Jul 30, 2015
Outside Magazine

Down pioneer Eddie Bauer.    Photo: Tim Tomkinson

A lightweight jacket insulated with duck or goose down or synthetic fill. In 1935, 35-year-old Eddie Bauer, who owned a Seattle sporting-goods store, went on a winter fishing trip on the Olympic Peninsula. Hauling steelhead out of a steep canyon, Bauer became hypothermic when his perspiration froze. He recognized the need for a material lighter and more breathable than wool but equally warm—and thought back to something his uncle, a Russian soldier, had told him about troops using coats stuffed with feathers during the Russo-Japanese War in 1904. Bauer took a prototype to climber and designer Ome Daiber, who initially made the coats. They weren’t the first of their kind—Woods Canada claims to have outfitted a 1913 Arctic expedition with down parkas—but Bauer, who died in 1986, patented the first puffy, the Blizzard Proof.

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