Compass: Charting the Evolution of Outdoor Gear

Some Photos

        Home Brands History Firsts Classics Logos Links Books News Action About




Arthur Bevan Napper, is born in Melbourne, Australia


manages the Arthurs Pass Hostel, in New Zealand, with his wife, Judy

Uses his wife’s sewing machine to experiment with canvas external frame packs

Mountain Mule pack brand is born


modified versions of his packs used by Sir Edmund Hillary and George Lowe on the first successful Mount Everest expedition


establishes Mountain Equipment, a specialist climbing and tramping shop, in Victoria Street, Christchurch, New Zealand

also moved production of the Mountain Mule pack moved to a Christchurch factory

Begins making other outdoor clothing and other equipment


Kimptons in Melbourne, Australia (better known for their down products,) began manufacturing Mountain Mules


“H” frame pack, based loosely on the Northern America “trapper” becomes icon of New Zealand tramping & Australian bushwalking

In New Zealand Mountain Mules were also favoured by hunters to carrying out deer, pig, goats, possums & rabbits from remote locations

sells over 100,000 packs, including exports to Australia and Britain

manufacturers Paddy Pallin and Flinders Rangers also adopt the "H" frame as it could carry larger and heavier loads than "A" frames

There were two main models: standard and tanker. The tanker had a tap in the hollow frame to enable stove fuel to be carried in it.


Bevan Nappe celebrates 55th wedding anniversary

16 January, Bevan dies in Wanaka , New Zealand, aged 83