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.
Seen here is a great pair of older Danner insulated and Gore-Tex lined hunting boots. Tongue stamped 60630, a style number no longer in production, but the styling is very similar to what’s known now as the Sierra GTX, Style 63100. The boot consists of a multi panel leather and Cordura upper. Fully attached tongue construction along with the Gore-Tex lining ensure the elements stay locked out. A light quilted insulation on the interior makes these a good boot for almost any season. Old style duck camo on the Cordura works well in the field or on the streets. In fact, Danner has recently collaborated with modern-american outfitter, Ball and Buck on a very similar, updated version.
Other details include an 8″ shaft height, Vibram soles, 8-eye lace up consisting of eyelets, D rings and hooks.
These older Danner 30520 hiking boots are the bases for what is now known as the Mountain Light 30876. Though not called the mountain light, this version was made significantly lighter than the previous 6490 version primarily from the move to a Gore-tex lining and lighter sole material. Danner was an early adopter of the revolutionary Gore-TEX fabric which made its entrance into outdoor market in the mid 70s. A similar boots marked 3052 was also made, I’ve not yet determined what the extra 0 found here denotes
Much the same as the current Mountain Light these boots feature:
5 D-rings, 2 hook lace-up
Danner tri-fold tongue
Are Made in the USA and Recraftable
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.
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.
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
This North Face Gore-Tex jacket is quite the piece. Full Gore-Tex outer and nylon inner lining. It’s as yellow as a pvc rain coat but rest assured its not. Very stylish and still functional as a windbreaker, the Gore-Tex has lost most of its repellent properties but could be treated with an aftermarket treatment if one so desired. The label boast the remnants of the former owners last name in faded permanent marker. and from the W-L tag it’s assumed a women’s large but it fits like a short mens medium as well (see measurements).
Two zippered front hip pockets
Zippered internal chest pocket
The North Face embossed snaps and zip front closure
Two-piece hood with compression over the brow and 2.5 inch bill independent of draw string.
Nylon/elastic draw cords with Fastex spring loaded toggles (hood and waist)
Velcro wrist closure.
Gore-Tex received its first patent in 1976 and that combine with the brown label would date this jacket late 70s early 80s