The North Face brand was established in 1968, in San Francisco, California, when Douglas Tompkins and Dick "Hap" Klopp created an equipment retail store that eventually acquired the current name "The North Face".
This name was chosen because the north face of a mountain in the northern hemisphere is generally the most difficult face to climb.
By the 1980s, skiwear was added to the line of products, and eventually camping equipment was added as well. The North Face is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the VF Corporation.
Today, The North Face is based in San Leandro, California, near its corporate sibling, JanSport. JanSport is the world's largest backpack maker, and together, JanSport and The North Face manufacture nearly half of all small backpacks sold in the United States.
The North Face's logo consists of a slightly skewed quarter-circle with two lines running within it. This image is an interpretation of Half Dome, a rock formation in Yosemite National Park, viewed from the west, with the sheer north (or northwest) face of Half Dome to the left.
The North Face maintains strong links with the outdoor community through its sponsored athlete program. Athletes such as Lizzy Hawker who recently won the Ultra Trail Tour du Mont Blanc have benefited greatly from the programme.