Brand Spotlight: Fjallraven

Featured: Men’s Canada Shirt, Men’s Keb Pant

Aside from their iconic Kånken backpack that we love oh-so-much, Fjällräven has spent more than 50 years leading the apparel industry in serving nature.

“To leave no trace is a motto among outdoor enthusiasts. And just as we would like to leave last night’s campsite so that the next visitors can enjoy undisturbed nature, we would also like Fjällräven as a company to have as small an environmental footprint as possible.” Fjallraven responsibility

Created in a tiny cellar in Örnsköldsvik, Fjällräven has emerged as a popular brand all over the world. Åke Nordin, an outdoorsman and scout, didn’t find that the backpacks of the time were very comfortable or fun. The bags were certainly not the same kind of backpack we use today; they hung shapelessly and forced you to walk doubled over.

Åke had read that if you were going to carry anything heavy, the weight should be positioned high up and close to the back. It was in the aforementioned cellar that he created a wooden frame. Using his mother’s sewing machine, he sewed a bag out of strong cotton material which he fastened to the frame using leather straps.

While in Ranger school, Åke realized that there was a market for functional,hard-wearing outdoor equipment. When he founded Fjällräven 10 years later, this backpack was the start of it all. Founded at his family’s home just outside Örnsköldsvik, the first backpacks with aluminum frames were created, and eventually the “condensation-free, lightweight tents, functional outdoor clothing and revolutionary sleeping bags which would come to be loved by a growing corps of outdoor enthusiasts around the world.”

As a company, Fjällräven is all about 3 things:

  • Developing durable, timeless and functional outdoor equipment
  • Acting responsibly towards people, animals and nature
  • Awakening and maintaining an interest in outdoor life

The 2017 collection from Fjällräven features sustainable apparel for those who don’t want to feel the cold. Through their Down Promise, Swedish Wool Project and developments in synthetic insulation, Fjällräven will keep you warm on nature’s terms.

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Brand Spotlight: Icebreaker

“A chance meeting with a merino sheep farmer had sparked something inside me, a passion. From that moment on I was hooked on the possibilities of natural solutions to technical apparel.”Jeremy Moon, Founder of Icebreaker

Founded in New Zealand in 1995, Icebreaker immediately emerged as a force to be reckoned with in the outdoor apparel world. While all other performance clothing was manufactured with synthetic fabrics, Icebreaker was a breath of fresh air: the company was (and is) committed to working with nature to develop a new kind of outdoor performance apparel.

It seems so simple. Merino sheep manage to thrive through the coldest winters and the hottest summers; why couldn’t that principle be applied to outdoor clothing?

“Whereas most companies start with the fabric, we start with the fiber.”
Pictured: Vertex Flurry Top, Vertex Flurry Legging

Created from natural, raw, super fine merino wool, Icebreaker apparel is biodegradable, annually renewable, ethically sourced and 100% made from nature. The brand contracts directly from the best wool-growers and shares their commitment to nurture and respect the land and animals. The company only uses what they need; the raw fiber is consciously transformed into fabric in a way that minimizes energy and water usage. Reducing the environmental impact is of the utmost importance!

Icebreaker remains a “merino pioneer” – they were the first to see the potential of this natural material that was capable of outperforming synthetics and plastics. Learn more about why they choose merino here.

Icebreaker only ever designs products that serve a purpose. Whether it’s keeping people warm or making them comfortable, Icebreaker creates products that people actually want and that are made to last.

We don’t know about you, but ethically sourced activewear that lives up to its promise of performance sounds like a dream come true.

We are fans in particular of 3 of Icebreaker’s design innovations: BodyfitZONE, Cool-lite, and MerinoLOFT. Layered up, these make for the perfect storm of performance apparel.

