A HARDWORKING TEAM HANDPICKED FOR KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERTISE
Our brand was born and raised in the outdoors. When our founder opened his original Seattle Sport Shop it was with an open invitation to stop by the store to tap his expertise about locations, techniques and, most importantly, gear. Eddie Bauer himself guided friends and clients—sometimes by floatplane—as well as employing renowned outdoorsmen who led clients into the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest and helped refine the product selection inside the store to what performed in the outdoors. His crew of gunsmiths and tackle makers pioneered new fishing techniques, revolutionized old-school layering and worked to construct their own innovative outerwear. But most importantly, his belief in field testing and trusting the expertise of knowledgable outdoorsmen led to a product feedback-and-development loop that spawned products such as America’s first down jacket, down sleeping bags that supported the first American Himalayan expeditions and an entire lineage of technical outdoor gear a generation before that term even existed. Guiding was a critical piece of our brand from its foundation and, in essence, guiding is in our blood.
That deeply rooted belief in the importance of guiding as a profession, as well as how that outdoor expertise is critical to developing pioneering product, is the reason we formalized the Guide-Built® process when we launched the First Ascent series in 2009. We handpicked a select crew of world-class, hard-working guides and athletes to tap their deep knowledge of what works in the harshest environments and most remote locations. Then we integrated each member of the team into the development process from the brainstorming and prototyping phases to the first field tests and the final, conclusive expedition testing. Our team has expanded, bur our process has remained the same, resulting in a full line-up of technical gear that is a true product of their expertise.
At every stage of product development, we integrate elements the guides demand, from the specifics of function, fabric and features to the precise location of every seam and stitch. We stand by our statement and our guides back what they build because it is exactly what they need. Whether in the mountains of Alaska or on a remote kayak expeditions, gear is a matter of life or death for the team, so when design finally rates worthy of our brand you know it has passed their ultimate test.
Perfection through minimalism was the design philosophy embraced by our guide team from day one. Starting from that alpinist mantra we shaved weight, bulk and overkill to create a line that is equipped with every essential but not one ounce of excess. That overall guiding principle now applies to every guide-built product from our ski kits and fishing jackets to every single alpine hard or soft shell in our line. Our unwavering focus remains, “Everything you need, nothing you don’t.”
Whether on a first kayak descent in India, an Andean heli mission or a Himalayan climb, our team of guides and athletes constantly tests themselves and our gear against the world’s harshest environments. They log more miles, vertical and summits in a year than many of us will in a lifetime and their missions serve as the perfect product testing venue. It is their collective focus and commitment to the outdoors that defines our brand, but the deep adventure ethic that drives them forward means that each time they head out into the wilderness their journey is an inspiration to our brand and a story that needs to be told.