267 days later: Baubax “World’s Best Travel Jacket” Sweatshirt Review

Baubax female women sweatshirt travel jacket
Not me. Image provided by Baubax

Summary: Save yourself money and grief and don’t buy anything from Baubax. (Receipts below)

Like almost 45,000 other Kickstarter backers, I saw the Baubax travel jacket as a pretty cool idea that would make the in-transit part of traveling more comfortable. In July 2015.

267 days later, on April 12, 2016, my sweatshirt reward was delivered. That’s 8 months and 23 days, 38 weeks, almost the length of time it takes to carry a human baby to term.

With its original estimated delivery date of November 2015, I thought there was a chance my sweatshirt would arrive in time for my trip to Haiti. Then, I hoped it would arrive in time for my February 2016 trip to New York. At least I have it for the remainder of this year’s travel. Considering what I paid, I’m going to have to wear the heck out of it to amortize the cost to something  more reasonable.

What follows is a review of my Baubax product, the advertised features, and my Baubax crowdfunding and customer service experience. I completely paid for this product myself and I will never have to deal with them again, so let’s do this.

Price & cost|Product quality & features |Customer service|TL;DR Conclusion

Ordering Baubax: Price and what it cost


Baubax is a startup offering four products ranging from an all-weather windbreaker to a sweatshirt with 15 features for travel convenience. I ordered it through Kickstarter crowdfunding, which means I didn’t actually buy it in the traditional sense, I supported the company as a “backer,” and the “reward” is the product package I selected. Together with a friend, I backed the project on July 21, 2015 and the campaign closed on Kickstarter on September 3, 2015, raising USD$9.2 million from 44,949 backers.

Motivated by naïveté, hubris, or greed and unbeknownst to me, they launched a second crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo around the same time, which has raised another USD $2 million (corrected thanks to a clarification of how Indigogo calculates funding). It seems to have encountered all of the same issues with fulfillment, but this campaign is still processing perks (the Indiegogo equivalent of a Kickstarter reward) as of this writing (April 2016).

If you’re keeping score, a company that had never produced anything before, led by people who had never done this kind of thing before, raised over USD$11 million to deliver a product that did not exist yet to thousands of people in every corner of the world. What could possibly go wrong?

In the end, this adventure in startup travel clothing ended up costing us USD$254 – USD$229 for two sweatshirts and USD$25 shipping – which was charged as CAD$346.05 on my credit card in September 2015. We had to pay an additional CAD$97.37 for duty and taxes when it did arrive 267 days later. Update: Baubax has emailed me with information about getting some kind of refund for the excessive duty and taxes, I’ll update this post with the outcome. Further update September 2016: I completed the online form as requested in April, submitted receipts and documentation, and never received a response or refund. so it was a total waste of time. DO NOT BUY ANYTHING FROM BAUBAX.

The price on Indiegogo for the same two sweatshirt package is USD$279 + shipping (plus duty and taxes upon delivery outside of the United States) as of this writing (April 2016). That’s right, it’s even more expensive now.

Bottom line: My Baubax sweatshirt ended up costing me CAD$221.71, which is a lot of money for a sweatshirt with extra pockets.

Review: Baubax women’s sweatshirt

Quality

I chose the sweatshirt in a nice, coffee-stain-concealing black. The material is a heavier-weight cotton-polyester blend (60%-40%) and feels warm and comfortable. Overall, a higher-quality material than I was expecting, since the company became less confidence-inspiring and more dumpster-fire-like as time went on.

women's baubax sweatshirt reviewIt is lined to accommodate all of the internal pockets, which makes it quite warm and suitable for airplanes and cold offices – passed the test in my cold always-cold office. Seams are sewed well, and the pockets and zippers are generally well-placed. All of the zippers, loops, and pockets work like the should. The wristlets, partial gloves at the end of the sleeves, are made of the same stretchy jersey as the lining, and are attached well.

I’m 5’3″ (163cm) and usually wear a medium or large to accommodate my football player shoulders, so I got it in size large, just in case. I’m glad I did, the sleeves are a bit on the long side, but the fit is quite snug overall. Update September 2016: The sweatshirt is not wearing well. While it is quite warm, the fabric pills easily and takes days to dry if you don’t put it in the dryer. DO NOT BUY ANYTHING FROM BAUBAX.

Bottom-line: The Baubax sweatshirt is a decent quality product, but not great value considering I paid CAD$221.71 for it. 

