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Our Story

Our Story

Our Story

Our Story

Since 1981

Since 1981

Our story began in 1981 in the attic of a small, terraced house in Sheffield where Rab Carrington made the first sleeping bag to bear his name. Hand-stitched and devised with his own ingenious eye, Rab's experience from years spent in the mountains was apparent in his designs, and soon there was popular demand both from friends and the growing local climbing community.

Things didn't stop there. Word soon spread, and the Sheffield attic became a factory floor, creating sleeping bags and jackets for customers far and wide. Now, decades later, those honest, hard-wearing designs can be found all over the world; wherever adventurous individuals face up to the elements. From Himalayan peaks to cold, crisp evenings around a campfire.

Since 1981

Since 1981

Our story began in 1981 in the attic of a small, terraced house in Sheffield where Rab Carrington made the first sleeping bag to bear his name. Hand-stitched and devised with his own ingenious eye, Rab's experience from years spent in the mountains was apparent in his designs, and soon there was popular demand both from friends and the growing local climbing community.

Things didn't stop there. Word soon spread, and the Sheffield attic became a factory floor, creating sleeping bags and jackets for customers far and wide. Now, decades later, those honest, hard-wearing designs can be found all over the world; wherever adventurous individuals face up to the elements. From Himalayan peaks to cold, crisp evenings around a campfire.

Rab Carrington on Cerro Torre in Patagonia, late 1970s.

1973: Learning the trade

The foundations of the brand can be traced back to 1973, when Rab Carrington was left stranded in Buenos Aires, Argentina while en route to an expedition in Patagonia. In need of money, Rab turned to his friend Hector Vieytes, who taught him the skills that would come to redefine the future of technical sleeping bags.

Our sleeping bags are hand-filled, stitched and finished in Derbyshire to this day.

1981: Beginning the brand

A year after moving to Sheffield with his family, Rab began to put into practice the skills he learned in Argentina by crafting down sleeping bags from his own home. Part of a close-knit climbing community, demand quickly grew and Rab soon outgrew his attic and moved production to a local factory in Sheffield.

Andy Cave on an expedition to the Himalayas.

1990s: Expanding the range

It was in this factory that Rab built a reputation for making no-nonsense, honest, hard-wearing gear. Standing the test of time, products like the Andes Jacket and Kinder Smock are still part of the range today. The 1990s also saw the launch of the expedition range of sleeping bags, starting with the Premier Sleeping Bag.

Sales Director Neil McAdie attempting the first ascent of Mount Grosvenor in the Chinese Himalaya, 2003.

2000s: Pioneering products

Moving into the 21st century, Rab continued to pioneer new and cutting-edge products using some of the lightest weight materials available combining them with revolutionary new insulation technologies. In 2003, Rab retired and handed over ownership of the company to Equip Outdoor Technologies Ltd.

Julia Virat on the Aiguille d’Entrèves in the French Alps, 2018.

2010s: Spreading the Word

During the 2010s Rab continued to move from strength to strength, with increased popularity both in the UK and beyond and the introduction of iconic pieces such as the Microlight Alpine and Kinetic Plus. From far away frozen summits to the hills of the Peak District, Rab products could be found all over the world.

2020s: Moving onward

The current decade has brought with it fresh challenges to navigate, including the Covid-19 pandemic and the developing climate crisis. Recognising that working together with our community is crucial to overcoming these challenges, we have begun our journey to reduce the impact of our business and make it fairer for everyone, reaching Fair Wear Leader status and pursuing a target of Net Zero by 2030.

1973: Learning the trade

The foundations of the brand can be traced back to 1973, when Rab Carrington was left stranded in Buenos Aires, Argentina while en route to an expedition in Patagonia. In need of money, Rab turned to his friend Hector Vieytes, who taught him the skills that would come to redefine the future of technical sleeping bags.

1981: Beginning the brand

A year after moving to Sheffield with his family, Rab began to put into practice the skills he learned in Argentina by crafting down sleeping bags from his own home. Part of a close-knit climbing community, demand quickly grew and Rab soon outgrew his attic and moved production to a local factory in Sheffield.

1990s: Expanding the range

It was in this factory that Rab built a reputation for making no-nonsense, honest, hard-wearing gear. Standing the test of time, products like the Andes Jacket and Kinder Smock are still part of the range today. The 1990s also saw the launch of the expedition range of sleeping bags, starting with the Premier Sleeping Bag.

2000s: Pioneering products

Moving into the 21st century, Rab continued to pioneer new and cutting-edge products using some of the lightest weight materials available combining them with revolutionary new insulation technologies. In 2003, Rab retired and handed over ownership of the company to Equip Outdoor Technologies Ltd.

2010s: Spreading the Word

During the 2010s Rab continued to move from strength to strength, with increased popularity both in the UK and beyond and the introduction of iconic pieces such as the Microlight Alpine and Kinetic Plus. From far away frozen summits to the hills of the Peak District, Rab products could be found all over the world.

2020s: Moving Forwards

The current decade has brought with it fresh challenges to navigate, including the Covid-19 pandemic and the developing climate crisis. Recognising that working together with our community is crucial to overcoming these challenges, we have begun our journey to reduce the impact of our business and make it fairer for everyone, reaching Fair Wear Leader status and pursuing a target of Net Zero by 2030.

"Nothing fancy or over-engineered – just honest, hard-working pieces that you’d rather repair than replace. By climbers for climbers."

Over 40 Years of making kit that lasts

Today, we are ceaseless in our commitment to Rab’s exacting standards, ingenuity, and pioneering spirit. We make rugged, high performance mountain clothing and equipment that give you absolute protection, comfort and freedom on the trail or peak. We use cutting edge materials as well as time-tested ones such as premium quality European down. Nothing fancy or over-engineered – just honest, hard-working pieces that you’d rather repair than replace.

We are the Mountain People

More than forty years since our founding, we continue to find inspiration in the untamed spirit of the mountains where we climb, the friendships we forge on the peak, and our enduring mission: to grow our community of Mountain People and equip them for adventure.

We are committed to putting people at the heart of what we do. From our partners and athletes to our staff and everyone who has used and loved our gear, we are a global community that goes beyond mountains and crags, and it’s up to us to make sure it’s inclusive, diverse, and growing.

Our commitment to the future

We’re on a journey to reduce the impact of our business and drive meaningful change in the way we make, ship, and use our clothing and equipment. We are striving to become more sustainable, reducing our reliance on fluorocarbons, repairing and re-using worn gear, using ever more recycled fabrics and improving the lives of the workers making our products. We work with the whole of our community to find a better way. Together, our journey continues. Join us and share the experience.

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