  • BodyfitZONE – an innovative technology that uses fine merino yarns blended with Lycra to bring natural warmth and body fit to enhance muscular performance and recovery. Strategically placed zone mesh panels create natural thermal dumping zones for optimal temperature regulation, breathability and next-to-skin softness.
  • Cool-lite – combines merino with Tencel, a natural fiber sourced from sustainable eucalyptus, that helps heat dumping and wicking to enhance cooling in the heat of the day. The merino component resists odor, breathes and regulates temperature when it turns cooler.
  • MerinoLOFT – a natural, intelligent alternative to synthetic insulation and duck down – MerinoLOFT is a machine-washable, wool blend, that provides highly breathable, super lightweight insulation even when wet.

Sporting Life and Icebreaker have teamed up to send you and your family to New Zealand – experience nature at its best! Learn more and sign up here, or visit us in store to fill out a ballot.

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Brand Spotlight: Parajumpers

Parajumpers designer Massimo Rossetti has successfully built one of the world’s leading outerwear brands. The first collection from Parajumpers had only 3 garments each for men and women, and the brand continues to succeed with a handful of immaculately designed pieces.

In a taped interview, Rossetti provides a glimpse into his creative mind. This intriguing designer finds inspiration in the seemingly most unlikely of places. The huge pocket found on many PJs styles was inspired by a research trip to Alaska; Rossetti saw a fireman’s jacket that had a pocket large enough to fit a helmet. This new and different design is one of many that sets Parajumpers apart.

The ultimate form of inspiration for Rossetti came from a chance meeting with a Parajumper. Parajumpers are a small group of people who train twice as hard as Navy Seals, however they are trained to save and not to kill. These heroes intervene all over the world and have been on thousands of operations that are unknown to most people. When Rossetti was asked to bring forward new ideas, it is clear that he needed to look no further than the image of a Parajumper. Rossetti’s designs are largely influenced by a backpack with nylon, zips and hooks, and now all PJs styles are full of such hardware. The signature hook on all jackets comes from a quick release parachutist hook, which has contributed to the creation of the Parajumpers image.

The original PJs collection consisted of identical jackets made of one fabric in four colours for men and women. These first styles were the Gobi, Kodiak and Denali. The Gobi features a two way zip that opens at the top and bottom. The bright yellow tab serves as a nod to Parajumpers, as yellow is a signal to find a person in a difficult situation. The jacket also includes an iPod pocket, cell phone pocket, and cargo pocket for whatever the wearer wishes to store. The men’s and women’s styles are nearly identical, with the exception of a removable interior in the men’s jacket.

In Rossetti’s own words; “we are a guiding light.” Parajumpers has proven itself to be an innovative and functional brand, and we can’t wait to see what new designs Rossetti has up his sleeve. We highly suggest watching the video clip below in which Rossetti details this brand history in his own words, and keep scrolling to browse the PJs styles that Sporting Life has to offer.

We are pleased to offer exciting new styles for fall – these lightweight, insulated jackets and vests are the ideal pairing of fashion and function. Shop fresh new jackets along with our favourite classic styles below.

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Why Your Child Needs a Helmet This Winter

Kids-Helmet

We all know the importance of wearing a helmet when you ride a bike – pavement is no joke! However, we often forget that a helmet is just as important for snow sports. Any time you hit the slopes on skis or a snowboard, you need to protect your head from unexpected impact. Even the most experienced skiers take a tumble once in a while! We stressed this idea last season for adults, but we feel as though we need to drive the point home for parents of kids just learning how to ski.

Even if a skier isn’t moving very quickly, a fall on snow can lead to some gnarly head injuries. According to a report from the New York Times, wearing a helmet when skiing has reduced head injuries such as fractured skulls, facial lacerations, and head lacerations by as much as 50%! Helmets also protect your neck from whiplash. Hit a bump and went down hard? Your helmet is what kept your neck from taking the brunt of the impact!

The last thing you want is a scary injury putting an end to a fun, carefree day in the snow – be prepared!

