Outside Magazine's Wes Siler has a few things to say about the value of high-quality outdoor gear. Case in point: EXPED MegaMat Duo.
In the article there's one particular paragraph that is worth expanding upon:
Then, of course, there’s the question of where my $390 went. Exped is a small Swiss brand, where the employees appear to enjoy their jobs. The pad was manufactured in Asia. But it was sold to me at REI, where the employees all earn living wages and get health care and where customers own the business. The exact opposite of Walmart, basically.
He's right, EXPED is a small Swiss brand and we really do enjoy our jobs. The reason we do goes well beyond the fact that we get to help make cool gear that we then use ourselves in wild places. It's certainly a big plus, but that point alone doesn't explain the high percentage of EXPED employees who have stayed with the company for decades. The real reason is that the company (independently owned by the way) has always remained true to the belief that our products should be built in a way that doesn't compromise our values. It turns out that this is something worthy of the hard work of each team member; something we are proud to sign our name to at the end of a long week. Co-founder of EXPED, Andi Brun, is fond of saying that "Swissness means tinkering to perfection." This is a very accurate description of what the EXPED crew does and why we stick around.
Mr. Siler mentions that our mats are built in Asia. True enough. Specifially, they are made in Taiwan at a family-owned factory that shares our values. Interestingly, this relationship can also be measured in decades and it is based upon our mutual belief in the power of a job well done and a product well-built. And just like the EXPED team members in Zurich, Switzerland and Tacoma, Washington, our Taiwanese cohorts earn a living wage, raise families and chase dreams. And while these are facts that you'd think would be fodder for the EXPED marketing cannon, that's just not the Swiss way. In fact, we don't have a marketing cannon. What we have are good people around the globe tinkering to perfection, proud that the gear we make helps others get out and experience adventure.