Rare label I don’t have too much information on. After scanning old Backpacker Magazine issues I can say that Back Country was like many of its contemporaries a store that both created it’s own products and sold other company’s as well. Earliest mention I’ve found of the shop is a 1976 ad for Woolrich with Back Country of Buena Park, as a retailer. I suspect they go back a little further than that though.
The pack itself is similar to the designs of others. It does have a few differences that I am a fan of. For one the leather seems to be of exceptional quality. It’s thick, yet still soft and malleable. I suppose this may have some to do with its previous owners treatment, but I have seen enough to know it was good quality leather to begin with. Secondly the use of nylon on the lower straps and waist belt. where as Alpine Designs would have used leather throughout the strap, Back Country save a tiny bit of weight and ads a little style of their own by carrying over the orange nylon to these elements.
Good example of this somewhat iconic tent. Not free-standing but keeps itself up when staked at the corners. Very sturdy when rain fly is pulled over the top. Fly comes all the way to the ground. Guy lines provided added steadiness in any weather situation. Great shape. Allows two occupants to sit fully upright with plenty of room to spare over head. Tabs in the corners of the ceiling lead me to believe a gear hammock was available for inside. Not a ton of space for gear with tow occupants and only enough vestibule for the rain fly for boots, and other odds and ends not needed inside.
Great 1950s Lee Riders. Half Selvedge denim construction with a Scovill Gripper Zipper zip. This particular pair of jeans measured about 28×28, but had been taken in at the waist and down the outer seams of both legs to construct a slimmer fit. The indigo was still dark, a desirable trait for jeans of this age. See my other Lee Riders post for an example of a slightly later pair.
Unique early TNF Bivy Sack. Simple construction of one ply rip stop nylon in blue and green. Grommets at the corners for staking down. Not entirely sure if this was the complete unit or if there would have been a tarp or tube tent covering. Good for a layer of wind proofing and would keep your bag clean as is though.
Measures 92″ overall. 76″ foot to neck and 39″ wide.
This is an early Gerry rucksack. As I’ve probably mentioned in other posts, the earliest outdoor gear was simply repurposed military surplus and this bag shares many characteristics. Beyond the olive drab nylon the bag resembles very much a European military pack. Specifically one from a company called Bergans of Norway , which was made of more traditional materials, canvas and leather.
Though the design itself may not have been revolutionary or visionary the removable lightweight back panel is. I believe the panel to be made of fiberglass, but may just be something similar. The removable panel replaces metal support systems used on earlier packs. The updated support system with the use of lightweight nylon saved this traditional design many extra pounds.
Example of a civilian model jacket design based on the N-1. The N-1, to a lesser extent of then the Air Force A-2, MA-1 and N3-B became somewhat legendary for being a well-serving, functional jacket. The problem is one had to enlist and end up in certain positions to receive one. Post WWII patterns and probably sometimes even surplus were converted for civilian use. Today you still see similar jackets being produced by everyone from Schott to Abercrombie and Fitch.
The Jacket seen here has a very similar cut and fabric composition as a Navy issue N-1. Unfortunately the liner is made up of a blended pile and not what would have been alpaca. Still the rugged cut and warmth make these civilian versions a great option for someone who wants the style at a fraction of the price for an original.
The red label on this Lee 101-J was used until around 1956. This particular style was introduced in 1948 as the Lee Rider Jacket according to Lee Europe’s website. Later examples remain almost entirely the same with subtle variations to the inside label. In future iterations of the red and gold label have the model and size highlighted in gold thread. The longer “bar” label also produced in red and gold on black. Sometime in the 60s, red was dropped entirely from the label.
This example is in particularly amazing condition for its age. Appears to be washed once if at all. Sanforized so shrinkage wouldn’t be of concern, but I can imagine it was washed or soaked once to ensure the indigo wouldn’t leech into the gold embroidery thread.
Not entirely sure the origin story of this jacket, but it’s probable the owner was a rodeo participant and the jacket a promotional item from Lee. Cheyenne is of course the capital of Wyoming and host to one of the largest, longest running rodeos in North America – Cheyenne Frontier Days, founded in 1897.