Compass: Charting the Evolution of Outdoor Gear

About Compass - the Evolution of Outdoor Gear

        Home Brands History Firsts Classics Logos Links Books News Action About


I was moving house yet again and keen to de-clutter. I thought long and hard about dropping into the

recycling bin my remaining collection of old outdoor catalogues, some dating back to the early seventies. A

bunch of which I’ve been humping around with me, ever since I left home 30 years ago. And considering I've

moved house over 18 times, you could say I’ve become kinda attached to these raggedy publications.

As an outdoor pursuits instructor, I was spending the bulk of the year in the field, getting wet and cold, so I

tended to become picky about my gear. When I started work as an outdoor clothing and equipment designer,

these catalogues were my reference library. Now, instead of hefting them immediately into the recycling

wheely bin, I've decided to scan their pages, and see if I could cobble together a historical record of the

evolution of outdoor gear that influenced me.

The list will be obviously idiosyncratic. And no doubt many people would pick other companies and products to

showcase. But these are the ones that struck a chord with me. And the ones for which I still have catalogues,

obviously. Companies and products are brought together in a simple timeline. Of course, my knowledge of

this many businesses and products will be patchy in places, and not entirely comprehensive. Feedback is,

however, welcome. I will update the site as personal time allows.

(Boy, do I now bemoan that during early house moves when I had those periodic purges of catalogues.



In the dim distant past, after many years as an outdoor pursuits instructor and camps director, I went on to

be the designer for Paddy Pallin company, (the oldest outdoor company in Australia, established in 1930,)

where I designed all their technical clothing, sleeping bags and first aid kits.

I was also their product manager and outsourced synthetic sleeping bags, hats, socks, daypacks, etc.

Additionally, I established and/or managed the Australian distribution of Arc'teryx, Tika, Osprey, Five-Ten,

McNett, Alpineaire, PackTowl, Ultimate Direction, Artiach, Manzella, Arkos, Edelweiss, Eagle Creek, Sierra

Designs, Mont-Bell, and Chouinard/Black Diamond.

Later I worked as a freelance designer, completely revamping the premier Extrem mountaineering line for

Berghaus (UK), as well as designing their collection of clothing accessories, known as Outer Limits (gloves,

socks, headwear), and a line of technical travelwear. Plus, I worked as a design consultant on their Simplex

lightweight clothing line. I also designed a line of travel packs for Berghaus.

A more detailed view of my professional experience can be seen on the INOV8 website

If you've catalogues, adverts, scans etc of innovative outdoor gear that you feel should be represented on this

site, drop me (Warren McLaren) a line, via email.

APOLOGIES: this email link has been broken for sometime. Hopefully it now works. Please resend

any emails, prior to 23 Nov 2015.

NB: I registered the business name INOV8 in Australia for my eco-design consultancy back in 1993. A full

decade prior to the British trail running footwear brand 'inov-8' appearing on the outdoor scene. There is no

relationship between the two enterprises.