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The history of Bergans of Norway

Bergans of Norway

Bergnas of Norway

Bergans responsibility

Background information of Bergans of Norway

More than a hundred years old and not a bit tired: this would be a good description of the Norwegian outdoor outfitter Bergans. Some years ago, the Norwegians really launched themselves in the European export markets; since then, the brand has established itself in the skiing and outdoor scene.
Bergans is the undisputed market leader in Norway and something of an institution for the traditional outdoor enthusiasts that Norwegians are. Whether school or hiking rucksacks, down coats or ski trousers – almost every Norwegian possesses some Bergans product or another. Having started out as a rucksack manufacturer over 100 years ago with the first anatomical carrying frames, nowadays Bergans also produces sleeping bags, child carriers, tents and a growing collection of functional and also fashionable outdoor clothing.
There have been numerous milestones and several setbacks in the company’s long history. Bergans is traditionally involved in the equipping of expeditions. The discovery and exploration of the Polar regions was always of great interest in Norway; many adventurers such as the first successful conqueror of the South Pole, Roald Amundsen, travelled with Bergans equipment – incidentally, that also includes the Mount Everest pioneer Sir Edmund Hillary, who used the Bergans carrying frame for transporting oxygen bottles. “Heroes” of our time such as Rune Gjeldnes or Cecilie Skog also travelled to the North and South Poles with Bergans equipment and contributed just as their historical predecessors to the development of Bergans products. Two fires and the resulting total loss of an entire pattern collection could not interrupt the brand’s long history.
The Bergans logo reflects the rich tradition of the Norwegian company’s history: the lettering goes back to the signature of the company’s founder and innovator Ole F. Bergan, who developed the first rucksacks and carrying frames in 1908. The stylised skiers symbolize the “Birkebeiners” – important Norwegian historical figures. At the beginning of the 13th century they rescued the king’s child, Håkon Håkonssen, from the commotion of the civil war by skiing over the mountains east of Lillehammer. This event is commemorated every year by the popular Birkebeiner cross‐country skiing event over the historical distance– and carrying the precise historical weight of the royal child. The painting of the Birkebeiners which originates from 1869 was for a long time the Bergans trademark; today’s stylised skiers
hark back to this and stand for the values of the company: tradition and innovation. The new 2012 slogan Forever Pioneers refers to the long and proud tradition of the brand and the innovative developments. The combination of innovative spirit and the R&D cooperation with the world's top adventurers remains a guarantee for offering each outdoor enthusiast the optimal product for their requirements.
Bergans was established in 1908, when Ole Ferdinand Bergan invented the first anatomical backpack. Today backpacks, sleeping bags, functional outdoor clothing and tents are part of the portfolio of Bergans of Norway, as well as the folding canoes named ALLY. The headquarter of Bergans Fritid AS is situated in Hokksund, 60 km southwest of Oslo, where around 110 employees are working with development, research, design and sales of the products. Since 2007 the 100% owned subsidiary Bergans Outdoor GmbH near Hamburg is serving the EU markets. Bergans is a market leader in Norway and steadily growing on export markets.
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Bergans 1908 - 2008 World history is full of ideas which appear to be so simple that it is with wonderment one realises that a simple thought can be creative and innovative. The inventor’s ability to seek creative solutions and the will to create something new is a constant motivation for further development. As an active outdoor man and hunter, Ole F. Bergan had experienced that the rucksacks of the day were uncomfortable when one had to carry heavy loads. He developed the idea of “wearing” the sack, where the frame was an integrated part of the sack, and anatomically compatible with the body. Compact, stable and comfortable – all leading to provide a pleasant carrying experience. This simple idea developed to solutions that were ground-breaking, and set the standard for present modern sacks. “None of my inventions came by accident - they came by hard work” Thomas Edison Behind any viable creation lies a need and a function. The Bergans sack attracted great attention so that it quickly became a natural choice for hunting trips, expeditions and military forces both at home and abroad. Bergans became a referance brand name: indicating functional products of high quality. Bergans produced special designed rucksacks for ladies, 6 different models already in 1920. “If you do not decide to take the next step, you will stand on one leg all your life” Chinese proverb Bergans was based on innovation, something that has characterised its history throughout the century. An abundant and quality-oriented product range is proof that Bergans never had any plans to stand on one leg. Yes, Bergans may mean rucksack, but the company produced much more, including: knives, skis, tents, sleeping bags, canoes, ski bindings, ski boots and clothes for the outdoors – summer and winter – at home and abroad. Many of these products are still produced today – being continously developed and improved. Bergans, during its first century, became a small part of Norway’s cultural heritage. One remembers ones first ski trip in the mountains with a rucksack and the red anorak, of carving a wooden whistle with your first Scout knife, or that special summer holiday in tents with the family. There is every probability that Bergans through its products was also there for some of these experiences. In 2008 Bergans is one of the world’s leading manufacturers in the development of advanced outdoor equipment and functional clothing. The co-operation with the ordinary hiker and extreme user plays an important part in the development of Bergans products. We see the importance of taking outdoor people seriously – and we hope our products will contribute to your enjoyment, and safety, in the outdoors in our second century.