Photo: Hansi Heckmair

Discover our

History & Tradition

  • 1980 - 1999
  • 2000 - 2004
  • 2005 - 2010
  • 2011 - 2015
  • 2016 - 2018

1980 | Formation of ORTOVOX

Gerald Kampel and Jürgen Wegner develop the first double frequency transceiver, ORTOVOX F2 for searching avalanche victims. Until then all avalanche transceivers in use would send and receive in different frequencies (2, 275kHz and 457 kHz). This would often lead to fatal avalanche accidents when victims could not be found quickly enough due to differences in frequency. The F2 can send and receive on both frequencies and is received with enthusiasm. Within 2 years it became number one on the market.

1985 | 1st powder backpack

The ORTOVOX powder rucksack and the ORTOVOX avalanche shovel are added to the legendary F2. 
Even today – after more than 20 years – products from that time are still in use showing the exceptional quality they are made of. 

1988 | Walk wool

ORTOVOX develops sophisticated sport fashion made of Walk wool. The touring jackets and sweaters, hats, gaiters, gloves and socks are made of 100% Walk sheep wool and, compared to synthetic fibers, gives “natural” advantages.



1989 | ORTOVOX F1

Brings the introduction of a completely new type of avalanche transceiver. The ORTOVOX f1 classic with flexible belt system, integrated speakers and optional earpiece is born. 

1990 | ORTOVOX F1 Plus

The companies name is changed to ORTOVOX Sportartikel GmBH. 
The ORTOVOX F1 plus, the first avalanche transceiver with LED technique is introduced. An additional LED light, and the opportunity to search for friends as well as lost equipment is a distinct development on the transceiver market. 

1993 | Wool fleece

The first sweaters, hats and headbands made of cosy wool fleece are added to the range. The soft wool fleece is super light, comfortable to wear and, thanks to the integrated SUPERWASH, easy to care for. 

1994 | ORTOVOX F1 Focus

The legendary F1 focus is presented. It breaks all sales records and becomes the most sold avalanche transceiver worldwide. The idea: To make a search easier by introducing an arrow made up of the three traffic light colours. This visual search aid significantly helps to “find a victim faster and more easily”. 

1995 | Functional underwear

The first functional underwear made of Merino wool is being introduced: Shirts, pants and turtle-neck tops for Alpine skiing, ski touring and mountain walking mean that the need to frequently change base layers has become a thing of the past.

1996 | ORTOVOX X-Light

ORTOVOX starts working together with the extreme mountaineer Hans Kammerlander and together develop the ORTOVOX rucksack model “X-light”. Made of a combination of Ripstop Cordura and Powernet Thermolight, it is extremely tough but very light, weighing only 380g. 

1998 | ORTOVOX M1

The ORTOVOX m1 – “a star was born”! It is the birth year of the first fully compatible, digital-analogue avalanche transceiver. The m stands for menu control.

1999 | ORTOVOX M2

Development is fast – the ORTOVOX m2 is even faster. 
“THE” avalanche transceiver with the fastest method of switching from send to search mode. It also features a unique innovative belt system and a function to reliably locate several victims. Until the introduction of the m2, no other ORTOVOX avalanche transceiver had ever been declared winner in as many tests worldwide.

2001 | 20th anniversary of ORTOVOX

As a birthday present, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of ORTOVOX, the m2 EXCLUSIVE EDITION is developed. A highly modern, fully compatible avalanche transceiver that works both digital and analogue is presented in a transparent blue exclusive design.

2002 | ORTOVOX X1

OTOVOX introduces its first digital avalanche transceiver with direction of movement. The double antenna transceiver automatically regulates signal volume from initial signal through to the pinpoint search. The x 1 impresses with its ease of use, a so far unrivalled range (up to 70m), high precision and a fully automatic search system. 
A multiple signal search is carried out automatically. 
For all Free riders a special rucksack line is developed. The “Powder Performance” rucksack combines a funky design with functionality. The Top model TOP RIDER features a special spine protector whilst providing plenty of space for all important safety equipment.

