Items I Wish REI Would NOT Sell!
Let's NOT make these nominations about personal preferences, hearsay, or GUESSES! If you want to send a message (to you know who) about a bad product, be ready to backup your nomination with FACTS. My first nomination is...
THE SAWYER VENOM EXTRACTOR
This is a product I've seen on REI shelves (Santa Monica, CA) a few years ago, and has recently reappeared (possibly due to the recent looting of the store and current restocking efforts). I understand trying to make a sale, but DO SOME RESEARCH before you sell something!
I've seen (and eaten) my share of rattlesnakes while backpacking here in California, and elsewhere, and I hear about snake bites every year. I imagine it's the same everywhere. I've also seen pictures of the resulting damage and heard of the pain, in no small part due to ineffectual "treatments" causing more tissue damage and amputations. So this is no small issue!
Unfortunately, much of the advice and approaches to addressing snake bites over the past 500 years is based on myth, not medicine!! Sadly, much of it percists to this day. The Sawyer Venom Extractor (The Extractor, pictured) is one such problem!
The kit comes with a syringe and several cups that attach to the end to fit the bite site. It works, which is to say The Extractor has a VERY powerful suction.
I get it, the visceral satisfaction of "sucking out" the venom must feel like a primal way of reversing the incident, to "take it back", but that's NOT what happens and it's not that simple.
First, snake fangs are curved, so the place you would be sucktioning is NOT necessarily where the venom went/is.
Second, snake venom is not just one toxin, it's essentially a cocktail of toxins with molecules of different sizes, diffusing into various tissue compartments including the intravascular and extracellular spaces and spread AWAY from the bite site.
Also, one of the main studies Sawyer cites as reason to buy their product shows the serosanguinous fluid sucktioned out of was only 1/10,000th the concentration of the rattlesnake venom, which is basically NOTHING!
In fact, not only did The Extractor NOT do its job, but studies show more venom leaked out of the bite on its own, AND, The Extractor collapsed the tissues around the wound at the surface, forcing the venom even deeper.
@REI: Outdoor enthusiasts, particularly beginners, look to a variety of sources for help and advice. Those sources include REI in general and REI salespeople in particular. Barring that, they will simply trust that what is on the shelf is worth buying. Considering the above, I would strenuously recommend the product be pulled from your shelves and purged from your stock so it does NOT reappear!