When choosing a helmet for your child, you need to be sure that it fits just right. A helmet is not something to “grow into” – in order to be safe, it needs to fit properly right away. It shouldn’t wobble from side to side, it should be snug, and the chin strap should secure comfortably without being too tight. After you have figured out the right fit, you can move on to aesthetics! Helmets come in all kinds of fun colours to keep your look fresh on the hill.

While many ski resorts do not require helmets, we do not recommend stepping out onto the mountain without one. Our experienced staff at our stores would be more than happy to help you in picking out the perfect helmet for your child’s head.

Along with a helmet, goggles are a must for safety when hitting the slopes. Paired together, a helmet and goggles will keep sun and snow out of your eyes. A helmet also helps goggles fit better; a good fit means less wind and moisture can get in! For busy ski parents, try this new helmet from Salomon – the built in visor will keep you from hunting for lost goggles, perfect for the little skiier on the go!

During our Kids Can’t Wait For Winter ski & snowboard event, junior helmets, goggles & ski poles are buy one get one 50% off!

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Wax On, Wax Off: The Barbour Wax Jacket

When it comes to heritage and fashion forward brands, there is nothing quite like Barbour. Founded in England in 1894, Barbour continues to produce quality apparel for men and women. One of our favourite pieces from Barbour- and one of their most famed- is the wax jacket. Designed to protect the wearer from the elements, the history of this iconic piece proves that it will last a lifetime.

The wax jacket’s history begins in 1910 with Uncle Harry’s coat. This coat was a double breasted outdoor coat that protected the wearer against foul weather. This coat has been passed down from generation to generation and still resides within the Barbour family. From a completely weatherproof wax cape in the 1920s to a motorcycle all-in-one suit in 1936, wax has made a name for itself in every Barbour collection. With a history in police and motorcycle wear, the wax jacket is designed to perform.

bedale-1980One of Barbour’s signature and most popular jackets, the Bedale, was introduced in 1980. This jacket is lightweight and short in length, and was designed by Chairman Dame Margaret Barbour as an equestrian jacket. This short length was perfect for riding, making it the ideal country coat! This jacket serves as the transition piece between countrywear and city style: this jacket paved the way for Barbour to become a fashion statement in an urban setting.

Barbour’s signature elements can be found in many wax jackets: 100% weatherproof, big bellow pockets, a large pull ring, two way zip and a corduroy collar. Today, waxed jackets are available in a range of styles and finishes from heavy and tough to antique and distressed. The wax jacket is perfectly described by Barbour themselves: “[the] wax jacket…is now as comfortable in the urban jungle as it is in the country.”

Shop all Barbour jackets at Sporting Life, or see some of our waxed favourites below.

SHOP WOMENS

SHOP MENS

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5 Reasons to Shop Kids Can’t Wait For Winter

Temperatures are on their way down – winter is coming! Our favourite season of the year is just around the corner, and just like us, we’re sure your kids can’t wait for winter. Skiing, snowboarding, snowball fights, tubing, building a snowman…you want your kids to be prepared to go barrelling out the doors once the first snowfall hits. Now is the time to get their coats, snowpants, and gear ready to go!

Our Kids Can’t Wait For Winter event is on now, and we are offering tons of deals on kids snow gear to prepare you for the imminent cold weather. Below are 5 of the best reasons to shop now – the slopes await!

1. Buy the Jacket, Get the Pant

You can’t play in the snow without snowpants and a jacket! When you buy any new arrival junior ski or snowboard jacket, you get the pant 25% off. Have your kids looking fresh as ever as they fly down the hill this winter – find bright colours with brands such as Reima, Columbia and Sunice!

2. Hardgoods BOGO

Keeping your kids safe on the slopes is the #1 priority. When you buy a junior helmet, goggle or ski poles, get one 50% off! The coolest new Salomon helmet has a built in visor, and new poles will help them improve their stability run after run.

3. Buy More, Save More

You can never have enough accessories to keep your kids warm. The more you buy, the more you save! Buy 2, save 10% – Buy 3, save 15% – Buy 4, save 20% on children’s winter hats, mitts, gloves, and long underwear!

