We have all seen Man Vs Wild (Born Survivor), Get Out Alive & Escape From Hell, and as you will be aware these programs are presented by non-other than Bear Grylls who is one of the most popular survival experts out there. At least four people have credited that watching Man Vs Wild had in fact saved their lives using the skills that Bear had presented on the show. So having his own clothing range seems to be a natural progression for Bear. Teaming up with Craghoppers was a great move to bring the brand to a wider and younger audience whilst updating the Craghoppers range with a more technical, but not bank breaking twist.
When the first delivery of the BG clothing came into our stock room I was like a child at Christmas, I wanted to try on all the new gear and go out and explore! The first thing I noticed was how Craghoppers had blended their technology into the BG clothing range rather than “rebranding” it to make in sound more technical. This means two things; the technology that Craghoppers have used in the Bear Grylls clothing range has been put through its paces by both the contestants on the show and the man himself, proving that it can be worn in any climate and in pretty much any situation. This theme is then continued into the more traditional Craghoppers clothing range ensuring the best possible quality and giving them one on the best pedigrees with in-house technology.
I’m going to start with the Bear Grylls Survival Trousers which I’ve owned for years, they are nice and light weight and have SolarDry technology in them so you have UV protection up to factor 40+, SmartDry technology gives great water resistance to the trousers without decreasing the breathability of the trouser. The greatest thing about these trousers are the patches you have on them, this ensures the strength of the trouser mean you can wear then for pretty much anything. I recently went for a ramble in the woods near where I live and put the survival trousers through their paces. Even with brambles, rocks, bogs and even dogs, they dried quickly and gave me all the protection I could ask for (at one point I was up to my knees in mud) and survived to live another day.
The BG Survivor Pro softshell jacket did take me by surprise; when I first saw it I didn’t think much of it, it looked like your standard softshell with nothing special about it. It’s not until you take a closer look at the finer detail that you see this softshell really is something special. When I picked it up I thought it was a bit on the heavy side but the weight really improves the hang of the jacket giving you a closer, improved fit and a better feel when it comes to the fast pace stuff like scrabbling and even climbing. The BG Survivor softshell really does hold its own and the weight does play a key part of that and fits in nicely with the active fit this softshell has.
The amount of gadgets you get with this softshell is crazy; it really has been made for survival in mind. You get a survival whistle in the chest pocket, a Velcro compass in the left hand pocket, in the right hand pocket you have a small LED light which is ridiculously bright and to top it off there is even a back pocket that has a survival blanket! Now tell me when you last brought a “survival” softshell, did it come with any of that? You have reflective panelling within the jacket which is really effective so in a survival scenario this reflective feature could be the difference between life and death if a search party is looking for you. Even the shoulders have protection on which prolongs the life of the jacket from preventing wear and from wearing your rucksack. It’s all these little things that add to a great performing softshell for a great price.
The last thing I want to look at is the BG Mountain Jacket. The first time I had this jacket in my hand I knew it could take a beating, the jacket feels really rugged, really well built and the fact that it’s made from a Ripstop face fabric means, to me, that it’s ready to protect you and will take anything you throw at it. The fact they haven’t put Gore-Tex in the model also proves that they are proud of their own AquaDry membrane and have all the confidence that it will perform and add even more respect to their pedigree. The jacket has standard seal zips, enough pockets to keep anyone happy and a great peaked hood which has easy adjustment and as I said before it’s covered in Ripstop, so the standard is really high with this jacket. The fit of the jacket is great too and will work perfectly in a layering system. The jacket really does have a technical feel to it rather than just a standard jacket. Just like the survival trouser the BG jacket has a patch system to it giving it great strength and ability to endure any terrain.
My overall verdict is that it’s a perfect partnership between Bear Grylls and Craghopper. Working together they are getting the best out of each other, a great technical brand but that doesn’t break the bank. The overall feeling of the clothing is quality despite the reasonable price tag and the little details that the clothing includes mounts up to great products that you couldn’t get anywhere else.