There are few brands more closely associated with outdoor adventure and exotic travel than the National Geographic Society. The organization has been around for more than 125 years, and over that time period it has been at the forefront of exploration, scientific discovery, and education. Over the past century, Nat Geo has become one of the best known, and most respected brands, in the entire world, with a legacy that is practically unmatched.
So you can imagine when the organization decided it wanted to create a new line of travel apparel, it thought long and hard about the companies that it wanted to work with. The partnership had to be made with a brand that shared a similar heritage of course. A company that embodied the same spirit of adventure and exploration which was so much a part of Nat Geo’s culture and DNA. As they began to search for that partner, one brand seemed to make the most sense – Craghoppers.
The British company has been making outdoor and adventure travel clothing for over 50 years. During the last half-century it has built itself a reputation for creating durable and fashionable products that perform well in a wide variety of conditions. In fact, in the U.K. the brand is closely associated with adventurous jaunts to the Serengeti, overland expeditions to India, or far flung expeditions to other remote destinations. And while Craghoppers isn’t as well known in the U.S., its reputation has preceded its arrival across the pond amongst experienced travelers looking for quality gear for their own adventures.
When I met with Dennis Randall – Nat Geo’s Director of Licensing – at Outdoor Retailer a few weeks back, he told me that the organization could have worked with just about anyone. Big brands, small brands, everyone had an interest in partnering with National Geographic. But for him, Craghoppers was just the right fight for a number of reasons, not the least of which was that the partnership would be mutually beneficial for both parties. The clothing manufacturer could deliver outstanding products that met Nat Geo’s high standards for quality, while the Society could help introduce the Craghoppers line of gear to a new audience in the U.S. Both sides needed one another, and that put them on equal footing, something that might not have come with working with a larger, more well established brand.
But that wasn’t the only reason the partnership made sense. Randall said that Craghoppers embodied many of the same qualities as National Geographic. “They are travel focused, eco-friendly, and very nimble,” he told me. “Those are all qualities we valued in the relationship, and something we wanted to see in the products we created.”
Craghoppers has been aggressive too. The company has created some outstanding looking apparel in short order, and with even more set to arrive in the spring 2016. Here’s a brief look at some of the gear that is available now, with hints at what to expect as the line expands further in the months ahead.
Insect Shield Chima Jacket ($80)
This lightweight and stylish jacket is meant to fit snugly without inhibiting motion, while providing an extra layer for use in a variety of climates. It is made from Craghopper’s insect-repellant fabrics, which helps to keep the bugs away no matter where you are. It features two chest pockets and two front pockets, along with a full hood and elasticated hems and cuffs.
Kiwi Pro Lite Shorts ($50)
Lightweight and highly packable, the Kiwi Pro Lite Shorts are meant to be worn while traveling, but are fashionable enough for use around home too. Built for comfort, these shorts have three zipped pockets, a streamlined design, and fabrics that are meant to resist wear and tear no matter where you take them.
Insect Shield Akello Jacket ($120)
The woman’s Akello jacket also uses Insect Shield fabrics to keep the bugs away. It is meant to be comfortable to wear, even in warmer climates, and three pockets, including a zipped inner pocket for keeping important items safe. Easy to wash and keep clean, even while on the road, it has a classic look that gives it a timeless appeal.
Insect Shield Pro Lite Pants ($70)
Built to be tossed into your suitcase and taken on any adventure, the Pro Lite women’s pants are perfect for wearing on safari, or just hitting the local trail. With the Insect Shield fabrics they will once again protect you from bugs, and their lightweight fabrics will help to keep you cool and dry in warm environments.
For more information about the Craghoppers/National Geographic partnership, and to check out other products coming from this collaboration, click here.