Posted on

Fjallraven – Greenland Updated

by Neil Summers

In 1968 a 32-year-old Åke Nordin produced his first Fjällräven jacket. He called it the Greenland Jacket. It was made with his new G-1000 material (“G” standing for Greenland) that was waxed with his own wax, Greenland Wax. The story starts two years previously where Greenland was the destination for a team of Scandinavian alpinists and researchers who were in need of some gear before setting off. Step forward the industrious Fjällräven founder, Åke Nordin who offered them his aluminium-framed backpacks and new Thermo tents. Though at that time he didn’t have any clothing to contribute, so the team relied upon the materials of the time, boiled wool and leather. The team survived and the mission was a success though their clothing had let them down having been heavy, slow-drying and lacking resistance to the harsh Greenland climate.

Åke saw this as a challenge to create the perfect all-round outdoor adventure jacket. A jacket that kept you warm and dry; that wouldn’t wear out or weigh you down. A material quickly presented itself. A material Åke had experimented with before when creating his tents. He’d originally ruled it out. But with some tweaking and treatment, it could work as jacket material. Åke went back to the drawing board and testd a range of materials and impregnations. Though initially stumped he suddenly had a brainwave. In his youth, Åke and his friends had tried ski jumping where they’d spend many an hour hanging out at the huge Swoosh-shaped slope in Örnsköldsvik (his home town on Sweden’s High Coast). To avoid freezing their behinds off, they waxed the backs of their trousers to keep the snow out, their trousers dry and their behinds warm. Åke used this idea to develop Greenland Wax. And this wax offered that wind and water resistance he was looking for. It even improved the material’s durability.

With the material and impregnation sorted, he then set about using creating his perfect outdoor jacket, complete with practical pockets and a relaxed, loose fit. In continued honour to the research mission that inspired it, Åke called this jacket the Greenland Jacket. The rest as they say is history. The Greenland Jacket, launched in 1968, went on to enable a whole generation of nature lovers to spend more time outdoors and is now one of Fjällräven’s most iconic products, second only to their Kånken backpack.

Having reached this landmark of 50 years Fjällräven are celebrating with the release of a brand new Greenland collection, inspired by the original jacket. The new collection builds on the classic range, staying true to the look and feel of the originals, but evolving even further to ensure that this new generation of garments and accessories are made in a sustainable and environmentally conscious way.

Browse Fjallraven SS18 at The Sporting Lodge.

Posted on

A Millican Do Attitude

by Neil Summers

Taking their name from a twentieth century adventurer called Millican (Dalton) this Lake District based brand make incredibly tough and practical rucksacks that are ideal for everyday outdoor life. Their adventuring namesake moved up from London to the Borrowdale valley in the early 1900s where he lived initially in a self-made tent before moving into the Cave Hotel on Castle Crag. Calling himself the ‘Professor of Adventure’ he made a living guiding people in the Lakes and the Alps whilst also making most of his own clothes, sleeping bags and rucksacks. A true British eccentric and self-sufficient maverick, Millican loved the simple life, communing with nature whilst inspiring others to come outdoors and do some exploring for themselves.

Set up in 2008 by a collective of conscious travellers, Millican shares a maverick spirit and love of being outdoors with their namesake. Based in Keswick the adventure capital of England when not making sustainable bags and accessories the team can usually be found out on the water or up in the hills. To Millican the bags represent more than just super practical items in beautiful colours, to them they’re a symbol of freedom and the ultimate ‘quiet companion’.’ Always ready to go out, they’ll hold everything you need for a journey and over time become scuffed by experiences and uniquely personalised en route.

We hope you like the new range as much as we do. Browse Millican.

Posted on

The Magic of Sunspel

by Neil Summers

In 1860 Thomas Hill opened up his textile factory in Newdigate, Nottingham, a place that was to become the centre of the British lace making industry. Under the name Sunspel he used his fabric expertise to make lightweight, soft clothing in very fine cotton and pioneered the development of luxury undergarments, as we know them today. Some of the earliest garments they made also included tunics and undershirts that were some of the first t-shirts ever made.

