Peter Hutchinson

Peter Hutchinson

Pioneer of outdoor gear and founder of the Mountain Equipment brand Peter Hutchinson has died, aged 81.

Mr Hutchinson went on to set up another brand, PHD to create high quality clothing and sleeping bags.

His first venture in the world of outdoor gear was manufacturing sleeping bags in a shed. His death, on Friday, was announced by PHD.

Peter Elliott of the company said: “Peter designed and made high-quality, innovative kit for a great many climbers and mountaineers throughout his working life, something he regarded, quite literally, as a personal honour.

“For Peter, it was always about climbers and a life around the world of climbing.

“Peter started manufacturing sleeping bags in 1962, and for 10 years he worked alone, in a chicken shed, gaining a reputation among some of the world’s best mountaineers for the gear he designed and made.

“In the 70s he founded Mountain Equipment: a ‘proper’ company, with a ‘proper’ factory. He learnt mass-manufacturing skills, and attracted backing from investors with an eye for profit.

“However, it was making equipment for climbers he loved, not running a big business. He missed the days of the chicken shed.

“So, after the manufacturing base moved offshore and the bespoke nature of the early days was no more, Peter jumped ship and decided to start over again. He went back to innovating, back to making directly for the end users, and back to designing bespoke gear for clients.

“Peter Hutchinson Designs (PHD) was born and for the next 20 years – the remainder of his life – Peter was able to listen to, and work with, extraordinary climbers and adventurers, enabling the company to develop new and ground-breaking clothing and sleeping bags. PHD has prospered, growing organically, something Peter was, quite justifiably, very proud of.”

Mr Elliott said PHD’s founder built a specialist company of people who, between them, have the knowledge and skills to make extraordinary down-filled mountaineering kit, tailored to their clients’ needs.
“Together we continue to strive for his goals of innovation and quality, as Peter himself said: ‘the best way we know how’.”

A JustGiving page has been set up in Mr Hutchinson’s memory to raise funds for the Médecins Sans Frontières organisation, which he supported.