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BARBOUR: Macs, facts and lots of wax

by Neil Summers

Now recognised on a global scale as a premium English sports and fashion brand, Barbour first came to the world’s attention via their iconic waxed cotton jackets. Prior to WWII Barbour was supplying oilskins and other outdoor garments to the surrounding North Eastern community of seamen, sailors and dockers to protect them from the treacherous North Sea weather. Though once their Ursula suit became standard issue for the Submarine service during the second world war their fame started to spread.

 

Already established as one of the leading suppliers of durable outdoor garments as well as being well-known for their innovation and high levels quality Barbour expanded its client base to a global audience. From landowners and farmers to buyers as far flung as South America and Asia the word was finally out that Barbour made some very impressive jackets.

 

During 1936 the first Barbour wax cotton International motorcycle jacket appeared and went on to be worn by almost every rider in the International Six Day Trials circuit from the 1950s through to the 1970s. With legendary film star Steve McQueen being just one of many famous faces to have sported this tough and iconic jacket.

 

Cut to the modern day and Barbour’s traditional jackets continue to be at the heart of the company where they’re currently produced at their 180 strong factory in South Shields. With three Royal warrants (the Duke of Edinburgh, Her Majesty the Queen and HRH the Prince of Wales) to their (globally recognised named) it perhaps no surprise that the order and process in which their factory works is second to none. With 36 people needed to make just one Barbour jacket from start to finish, each person being an essential part of the production process.

 

With approximately 50 styles of traditional wax jackets for men, women and children in production, the hand made pieces are produced like clock-work on a daily basis with a new garment being completed every three minutes. The South Shields factory produces approximately 3000 garments per week and 130,000 – 140,000 per year. They also have a world renowned re-waxing service, where each year approximately 13,000 Barbour jackets are lovingly repaired, reproofed or returned to their former glory.

 

With roots firmly in its heritage, the Barbour brand continues to grow and develop each year and provides a beacon for English craftsmanship and family values. The Sporting Lodge are proud to present the Barbour Autumn/Winter 2018 Barbour here.

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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.

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Fjallraven Travel Pack, Splitpack and Kajka

by Neil Summers

Whether you’re planning on a short city break or a week away from it all in the wilderness, the latest clothing range from Fjallraven to arrive at the Sporting Lodge has something to suit every environment. Similarly their impressive array of bags are equally ideal for your holiday or business trips whether you’re heading down-town or up the highest of peaks.

Take for example the two handle carrying system on Fjallraven’s lightweight Travel Pack which is perfect for hopping in and out of planes, trains and automobiles whilst the stowable padded shoulder straps can be released when it’s time to ditch the transport and start exploring on foot.

There’s also plenty of separate compartments and pockets in which to stash your maps, laptop, phrasebooks, souvenirs, drinks, camera, clothing and other essentials. A handy zippered section at the front of the bag also allows you access to the bag’s inner without having to open the bag fully and annoyingly rifle through all your other belongings before finally finding that pesky passport!

Equally suited to adventurous short breaks is the versatile Fjallraven Splitpack which is a unique duffel bag with two spacious main compartments separated by a zip closed mesh as well as having three additional internal mesh pockets and two on the outer. Made from Fjallravens classic G-1000 heavy duty eco material it’s a substantial yet extremely comfortable bag thanks to its padded back panel and shoulder straps.

Whilst for those who like looking for adventure far away from the madding crowds then the Fjallraven Kajka is the  ideal trekking backpack. Voted product of the year 2009 by Swedish outdoor magazine Utemagasinet this expert pack sits on an incredibly strong and  environmentally friendly wooden frame as opposed to the usual aluminium and has various safety features such as an easy access whistle and a reflective rain cover for increased visibility in the dark. As with the other two packs it’s an incredibly well thought out design with a wealth of separate compartments and access points for increased ease of use and balanced weight distribution.

So for the solution to all of your Spring and Summer storage scenarios then you need look no further than the Travel Pack, Splitpack and Kajka from Fjallraven.

