For some people, shopping is a delightful hobby — a sport, almost. These are the folks who gleefully gather with friends and start their Black Friday shopping before the Thanksgiving dishes are dry, who finish their Christmas shopping before July 4, or who have their coupons so organized that multiple shopping carts stuffed with food cost them maybe $5.
For others, it’s a chore, and we always have the nagging feeling we’re doing it wrong.
It’s tough to completely escape shopping, but as we mentioned in last year’s “11 Indestructible Products Totally Worth the Price,” there are ways to ease the burden. A big one is to buy built-to-last products, especially those that come with a lifetime warranty or guarantee, ensuring that the makers will replace or repair your purchases should anything go wrong with them.
In our first story, we discussed everything from KitchenAid mixers to Zippo lighters. Here are 15 more items that offer lasting — maybe even lifetime — value.
(Note: Though we chose products with some of the best warranties and guarantees out there, always read the fine print before handing over your hard-earned cash. Some warranties only cover products from a certain line of items, or have other restrictions.)
1. Eddie Bauer gear and clothing
Eddie Bauer’s not just a fake company name. Bauer was a Pacific Northwest outdoorsman who knew that the right clothing and gear could save his life in the backcountry. When he opened his own business selling outdoor items, he instituted his famous unconditional lifetime guarantee. The company now sells everything from backpacks to blankets, sunglasses to shoes, and everything is covered under Bauer’s famous motto: “Every item we sell will give you complete satisfaction or you may return it for a full refund.”
2. Manduka yoga mats
Yoga is supposed to calm and relax you, not stress you out. Manduka Yoga Mats help with the no-stress test by carrying a lifetime guarantee for the company’s Pro Series mats (except the Pro Squared, a multipurpose mat). Even if your mat wears out (from regular use under normal conditions), you’ll get a replacement. Feel that inner peace spreading?
3. Osprey backpacks and bags
So you bought your Osprey backpack or bag back in the year President Richard Nixon resigned? Doesn’t matter, the company’s All Mighty Guarantee even covers purchases made in the Watergate era. If the pack can’t be repaired, it’ll be replaced. My fellow Americans, that’s a campaign promise we can all support.
4. Davek umbrellas
When it rains, it pours — and if your umbrella breaks, or rips, or turns inside-out in the middle of a storm, you might as well not even have one. Davek umbrellas aren’t cheap, but they’re built to last. All of the company’s umbrellas are covered under its unconditional “forever guarantee.” Add up all the money you’ve spent on various cheapo umbrellas over the years and the price difference might even out. And if you constantly lose your umbrella, take heart: Davek umbrellas all come with serial numbers. If you lose one, use that number to buy a new one at half-off (but you can only use the number once). Here comes the sun!
5. Cross pens
Not everyone just texts these days. Some of us welcome a real, actual pen that fits perfectly in your hand and looks and writes beautifully. Cross writing instruments are guaranteed for life, their leather products for a year, and their timepieces for two years (details here). They even have pens with Star Wars and Marvel Comics themes. Now that’s the write stuff.
Bring back the Tupperware party! Most American kitchens boast at least a few pieces from the iconic home-product line, whether handed down from Mom or received as a wedding gift. While the Tupperware warranty doesn’t cover everything (stains or chew marks are your own problem), it does encompass everything from chipping and peeling to warping.
7. Pelican phone cases
Pelican makes protective cases for everything from guns to iPhones, and backs them up with the company’s guarantee of excellence. Follow the link for specifics, but essentially its injection molded products are guaranteed for a lifetime against breakage or defects in workmanship — and they’re guaranteed to be watertight to a depth of 3.3 feet. Splish splash, you might drop them in the bath.
8. Gibson guitars
Now this is music to a rocker’s ears: Gibson’s famed guitars are “warranted to be free from defects in materials and workmanship for the life of the original retail purchaser” (details here). Plus, they’re American-made (see our story on “32 Great Products Still Made in the USA.”). So feel free to R.O.C.K in the USA.
9. Darn Tough socks
Sure, socks aren’t overwhelmingly pricy or tough to replace, but really, shouldn’t they just do their job? Darn Tough’s simple lifetime guarantee promises, “If our socks are not the most comfortable, durable and best fitting socks you have ever owned, return them for another pair.” And every pair is still made in Vermont, where snowy winters provide the perfect testing ground for warm socks.
10. L.L. Bean goods
Company founder L.L. Bean said that he “didn’t consider a sale complete until goods are worn out and the customer still satisfied.” The clothing and outdoor recreation equipment his company makes still lives up to that promise, from hiking boots to home goods. “If something’s not working or fitting or standing up to its task or lasting as long as you think it should, we’ll take it back,” the company vows.
11. Away luggage
Traveling can be filled with stress, from remembering your passport to language struggles to flight delays. Away luggage can’t help you with those, but it can sell you luggage that’s covered by a lifetime limited warranty. The warranty even covers those twin banes of suitcase survival: broken zippers and busted handles. Bon voyage!
12. Orvis outdoor gear
Noticing a number of outdoor-gear companies on this list? For good reason: These products aren’t meant to be delicate, they’re meant to help you survive and thrive under very possibly rough conditions. Orvis makes everything from fly-fishing gear to chew-resistant dog beds, and backs it all with the company’s 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.
13. Duluth Trading Co. products
The weather in Duluth, Minnesota, can throw up some real challenges even for the toughest winter-tested types. It’s not a city for the wishy-washy. So it makes sense that the city’s namesake company, Duluth Trading Co., offers a straight-talk guarantee covering everything it sells, from footwear to underwear. The company calls it their “No Bull” guarantee, and vows, “If you’re not 100% satisfied with any item you purchase from Duluth Trading, return it to us at any time for a refund of its purchase price.” Cool!
14. Lands’ End products
You may know Lands’ End for its striped shirts, or maybe its school uniforms. But whatever you buy there, rest assured it’s covered. The company’s simple but blunt guarantee declares, “If you’re not satisfied with any item‚ simply return it to us at any time for an exchange or refund of its purchase price.” (And since Lands’ End has shops in many of the remaining Sears stores, purchases made there can be returned at any full Sears store.)
15. Vermont Teddy Bears
Did your teddy bear’s picnic get a little out of hand? The friendly little furballs sold by Vermont Teddy Bear aren’t just American-made, they’re also guaranteed for life, even against “dog attack (or) a chance meeting with a lawn mower.” Injured bears can be sent back to the bear hospital in Vermont, where they’re fixed up, spiffed up and quickly returned to their owners. We only wish we had such good health care.
What products do you swear by for their durability? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.
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