By the start of the twentieth century Sunspel had built a significant export business across the British Empire and was one of the earliest British companies to export to the Far East. Company records even show that a shipment of Sunspel garments due for Hong Kong and China was aboard the N.Y.K Hirano Maru, which was sadly torpedoed and sunk by a German U-Boat in the Irish Sea in 1918. It was also during this period that Sunspel developed its unique Sea Island cotton fabrics sourced from the West Indies and used in the most luxurious of its products. It was also a particular favourite with Ian Fleming who not only dressed himself in Sea Island cotton but also his literary creation James Bond.

After surviving the great depression the factory relocated to Long Eaton where it remains to this day. Though primarily focusing on their premium line of Sea Island cotton underwear during WWII the brand turned their hand to utility clothing to aid the war effort and continued to lead the way despite suffering a direct hit from the Luftwaffe on their Bruton street offices in London.

Soon after the war John Hill left the gloom of Britain for the glamour of boom time America and was soon inspired by the ideas and innovations of New York. It was here that he saw the opportunity to bring the boxer short to the UK which he did whilst perfecting it’s design along the way. The first Sunspel boxers were cut with a unique back panel to avoid a middle seam and made from Sea Island cotton and designed for comfort. Now recognised as the industry standard for the best boxer shorts out there, in 1985 a pristine pair of white Sunspel boxer shorts appeared in a game-changing advert for Levi’s 501s. The award winning advert saw model Nick Kamen casually stripping down to his boxers in a launderette to a Marvin Gaye soundtrack and changed the underwear buying habits of a nation overnight.

Since then the brand has continued to provide clothing for a wide range of costume designers, actors and musicians. With the name Sunspel being respected as much for their menswear and womenswear collections nowadays as it is for their iconic and incredibly comfortable underwear.

Browse the fantastic collection at The Sporting Lodge

Posted on

Pendleton Woolen Mills – The Legendary Blankets

by Neil Summers

Over the past 25 years, Pendleton Woolen Mills have developed a series of Legendary blankets all of which are based on the beliefs and traditions of their original and most valued customers, the Native American Indian. Though founded by British weaver Thomas Kay back in 1863 it was only after the purchase of a mill along the Oregon Trail in 1909 that their blankets, robes and shawls became highly prized by the Native American population.

One of the reasons for the popularity of these products is thanks to the care taken by the pattern designers to learn about the native mythologies and design preferences of their customers. In the earliest years, Joe Rawnsley, who was considered a gifted talent on the jacquard loom, took time out with the local natives of northeastern Oregon to develop and understand their preferences of colour and design. Which he would then interpret the ideas gleaned from the native peoples into blanket designs using modern technologies that could express pattern ideas in much greater detail and in more vivid colours that could be expressed by traditional weaving methods.

Local business men during a Pendleton Mill tour in 1910.

Wiith the success of these first designs, Mr. Rawnsley went on to spend a further spent six months in the native Southwest developing ideas for designs that would specifically appeal to the tribes of this region. He returned with hundreds of designs to be interpreted into his weaving processes and also entering Pendleton blankets into the ‘Indian trade’. Meaning that local natives started to take the blankets down from Oregon to the Southwest tribes in order to exchange them for silver jewellery, wool or other items of value. The colourful blankets were also integrated into everyday and ceremonial uses; part of a dowry, weddings, gift giving, pow wows, dance prizes, naming ceremonies, funerals and memorials. With blankets often being placed into coffins to keep loved ones warm on their journey.

Today, Pendleton blankets continue to play a significant role in Indigenous communities across North America with the tradition of wool and textile innovation established by Thomas Kay and his family underlying all Pendleton products. Though the good news now is that you don’t have to belong to a Native American tribe in order to own one as The Sporting Lodge are now proud stockists of this incredible American brand.

Posted on

Introducing Poler

For those who enjoy the unique sense of happiness and freedom that outdoor living provides then Poler is the brand that you’ve been looking for. As rather than setting itself out as a technical brand focussed on surviving sub-zero climates and extreme weather, Poler has a more laid back and pragmatic approach to its product design.

Created in Portland by Benji Wagner with two of his friends, Poler sprang to life in response to the sheer lack of outdoor brands that Benji and mates wanted to wear. Whilst the outdoor gear that already existed may have been perfectly good suited for camping, hiking and travelling in, it just weren’t up to scratch aesthetically.

