1908 returning home from a hunting trip, Norwegian Ole F. Bergan, makes a groundbreaking invention: the world’s first ergonomic backpack carrying frame. Bergans has been a recognised name on the outdoor market ever since. Continue reading
An ergonomically shaped carrying frame can be now found in just about any backpack, but in 1908 the reality was quite different: A backpack was a simple bag with straps, far too uncomfortable to carry heavy gear for long stretches through rugged terrain. For the larger loads, the alternative was a wooden carrying system, however this didn't score many points for providing the back with comfort either. One day, as - bicycle manufacturer, hunter and nature lover, was returning home from a hunting trip and had finally had enough from shoulder straps that cut into his shoulders and aching bones, the Norwegian made a groundbreaking invention: A supported frame for backpacks. Patent number 20547, in 1909 was the annals of mountaineering and barely two years later the first Bergan's rucksack rewrote history as outdoor equipment that supported Roald Amundsen's in his South Pole expedition.
From backpack manufacturer to mountain sports supplier: Bergans range continues to grow
Bergan's patent secured them for 25 years in having the position as sole producer of backpacks with a frame system. During this time, the brand established itself internationally so strong that Bergans in some parts of the world has become synonymous with backpacks. However, the Norwegians were certainly not resting at this time on their laurels: Bergan's range grew systematically to other mountain and outdoor sports equipment, ski bindings and child carriers and by the 1930s even knives, tents and sleeping bags joined functional clothing for climbers and hunters.
In its almost 100 year history, the company has had every high and low possibly conceivable in the industry. After a factory fire in June 1986 Bergans was on the brink of collapse. In addition to the entire warehouse, the patterns and commodities of current production were destroyed by fire and insufficient insurance further tarnished the bleak outlook. However, not one to give up, Bergans, purchased his own goods in retail shops in order to create new produce from the cut outs and a year later, production started in a new, modern textile mill once again. However, the fire resulted in Bergans losing much of its important market share and in the early 1990s, it put textile production on hold and closed its factory.
Merino apparel, fleece jackets, even hardshells: Bergans has picked up the pace with its outdoor clothing
Meanwhile Bergans has become a strong contender in the making of functional outdoor clothing. Functional underwear made from merino wool and ski apparel are among the main category of products that the Norwegians offer. Developed in close collaboration with professional mountain guides, a broad spectrum of the 3 layered principal is covered in its collection - from merino wool underwear, to warm mid-layers right up to clever three-layer jackets. The focus is always as light as possible, the elimination of unnecessary detail and maximum functionality - all characteristics that are important for functional.
Practice testing and labor: Bergans has both
To ensure the quality of its products and to forge ahead in the latest of product technology, Bergans does extensive testing in both its own laboratory and in practice with a selected test team. In its laboratory, materials are tested for abrasion resistance, breathability, water resistance and chemical resistance. Those products that function under strict laboratory conditions, find their way into the collection. Additionally, Bergans have a team of athletes that are closely involved in product development. Norwegian adventurer Cecilie Skoog, polar explorer Rune Gjeldnes or freerider Lorraine Huber are all hands-on athletes that give their feedback.
Known for its already stringent corporate social responsibility and enforcing of strong standards, Bergans of Norway are raising the bar even more with "Expedition 2020". Under the motto "What we love, we will protect" the new environmental program aimes at having 75 percent of all products bluesign® approved and 70 percent of products to be made from more sustainable raw materials by 2020. Bergans have already kick started with the making and design of the Bergans Eidfjord Jacket. Made from up to 30% innovative polyester plant-based fabric and a by-product of sugar production this renewable raw material is particularly resource-saving, contributing to environmental protection and a perfect endorsement to the program. Bergans Sustainability Manager Felix Ockborn explains; "At Bergans we are passionate about providing people with great outdoor experiences. It goes without saying, that we do whatever we can to ensure that future generations can enjoy nature to the same extent as we do today.". The goals that Bergans have set for the company this time are high, but when have Bergans ever shied away from a tough expedition?