Rab – The Mountain People
In the 1970s, a silent revolution was taking hold in the Peak District.
Young Brits from the country’s industrial centers started flocking to the mountains in a time when strikes, unemployment and poor working conditions offered them no sense of hope. They found that hope in climbing and in the mountains.
Soon the area would become a hotbed for climbing talent and would produce one of the greatest generations ever of British mountaineering. This place, the Peak District, is where Rab Carrington, born and raised in Glasgow and hardened in the harsh Scottish winter and the mountain ranges of the world, would move to in 1980.
Seeing the success of the climbing movement in Sheffield and other parts of the Peak District, Carrington decided it was the right place and time to make an old dream come true – to make truly durable, high-performance clothing and mountaineering gear.
It was 1981, and Rab had just been born.
It had been a long journey for Rab Carrington up to this point. Born in 1947, he began his career in the climbing elite in the late 60s. The 70s would take him to places like Yosemite and Patagonia, and to complete feats such as an alpine-style climb of Jannu (7,710m) in the Himalayas, among many others.
However, there was one moment during his journeys that marked his future.
In 1973, Carrington was in Buenos Aires, on his way to Patagonia, when a dock workers’ strike in the UK left him with no gear. He was forced to wait in the city, and needed money to pay for accommodations there. His friend Hector Vieytes helped him out—he gave Carrington a job in his workshop and began to teach him the secrets that, years later, would redefine the future of technical sleeping bags.
These lessons were the first that Carrington put into practice when he moved to the Peak District in 1980. Every bag was hand stitched, each model rigorously tested in the toughest conditions by Carrington himself or one of the climbers he had traveled the world with.
Thanks to the high quality of the products, the brand’s growth among local climbers was unstoppable. In 1980, Carrington had begun sewing in his attic. By 1981, he opened a factory. The quality was so good that some of the products from back then, such as the Andes Jackets, can still be seen in use today.
Nearly forty years later and Carrington now retired, Rab is considered one of the most technical mountaineering brands in the world. It continues to follow its tradition of quality manufacturing, along with cutting-edge innovations, such as the Vapour-rise system, developed along with Pertex.
Rab offers a wide range of high-end down and synthetic fiber insulated jackets, breathable waterproof clothing, sleeping bags and tents. Rab is still the best when it comes to sleeping bags and insulated jackets, and they take pride in making what they define as “no-nonsense, honest, hard-wearing gear. Gear you’d rather repair than replace. Made by climbers, for climbers.”
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