The hometown tour with Swedish sustainable heritage brand Klattermusen
To celebrate Klattermusen, the original Swedish outdoor brand, joining our community we caught up with them to hear more about what they get up to in that great outdoors of theirs.
Jamtland where you guys are based sounds amazing. Where are your favourite local outdoor spots?
One of the benefits of being based in Jamtland is the amazing variation in the landscape. There are lots of amazing places catering to every kind of outdoor interest and level of practioner, which allows us to do thorough field testing of all our equipment. The one place everyone would agree on is Sylarna.
We know there is a distinct outdoor culture amongst Swedes, can you fill us in on that?
It’s a pervasive part of everyday culture in Sweden. Even city dwellers consider it imperative to get out in nature every so often and preferably everyday. Ensuring that everyone can enjoy close contact with nature is even a part of city planning in Sweden.
What do the Klattermusen staff (or ambassadors) get up to on a weekend?
Everyone at Klattermusen is an avid fan of the outdoors with their own interests. What everyone gets up to depends so much on the season, if you’re on your own or with friends or out with your children. It’s great because it ensures that all our equipment gets thoroughly tested in a wide range of use cases!
Is there a local equivalent of surf’s up that sees you all head out of the office for some fun times?
The changing of the seasons is what brings everyone out at once, since different activities are tied to the effects of the weather on the landscape. When the first true cold spell sets in, we get excellent dense ice for ice climbing, and on the other end we wait for the run-off of the melting snow to dry out the ground for hiking and biking.
We’ve shared a lot of articles about Sweden in our emails over the years, from your amazing recycling rates to progressive tax polices (we are geeky like that), you seem to have a really forward thinking political and industrial ecosystem, why is that? How does it influence Klattermusen?
As a small country it can be easy to affect changes on system level when the benefits seem obvious to everyone. The changing attitudes toward sustainability in wider society have made it easier for people to understand the position Klattermusen has taken for over 40 years that sustainability holds much deeper values than just a solid construction.
When we first asked about your sustainable ethos you said “We are not committed to sustainability, we are committed to being responsible in everything we do”. Can you expand on what being responsible means for you?
Responsibility is the application of sustainability in our working process, and how we approach our work. As a small company we’ve been at the mercy of suppliers and partners since the start, and pushing them to work with us is always a struggle.
However, Klattermusen has shown, both suppliers and other outdoor companies that it’s possible to be both responsible as well as technically leading in a sustainable fashion, rather than engaging in the race to the bottom that chasing quarterly results entails.
Klattermusen has a strong design element, particularly features like the diagonal zips, is this function or fashion?
Klattermusen is completely functionality driven, and developed by mountaineers who often modify our samples and prototypes in the field themselves to get things just right. The unique design and visual appearance is a result of this process where functionality leads. Every single cut, measurement and detail has a story to back it up which creates an amazing heritage built-in to every piece of equipment. Looking back over our archive our equipment tells the story of how Swedish mountaineering has developed over the last forty years.
Do you design equipment for specific activities, or aim for a more general level of functionality?
Our equipment is developed by being sensitive to the needs of mountaineers. If we can guarantee functionality and safety under extreme conditions we feel confident that the equipment will be useful for less demanding activities as well. Key for us and mountaineers is thinking in terms of packing lists, when every gram counts everything has to be as useful as possible which led us to think in terms of systems. Which equipment can be combined with other pieces to create a flexible system. Our proprietary MFR system is one aspect of this, dynamically matching level of exertion to changing weather conditions in the field.
Where do you see the future for Klattermusen?
Bringing the values and know-how of Klattermusen to a wider audience while refining our equipment further. A lot of companies are turning toward a Klattermusen model of development, and a much wider segment of clients are becoming aware of just how ahead of the curve Klattermusen has been for the last forty years, though the recognition is gratifying we still have a lot of work ahead of us. Klattermusen is far from done, we’re bringing new entirely technologies on-line and testing some revolutionary new fabrics in the field as we speak.
Finally we have to ask, that name: “climbing mouse” What’s that all about?
When Klattermusen was founded, mountaineering was considered both foolhardy and dangerous, which led to a name that would never be perceived as catering to the preconceptions held about mountaineers. A playful name that embraces the fun and pleasures of getting out into nature, the rewards rather than the challenge.
Excellent, thanks for that guys, it's a real pleasure to be working with you
Check out the incredible sustainable innovations in the Klattermusen collection we've pulled together. Available to pre-order with 20% off until Thursday 7th December.