Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 20

1980s

Steve Barker

Outdoor Retailer 35th Anniversary

THE BUSINESS
CONSERVATIONIST
As the co-founder of Eagle Creek, climberturned-entrepreneur Steve Barker made
adventure travel an essential part of the
early outdoor industry. But his real legacy is
giving this community a voice in politics.
Written By Marcus Woolf

W

hen he was 16, Steve Barker
wanted skis, so his parents
gave him...one. To earn
the other, he worked in the
rental shop at Frederick's Ski and Hike in La
Jolla, California. When the Frederick's owner
opened another outdoor store, she put Barker
in charge.
"At 17, I had an open-to-buy," he says.
With four years of experience running a
shop, and at just 21 years of age, he opened
Mountain People in Idyllwild, California,
where he met his wife, Nona. He began by sewing custom packs and selling mountaineering
gear. From that modest shop in the San Jacinto
mountains, Barker launched an impressive

20 OUTDOOR RETAILER

/ 35th Anniversary 2017

career in the outdoor industry, eventually pioneering the adventure travel category.
"It was a good time to own a climbing shop,"
says Barker. "The Stonemasters clan was coming to Idyllwild to push free climbs that had
been done by people like Yvon Chouinard and
Royal Robbins. Also, people were transitioning
into new equipment."

Unfortunately, as the plainspoken Barker
puts it, "I crapped the bed in Idyllwild," and the
store failed. However, for the self-proclaimed
"start-up junkie," it was just a temporary setback. "Nona and I were bouncing around the
West and living in a commune when we wrote
our next business plan," says Barker. Inspired
by a burly trip up the tricky 14,260-foot Keeler
Needle, during which Barker's climbing partner's pack broke and he had to jerry-rig a haul
bag, he decided to make custom backpacks.
Steve and Nona established Eagle Creek in
Solana Beach, California, in 1975.
"After a while, people started coming in
seeking gear that would suit active travel,"
says Barker. In the late 1970s, Laker Airways
in Britain partnered with tour operators to
offer wholesale travel packages that allowed
Americans to fly to Europe for about $500.
That opened the door for a whole new generation of traveling dirtbags.
In response, Eagle Creek produced more wallets and other travel items, but outdoor special-

For more than two decades, Barker and
the OIA chipped away at the antipathy
of Congress when it came to the
concerns of the outdoor industry.
photograph by ANDREW KORNYLAK



Outdoor Retailer - July 2017

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Outdoor Retailer - July 2017

OUTDOOR RETAILER - JULY 2017
CONTENTS
CONTRIBUTORS
FIRST WORDS
THE TRIBE
GREG THOMSEN
YVON CHOUINARD AND GERRY LOPEZ
STEVE BARKER
THE SCENE
JEFF LOWE
PETER AND PATTY DUKE
BEAVER THEODOSAKIS
CARSON STANWOOD
CHAD GALLWITZ
JOHN MEAD
THE TORNADO
THE SCENE
SALLY MCCOY
JOHN STERLING
CASEY SHEAHAN
THE SCENE
MUSIC AND MEMORIES
PETER METCALF
SALLY JEWELL
CONRAD ANKER
JEN TAYLOR
DAN NORDSTROM
JEREMY COLLINS
JOANNA HOSHIMOTO
THE FUTURE
THE BACKSTORY
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - OUTDOOR RETAILER - JULY 2017
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - Cover2
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 1
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - CONTENTS
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 3
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - CONTRIBUTORS
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 5
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - FIRST WORDS
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 7
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - THE TRIBE
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 9
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 10
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 11
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - GREG THOMSEN
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 13
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 14
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 15
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - YVON CHOUINARD AND GERRY LOPEZ
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 17
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 18
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 19
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - STEVE BARKER
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 21
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 22
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 23
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - THE SCENE
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 25
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 26
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 27
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - JEFF LOWE
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 29
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - PETER AND PATTY DUKE
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 31
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - BEAVER THEODOSAKIS
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 33
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - CARSON STANWOOD
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 35
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - CHAD GALLWITZ
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 37
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - JOHN MEAD
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 39
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - THE TORNADO
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 41
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 42
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - THE SCENE
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 44
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 45
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 46
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 47
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - SALLY MCCOY
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 49
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 50
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 51
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - JOHN STERLING
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 53
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - CASEY SHEAHAN
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 55
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - THE SCENE
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 57
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 58
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 59
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - MUSIC AND MEMORIES
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 61
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 62
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 63
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 64
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 65
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - PETER METCALF
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 67
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 68
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - SALLY JEWELL
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - CONRAD ANKER
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 71
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - JEN TAYLOR
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - DAN NORDSTROM
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - JEREMY COLLINS
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - JOANNA HOSHIMOTO
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - THE FUTURE
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 77
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 78
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - 79
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - THE BACKSTORY
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - Cover3
Outdoor Retailer - July 2017 - Cover4
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