At Outdoor Research®, we built a company from a feeling: the urge to get out. It's what drives us. We love coming to work every day and inventing ever better solutions to what nature throws our way. But we're more than just the gear we build. We're part of a community of friends whose lives are connected by our common need to be outside. Our tribe is devoted to exploring our outdoor passions and challenging ourselves in the mountains, water and deserts of the planet we love so much.
In 1981, a brilliant scientist and adventurer named Ron Gregg watched his frostbitten partner get airlifted off a glacier on Denali. He'd spent months planning a new route in the purest style, skiing 100 miles from the road to the base of the climb. Barely halfway to the summit, their trip ended with the failure of a simple pair of gaiters. Stubborn to the end, Ron refused a seat on the helicopter and descended alone for two weeks, pondering what had happened. Somewhere along the way he realized he could both fix the gear problem and devote his life to pursuing his passion for adventure. By the end, he knew one thing for sure: He wasn't going back to his old job.
Ron Gregg built Outdoor Research on the idea that life is an adventure, and the best gear makes it more fun. Though he died tragically in an avalanche more than a decade ago, his legacy remains at our core. In our world, it's not about chasing heroes; It's about being on the journey. It's not how often we get out as much as how often we want to be out that makes us who we are. Our goal is to do all we can to expand the tribe of people who share our belief that progress is spiritual and life is unimaginable without the quest.
And we want you in it, because we're pretty sure that the bigger our tribe gets, the better off the world will be.
Outdoor Research. Designed By Adventure.
In 1980, Ron Gregg, a physicist and dedicated mountaineer, found himself on Alaska's Denali in a perilous situation. His climbing partner had suffered extreme frostbite due in part to poorly designed gaiters. Snow had been pushed between gaiter and boot, worsening an already nasty situation. After his friend was airlifted to safety and the expedition over, Ron reacted by searching for a solution to keep this situation from happening in the future. The result was a functional, insulated gaiter, the X-
"The result was a functional, insulated gaiter, the X-
Ron's goals in those next formative years remained focused on creating practical, functional tools and solutions to the problems faced by outdoor enthusiasts in the backcountry. Early examples include the Water Bottle Parka®, which still remains the standard for keeping water from freezing in cold places and OR medical kits, which were the first soft-
Through the first decade, OR's growth was fueled to a great degree by developments in handwear, headwear, and gaiters. In 1984, OR Modular Mitts™ again revolutionized standards in the outdoor industry. With Velcro-
The 90's led to innovation in new areas. After a wet and uncomfortable couple of nights in a bivy sack during a backcountry trip, Ron designed a line of bivies that revolutionized lightweight shelter. Utilizing a patented 2-
"The Seattle Sombrero™ was introduced in the mid-
Other ground breaking products included waterproof stuff sacks, a line of women’s technical apparel under the Wild Roses brand name, waterproof soft shell gloves, the first soft shell apparel designed in North America, and a line of WindStopper fleece hats. OR also moved the factory and offices to a new location in the SoDo neighborhood of Seattle and opened a retail store where customers could find the entire product line. During the early 90’s, the US government took notice of our expertise, and we have since been a supplier of high-
The turn of the century witnessed expansion of our traditional categories as well as new ones; a men’s apparel line, a group of travel accessories, and a line of lightweight and innovative shelters. OR had now grown into a leader in the outdoor industry and a trusted brand for outdoor enthusiasts worldwide. With the addition of apparel, the company had taken a step beyond its well-
On March 17, 2003 the unthinkable rocked OR. While skiing the backcountry of British Columbia, Canada, Ron and a friend were caught and killed in an avalanche. Family, friends, the team at OR, loyal customers, the outdoor industry, and the world of adventure lost a one-
"On March 17, 2003 the unthinkable rocked OR..."
After several months of assessment, Ron's heirs made the difficult decision to sell Outdoor Research and it is here that the next phase of OR's history begins. In one of the groups of interested buyers touring the facility, another dedicated outdoor athlete and businessman was looking for a challenge. Dan Nordstrom, a Seattle native, skier, bike racer, and alpinist had recently retired from his family’s business and in June of 2003 became the new owner of OR. Instead of being absorbed by a mega-
Under Dan's leadership, the team at OR has truly created and experienced a renaissance rooted in its past successes. The key, as it was under Ron, is a dedication to and a passion for creating truly functional solutions for human powered adventure. Since the summer of 2003, every aspect of OR has been scrutinized and improved -
In 2003, the company began reaching out to its customers in the form of the Lab Rat program. This popular program provides a line of communication between the user and OR’s product development team. Since its launch, thousands of people have had their say about the performance of the OR gear they own and have had a profound impact on the products in the line today.
"All product categories have undergone a complete overhaul with the classic products seeing careful updates and improvements, and the next generation of classics breaking into the mix.
Based on this feedback, individual products have been improved as well as entire families of gear created. The Lab Rat program represents one of the most basic truths about Outdoor Research: we believe that a true and clear purpose for each of our products can be immeasurably enhanced by listening to our customers and acting on their input.
In 2005, OR became the North American distributor for Exped, an innovative Swiss company with many "new classics" in its line. DownMats™, the Wallcreeper sleeping bag, and exoskeleton tents each represent innovative and functional improvements in their respective categories and compliment the OR product line.
The renaissance continues and function remains at the core of the brand. OR products remain Designed By Adventure®.