OUR STORY

Three things combined to create ONE PLANET: the need for technical outdoor equipment designed for antipodean conditions; the skills and attitude needed to give it a go; and the willingness to work and play hard.

Our story began in the 1970s when passionate outdoor types began to focus on making the best equipment for local conditions in the right way. The gear needed to be functional and durable, work on long, extended journeys in the wilds of Australia and New Zealand, and be sustainable.

We’ve followed the same track for the decades since, with an overriding commitment to local adventurers. Like any good journey, there have been undulations, peaks and troughs; challenging times and moments of celebration.

Our focus remains unwavering and our story continues with you.

THE EARLY DAYS & INNOVATION

The ONE PLANET you know today was formed in 1997 when three independent Australian outdoor companies brought their knowledge, machinery and products together into one company. It is the combination of countless dreams and ideas, while our gear is the result of decades of product development, refinement and innovation, technological and material advances.

Oneplanet structure

1979

 

Our story kicked off in 1979 when J&H was founded with a sewing machine, some proper scissors, a dollop of can-do attitude and a dash of youthful exuberance. The name was derived from the surnames of founders Steve Jamieson, Paul Harding and Lois Hunt (who became Lois Jamieson soon after). The company quickly gained a reputation for locally manufacturing quality gear that worked here.

1980

 

In 1980 J&H began making rainwear, sleeping bags and down apparel in Queanbeyan, near Canberra. Designs were developed to suit the needs of bushwalkers, climbers, back-country skiers and mountaineers, including the introduction of the famous Bush Lite sleeping bag.

Two years later J&H imported machines for seam sealing rainwear and Australian-made 3-Layer Membrane clothing entered the market. These technical garments encouraged bolder back-country adventures by keeping adventurers dry whilst maintaining breathability.

JH Outdoor Gear

1984

 

1984 winterlite

In 1984 our sleeping bag range was developed, focusing on cold-climate expeditions. (Who doesn’t love back-country skiing?) Our Winter Lite sleeping bag won an Australian Good Design award that year, and is still the pinnacle of our sleeping bag range. Throughout its many editions and updates, the best available materials and components have always been used.

Inspired by this success, development and innovation continued with vigour, focusing on baffle design and construction. Baffle systems were born that combined vertical and horizontal baffles, using highly technical, differentially-cut vertical-orientated box wall baffles that keep down trapped around your body, promoting warmth, full lofting and a warmer night’s sleep. We’re immensely proud of this development, now seen in many brands and sleeping bags around the world. And it all began in our corner of the world.

Our reputation continued to grow, and in 1985 we began to support professionals in the outdoor industry as well as keen adventurers. Some of our earliest contract work was with National Park rangers, the Australian Antarctic Division, State Emergency Service, lifties and ski patrollers.

Cross baffle

1988

 

aiking poster

NEW KID ON THE BLOCK

AiKing started small but is the driving force behind ONE PLANET today.

In 1988 AiKing founder Andrew King was working in the Mountain Designs store at 377 Little Bourke Street in Melbourne. At the time, it was hard to get outdoor gear repaired, and it was gently suggested to Andrew that he was better at repairing products than he was at selling them… Using a borrowed desk and sewing machine, the 18 year old began AiKing Equipment.

A vast number of repairs started flowing across the desk, heading back to the outdoors tougher, cleaner and better. Andrew rented the top floor of 377 Little Bourke and soon began manufacturing gear as well as repairing it.

Andrew’s lifelong passion was born: he wanted to not only repair gear, but also design and manufacture it better. His on-the-job apprenticeship gave him an intimate knowledge of construction techniques and pattern making, as well as a commitment to excellent workmanship and customer service. Every piece of gear was cherished and loved, much like it is today… If only our gear could talk.

aiking packs

1990

 

GETTING INTO OUTDOOR EDUCATION

AiKing Equipment began producing catalogues and building custom equipment. Soon branded gear was spotted across the Victorian Alps: rucksacks of various sizes, tough gaiters, spacious stuff sacks and accessories.

AiKing’s reputation grew as the 1990s began, and contracts for custom work rolled in. From this came the first batch of Outdoor Education rucksacks.

