Team members in their Berghaus gear: back, from left, Felicity Aston, Carolyn Harker, Susan Gallon, Asma al Thani, Ida Olsson. Front, Natasa Briski

Team members in their Berghaus gear: back, from left, Felicity Aston, Carolyn Harker, Susan Gallon, Asma al Thani, Ida Olsson. Front, Natasa Briski

Outdoors gear brand Berghaus has supplied a polar expedition in a quest to develop clothing and other products specifically for women.

The Sunderland-based company teamed up with the Women’s Euro-Arabian North Pole Expedition in Svalbard, Norway, to discuss kit design and development.

Expedition leader Briton Felicity Aston and her colleagues are using a selection of Berghaus women’s products as they set out to ski the last degree to the North Pole. Meanwhile, the product feedback that they gave in Svalbard will help Berghaus expand and improve its range of women’s specific products.

The expedition, with an 11-strong team from 10 different nations, is skiing to the North Pole to foster greater dialogue and understanding between women from European and Arabian cultures. The team includes representatives with a wide range of backgrounds and outdoor experience, from Qatar, Sweden, Oman, Saudi Arabia, France, Russia, Cyprus, Slovenia and Kuwait.

Team members were due to fly this weekend from Longyearbyen in Svalbard to a floating ice camp on the Arctic Ocean. From a position at 89 degrees north, the women will then set off to ski towards the North Pole.

Carolyn Harker and Marc Davis from the product management department at Berghaus flew out to meet expedition team members in Svalbard before their flight to the Arctic Ocean. The pair hosted a workshop, during which they made final adjustments to the expedition kit, gathered feedback on the products that have been supplied to the expedition, and also talked about future plans for women’s specific kit at Berghaus.

Berghaus’s continuing work is primarily focused on fit, features and performance, but is also reviewing and updating the colour options available to women, and how the brand engages and communicates with female audiences.

Ms Harker, women’s product manager at Berghaus, said: “Our time with Felicity and her team was really valuable. All together in one room, we were able to speak with women from a wide range of backgrounds. They had many shared product needs, and indeed demands, but were also able to share individual insights about kit, and their own personal experiences and interactions with outdoor brands.

“We received some great feedback on the gear that we have supplied for the expedition and were presented with some excellent ideas and challenges that will inform what we do next with women’s specific products at Berghaus. With the team in final preparation and leaving for the North Pole, it all felt very real and therefore extra special. We are very excited about the developments that we are planning for our future women’s ranges.”

Ms Aston said: “We needed no incentive to chat all afternoon about everything we love and hate about women’s outdoor gear, and it was great to feel listened to by Berghaus.

“I know that Carolyn and Marc found the meeting to be really useful and I look forward to seeing the women’s products that come through the pipeline in the future. Meanwhile, our team is very grateful for the kit that we have been supplied with for this expedition, which we will be putting to a severe test very soon.”

The expedition team has been kitted out in a selection of women’s specific products from Berghaus, including the Cold Climbs fleece and Ramche down jacket.

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