You may have noticed that grough tends to fight shy of the usual brand recommendations and exhaustive gear reviews.CoolBrands website

We have neither the time nor the money to fritter on comparing fifteen makes of water purification systems or enlightening you on which expensive waterproof makes you sweat the most (they all make me sweat – Ed).

The CoolBrands Council's website (right)

So it is with trepidation that grough dips its boot-clad toe in the murky waters of outdoors brands. But here goes. We couldn’t help but giggle at the news that another top manufacturer has been cast into the cesspool that is a ‘cool’ brand. Poor old The North Face (TNF) has now joined Berghaus in the ranks of street fashion according to, get this, the CoolBrands Council.

grough already eschews the Mera Peak, not on the basis that it has anything wrong with it; indeed it’s a mighty fine jacket. It’s just that it is the coat of choice of chavs, including the ultimate representative of today's feckless youth – a young member of our very own royal family.

Well, now the TNF products have been catapulted into the same space by none other than those renowned outdoors experts Trevor Nelson (ever struggled to listen to more than five minutes of his radio show?); Cozmo Jenks, milliner to Jamiroquai’s Jay Kay (going off the idea even more?); Ben de Lisi, a graduate of the Pratt Institute in New York (no, we’re not making this up); Meritaten Mance, who has ‘enjoyed the enviable title of prestige brands ambassador across Allied Domecqs [sic] Champagne and Luxury brands portfolio’ (love the crazy mix of upper- and lower-case there, very cool branding); Alex Proud, who apparently made some dosh selling bullet-proof Rolls-Royces to the Russian Mafia – super cool and… er no-one from the outdoor world, unless you count Donna Price, who once worked for magazine publishers Emap and therefore might have once caught the whiff of Gore-Tex as she breezed past the fenland mountain eyrie of Trail magazine in Peterborough.

TNF would do well to distance itself from this nonsense. Street fashion is ephemeral, but there will always be mountaineers, fellwalkers, climbers and other people who inhabit the real world rather than the one created by Cozmo and her friends. The whole website would keep Private Eye’s Pseuds’ Corner running for a year and is a roll call of the crew of the first spaceship blasted into space in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Do pay a call to the whacky (frustratingly difficult to navigate) world of CoolBrands and then come back to reality and tell us what you think.

Among other CoolBrands are: New Look, Pringles, Top Shop, Dr Marten’s, Aston Martin, Rizla and Campari. So what are you waiting for? Get out and get cool.

Now, where’s that Paramo?