Bruce Johnson on Holubar
In Boulder, Colorado, Alice and Roy Holubar officially opened for business in 1947 by purchasing a business license. Roy was also known as LeRoy Holubar. He and Alice had met as Juniors in High School, and were fellow students at Colorado University (CU). Pictured left is the front cover of the 1950 Holubar catalog.
Holubar Mountaineering co-holds with GERRY Mountaineering the title of the very first of the innovative outlets for modern American-made climbing/camping gear in the United States.... In fact, Jack and Joan Stephenson of Warmlite were inspired personally by the Holubars upon the occasion of their 1955 honeymoon trip to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. The couple had suffered through a cold, miserable trip until Roy and Alice took the youngsters into their Boulder home and "turned them on" to custom down gear of the highest order. The Stephensons returned to California inspired, and began their own "business in a basement".
Alice Holubar, as one of the very first people in the USA working in nylon and down, created designs and set standards for everybody who was to follow. Among the firsts Holubar can claim are the invention of what we today would call the first modern lightweight, nylon-shelled down sleeping bags. Alice gradually perfected bags that draped the sleeper in a wonderful warm embrace due to the use of a purposefully non-differential cut. Alice also perfected the use of the "V" baffle and longitudinal baffle construction. Such inner construction, coupled with a near-insane devotion to quality and customer service made her bags legendary among those in the know. Coupled with the innovative down-filled collar (the "Holubar Collar"), Holubar bags became the preferred choice of many early Himalayan and Alaskan mountaineers during the 50s and 60s (before most of the big-name Companys like North Face or Sierra Designs had even opened their doors.
As a poor college student in 1972, it took me (the author) a long time to save up enough money for a premium down bag, but when I finally had enough, the choice was clear, and I purchased one of Holubar's premium down bags, in a winter weight, for $137.00. Its 1.2 oz. ripstop nylon shell was a beautiful blue, and it was so sensuously soft, puffy and WARM that I left it out unpacked in the living room just to find excuses to feel it on a daily basis....Its name was "Royalight," which I found out years later was an acronym for "Roy," "Alice" and "lightweight." It was the perfect name choice for such a sleeping bag-- it was very light and it was worth a King's ransom and it was a bag to treat royalty with, oh, and it was a royal shade of blue to boot......I miss that bag!
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