Sierra Designs was founded by Bob Swanson and George Marks in 1965 on the premise that all people deserve to have good gear for exploring the outdoors, regardless of their background or experience level. Taking their years of adventures together out on the trail and putting it directly into the products they made, Sierra Designs pioneered many of the outdoor innovations taken for granted today.
Swift clips on your tent? We did that. The 60/40 Mountain Parka? We did that. Women specific sizing and needs? Yep, we did that, too. In fact, we’ve held hundreds of patents (and some pending) that have made getting outdoors easier and more enjoyable.
It’s about more than just great product, though – it’s about the passionate people who think it up. The original SD team of Bob and George ballooned to twenty eight full time employees by 1968 – even George’s mom helped out in the sewing department. When we say, “family affair,” we mean it literally.
That was then, in our original former paint factory Berkeley, CA headquarters. Today, our home base is shared between Pasadena, CA and Boulder, CO, but our mission hasn’t changed at all – Sierra Designs continues to be a place where you can find happy dogs (lots and lots of happy dogs), new ideas, always-reliable camping gear, and good to the core people who are always down to Think Outside.
We’ve seen many different versions of ourself along our 50+ year history. We’ve been as small as two, as large as 80, and everywhere in between. We’ve been based in NorCal, SoCal, and now Colorado. We’ve made revolutionary products, sign-of-the-time based products (we rocked some mean fanny packs in the 90s…), some head scratching products (an ugly wool Holiday sweater line in the 80s…), and everything in between.
But through it all, the one constant remained the vibe of the office, and the type of people we bring on board to be a part of the team. We have always been passionate about the outdoors, and make it a part of our daily routine in some way. We have always taken our work seriously – but not so seriously that we won’t turn someone’s office into a Winter Wonderland (complete with fake snow) while they’re on vacation. In the 60s and 70s we smoked weed sometimes on company hikes, and now that we’re based in Colorado where weed is legal…maybe we sometimes still do. We are a place where even if you do decide to move on, you’ll always be a part of the tribe and are given a proper send-off (with maybe one last practical joke). We’ll bring our dogs to the office and sometimes take a half day for a long bike ride. But we’ll also stay late to make sure the job is done, and done right, so that you get the best possible gear.
We’ve been encouraging (and practicing) wanderlust since 1965. And we can’t wait to see what the future holds.