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.
This piece is typical in many ways of other parka from this era by other Colorado companies like Holubar and Frostline. A shell constructed from a cotton blend (most likely 65/35 cotton/poly). Added weight and warmth from an inner layer of the same material. Standard parka trimmings like the yoked shoulder panel and multiple large pockets for storage. Beyond that, this parka has some major difference from its competitors. Maybe the most noticeable is the lack of a hood. It’s not that it got lost, there’s not even snaps or a zipper half to attach one too. The cut of this parka is lot shorter too, ending just below the waist as opposed to mid-thigh length. Another difference is the leather backed snaps. Not exactly sure of the purposes here, I am sure it added durability to the snaps, but it also adds weight. Peaks on the front of part of the shoulder yoke point a little more than others, and there is an absence of chest pockets. Maintains traditional accouterments like the back pocket (closed by a small talon zipper), waist cinch, and Velcro cuffs.
Can’t wait to find more gear from 1st Lead to see what other kind of things they were doing different so many years ago!
In an effort to further record and archive the great gear of old I’ve created a few Pinterest boards dedicated strictly to the art of the label. Check it out at pinterest.com/basecampvintage