The Marmot story began in 1971. While traveling through Alaska's Juneau Icefield, University of California Santa Cruz students Eric Reynolds and Dave Huntley were struck with the idea of starting a mountaineering social club. They dubbed their group the Marmot club, and over the next few years, they fashioned prototypes of vests, sweaters, parkas, and several sleeping bags in their dorm room. It wasn't long before the two, along with friend Tom Boyce, took the leap into business and opened a retail and rental shop in Grand Junction, Colorado under the name Marmot Mountain Works. Marmot was born.
2014 marks Marmot's 40th anniversary. The brand has come a long way since its humble beginnings in Grand Junction. Marmot is now one of the premier manufacturers of technical jackets, pants, and extreme weather suits, as well as accessories, tents, backpacks, and sleeping bags for all season, conditions, and activities. You'll see the 8000M suit on the world's highest peaks, the Precip jacket and pant on hikers everywhere, the Limelight tent stashed in the packs of backpackers and campers, and the Guide vest on skiers, snowboarders, and winter enthusiasts of all types. Once a mountaineering brand, Marmot has since expanded into interests like urban exploration, trail running, and more.
It was in 1974 when Marmot got its first big break in designing its own product. Tom Boyce was contacted by filmmaker Mike Hoover who needed 108 'very puffy' jackets for a shoot for the Clint Eastwood movie The Eiger Sanction. In response, Marmot delivered the Golden Mantle down jacket--its largest order on record at that time, and one that spurred Marmot into a future of creating many of its own in-house designs and technologies. Synthetics like Hollow Core, insulations like Thermal R, and materials like PreCip can all be attributed to Marmot production innovations.
Another milestone in Marmot's history occurred a few years later when Eric met Joe Tanner of W.L. Gore & Associates, who introduced him to Gore-Tex fabric. Intrigued, Eric made a few sleeping bags with the new laminate. He and Dave spent seven nights in the bags in a commercial frozen meat locker and tested the bags under fire sprinklers. They were so impressed with the results that they changed over the entire Marmot line to Gore-Tex fabrics, making it the first W.L. Gore customer in the outdoor industry. Marmot continues to partner with leading brands like Gore-Tex, Primaloft, and Polartec to create top-quality products for a wide range of conditions and uses.
Today, the Marmot name is stronger than ever. It has grown a lot and evolved, particularly in the direction of more and more ecological sustainability in both its materials and its processes. But one thing has never changed—Marmot's commitment to designing and manufacturing the highest quality performance outdoor clothing and equipment.