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Klättermusen – The mouse that’s going places

by Neil Summers.

Klättermusen is an outdoor company located in Jämtland Sweden where bear, moose and brown trout populate the mountains, forest and streams. Translating as ‘climbing mouse’ after a well-known Swedish children’s book character Klättermusen’s unusual name was chosen when founder Peter Askulv first started up the business and wanted his products to be desirable for their quality and performance rather than a cool name. Being a biologist and chemist as well as an avid ice climber and cave diver Peter took a scientific approach to creating his outdoor gear, literally putting threads, fabrics and prototypes under a microscope in order to achieve maximum safety and durability.

Designed for conquering mountains as well as the daily commute into the city, Klättermusen’s super technical fabrics are made from predominantly organic and recycled materials in order to lessen their impact on the environment. So don’t be surprised to see fishing nets or bean oil in the product description of your new item of Klättermusen clothing alongside Recco detectors for locating you in an avalanche or fabric that has an actual SPF50 UV factor in order to stop you getting burnt by the midnight sun.

Conquer with Klättermusen at The Sporting Lodge.

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Filson – Built to last

If you’re new to Filson, Mark Smith digs into the history.

Filson may have been around for several lifetimes, but it’s a new introduction for us here at the Sporting Lodge.

Clinton C. Filson spent the early part of his working life as a railroad conductor, before moving to Seattle, Washington in the 1890s. It was here where the real roots of Filson began, when Clinton set up a small loggers’ outfitting store. In a scene which was mirrored in many parts of the U.S in this era, Filson made its name meeting the needs of prospectors passing through Seattle on their way to the Klondike Gold Rush. The brand eventually got itself on a solid footing in 1897 and although the gold rush was relatively short-lived, it cemented the brand as a reliable supplier of clothing and accessories which would stand the test of time. After the gold rush ended around 1899, Filson shifted to providing gear for outdoor oriented activities and occupations including hunting, fishing and logging.

In the modern day, Filson continues to enjoy an unrivalled reputation in its field. In the early 90s, its heritage in canvas luggage was revived, while more recently in 2010 it fittingly partnered up with another brand born of the gold rush to create Levi’s Workwear by Filson.

With slogans such as ‘Unfailing Goods’ and ‘Built to Last’ running through their veins, Filson have a unique confidence in the gear they make. It’s perhaps their best known tagline which sums them up most accurately though – “Filson – Might as well have the best”.

We’ve handpicked products we think you’ll love. View the full range here.

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Worth going? Yes…

Our guest blogger, Caroline Hutchinson, relays her first experience of The Game Fair.

Having never been to a game fair we were unsure what to expect…

Ragley Hall was an impressive 1600’s country manor with rolling parkland synonymous to a capability brown landscape.  A beautiful venue to visit and enjoy.

We arrived on the Sunday about 8.30, the road signage was very good and we were directed to the car parking area very easily.  We already had tickets but they could be bought on the day. For those camping, there was free transport from campsite to venue throughout the day.  You were able to get re-admission also which was a blessing as we did plenty of shopping and needed to unload at the car!

The fair was well set out – there was a large variety of guns and knives stands in, with an area for you to have a go at clay shooting.  There were various activities including a Bear Grylls Survival Trial for both young and old. The fishing section was located near the lake where there were numerous demonstrations on fly fishing, with a large area for the public to try their hand at fly fishing.  There was to our disappointment only a handful of fishing stands, having said that we manage to purchase a healthy amount of items.

In keeping with the theme, a local hunt had brought a selection of foxhounds, bassets and harriers with a demonstration and talk about their role within the hunt. On show were all sorts of terriers from the British Isles, some of whom are on the endangered list, it was most interesting talking to the owners and learning about the dogs characters.

Gun dog demonstrations throughout the day

For the horse enthusiast, there was show jumping throughout the day and demonstrations with French heavy horses which are used for pulling logs, an ergonomic way of forestry.  We watched a Shetland derby, highly entertaining!

