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.
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
– 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.
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.
The Fjallraven Kanken backpack was created in 1978 to spare the backs of school children. Back problems had begun to appear in younger age groups where shoulder bags were popular. The backpack soon became a common sight at pre-schools and nature schools around Sweden! While originally created for kids, this backpack is a staple for all ages that are into the minimalist, Scandinavian style.
Why do we love it?
– Durable Vinylon F material repels moisture better than any other synthetic fabric. Fibers in this material swell in humid weather for superior water-resistance….no wet books while waiting for the bus!
– Two zippered compartments with two side pockets. This simplicity keeps you from losing things in the abyss that is your school bag.
– Simple shoulder straps make this bag easily customized and wearable for long periods of time.
– The logo doubles as a reflector to keep you safe on walks to school at dawn or dusk.
These features are all kinds of appealing, and can be found in each of the different variations of the classic backpack:
The classic! Made of durable fabric, the classic will outlast even the toughest of school days. Two side pockets and a zippered pocket in the front make for easy day-to-day storage.
The cutest little backpack you ever did see! The Mini is just that – a mini version of the classic. It is perfect for young kids headed back to school, or as a smaller daypack for adults! Doubles as a fashletic purse, which we aren’t mad about.
While you may be able to fit a laptop in the classic, this Kanken features padded shoulder straps and a specially designed area made to house a laptop computer neatly and securely.
Kanken No. 2
Redesigned and better than ever! The Kanken No. 2 is made from a sturdier fabric and has leather straps, making it a new and slightly improved version of the original. This bag also comes in laptop form!
We are all about being eco-friendly, especially with the start of a fresh new year. The Re-Kanken (and the mini!) are sustainable versions of the classic style, as each bag is made entirely from eleven plastic bottles! Dyed with SpinDye® technology that radically reduces the amount of water, energy and chemicals used, this bag is mindful of our environment. Check it out:
Is there any better fresh start than heading to university or college for the first time? Leaving home and starting a new adventure opens the door for you to be whoever you want to be and shape the world that you want to live in.
The idea of shaping your world is important. As a young adult, you have a clean slate to create the life you want to live. This is the time to consider: what is important to me? