In 1966: England won the World Cup, and at the same time, a game-changing outdoor kit manufacturer was taking shape. Two Geordie mountaineers, Peter Lockey and Gordon Davison noted the absence of good outdoor gear in the UK market, and began their own business. They set up the LD (after their initials Lockey and Davison) Mountain Centre on Dean Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, with the sole purpose of importing and selling products that adventurers couldn’t easily get their hands on.
It wasn't long before their entrepreneurial and engineering spirits took hold and they soon began developing their own products. So came the birth of Berghaus: the international, outdoor brand we know today.
Fast forward 54 years and it's a brand that is recognised the world over, but Berghaus HQ still has its roots in the North East of England. Currently residing in the neighbouring city of Sunderland, Berghaus HQ overlooks the River Wear, a constant reminder of how much enjoyment the outdoors can bring, given the right gear of course. After stepping foot inside the reception area, we’re greeted by an array of colour. Bold use of colour blocking is a staple design in Berghaus’ product heritage. To the right is a selection of vintage artwork encompassing their recognisable red and royal blue colour palette, the left is a selection of their current products and of course, a swing, yes – a swing.
Head upstairs alongside the climbing rope banister, and you’ll find everything you could ever want from a trailblazing outdoor brand. First things first, we headed over to the Sample Room, a rectangular space filled with countless top secret, new season products. With upcoming plans to empty our bank accounts, we browsed the new range of products taking themes from vintage pieces and contemporary technologies.
Down the corridor, and my personal favourite, is the Archive Room. Showcasing iconic Berghaus products from the 1970’s through to the new millennium, the rails are filled with classic styles and bold colours. On the opposing wall is Berghaus’ most notable packs at a glance. A selection of Cyclops backpacks can be seen on display, transforming the world of mountaineering, the Cyclops range contained a ground-breaking internal frame offering walkers and climbers more comfort, something we’d take for granted nowadays.
Adjacent to this, you come to the Sewing Room and the Lab, where the real magic happens. We met Michelle, Creative Pattern Cutter, who took us through the design process for prototypes and new products. A real innovative hub, the Sewing Room is filled with machines, fabrics and threads of all shades. The Lab, previously known as the MtnHaus Innovation Centre, is armed with everything you’d need to push gear to the limits. From testing the hydrostatic head of a waterproof, to the duration it takes for pilling to occur on a fleece, it lays a hardwearing, reliable testament to the brand. It's this rigorous testing process that explains why Berghaus are so confident to offer and honour a lifetime guarantee on its products.
The take-home message from our visit was meeting the inspiring minds that make up the team over at Berghaus, who all showed real passion for what they do. Berghaus wants to inspire and equip everyone to follow their own path. Whether that's dog walking along the seafront, or elite level climbing, it’s true that everyone who works understands the importance of the outdoors, and a belief that we need to be suitably equipped for it too.