4. Boots on Boots

These boots were made for playing. Sorel, Cougar, Kamik and Bogs are some of our most trusted winter boot brands, and during this event, selected styles are $49.99-$59.99. Keep those toes toasty warm all day long!

5. Junior Half Back Program

Have you heard of our Junior Half Back Program? You can learn more about it here – After purchasing a ski or snowboard package, you as a parent may return the package at the end of the season for a credit of half the value purchased to use for the following year!

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Junior Ski & Snowboard Half Back Program

lifeline_main

Are you a member of our Lifeline program? By providing us with your name, phone number and email, you are added to our client recognition program to make your Sporting Life experience the best it can be! Once you are signed up for Lifeline, we are able to inform you of promotions as well as determine the best service for you and your lifestyle. Sign up here.

As we slowly make our way towards winter, this is the perfect time to take advantage of the Junior Half Back associated with our Lifeline program.

Designed for your budget and for your kids, the Half Back program ensures that your children get properly fitted for safety and performance. After purchasing a ski or snowboard package, you as a parent may return the package at the end of the season for a credit of half the value purchased to use for the following year. Allow your children to flourish in their sport with the best available equipment season after season! This is applicable to junior recreation ski and snowboard boots, skis, snowboards, and bindings.

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Comparing Canada Goose: Langford vs. Emory

MEN’S LANGFORD PARKA
  • Fit: Slim
  • Retail: $925
  • Length: Mid thigh, 35″ centre back
  • Fill: 625 fill power white duck down
  • TEI 4
  • Removable coyote fur ruff
  • Non removable adjustable hood
  • Adjust fit with interior waist drawcord
  • Maximum storage with big front pockets, and extra storage space with interior security pocket
  • Available in Fusion Fit & Black Label
  • Available colours: Black, Navy, Graphite, Military Green, Admiral Blue, Charred Wood (coming soon), Limestone (coming soon)
MEN’S EMORY PARKA
  • Fit: Slim
  • Retail: $950
  • Length: Hip, 35.5″ centre back
  • Fill: 625 fill power white duck down
  • TEI 4
  • Introduced to Canada Goose line in 2016
  • Removable coyote fur ruff
  • Non removable adjustable hood
  • Maximum storage with big front pockets with top & side access; extra storage space with interior security pocket
  • Available in Black Label
  • Hideaway snow skirt
  • Available colours: Black, Graphite, Admiral Blue, Navy (coming soon)

 

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Rescued Is Our Favourite Breed

What is your favourite breed of dog? Ours is rescued!

When you’re a kid, a dog can be your best friend. Someone to play with, someone to talk to, someone to love you unconditionally. Rescue dogs are a special breed; they need extra love and care, but will return the favour with love of their own. Whether a child knows it or not, having a rescue dog teaches skills that will last a lifetime: empathy, responsibility, patience. As your kids start a new chapter this school year, teaching them about rescuing animals in need is a perfect way to emphasize these important qualities.

Adopting a dog is no easy feat, but it can make a world of difference in not only your life, but also the life of the animal. According to the Ontario SPCA, the term “puppy mill” describes a breeding operation in which dogs are repeatedly bred for financial gain and are kept in substandard conditions. Puppy mill dogs are often confined to small cages for their entire lives and commonly suffer from various infections and parasites. A puppy mill cannot meet the needs of a dog and is a form of cruelty.

Rescue dogs can be fearful or timid; rightfully so! These pups have often been abused, mistreated, or abandoned. They need love and patience in order to reach their potential – just like kids.

So, what steps should you go through to adopt a dog?

