“Whether or not we really need 10 colors is another discussion, but definitely a first world problem.”
I was thinking the other day how spoiled we have become in having such wide color choices for our gear in tecent years. Mea culpa, since I love having beautiful colors and often end up with items that are duplicates of stuff I already have just because I could not resist the colors and/or patterns. My pumpkin orange Astral PFD and lime green Easky kayak were impulse buys triggered by their respective hues, I confess (though both have served me wonderfully for nearly 15 years). I already owned a kayak and PFD when I bought those, but I’m like a pack rat or a bower bird when I spot a pretty colored object.
Some of us oldsters will recall the CampMor store in NJ and the small but dense black and white newsprint mail order catalogs they sent out several times a year — one of the best sources for a vast range of wilderness sports gear for many years. Especially for their clothing and camping gear, it was like Henry Ford’s Model A car which a buyer could have in any color as long as that was black. Rain gear, stuff sacks, hats, lomg johns. paracord, shoelaces: all in black only. We used to joke that CampMor only catered to ninjas and Batman!
When I worked for outfitters in the 70’s the color options tended to be very limited and any given item would only be offered in 2 or 3 repeated choices every season. Camp Trails packs were either bright orange or pine green. Kelty did navy or dark green, Gerry clothing, tents and sleeping bags were red or royal blue, Snow Lion, Woolrich, North Face, Trailwise and Sierra Designs colors were tan, navy blue, or forest green, then they added rust one year and anything we got in that “novel” shade sold out immediately.
Back when LL Bean and Eddie Bauer peddled genuine wilderness gear, they stuck to that limited subdued pallette as well. Wasn’t until the 80’s when splashy neon climbing gear and stretch tech duds for biking and Alpine skiing bled over into wilderness equipment plus outdoor sports clothing became a fashion fad for people who never set foot in the woods that the colors and style varieties just exploded.