Wild Things was founded 31 years ago to provide alpine climbing apparel and hardware for the world’s most extreme expeditions. The co-founder, Chamonix-born Marie Meunier, wore Wild Things on the first ascent of the South Face of Chacraraju, Peru, in 1977 with John Bouchard. Mugs Stump used Wild Things gear on his first ascents of the east face of the Mooses Tooth, Alaska, in 1981 and the Moonflower Buttress, Mount Hunter, Alaska, in 1981.
Back then, it was one of the only games in town. But even last year, when there were a number of competitors athletes could choose from, Wild Things was at the summit when Mark Richey, Steve Swenson, and Freddie Wilkinson topped Saser Kangri in India, and it accompanied Will Steger on Arctic and Antarctic crossings, including the first international trans-Antarctica dog-sled crossing and the first dog-sled journey to the North Pole without resupply.
The brand is known for being dependable in the most extreme conditions—conditions where if your gear fails you could die. It’s made by extreme athletes for extreme athletes.
Wild Things Andinista climbing pack, which was first produced in 1982—the second product that Wild Things made—is one of the company’s iconic offerings. Wild Things claims that “no other pack has seen as many technical ascents on the world's highest mountains as the Andinista.” And that’s probably true.
The pack has been modernized over the years to keep it current with compatible equipment. Tool attachments for ice axes were added as well as a bullet pocket for crampons and extra storage. The three-compartment lid remains removable, the shoulder straps are still contoured, and the padded belt now has ice axe/gear loops. The main bag is as bombproof and functional as it was when it was originally designed—and still big enough to stick your legs into during an emergency bivouac.
The pack now uses zipper compression rather than straps, letting you crunch the 5,500-cubic-inch pack down to a manageable 1,800 cubic inches for day packing. It’s 3 lbs, 8 oz without the bivy pad, and every thread of it is made in the United States. Available now, $360; wildthingsgear.com.
Wild Things recently announced that it’s modernizing again and will soon offer customized outerwear. On Wild Things’ website, pick your base product, its features, fabric and color. Ten days later, it’ll show up at your doorstep. And the options are extensive—more so than with other online apparel retailers like Nike or Adidas. Insulation type and weight, fabric, hood versus no hood, pocket placements, zipper colors, logo placement, and embroidery can all be specified, all at the same price you’d pay if you were buying a stock item. Available October 2012, prices vary; wildthingsgear.com.