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History

Bergans of Norway is a leading provider and developer of outdoor equipment and technical clothing. We have a wide range of clothing for expeditions, outdoor, hunting, mountaineering, skiing and lifestyle. We also manufacture tents, sleeping mats, sleeping bags, backpacks and Ally folding canoes. We are a major supplier to large and small expeditions around the world. Bergans have an exciting and rich history. Read more about it here!

History

Bergans

Bergans of Norway is a leading provider and developer of outdoor equipment and technical clothing. We have a wide range of clothing for expeditions, outdoor, hunting, mountaineering, skiing and lifestyle. We also manufacture tents, sleeping mats, sleeping bags, backpacks and Ally folding canoes. We are a major supplier to large and small expeditions around the world. Bergans have an exciting and rich history. Read more about it here!

SPINE CARRYING SYSTEM - Glittertind Backpack

2012

When you walk; your body makes lots of different movements all at the same time. The SPINE carrying system has enabled us to ensure that the rucksack follows all of your body’s contradictory movements simultaneously. A double helix-shaped frame in spring steel is the core element of the SPINE carrying system. What is unique about this design is that the carrying system is fastened to the rucksack at the centre of the back panel, whilst the hips and the shoulders can move freely. The carrying system quite simply moves just like your own spine.

Bergans merino wool

2012

Warm, dry, soft, 100% natural and highly versatile. Bergans Merino Wool products are perfect when you plan to be outdoors in cold temperatures and wet conditions, but also when it is warm out. Wool fibers provide an excellent thermal balance, meaning you get great insulation in the cold and a cooling effect when temps are warm. Furthermore, Merino wool retains its warmth when wet and is naturally odor resistant. Each garment also comes with a unique stuff sack made from 100% Tyvek® which can be recycled.

Cecilie Skog og Rune Gjeldnes

2011, Nordpolen – The first summer

Cecilie Skog and Rune Gjeldnes started an expedition across the North Pole in a canoe in summer 2011. They would make their way to an intended point where they would be picked up by an icebreaker. Unfortunately it was not as much open water as expected and they would not make it to the icebreaker in time. They had to end the expedition and paddle back to the mainland. But even if the expedition was not completed, it is considered a success.

Cecilie Skog and Ryan Waters

2010, Antarctica

Cecilie Skog and Ryan Waters finished the first unassisted and unsupported crossing of Antarctica ever. It took the 70 days to complete the more than 1800 km long journey across the Antarctic continent.

The Environmental Lighthouse

2010

We are proud that Bergans meets the requirements of and is officially recognized by the Environmental Lighthouse (Miljøfyrtårnet).

This is a Norwegian certification scheme that places specific demands on our environmental work and sets specific quantifiable targets. As an Environmental Lighthouse-approved company, we meet the requirements related to working environment, energy consumption, procurement and material consumption, waste management, transport, and greenhouse emissions. Bergans is approved by a public certification authority, and the certificate is valid for 3 years at a time. This scheme is supported and recommended by the Norwegian Ministry of the Environment.

Award for Excellent Design by the Norwegian Design Consul

2009

2009 Bergans Wiglo Tent was awarded the honor for Excellent Design by the Norwegian Design Consul.

Ethical Trading Initiative Norway (IEH)

2009

Bergans became a member of IEH in February 2009. Through this membership we have committed ourselves to working in accordance with the IEH’s ethical guidelines for purchases, such as making improvements in our supply chain in relation to human rights, employment rights, development and the environment.

K2

Rolf Bae, Cecilie Skog, Lars Nessa and Øystein Stangeland

Team Bergans member Cecilie Skog reached the K2 summit on August 1 but fellow member and spouse, Rolf Bae, turned back, tired and perhaps suffering from altitude sickness. He waited for his wife and they began to descend together. Then, Rolf ventured out under a huge ice cliff and was swept into the void as the ice collapsed. Rolf Bae will be dearly missed.

