An introduction to Royal Robbins, purveyors of high quality, sustainable outdoor apparel for over half a century!


At Nordic Outdoor we have a very firm set of principles which guide every decision we make as a company big and small. Chief among these decisions is choosing the right brands to work with. Whilst important that the brand stocks products we know our customers will love, for us to put our name behind a brand their code of ethics and principles need to be in line with our own.

When we discover a new brand with products, we love a huge amount of time in our head office goes into the brand. It is important that any brand we stock designs and produces stylish, functional outdoor gear in a sustainable manner. Above all else we love to stock brands who are a little bit different or have an interesting story behind what they do.

A brand that ticks all of these boxes is Royal Robbins. We’ve often come across their products at trade shows and through customers and have always had an interest in the products they design. That’s why we’re delighted to announce that for Spring/Summer 2020 we will be stocking a range of Royal Robbins products.

We’ve had a great time looking into Royal Robbins and finding out more about why the company and their namesake/founder are so highly regarded among the outdoors community. With that in mind we’ve written this blog to introduce you all to a great brand we’re sure is going to be hugely popular among our staff and customers alike.

The Royal Robbins Story

Few names in the world of climbing command more respect than that of Royal Robbins. Royal was a climbing pioneer with a laundry list of first ascents in and around Yosemite National Park. Whilst he is quite rightly regarded as one of the best technical climbers of his generation, he is perhaps best remembered as a proponent of ‘Clean Climbing’ and his attitude towards nature and the sport of climbing.

In the 1960s Royal and his wife Liz along with a rag tag group of climbing vagabonds were summiting new faces in Yosemite and putting out their ethos that when climbing the climber should make every effort to leave the climbing route exactly as he found it, preserving it for future generations to enjoy as nature intended.

In 1967 Liz Royal became the first woman to ascend the Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. At the top a photograph was taken of Liz and Royal to commemorate the occasion. When they got the chance to look at the photo, they realised there was a huge gap in the outdoor market. You can find the photo taken that day below. It’s important not to judge them too harshly, after all they couldn’t just nip down to their local Nordic Outdoor for some stylish functional climbing gear in those days!

In the early days of climbing, your choices for outdoor apparel were pretty limited. It basically boiled down to military surplus or cut-off jeans, neither where the most aesthetically pleasing! Recognising this gap in the market Liz and Royal stitched up a rugged pair of shorts that could tackle the harsh granite of Yosemite whilst still looking good enough to wear in everyday life. The Billy Goat shorts were born and the reign of Royal Robbins began!

Despite the scale of their operations increasing to an incredible degree over the past 50+ years, Royal Robbins have stayed true to the vision of their founders, and even in their current highly technical new clothing you can see clear echoes of their original standout product.

Royal Robbins Comino Shirt

The Royal Robbins Line Up

The products that Royal Robbins produce today may have improved in terms of materials and technologies over the decades the message inspiration behind the pieces remains undiluted. Royal Robbins produce high quality, high performance outdoor apparel that is built to last and work just as well in the office as on the climbing wall.

Style and function go hand in hand effortlessly in the Royal Robbins collection. We wanted to pick out a few of our favourite incoming pieces to use as examples of what the brand itself stands for. Take a look through and see for yourself why we think this brand will be a certain hit in our stores.

Traveller Convertible Jacket

The Traveller Convertible is a versatile and comfortable lightweight travel jacket for outdoor enthusiasts on tour! Like many of the Royal Robbins products this jacket is designed with comfort in mind whilst not sacrificing on quality or function. The fabric is quick drying and wrinkle resistant and comes with 50+ UPF protection. With articulated sleeves you never have to choose between jacket or vest again! The large pockets are ideal for travel and the tailored fit means that you can wear this jacket to the office as easily as you can on the trails. These jackets are designed to go everywhere and are a great example of what we love about Royal Robbins so far.

