Devold: 150 Years of Manufacturing Mountain and Outdoor Clothing in Norway
Devold is another one of the century-old brands that we sell at Barrabes; This Norwegian company has been manufacturing wool clothing for work and outdoor activities since 1853.
Conquering the South Pole with Amundsen
Throughout the years, he achieved several important milestones. Devold’s success occurred around the same time as the first major polar-expeditions in the late 1800s. When the polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen skied across Greenland in 1888, he did it with "Ullundertøi, Islandstrøier and Vadmelsjakker". Nansen, and others from the Fram expedition, could thank sturdy woolen clothes for surviving three dramatic years on the drifting ice in the Arctic Ocean.
In 1911, on the other side of the globe, polar explorer Roald Amundsen made sure Norwegian wool came to the South Pole for the first time. In 1925, the Norwegian adventurer flew over the North Pole in the airship "Norge 1" together with the American polar explorer Lincoln Ellsworth, conveniently dressed of course. When Ellsworth completed the first flight ever over the icy southern regions in 1933, he thanked Devold for the warm woolen clothes.
Tradition and Innovation
Devold started by making wool underwear, mittens and gloves for fishermen, and the traditional red wool hats so often used in Norway.
Almost two centuries later, wool is still the basis of their manufacturing.
There are those who might think that, when it comes to wool, innovation is not fundamental, which is not correct. That may be the case for certain products such as classic sweaters, but the art of weaving wool today differs in much of what it used to be, which now permits the making of base layers, socks and mountain shirts with a fineness that equals or exceeds that of the usual synthetic fibers.
Therefore, in addition to traditional hats and outerwear, the greatest benefit that mountaineers and lovers of mountain and nature activities can find is in the base layer garments, socks and technical shirts. They are very soft, ultra-light garments, with great humidity and heat management, which are expensive and often exceed the usual synthetic materials.
This was achieved by using the best raw material, and with modern spinning machines and systems that create an excellent finish which was unheard of until recently.
In the Tips
section of our website, you can find our article titled "How to choose your base layer for mountain activities and skiing"
- which we recommend you read as it will solve any questions on such an important subject -, we commented on the use of wool in the manufacturing of mountain base layers: "We have to say that, at Barrabes, merino wool underwear is the most popular. Does it sound weird? Do you identify wool with a rough and bony material, which is used to make sweaters and hats? Well, you are mistaken.
In fact, if someone doesn’t know the manufacturing material of these high quality garments used as a base layer, it is almost impossible to recognize it to the touch, for its extreme softness and lightness. Obviously, in this case it does not itch or weigh a lot, with a very complex spinning and braiding work."
In addition to this, as you can read in the article, it has several advantages over synthetic fibers: greater breathability, cools down the body and is a natural and renewable material.
The Devold Farms
The wool used by Devold comes from merino Australian sheep, in areas with abundant water and grass in which the animals live extensively free, receiving shelter and proper care when necessary.
Specifically, there are six "ranches" located in Tasmania where Devold's sheep live. On their website you can visit them, and see the natural conditions in which the animals live: