Our philosophy has never changed— Innovation based on solid science and lightweight modern materials.

Stephenson’s Warmlite has been in business for over 50 years providing high quality lightweight backpacking equipment.  We have long been an industry leader and innovator.

List of key ultralight innovations introduced by Warmlite:

Leader in use of ultralight 700-800 fill power down. Jack Stephenson (Our Founder) worked hard on perfecting down sleeping bags between 1955-1957, after a miserable trip to Rocky Mountain National Park with his new wife in 1955 had been saved by a personal visit to Alice and Roy Holubar, and purchase of Holubar’s down bags. After these few years of development work, Stephenson’s fluffy wonder bags covered with ultra-light nylon were introduced to the public in 1958, chiefly in Dick Kelty’s store in Glendale, California

Warmlite was a real Leader in use of ultralight nylon materials derived from the sailing industry to replace heavy cotton and polyester cotton materials then in use in all tents, packs and clothing. For decades, since about 1956, we have used 1.1 oz. ripstop nylon for our bags and clothing, eschewing the heavier 1.9 oz. which became the standard when Eddie Bauer began using it during this same time period.

Leader in use of a variety of exotic aerospace-derived materials for superlight, superstrong packs, sleeping bags and tents— products which still rival or surpass the lightest of the most modern ultralight gear. Examples include “gold mylar” tent material and aluminized fabrics for heat retention and heat rejection (eg. on tent canopies).

Leader in the use and modern application of Vapor Barriers in outdoor clothing and sleeping bags. We  experimented with various vapor barrier materials (VB) finally perfecting a “warm fuzzy” material that went a long way toward making the VB more comfortable to the wearer.– Hip-Carry Packs with true padded waist belts. Our “Jack Pack” was being sold with a fully-padded, hip-carry suspension system in 1963, a full ten years before Kelty packs began to use padded hip belts!

Creator of a major new tent design which has become one of the two or three major new tent designs of the Twenty-first Century. The Warmlite design (the Elliptical Arc) threw out the heavy A-frame design tents used everywhere during the first half of the Twenty-first Century, replacing it with an extremely strong, lightweight, 4-season hoop design constructed with high-tech materials and requiring only 3-4 tent stakes even in severe weather. After 40 years, Stephenson tents are still lighter/stronger than nearly anything else available.   Please note that within the modern ultralight hiking movement, one must take care to compare truly comparable products, eg. in the tent category, one should not confuse 10 or 12 oz. ultralight shelters (most with no floors and requiring 6-12 stakes) with the Warmlite tent, which is a true 4-season tent with a full floor and the strength to withstand any possible extreme weather combination of rain, wind, and snow.

Creator of the DAM  We created an air mattress filled with ultra-high quality down, held in place by baffled channels (DAM = “down-filled air-mattress”)…Our 20 oz. creation was inflated by use of a large stuff-sack, which kept damaging body moisture out of its interior. We had experimented with prototypes of it as early as 1958, but it was not officially added to theWarmlite product line until 1973-74. In very recent years, the new Ultralight backpacking movement has encouaged a new interest in this product.

*Adapted with permission from Bruce Johnson’s The History of Gear Project, The History of Gear Project has been detailing the histories of the great classic gear companies like Warmlite since 1996.