2003 | ORTOVOX Netwool Light

The Model TOP RIDER is so successful that further sizes are being added. By autumn 2003 a total of three different back sizes are available so that the rucksacks also fit the slimmer female shape. 
An added microprocessor in the ORTOVOX x 1, Version 2003 gives faster reading speeds. 
“Netwool light” is the name of the new line of underwear made of 100% Merino wool. This method of processing Merino wool was developed by ORTOVOX and brings movement into the sports underwear market.

2004 | O-Flex-Frame

In addition to the existing POWDER PERFORMANCE LINE rucksacks, two completely new rucksack lines are developed. In co operation with sport orthopaedists the new O-Flex-Frame is developed. The frame provides a superb fit and is easy on your back. 
New standards are set in the wool quality of our Merino underwear. Even finer merino wool and a thinner yarn brings a lighter quality to the garments and, together with a fresh collection of colours, makes them a pleasure to wear all year round. 
Ines Papert wins the world title in ice climbing for the third time in a row wearing OROVOX Merino sports underwear. 
The Merino underwear is available in 4 thicknesses with different cuts for the male and female frame.

2005 | 25th anniversary of ORTOVOX

ORTOVOX celebrates its 25th anniversary! The new logo shows that ORTOVOX is keeping up to date. ORTOVOX stands for increased security and fun in the mountains. The direction the company is going in is clear: To keep its position as the world’s leading producer of avalanche safety equipment as well as expanding its rucksack and clothing range. You can look forward to the next 25 years with ORTOVOX!

2007 | ORTOVOX S1

ORTOVOX is setting new milestones in the field of safety equipment with the introduction of the first sensor controlled avalanche transceiver. 
The new avalanche shovel “Grizzly” helps to dig out avalanche victims faster and more efficiently. 
The Freerider, a performance line rucksack impresses with its superb fit and the TÜV tested SPS back protector. 
In addition to a variety of spectacular new products, the new website is presented (www.ortovox.com). 
The well designed website lists all ORTOVOX products and is a good source of information on how to stay safe in deep powder and on steep mountain faces.


Since it was founded, ORTOVOX has been dedicated to PROTECTION. Influenced by the company’s alpine origins, it develops emergency products. But in addition to having the right gear, knowledge of the dangers is crucial for reducing risk. That’s why in 2008 ORTOVOX worked with mountain guides and experts to establish the SAFETY ACADEMY avalanche courses for beginners and advanced mountaineers. The courses are conducted by the most renowned ORTOVOX mountain guides across the entire Alpine region using state-of-the-art training materials and products.
Since it was launched in 2008, the scope of the SAFETY ACADEMY has been continuously expanded. Today, it stands for comprehensive Alpine safety training, whether online or with the SAFETY ACADEMY LAB, in Print form SAGB – Issue or in the form of various training tools such as SAM, our 3D mountain. 


The introduction of the Merino competition line provides maximum athletic performance all year round. A circular knitting method allows the garment to adjust perfectly to the wearer’s anatomy thus ensuring maximum muscle performance.
At the beginning of the year this revolutionary sports under wear was awarded the ISPO 09 European ski award for clothing and in summer won the Outdoor Industry Award 09.
A further development is the production of Merino 320, the warmest Merino product of all times. Made of double-sided fleece with stretchy inserts this product offers incredible warmth and unrestricted movement on very cold days.

2010 | ORTOVOX 3+

We have revolutionized the 2010/2011 winter! The new avalanche transceiver 3+ for the first time increases the personal safety of the user. The integrated smart antenna technology just excludes poor coupling positions. Regardless of the search device, the user is found better!
We've also turned the merino world upside down! For the first time, we present a complete outerwear collection. The insides of the new Hard- and Softshells are made from the finest merino wool, which supports the outer material considerably in its functionality. The microclimate on the skin is incomparable!

