60/40 Mountain Parka

If there can only be one piece of outdoors clothing that is considered iconic, I would argue that the 60/40 Mountain Parka gets the nod. The enduring image of hiking and backpacking is of a person walking down a trail, wearing leather hiking boots, long pants, and a jacket with a gazillion pockets.

Many companies made these classic garments. I’ve personally owned and/or sold pieces by Sierra Designs, Trailwise, Class-5, Frostline Kits, EMS, REI. My favorite were the his-and-hers Trailwise parkas in the most iconic of colors, burnt orange, which I thrifted some time in late 2013. I came really close to keeping the men’s one, but living in California; I didn’t need another jacket.

Now that I live in Colorado, that might have gone differently.

But I digress… I’m telling the story of a grail find. The company that launched the 60/40 jacket into existence was The North Face. Doug Tompkins, manager of the North Face store in San Francisco, in 1968 was the buyer for a new style of jacket for his store. It soon became ubiquitous on trails, in campgrounds, and even on college campuses.

I came across the example of an early 60/40 from The North Face just last week (December 2016). I would hazard a guess that this is a very early example, possibly even from the first couple of years. My reason for this is that there is no content or care tag, which would have been required by law starting in the early 1970s.

The color is a classic outdoorsy green. The zipper is by Talon. The material is in great condition, with just some light staining.I’m awfully tempted to keep it (why are these things always my size?), though I suspect a motivated buyer might be into it more than I am. And I still have a Frostline one in burnt orange in my size.

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