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Quest Northern Design?

Question:
I'm looking for imformation on a tent called Northern Design by Quest?

Answer:
The Northern Design line is a branded tent made exclusively for Sam's Club by North Pole, the US division of Jinwoong, a Korean tent manufacturer. Jinwoong is also the owner of Quest tents. North Pole (and Jinwoong) do not make any tents that carry their own brand names, rather they manufacturer store-branded tents for some of the world's (or at least the US's) largest consumer stores, including K-Mart (or is it Big K now?), Wal-Mart, Sears, and the Northern Designs line for Sams.

Because of the low-end consumer focus of most of these discount stores, the tents do not have the same features and quality characteristic of tents sold through outdoor specialty stores, i.e. most of the Jinwoong-manufacturer tents are not "backpacking" tents. The Quest line is the single exception in the Jinwoong line.

A North Pole spokesman told me that there are basically three tiers of quality across all of their tent lines. The majority of the tents are in the lower end, such as those sold in K-Mart and Wal-Mart. The low price demanded by customers of these stores requires tents constructed with lower grades of fabric and no extras such as taped seams or UV treatments.

The high end is the Quest line, intended for serious backpackers. The middle of the line is the Northern Designs series. He described these are being co-designed with Quest's designers, but not manufactured by Quest or to the same specifications as a Quest tent.

The Northern Designs line includes three models: the Expedition, the Big Horn, and the Mondo Condo.

GearReview.com has not tested any of these tents, so we can't give you much information about the tent line's performance. I have reviewed several Quest tents and they are high quality, but I wouldn't assume that the same quality transfers to the Northern Designs line.

Here's some information on Jinwoong from the Korea Trading Post's Line Report:

"Jinwoong Inc. stands aloft far excelling the throng of tent manufacturers in terms of production scale and product quality. Number one in Korea, its ambition is to become the number one tent maker in the world. A company spokesman maintains its tent supply accounts for more than 35 percent of the world's total demand, and the firm aims to extend this to 50 percent within five years by shipping $300 million worth of tents. However, its exports in 1995 barely exceeded the results of the previous year ($110 million) due to slack business in the leisure industry worldwide. Jinwoong's tent exports accounted for 87 percent of Korea's total tent exports in 1994 and 90 percent in 1995. Seeing its domestic rivals closing their factories or relocating their plants overseas, Jinwoong's tent exports may take more than 95 percent of the nation's total this year, according to a company spokesman.

Quality control is stringent enough to justify Jinwoon's remarkable export growth. Its CIP-90 campaign (Continuous Improvement Program for the 1990s) burdens each echelon of working process with a specific responsibility for quality assurance. A tent will be finished through scrupulous checks several times before it is pitched for the final inspection to see if there is any defect or inconvenience. Pitching countless tents one by one on the ground before packing is time consuming and painstaking, but the returns are reliability and trust to its 'Quest' brand tents. Jinwoong's "Quest" brand exports account for some 20 percent at present, but the firm is quite ambitious to supply half of the world's demand for tents and half of that being the 'Quest' brand. "

Whew. . . that's probably more than you wanted on Northern Designs!

I hope the information helps.

Regards,

Steve Mann
Editor
GearReview.com



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