Summit Gear began as Katoomba Outdoor Centre in 1981, in a small shop next to Katoomba Railway station by Dave and Trish Murphy.
Katoomba Outdoor Centre brought the first technical climbing and bushwalking gear to the Mountains, saving outdoor enthusiasts the 4-5 hour return trip to Sydney to buy gear.
The gear that was sold in Australia at the time was generally from the United States or Europe via Asia. It often was not adequately made or designed for use in the harsh Blue Mountains environment, and Dave saw a need for locally designed and manufactured equipment. Dave and Trish saw the potential, ploughed their money into their first industrial sewing machine, and began manufacturing outdoor equipment.
Rucksacks were cut out on the lounge room floor and sewn in between serving customers. It would take one week to complete a daypack. The original labels were hand drawn on completion of the pack to ensure that it was correctly aligned. Dave never made a mistake with the label!
As orders began to come in, our first machinist, Kathy, was hired to begin full time manufacturing from Dave and Trish's back shed. The word began to spread of the clean designs and absolute durability of Summit Gear rucksacks. Manufacturing premises were found, staff numbers increased, and Summit Gear continued to manufacture everything from expedition climbing harnesses and packs, to the toughest school bags available.
By the mid 90's, Summit Gear equipment had been used on expeditions to all major mountain ranges in the world, including first ascents in the former Soviet Union and Antarctica. Summit Gear products were used widely by rescue teams, professional guiding and outdoor education groups, and outdoor enthusiasts nation-wide. Summit Gear was also involved in manufacturing packs for other major outdoor brands in Australia. The retail component of Summit Gear was focussed only on our products, and outdoor stores nationally stocked our gear.
As the outdoor industry moved from technical to fashion oriented gear, Summit Gear became disenfranchised with supplying gear to other outdoor stores, and with new staff and motivation, decided to re-launch a high profile destination store in Katoomba to showcase Summit Gear products, together with a range of the finest outdoor equipment available.
This website is the next step in showcasing Summit Gear to a global audience.