An interesting thing has been happening.OutInUnder is routinely in the top 3 Google search results for sufficiently obscure topics: The Ski Hut, Pivetta boots, Camp 7, Sierra Designs history...that sort of thing...and even scores 'above the fold' for more mainstream search terms, eg Hap Klopp
An unexpected but much enjoyed resultis I have the privilege of providing a place for folks toconnect with former co-workers, give a shout out for much-loved gear, and express appreciation for the values and work ethic they find embodied our industry.
As a result, I'm altering the site to facilitate all that.
A few interest folks and I have started the Outdoor Industry Catalogs Project. We're focusing on the early years of companies but we're willing to add in anything from later if you've got it (and as long as I don't have to personally scan it:-). Pdf's preferred.
There's an completely updated version of the Company pages for some key companies. You can see the list of the companies below.
One new component for each company is a listing of the People involved. For any of the 'big names' in the industry there are dozens of critical contributions that should be acknowledged.
This is still extremely rough. For example, I'm only up through the D's...plus some catch as catch can... on tagging people. It's all very beta.
If you worked in the outdoor biz, hit reply and tell me your companies, titles, and tenures.Report on your friends. (Help, Roberta!)
Remember, If you don't like the news, go out and make some of your own.
Hail Xaos, Al
PS, I've added a new avatar photo revealing my secret identity as a renegade lawn gnome.
People and Companies: Keith Brown is a great example of someone finding their company on OutInUnder...in this case Camp 7 out of Boulder.
Keith left a comment with a little history, I asked for elaboration, and the result is a tale of his journey from RISD to Camp 7 to haute couture to various locations in Asia and the top of Everest (wearing DIY gear) and back to Boulder as a Realtor and Interior Designer.
A note to the youth, Ski Hut was the great grandfather of all the Berkeley backpacking companies and a direct ancestor to The North Face, Sierra Designs and on down the line.
This was a transitional decade as new materials and designs slowly took over. The Ski Hut Catalogs from this period chronicle the transition and display a great combination of old school and new school gear.
Connections: There seem to be a schism between story as conversation...the goal of OutInUnder...and story as performance. The former is inspiring but I've discovered the latter creates a road block for all but an experienced few.
What I initially conceived of as a platform for folks to lob tales onto when they occur to them has floundered on that schism. As a result, I now conceive of OutInUnder as a place for stories to find a home not a tool for their production.
A few are comfortable sharing in text or video...and I'm happy to host that...but the rest of us need to stay close to the back and forth dynamic of telling our stories in face to face conversation.
A quick note: there have been some weird bot subscribes to this newsletter using hijacked email addresses. While I think everyone, even bots, would likely fall in love with what we've got here, please note it's easy to unsubscribe.
We need the backcountry. The backcountry needs us.