Børge Ousland X Norrøna: The arktis collection

Børge Ousland has firmly established himself as the leading polar explorer of our time. Join in behind the seams and see how Børge Ousland worked with his new expedition line for Norrøna; The arktis collection.

Børge has been involved with the Norrøna family business since the ’90s and has participated in both product development and extensive testing. We are incredibly proud to be supporting Børge Ousland’s expeditions into the world’s most inhospitable regionsJoin in behind the seams and see how Børge Ousland worked with his new expedition line for Norrøna; The arktis collection.

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I really like big pockets, because I don’t like to mess around in my sled after things. It has two big pockets on the chest and two button pockets. I have the details covered.

- Børge Ousland

The arktis jacket is longer than a traditional climbing jacket, it reaches your bum in order to protect your lower parts, Børge explains. 

“My wife has one of the prototypes and she loves it. It has a drawstring in the waist that works really well. It works as unisex actually.”

I really like working on equipment and I have been fortunate to work with Norrøna for quite a few years. So the process has actually been going on since 2006. It takes a long time to make a product like that.

- Børge Ousland

But how did it all start?  Børge Ousland gives you his entire expedition list.

Børge started his polar career by crossing Greenland in 1986, while working as a deep-sea diver in the North Sea. In 1993 he decided to challenge the great white silence as a full time explorer.

Watch the video where Børge presents all his expeditions. It takes takes him almost 2 minutes to mention all of them. (!) 

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Børge started his career as a Norwegian Navy Special Forces Officer with Marinejegerkommandoen, and he also spent several years working as a deep sea diver for the oil industry in the North Sea.
On 4 May 1990 Ousland and Erling Kagge became the first explorers ever to reach the North Pole unsupported, after a 58-day ski trek from Ellesmere Island in Canada, a distance of 800 km.

In 1994, he made the first solo and unsupported journey to the North Pole from Arctic Cape in Russia.
Between 15 November 1996 and 17 January 1997 he became the first in the world to do an unsupported solo crossing of the Antarctic, 1,864 miles from the edge of the Ronne Ice Shelf to the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf. The ski journey was made with kite assistance and also holds the record for the fastest unsupported journey to the South Pole taking just 34 days.
On 22 January 2006, together with Mike Horn he began a journey to the North Pole in full Arctic night, successfully concluded on 23 March.
In September 2010, Ousland’s team aboard “The Northern Passage” completed the circumnavigation of the North Pole. A Russian team aboard the “Peter I” achieved the same feat in that season. These were the first recorded instances of the circumnavigation of the North Pole without an icebreaker. In December 2011 he traversed Antarctica to the South Pole for the centennial celebration of the first expedition to reach the Pole.
Ousland  even got married at the North Pole in 2012!

The North Pole is one of the world’s most desolate regions with vast white wilderness and extreme weather conditions owing to its treacherous reputation. However, for Børge Ousland, it has become a sort of second home. Since his first record-breaking expedition in 1990, Børge has been returning to the region, racking up countless firsts.

Some his impressive highlights: 


– My first North pole trip in 1990
– Solo to the North pole in 1994
– Solo across Antarctica in 1997
– Crossing Southern Patagonia Icecap in 2003
– The winter trip to the North Pole in 2006
– The “Nansen Footstep Expedition” in 2007
– Sailing through the – Northeast and Northwest passages in 2010
– The crossing of the North Pole 2019

This year saw one of Norway’s most famed explorers partnering with Mike Horn to cross the polar ice caps on skis. Setting off from Nome, Alaska and landing in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, the pair have experienced the receding ice caps first-hand in what has become one of their most testing adventures yet.

Borge Ousland and Mike Horn testified to 87 days of toil, 57 of those in permanent darkness. These hardy veterans had walked, skied and paddled some 1,557km across paper-thin sea ice and open water. In a contemporary adventure world awash with marginal record claims and endless chest-beating, Ousland and Horn’s journey stands as a beacon of pioneering hard travel with limited associated fanfare.

For this very special expedition, we worked with Børge to develop his own expedition-ready apparel. Making the journey in his prototypic gear, the products were pushed, pulled and twisted in every direction and condition to make sure they stood up to the trials of a seasoned polar explorer.

