Klättermusen - The Outdoors Brand Working to Protect the Environment Their Gear is Designed for.
The ‘Climbing Mouse’ adopts the motto ‘Maximum Safety, Minimum Impact’.
For a brand that was allegedly started around a campfire, Klättermusen has been heavily grounded within the outdoors since its inception. With their goods geared towards the outdoors, it only makes sense that Klättermusen seeks to protect the environment that their garments are designed for. Putting sustainability at the forefront of the brand and steering the design process of their gear and apparel, it’s the most crucial aspect of the brands manifesto and we firmly stand beside it. However, don’t think that despite their sustainable and mindful endeavours that their technical wares ever compromise on functionality - ‘Maximum Safety, Minimum Impact’ is inscribed into the DNA of every Klättermusen item.
Roughly translated to ‘Climbing Mouse’, Klättermusen derives its name from a popular Swedish children's book character in an attempt to not distract from the sheer quality of their products. Inadvertently, by choosing a name as ‘out there’ as Klättermusen, it really distinguished them from similar outdoor brands occupying the same space. No nonsense - just let the gear do the talking!
Mumblings surrounding the Swedish mountaineering brand, Klättermusen, allegedly began around a campfire in Norway in the mid 1970s. While the idea was first manifested 9 years earlier, it wasn’t until 1984 that Peter Askulv, the brands founder, an avid ice climber and cave diver, became frustrated at the lack of quality gear he had access to. Push came to shove and Askulv, who was formerly a biologist and chemist specialising in plant physiology, took the same scientific approach to design, creating cutting-edge fabrics and state-of-the-art climbing gear to wear during outdoor excursions. Coming from a scientific background, it’s alleged that he would work with a microscope on his desk and study fabrics, threads and prototypes to test their durability and performance without compromising on either safety or sustainability. Askulv was only too aware of the toxic nature of the synthetic materials that comprise outdoor clothing and the impact they have on not just the environment but the human body.
From the offset, Klättermusen has crafted considered and versatile products. In the beginning, Peter was a one-man team so it was fundamentally crucial that he re-used whatever he could salvage to make ends meet, but this is an idea that has never left the core of the brand. To this day, Klättermusen are more mindful than ever throughout the design process, from becoming 100% fluorocarbon-free in 2017 - the first outdoor brand in history to do so - to ensuring the highest level of durability goes into each and every piece of equipment to maximise its lifetime. With durability comes sustainability - the longer it lasts, the less of an impact it has on the planet. If you thought we were done there, some final things to note include: they consciously source post-consumer waste, explore how natural, raw materials can be used efficiently and are constantly investing in the R&D side of equipment production.
Another dimension to the sustainability pyramid is the importance of Repairs & Warranties for equipment, something Klättermusen rightfully takes full responsibility for: for example, they offer a three year warranty for any defects or material faults in their products. As well as taking ownership in that regard, it shows the faith they place in their equipment and acknowledge it should never let you down. In addition, on their website they have a ‘Care/Washing Guide’ to ensure that consumers maximise its lifetime - they even recommend certain more ecological products.
Their sustainable badge is widely acknowledged, not just by consumers but also throughout the industry on a ‘corporate’ level. According to Good On You - an online database that ranks fashion companies in terms of ethics and sustainability - Klättermusen is rated 4 out of 5 stars for its environmental rating, a result of using renewable energy, eco-friendly materials and limiting the amount of water and chemical usage throughout production. Finally, in 2020 after a 5-year hiatus, Klättermusen received an ISPO Gold Award for Sustainability specifically in regards of their ‘Farbaute’ jacket which was constructed from 100% biodegradable materials and can, after wear, eventually be disposed of on a compost heap.
With all of that in mind, we ought to take a look at some of Klättermusen’s apparel that balances technical substance and mindful design. From their Autumn/Winter ‘21 collection which they aptly named ‘Off The Mountain’, Klättermusen has engineered their equipment for a seamless transition between urban and rural environments; to us, this is the epitome of modern day functionality. This takes on the form of zip-up fleece pullovers, insulated outerwear and bottoms, to name but a few, that are all indicative of the ‘Climbing Mouse’s’ lineage. Each piece is crafted from Klättermusen’s proprietary fabric technology including Levitend® and Wuru®.
With Klättermusen, think of each season like a software update: the equipment is refined and streamlined, new fabric technologies are introduced and the boundaries of innovation are consistently pushed. On their website, they extensively catalogue the fibres, materials and technologies that assist in the construction of their equipment. It’s a real testament to their transparency and dedication to the craft that is technical outdoor wear. Produced exclusively for the Swedish outfitter, there are some materials that have become synonymous with Klättermusen, like Katla Cotton®. The aforementioned was developed by following Bionics principles, the study of natural processes, to provide synthetic-like characteristics without sacrificing function or veering off their clear path. Like toxic synthetic materials, it boasts breathable, windproof and water-repellent properties that are sought after by outdoor enthusiasts. Other materials include Cutan, EtaDry and WindStretch™ which all perform in their own way. And, as time has gone on, they have continued to refine these technologies bit-by-bit, increasing their breathability, for example, whilst keeping their ecological footprint down.
We’ve done a fair bit of talking, so, now it’s time to walk the walk and put some of their latest gear through its paces in its desired environment. Our friends over at 114.index did some field testing for us and here are their results.
Shot in a candid and relaxed way, 114.index approached the shoot like any other escapade into the outdoors - this time, though, equipped with a camera and some of the finest goods Klättermusen has to offer courtesy of Urban Industry. Traversing through the meandering trails around a local reservoir with the adjacent hillside around them, the path took them up a hill which laid awake to Golden-Hour-imbued panoramic views, spanning the entire width of Scotland’s central belt.
Urban Industry lent 114.index a number of Klättermusen wares including the Ansur Hiking Hat (Dove Grey), Vale Jacket (Raven) and Asynja Jacket (Midnight Blue), all of which have been crafted with function and sustainability at the forefront. To compromise on either is out of the question as far as Klättermusen are concerned. The Vale Jacket, for example, is a 2-layer hoodie designed to be layered underneath a shell jacket, per say, during ski-mountaineering. The overall construction consists of a recycled polyamide Levitend® fabric that lends breathable and quick-drying properties which are essential during activity. Plus, it functions even better when coupled with a hardy shell jacket like the Asynja Jacket, a new addition for AW ‘21, that has been made using the brand’s Cutan® material - bluesign approved - as part of a 3-layer construction. Both garments feature technical details aplenty like helmet-compatible hoods, adjustable detailing and spacious pockets.