from 1978 EW cataloglling also seen.



There are those who remember EW's earliest tents with great admiration and fondness. The first to be introduced was in 1972, a radically-styled, expedition capable tent named the "Omnipotent." (see uppermost tent in catalog image above, top).... Later, in 1976, came the Goretex "Light Dimension."..My colleague Monte Dodge furnished the image on the left, taken in the late 70s, showing an Omnipotent and a Light Dimension side-by-side high on the east side of Mt. Whitney (note the old-fashioned A-frame tents nearby).....

The Omnipotent was a non-Goretex, double-wall tent designed by Mr. Nicolai in 1972, reputedly after the failure of his traditional A-frame tent nearly led to his death on Early Winters Spire in the North Cascades of Washington State...He was a poor young man then, but his innovative direct catalog marketing, helped greatly by his partner Ron Zimmerman, grew his small company quickly.. By 1976, they introduced The Light Dimension, a single-wall Goretex design that some claim was a FIRST in the industry. There was also a fun little one-man, goretex mini-tent named whimsically "The Pocket Hotel," weight about 2 lbs. 4 oz., which included its four tent stakes!

Pocket Hotel image compliment of Larry Bibb.


Early Winters company Probably merits a HISTORY OF GEAR AWARD, and that would be: DOUBLE FIRSTS-- FIRST TO USE GORETEX IN A GARMENT, and FIRST TO USE GORETEX IN A TENT, both in 1976.

A bit later, in 1978, EW introduced a Goretex geodesic dome designed by tent designer Bob Howe (see link). It was named the "Earth Station" (in image at page top, the Earth Station is on the lower right). THIS TENT PROBABLY ALSO SHOULD RECEIVE AN AWARD FOR "FIRST GORETEX GEODESIC TENT."

BOOKS! As of mid-2020, I have publishe five books about the history of some of the great gear pioneers, as well as five other books with general outdoor themes/content. Most are offered in traditional book, eBook, or inexpensive PDF formats. (my ten books and links to order them, click here).

I would highly appreciate READER INPUT ABOUT the Early Winters tents, AND ALSO WHAT BECAME OF THE FOUNDER, MR. NICOLAI...CONTACT ME.

Please Note: All Material above, and in all my "History of Gear" webpages, is copyrighted, and no usage of my material is permitted unless explicit permission is granted by me, Bruce B. Johnson, owner of OregonPhotos.com. Editors: Please contact me if you have interest in publishing....Others: if you were involved with one of the old-line, vintage gear companies and have a story to tell in these pages, please contact me soon at oldgear@oregonphotos.com.


Go here for a page specific to the Omnipotent tent!

Main Page: Essays and pictures about the Pioneers of the Outdoor Gear Revolution, 1935-The Present, 40+ pages, five history of gear books published, and still growing

Rivendell Bombshelter Tent, circa 1974, still the strongest tent ever made?

External link to Sahalie, the modern descendant of classic Early Winters


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Page last revised 08/16/2020