The Endurance Parka from adventurewear brand Shackleton is as rugged as the explorers whose ship it is named for
In 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton set off from Plymouth in the ship the Endurance, intending to reach Antarctica and then cross it by land. What happened to him and his crew on the way is the stuff of legend. Stuck in pack ice, only 200 miles short of their destination, he and his men had to abandon ship and then make their way in the salvaged lifeboats to Elephant Island, an uninhabited place. From here, leaving the other 22 men behind, five of the crew, including Shackleton himself, voyaged 800 miles to raise a rescue party in South Georgia in one of the lifeboats, which, though modified by the ship’s carpenter, was nevertheless a vessel open to the elements. The mission succeeded and none of the 28 crew lost their lives.
Today that story still resonates for anyone who loves the spirit of adventure, and particularly those who succumb to the siren call of snow and ice. No wonder then that a British outerwear brand decided to take its name from Sir Ernest. In 2016, Shackleton launched, backed by the explorer’s granddaughter, The Hon. Alexandra Shackleton. Its mission – to develop expedition-grade clothing.
Today, Shackleton has a range of outerwear, knitwear and accessories, and has recently opened a store in London’s Covent Garden. Shackleton’s director of expeditions Louis Rudd’s personal Antarctica expedition kit is displayed on the wall, broken down into its constituent parts, above his pulk (sledge), which sits on the floor.
The first piece that Shackleton created was its Endurance Parka. It is still in the collection, having been updated over the past six years. Surprisingly lightweight, the coat will not only keep you warm and protected, but also packs down into a supplied stuff sack to make it easy to transport. Its environmental credentials are impressive – it is insulated with RDS (Responsible Down Standard)-certified goose down, the lining is 100 per cent recycled and the fur is synthetic.
The three-layer fabric it’s made from is rated waterproof to 10,000mm, which will keep you dry in most weathers. As well as a zip pocket inside, there is also an internal dump pocket, elasticated to accommodate hats, gloves and the like. In pewter or navy, the Endurance Parka, named after Shackleton’s ship, is an impressive winter coat, even if your idea of an expedition is a walk in the park. Literally.
There are other pieces in the Shackleton range too, including a good selection of knitwear. Here you’ll find the handsome Hero sweater, a Super Geelong (virgin wool) roll-neck with a basketweave design that is based on the one that Sir Ernest wore (see the cover of The Shackleton Voyages: A Pictorial Anthology of the Polar Explorer and Edwardian Hero).
Then we have the Shackleton challenges. For our money – and they do cost a bit – these are what really sets this brand apart. Shackleton offers several levels of expedition, the ultimate one being a 12-day expedition to ski to the South Pole. All are guided by explorer experts, including Wendy Searle. Currently, as we write, Searle is engaged in an attempt to break the women’s speed record for covering the 700 miles from Antarctic coastline to the South Pole solo.
So, buy the parka, which, of course, will look just as good on the streets of London, the slopes of St Moritz or on a backcountry wilderness trek, and then while you’re at it, why not pick up an expedition to accessorise?
The Shackleton Endurance Parka, £1,095; Shackleton’s Covent Garden store is at 18 Russell Street, London WC2B 5HP; shackleton.com
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