Trango Tower Expedition

2008, Rolf Bae, Stein Ivar Gravdal, Bjarte Bøe and Sigurd Felde

In 2008, Rolf Bae together with Stein Ivar Gravdal, Bjarte Bø and Sigurd Felde reached the top of Great Trango Tower (6286 m) in Karakoram, Pakistan, via the “Norwegian Buttress” (VII 5.10+ A4). The team spent 27 days ascending and 30 hours descending the peak. This was the second complete ascent via this route.

Rune Gjeldnes

2006 , Antartica, The Longest March

Team Bergans member Rune Gjeldnes completed “The Longest March”, a three-month 4,800 kilometer solo ski trek across the South Pole region, becoming the first person to cross that area alone without being resupplied. His route went from Queen Maud Land, over the Pole, and on to Terra Nova Bay. The final couple of weeks of the journey had to be made on foot, as Gjeldnes had lost one of his mountain skis off his sled, this before having to descend a glacier of 2,000 m (~6,500 ft) ASL in order to reach his destination.

The distance is the equivalent of the distance between New York City and San Francisco by road across the United States. The expedition had a scientific element as Gjeldnes took regular blood samples of himself to be used in studies of the human immune system under extreme conditions.

He now holds the records of the longest ski journey without being resupplied and the longest ski journey generally. He is the only person to ski across the North Pole, the South Pole and Greenland without re-supplement.

Skiing Mount Everest

2006,, Tormod Granheim and Thomas Olsson

Team Bergans members, Tormod Granheim, his Swedish partner Tomas Olsson and photographer Fredrik Schenholm approached Everest from the Tibetan side in Spring 2006. Granheim climbed the mountain from Advanced Base Camp (6400 meters above sea level) to the summit (8850 m) in a continuous 24 hour effort, meeting Olsson en route, who spent two days covering the same ground.

The route they followed, known as the Mallory route normally takes climbers five days to complete. The pair then skied into the North Face by the Norton Couloir, a 55 degree steep and nearly 3000 meter high mountain face. Near the top Olsson’s ski broke, adding extra tension to the already complex task. A cliff intersecting the couloir forced the two to make an abseil, as the anchor pulled Olsson fell an estimated 1700 meters to his death. Granheim skied alone to the North Col.

The accident led the team to arrange the first helicopter rescue on the Tibetan side of Mount Everest.

South Pole & Mount Vinson

2005-2006, Rolf Bae, Cecilie Skog and Per Henry Borch

Cecilie Skog, Rolf Bae and Per-Henry Borch reached the South Pole. They had gone for 36 days and 900 km. But Cecilie still had a another goal for the trip to Antarctica. She wanted to climb Mount Vinson (4,897 m), one of the mountains in the “7 Summits”. She conquered the peak on her return from the South Pole on January 9th 2006

71° North

2001

The Norwegian TV programme in which participants fight their way through an overwhelming and wild Norwegian landscape to reach the latitude of 71° north is frequently dubbed «The Most Beautiful Adventure of the Year»

The punishing trip from Lindesnes to the North Cape really tests the participants and equipment. Every series of this reality programme is an expedition in itself. It is therefore natural for Bergans to join in. Our products have been tested on expeditions before, and we know that they are up to the challenge.

Since we got involved in the series in 2001, we have contributed clothing, rucksacks, tents, sleeping bags and canoes. Every year, we create a separate product line with 71° north in mind. These products are in high demand, and are among the best in our range.

DERMIZAX ™ membran

Introducing the award winning Dermizax™ membrane in Norway

Bergans introduces the award winning Dermizax™ membrane to the Norwegian market.

WHAT IS DERMIZAX™?
Dermizax™ is a waterproof, windproof and wicking membrane that is specially developed to protect against all kinds of weather while remaining as comfortable as possible.

The Dermizax™ membrane is a hydrophile material that utilises moving molecules, as opposed to most other membranes which have micropores. This has a number of advantages that makes Dermizax™ shell clothing the very best on the market thanks to the high performance and superior durability.

Bergans relocates

1996

Bergans relocates from Drammen into our current main offices in Hokksund.

