Cooperation rather than Competition? In yet another break with tradition, Sierra Designs and Kelty, two of the biggest names in outdoor gear at the time, decided they were friends rather than foes, joined forces, and issued a joint catalog in about 1979. Here are some of their words:
"For years we've been admiring one another from a distance and this year we've decided to come together in one catalog. Though both SIERRA DESIGNS and KELTY PACK supply backpackers and campers, our products complement each other rather than compete with each other...and why should we waste valuable paper and effort to offer the same things in two different places? Better, we decided, to send you one catalog with our combined endorsement..." Digging deeper, there is an interesting backstory. Mr. Marks shared a bit of it, which was that Kelty company had been acquired by "CML" Group (corporation) some 8 or 10 years years before this 1979 catalog, and that Sierra Designs had also (more recently) been acquired by CML. Thus, the CML executives who now owned both Kelty and SD were actually the ones behind what their catalog portrayed as some kind of personal merger between Dick Kelty, Bob Swanson, and George Marks! In fact, in June of 2010, when I was visiting Boulder, Colorado I saw the headquarters of the combined Sierra Designs/Kelty!