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Rab Carrington built his company on two things: A deep understanding of what climbers and mountaineers need, and a commitment to practical gear that works.

It’s this down to earth, honest approach that still informs the design and testing process linking us firmly to that modest beginning in 1980’s Sheffield. Those same qualities of innovation, integrity and function have endured, remaining at the heart of the Rab® brand today.


1970 - Patagonia

Throughout the 1970s, Rab Carrington was a key figure in the world of climbing and mountaineering.

He spent much of this time on groundbreaking expeditions across the globe, graduating from winter climbing in his native Scotland to first ascents in the Alps, the Andes and the Himalayas. Rab’s style of innovative thinking and gritty determination can be seen in his abridged logbook of the time.

  • 1968 -FA - The Pin (E2), Cairngorms, Scotland.
  • ‘A sustained and futuristic route’ as described by the BBC.
  • 1968 - FA - Pinch Direct (E3 5c), Etive Slabs, Scotland.
  • A terrifying and committing granite friction slab pre-sticky rubber.
  • 1969 - FA - Felo de Se (E2 5c), Stach Pollaidh, Assynt, Scotland.
  • 1972 - FA - Cramming (5.10d), Yosemite, California, USA.
  • Wasp (5.9+), Yosemite, California, USA.
  • Strangers in the Night (5.10b), Yosemite, California, USA.
  • 1975 - FWA - Rouse - Carrington Route on the Pelerins, Chamonix, France.
  • Actually the FWA of a 1944 Rebuffat / Terray Route, it is now a
  • sought after winter classic ice route in the modern style.
  • 1976 - FA (attempted) - Aguja Volonqui (c2200m), Patagonia
  • (climbed within 200m of summit)
  • 1976 - FA - Travesía Cresta Sur, Patagonia.
  • 1977 - FWA - Gargoyle Wall (VI 6), Ben Nevis, Scotland.
  • Helped to introduce modern mixed climbing to The Ben.
  • 1978 - FA, Alpine Style - Jannu (c7710m), Nepal. Brian Hall, Al Rouse and
  • Roger Baxter-Jones. The first ‘alpine style’ ascent of a mountain.

80s Mark Wilson, one of Rab's first employee's cutting fabric. 1980s. Rab® Collection.

1980s - starting the brand

In 1980 Rab moved to Sheffield with his family and started making use of his experience crafting down sleeping bags and clothing for the climbing community. Demand grew and eventually Rab outgrew his attic and moved to a factory in Sheffield where he built on his reputation for making no-nonsense, hard-wearing gear.

The Andes Jacket was developed in the 1980s and has lasted as part of the range today. Amid the birth of Rab’s daughter and the starting of the brand, he still managed to put up impressive first ascents on the Peak gritstone.

  • 1980 - FFA - Double Top (E4 6a), Beeston Tor, Peak District, UK.

90s Andy Cave attempting Shishapangma, Tibet, 1994. Photo: Andy Cave archive.

1990s - growing

In the 1990s Rab used his extensive experience to develop the Vapour-rise™ system with fabric partner Pertex®. The Vapour-rise™ system still forms a cornerstone to the Rab softshell range.

The 1990s also saw the development of classic pieces like the Kinder Smock, the Peak Smock, and the Down Pour Jacket. The expedition range of sleeping bags started with the Premier Sleeping Bag.

00s Neil McAdie acclimatising below the East Face of Mt Grosvenor, China, 2003. Photo: Simon Nadin.

2000s - 30 years on

The early 2000s saw Rab using some of the lightest weight materials available combined with revolutionary new insulation technologies.

2001 was the beginning of a long development relationship with Polartec® materials. A relationship that is still critical today.  In 2003 Rab retired and handed over ownership of the company to Equip Outdoor Technologies Ltd.

  • 2007 - Redpoint - New Age Traveller (8a), Mallam Cove, Yorkshire, UK.
  • Rab climbs his first 8a at age 60.

10s Rab Carrington during a visit to Rab® HQ, Derbyshire, 2014. Photo: Matt Tomlinson.


The 2010s see massive UK and international growth for the Rab brand. Iconic pieces like the Microlight Alpine Jacket are introduced alongside new and groundbreaking fabrics.

The Rab brand begins a new stage of unparalleled international growth. Longtime staff, as well as enthusiastic new staff are equally dedicated to developing the brand.

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