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You Should Know About the Other Brand Named Yeti

Years before Yeti built its bearproof coolers, another brand by the same name was making contraband sleeping bags in East Germany.


Despite all of the reports, including one by Tenzing Norgay, one of the first men to summit Mt. Everest, the mythical creature known as Yeti doesn’t exist. The fact notwithstanding, a handful of outdoor companies have taken the beast’s name as their own. The most well-known might be Yeti, the maker of ultra-rugged coolers, drinkware, bags and more, and there’s also Yeti Cycles, the longtime Colorado-based bike maker. While catching up on the latest news coming out of ISPO, the sporting goods trade show that recently took place in Munich, we discovered another Yeti, and this one might be the first.

According to its website, this Yeti began in 1983. It was then that a climber named Bernd Exner sought out a sleeping bag suitable for a solo trip to Romania’s Fagaras Mountains and, when that attempt failed, enlisted his wife Sabine to help him create it. The pair applied to the then-Communist government of East Germany for official recognition and were denied, which forced them to continue producing sleeping bags and apparel undercover. The company wasn’t able to celebrate official recognition until the reunification of Germany in 1989.

In the years since, Yeti has garnered numerous awards for the design and performance of its products. At the time of its release in 2009, Red Dot lauded Yeti’s Passion One sleeping bag as the lightest available (the version it makes today comes in at 9.7 ounces). Down has remained the company’s primary focus — it sources the highest quality available — and it uses it to create fashion-focused items in addition to those built for expeditions. In fact, Yeti products have been carried into the world’s harshest environments, from the Himalayas to Patagonia. It’s enough to have us wondering how this brand managed to remain so elusive, at least to our eyes, for so long.

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