I’ve found myself following Cecil Slingsby for some time now. In my early days of rock climbing I came across his name often as the creator of many classic climbs in the UK. Between the years 1872 to 1921 William Cecil Slingsby also made countless new climbs in Norway and is now widely regarded as ‘The Father of Norwegian Mountaineering.’ Bergans of Norway have now honoured Slingsby’s many ascents there with the creation of an exciting range of clothing for mountaineers and skiers.
Bergans of Norway have, of course, had a long association with manufacturing quality rucksacks (the very first framed rucksack was made by them in 1908, and most military personnel still refer to the rucksack as a ‘bergan’). They supplied Roald Amundsen’s South Pole expedition with rucksacks in 1911, and Scott’s expedition to the South Pole in 1913.
So, the Slingsby range from Bergans of Norway was bound to be good quality. Right?
Well, let’s start with a base layer and work outwards.
The Fjellrapp Baselayer
The Fjellrapp is a wonderful garment to wear next to your skin. It’s not technically part of the Slingsby range, but complements that range admirably. It’s snug, with all the non-smelly benefits you get from Merino wool. The Fjellrapp is suitable for stand-alone use, as a base layer, right next to the skin, or as a midlayer on top of another. I soon got over the stripes, and just love wearing this piece of clothing in the mountains.
The Visbretind mid/outer layer Softshell Jacket
The Visbretind is a softshell and is perfect for winter mountaineering. It’s got quite a low cut, keeping your body core temperature nice and warm. It’s actually a hybrid jacket with an athletic cut specially developed for ski touring, but I found it perfectly suitable for wearing with a harness for climbing. The Visbretind is ideal as an outer layer when it is not too windy or as a mid layer. Made from a combination of windproof fabric for protection of exposed areas and stretch fleece for maximum breathability.
Overall I thought this was a great mid or outer layer, but would like to see a hem drawcord for really keeping the chilly drafts out.
Fabric: Pontetorto NoWind: 86 % Polyamide (Nylon)/14 % Elastane (Spandex)/Pontetorto Technostretch: 94 % Polyester/6 % Elastane
Weight: Men’s size L: 460 g (1lb)
The Uranostind insulated Jacket
The Uranostind is just one of those jackets that you find it hard to take off. It feels good on the mountain, is simple in design, is very lightweight, and has a mass of warming insulation. I’ve worn mine extensively while working on Helvellyn as Fell Top Assessor throughout the winter, and this jacket just seems to keep giving me more and more.
It was designed as a reinforcement garment for use as a resting jacket on ski touring, or underneath a shell jacket on cold days, but again for general winter mountaineering it is hard to beat. The PrimaLoft® Gold Insulation keeps you warm even when it is wet. Again, if I have one complaint it’s the lack of a hem drawcord to keep windy drafts out.
Fabric: Pertex® Microlight: 100 % Polyamide (Nylon)
Insulation: PrimaLoft® Gold Insulation: 100% Polyester
Weight insulation: 60 g/m² (1.77 oz/yd²)
The Storen waterproof Jacket
Wow, was the first thing I thought when I unpacked this jacket. The Storen really is a magnificent piece of winter mountaineering kit. I love the soft feel of the material, and really can’t find anything at all to say against the Storen. It’s a high calibre, all-round mountain jacket made from a lightweight, durable material. The features it packs are impressive too, from the voluminous sleeves for slipping on over heavy winter gloves or mitts, to the long under-arm zip vents. The material, Dermizax®NX offers absolutely outstanding breathability and freedom of movement. High pockets make it suitable for wearing with a harness, and a large volume hood, which is also very easily adjustible, will easily take a climbing helmet.
Fabric: 3-layer Dermizax®NX: 100 % Polyamide (Nylon)
Weight: Men’s size L: 460 g (16.2oz)
I was very, very impressed indeed by this range of clothing. Initially I thought the colours were all a bit ‘Scandinavian’ in that they are possibly brighter than I would normally wear on the mountain, but the more I wore this gear, the more I loved it. The quality is superb, the designs are well-thought out, and the attention to detail is second to none. I particularly like the Storen, and would choose this over many, many other waterproof jackets on the market. All in all, a superb, exciting addition to the UK outdoor clothing ranges.