Rune Gjeldnes & Torry Larsen

1996-2000 Artic Ocean Expedition

Team Bergans members, Rune Gjeldnes and Torry Larsen planned and completed the “Arctic Ocean 2000” expedition–a 109-day, 2,100 kilometer trip—becoming the first to cross the Arctic Ocean without resupplies.

Bergans hit by fire

1986

Disaster: Bergans hit by two large fires.

Bergans was hit by fire in 1968, but the most serious fire was in June of 1986, when the Bergans factory burnt down to the ground.
Only a few blackened concrete beams were left. Goods and semi-manufactured goods to the value of NOK 20 million were lost –
including the patterns for all production. Bergans had to go to sports stores to buy back their own products, so they could take
them apart and draw the lost patterns.

All the stocks for the season ´86 – ´87 were burnt, allowing competitors to take over Bergans share of the market. Bergans was under insured, in a hopeless financial situation, and it was difficult to win back market share. But with hard work the factory was quickly rebuilt, and a year later production started in to one of Norway’s most modern textile factories.

However, with market share gone, and international brands entering the market, it was not possible to achieve a profitable operation, and the factory in Nord-Odal had to close in 1990.

Bergans Uniguard workwear

1978

The continuous product development with cut, material compositions and comfort led Bergans to invest in the market for workwear. This meant a heavy emphasis on a systematic build-up to cover all needs in all industries from construction workers to the plant via mechanical workshops.

Teltproduksjon

1973

Bergans’ tent production . Need text here

Bergans Fishot

1973

Bergans has launched many innovative products, but a new development which was a decided flop was “Fishot”! Instead of a fishing rod the hook would be shot out via a slingshot with a reel mounted on it.

There were divided opinions among sports fishermen regarding the fishing slingshot. Many were of the opinion that sports fishing disappeared without the feeling of having cast with a rod.

In addition, the slingshot was produced in plastic that was too weak so that it broke and the elastic sprang back into the fisherman’s face. Very few products were sold on the market, but Fishot was given a broad write-up!

Bergans Castle

1971, mountain in Antarctica named by Ole F. Bergan

This castle-formed nunantak (mountain that rises up through a glacier) is located in the Antarctic and stretches 1590 metres above sea level. Bergan Castle is named after the inventor Ole F. Bergan for his contribution to the polar research and expeditions in the area. The
place was given its name in 1971 by UK-APC (Antarctic Place Name Committee).

Ally folding canoes

New product line

Production was started early in the 1970s based on a patent which allowed tension of a framework inside a reinforced fabric without
the use of tools.

At first, the canoe had a round bottom shape, but as time went by it was given a pear shape and was made in several models. Some were meant for quick maneuvering on rivers while others had excellent direction stability and moved quickly through the water.

The size varied from solo canoes to family canoes with room for four persons. The canoes are used on expeditions in all corners of the world and most of the larger rivers in Canada and Alaska have been paddled with
Ally canoes.

Fire

1968, at the factory in Odalen

Bergans was hit by fire at the factory in 1968

Bergans extreme anorak

New standard

Easter 1967 is known for the many accidents we had in the mountain this year among elderly people in Norway. This year, 36 people lost their lives in the Norwegian mountains during Easter week. Mountaineers pointed out the poor equipment people had as the cause of these accidents.

The truth was rather that the weather put the peoples skills to the test, and that the weather won. The weather was clear and cold with a strong wind that led to very poor visibility. These extreme weather conditions meant that many got lost and froze to death. After that easter Bergans tested a new anorak in harsh weather conditions. The new anorak was known as Bergans’ extreme anorak.

In 1971 Bergans was contacted by Tor Larsen, to equip his polar expedition to King Carls Land, Svalbard. He wanted an igloo tent and Nansen anoraks. After tough negotiations, he went on an expedition with an igloo tent, two Nansen anoraks and two Bergans extreme anoraks. When he came back, he had to admit that he and the other members of the expedition had quarreled about who would get to use the Bergans extreme anoraks. This gave Bergans the final confirmation that they had a good product. The rest is history. Bergans’ extreme anorak set the standard as the first anorak which exceeded the stringent demands of mountain equipment the Norwegian Mountain Commission had set after Easter 1967.