Throughout the grounds there was a plethora of food outlets, ice cream vans and coffee/tea stalls albeit on the pricy side as you would expect, however you are more than welcome to bring your own and there are picnic areas.  At one site we were entertained by a trio who sang throughout the day a selection of old sea shanties and whaling songs, who were excellent.
Finally there was a fun fair area for children with a variety of rides and activities to keep the little ones busy while we shopped!

An excellent first experience, hopefully see you there next year!

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An Audience with Phil Raisbeck

We had a chat with British blogger and outdoor adventurer, Phil Raisbeck, ahead of his impressive participation in the Fjallraven Classic trek that’s set to go ahead on Friday 8th August. Phil is a regular customer of The Sporting Lodge, who has a great love for the outdoors.

Taking your Fjallraven collection into account, can you name your favourite item and what makes it so special?

That is a tough question. I have so many items now, it’s hard to choose a favourite as all their clothing and equipment are excellent quality. I’m torn between my most commonly used items of Fjallraven Keb Gaiter trousers, Fjallraven Ruaha zip-off trousers, my first Fjallraven trousers, Sarek, or the Keb hooded fleece jacket. I think for its multiple uses for more technical hikes, challenges and varying conditions I will go with the Fjallraven Keb Gaiter trousers, plus they are in my favourite colour of UN Blue.

What is your greatest achievement to date?

Without doubt it has to being lucky enough to win 1st place for the UK in this year’s Fjallraven Polar back in April. It was such an amazing unique experience that I will remember for the rest of my life and made some amazing friends during the event.

Ahead of the Fjallraven Classic on Friday, what are three important steps you take to prepare yourself?

In the last few months I have been doing various hikes locally in places like Weardale, North Yorkshire, Northumberland and the Lakes. Doing hikes of various distances and challenges with the most recent ones carrying my Fjallraven Abisko 75 litre rucksack fully loaded with around 18kg in weight including everything I will be carrying on the Fjallraven Classic. You can be fit for long walks, but walking with a much heavier rucksack does make a huge difference, and you do need to practice carrying such weight before taking on a multi-day hike like the Fjallraven Classic.

Have you always been interested in expeditions and outdoor activity from a young age? What are your inspirations?

I did a little bit of outdoor activity many years ago in my teenage years, but then nothing for about 20 years. My recent outdoor epiphany only started in the summer of 2012, when my stepbrother Ian asked me to join him on his life-changing 250km trek through the French Pyrenees, where we did the Cathar Way. Since then I have been hooked on everything outdoors and this was followed by completing the 170km Tour du Mont Blanc trek last year. I’m also attempting to do the 282 Scottish Munros (though rather slowly, only done 4 so far!).

I’m always looking for my next adventure. Recently I went to Norway to visit my Norwegian Polar friend Jostein and we did an amazing hike to Trolltunga.

After the Classic next week I will focus on my next big adventure, which is the Toubkal Two Valley trek in Morocco this October. This will be the highest altitude I will have hiked. My ultimate goal is possibly ascending Mont Blanc after seeing it closely as I trekked the Tour du Mont Blanc, though I feel I need a lot more winter skills before I tackle that challenge.

What do you look for in the perfect piece of gear to accompany you in your travels?

That depends on how I intend to use them. If it would be for long multi-day trekking then one of the key thing would be the weight, however I also think ease of use and/or having multiple uses if possible is key and of course the quality. I find if you buy cheap you buy twice, and you really need all your gear to stand up to the challenges you face as you never know what to expect and can’t afford to carry spare items “just in case”, as this would add to the weight you would carry. So quality and practicality is key.

Any last words?

Since taking part in the Fjallraven Polar I have met some amazing people from around the world, some in person and some virtually online through my Outdrr blogging network and past Fjallraven Polar participants and it has been great sharing experiences with all of these people as well as planning many future adventures together.

Thanks a lot Phil! Don’t forget to check out Phil’s blog to follow his quirky and exciting documentation of various expeditions and adventures!