Millet is a French based company that specializes in outdoor equipment, such as backpacks and sleeping bags. They also offer a wide variety of other equipment, earning comparisons to United States based companies such as Timberland and Columbia Sportswear.
1921: Employed by the Maréchal waxed tablecloth company, Mr and Mrs Marc Millet (parents of Messrs Raymond and René Millet) founded a provisions bag and haversack production company in St Fons (69).
Labour force: 10 people
1928: Transfer of the company to Annecy at Les Marquisats.
1934: Development of production, appearance of the first backpacks with frame.
1939/45: The Millet brothers were involved in the French Resistance: René Millet in les Bauges, Raymond Millet in les Glières. They supplied backpacks to the Resistance movement. In 1945, the Millet brothers really took over the company.
1946: René Millet, member of the CAF (French Alpine Club), had the idea of creating backpacks adapted to mountaineering. At the CAF, he met Louis Lachenal who took an active part in developing these packs.
1950 : Millet was a supplier to the first French expeditions to the Himalayas. In particular, Millet supplied equipment for the first expedition to successfully conquer a mountain in excess of 8000m (Herzog/Lachenal expedition to Annapurna).
These exploits confirmed Millet as the leading mountaineering backpack manufacturer in France and the reputation of Millet products grew worldwide.
In 1950, Millet created the first backpacks specially designed for climbing and focused its production mainly on high altitude climbing.
1959: Raymond Millet met Bonatti, a guide at Courmayeur, through his Italian distributor (Mr Luciano Nicola). Bonatti became the first technical consultant under contract to Millet.
The slogan, " Confiez vos charges à Walter Bonatti " (“Let Walter Bonatti carry your loads”) proved to be very effective…
1963: As a world first, Millet launched a revolutionary seamless strap for backpacks, made entirely from nylon and padded with foam (international patent).
Late 1950's et 1960's: Millet become the climbing pack specialist.
1960’s: Home market development & start of international sales => Spontaneous internationalization thanks to the brand awareness brought by numerous successful expeditions.
1964: For the first time in Europe, Millet launched all-nylon backpacks (to replace cotton hitherto universally used for this type of item). Several copies and imitations all over the world confirmed the leading position of Millet on the backpack market.
Patents were filed on ski tunnel loops and on tubular straps.
1975: As it proved impossible to extend the Annecy plant, a new factory was built in Frontenex (Savoie), 53km from Annecy. Since 1950: Permanent connection with the Alpine world
1977: First diversification. Development of Downwear and first Gore-Tex © parkas.
Millet diversified its activities by launching a line of high altitude, hiking and skiing garments.
This diversification was based on the image of the Millet brand, on its knowledge of mountaineering and hiking problems and on the existence of a solid distribution network. This new line met with instant success.
80s: the first no-oxygen and solitary ascensions of Everest
1978: First Everest climb without oxygen by Reinhold Messner…using Millet packs!
1980: First solitary Everest climb by Reinhold Messner… with Millet
1985: For his Eiger, Cervin, Jorasses trilogy in less than 24 hours, the whole Peuterey ridge and the Hypercouloir solo climbs, Christophe Profit used Millet equipment.
1987: The number of technical consultants reached its peak, including Messner, Edlinger and Philippe Jantot and a special sea line was launched.
1993: Creation of a revolutionary ice-axe loop system: the FPP. The merger with Lafuma
1995: In 6th February 1995, the Millet, Racer et Gamet group was bought out by Lafuma (Philippe Joffard), the leader on the French backpack market (450 million FF in turnover); Millet being was ranked second at the time (February).
Millet joined forces with Mac (leader of mountain undergarments) belonging to Lafuma since 1993 (October).
1996: Both brands worked increasingly together before merging to form an international company in the outdoor sector, under the MILLET brand on 1st September 1997.
2nd Diversification on the rope and mountaineering boot markets
1996: Lafuma bought out Rivory and the brand was marketed by Millet.
1998: In September, the takeover of ONE SPORT (climbing, hiking and mountaineering boots) inaugurated the creation of a technical section within the Lafuma group with the Millet, Rivory and One Sport brands.
1998: Partnership between COUSIN and RIVORY to create the world’s second ranking group on the climbing, mountaineering and canyoning rope market. Ropes are now distributed by the MILLET brands.
2001 : the first descents of the Everest in snowboard
2001: Millet equips the first snowboarder to conquer Everest, Marco Siffredi, who achieves a first by riding the Norton Couloir
2003 : Himalayan sumits clean up operation
2003: Han Wang Young, a Millet technical adviser and one of the rare alpinists to conquer the fourteen 8,000m-plus summits, launches an operation to clean up the base camps of all these summits
2004: Du Lac World bouldering Champion
2004: Daniel Du Lac achieves a historic climbing hat-trick, becoming the World, European and French Bouldering Champion in the same year.
2005 : Chomolonzo Expedition
Millet equips the foremost Himalayan expedition of the year: the ascent of the unscaled 7,000m summit of Chomo Lonzo by Christian Trommsdorff, Yannick Graziani and Patrick Wagnon.
The "Save & Recycle" scheme is launched to recycle used climbing ropes. A world first!
Stéphane Brosse and Patrick Blanc win the three leading races in the ski mountaineering calendar: Pierra Menta, Mezzalama and the Patrouille des Glaciers.
"Save & Recycle"
2006 : Millet extends the "Save & Recycle" scheme across Europe.