This is where it all begins: in the Dalstugan cottage in Torsång, on a spring day in 1914. Wiktor Haglöf has just finished sewing the first batch of backpacks and fastened them to his bicycle. He is about to try his luck selling them to local foresters and farmers.
Outstanding Outdoor Equipment at SEK 0.90 a piece.
The rest is history.
Today Haglöfs is the largest supplier of outdoor equipment in the Nordic region.
What started with Wiktor’s backpack has grown into a range of 500 products, and the Haglöfs market has expanded from the Swedish towns of Torsång, Rättvik and Sveg to include the whole of Scandinavia, Europe and Japan.
So what have we learned from our 100 years in the outdoor business?
Above all, to make gear which really works. And since our products have to function during some of the most extreme and demanding activities undertaken by humans, this must be taken into account in the design of the smallest details as well as in the kit as a whole.
It’s part of the fundamental idea behind our products.
For example, all our clothes are part of a layer-on-layer system, where all parts act as building blocks resulting in a clothing range which can be made to work in virtually any conditions.
It’s in the design of carefully thought-through details.
For example, flatlock seams are used in all garments worn next to the skin, to ensure that they are comfortable and don’t chafe.
It’s in the usability of our products.
For example, a garment shouldn’t just work for a limited and specific activity, but should be useful in many different situations, all-year round. A shell jacket should be just as useful whether the wearer is canoeing, climbing, skiing or all-out mountain biking. The more useful our products are, the better the investment for those who choose Haglöfs.
It’s in minimalist thinking.
As in our comprehensive range of backpacks, sleeping bags and outdoor
garments which have been stripped of all unnecessary details and which don’t weigh a gram more than is absolutely necessary. Appropriately named the
L.I.M (Less Is More) range.
It’s in our constant search for ways to develop our products.
Like sewing a shell jacket from a single, continuous piece of material instead of lots of smaller pieces. It may be more difficult to achieve, but is by far the best way to avoid seams that chafe against the back and shoulders when you are wearing a backpack or a climbing harness.
It’s in caring for your feet.
For example, by making only Gore-Tex® lined footwear which is completely waterproof, yet breathable.
It’s in a small detail here and a minor adjustment there.
For example, by allowing the mouthpiece of a backpack hydration system to exit via the carrying strap, so that it’s easily accessible even during demanding exercises. Or by locating the drawcord of a sleeping bag thermal collar in a soft, filled channel to avoid it chafing against your face.
It’s in being aware of the cutting-edge technology of our material suppliers.
For example, taping the seams of a 3-layer Gore-Tex® jacket with a newly-developed micro tape, and so achieving an even more flexible, lightweight and breathable garment.
It’s in winning honest friends.
For example, a team of extreme climbers, certified mountain guides and multi-sports enthusiasts who are brought in to carry out first-hand trials and encouraged to speak their minds and let us know what they like and dislike. The Friends of Haglöfs, as we call our informal testing group, is a refreshing and essential part of our product development program.
It’s in our approach to our company.
For example, it is a requirement that everyone working with Haglöfs products should be dedicated outdoor enthusiasts, with a wealth of experience to tap into and relate to.
It’s in how we relate to the past.
And discover that, in the final equation, not much has changed from that spring in Torsång, when Wiktor selected the best canvas available, commissioned cord locks of the finest Swedish steel from Eskilstuna, and employed the best seamstresses in the area to produce the first Haglöfs backpacks.
The only difference is that time has moved on, offering new resources and new opportunities.