Early 1980s The North Face Gore-Tex Anorak Parka

An age of innovation is evident in this beautifully functional anorak parka. First let’s talk about the fabric choice. While Gore-Tex had been around for over a decade by 1980, commercial use didn’t really begin until 1976. So at the time of this parkas’ manufacture, the breathable, waterproof fabric was still new to consumers and just beginning to overtake old standards like rip-stop nylon, 60/40 and other poly cotton blends as go-to shell materials. The early version of Gore-Tex used here is much thicker than what we know today, and actually has a weight closer to 60/40. The white label found in the hood, an early commercial example (earlier versions were white on black), has what I believe to be a month and year of manufacture on the back side. I have never fully authenticated this theory, but after years of looking at these labels and comparing to catalogs and other resources, it seems to line up. The markings seen on this label are IV/82, or April, 1982. The practice of this dating on the backside of labels also appears to continue in the early black version of the Gore-Tex Label.

This parka featured fully taped seams inside. While most of the glue holding these in place has broken down and the loose strips removed, some remain as evidence of TNF’s commitment to building an advance take on an old design and getting the most out of this revolutionary fabric. The design intentionally avoids seams at the shoulders to further improve the overall waterproof effectiveness.

The closures on this parka get an upgrade in the form of the custom TNF zipper pulls. While The North Face embossed snaps had been around for probably a decade at this point, the proprietary zipper pulls are a new add. If we look at the back of the zipper head, we can see that the zipper is Manufactured by YKK. My guess is that custom zipper pulls offered YKK a great way to expand their business, attract customers and gain the dominance over the industry they have today. Prior to this time, there seemed to be a handful of zipper makers used in outdoor gear such as Talon and Coats and Clark or C&C. I am a little surprised the Fastex cord locks at the hood and waist drawstring are not The North Face labeled, but those were not too far off from this time period.

Maybe one of the biggest differences a vintage TNF fan will notice is the label update. Up to now there have been a few minor variations of the brown logo on white background, but now we’re looking at a white logo on navy background. This parka features only one small sleeve logo I think in an effort to preserve the integrity of the Gore-Tex being used. The Gore-Tex label is carefully tucked away in a seam of the hood drawstring. A material tag inside the jacket is maybe for a reason, brown print on a white tag. Not long after this piece was made The North Face would introduce the Extreme series, which continued this trend of innovative designs and construction for outdoor sports.

Woolrich 60/40 Mountain Parka

Vintage Woolrich Mountain Parka 60/40

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.

Banana Equipment Anorak Parka

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.

 

1980’s The North Face Gore-Tex Anorak Parka

This North Face Gore-Tex anorak style parka represents technical innovations for the company in the early/mid 80s. Traditional 60/40 cotton blend materials are bypassed in lieu of the emerging weatherproof fabric known as Gore-Tex. Advancements in materials have pushed design by allowing the parka to remain weather proofed with more seams backed with waterproofing (note the seams mid sleeve). The growth of the brand from the “Brown Label” garments is also evident in the use of branded hardware. The embossed buttons (used on later “Brown Label” pieces) label screened cord locks and emblemized zipper pulls attached to TALON loop zippers. This piece is also clearly designed for a woman as evident in the contoured waist.

1/2 zip with zip and snap closure. Innovative two-piece hood with peak and elastic draw closure ran through a nylon sock for optimal, form-fitting tightening. Nylon lined front zip kangaroo pocket with pass-through velcro closed hand pockets. Elastic cord cinch at bottom.

This piece is in very nice shape. Almost no signs of wear with no holes or stains. All stitching is in nice shape and the Gore-Tex fabric backing is in great shape. Color is pretty much dead-on Navy Blue. Refer to the picture of the back of the parka for truest representation of the color.

Measures:
neck seam to cuff: 27″
across at slimest: 17″
across at bottom: 19″
top of zip to hem:  25.5

This Parka is currently available on the BCV  eBay store

Frostline Anorak Parka – Mens Large

Frostline Anorak Parka in Rust and Khaki. This parka is in good shape and is well sewn. Rust colored thread throughout the piece make for nice contrast on the Khaki. Great details around the front zip as the rust is carried up into the khaki. 65/35 Poly/Cotton shell or similar with full Nylon lining give this jacket nice weight. Talon zipper closure throughout.

Features:

  • Zip Kangaroo pocket
  • Separate pass-through front pocket
  • Nylon waist draw lace with spring cord lock
  • Velcro adjustable cuffs
  • 1/4 zip front
  • hood draw lace

The fabric on this parka is clean and in good shape, no holes or stains. Great contrast in colors from the yoke to the lower.

Measures:
24.5″ pit to pit
23″ pit to cuff
34″ neck to cuff
31.5 ” top of zip to hem

For those of you who may not be familiar Frostline was a Colorado based sew-it-yourself outdoor clothing kit company that manufactured a wide variety of products and styles beginning in the late 60s. The products featured innovative designs, materials and constructions and could be had for a fraction of the price of the leading outdoor companies if you knew how to sew (or could bribe someone who could).

Fostline Kit Anorak Parka

The Colorado sew-it-yourself kit company Frostline churned out dozens upon dozens of patterns throughout the 70s and 80s. This 60/40 Anorak Parka is a great example of how these affordable kits, when constructed properly resulted in beautiful, technical pieces as good as any others on the market at that time.

Features:

  • Zip Kangaroo pocket
  • Separate pass-through front pocket
  • Nylon waist draw lace with spring cord lock
  • Velcro adjustable cuffs
  • 1/4 zip front
  • hood draw lace
  • small gauge TALON zippers throughout