Like many young Australians, lots of Andrew’s early outdoor experiences were through school and university groups. He’s always had a soft spot for Outdoor Education: helping young people enjoy and respect the outdoors has always been an honour.

ONE PLANET continues to have a major focus on Outdoor Education. Today we offer a range of tents, rucksacks, gaiters, rainwear, accessories and apparel specifically designed for young people and outdoor educators.

Aiking old serendipity

1992

 

FORMING ONE PLANET

AiKing moved into a new Melbourne factory in Flemington in 1992. This allowed more staff, streamlined production and the continued development of innovative Australian outdoor equipment.

J&H were still making gear in Queanbeyan. In 1993 they opened a manufacturing plant in New Zealand, mostly producing apparel and down sleeping bags, where they continued to make down wear and rainwear until 2000.

1995

 

In 1995 AiKing merged with Adventure Designs. This Melbourne-based company (headed by Tim Campbell and Kevin Chappell) designed and imported sleeping mats, tents and screen shelters. In keeping with the highly corporate nature of the enterprise, the merger was done on a scrap of paper, in pencil!

1997

 

By 1997 ONE PLANET (formally J&H) joined the mix. As of 1 October 1997, the ONE PLANET company was known as Adventure One Pty Ltd trading as ONE PLANET, as it still is today.

Old ONE PLANET logo

ONE PLANET now had world-leading local manufacturing in both New Zealand and Australia, strong ties to high-end overseas resources, years of experience in design and pattern making, and brilliant, intuitive, passionate leaders. The mergers allowed the range to expand and the company’s thinkers, tinkerers and creators to share ideas.

These were exciting years, summed up by the company’s new slogan: ‘ONE PLANET: discover it!’

aiking snow

aiking hiking

Product development: canvas binding, WATERLOC canvas, down testing and more

The seams of rucksacks were always a weak point for both strength and waterproofness, Canvas rucksacks were especially difficulty due to the density of materials. AiKing’s pioneering technology allowed canvas binding to be used on canvas bags for the first time. The process entailed double stitching canvas binding-tape over the main internal seams, giving ONE PLANET rucksacks world-leading waterproofing, massively increased durability and, for the first time, allowing front pockets to be sewn into the seams.

The machine that Ralph built

To tackle the job of canvas binding on a rucksack, you need a machine that can punch through more than 20 layers of 390 gsm canvas (12-ounce in the old scale) at a reasonable pace without skipping stitches. So our brilliant mechanic Ralph Barraclough invented one, combining elements of several sewing machines into a new Frankenstein binding machine that also incorporated hand-built guides, jigs and folders.

Canvas bags with sewn-in pockets and double-stitched, canvas-bound seams are now a proud feature of the ONE PLANET range. The same machines that Ralph built are in daily use on our factory floor. (Although they have required meticulous servicing and even ground-up reconstruction over the decades!)

Packs over the years

Our now famous EXACT FIT harness hit the shops in the late 1990s, designed to fit everybody comfortably. Bushwalkers are a diverse group: in gender; In size; shape and everything in between. With the EXACT FIT, we developed a harness system that carries loads comfortably, no matter what your shape.

In 1997 the first McMillan (now Tarkine) and Strezlecki (now Larrikin) packs were developed.

Aiking packs

2000

 

THE NEW MILLENIUM

Adventure One Pty Ltd trading as ONE PLANET was restructured in 2000, selling the clothing factory in New Zealand. The company refocused on its core range: sleeping bags, rucksacks, tents and rainwear.

Australia

2001

 

In 2001 we began independently testing and auditing down shipments with the IDFL (International Down and Feather Laboratory), ensuring we purchased ethically-sourced, quality down.

idfl

2003

 

We began manufacturing polar tents for the Australian Antarctic Division in 2003, and have been making them ever since. Over the years both requirements and our range have changed, and we’ve refined and expanded our designs into a world-class polar range.

Industrial equipment and custom gear formed a big part of ONE PLANET’s foundations. We specialise in making rucksacks, shelters, sleeping bags and apparel for the outdoors, and appreciate the differences made by small details. We incorporate an abundance of improvements into each Custom Equipment solution, and are stoked that our gear is used by professionals day-in and day-out, in even the smallest niches.

