Rab (company)

Rab is a British brand that specialises in making clothing and equipment for climbing and mountaineering.

IndustryMountaineering clothing, Climbing clothing, Retail
Founded1981 (1981)
FounderRab Carrington
Somercotes, Derbyshire
Productsinsulated jackets, waterproof jackets, baselayers, sleeping bags, tents
ParentEquip Outdoor Technologies

Founded in Sheffield, South Yorkshire in 1981 by leading Scottish climber Rab Carrington, the company is now headquartered in Somercotes, Derbyshire after being acquired by Equip Outdoor Technologies in 2007.[1]

Rab's primary focus is insulation products, in particular down jackets, sleeping bags and expedition wear. They also make synthetic jackets, waterproof jackets, overtrousers, gloves, t-shirts, baselayers and tents.

Marketed as being "by climbers for climbers", Rab's strapline is "The Mountain People".[2]


Rab Carrington and founding

Rab Carrington (born 1947 in Glasgow) began climbing while studying at the University of Glasgow and became a leading British rock climber and mountaineer in the late 1960s and 1970s, taking on expeditions in the Alps and Himalayas amongst others.[3][4] Carrington was also a climbing partner of the distinguished mountaineer Alan Rouse.[5]

In 1973, Carrington took part in an expedition to Patagonia, Argentina, but when his group arrived in Buenos Aires they found that their climbing equipment had not been shipped from Liverpool due to a dock strike.[3] Unable to start the expedition without his equipment, Carrington instead stayed in Argentina for six months, where he learnt how to make sleeping bags himself.[3]

On his return, Carrington moved to Sheffield due to its proximity to the Peak District, which became "a hotbed for climbing talent" in the late 1970s.[1] In 1980, Carrington began hand stitching and selling his own sleeping bags from the attic of his house.[1]

However, fast-growing demand soon meant he needed bigger premises and the following year Carrington founded Rab and moved production to a factory in Sheffield.[1] Drawing on his climbing experience, Carrington's clothes focused on lightweight, durable and high-quality products.[6] The company's ethos was defined as "Nothing fancy or over-engineered - just honest, hard-working pieces you'd rather repair than replace. By climbers for climbers".[1]

Recent history

After Rab Carrington retired in 2007, ownership of the company passed to Equip Outdoor Techniologies Ltd, headquartered in Derbyshire.[1] However, Carrington remains an ambassador of the company.[7]

Recent years have seen large growth; by 2011 Rab was "one of Europe's fastest growing suppliers of specialist outdoor clothing", with increasing exports to Europe, the Far East and North America.[8]

In 2017 the company's strapline was changed from "For the most extreme conditions in the world" to "The Mountain People".[2]


Informed by Carrington's own experience on numerous expeditions, Rab's clothing is designed to provide comfort, protection and freedom in the mountains for hiking, climbing or mountaineering.[9][10]

Rab's down jackets, sleeping bags and expedition wear uses ethically-sourced European goose and duck down that is Responsible Down Standard-certified.[11][12][9] A fluorocarbon-free water repellent treatment called Nikwax is also applied in the down used in clothing and sleeping bags to prevent them from being weighed down by water.[13][14] In addition to this, high-quality synthetics are also used for insulation.[9] Rab's clothes have become "synonymous with high-quality down and shell products".[3]

Rab has maintained close links with the Peak District since its founding. Some its best-known clothing pieces are named after the national park, such as the 'Peak Smock' and the 'Kinder Smock' (after Kinder Scout).[15]

The company has sponsored clean-ups of the Peak District and in June 2017 it began giving employees a day off each year to carry out their own clean-ups of the Peaks and drystone walling work.[16][17][18]

Rab also sponsors several local events including the annual Climbing Works International Festival, a competitive climbing event held in Sheffield that attracts internationally-renowned athletes.[19][20]


  1. The History of Rab Rab. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  2. Rab - The Mountain People Outdoor Enthusiast Magazine. 2 August 2017. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  3. That's Me: Rab Carrington The British Mountaineering Council. 4 March 2006. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  4. Rab Carrington Bio Mountain Heritage Trust. 20 November 2007. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  5. C is for Rab Carrington Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  6. Rab Clothing - Background Climbers-Shop. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  7. Community: Ambassadors Rab. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  8. Matrix has invested £4.5 in Equip, supplier of the leading outdoor brand RAB MobeusEquity.co.uk. 21 October 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  9. The Rab Guide to Down Insulation Rab. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  10. Men's Outdoor Trousers (Walking/Climbing Rab. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  11. Ethical Down in the Outdoor Industry Ultralight Outdoor Gear. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  12. Find Responsible Down Standard Outdoor Companies Responsible Down Standard. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  13. Rab and Nikwax: in Partnership Nikwax.co.uk. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  14. Guide to Water Resistant Down WebTogs. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  15. Rab Kinder Smock The Project Magazine. 15 September 2017. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  16. Outdoor fans offered free activities as reward for Peak District clean-up Grough.co.uk. 3 April 2018. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  17. Peak District Pick and Play PeakMountaineering.com. 12 April 2016. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  18. Team Rab - Giving Back in the Peak District Rab. 7 July 2017. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  19. The Climbing Works International Festival Climbing Works. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  20. The Rab CWIF 2018 Rab. 7 March 2018. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.