In anticipation of the upcoming Fjallraven Wax Tour, we sat down with Don Gladstone who is the designated Fjallraven waxing expert in the UK. We wanted to pick Don’s brain to find out more about the brands unique G-1000 fabric and what to expect at one of the upcoming waxing events.
Hi Don, can you give us an introduction to yourself and what you do in your role as Fjallravens designated ‘waxing expert’?
I write the brand and product training programmes for the U.K that support our retail partners in their knowledge and confidence of our brand products. I’m also responsible for consumer support events such as the 2019 Wax Tour.
And how did you first get involved with Fjallraven, what is your earliest memory of the brand?
My earliest memories of the brand was seeing the brand being worn by National Park and rangers and Wild Life wardens when I worked for the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers as their West Yorkshire Field Officer. I’ve worked with Fjällräven for seven years now and enjoyed every moment of it. Over the past twenty years there seems to have been a homogenisation of brands and products but Fjällräven is one of the few strong exceptions here - it’s a brand that’s also not lost its core values since its creation in 1960.
Obviously G-1000 is Fjallraven’s cornerstone material and is used on everything from backpacks, to jackets and trousers. Can you give us a quick introduction to the fabric and what makes it so unique?
The key buying point for any of your customer’s looking at out G-1000 product is the functional longevity of our kit. Be it a pair of trousers, jacket or pack, the user will get years of comfort and performance from it. It’s not unusual at all to talk to a customer in store or when I’m out on the hill and find their Fjällräven piece is twenty, thirty plus years old. Yes our products are not inexpensive but break that cost down in years and you’ll discover it’s ‘best value’.
Fantastic, and how has the material developed since its introduction in 1968?
Prior to ’68 we used a premium duck wax cotton for our pacs and tents. Although this seems simplistic now this material was the best that could be sourced and provided the user with years of use. As you say in 1968, after a Greenland Expedition where we’d supplied pacs and tents and, while the product feedback was excellent, those involved asked whether we could provide jackets to ‘the Fjällräven standard’ as those used on the trip had not stood up to the rigours of the sub arctic conditions. We’re proud to say since the introduction of G-1000 in ’68 very little has changed other than the improvement of our manufacturing machinery and of course our ability now to introduce organic cotton and recycled polyester to a large number of our G-1000 range. We hope by 2022 to have all G-1000 families in organic cotton and recycled polyester.
Now to your speciality, waxing. What exactly is the Fjallraven Greenland wax?
Greenland Wax is predominately bee’s wax with a small amount of paraffin to give it its softer, flexible qualities. It’s remarkably easy to handle and use and rest assured there’s no paraffin odour!
And why should you wax your Fjallraven garments?
Greenland Wax, when applied to G-1000 product -
1. Creates flexible water repellency
2. Increases its windproof qualities
3. Nourishes the fibres increasing the products life
4. Increases the tensile strength of the fibres
5. Helps to repel stains and muck found on the trail
6. Increases U.V resistancy, again increasing the durability and life of the fabric
All this said, if you’re going to be hiking in a super hot/arid region you can wash the wax out and have a remarkably breathable product - simply re-wax when you get back to the U.K.
Brilliant, and how do you use the Fjallraven Greenland wax, is this something we will need to find you for everytime we want to apply a new coat of wax?
So firstly, no I don’t have to call into your stores each quarter as excellent as that would be! The main driver for the Wax Tour is to show your customers just how easy it is to wax their kit. It’s both a quick and effective process. You can use a hair dryer set on a high setting or iron set between one and two ‘dots’ (can be marked as a ‘Wool’ setting) - this is a cool temperature for an iron and will be perfectly appropriate to use with G-1000. The advantage of using an iron over a hairdryer is the fact that the former has a wider more even heat source and, it’s hot enough to drive the wax into the centre of the fabric - a hairdryer simply has not got the heat ability to do this.
In the outdoors, if you’re multiway trekking or canoeing you can light a fire, wax your G-1000 kit and use the heat of the fire to melt the wax. Wax the product panel by panel observing when the heat begins to melt the wax. Keep the product at this distance and you’ll be absolutely fine. Likewise you can use a stove on a roar setting and follow the same procedure - this is my personal preference. Please note that bot these procedures can only be used with kit that is only made of G-1000 and not a hybrid i.e. G-1000 and stretch panels.
So as part of your Nationwide waxing tour you will be visiting Nordic Outdoor Keswick, Glasgow and Nordic Outdoor Frederick Street. What should we expect at these events?
It would genuinely be great to see your customer’s there where they’ll see how to optimise on the performance and comfort of their Fjällräven kit. I’ll not only be running wax demo’s but also showing just how durable the fabric is by using Lapland saws, flints, Steel wire brushes an axe and block of gritstone - all good stuff! Clearly your customers are very welcome to bring their G-1000 kit along to have it waxed and proofed. I’m more than happy to treat the leather Arctic Fox logo and pulls with a conditioner and clean and treat all zips.
Thanks Don, finally as a keen outdoors enthusiast what’s your best tip for enjoying the Great Outdoors this Spring?
It would have to be always keeping an eye on weather fronts. It’s very seldom I won’t go out because of inclement weather but I’ll always have two routes in mind for the day. One route is for a ‘good weather day’ and the second is for when the rain/snow/wind is severe and therefore I’ll opt for a lower ceiling day keeping to the valley’s and glens.
The Fjallraven Wax Tour 2019 will be at the following Nordic Outdoor Stores. For more information please don't hesitate to call us on 0131 552 3000 or email [email protected]
- Nordic Outdoor Frederick Street - 10th May
- Nordic Outdoor Glasgow - 12th May
- Nordic Outdoor Keswick - 6th June