Compass: Charting the Evolution of Outdoor Gear

Synergy Works History

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climber Daniel Shurman, founder of Synergy Works, starts developing a new mountain parka, out of Oakland, California


conceives a three layer Ventile fabric parka, with a mesh mid layer to stop rain wicking between outer and inner layers

densely woven cotton Ventile only made by one factory in the UK, so fabric scarcity limits production to only 180-300 parkas per year

ends up custom designing parkas for likes of Royal Robbins, Galen Rowell, Kim Schmitz and Ned Gillette


the Ventile jacket is available in 10 sizes, and costing $140 USD

Wilderness Camping magazine gushes over their Ventile jacket, dubbing it, "The Best Damn Parka in the World."


Outside magazine says "Their X-pedition Pack may just be the best heavy-duty pack there is."


Backpacker magazine observes that Synergy Works has "superlative parkas"

Backpacker magazine also notes that Synergy Works' "internally framed rucksacks are truly state-of-the-art"

introduce the Synergy Works Insulation System designed to keep the wearer warm at -29°C (-20°F)

introduces fibrepile


Backpacker magazine says of their coated nylon parkas, "Very well made and finely designed."

Mid 70s

company doing half million dollars (USD) in business

Late 70s

Calvin Klein see parka on New York Street and places an order of $527,000 USD for raingear under the Calvin Klein label

deal goes sour and Daniel Shurman sues Calvin Klein for breach of contract


in a retrospective, Backpacker magazine says their "innovative pack designs are today still considered the best by many top mountaineers"

NB: As with many of the history timelines for brands listed on this site this information has been cobbled together from many varied sources.

Anyone having more detailed or pertinent information is welcome to contact me so that I might get around to improving the accuracy of the info.

Also, some of the images used here were borrowed from other websites. I haven't found contact details for the people who originally uploaded those

images, so once again I would appreciate it if they were to contact me to either confirm attribution or request the images be removed from this site.