Long renowned for making such mountain essentials as base layers, outerwear, and sleeping bags, the British brand Rab is rounding out its offering of adventure gear by launching a line of packs.
Rab’s entry into the category will focus on the “fast, light, and vertical,” the company said. It sees potential as a brand that can deliver packs that meet a variety of needs while also complementing its apparel products.
Rab’s Aeon line is a series of three packs designed for various mountain activities from fast hiking, trail running, or scrambling. Built from 50 percent recycled fabrics, the Aeon packs are “equipped for the mountain with a plethora of features and category-leading back systems.”
And Rab’s ONE80 collection, which comes in a variety of sizes, was “constructed from burly ballistic nylons and with a detailed climbing feature set.” Rab said the packs were built for all ranges of climbing adventures, from a long approach to an afternoon at the climbing gym.
“Packs present an exciting opportunity for the Rab brand in the U.S.,” Jon Frederick, North America country manager, told Outside Business Journal. “The styles align with our new apparel efforts and will provide retailers the opportunity to diversify their pack walls with product that is built with the core user in mind. Looking forward, Rab packs will allow treating packs as part of the layering system, ensuring that the venting and movement of our performance apparel are amplified and not inhibited by a pack.”
Frederick said the packs have been shown to key retail partners, and that the collection will be available at retail in February 2022.
With a hint of Lowe Alpine DNA, Rab builds its own vibe
This is a significant but unsurprising move for Rab, whose roots date back to 1981 when Rab Carrington designed and hand-stitched a sleeping bag in the attic of his home in Sheffield, England. With a tagline of “The Mountain People,” Rab’s decision to make packs nicely complements its other mountain adventure products.
For this category launch, Rab is leaning on its sister company, Lowe Alpine, a legacy pack brand that’s been making gear since 1967. Both are owned by UK-based Equip Outdoor Technologies Ltd.
“This step offers a fantastic opportunity to drive future product innovation and development, strengthen both brands, and expand the visibility of our depth of knowledge, expertise, and rich heritage in pack design,” said Tim Fish, product director at Rab and Lowe Alpine.
But Frederick said that while the brands have some similarities, Rab will go to market with different customers and uses in mind.
“The Lowe Alpine DNA of making packs with the best carry systems will be shared across both pack lines,” Frederick said. “End-use specific features and tech are where you will see the clear difference between Rab and Lowe Alpine packs. The creation of Rab packs will allow us to focus on innovation specifically in the following categories: fast and light, climbing in summer and winter, and technical daypacks. Lowe Alpine will continue to build packs with carry systems and features specifically created for backpacking, hiking, and travel.”
The parent company said this move is part of Equip’s “strategic global initiative to build upon each of its brands’ strengths, providing clear market positioning and offering more opportunities for customers across their international markets.”
Alongside Rab’s debut, Lowe Alpine is launching a new pack collection with the Sirac series of multi-day adventure packs. The brand also has updated its Airzone and Cerro Torre ranges.