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.
This is a legitimate expedition weight REI down parka. You’d probably have to collect the down from about 4 of your average TNF or Holubar down jackets to get up to this thing’s standard. When fluffed the thing sits about 8″ thick laying flat zipped up. Contains about 2.5 lb worth of down fill. Has heavy gauge zip closure with snap over flap. Also has an a line of snaps on the inside storm flap so you can close the jacket without zipping. Not sure if this is so one doesn’t have to work a zipper in freezing cold or so that the wear can breath just a little if they chose. Double snap option runs all the way up through the snorkel hood. Has two insulated pockets outside and one inside.
Get this thing fully buttoned up and cinched and you’ll look just like Kenny from Southpark. In today’s age this would be easily four figures worth of down fill goodness.
I’ve not yet found a great deal of information into the production and use of these old denim US ARMY fatigues. With so much militaria being of OD Green and khaki descent, denim pieces are seemingly unique. After finding a few other examples of similar jacket labels, it’s safe to say that this item does date back to the 1940s and was succeeded by a few other denim jackets before the army discontinued. This, the earlier version, has amazing zinc embossed buttons which are surprisingly thin, yet sturdy. The lines on the jacket are much like you would see on any civilian chore jacket. Which makes sense as the military often times contracts from suppliers who also make civilian work wear. This one here is missing the neck tag which would have had the pertinent information. Manufacturers of this style include Reliance MFG and Lutece MFG.
The always innovative Camp 7 line is descendant of the Alp Sport and Alpine Designs lines conceived by founder George Lamb of Boulder Colorado in the 1970s. This coat is exemplifies the company’s innovative spirit in the cut and construction of this outdoor staple.
Notice specifically the construction of this coat around the arms. Where many competitors would join the torso with the arms in simple perpendicular fashion, the Camp 7 design utilizes a more complex design that includes additional quilting to form a more contoured fit and eliminates a hard shoulder seam. Additional details including the internal seam finishing in black along the back and front panels reduces fraying on high friction areas. Designers also chose the use of Polargaurd for the pocket insulation as opposed to down. Polarguard, a relatively newer product for the period was probably seen as a more durable alternative for an often used, well-worn area.
Subtle differences in the hood color, embossed snaps, which differ from the coats snaps and individual materials tag suggest the hood was a sold separately option for this coat.
The Beck Distribution Corp was a pioneer in motorcycle distributing sourcing OEM (original equipment manufacturer) and aftermarket parts and accessories for foreign bikes to suit American rider’s tastes. The company dates all the way back to the early 1900’s. I would estimate the helmet seen here is from the early-mid 1960s, but have yet to track down an exact date or model number. Vintage American Motorcyclist Magazines currently on Google Books gives hints to the popularity of this three-quarter style helmet and the Beck Corp itself during those early 60s. In 1969 Beck Distribution Corp merged with Arnley Brake Shoe Company and the name and logo were changed to reflect that. So if anything I can say this helmet is at least pre 1969.
An interesting thing on this helmet is in the liner and foam core. The dense foam core is constructed of two halves instead of a single piece. Also the liner that once held the soft comfort foam is made of a nylon material, which gives the helmet interior a nice sort of satin finish, but wouldn’t be very breathable or moisture wicking. It’s evident that later safety improvements replaced some of these designs quirks.
The reflective squares on sides and back are a common addition to helmets of the era. A lone sticker inside shows the size as S 6 3/4″ and Made in Japan. One theory I have given Beck’s business model is the helmet was produced by Arai and then stickered Beck by the distributor, but at this time that remains just a theory.
Decades before Columbia Sportswear’s Omni-heat, Early Winters produced the Silver Lining. A Mylar like lining which reflected body heat, encased in a nylon shell. This piece was truly ahead of its time, as many of Early Winter’s products were. The Seattle-based manufacturer was the first company to use Gore-Tex fabric for commercial purposes in tents and jackets. Early Winters was at the forefront of outdoor innovation with iconic products like the Omnipotent and Pocket Hotel Tents and loads of co-branded products from candle lanterns to knifes to walking sticks.
This particular jacket is constructed of a nylon shell with horizontal quilting stitches. Nice lines around the shoulders give it a much more modern appearance and reduce seems along the shoulders. Zip and snap closure down the front. Wide wrists with Velcro closure. A two-inch collar and elastic around the bottom hem. This piece is dual purpose and can be worn as an outer layer or insulating layer beneath a parka. Inside is a white mesh lining over the reflective silver lining. the two integrated hand pockets make for internal pockets as well.
The Bell -Toptex Shorty helmet debuted in the early 1960s and was popular among motorcyclist through the end of the decade. the low profile and light nature made it a perfect helmet for roaming the cities and country roads on Triumphs, Harleys and small displacement UJMs. The helmet was Snell Memorial Foundation approved, predating DOT ratings and was very similar in style to the Buco Guardian helmets of that day. The shell extends down to about the top of the ear and a vinyl collar in connection with the chin strap secure and protect the rider from excessive wind. A variety of visors and shields were available for the front.
Still trying to figure out the role of “Toptex” in Bell helmets of this era. Originally I figured Toptex simply referred to a shell material, but in patent documents, it seems the name of the company was actually named Bell-Toptex. It seems that in the 70s the company dropped Toptex from the name and or shell material.