The Original Founders
Australia may not have much in the way of high mountain terrain but what we lack in the vertical scale is more than made up for by (usually) enviable weather and a rugged landscape with a rich diversity of wild and natural coastline, rivers, forests, cliffs, mountains and deserts.
Three fifteen year old boys, their black hooded heads bent down against the wind driven rain, walked resolutely on. There was no other easy option -the ragged ridge top disappearing into swirling mist before them was by far their easiest way out. Wetness, coldness and a background sense of being a long way from home dominated their feelings but in the absence of any view- down into densely forested ravines below or further onto the succession of ridge crests and mountains that led to all horizons, it was what they could hear that made their setting so dramatic.
The wind tearing at the rocks and roaring through the waving canopies of twisted snow gums, their soaked army surplus wool trousers flapping to each hurried step, the squelching of their boots and the near freezing rain splashing down in curtains were sounds that combined to confirm their precarious predicament.
It was a typical nor-westerly front hitting the crest-line of the Victorian Alps but for the three walkers it was their first alpine blizzard and as they marveled and shuddered at the ferocity of the wind and the wildness of the setting, a sense of doubt and unease grew in their minds Their oilskin coats might have kept the rain out but their woolen under garments were soaked from condensation … ” So Tim Macartney Snape later wrote about one of his first forays into the mountains in 1971.
Back then outdoor gear had changed little in generations but change was on the horizon and people were just starting to take to the outdoors for fun in growing numbers. A decade on, the new wave of enthusiasm for the outdoors was in full swing and on the other side of Australia, another teenager, Roland Tyson, began discovering the outdoors. As his adeptness grew, especially in climbing, he started sewing his own gear in his bedroom. Gradually the sewing took over as a fulltime job, he had his mum June help him out, called his business Namche Bazaar and set up above an outdoor store in the middle of Perth.
Why Start Sea To Summit?
The Beginning: Everest 1984
Having summited Everest in 1984, Tim was in Perth lecturing on mountaineering when Roland approached him for some advice on how he might go planning a trip to cross the Himalaya on skis and a friendship was born. So naturally when Tim began planning his unprecedented climb of Everest starting from the sea on the Bay of Bengal, he asked Roland to make him some lightweight equipment for the trip- more than twenty years later Tim is still using some of that gear.
Tim and Roland established Sea to Summit – named after Tim’s successful expedition- as a company that would make use of their outdoor knowledge to create innovative, lightweight gear for travel the outdoors.
Where Is Sea To Summit Now?
Twenty-one years later, June, Roland, Penny Sanderson (Roland’s partner) and Tim are still the owner directors but the family has grown to fifty employees and all are encouraged to foster a passion for the outdoors.
Sea to Summit is a small, privately owned global company which develops and manufactures outdoor, travel and water sport products. We design to provide the ultimate solutions for outdoor enthusiasts looking for innovative, durable, lightweight and compact gear. Sea to Summit is now sold in over 35 countries and has won design and business awards in Australia, Europe and America. Now more than ever, Sea to Summit continues to research the best materials, production methods and ideas for new products keeping us at the forefront of bringing lighter, better made, better performing gear to enthusiasts around the world.
Our headquarters are in the most isolated capital in the world, Perth, Western Australia, a state that is more than three times the size of Texas or more than half the size of Western Europe. West Australians and Australians in general love to be outside. Across Australia there’s a wealth of wild, untamed coastline, a hinterland of rugged ranges, wild rivers and remote deserts to be explored and enjoyed. This environment, and the wider world, continues to challenge us and inspire new product developments. Whether you’re a hiker, climber, paddler, pedaller, skier or camper there’s plenty of opportunity to get out in pristine, uncrowded places. But Australians also love to travel, to visit other out of the way places around the world.
What Do We Think Is Our Responsibility?
Here at Sea to Summit we take environmental and social responsibility very seriously. Here are our main ethos that make our brand so strong.
We are only as good as our team and our team is only as good as the diverse and talented individuals that comprise it. We aspire to creating a work environment where working for Sea to Summit is more inspiring, more exciting and more fun than working for anyone else in our industry.
To that end we encourage each and every one of our staff to ‘own their job’, to run their job as if it was their own business. For over a decade our little kitchen and its commercial grade coffee machine has been one of the hot hubs of interaction. The other hubs are our open plan offices – we don’t have private offices, everyone from the managing director to the work experience novice shares the same office and facilities, so everyone can feed off the excitement and tension of all that is happening – and put in their two bobs’ worth!
Leave No Trace
If we go into any natural environment for recreation, contemplation or study we will always have some impact. Those with experience will have learned along the way, how to minimise their impact so that their passage leaves little trace. It’s easy to forget that for the novice from the city, such behaviour needs to be acquired and too often they have to learn by trial and error, initially creating far more impact than necessary before – if they are lucky, they pick up the skills to leave no trace behind them.
Leave No Trace was founded to overcome this problem by having an effective, coherent and simple code that can easily be communicated across the world.
Sea to Summit is a founding supporter of Leave No Trace (LNT) Australia, an organization that is dedicated to promoting and communicating the same message as is promoted in a growing number of other countries.
Carbon Neutral is a not for profit carbon consultancy and offset provider. The organisation assists clients to measure, reduce and offset greenhouse gas emissions. As a registered environmental charity Carbon Neutral has revegetated around 2000 hectares of farmland in regional Australia with almost 3 million native trees, they have a strong focus on developing biodiverse conservation plantings and carbon sinks which deliver significant environmental co-benefits.
Similar to Carbon Neutral, the primary focus of Carbon Conscious is to create large scale carbon estates in the Australian wheatbelt in order to produce quality and accredited carbon credits. They do this through planting Mallee Eucalypt trees, a native species adapted to the growing conditions of the region.
Over their growing life, the Mallee Eucalypt will ‘sequester’ or store carbon from the atmosphere, create habitat for native fauna, provide windbreaks for crops and help keep encroaching soil salinity at bay.
For us packaging is a necessity –in modern retail shops products must be attractively packaged, show-casing the benefits of the product to any potential buyer and keeping it in pristine condition.
For practical, aesthetic and environmental reasons we choose “single polymer” polypropylene (PP) that includes a recycled content. In the few cases where we have opted to use two materials, we make them easily separable for ease of recycling. Production and recycling of PP uses far less energy and water, is less polluting and can be more successfully recycled than paper. PP comes from propylene gas which is a by-product of the production of petrol, so although it is derived from fossil fuels, the use of it is not accelerating the depletion of fossil fuels and being a pure hydrocarbon, it ultimately breaks down to just water and carbon dioxide – it is a “clean” plastic leaving no toxic residues.