The ‘Icona’ Zamberlan Norwegian Welted boot collection is a high-end line which demonstrates the immense skill and expertise that has been passed down through generations of master bootmakers at Zamberlan, Italy. One of the oldest and most highly proven methods of boot construction, Norwegian Welting is coupled with advanced modern outsole technology to produce end products that embody the Zamberlan artisan tradition of exquisitely made, reliable and comfortable walking boots.
For some time now Equip outdoor group, custodians of the hugely successful Rab brand, have refrained from taking Rab into the backpack market; seemingly due to their ownership of the primarily pack-making brands Lowe Alpine and Podsacs. Their sale of Podsacs in 2013 however, confirmed that there were changes afoot to Equip’s ‘divide and rule’ approach to outdoor kit…
Utilising the ‘typically Equip’ combination of in-house design experience and renowned Rab build-quality, a brand new pack range bearing the Rab name has been released for the Summer Season of 2014. Spanning a 70-litre expedition backpack, 35 to 55-litre Alpine packs, and a range of fast and light ‘Dynamo’ styles, the new Rab pack range can’t compete with the sheer depth of styles that Lowe Alpine offers – but more than makes up for that in quality and user-appeal.
In their respective size and activity brackets, every new Rab pack hits the nail right on the head. And don’t just take our word for it – the team at Trail Magazine describe Rab’s first foray into backpack manufacture as “accomplished from the off”. They praised the Rab Alpine Backpack range even more highly, awarding it their coveted 5-star verdict.
A week has now passed since Webtogs team members Mike and Myself (Phil) took on The Black Death Run, a 10 mile cross-country run at Combe Sydenham, West Somerset (see my previous post for details). After a busy week of adding new Summer Rab products to Webtogs, I’ve finally got time for a quick write-up. Of course, if you’re more interested in the new Rab stuff, I don’t blame you one bit – http://www.webtogs.co.uk/rab. But more on that next week.
Thankfully Mike, Myself, my girlfriend Eilis, and friend Yuno all completed the run… sort of. I say sort of because about 3/4 of the entire field managed to get lost, the result being that the ‘finishers’ ended up running anything between 6 and 14 miles on various loops through the forest. The cause it seems, was a rather amusing one, though not particularly funny on the day…
I can announce that the MD, Kieth, has used all his years of experience in the outdoor industry and hard-won contacts at Rab, to wrangle an exclusive deal on a selection of Rab’s finest down sleeping bags, exclusively for Webtogs.
The backstory: Rab have announced that they are re-testing the down in their sleeping bags for next season, and are re-working all of their sleeping bag styles to comply with new European warmth (EAN) ratings. In effect, due to increases in the wholesale cost of down, the outcome of this shake-up will be significantly more expensive bags, that are identical to this year’s bags in terms of performance… with a sprinkling of minor cosmetic changes. Anyhow, Rab had some of their 2013 batch of down left, which the used in some of their best selling, high quality sleeping bags from this winter – which Webtogs have been able to secure an exclusive deal on!
The Deal: This means that we can sell the Rab Expedition 1200 Sleeping Bag, with an RRP of £570, and a comfort limit of -40°C (It only weighs 1920g, to boot), for just £342. That’s £228 off RRP. I defy anyone to find a bag that warm for that cheap anywhere else! (more…)
You know the post we put out a week or so ago about sustainable down sourcing by Webtogs’ brands? Well I have a very positive update from The North Face regarding the development of their ‘Responsible Down Standard’ – namely, after two years in development, it is complete! You can read the full update from TNF themselves here, in their official release.
Now that pre-pilot audits on The North Face’s existing down suppliers have been completed, they are now in a position to roll out the finalised RDS (Responsible Down Standard) across their entire global supply chain. All down in The North Face down products by Autumn/Winter 2015 will comply with the RDS (allowing for time to conduct full audits, and for geese to reach maturity), and what’s more the enforcement of the standard is to be handed over to third-party, non-profit organisation Textile Exchange. They are committed to minimising the harmful effects of the global textile industry, and encouraging the positive ones, for the benefit of textile workers, animals, and all of us.
I should probably start out by explaining that when I say ‘Brit brand trio’, I’m referring to Rab, Mountain Equipment and Montane. These three brands are the standard-bearers for the UK outdoor industry, and between them they account for over half of the products ranged on Webtogs.co.uk at any given time. It was these brands, along with another of our suppliers; US brand Marmot, that Webtogs MD Keith and I set out to visit last Sunday on a 5-day buying road-trip. I can report that it was epic thanks to the exciting new products on show… and the added bonus of getting to take the bike out on some awesome trails in the Lakes (Altura Trail, Whinlatter & The North Face Trail, Grizedale) and Peak District!
As I posted before Christmas, I was lucky enough to get my hands on a pair of Montane test garments to try out over the festive break – the Montane Further Faster Neo Jacket (shell) and Alpha Gide Jacket (insulator). Sadly they have now been dispatched back to Montane HQ (wish I could have kept them), and I am left to report my thoughts and findings.
As always seems to be the case over Christmas, I was not able to be quite as active as I’d have liked… multiple food-based family gatherings and grandmother-courier duties getting in the way of my plans to test out the Montane pieces through the trinity of walking, cycling and climbing. I was, able to wear them day-to-dayday-to-day though, on a couple of short walks, and on one longer one on Dartmoor last Friday. I plumped for one of my old favorites, the ‘Widecombe Round’. It’s a varied, scenic route around the village of Widecombe-in-the-Moor, and even more so in the right conditions. Luckily conditions were just perfect for beautiful pictures on this occasion, so I’ve interspersed my Montane review with them to liven up any dry technical details!
Last weekend whilst discussing work with my friend Alex, I was surprised to hear that he had never heard of the brand Rab. This was very surprising to me, because of the 50+ brands we sell at Webtogs, Rab ranks second only to The North Face in terms of sales – and even then it’s a close-run thing. It’s also very much the ‘it’ brand in the market at the moment, with a rapidly expanding fan-base and amazing sell-through, not to mention the fact that it’s been around as a flag bearer of the British outdoor kit industry since the 1980s. (more…)