“ Outdoors clothing and equipment store / 55 stores nationwide. „
I ordered a starter pack to include a climbing harness, karibeana, chalk bag and belay. The order arrived incomplete with only the harness arriving. This happened a month ago and this problem has still not been sorted out by the company. I sent 3 emails to complain and ask for help and phoned customer services on 3 separate occasions additional to the emails as no one was responding to the emails. Everytime I phoned customer service, there seemed to be no record of my query from before. How frustrating! Finally managed to get a response after the third occasion in the fact that there is nothing they can do before Christmas and that I had to send the harness back to them before they could send out the missing items. When I mentioned that it wasn't good enough, I was told "No problem, have a good Christmas". Utterly dreadful experience. I have spent alot of money and have got no Christmas present to give!
Order no 2382211
Before you buy make you sure you read and understand the implications of Cotswold Outdoor returns policy. I recently bought a pair of shorts for £25 plus £3.95 p&p. When they arrived they were far too big for the size stated (manufacturers sizing vary considerably. The cut and style were also hard to judge from the single photo of the product). When I returned the shorts (at my expense costing £4.95) the smaller sizes were unavailable. If a. The product had been faulty or b. an error had been committed by Cotswold I would probably have got the delivery postage refunded. I am not sure about the returns postage, their web-site is vague on this. Instead, Cotswold argued that neither of the above conditions applied therefore they would not refund the delivery or returns postage. It basically cost me nearly £10 to try on a pair of shorts. 'This is fairly standard practice for online shops' I can hear you say. Well, not all shops have this policy. In future I will do my online shopping at places like Chain Reaction Cycles and others where delivery and returns postage is free regardless of the issue you have with a product.
When I wrote to Cotswold to tell them of my shopping experience with them the email reply stated that it would be passed on to a manager for consideration and a response. Needless to say I have heard nothing further.
After many years of loyal service my walking boots have finally reached the end of their life which meant I needed to go shoe shopping. With a vast array of different walking boots on the market it's a daunting task finding the correct pair. Fortunately the great staff at the Cotswold store in Reading make the process not only easy, but also enjoyable.
I went in to the store with very little idea of what I wanted and was greeted by a huge array of different boots to choose from, probably about 30-40 different models in total. I was quickly offered help as I probably looked about as clueless as I felt.
Before you even look at the boots the staff measure your feet, recording the length, width and point at which your toes bend on both feet while standing and sitting. From this they make recommendations of boots.
From the measuring of my feet it turns out that I have long narrow feet. It also showed that my left foot expands more than normal when stood compared with sitting. Impressively, the member of staff that helped me instantly knew that this might lead to blisters and sore hips and knees.
Once the measuring was complete I was recommended a few pairs of boots, and also had explained to me the differences between leather and synthetic boots. They also lend you a pair of hiking socks of your choice to wear while trying on shoes.
The shop assistant had an impressive knowledge of their range of boots, pointing me towards the narrower models. He seemed to know the fit of all the types of boots very well and also how the sizes of the shoes compare. The boots I eventually bought are apparently large for their size. For example if your feet are size 12 then you'll probably need a size 11.5 boot in this particular brand.
He talked to me about the different insoles that they have on offer, and for each model of boot I tried was more than happy for me to try with insole and without. They have a deal where if you buy a pair of insoles and after two months you don't like them you can return them for a full refund, regardless of if they've been used and abused. They also offer volume reducing insole for free when you buy boots.
I probably spent about 2 hours, maybe more, trying shoes before eventually making my decision. During that time the shop assistant didn't look bored, impatient or try and hurry me along. He was nothing but helpful, polite and informative.
I genuinely cannot recommend the boot fitting service highly enough. I took up a large amount of their time but was at no point pressured into buying. The staff were friendly, knowledgeable and patient. If you're thinking of buying a new pair of boots then take the time to do it properly.
Most chains of stores have a reputation for being impersonal and pushy service. Cotswold have managed to keep the personal service you would get from independant retailers whilst expanding to around 100 stores nationwide.
The range of stock is quite good but its not the place to go if you are after the lower end of the market. Its not the most competitively of priced shops in this sector but when the sales hit they are very substantial. They give good discounts to DofE participant and Scout groups also.
The store layout is typically excellent, very relaxed spacious and is definitely not a case of squeezing as much in as possible.
The staff are excellently trained or experienced or both and the refreshing thing is that they aren't afraid to admit if they are not the best to advise on a certain area passing you on to the best person for the customer.
The website is very well made and they also include short video's helping novices get to grips with some areas they may need a helping hand in.
Cotswold Camping or Cotswold outdoor, which ever you know it as let me inform you of how much I have utilised and love this shop.
'The' Cotswold Outdoors shop located near Swindon, funnily enough in the Cotswold's. The original store is a grand affair, and as geeky as it may sound to some, it's worth taking a trip off the M4 motorway when you're near for a visit. The log cabin style store is a glorious 3 stories high, jam packed full of every piece of camping equipment you could shake a rambling stick at, built to mirror the wooded surrounds in which it is located. If you're a novice day walker to expert rock climber/ mountaineer there is something in the store for you.
Even the grounds in which the shop is located in is worth an afternoon tour. The Cotswold's has some beautiful waters to visit with a plethora of wildlife to view. Perfect even, to break in a pair of boots you may have purchased from this wonderful camping store. I'm like a kid in a sweet shop every time I visit.
If however you live some distance away from the Cotswold's have no fear. The success of Cotswold Outdoor is such that there are now 55 stores nation wide, so pop into one when you're next on your town or high street. Each of the stores is similar in layout to the original, which is great to see a theme throughout the UK.