Using Benji’s home as a base the brand made their debut in 2011 with a range of tents, tees and bags with the aim of bringing surf, skate and snowboard culture into the world of outdoor adventure. Six years later and Poler is now something of a cult brand amongst a different type of adventurer who  can be spotted everywhere from the middle of Mediterranean music festivals to hanging out on the Ho Chi Min trail.

Browse the new Poler collection at The Sporting Lodge.

Posted on

Introducing – Patagonia

Introducing Patagonia, brand new to The Sporting Lodge. If you’re not clued up on Patagonia, the lads Proper Mags dig into the history. 

The name Yvon Chouinard is one that’s synonymous with the great outdoors and has a legendary status in the worlds of climbing, surfing and fly fishing not to mention his ecological and philanthropic work. For those of you unfamiliar with his name then you may be more aware of his outdoor brand Patagonia.

Having moved to California from Maine as a child,  Yvon developed a love for climbing after being taught to abseil at a local falconry club. He instantly fell in love with the sport and soon learnt how to ascend cliffs as well as to get down them. Soon he and his friends would be regularly hopping freight trains to the west end of the San Fernando Valley and to the sandstone cliffs of Stoney Point. Before long Yvon had become part of a group of maverick climbers that had moved on to Yosemite and it’s big walls. Which is where in between hiding from the park rangers that Yvon first started to develop his own outdoor equipment. Initially starting with reusable climbing pitons Yvon then expanded into clothing after importing British rugby shirts whose sturdy collars provided perfect protection from rope burn.

Along with some like-minded friends Yvon set up the brand Patagonia as it’s named  conjured up “romantic visions of glaciers tumbling into fjords, jagged windswept peaks, gauchos and condors.” It also helped that the name could be pronounced by in any language.

Alongside climbing Yvon’s other two great loves of surfing and fly-fishing are also an important part of the Patagonia product range. They also reflect the strong environmental ethos of the company and their anti-corporate stance. Which may sound like something of a paradox for a global clothing brand though they give millions away to NGOs around the world and encourage people to repair their clothing rather than replace it. Such is their level of commitment to reducing waste that on Black Friday2011 they printed a full-page ad in The New York Times encouraging customers not to buy their products!

It’s pretty difficult not to buy Patagonia products though when they’re incredibly durable whether you’re river deep or mountain high as well as being made from organic/recycled products wherever possible. Not only that but their choice of colours and designs really make them stand out from the crowd and have ensured their popularity with the fashionistas as much as alpinists.

View the range now at The Sporting Lodge.

Neil Summers and Mark Smith.

Posted on

Introducing – Brett Davies

The Sporting Lodge would like to give a warm welcome to our new blog contributor Brett Davies.

Brett is a highly experienced game and clay pigeon shooting instructor at North Wales Shooting School, with an impressive history in competitive shooting.

As a junior, Brett re-wrote history by winning the Home International Championship with a score of 196/200 making him the Inter Countries all round Champion. He was the only junior to win this title. He also was the Home International Champion at Automatic Ball Trap as a Junior shooting for England.

Brett then went on to represent The England Shooting Team three times, winning the English Open Sporting AA class and the English Open ABT.

In 2016, America also opened up a wealth of opportunities for Brett, as this is where he achieved 12th place in the Seminole Cup.

Staying true to his roots, Brett represents Cheshire in national inter counties competitions where he has become Cheshire’s English sporting, English Skeet and Olympic trap county champion numerous times at senior level. Within Cheshire, Brett is also the Sporting and Skeet Doubles Champion.

At present, Brett is ranked 8th in the official CPSA top ten ranked English sporting shooters in the country. Brett is also the current West Midlands Inter Counties all round Champion.

We are really looking forward to getting a glimpse into Brett’s life, seeing where his shooting careers takes him next and getting some of those valuable shooting tips!

Posted on

Wigwam – Brand New to The Sporting Lodge

by Mark Smith,

Founded in 1905, Wigwam was the creation three men – Herbert Chesebro, Robert Ehany, and Lawerance Bentz. This trio had previously worked for the Sheboygan Knitting Company but when it burnt down, they quickly combined to fill its place.

