Rab (425 articles)

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Rab: From sleeping bag to mountain gear expert

The story of the expedition outfitter began in 1981 in the attic of a small terraced house in Sheffield, UK, where founder and namesake Rab Carrington made the first product: a sleeping bag. But it wasn't just any sleeping bag - this hand-sewn product already incorporated the know-how of years of mountaineering experience from 8,000-metre ascents such as those of Nuptse and Makalu.

So Carrington knew precisely what was important in alpine mountaineering. In an interview, the Scot once said: "Designing equipment was the only thing I really knew how to do. During the day, I worked on building sites; in the evening, I sat up in the attic and sewed sleeping bags." He then tested them personally on his expeditions in the Himalayas, Patagonia or the Dolomites and put them through their paces.

How has Rab developed to date?

The secret workshop in Sheffield was soon no longer to remain a secret, and only a short time later, it became a production site for sleeping bags and jackets for customers from near and far. Rab's motto: "nothing extravagant or over-engineered - just honest, high-performance items that you'd rather repair than replace", is how it, to this day, continues to produce mountain clothing and equipment. All-weather protection, comfort and freedom on the mountain. It also guarantees optimal function, especially in adverse weather conditions and in extreme environments.

With the statement "you can climb hard if you climb all year round", the founder not only described his attitude to alpine mountaineering but also the range of applications of the versatile Rab product range. Today, the English manufacturer's portfolio includes high-quality down jackets, sleeping bags, and technical and highly functional outdoor clothing, from trousers to gloves.

Rab products are no longer tested by Carrington himself but by trained climbers and mountaineers from the British Association of Mountaineering Instructors. Whether on the rock in the English Peak District National Park or on expeditions to Antarctica, the members constantly test new materials or products. But numerous athletes and alpinists also take Rab products on their adventures every day.

Recycled down in jackets and sleeping bags

Rab products are no longer tested by Carrington himself but by trained climbers and mountaineers from the British Association of Mountaineering Instructors. Whether on the rock in the English Peak District National Park or on expeditions to Antarctica, the members constantly test new materials or products. But numerous athletes and alpinists also take Rab products on their adventures every day.

Quality and reliability are the top priorities for all Rab products - and yet you don't have to dig too deep into your wallet for them. Since 2010, down certified according to the Responsible Down Standard (R.D.S.) has been used in the down jackets and sleeping bags. Nevertheless, down is still an animal product that should be avoided as much as possible. And so Rab has been using P.U.R.E. recycled down in the entire Microlight collection since 2019. But where does the recycled down come from, and how does it work?

The down is taken from post-consumer products such as pillows or duvets and brought to the Italian partner Minardi Piume. The feathers and down are reprocessed and subjected to a hydrophobic treatment. The down can then be recycled for functional Rab clothing and equipment without the need for new down and feathers.

But it's not just the recycled warm down products that are recycled; Rab has also been using recycled synthetic insulation materials since the 2020 winter season. The range of breathable functional materials from partners such as Pertex and Gore-Tex are also increasingly made from recycled materials and used in Rab products.

Where does Rab see itself in the future?

Rab is setting the bar high to achieve "Net Zero" by 2030. Why? Quite simply because it is the right thing to do. The manufacturer has been climate-neutral since 2020 and started at home: Packaging materials have been reduced, a large part of the UK vehicle fleet has been converted to electric mobility, and the headquarters in England is powered by 100% renewable energy.

But what does "Net Zero" actually mean? Climate neutrality is almost impossible, especially for large global producers, without buying emission certificates. The part of greenhouse gases that are not saved is "compensated" by purchasing such CO2 certificates. Rab is not satisfied with this and wants to reduce its own emissions so much by 2030 that only a minimal, unavoidable share remains. Thus, the focus is not on offsetting emissions but on a radical reduction of greenhouse gases.


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