improved. Once a goal, “same or next day shipping” is now virtually guaranteed as inventory levels crossed from earlier 30-60 day levels into present 60-180 day levels on most products.

Prior to Trail Days six new items were added from NITEiZE, strictly as a matter of customer convenience. These include three separate packaging options, with and without cords, for the popular Figure 9s, the Small Figure 9 Carabiners and the new S Biners in both the small, # 2, plastic, 10 pound capacity and the medium, #3, black, stainless steel, 25 pound capacity.

The introduction of the JRB High Sierra Sniveller quilt occurred 2 months early to complete this ground optimized family of quilts with its winter model, well in advance of the coming winter.

The improved JRB 11×10 Cat Tarp with 8 additional tie tabs attained full inventory status in early march.

Summer saw the movement of the popular 1″ Dutch Clips from Hammock Forums to JRB for distribution. This was quickly followed by the introduction of 1.5″Dutch Clips and Dutch Biners.

To enable single source shopping for Whoopie Sling suspensions or components, JRB added 6 foot Whoopie Slings, Continuous Loops, and three sizes of tree saver straps in September.

Azimuth Update for Remainder of 2010

We continue to focus on customer service and quality products as we enter our seventh year at Jacks ‘R’ Better.

Current plans call for the introduction of a new tarp. Without too much detail, we expect this tarp while optimized for gathered end hammocks to also accommodate the Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock. Eventually, you can expect it in economic and light 1.3 oz silnyl, 1.0 oz UL spinnaker, and another fabric yet to be designated; all below the one pound mark.

Those who have waited patiently through our BMBH “Temporarily Out Of Stock” summer will soon be rewarded with a redesigned BMBH that has an attached bug net with three side zip and net storage tie backs. It is a significant improvement in convenience and bug seclusion, as well as a further simplification.

Jacks ‘R’ Better LLC is pleased to announce the delivery of Sierra Sniveller Specials commissioned by Titanium Goat. These Quilts are a full two ounces lighter than a standard Sierra Sniveller and are made with 20D “Intrepid” ripstop nylon and 900 fill power down. They are extreme soft and have incredible drape. Wider body width, tapered foot box and the iconic JRB sniveller style re-sealable head opening place them at the top of currently available UL quilts in function, weight, flexibility and quality.

HOIL FYN!

Jack and Jack

Jacks ‘R’ Better, LLC

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Way Point and Azimuth to 2010

Way Point

It is hard to believe that 2009 is almost over…guess that happens when you are as busy as Jacks ‘R’ Better, LLC has been this year.

The recession made month to month issues a challenge, but overall JRB sale grew over 80 percent in 2008 and 2009.  It was a good time to support warm, comfortable nights out on outdoor “staycations”.

Our first goals for 2009, to make all our standard quilts fully reversible and convert the entire line of quilts to a new color (a muted olive), were accomplished early in the year.

New products and improvements to traditional stalwarts led the efforts at JRB for 2009.  Five new quilts, a quilt liner, a better, lower cost, multi-purpose Weather Shield, improved spreader bars for the Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock and a capacity increase to 275 pounds as well as five more accessories were added this year.

First, the immensely popular Mt Washington 4 design was incorporated into a full line of under quilts.  These new hammock under quilts all have the dual differential design, body contoured radial baffles and minimal to no adjustment “snug fit” attachment design.  New quilts include the three seasons, 20 degree rated Mt Washington 3  under quilt and the Mt Washington 3 Convertible consisting of the Mt Washington 3 Short  (a 2/3rds length Mt Washington 3) and the 1/3rd length “Compliment” which attaches to the Mt Washington 3 Short to form a full size Mt Washington 3.  The Mt Washington 3 Convertible enables the light and fast set to have either a 14 ounce fractional under quilt or revert to a full size under quilt when conditions suggested a full length under quilt may be more desirable.

In October we addressed the long standing request of the ground community for a No Sniveller with better wrap capability and a tapered foot-box.  The Sierra Sniveller is 52 inches wide from the top to the hips and tappers to 42 inches in the foot box.  It has the same great wearable design and JRB omni-tape and draw cord foot-box.  A long model was rushed into October production and early to meet the immediate customer demand.

A micro-fleece quilt liner, the first commercially available quilt liner, was introduced concurrent with the annual Early Bird Stocking Stuffer Sale.  Super affordable at $29.95, this light weight cozy quilt liner easily adds 10 degrees to any JRB quilt.  It may also serve as a stand-alone summer blanket, when night time temps are expected to be above 50-55 degrees.

The Weather Shield II, a work around solution when the waterproof yet highly breathable micro porous polypropylene became unavailable two years ago, was discontinued.  Frogg Toggs began importing the Dri Ducks Poncho (DDP) which was immediately added to the JRB web site.  Moreover, a kit was developed that when applied to the DDP would allow it to function as either a hammock under quilt Weather Shield or as a top quilt Weather Shield.  Effectively a highly breathable quilt style bivi sack.

By late summer a source for stronger, subdued black, aluminum spreader bar material was secured.  New anti torque, non-seizing, separable spreader bars with machine notched ends improved the Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock and enabled a capacity increase to 275 pounds.

Accessories received considerable emphasis and growth this summer as well.  Two new tarps or shelters were added.  A silnyl poncho shelter was added for the light and fast hammock or ground dwellers and an extremely taut pitching 10×10 Sculpted Tarp was added.  The latter has perimeter tensioning gross grain reinforcement and adjustable webbing tie outs as well as a very slight sculpted ridge line.  It serves both the hammock and ground dwelling communities.

Finally, accessories were rounded out with a travel pillow and a small waist pack that functions well as a medium size stuff sack.  Figure 9s were stocked for those who would just as soon not tie knots.

Azimuth for 2010

We expect to focus on customer service and quality products as we enter our seventh year at JRB.

Current plans call for the introduction by mid-year of a winter model of the Sierra Sniveller which we will probably name the High Sierra Sniveller.

Product improvements are in store for the 11×10 Cat Tarp which significantly improve the front over hang when in the Baker/Lean to pitch and elongate the near enclosed “A” pitch to a 7 foot plus ground length.

We hope to continue our expansion, which began in 2008, into wholesaling.  Watch for retail outlets as they are added to our existing retailers in Georgia, Louisiana, Ohio, and Virginia.  If you want your local retailer carrying Jacks ‘R’ Better, LLC gear our best voice is your voice … Ask your retailer to contact us.

HOIL FYN!

Jack and Jack

Jacks ‘R’ Better, LLC