Big Bend Conservancy
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I shopped in that store whenever I needed gear ME. You may have sold me my Svea 123 stove. Along with a Holubar -20 degree down bag, the stove is the only piece of equipment to survive dozens of moves and nearly 30 years without backpacking. I actually purchased my first backpack in JC Penney and replaced it immediately after my first hike from Queen Wilhemina.
Not quite 40 years but...here's my much younger self with a state of the art REI external frame pack...on the right...circa 1978. My buddy Ethan...on the left...had a similar pack but I can't remember the maker. I loved the REI because it had the 4 outside pockets on the side of the main pack envelope...
...That nice red down sweater I'm wearing was made from a kit! I bought the kit and with the help of my fiance (who became my wife 29 years ago), we sewed it together and loaded the down (provided as part of the kit) into the tubes we sewed as the body of the sweater. I also had a backpacking poncho that I sewed from a kit from the same company. I don't remember the name of the company but my wife is still around!! Bill[/color]
I bet the 'kit jacket' was a 'Frostline' kit. My mom bought me one of those in the mid 70's. I remember it came pre-cut and came with numbered tubes of down to fill the jacket once the shell was sewn together. My mom even modded the jacket and added red and white stripes down the sleeves which gave it quite the patriotic look for 1976's Bicentennial.
... I also used an external frame pack I made out of dowels and strapped my stuff on in my tarp. At the time it was a pretty cool deal with the cross dowels steamed and bent to shape, but all things considered was pretty crude. ...I have never been on the cutting edge and probably will never be. AlP.S. The dowels were lashed together with dental floss and then varnished together. It did not fail but technology "advanced". Looking back it was truly a light weight backpack. Only the frame and shoulder straps were added what was being carried. The pack was my tarp/tent. It was later that I learned the advantage of a hip belt as advised by my hiking buds. Well advised additional weight.
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