2011 | S1+

An important year in the company’s history. ORTOVOX presents itself in typically innovative form at ISPO 2011. A new professional device, the S1+, is showcased. The revolutionary Smart-Antenna technology is now used in this new high-end device too. You’ll not only find others more easily – you’ll also be easier to find. The S1+ first appears in stores in autumn 2011. 
In the sportswear segment, ORTOVOX develops an absolute novelty as a third layer. Its SWISSWOOL insulation receives the ISPO Award for its functionality, design and sustainability concept. Warming Swiss wool is stitched into insulation chambers inside the jacket. The material mix of nylon micro ripstop and wool makes this product, which is manufactured completely in Europe, a highly functional must-have. 
An era comes to an end, and a new journey begins. Company founder Gerald Kampel leaves the company to retire. ORTOVOX is taken over by the internationally successful Schwan-STABILO group. ORTOVOX thus joins Deuter Sport GmbH & Co. KG as the second company in the group’s Outdoor division.


ORTOVOX further enhances the combination of wool and summer The brand presents MERINO COOL, a novel and innovative material combination for summer sport that adapts to the wearer’s needs in high temperatures. Finest merino wool is combined with TENCEL™, a natural eucalyptus wood fiber. Due to the properties of the fibers, TENCEL™ not only has a cooling effect, but also scores highly in terms of sustainability. You can find more information on Merino Cool in the 
ORTOVOX Fiber World.


ORTOVOX defines a new level of comfort in the hard shell market with the MERINO GUARDIAN SHELL. The first 3-layer jacket in which the inside is completely lined with merino wool is an absolute world first and brings optimum wear comfort and function all the way to the outermost layer of clothing. 
In 2013 ORTOVOX underlines its safety expertise by completing its range for winter sports enthusiasts who are at home off piste with its own avalanche backpacks. ORTOVOX presents the first collection of its own avalanche backpacks, which are equipped with ABS technology and a removable airbag system (M.A.S.S. unit), providing not only a very high degree of safety and comfort, but also maximum flexibility. 

2014 | ROCK'N'WOOL

A quarter of a century ago, ORTOVOX used felted sheep’s wool in its clothing collection for the first time. Many generations of development later, wool types such as Swiss wool (SWISSWOOL) and superfine merino wool from the natural paradise of Tasmania are now used and combined with various other innovative materials. Over 25 years, a system of wear comfort has thus evolved that has been optimized in terms of functionality and comfort in every layer. In the autumn of 2014, to celebrate this jubilee, ORTOVOX is launching a limited edition of what is probably the craziest item in our company’s history. The ROCK’N’WOOL OVERALL LTD.

2015 | ORTOVOX summer collection

It’s ORTOVOX’s very first summer collection! From mountaineering, to alpine climbing, right through to alpine tours – ORTOVOX now develops clothing and safety products for summers among rugged rocks. Just as in winter, every item of clothing in ORTOVOX’s summer line makes use of wool and combines it with intelligent high-tech fibers selected for the product’s specific purpose. For increased protection in rocky terrain, strong Cordura® fibers or cooling TENCEL™ yarns are used. And it’s all about protection when it comes to hardware too: whether it’s first-aid products, bivi bags or the Recco reflectors on our mountaineering backpacks. 

2016 | SWISSWOOL back system

ORTOVOX PEAK stands for fully-equipped alpine tour backpacks. The SWISSWOOL back system made from pressed Swiss wool is unique. As with the clothing, mountaineers benefit from the wool’s perfect moisture and microclimate management, making it feel comfortable and dry on the back. In addition to the innovative back system, the PEAK offers everything that you could need 365 days a year on glaciated terrain – from crampon fasteners to fastenings for emergency equipment. 


2016 | AVABAG avalanche backpacks

Ultra light, super compact, designed for simplest operation. At just 690g*, ORTOVOX is meeting the requirements of all weight-oriented winter sports enthusiasts for whom a high degree of safety is important. The ORTOVOX-developed cartridge, along with the accompanying ski touring and freerider backpacks were awarded “Product of the Year” at ISPO. It finally allows ski tourers to carry an airbag more safely and yet still at a low weight.
*Weight fluctuations of +/- 4% may arise during manufacturing.