Gerry “Lightweight Camping Equipment” label era parka. This lightweight nylon shell features a double layer upper extending through the hood, halfway down the sleeves and to the waist. Also features waist and hood nylon draw cords. Double chest pockets. Clarks Coats zipper. Estimated late 60s early 70s manufacture date.
The original 60/40 mountain parka by Sierra Designs. Constructed of the fabric famed for its day as the superior protector against the elements. In a time before Gore-Tex and other such membrane backed fabrics, this blend of Nylon and Cotton loomed with a tight weave was the number one choice of outdoor enthusiast against rain, snow and wind. Prior to its introduction in 1968 most parkas of this style were made of a Polyester and Cotton blend which was much more permeable to the elements. This particular example is an earlier version evident by the sparse labeling and lack of embossed buttons.
The parka is constructed of a Navy Blue shell made entirely of the 60/40 material. The classic construction includes two hip pockets with side entry and Velcro closed top entry. Two bellowed chest pockets also with Velcro closure. A single zip closed back pocket which opens up to the entire upper half of the jacket body. Closure consists of a large gauge YKK zipper with extended pull for ease of use while wearing gloves. Also a snap close-storm flap. Features an integrated hood with offset seams to prevent pooling around the neck and shoulders. Inside the khaki liner is made from 60/40 up top and through out the sleeves and hood to further guard against the elements where it matters most. Then a lighter nylon lighter around the lower allowing the jacket to slide easily over the hips. Nylon cord cinch runs through the hood with leather lace locks. Also a Nylon draw cord at the waist which most likely also had the leather locks at some point, but are now missing.
*Apologies if you were watching this on eBay. Apparently it’s illegal to sell there and the listing was pulled shortly before it ended.
National Park Service windbreaker. Picked up in Colorado, it may be from one of a number of national parks, but the closest being Rocky Mountain National Park.
Very lightweight, made of single layer nylon. Jacket features a stowaway hood, which can be rolled up and secured via loops and buttons around the lightly padded collar. Two zip close front pockets. Nylon draw cord at waist and hood. YKK main zipper.
Embroidered patch is stitched on to left sleeve. Patch measures about 3.75″ tall by 3″ across and is in nice shape.
Jacket is in nice shape save for a couple small holes in the back bottom of the jacket, most likely from sitting or leaning up against something.
Marked size larger
24″ top of zip to hem
21.5″ pit to zip
24″ pit to pit
This Woolrich Parka features classic styling composed of materials and craftsman ship that was top of the line in its day. The shell is made of the famed blend 60/40 Cotton/Nylon material popularized by Sierra Designs in the early 70s. This material was most weather proof fabric of its time, before Gore-Tex. Linking is made of a poly cotton blend with Nylon sleeve liner. This ingenious design allows the wearer to slip the jacket on and off over wool shirts and the likes with no binding or bunching. One inside pocket and double breast and hip pockets. Elastic cuff closure, waist and hood draw cords with leather disc cord locks. Main closure comes via a heavy gauge YKK two-way zipper and logo embossed brass tone snaps. The 60/40 has a nice sheen and tends to make separate panels different shades of blue in different light. Not all 60/40 is created equal. Depending on the cotton and nylon fibers used the material can vary in thickness, stiffness and sheen. The Woolrich sheep logo of this time period was recently relaunched and dubbed the “White Collection”. The line is quite nice and does well to honor styles like these.
In short, Mountain Equipment Co-op was founded in Vancouver, BC circa 1971 by a group of individuals sick of crossing the border to shop at REI in Seattle. This malcontent for border crossings and a passion for quality outdoor goods has led to the MEC to become one of the largest co-ops of outdoorsmen in the world. The Co-op is still in operation today making gear for its user/owners with the same enthusiasm as they had 40 years ago.
The parka seen here from the early to mid 1970s is very similar to what one would have found at REI during the same time period. It is made of a 65/35 cotton/poly blend, in an ever popular color combination for the time. What excites me the most about this parka is the thought that went in to the lining. Both the lower half of the torso and sleeves are lined in a light nylon. This allows for much freer movement as friction between the parka and any under layer is greatly reduced. The alternating of Navy and Khaki is quite nice as well.
The parka appears to have been produced under contract by Winner Sportswear LTD of Vancouver. Using local and foreign manufactures to produce items is common amongst Co-ops. Here you can see a later parka contracted by REI from Korean manufacturer Natural Comfort.
This is a great parka from a rare Colorado company. First Lead exists today as an outdoor preparedness and training organization based out of Norwood Colorado, about 30 miles from Telluride. In talking with a spokesperson for First Lead I leaned the training outfit shares no direct relation to the outdoor gear company, but is cut from the same stock of friends and outdoor enthusiasts that started 1st Lead back in the 70s.
Banana Equipment is among my favorite of all the early Colorado labels. Banana’s slogan was “products with a peel” and they were one of the first companies to put Gore-Tex fabric to proper use. This simple pullover is a single light weight water/wind barrier when your out in the elements. 1/4 zip YKK zipper closure with banana embossed snaps. Great two-piece design hood with peak and underlying draw cord for a nice,functional closure. Velcro close kangaroo pouch pocket with overlaying storm flap. Velcro cinch cuffs, and bottom draw cord round out this pieces simple structure. Back of Gore-Tex label marked IV-79, it would make perfect sense for jacket to be from 1979. Seam sealant is still visible on the unlined fabric, common on early Gore-Tex goods
Banana Equipment was founded in Estes Park, Colorado in 1972 and the brand was later sold in 1980. Labels changed slightly over the years. At one time they bear the location Boulder, Colorado and later versions don’t contain a city at all. Recently the label has been resurrected and a new line of day packs are available. Find the new Banana Equipment at www.bananaequipment.com.