Guaranteed for life: The strangest, smartest and most-enticing inventions

Posted on 17 February 2021

A lifetime warranty is one of the marketing world’s strangest, smartest and most-enticing inventions. Gear Editor Matthew Sterne looks at brands which offer it – as a powerful sales tool but also as a genuine eco-conscious promise.

1 | Camelbak Octane XCT

R1 700

Camelbak will repair or replace your gear when it fails – all bags, reservoirs and accessories – for the lifetime of the product. This ‘Got Your Bak’ lifetime warranty covers the product when it fails due to a manufacturer defect, as opposed to normal wear and tear. The Octane XCT weighs 350g and holds a 2L bladder. The new design features extra storage on the waist belt and harness, making it well suited for longer trail runs, hikes and rides. The Octane has much better mesh padding than 
a previous model I owned and is considerably more comfortable, although some reviews I found online found the drinking tube to be a little too long.

2 | Hydro Flask 20 Oz* Wide Mouth


Hydro Flask’s popularity has surged in recent years due to the bottles’ style, simplicity, powder-coat colour range and great temperature retention. The double-wall vacuum-insulated stainless steel water bottles can keep drinks hot or cold for hours and are backed by a limited lifetime warranty against manufacturer’s defects. Hydro Flask will replace any product found to be defective within the scope of normal and appropriate use. *20 Oz = 590ml

3 | Victorinox Swiss Champ

R1 299

Victorinox’s Swiss Army knives are a cut above and come with a guarantee that the stainless steel knives will last a lifetime against any defects in material and workmanship (save for electronic components). However, damage caused by normal wear and tear, misuse or abuse are not covered by this guarantee. Their Swiss Champ comes with 33 functions, ensuring you can tackle almost any task at hand and includes pliers, scissors, screwdrivers, blades and a magnifying glass (it even has a needle sneakily tucked away for an emergency sewing job or removing splinters).

4 | Patagonia P-6 Logo Trucker Hat


Patagonia, more than any other brand, has become synonymous with ethical manufacturing. They famously implored readers of the New York Times to not buy their jackets, and recycle instead, due to its toll on the environment. They also introduced their ‘Ironclad Guarantee’, which states that if their product doesn’t live up to your expectations, you can take it back to the store where you purchased it for replacement, repair or refund. In the States, they’ll even buy back your used Patagonia gear in exchange for store credit and resell it on While down jackets and fleeces are their flagship products, they also produce caps such as this one, featuring their classic logo.

5| Lansky Quick Fix Sharpener


Lansky offers a variety of sharpeners for your knives. The controlled-angle sharpening system helps you get a razor-sharp edge with a few turns of your blade. The Quick Fix Sharpener combines tungsten carbide on one side and ceramic on the other. Just three or four strokes on the tungsten carbide side and your knife is sharp. A few strokes on the ceramic rods can be used to touch up a blade. Lansky guarantees its products against any manufacturing defect for life.

What does a lifetime warranty actually guarantee?

Lifetime warranties are a slippery concept which could mean the lifetime of the customer, the product or the manufacturer. Most brands agree that it doesn’t mean your lifetime, but the expected lifetime of a product. Only a few companies promise their gear will serve you until you’re old and grey (Patagonia, Osprey and Stanley, for example). Still, many companies spend millions each year making good on their pledges of eternal satisfaction – and they say it’s money well spent as it breeds goodwill, trust and 
great publicity.

6 | Osprey Nebula 34L

R1 889

Similar to Patagonia’s policy, Osprey’s ‘All Mighty Guarantee’ has become something of a gold standard for warranties. They’ll repair any damage or defect, for any reason, free of charge – whether it was purchased in 1974 or yesterday. If they’re unable to perform a functional repair on your pack, they’ll happily replace it, no questions asked. The 1.1kg Nebula is part of the 24/7 Series and more of a day-to-day than a peak-to-peak backpack. It has a range of pockets to help you stay organised and a well-padded laptop sleeve. Despite being part of a new line, it still has the signature Osprey design and comfort.

7 | Large Big Green Egg

R23 570

A few years ago, a friend introduced me to his Big Green Egg with the same kind of pride one reserves for first-born children or hand-built houses. His enthusiasm was well-founded though, because there’s little this porcelain-glazed vessel can’t cook. Using the two dampers, it has a wide range of easily adjusted cooking temperatures – allowing you to sear steaks at 400ºC or sizzle tender fish at a lower temp. Using indirect cooking, it can bake bread, pizzas and puddings or smoke meats for up to 18 hours. Derived from an ancient clay cooking device known as a ‘kamado’, the Big Green Egg has a limited lifetime warranty on all ceramic components (including dome, base, damper top, fire box and fire ring). The ceramic pizza stones, gaskets, temperature gauge, metal and wood components, however, don’t fall under that warranty.


8 | Zippo Replica W/O Slashes – 1935


The 1935 replica lighter reproduces the look of one of Zippo’s earliest models, with design features that include a flat surface top and bottom, robust corner edges and decorative diagonal grooves on the front and back of the case. It’s also slightly shorter than current Zippo lighters and has a hollow rivet on the flint wheel. The rounder lid and elegant angles give this lighter the vintage appeal that makes it feel like you’re striking up alongside a mid-century New York skyscraper. Zippo’s guarantee is simple: your lighter works or they fix it – free.

9 | CRKT Foresight k220kkp

R2 099

Ken Onion is the youngest-ever inductee into the Blade Magazine Hall of Fame and is recognised as one of the most innovative and successful knife designers of all time in the States. Based in Hawaii, Ken has become known for knives where ‘you don’t know where the blade ends and your hand begins’. The Foresight is an example of his craftsmanship. It’s a wonderfully balanced, folding urban tactical knife with a smooth release and a broad blade that can cut through cardboard with only the slightest effort. CRKT’s lifetime knife warranty covers any defects in materials or workmanship with repair or replacement.

10 | Stanley Growler 1.9L

R1 299

Since 1913, Stanley has promised to provide rugged gear that lasts. Their thermoses are ‘built for life’ with claims their bottles have survived speeding bullets, -55°C wind chill, 1 300m drops and category five hurricanes (powerful enough to flatten towns). The thermoses are under lifetime warranty – even, according to their site, the one your grandpa totes around. The one I’d want for life is a Stanley Beer Growler. It will keep ice for four days, drinks cold for 24 hours and, with its heavy-duty handle, is super easy to pour. It’s meant to carry beer but can be used for any cold drink of your choice – on the beach, alongside a river or at a festival.

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