Features

Baubax claims their products have 15 features, but I can only get there if I count the “pen + stylus” – a single item – as two things. They also threw in a flat plastic reusable water bottle for my trouble, so I will give them overall credit for 15 things. Here’s how the features check out:

  1. Neck pillow in hood: Garbage. Mine won’t stay inflated, despite trying it in the hood, outside of the hood, and looking up how to do it to make sure I was inflating it correctly. I emailed Baubax about it, but have kept my expectations low. Do not buy any Baubax product for this feature. Must be removed for washing.
  2. Eye mask in hood: Works well, blocks out light.
  3. Earphone holders: There’s a whole mess of loops around the neck, so you can arrange your earphones however you want.
  4. Drink pocket: Realistically, I’ll only use this for a drink pocket if I don’t have anything in the sunglasses pocket on the inside and my hands are full otherwise. Holds a 355mL can of soda or beer easily.
  5. Passport pocket: Conveniently located for going through security. I could fit three passports in the pocket.
  6. Microfibre cloth: Permanently attached with stretchy parachute cord.
  7. Sunglasses pocket: My sunglasses fit, but it gets bulky if you’re using the drink pocket.
  8. Phone pocket: Easily fits my Samsung Galaxy S5. Headphones connect up through loops staying inside the sweatshirt, which is convenient when wearing a backpack.
  9. Pen + stylus: Pen worked and came with three extra tips. Stylus worked on my phone, work Blackberry, and tablet. I detached it from the zipper pull because it’s quite heavy and gets in the way. Must be removed for washing. 
  10. iPad pocket: My non-iPad tablet didn’t fit, but it’s a good sized pocket with a zipper that can be used for other things.
  11. Blanket pocket: Open internal pocket, I could put gloves or the water bottle in there.
  12. Portable charger pocket: Slimmer, open internal pocket and on the same side as the phone pocket. My portable charger cord isn’t long enough to reach the phone pocket, but I’ll probably use the iPad pocket if was going to charge my while wearing the sweatshirt.
  13. Hand-warming pockets: These are just regular pockets found in any hoodie on Earth. Nothing remarkable about them at all.
  14. Built-in gloves: I’m always cold, so these are a welcome feature. Right length for me. Light, stretchy, detached gloves are included that are dollar store quality, nothing special. I probably won’t use them.
  15. Accessory water bottle: This type of bottle is one of my travel essentials, but I won’t use this one.  It is obviously cheap and has a terrible chemical plastic smell. So, it probably cost them 10 cents to include, but it still cost me $221.71.

Bottom-line: The Baubax sweatshirt does most of the things it advertises, but it’s still just a sweatshirt with extra pockets that cost CAD$221.71.

Baubax Customer Service

The high price, high cost, and pretty good construction would have been easier to tolerate if my dealings with this company had been more positive. They can’t even seem to get the easy stuff right. While waiting for delivery, I contacted their PR email address for a digital media kit, and it took five days to get a response, which was just a link to the pictures. That is not a media kit.

At best, they are ambitious amateurs  

They’re getting through their first phase timelines, especially with unanticipated volume of orders received, but it still feels like they are in completely over their heads. Every part of this process has been outsourced, which makes sense, because neither of the company’s principals have a clothing manufacturing background. This company will likely prove to be a great case study for some startup-oriented MBA program. [Story checks out]

Bottom line: it looks like they’re trying to rack up as many sales as possible through crowdfunding to give the company two strong years of sales on paper before exiting/selling the brand and concept to people who may actually know what they’re doing. 

At worst, they’re the worst

Between July and November 2015, the original estimated product delivery date, updates were regular. We saw a factory! We put a sample together! This is a real thing! Product testing to confirm the features! Complete the shipping survey! All positive news.

Product design, manufacturing and shipping updates became less frequent as winter arrived, and, delivery dates more nebulous. By January 2016, it was beginning to feel like a scam. I filed a complaint with Kickstarter for non-delivery of reward. I sent emails. And tweets. And Facebook messages.

I received direct responses through email and Twitter, assuring me this was a real product and would be delivered “soon.” In February 2016, updates resumed that were a list of excuses illustrating how far out of their depth they were. Container shipping delays. An overwhelmed third party logistics provider. Basically, a lot of people burning through a lot of money who quite obviously did not have a clue what they’re doing.

Finally, progress. On March 25, 2016 I received a shipping notification with a DHL tracking number. I started checking daily. No updates. On April 5, 2016, I contacted DHL, who responded within a few hours to tell me the notification I received was for a package that had not yet been delivered to their facility. Another email to Baubax, which resulted in them telling me to contact DHL again. This was infuriating, so I forwarded the DHL email to Baubax. As if by magic, the package was delivered to the shipper the next day. I received no more updates from DHL until the package arrived in my city and was ready to go out the door with Canada Post.

