Being an adventurer, you hear about all sorts of technical equipment all the time. It‘s like going through a catalog and discovering there‘s a product for just about every sport you could imagine. Hiking, climbing, skiing, even camping out in the wilderness, have their own skillset and equipment for every weather condition. Yet the brand that has always stood out to me is GORE-TEX.
Let me explain. When you head out to buy outdoor gear normally there‘s a different brand for almost every type of clothing. There‘s usually a standout footwear brand, jacket brand, even undergarment brands to keep you warm. That‘s when I noticed something was different when I looked through some of their products for an expedition I was doing – GORE-TEX somehow managed to become experts across all those fields. I can pick any GORE-TEX item and know it will hold up in extreme weather.
"I never would‘ve thought I could design my own GORE-TEX jacket."
So naturally, when I heard about the GORE-TEX TRYOUT Challenge on Instagram, I jumped at the chance. I had my first GORE-TEX jacket when I was 12. My dad bought it for me after he told me about GORE-TEX when I was 10. My imagination was whipped up by this crazy fantasy that this jacket could protect you even in blizzards. Except it wasn‘t a fantasy, it was real.
Fast forward to today and I was lucky enough to be chosen as a winner for the GORE-TEX TRYOUT Challenge. The other two winners and I were taken to Germany where we got to experience the labs and create our own custom jackets. I never would‘ve thought all these years later I‘d be able to say I designed my own GORE-TEX jacket.
All I needed was a great design and the perfect colors
The first thing I learned about the whole experience was the complexity of it all. The whole jacket, from start to finish, goes through a whole process that, to be honest, still bewilders me. The material is made with such precision, dragged through weather machines and blasted with air, all to make sure there are never any leaks or tears in the fabric. They showed us how to do things like tape and sew seams, and how to choose different colors using a color wheel. It opened me up to this whole process that I never would‘ve considered before. It‘s like looking at the world through a different lens.
We learned how GORE-TEX made their clothing able to resist the elements (even going so far as to fit robotic legs with their just-made boots in buckets of water, to make sure that there are definitely no leaks), and how their gloves are engineered to pull sweat away from the skin. You hear a lot about what companies try to do to make their clothing “the best” but honestly I didn‘t really believe it until I saw all this. Just by being in the labs for one day I realized that they really do walk their talk. I guess I‘m not so far from that 10-year-old boy who thought GORE-TEX some kind of miracle jacket.
The greatest adventure now is the one ahead of me
So after choosing the colors and perfecting the design, I now have a fully custom made jacket made by my favorite brand. It‘s not just a jacket now, as corny as that sounds, but something that will be a living memory for me. Hiking and adventuring outdoors can really test your limits, so having a jacket that I‘ve made to see me through those times, well, that‘s pretty awesome. No matter where my journey takes me, I know I can trust that I won‘t be left in the cold.
Author: Sindre Kolbjørnsgard
Sindre, one of the winners of the GORE-TEX TRYOUT Challenge, loves traveling, adventures and being outside in nature. There is nothing that the brave explorer can't do - be it crossing the Finnmark Plateau with skis or climbing four of the infamous seven summits, the highest peak on each continent.