Compass: Charting the Evolution of Outdoor Gear

Compass: Heritage Outdoor Gear Links

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The Backpacking Revolution, Gear Pioneer Companies, 1945 to Present (US focused) Bruce Johnson's original vintage outdoor gear site.

Mike Parsons (ex-Karrimor) and Mary Rose replaced their Innovation for Extremes site with the newer Outdoor Gear Coach

Outdoor Industry Underground: Alan Tabor's ode to Mountain Hardwear, Sierra Designs and other US firms, using first person recollections

Alpine Luddites craft custom packs & modern replicas of classic climbing rucksacks like Karrimor, Millet, Berghaus, Synergy, Chouinard, etc.

Vertical Archaelogy is a wonderful collection of old outdoor literature (catalogues, photos, brochures, etc) and iconic climbing hardware

Scott Hampton's impressive collection of 800 outdoor catalogues

(Scott advises he unfortunately doesn't have time to scan the contents of these catalogs)

Outside Magazine's pictorial article,The Most Influential Gear of All Time (beware, it does have a healthy dollop of inaccuracies)

Melbourne Bushwalkers - Fifty years along the track (1940-90) Chapter 13 - Gear (by Doug Pocock)

Classic Camp Stoves: Vintage camp stoves such as those made by Primus, Optimus, Radius, Svea, etc

Kai Larson's small collection of scanned outdoor catalogs (including the 2001 "Cloudwalker by Jeff Lowe")

Vintage Cannondale. (A collection of PDFs of Cannondale catalogs, back to 1973, when this iconic bike brands were heavily into Backpacking)

Rohantime (a blog reminiscing about the early Rohan days from 1974 to 1989. UK based)

Rohantime Photos on Flickr (accompanying photos of Rohan outdoor and travel clothing from that period)

Boondocker's Vintage Gear Museum (collectable outdoor and ski gear for sale, with pix and descriptions)

The Outdoor Universe. (graphic depiction of who owns whom in the outdoor industry, strong North American focus., circa 2008)

40 Years of The North Face (flash-based museum of TNF designs by Goldwin, their Japanese licensee)

Vintage Gear Outfitters (sell mostly authentic old jackets and pants from The North Face)

The Backpacking Technology blog looks at patents of early outdoor gear

History of outdoor businesses, predominately climbing focused (in Polish only )

Record of historic US outdoor product, with photos (in Japanese only )

Ezlife : potted history of lightweight tents (in Chinese only)

Scanned images of Chouinard catalog, circa 1968 (and so much more ...)

Scans of the entire Chouinard 1972 catalog

Find Me a Tent (an online tent database, with photos of some older tents)

Funding Universe (various company histories, mostly US, including some big name outdoor firms)

Retro Outdoor Gear (photos of old outdoor gear)

Backpacking Light (User Forum discussing retro outdoor gear)

More of the same from Backpacking Light (as above)

British Mountain Heritage Trust

Scottish Mountain Heritage Collection (SMHC): an assortment of mountain memorabilia from Scotland and around the world.

Invisible on Everest: Innovation and the Gear Makers, 2002 book by Mike Parsons and Mary Rose (mostly UK and European focus)

Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman book by Yvon Chouinard. An autobiographical history of Patagonia, the


The Hippie Guide to Climbing the Corporate Ladder & Other Mountains: How JanSport Makes It Happen book by Skip Yowell on history of


The Neptune Mountaineering and Ski Museum (private collection of climbing and skiing equipment, from mid 1800’s to last half of 20th


SNEWS Special: Industry Trailblazers (a series of articles looking back at USA outdoor brand personalities)

[ If above link doesn't work, go to and click on Industry Trailblazers link -  at very bottom of page.]

Vertical Devices : Gary Storrick's visual collection of over 1,550 abseiling (rappelling), ascending and belay devices

Pitons: Analogy on the Historical Origins of Rock Pitons

Carabiner Development : Tracking developments in rockclimbing technology

The Nuts Museum : history of rockclimbing protection (an absolute gold mine of historical product photos, catalog covers, commentary, etc.)

Vintage Climbing Gear Collection (excellent and extensive photographic collection of superseded climbing gear)

History of Crampons Timeline (potted history by Climbing Magazine of crampon evolution 1500's to 2001)