When it was finally delivered to the Canada Post outlet on April 12, 2016, I reached the final step in this journey. Paying duty and taxes – another CAD$97.37 – to get this thing and be done with Baubax forever was unpleasant, but the cost of admission. Like paying at the end of a bad date to be done with it forever. With the bonkers customs valuations, I would not recommend buying outside of the United States unless you’re prepared to pay at least another 30-40% on delivery.

I’ve had almost nine months to weigh the consequences of my decision and I can live with the purchase. I’m going to wear the sweatshirt and I spent most of the money so long ago, it’s time to not be mad about it any more and move on. I will not buy from Baubax again and I will not support another Kickstarter by people who have no experience in their field. Lesson learned.

Bottom line: I received my Baubax sweatshirt but it ended up being ridiculously expensive. I would have been happier paying CAD$100-150 for it, including shipping and customs fees. No, I would not recommend the purchase to others.

If you’ve read this far, you’ve earned a treat. When the sweatshirts were finally delivered, I was going to make an unboxing video, but Rocco the cat had other plans.

If you enjoyed this post, please take a moment to leave some feedback in the comment section. If you really, really enjoyed this post, you can subscribe to the blog to receive notifications for new content. I share travel news on Twitter at @bitesizedtravel, pictures of travel, food, craft beer, and cats on Instagram, and I hide from Facebook. Okay, I don’t

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40 comments

  1. I agree 100%. Only they claimed the sweatshirt to be 100% cotton initially and changed after funding, I’m barely 5’2″ and wear small- I ordered medium- it’s fine as long as I don’t use many pockets! The original claim was the pillow was “incorporated”, I could go on and on. Baubaux has left a bitter taste in my mouth. I will not support any other crowd funding.

    • Thanks for your comment! I’ve supported other Kickstarters in the past with success, but this experience gives me pause about doing it in the future. I knew the risks involved and accepted them, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

  2. I agree with you! When I backed Baubax, I also backed another project on Kickstarter. They delivered on time, and I’ve been using their product since Christmas. I repeatedly tried coma ting Baubax, and never received a reply. Yeah the sweatshirt is cool, but I would never recommend doing business with them.

  3. So, just wondering how did they go on refunding you the excessive duty and tax? Is that and other scam from Baubax?

    • Yeah, I never heard from the 3PL company about an excessive duty refund. I wouldn’t say it was a scam, but more likely a misrepresentation by Baubax.

    • 3.22.17

      Hi Krista, really enjoyed your review of the BauBax. I don’t have your email so I hope this reaches you.

      I’m a crowdfunding specialist, and unfortunately agree with your review and analysis. There are many campaigns that don’t deliver what they promise. Most have been done by project leaders who are naive rather than scammers.

      I represent a very solid clothing manufacturer that has a popular ‘outdoor – adventure’ clothing line. We like the idea of tech enhanced clothing, and are contemplating making a safari jacket with tech enhanced features and introducing it to the world with a IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign.

      I read your candid review of the BauBax features. Are there any other features or improvements you think might be useable and popular?

      Here are the features we’re thinking of including:

      * An inflatable neck pillow built into the collar.
      * Detachable Hood. It features a velcro enclosed fold-down eye mask.
      * Cell phone pocket with phone charger about the size of a credit card.
      * RFID blocking pocket – Built in security for your credit cards and wallet
      * Passport pocket
      * Sunglasses pocket with chamois.
      * Lined pocket – waterproof pocket for wet or messy stuff
      * All purpose pocket- includes a Mylar thermal ‘blanket’ and headband flashlight.

      Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Please email me directly.

      Thanks,

      Earl Brown
      ebrown@clipcable.com

  4. A lot of people just don’t understand what is Kickstarter and Indiegogo. They are not shopping website. They are a portal that allow people to raise fund to develop a product that doesn’t exist yet. If you search the Internet, you will see a lot of fail Kickstarter projects. [comment edited for length]

  5. My L windbreaker is barely a Medium. How do I know? My daughter -in-law ordered a S bomber jacket and it was true to size. When she tried on my L windbreaker, it was just a tad loose on her.

    With all the delays, I’m reluctant to send it back for a XL….Someone will be getting a nice present!

