Originally Posted by Law Dawg (ret)
Yup and it is a camping system with a pretty steep learning curve. UQs, TQs, Tarps, SRLs, suspension systems for both hammock and tarps (even hang angles), different options for pads, and the challenge of places with no trees etc etc. Your average outdoorsman is not going to want to fuss with it when they can just grab a pad, bag, and tent/tarp. A smart REI store would have a full kit (hammock, TQ, UQ, tarp) for their hammocks and some training material with the HF address on it.
That is pretty much my take of it. I'm sure REI is getting hit as hard as any other retailer and they may be getting leaner and meaner. It looks like they are dropping GoLite products as well-- only four packs left on their web site and those are on clearance.
With all the outdoor equipment manufactured and sold in Seattle, there isn't one store with a hammock on display as used, and you can't buy anything other than a basic hammock or some tree straps-- you can't buy insulation or tarps or bug screens anywhere. The "Flagship" REI store has a handful of Hennessy hammocks and some ENO's. I noticed that the Outdoor Research company store had a ENO rack the last time I was there, but hammock bodies only--- no other accessories. I doubt there aren't more than a couple sales people in the region who know anything about hammock camping, let alone actually using one on a regular basis.
With the Internet and all the shipping options, a cottage maker can live wherever they like and have no middlemen and better overhead costs. It takes a lot of cash and inventory to take on large retail chains. People think that having a product manufactured offshore is cheap and easy, but it isn't and you need to be tough on quality control and the possibility of counterfeiting. The offshore factories can take you to the cleaners if you aren't on them 110%.