In a town benefiting from diverse immigration, Wigwam rose to prominence quickly, supplying the various lumbermen of the area. Sheboygan had originally been officially founded 49 years earlier but prior to that it was inhabited by various Native American tribes.

By 1936, Chesebro had taken full control of the company, but like many businesses, the war effort led to a shift in production, with 75% of their capacity being used to make socks for troops overseas.

In the post-war years, Wigwam used its strong reputation to branch out into all kinds of hosiery, with a forward-thinking outlook which has kept the company at the forefront for more than a century.

Today, Wigwam make some of the finest, most hard wearing and hard working socks on the market.

We are pleased to now be stocking Wigwam at The Sporting Lodge, browse the range!

Posted on

The everlasting and enduring appeal of a Barbour wax jacket

by Neil Summers.

There can be few things in life that are as hard-wearing or reliable as a Barbour jacket. Designed for all manner of healthy outdoor pursuits from bailing hay to wiping out wildfowl. It’s a timeless British icon loved the world over as much by country folk as it is city-slickers and whose level of appeal (just like the jackets themselves) seems to only improve with age. This was proved by my recent visit to the Pitti Uomo trade show in Florence where I noticed amongst all the fur lined parkas and woolen overcoats that the Barbour Bedale and Beaufort wax jackets are both still the jacket of choice for Italy’s fashion elite. Which is pretty incredible when you try to think of another genuine outdoor that’s as popular with urbanite peacocks as it is with those who wear Barbour jackets for the type of outdoor pursuits that don’t involve drinking prosecco or being papped.

Whilst other jackets have come and gone since its inception back in 1894, thanks to its combination of practicality and timeless style the Barbour wax jacket is now a permanent fixture in our wardrobes. Worn by everyone from festival goers to royalty and even our household pets the Barbour wax jacket remains a uniquely British fashion statement too. It’s an iconic institution as synonymous with our sceptered isle as red buses, steamed up chip shop windows, foaming pints of beer, complaining about the weather and the wonderful crack of leather on willow.

Long may Barbour continue, here at The Sporting Lodge we are proud to be working with such an iconic brand.

Posted on

Fjallraven – G1000

by Neil Summers

Whilst a lot of today’s outdoor clothing use lightweight fabrics as their
main selling point, this is not the most important factor when it comes to
Swedish brand Fjallraven. Their clothing, especially the Fjallraven numbers
range prefers a more substantial weight in their fabrics thanks to their
product consultant and ex-military equipment tester Johan Skullman. A man
of considerable knowledge and experience who has found that in the most
demanding conditions lightweight products are often prone to tears and rips
just when you need them the most. So with this in mind jackets such as the
Fjallraven Anorak number 8 have been designed with a heavier, tougher
fabric construction using the wind and water resistant Fjallraven G-1000
Eco and G-1000 HeavyDuty fabrics on the shoulders, sleeves and extended
back. This next level anorak also features several useful ventilation zips
to help regulate temperature alongside plenty of super practical pockets
including a versatile kangaroo pouch on the front, that’s accessible from
both the top and the sides. The additional use of greenland wax also adds
to the durability and waterproofing of Fjallraven jackets which is made
specifically to be with G-1000 fabric that contains a combination of
high-quality paraffin and beeswax, which is far kinder towards the
environment than chemical-based products.

To complement their incredible range of jackets Fjallraven also has some
equally impressive trousers and shirts that also uses their trademark
G-1000 fabric. The substantial Fjallraven Mountaineering shirt Number 3
for example at first look may appear to be classic alpinist attire made
from soft, warm shetland wool but it has also been reinforced with G-1000
material on the elbows, shoulders, back and hips to reduce friction. Whilst
Fjallraven trousers such as the Barents Pro are made entirely from G-100
which is further reinforced on the rear and knees. The knee section also
has pockets on them into which Fjallraven knee pads can also be inserted
for additional comfort whilst kneeling down to peg a tent, taking aim
whilst hunting or maybe even making a marriage proposal in the great
outdoors!
View our extensive range of Fjallraven products at The Sporting Lodge.