  6. i feel the same way , ripped off by Kickstarter and BauBax. A total scam and i got caught. The sweatshirt has been in the orig box in my closet as i HATED it and was so feed up with the process. I just tried it on as i was thinking of donating it, I can’t be bothered with trying to return or exchange it. I will Not support anything from Kickstarter from now on. The sweatshirt is going to get donated to the Homeless as i want it out of my house. enough said. good luck. I took the pen off and it works nice cheers

    • When I was in the market for a travel jacket, I saw that Baubax ones were MUCH to small for me, whereas Scottevest had ones that fit me. I’m now happily wearing my Scottevest and thinking about buying another. And after reading Krista’s review, I’m relieved Baubax didn’t have their products available in my size.

  7. I was at the shop where it was displayed and simply looked up for any review. Yours was the only one I read, and what a meticulously detailed and informative review it was. In HK, it’s priced at a whopping 1300 HKD, for which you can get better, stylish & branded jackets like that of North Face & CK and Jack Wills.

    Walked out of the shop without batting an eyelid. Thank you for saving my wallet.

    PS: was looking to buy as a NYE gift for wife, so saved me big time.

  8. Thank you for this in-depth review. I was literally JUST looking at purchasing one of their sweaters for an upcoming trip and thought I should probably look up some reviews first. As a Canadian buyer in NS, this sounds like a big DO NOT WANT. Thanks very much for helping me make good life choices!

  9. I wish I’d read this review before buying mine. Of course it didn’t fit. The sweatshirt feels like a cheap one buys at a carnival and now I have to spend an additional $20 to return it. I’ll never do this again. Lesson learned. Thanks for the review

  10. Thank you for your in-depth review. I was so excited about the concept of this jacket and was ready to buy for my world -traveler husband. Hoping a legit apparel company hijacks it and produces one worth the money. Nike? Under Armor? Are you listening?

  11. Mine just got delivered. I didn’t go through Kickstarter (but I have in the past for stuff). I had read reviews before I purchased but unfortunately not yours. The good news is I only paid USD109 for mine including free delivery in Hong Kong (nobody ever delivers free to Hong Kong, so they got bonus points for that). I cannot get the pillow to stay inflated either – I think its either missing a valve or a cap. Or both. Its basically just a hole – no way that is going to stay up! But the rest of the sweatshirt seems ok. It was delivered in less than a week from ordering (again, not bad for Hong Kong) so that was a plus. I cannot figure out how to get the pen function to work… how do you get to the pen? Is there a cap to pull off or something? Mine is just a stylus right now. Still working on that. I didn’t get a bottle either – but I have a bunch of bottles like that at home so I don’t really care. Anyway – thanks for the review, I enjoyed it. I think mine is just about OK for the price I paid, and it arrived in time for the cold weather trip I am about to embark on too!

  12. Hi! I am from Singapore and was crawling through Baubux reviews as they’ve just launched their version 2.0 with estimated delivery in Aug 2018 and has 25 features. Haha. I am now super undecided about trying to back it!

  13. Thank you for the information! I almost ordered a jacket. Now, I realize it’s 2018 and maybe things have changed, but until I read a more positive response that is NOT on their own website, I think I’ll stick with a regular coat with less pockets and a travel bag.

    • Just read a. Bunch of reviews. Doesn’t sound like things have changed. As a fellow Canuck thanks again for an awesome review. You were quite fair in telling what was good as well as bad.

  14. Was never going to consider this product but thanks for entertaining review. Good to see something honest and not an obvious boost by someone who’s received a freebie. Thank you

  15. I lost as many others the pen (or is it the stylus). I ask for a replacement. The pen is 10USD and shipping in my case (international) is another 10USD. I can not pay 20USD for something I will most likely lose again due to a design error. So I am not too happy about this policy and I will not order.

  16. just searched telescopic pen on geek and found what I need for far less 🙂
    “Keyring telescoping Hot Outdoor Thick Mini Retractable Pen”
    5 pcs for 6.10USD incl shipping.

  17. Thank you for sharing your feedback about Baubax. The concept of a travel jacket is a great idea, and the alleged features would indeed be great, if they actually delivered. I was considering ordering one from them in summer 2017, but they were sold out of the larger sizes that I would have needed to fit me, so it was an easy decision to NOT buy one. After seeing your review, I’m really glad I didn’t get sucked in.

    I think you did a good job of giving them credit for the things they did right, as well as justifiably criticizing the things they failed on. I would like to see the product they promised indeed come to market, because it sounds like something I’d love to buy. But it seems that maybe I should wait until somebody else comes along and does it right.

    I enjoyed reading your review. Your writing style is fun and entertaining to read, and I enjoyed the cat video at the bottom!

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