Polar tent

2004

 

THE FIRE, BURN BABY BURN

On 24 November 2004, a small electrical fault resulted in a massive blaze that completely destroyed the ONE PLANET factory.

Everything burned: the building, the machinery, raw materials, the designs and patterns. All that remained was a mess of charcoal and 23 dedicated, talented staff.

Factory fire

factory fire

factory fire

The destruction of ONE PLANET’s only factory was a crossroads for owners Kevin and Andrew. Most local brands had moved their production offshore, and there was pressure to do the same. Instead, the decision was made to rebuild the factory in Melbourne, maintain the company’s fierce dedication to local manufacturing, and focus on developing high-end outdoor equipment specifically for our conditions.

On 12 December 2004 – less than three weeks after the fire – the contract for the current factory in Sunshine was signed. Painting and refurbishments began the next day.

Exact Fit 2004

We bought ONE PLANET products back from shops and unpicked them for use as base patterns. We became more efficient, buying new, ultra-low energy machines, improving our lighting and layout. And Ralph – our brilliant, eccentric, sewing-machine mechanic – rebuilt his famous canvas-binding machines. We then reordered our favourite materials and got back to work.

It was the perfect time to improve designs. We updated the EXACT FIT harness so it fitted a wider range of people, producing four women’s and four men’s fit options as standard– a world first.

With the help and understanding of our staff, suppliers and customers, our first rucksacks were manufactured and sent out to shops eight weeks after the fire.

2005

 

THE NEW FACTORY

There were positives from the fire, in hindsight at least! One of these was the opportunity to decrease the company’s environmental impact significantly.

Melbourne Factory

ONE PLANET slowly but steadily rose from the ashes, continually expanding the range of gear produced until it was back to normal business. In the background the company tightened up business practices and philosophies, increasing the focus on environmental and social sustainability.

In 2005 ONE PLANET began carbon offsetting all electricity used within our factory. This was a first for the outdoor industry, and is something we proudly continue today

In 2007 we began testing our bags against EN 13537: the European standard for the labelling of sleeping bags. This measures the thermal performance of sleeping bags, giving customers a better comparison and empowering their decision making. The EN 13537 has since transitioned into the ISO 23537-1 standard, against which we still rate our bags. (We have also been ethically sourcing our down since 2001, testing and auditing with the IDFL.)

en13537

Brochures

2015

 

GETTING INTO RETAIL

In 2015, the ONE PLANET business went direct to the consumer for the first time in decades, opening www.oneplanet.com.au as an ecommerce website. (Previously the site was used as an informative online catalogue.)

Late that same year we had another pivotal moment, opening a shop at 355 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne.
A lot had changed since Andrew started AiKing on the same strip 20 years earlier. Apartments and office towers grew side by side; restaurants lined the small streets. and coffee and breakfast had taken over every laneway. Fortunately, the strip of classic outdoor shops in Little Bourke Street remained and ONE PLANET neatly joined in.

2018

 

In 2018, ONE PLANET expanded its factory and warehouse by taking on the adjacent building, promptly cutting a forklift-sized hole in the concrete wall. The addition effectively doubled the size of our Sunshine West facilities.

2019

 

Formidable dyneema

In 2019 we released the first tent made from ultralight Dyneema-composite fabric by an Australian brand on the Australian market. This 2Midable is part of the now iconic ‘Mids range and is seriously light and versatile.

Sleeping bag innovations also continued. Innovative anti-snag locking sliders were added to the entire sleeping bag range, and draft tubes were redesigned to improve warmth, comfort and usability.

Anti snag zips

The ONE PLANET shop moved up the hill from 355 to 377 Little Bourke Street, expanding its footprint and really making itself comfortable. In a wonderful twist of fate, the ONE PLANET shop now stands in the same building where Managing Director Andrew King first began manufacturing.

Our staff work where many gearheads have before, dishing out wisdom, advice and knowledge. This latest generation of outdoors people continues the cycle of obsessing about gear, discussing details and dreaming of big trips.

Oneplanet Bourke St

2020

 

2020 & BEYOND

ONE PLANET has always been run by people who love the outdoors, gear and adventure.

Today we are still passionate about testing and improve our gear and using it to explore our unique, wonderful environments, and we’re committed to upholding our social and environmental responsibilities.

Our story continues with you…


 

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