Berghaus Clothing & Equipment
Berghaus are one of the world's iconic outdoor brands. Based in the UK with years of experience making everything from waterproof shells to 3-in1s, hiking boots to rucksacks - Berghaus have the gear for your adventure, whether you're walking, trekking, mountaineering or travelling.
Berghaus' classics include the Cornice, Mera Peak and Paclite waterproof jackets, the Explorer trekking boots and the Verden and Jalan rucksack ranges.
Berghaus – From small acorns
For an island nation with a slight lack of towering world famous peaks, the United Kingdom has still managed to produce some of the world’s most famous explorers, climbers and mountaineers; so it should be no surprise then, that one of the most innovative and successful outdoor brands should also have risen from our proud history of ‘getting out there’.
Saying that, many are surprised to learn that Berghaus is not a German brand, but actually hails from Newcastle-upon-Tyne; although they’re now based south of the Tyne in Sunderland. Founded in 1966 as the LD Mountain Centre by northern climbers Peter Lockey and Gordon Davison, LD Mountain Centre began by importing the best gear from the more established continental brands because they weren’t happy with the outdoor clothing currently available, and soon gained a reputation having the best kit…indeed they were the first to import Scarpa walking boots into the UK.
This market proved so successful that Lockey and Davidson soon started to design and manufacture their own gear under the name Berghaus, which literally translates as ‘Mountain House’ (or Shelter if you prefer). Now a little bird once told me this was because the UK’s own outdoor brands were so poorly thought of at the time that it sounded foreign enough to sway those who didn’t know…whether this is true I don’t know but Berghaus needn’t have worried; they soon stamped their mark into trade history and have been a regular contributor to new technology designs ever since.
Berghaus’ first major step towards acclaim was their rucksacks; with the Berg 172 and 272 models releasing in 1970, swiftly followed in 1972 by the legendary Cyclops.
The Cyclops was arguably the first rucksack to use a full internal frame and practically revolutionised pack design, whilst also being functional enough (not all innovations are well received at launch!) to stamp itself into the community’s heart; in fact it’s proved so popular its descendant, the Cyclops III is still in the range.
Berghaus have continued to innovate with their rucksack design and some of the more famous achievements have been:
- 1980s - A.B. (Adjustable Back) system and Occipital Cavity
- 1990s - Lady Pulsar, one of the first women’s specific packs; the Nitro wins a Millennium Product Award for its unique design; the Freeflow backsystem is introduced, and thanks to regular updates, has been one of Gear Zone’s most popular ranges since 2001
- 2000s - Bioflex back systems are launched in 2005 and the extra comfort and manoeuvrability they provide goes down a storm and wins Berghaus another technology award; an ISPO for innovation.
Berghaus' new 2012 Bioflex back system
If Berghaus were just a rucksack manufacturer, this would still be an awesome resume but of course, their range also encompasses clothing and footwear. You won’t be disappointed to hear that they’ve rocked those categories as well!
The first huge step forward Berghaus made in outdoor clothing was in 1977, when they became the first European brand to take a punt on the new Gore-Tex fabric from across the pond. Although we’re now all hugely familiar with Gore’s wonder fabric, at the time it was a revelation; a fully waterproof fabric that actually let water out and was as durable as the fabric used to make the jacket. Needless to say the outdoor world has never been the same and both Berghaus and Gore-Tex have gone on to become house-hold names (if you’re a relatively outdoorsy household at least).
The 70s also saw the release of the renowned Yeti Gaiter - one of the most protective mountain gaiters available - which is still produced to this day in variants for mountains or lower level treks, and has caused us the shredding of more than a few fingers when fitting.
Other key points in the Berghaus clothing timeline include:
- 1980s - The Gemini system, precursor to Berghaus’ InterActive range allows for insulation and shell layer to be zipped together for convenience; the Extrem range is launched to provide clothing specifically for the extreme adventurer; it continues to innovate to this day; Berghaus are one of the first companies to start working with female athletes to create clothing more suited to the feminine adventurer.
- 1990s - Berghaus begin marketing the Layering System concept heavily. The idea that all the articles of clothing you wear should compliment one another to provide comfort may or may not be solely Berghaus’, but they certainly contributed the most to its widespread acceptance; the Extrem range is revised so all zips and toggles should be able to be adjusted with one hand; continuing their close relationship with Gore, Berghaus launch a range of shell in the brand new Paclite fabric
- 2000s - In the early 2000s Berghaus one again premier a new Gore fabric; this time it’s Summit II XCR and adventurers have never had it so comfortable!
|Berghaus Mount Asgard Jacket - Designed with Leo Houlding, and using the latest Gore fabrics|
Old school Berghaus; blue and red already popular!
Through the rest of the 00s, Berghaus have been busy, and their range of hard shell, soft shell, fleece, down and synthetically insulated jackets, trek and travel wear, walking boots and shoes, and rucksacks, has become a common sight on high streets, hills and mountains across the UK and the world.
Like all the great outdoor companies, Berghaus founds relationships with many top outdoor athletes, adventurers and mountaineers. They serve, of course as great promotion, but the expert advice they can give on product development and feedback is priceless.
Over the years Berghaus has worked with some of the British greats, including mountaineers Sir Chris Bonnington, and Alan Hinkes - both of whom should need no introduction - and recently climber Leah Crane.
The most famous of the new generation of athletes though, is all round mentalist (in the nicest possible way, and for lack of a better word), Leo Houlding, who when he’s not racing Jeremy Clarkson up mountains or wingsuit flying, is scaling some of the most demanding big wall climbs on the planet and helping develop Berghaus’ latest Extrem products.
(Left) Leo Houlding and Sir Chris Bonnington 'product testing'