The Ohio-born Tompkins was a lifelong adventurer from his adolescence onward. He began The North Face, which had its origins as a ski and backpacking store in San Francisco in the 1960s. The company grew into a more diversified clothing brand, and Tompkins sold it to VF Corp. in 2000.
For the past 15 years, Thompkins focused on environmental conversation, including buying over 2 million acres of land such as the Pumalin Park in Chile in order to protect the rainforest.
He is survived by his wife Kristine, his mother Faith, his brother John, and his two daughters, Quincey Tompkins Inhoff and Summer Tompkins Walker.