Bergans opens a new factory

1967, Odalen

With the help of funds and cooperation with Nord Odal municipal, an agreement was reached on the establishment of a Bergans factory in Nord Odal. Bergans relocates from our offices at Øvre Slottgate 5 in Oslo.

Sleeping bags

Bergans

Bergans have designed, and produced sleeping bags as far back as 1960. The original choice of materials was Elaston for the filling, and cotton for the outer fabric. Blanket bags were produced for family camping, as well as inflatable mattresses. As people wanted lighter and smaller bags so did the choice of materials change – down was the insulating material of choice and nylon the outer fabric.

After the millennium, new technology makes it possible to weld all the seams in the bag so that it is as good as watertight. Syntetic materials became lighter, warmer, and dried quicker than traditional down – leading to a wide range of specialised sleeping bags to meet virtually every requirement.

Sir Edmund Hillary

1953, MOUNT EVEREST

Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers confirmed as having reached the summit of Mount Everest – see Timeline of climbing Mount Everest. They were part of the ninth British expedition to Everest, led by John Hunt. He was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

Birkebeiner

1945

The Norwegian painter, Knud Bergslien (b. 1827 d. 1908), painted the well-known picture Birkebeinerne, depicting two loyal soldiers carrying the young prince, Hakon Hakonsson,to safety in 1206. In 1945 N.Kr. 5.000.- was paid to the heirs for the rights to use the theme.

The name “Birkebeiner” is a registered Bergans brand name. The painting was used as a brand image for a period of 50 years, and was re-designed as the vignette used on Bergans products today.

Children carrying frames

1930

In the middle of the 1930s a few carrying frames were made for children where the child sat on a chair welded to the traditional Bergans frame.

The child sat with its legs in front and the centre of gravity therefore came far from the carrier’s back. In the 1950s the child sits with its back to the carrier, the centre of gravity is therefore closer to the carrier’s back, but it was only in the 1970s that a ”riding saddle” was made.

It was launched in 1973 and justifiably became popular with child and parent alike. Now the child could look and follow the direction the parent was walking, making contact between them easier, more fun, and trips with children were given a new dimension.

Slirekniver

1931

Bergans knife production started in 1931 with sheath knives, followed by the popular model Sliring. This had a protruding tip on the handle which could be used to clean/scrape the edge of skis.

The knife was different from the existing whittling/sheath knives having a thinner blade and was made of stainless steel. Bergans offered knives in a series of different sizes and models from small Scout knives to large hunting knives.

In the beginning production of the knife steel was done by Kongsberg Våpenfabrikk, but later small specialised producers of steel produced the blades – including in Mora, Eskilstuna. Bergans has produced over 300 knife models.

Skibindings in leather

1930

Bergans micro-tightener was developed in the 1930s and was the first choice of tighteners for jump, slalom and downhill bindings. Bergans micro-tightener was in use after the war and up to the 1970s. In 1975, Bergans was the first in the world to produce a symmetrical cross-country binding in synthetic materials. The problem of right and left skis was then avoided.

The binding came first as a tour binding in the 75 mm tour standard, but was developed to a 35 mm binding. With this,two new aspects were introduced. One was that the binding gripped the boot like a claw, pulled it into the binding andlocked it. The other was that the cross-country boots were made for bindings and not the other way round.

Well-knownskiers such as Thomas Wassberg, the Mikkelsplass brothers, Ivar Formo as well as the Swedish Ladies’ National Team used
the binding.

Richard E. Byrd

1928-1930, Richard E. Byrd, Antarctica

In 1928, Byrd began his first expedition to Antarctica. The expedition included two vessels and three aircraft. A base was established in the Bay of Whales on the Ross Ice Shelf and the scientific expedition started with dog sledding, a snow mobile, and an airplane.

After their first winter, in the base, the expedition started out for the South Pole and the famous flight to the South Pole and back started.

