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Made in China

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Two-part thread.


First, I'm still a bit disappointed that Scoutwear is made in China. I'd be willing to pay a few extra dollars for something made here in the States. But I'm sure this issue has already been beaten to death, so moving on.


When I look through the old books and online resources, there was a lot of Scout equipment made by the national supplier. It's sort of the same with the shirts, socks, pants, and headgear. But I also notice there were shoes, gaiters/puttees (not canvas gaiters of the 40s-60s), and even raincoats specifically designed for the Scouts. I was wondering what happened to this pattern. Sure, we still get official gear like compasses, but it seems like material with the Scouting logo on them has been diminishing since the 60s or maybe 70s.

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Interesting topic. This one's popped up a couple of times in talking with people this past week. There are a lot of people disappointed with the low-quality stuff from China, and also have the cash to spend a tad more for US made stuff: it has finally sunk in that we'll sink unless we buy US.


I'm good for $5-7 more on a scout shirt. . .

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Yah, I don't reckon scout shirts are goin' to make a trade difference one way or another. It's all the folks who aren't willing to pay an extra $10 - $20 - $40 or more per item of clothing in their wardrobe that are the issue. Selfish of 'em, I know, to opt for cheap overseas goods so they can put their kids through college or scrape together da cash to send their son to Philmont. ;)


Yep, it's important to keep those low-payin' jobs for untrained illiterates right here in da U.S. of A. Can't expect our kids to be educated for somethin' better. Don't believe in that education and guvmint stuff anyhow.


Anyways, I think a few things have happened over time. First, da boy scout market as a percentage of the total youth or outdoor gear market has shrunk enormously over the years. Outdoor recreation has exploded, youth population has grown, and our numbers have shrunk. What a manufacturer is willing to do to appeal to 30% of the market is a lot more than what a manufacturer is willing to do to appeal to 3% of the market. Just the way life (and the free market) is.


Second, I reckon da BSA has probably gotten more savvy and aggressive about trademark protection and licensing fees.




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Yes, pummeling the prostrate equine.


Look thru any BL from the prehistoric 40s, 50s, 60s, even 70s.

BSA shoes (Buster Brown!), BSA BB guns (Daisy), BSA hats of various types, even BSA Kelty pack frames. Tweek the design a little and make it a BSA item. Didn't Woolrich make the Red JacShirt? Now it's green and... We don't even hava a name to attach to it, just "China".

The antique book I keep reffering to (Matching Mountains with the Boy Scout Uniform by Edward F. Reimer,1929) makes constant mention of the Sigmund Eisner Co. of Red Bank NJ, "Official National Outfitter", and how any clothing without THAT signature on it MAY be of inferior quality.

The boy may not have the same feeling for the item us older Scouts have. Way back when, I don't remember being concerned about who made my uni. But I do remember that it felt different than the shirts I wear today. My boy shirt had a heft to it. Kinda like the heavy flannels I have now. If it is "official" and he HAS to wear it, I suppose that is enough for today's boy. Or is it?

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So much camping gear --some of that high end-- is made in China or at least the raw materials. I think a big problem is that BSA has demanded high enough quality control of the finished product.


That said some of my older BSA gear that was made in USA and pretty $$ in my opinion was very well made and had great value. Like many who have commented on these boards I was disappointed that the prices stayed the same when it was made in China. That seemed like pretty much price gouging on Nationals part.

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I'd be willing to bet that even if National wanted to use a US supplier, they would have a hard time finding ANYONE that is still making clothes stateside - regardless of price.


That said, when manufacture moved offshore and the price remains the same (or goes up) the perception from most is a decrease in quality with a steady or increase in cost equals an overall decrease in VALUE.


I don't care if they make the stuff on the moon, just give me shirts with reinforced elbows, pants with reinforced knees and crotch seams... the fact that both my boys can wear out a uni before they OUTGROW it is frustrating !!!!


If they are going to expect boys to wear these uni's in the outdoors - they need to be built for the outdoors!!!

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Here are three potential sources:


1. US Military uniforms are made in the US of US manufactured fabric. This is because Congress passed a law years ago requiring US made uniforms.


2. All Girls Scouts (USA) uniforms are made in the USA. The Girls Scouts are quite proud of this fact and they should be.


3. The Dickies jeans and works pants were made in the USA as recently as last year.


In addition, our friends to the north, Scouts Canada, have their uniforms made in Canada. Scouts Canada is proud that their uniforms are Canadian-made.


Many Scouts in my Troop have first generation Centennial Uniforms with "disappearing" letters from the "Boys Scouts of America" over the right pocket. On the other hand,

my 8 year old, US-made, cotton uniform shirts still look good after years of regular use.


I tried to have a discussion with BSA National Supply as to the rational for Asian-made uniforms. Trying to find anyone responsible for this decision was extremely frustrating. It seems that BSA National just does not care about this issue. I wish that BSA showed a little more pride in the US. They could learn from GSUSA and Scouts Canada.



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from Wilton125

"2. All Girls Scouts (USA) uniforms are made in the USA. The Girls Scouts are quite proud of this fact and they should be."


I am curious to know how the cost of Girl Scout uniform parts compares to that of Boy Scout uniform parts? Anyone have any insights?


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A GS uniform consists of a vest or badge sash over whatever they are wearing. You used to be able to get skirts, shirts, blouses, pants, and socks. Now they've pretty much disappeared. A vest runs $15-$25 and a sash runs $7-$10 depending on size. They have some "official" shirts but they aren't uniforms like the BSA or Scouts Canada or Girl Guides of Canada.


GS are told to wear a white t-shirt/polo and tan pants/skirt to be in full uniform. Any white shirt and tan pants will do. My daughter got one of the last uniform polo shirts GSUSA had for sale 2 years ago. Most units don't care what the girls wear as long as it is school appropriate.

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In summary:


1. BSA uniform manufacturing moves from the USA to Asia

2. Cheaper fabrics are used

3. Quality is reduced (e.g. disappearing lettering, US flag decal)

4. Prices stay the same or go up


My conclusion:

1. Since National Supply is the sole provider of official BSA uniforms, it has a captive audience

2. National Supply can and does charge prices to maximize its profit.

3. National Supply functions as a profit center for BSA National.


This seems to be a significant change from the way that BSA operated in the first 97 years of its existence. I believe that it is a reflection of the current leadership at BSA National.


(This message has been edited by Wilton125)(This message has been edited by Wilton125)

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The uniforms of late are no longer made in mainland China. But I find it notable that when the uniforms were being made in mainland China, China forbade Scouting. At that time, China was one of only 6 countries that forbade Scouting in the whole wide world according to the World Organization of the Scouting Movement. Out of all the countries that could have produced uniforms for the BSA at a discounted price, the BSA chose a country that did not allow Scouting. Sad.


Below has been taken out of different Boy Scout handbooks over the years concerning the uniform:


"Your uniform is part of the thrill of being a Scout. Put on your uniform and you feel ready for hiking, camping, and other active Scout events."


"There is real significance to that khaki uniform. First of all, it shows that you belong."


"You are a member of the largest youth movement the free world has ever seen. It stands for the spirit of true democracy."


"It puts rich and poor on an equal basis in the spirit of brotherhood."


And finally, here are the last words from Baden-Powell to the volunteer leaders of Scouting:


"Don't let it (Scouting) became a salaried organization: keep it a voluntary movement of patriotic service."

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