This won’t be the first time we’ve collaborated with Børge to produce expedition apparel. Over the years, Børge has been a driving force behind our Extreme User Driven tenet. His ambitions and aspirations require his gear to withstand far more than what would be commonly accepted. His attention to detail in every aspect of his gear is one of the reasons we are so pleased to be combining our strengths to bring you such an exciting selection of polar-ready pieces.

I think we fulfil and compliment each other through the differences. My responsibility on this trip was equipment and route planning, while Mike was responsible for the boat and getting us to the starting point. I think I am good with equipment and detailed planning, I like to be in control. Mike doesn’t like to be in control, that’s part of the adventure for him. He just goes, with no fear and very few limits, he deals with the challenges as they happen. With me, Mike knows what he gets and vice versa, and with all our experiences combined, we were the right team for this trip. What we have in common is the same drive and passion for adventure, and the stamina. We don’t need to ask why we do it, how is enough.

Børge Ousland about Mike Horn (source: Explorer’s Web)

The arktis collection

The arktis collection, launching January 21st, consists of durable and premium expedition clothing such as a Gore Tex jacket, Gore tex bib, balaclava and mittens. With durability at its core, the arctic collection will be the first choice for adventurers with high expectations for innovative functionality and high-performance weather protection.

 

“I slept with the pants on every night for 3 months.”

- Børge Ousland

The arktis Gore Tex bib will be our most durable pants, developed for adventurers with high requirements to excessive durability, innovative functionality, and high-performance weather protection.

“I added some cool features like the knee pads to the bib. These are great when you’re setting up the tent, because they keep you warm”, Børge explains. 

“The other feature that separates these trousers from others are the pockets. It’s important to have versatile pockets that function. The pockets are on the outside of the pants and they are insulated. That means that everything you have on the inside will be kept warm, since they are insulated with fleece. For example, you can keep your camera warm all day. “

 

14 years of development

“I came to Norrøna in 2006 and wanted to create the perfect Arctic ‘battledress’. We made the prototype and I brought it with me to the North Pole. After that, in 2007, I wanted some to make some adjustments, so the design team and I made a jacket and pants set that was on the market for a few years – in fact, I wore these items on the Franz Josef Land expedition”, Børge says. And so it went on.

Then, in 2019, we created a different prototype that Børge used on the Baffin Island expedition with fellow Norrøna ambassador Vincent Colliard. This turned out to be the first actual proto of the final collection pieces. After the expedition, we went back to the design table with Børge to make the necessary changes and adjustments. After all, the devil’s in the details. In the fall of 2019, Børge brought to the North Pole with Mike Horn, which truly put it to the last test. It delivered and now we’re proud to present a premium expedition line for extreme adventures.

 

“The products we develop with Borge Ousland are designed for extreme use in the Arctic climate, without any compromises. The jacket, and to some extent the pants, will be used for a wide range of applications. The jacket will also work well in environments far from the extreme.”

Fredrik Lundberg, Director of RDD

"It takes years to develop a good product. With Norrøna, I share all my knowledge, experience, and ideas when it comes to the finest of details needed for survival, but also to make the piece as comfortable as possible. We are close to perfect with this collection".

- Børge Ousland

Extreme-user development for extreme conditions

We believe in the art and heritage of craftsmanship, and our products are developed from start to finish at Norrøna HQ in Lysaker, Norway. Our philosophy is that our products should be tested and developed for those who take on extreme adventures and dare to push limits. That’s what we call extreme user-driven product development: We make products for some of the most demanding users in the world, our dedicated testers, and ambassadors.

Børge has been involved with the Norrøna family business since the ’90s and has participated in both product development and extensive testing. As one of our most prized product testers and ambassadors, this collaboration is a true embodiment of our Extreme User-Driven philosophy. When Børge is satisfied, we know that our products are good enough to use in harsh and unfriendly conditions by everyone else.

I think it’s very important that Norrøna makes a prototype in-house, because the distance to the best product is much shorter. That ensures that we can reach the level of quality we need to reach.

- Børge Ousland

The arktis collection, launching January 21st, consists of durable and premium expedition clothing such as a Gore Tex jacket, Gore tex bib, balaclava and mittens.

With durability at its core, the arctic collection will be the first choice for adventurers with high expectations for innovative functionality and high-performance weather protection.

See the collection at norrona.com

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