First of all, these are the things you should look for in an adoption organization:
– Animal welfare/happiness comes first
– Application required
– All pets spayed/neutered
– Vaccinated
– Full disclosure of the dog’s history
– Offer ongoing support to adopters
– Not for profit/charity

Once you’ve found the perfect place, here are some of the important steps to follow when choosing your new canine family member:

 

How to Help Pet Homelessness

Adopt
Even if you want a purebred, research breed-specific rescue groups. You can also foster a rescue dog to provide a temporary good home (that could even turn into permanent, should you fall in love!)

Get Your Pet Fixed
There are low cost options to spay or neuter your pet; preventing unplanned litters is important!

Spread the Word
Get involved at your local shelter! Volunteer, donate, and tell your friends what you’ve learned about animal welfare.

Donate
Whether they offer spay/neuter programs, take in homeless dogs or provide other forms of animal support, donate your time or spare supplies to animal welfare organizations; every little bit helps!

As your kids head back to school this fall, encourage them to think about the ways they can make a difference in their community.

Ask the question: How will you shape your world?
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Save the Bees, Save the World

Heading back to school gives young adults an opportunity to find a cause that is near and dear to them. What could be a better cause than the environment? More importantly, the food we consume and the sustainability of human life. Here at Sporting Life, our attention has recently been turned to the plight of the bees.

Did you know…
  • It requires 556 worker bees to gather a pound of honey.
  • Bees fly more than once around the world to gather a pound of honey.
  • A single beehive can make more than 100 pounds of extra honey. The beekeeper only harvests the extra honey made by the bees.
  • They’re smart: Scientists have discovered that bees take the shortest possible route between flowers. Instead of flying randomly from flower to flower, bees get it all done as efficiently as possible.
  • 1/3 of the food crops humans eat everyday require bees and other pollinators to successfully produce a crop.
  • The rusty-patched bumble bee, once abundant in southern Ontario and now almost extinct and officially designated as endangered.
  • Six more bees have declined to such an extent that scientists have advised the federal Minister of Environment to take steps to protect them.
  • Colony failures can be caused by a number of factors including: starvation, weak honey bee queens, pesticides, diseases and pests.

Bees seem pretty important, huh? Without them, we wouldn’t have 1/3 of the food that we eat every day. For the sake of not only human nourishment but the survival of our environment and local ecosystems, we need to take steps to save the bees!

5 Ways to Save the Bees

Educate Yourself
Perhaps the easiest thing you can do to help the bees is to educate yourself. Everyone knows that knowledge is power – learn about the struggling honey bee population, educate those around you, and get involved! For starters – watch this video for a new perspective on bees and how diverse they are:

Buy Local Honey
By purchasing local honey, you are supporting beekeepers and bees in your area. As we have learned, this directly helps the environmental health of your neighbourhood! Unlike pasteurized honey, raw honey comes straight from the hive and is unheated, unpasteurized and undiluted, which means it retains all the antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and delicious flavor. Eating local raw honey is an easy way to stay healthy and support your community.

Install a Hive
Did you know that you can have your very own bee hive at your home or business? Companies like Alvéole make urban beekeeping possible. We have two hives on the roof of our Yonge Street location! By installing a hive, you are not only inviting bees to pollinate your neighbourhood, but you are able to harvest your very own honey. The extraction is done artisanaly at Alvéole’s honey house, and you are welcome to do whatever you please with your honey – keeping the locally sourced cycle alive!

Go Organic
Pesticides are no good for humans and bees alike. Pesticides used on plants linger in the nectar and weaken bees’ immune systems. Organic is the way to go! Keep an eye out for labels that indicate that the food was grown without pesticides, or buy your produce from a local farmer’s market. This will ensure that your food is bee-friendly, and you are supporting your community in the process.

Plant For Pollinators
Bees rely on pollen and nectar to survive – if there is a lack of supply nearby, the bees can starve. An easy way to help your local bee population is to plant a pollinator-friendly garden in your yard. You can find a list of plants for pollinators here, but even simple herbs such as sage or rosemary are loved by bees!

As you head back to school this fall, think about the ways you can make a difference in your community.

How will you shape your world?
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