SHOT Show 2017 is now behind us. But before I let my blisters heal, I want to get into it.
We walked miles every day. We covered so much area, and still did not make it to everybody. I’m not getting into the real details of everything just yet. I want to untangle it all first. It’s coming, but it’s going to be a couple days before we get to the meat of the show. But for now, I want to talk about swag bags.
Gamo really screwed the pooch here. 70,000+ people to impress with your brand, and they provide free swag bags, and it is such a great opportunity. One where you should not be cheap. One where you should invest in a better product. I know it’s just a giveaway item, and it’s free. But this is something that holds upwards of forty pounds of propaganda and samples. Gamo’s bags failed at about ten pounds. With handles snapping and bags tearing before we made it out of the press room. Sorry, Gamo, but that was an annoyance, rather than an aid.
But in good news about that, not everybody screwed up. Most of the booths giving away bags did a good job selecting the bags. Caracal’s black bags were simple and more importantly, strong. And they came with shirts and hats and such. Caracal was awesome overall. But a couple of booths really outshined the others.
The best that we found, were from Condor Outdoor. They did messenger bags rather than totes, made from nice, durable nylon. Solid stitching with tough straps and beefy, for plastic, buckles. Condor’s bags were seen everywhere at SHOT by Thursday morning, as word spread. And I saw more Condor Swag Bags being used for carry-on bags at McCarron than any other. Condor’s bags made it home with people.
Gamo’s bags made it to hotel dumpsters all around the greater Las Vegas area, all week long.
But a surprising runner-up came when I opened a little plastic baggie that one of the photogenic young ladies at NcStar handed me. If Condor provided the perfect main bag, NcStar provided the perfect backup swag bag. It’s a backpack style, made from ultralight nylon. It has multiple pockets, generous capacity, and will fold up within itself and zip shut. They even fit well when worn together.
If you’re not familiar with NcStar, they are an optics and accessory provider specialized in entry level products. In some cases, I have referred to their worse products as flat out junk. The bags are pretty nice, and pack up small and light. From what I saw in the booth, they seem to be getting away from the bargain basement quality products they used to be known for.
Now, will either of these bags survive any real use? No. They aren’t made to last forever. They will both see some use in the future from all of us here at NBO… as well as our kids. And I don’t want any of the other companies to give up on the totes. Just make sure you use better quality totes, folks.
Some of us shop at Aldi or Sav-a-Lot.
Condor Outdoor is awesome. Visit them and buy stuff. We don’t get a kickback, we just like them.
NCStar doesn’t have the best history with me. But we’re all about giving every product the benefit of the doubt.
Gamo may not provide great free stuff, but the products you buy are good quality.
We will have real, commercial products from all of these companies coming for review in the next few months, so come back and see what we learn from them.