Bug Barrier Range

The Bug Barrier line are durable clothes designed to keep you comfortable and safe on your trekking adventures whilst looking sharp enough to wear to dinner with the in-laws! The Bug Barrier is a fantastic choice for the warmer months due to their UPF protection, thermo regulation technology and most importantly their insect shield treatment! The insect shield treatment is the foundation of the bug barrier range and it’s something we’re excited to try out. Until we’ve tested it out against the infamously vicious Scottish midge, we’re trying not to get our hopes up too much.

 Royal Robbins Sustainability

Sustainability

Of course, just having a great story and brilliant products isn’t enough for us. A brand needs to be dedicated to ethical, sustainable production for us to truly get behind them.

The brand founder Royal Robbins was well known for his love of nature and desire to do things the ethical and sustainable way. As we mentioned before Royal Robbins was one of the pioneers of Clean Climbing, a practice in which climbers would use removable nuts for protection rather than pounding pitons into the rocks for safety. This technique allowed for the climbers to enjoy the thrill of climbing while preserving the rock face for future generations to enjoy.

Royal Robbins have fully embraced this attitude in their business practices. They create durable, good looking clothing for people to enjoy in the great outdoors, in a manner that will preserve the great outdoors for future generations.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog (Hi Andrews Mum) will know that we hold sustainability to be one of the most important values a brand can hold. Royal Robbins’ commitment to the environment and social responsibility stems from their founder and remain strong to this day.

Key Materials and Technology

The Outdoor Clothing industry is one which has a bad name overall when it comes to sound environmental practice. It’s partly this reason that we work with brands who are committed to sustainable practices when it comes to the materials and technologies used in their clothing.

One of the key features of Royal Robbins from a sustainability viewpoint is their durability. The clothing they make is built to last years of use and abuse outdoors. It might sound weird coming from a company that wants to sell clothes but we’re more than happy to say that if you buy a Royal Robbins item, you won’t need another for many years.

This isn’t the only way in which Royal Robbins have committed to being greener. Below you can find a list of the steps Royal Robbins have taken to ensure their production stays true to their found

  • Bluesign System Partner

Bluesign approved is a term that you will more than likely find all over our website attributed to different brands and products. But what does it mean?

Put simply if a product is bluesign approved it means that the chemicals and materials used in the production of the garment has undergone a strict, independent risk assessment. If the production passes and has minimal risk to those involved in production and the environment, then it will receive its bluesign certification.

In an industry like this it can be difficult to be a responsible consumer. Accreditations like those from programmes like bluesign make things a little easier for people to spot companies who are making the right steps.

  • Sustainable Apparel Coalition

Royal Robbins are a part of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. This is the textile industries leading alliance for sustainable production. This is another association that customers can look out for when attempting to purchase responsibly.

No company on it’s own can turn around the negative impact that many textiles companies have wrought in the past so it’s great to see suppliers band together to attempt to tackle the industry problems.

  • Individual Goals

As part of their commitment to sustainability Royal Robbins had set a target to reduce their co2 emissions by 25% by the end of 2020 and by all accounts are well on their way! By 2025 they aim to be completely carbon neutral.

One method employed by Royal Robbins to achieve this goal is Climate Compensation. This is something we also employ and love to see larger companies do also. The practise involves offsetting the carbon costs of operational freight and business trips with a donation to an approved environmental charity.

  • Royal Robbins Code of Conduct

Sustainability isn’t the only responsibility that companies have in the world of outdoor apparel. It’s also important to go about your business in as ethical a manner as possible. Royal Robbins have a strict code of conduct in place for the workplace regarding human and animal rights.

At every step in their chain of production they provide training to their suppliers to keep with this set of ethics.

 Royal Robbins Expedition Tunic

Nordic Outdoor and Royal Robbins

We’re really excited to be stocking this brand and as mentioned before we love the story behind their products and the ethics they’ve put forward. It also helps that many of the staff members here are already eyeing up some of the products coming in! Keep an eye on our blog and social media for more brand news, reviews and photos in the coming months. With Spring/Summer just around the corner we can’t wait to get out testing some of the warmer weather gear that’s currently flying into our stores. Be sure and share your photos and experiences with any of the brands we stock with us on social media or by email if you’re shy! We love to hear about our customers activities with the brands we love.