Byrd flew to the South Pole and back in 18 hours and 41 minutes. They had difficulty obtaining sufficient height to reach the polar plateau and had to dump, empty fuel drums, as well as all their reserve supplies.

The tour was completed successfully and led Byrd into the history books. After another summer, at the base on the Bay of Whales, the expedition returned on 18 June, 1930.

Roald Amundsen reached the North Pole by the airship "Norway"

1926

In 1926 Amundsen reached the North Pole by the airship “Norway”. The ship had a crew of 16. Lincoln Ellsworth acted as navigator, Jacob Bjerknes was the expedition’s meteorologist and Oskar Omdal was the mechanic.

General Charles G. Bruce

1922-1924, First expedition to Mount Everest

The 1922 British Mount Everest Expedition was the first mountaineering expedition with the express aim of making the first ascent of Mount Everest. This was also the first expedition that attempted to climb Everest using bottled oxygen. The expedition would attempt to climb Everest from the northern side out of Tibet.

At the time, Everest could not be attempted from the south out of Nepal as the country was closed to Western foreigners.Because of his experience in the Himalaya he was appointed leader of the second British expedition to Everest in 1922. He was skilful in bridging the cultural divide between Sahib and Sherpa, and had long advocated training Indians in mountain techniques, with a view to forming a body of porters and guides like those in the European Alps.

He called his men porters rather than coolies. General Bruce was particularly liked by the local peoples, and for the 1922 expedition collected a cohort of local men, and enthused them with an esprit de corps. He later christened an elite group of high altitude porters the “Tigers”.

Ernest Henry Shackleton

1914-1917, The Endurance-expedition

Etter at Roald Amundsen hadde vunnet kappløpet til Sydpolen i 1912, vendte Shackleton sin oppmerksomhet mot det han mente var den eneste gjenstående utfordringen innen antarktisforskningen – å krysse kontinentet fra kyst til kyst via polen. Han startet forberedelsene til det som er kjent som Endurance-ekspedisjonen (1914–1917).

Den transatlantiske ekspedisjonen mislyktes. Ekspedisjonsskipet Endurance ble sittende fast i pakkisen og langsomt knust av ismassene før det nådde land. Etter en eventyrlig redningsaksjon klarte Shackleton å redde hele besetningen, noe som senere skulle gi ham heltestatus.

The Norwegian Armed Force

1913

Bergans Rucksacks was used by the The Norwegian Armed Force.

Robert F. Scott

1911 - The raise against the South Pole

Robert Falcon Scott and his men reached the South Pole. The expedition was equipped with Bergans backpacks.

Roald Amundsen

December 14, 1911 - The race against the South Pole

oald Amundsen arrived at the South Pole (90° 0′ S).The expedition was equipped with Bergans backpacks.
They arrived 33–34 days before Scott’s group. Amundsen named their South Pole camp Polheim, “Home on the Pole.” Amundsen renamed the Antarctic Plateau as King Haakon VII’s Plateau. They left a small tent and letter stating their accomplishment, in case they did not return safely to Framheim. The team returned to Framheim on January 25, 1912, with 11 dogs. Amundsen’s success was publicly announced on March 7, 1912, when he arrived at Hobart, Australia.

Amundsen’s expedition benefited from careful preparation, good equipment, appropriate clothing, a simple primary task (Amundsen did no surveying on his route south and is known to have taken only two photographs), an understanding of dogs and their handling, and the effective use of skis. In contrast to the misfortunes of Scott’s team, Amundsen’s trek proved rather smooth and uneventful.

Rucksack in leather

1910

Ole F. Bergans´ first rucksack in leather.

PATENT NR. 20547- THE START OF A NORWEGIAN INDUSTRIAL ADVENTURE

1908-1909

Bergans have had a history as an innovative manufacturer since 1908, and it all started with the bicycle manufacturer Ole F. Bergan, who was a keen hunter and hiker. It is said that Ole F. Bergan invented the Bergans Frame during a hunting trip, when he reached his destination feeling stiff and sore all over from equipment and game rubbing against his back. His ingenious invention made Bergans a leading supplier of rucksacks, and we have been so for more than 100 years.


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