George's Intro to the Vancouver "Life-Saving" Catalog

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Sierra Designs on Canada's Life Saving trail

1973 Catalog:  The Life Saving Trail on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia

This was another very difficult trip that left some people a bit unhappy. [Editors note: see the letter from participant Bob Woodward, where he describes the journey as "horrific".]

This catalog was a huge failure from a marketing point of view. The dealers rejected it hands-down, and some even returned them as just not suitable for selling product. It was also one of the most costly. They were particularly upset with the line drawings of the equipment. Strangely enough since Sierra Designs was such a trend setter, it seemed to have set a precedent for this type of thing, and soon all the competition were busy copying this style. The following year, 1974, the SD catalog to the Southwest US had a combination of photos and line drawings. Even the cover photo came under attack as not in very good taste, as it showed the litter found in the otherwise pristine wilderness. 

Link to entire catalog.

February 29, 2004

Editor Doug's Note:

This publication is a true opus. It's 80 pages long, and the Sierra Designs product details don't show up in earnest til page 40. The West Coast Trail is called the Life Saving Trail, because of its history of saving shipwreck lives. 
There are two journals in the catalog's first half: that of Michael Davidson (with numbered dates; he also does the introduction); and that of Bob Swanson (with dates spelled out). 
My favorite photographs: the "poncho-pack battle" on pp. 31 and 32.  

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