In 1914 in Scandinavia, farmers and loggers often traveled long distances and carried all their gear for the day. To Wiktor Haglöf, this represented an opportunity: to create a pack they could use to comfortably transport their daily needs. He assembled his first backpacks and began selling them to neighboring farmers, forestry workers, and schoolchildren. Two years later he registered his company as Haglöfs and went into business in earnest. The business grew rapidly, outgrowing first a cabin on his family’s farm and then a small workshop. Once he moved into the company’s first factory in Tylaa, he was able to meet the booming demand and create new products.
Today, Haglöfs is the largest supplier of outdoor equipment in Scandinavia. What started with Wiktor’s utilitarian backpack has grown into a range of 500 products, including packs of all sizes and for all purposes, sleeping bags, clothing, jackets, and footwear. At the same time, the brand’s market has expanded from a few Swedish towns to the whole of Scandinavia, Europe, Japan, and, now, the United States.
From the start, Haglöfs’ focus has been to make gear that really works. Its products have to perform in extreme conditions and during demanding activities, so quality and attention to detail are paramount. At the same time, Haglöfs products are not burdened by excessive bells and whistles; a ‘less is more’ approach fosters clean, lightweight, minimalist but highly functional designs in every category. A practical mindset is also evident; a shell jacket, for example, should be useable whether the wearer is climbing, big-mountain skiing, or touring.
Nor are Haglöfs products created in a vacuum. Products are tested by a team of accomplished climbers, certified mountain guides, and multi-sports enthusiasts who try out products and provide feedback that helps to fine-tune designs. The local environment also informs product development; jackets are capable of handling harsh Scandinavian winters, while the company’s mountaineering, hiking, trail running, and even casual footwear is ready to take on the snow, mud and marshes, and mountains of Sweden.
Despite its rapid growth, Haglöfs has not lost sight of what matters. Its commitment to sustainability is evident in every product. Products that use materials like Bluesign-approved fabrics, organic cotton, and traceable down are identified with a “Take a Care” label; presently more than 60% of the company’s products qualify, a number that continues to grow. Haglöfs also focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by limiting energy consumption throughout the company and fostering responsible, sustainable processes. As Haglöfs enters its second century it maintains its commitment to the environment, its Swedish heritage, and to building technical outdoor products that last.