Own a Bit of Climbing History — Thomsen Brings Back The Klettersack


Back in 1971, during the heyday of outdoor company beginnings, Greg, Jim, and Laurie Thomsen started an outdoor school and guide service called Wilderness Experience. The following year, they began manufacturing outdoor products in Chatsworth, California.

Wilderness Experience packs were used on major expeditions around the world by many top mountaineers. By the 1980s the product line included backpacks, sleeping bags, tents and apparel. Wilderness Experience was the first outdoor company to complete a public stock offering and was listed on the NASDAQ. In 1985 Wilderness Experience had seven factories in the USA with hundreds of employees and was shipping thousands of products each day.

In 1974, the team introduced the Klettersack backpack, where it quickly became a favorite of many of the top rock climbers and mountaineers of the day. Now, 45 years later, Jim Thomsen was able to reacquire the original Wilderness Experience trademark in order to reintroduce The Original Klettersack to the world.

Wilderness Experience

The Original Klettersack will be made using the original pattern, the same high quality materials and hardware, and will be built to the same standards.The backpack offers 28 liters or 1700 cubic inches of storage space, features a full length, foam-padded backpanel, and zippered top pocket on the lid. The pack is made from Cordura with the option for a leather bottom.

The Original Klettersack will be manufactured at a factory based in Vietnam, which Jim used when he was President of JanSport, EastPak and Kipling International. The factory has a 5 day work week, support for worker’s families, overtime pay (including dinner!), a full time nurse, and a minimum working age of 18 years old. More importantly, they are part of the Fair Wear Foundation, a foundation committed to upholding labor standards and making life better for their employees.

In order to fund initial production, Jim is running a Kickstarter campaign to take pre-orders for The Original Klettersack. Early bird prices start at $75 but they are going fast. Delivery is expected sometime in October. Over on the campaign you can also check out some awesome 70s climbing photos from the Wilderness Experience catalog back then.

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