Again, fear not if you are unfortunate enough to not have one in your town as the Cotswold Outdoor website is simplicity itself. All equipment is categorised for ease of use, which can be broken down further to pinpoint the products you are looking for. Whether you're looking for a particular make, garment or searching via gender, you can easily scroll through all products at the click of a mouse. A great feature about the of website is the 'sale' section which is always worth a look as there are always some bargains to be had, to the point if your like me. See it, then convince yourself (and the misses) that your need it!
Also, another method of getting hands on the items for sale is via the telephone, all you need is a description of the item required or item number, followed by payment and the posting of you're wears.
As previously eluded to, I have used these stores for many years and I return again and again. Not just because of the kit on sale, but also each of the staff within all of the stores I have visited have a vested interest in outdoor pursuits. To the point where staff members go to efforts to include a 'Bio' and photographs of each member, highlighting their particular interest. Whilst this creates a nice personable approach, it also serves as a handy tool. I have been approached in the shop previously where by a staff member asked if I required any help, a run of the mill occurrence in many retail outlets. However, in Cotswolds Outdoors, once I described what I was specifically after, the sales assistant gave up that particular sale and asked a colleague who had experience in the area I was looking for. A great touch I feel which reflects the passion in the products they sell and the outdoor environment they are used it.
My personal outdoors pursuits include canoeing, mountaineering, hill walking, camping mountain biking and canyoneering, anything that gets me out into the fresh air really. However, prior to any expedition my first port of call is Cotswold Outdoors where I am guaranteed to find something I need! From clothing, to food rations to maps. As my personal outdoor skills have improved, my purchases have too. Again, a credit to the store, for example, my first trip many years ago involved me purchasing a simple Silva Compass to aid navigation; this has progressed through the various styles Compasses and roamers available to the GPS I now own. All at great price ranges to match the skill set in which you are best suited too.
For parents with children about to embark on Ten Tors or the Duke of Edinburgh Award I cannot recommend enough a visit to this site or shop. There is equipment available that can provide the most advanced sleeping systems and clothing available on the market, a must in providing the best protection against the elements.
Like many stores fashion does feature highly on the agenda with regards to the clothing on the market, but this is not to the detriment of the usability of the kit and clothing. The styling will also match the seasons to which time of year we are in so shoppers can be sure to get the best kit for the weather out side. In fact this was noted so when we had the snowy/freezing weather last year before Christmas, whilst looking for a Nupse jacket for a Dartmoor hike, the staff had to inform me that they had nearly sold out due to passing commuters shop needing a warm jacket. Clearly the word was out!
The camping equipment is vast, whether you are planning a family camping trip to a single man hike there is a tent for you, from the huge multi-rooms to the lightweight 2-man. If the tent your after is not in store, one can be ordered from the catalogue in store, like wise, for sleeping systems and rucksacks, all in different sizes and styles to match you and your preference.
With regards to makes of equipment, if you can think of it, I'm sure you will find it, form Bergaus to Haglofs, it'll be there. Personally I like the North Face equipment, in Bristol we have a North Face shop, however, loyal to brand I still do my purchasing at our high street Cotswold camping store.
What ever you need from hats to socks Cotswolds Outdoors stock a wide range, the avid fashionable shopper and the hardened rock climber will both be at home in this store. To benefit people further, Students, Police and HM Forces get a 10% discount and I understand that if HM Forces are serving at a British Force Postal Office (BFPO) address then a 20% discount is available. Dedication for those who need the equipment.
I hope this review has provided you with enough to have a look at the very least. Its great, thanks for reading.
My husband and I love walking, and my husband, even more that I, loves the outdoors - so over the years, he has accumulated a range of outdoor gear, the vast majority of which has been purchased in Cotswold Outdoor company, either in the the shop or online. If you are invovled in the Duke of Edinburgh aware scheme either as an instructor/supervisor or actually doing expediti ons, Cotswold Outdoor provides a substantial discount on their products. As an instructor, like my husband, you actually receive 20% off all full price purchases, which always works out as a good discount when you consider some of the prices you pay for good outdoor gear.
Our local Cotswold Outdoor company is extremely well laid out, with the various sections of the store easily located. Our store provide ladies, mens and childrens wear, as well as shoes, camping equipment and travel books and accessories. My husband has purchased walking boots, coats and sleeping bags from this store, and with each member of staff he has encountered, it is very impressive that they have all been friendly, very very helpful and most importantly demonstrate an excellent knowledge of the products they are selling within their own area of the shop. I also thought it was good, that the staff were of a good mix, between young and older workers, most of whom obviously have a love of the outdoors as well, as many of the staff we have met have shared their own personal experiences with various products.
I have bought several outdoor items from this company as well, who stock the big names such as -The North Face, Berghaus, Merrell, Helly Henson etc etc. and have found that they always have a good range of sizes in stock. I have also found that there prices are pretty standard, even to what you find on the internet, and if you keep an eye on their website, they have a regular 'Rock Bottom Outlet' where you can pick up some great bargains. With the discount that my husband gets as well, there is no chance of beating their prices.
WE have also purchased items from this company through their website at www.cotswoldoutdoor.com, as they offer free delivery if you spend over £70, which if you are buying outdoor clothing, is not very difficult. You can also claim cashback through this site as well. The website is also well laid out, with plenty of stock to view. Our items have always arrived promptly, and they dont seem to take the money out of your account until every item has been dispatched. Items arrived well packaged.
All in all, if you like the outdoors, and tend to purchase a lot of expensive outdoor clothing, you should definitely give Cotswold Outdoors a try, and it is definitely worth looking into whether you can apply for any kind of discount, such as being in the Duke of Edinburgh's scheme. A great, reliable company for outdoor clthign and equipment.