Landmark Outdoor Innovations

We take a look at some of the innovations in outdoor gear

Without the wonderful world of outdoor product, we’d all be out of a job, and you’d be cold, wet, and uncomfortable every weekend. In honor of our most beneficial brands we have decided to take a look at some of the most ground breaking developments in outdoor equipment history. Just in case you were wondering where you can find all these fantastic products, we stock them all at GO Outdoors.


GORE-TEX – World Beating Weatherproofing

It was 1976 when a family of invertors headed by Wilbert L. Gore first developed a porous form of a substance called PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene). Initially used in industrial and medical products, it soon became clear the substance had much wide uses as a waterproof laminate. GORE-TEX is now the waterproofing of choice for most leading brands, and is available in five versions; Soft Shell, Performance Shell, Paclite, Pro Shell, and the much talked about Active Shell. No longer only found in clothing, GORE-TEX’s waterproofing guarantee has also found its way on to sleepingbags, footwear, bivvi bags, and even tents.



Edelrid Ropes – Life Lines for High Places

They say that, ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’. For climbers nothing is more necessary than being able to rely on your rope. Early ropes were prone to unweaving, abrasion damage, and poor shock-absorbency. Unsurprisingly, rope failure and deaths were not uncommon. Fortunately in the 1950’s equipment manufacturer Edelrid, developed a rope with a protective outer sheath, which helped to improve strength, abrasion resistance, and elasticity. These new ‘kernmantle’ ropes were virtually unbreakable, and in just a few short years advanced the sport of climbing decades. The company remains at the cutting edge, and today there is a whole range of Edelrid clothing and climbing equipment.


Leki Walking Poles – Sharing your Load

Like many of us Karl Lenhart loved the outdoors. However this love didn’t always extent to the outdoor equipment of the day, which he felt could be greatly improved. Fortunately for him, and us, Karl had experience in aircraft construction and in the 1970’s used these skills to manufacture the first Leki ski poles. In 1984 his son Klaus, now company director, made ski pole technology available to walkers with the development of the first, adjustable, and collapsible trekking pole. The company still remains ‘the’ world leader in pole technology, and the latest Leki trekking pole range is still as cutting edge, and innovative as ever.



Garmin GPS – Know where you are, wherever you are

For centenaries the map and compass have ruled the world of navigation. It took might of the U.S. Defence Department, and over 20 years of research to make the next great leap forward. GPS (Global Positioning System) became fully operational in 1994 and, until GLONASS was made available 2007, was the only such system to be available to the individual. GLONASS, the Russian Federation’s answer to GPS, is now available to outdoor enthusiasts, and can be accessed using Gamin’s latest handheld units.



Marmot Down Clothing – Nature Leading the Way

It wasn’t until the mid 20th century that cutting edge climbers and mountaineers realised the potential of ultra-fine bird feathers for insulation. Two such climbers were Eric Reynolds and Dave Huntley, and in 1973 they made prototype down jackets and sleepingbags in their dorm room at Santa Cruz University. Word spread, and a few months later they were contacted by 20th Century Fox, who were making a film with Clint Eastwood called The Eiger Sanction. Over 100 down jackets were need for the cast and crew, and in fulfilling this order Dave and Eric founded the company Marmot, who still produce the finest down products to this day.