gear design

Jardine's Golite Breeze Recognized by Outside Magazine

Jardine's Golite Breeze Recognized by Outside Magazine

In a recent Outside magazine feature titled The Most Influential Gear Of All Time, Part III: 1981-2012, the iconic Ray Jardine designed Golite Breeze backpack was recognized as one of the most influential outdoor gear designs of all time.

Outside writes:

In their first year [Golite] introduced 12 ultralight products that sparked an industry-wide shift toward lighter gear in the ensuing decade. The company's first pack, the Breeze, had no hip belt or framesheet, and was the first to use uber-strong and radically lightweight Dyneema.

Looking at this pack from the Ray-Way perspective, it follows the logic presented by Jardine: eliminate what is not necessary and lighten up/simplify those items that are required. Many of today's so-called "ultralight" backpacks would woefully fail the Ray-Way test.

The feature image of this article shows Ray with a pre-Breeze version of the pack on his 1994 PCT hike, where he and wife Jenny developed their hiking style.

The classic rucksack, as presented by the Breeze proves that less is more. The main features include: durable exterior fabric, thinly padded shoulder straps, top-loading collar with over-the-top compression strap, large front mesh pocket for storing wet items, two side pockets for water bottle and umbrella/small essentials and two side compression straps for lashing umbrella, sleeping pad and ice axe.

Yup, no hip belt, sternum strap or aerospace engineered mesh framework so your back won't sweat. Just pure simplicity.

So why are milestones like the Outside magazine recognition important? In this author's opinion it is because the lightweight philosophy has glorious repercussions in our society which is vastly devoid of soul and a connection with nature. As Jardine quotes in his classic book Beyond Backpacking:

Thousands of nerve-shaken, overcivilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home. — John Muir

Simply put, the more people who venture into nature and have a positive experience and do so often, the brighter our future as a civilization; all that potential from a little backpack released in 1998.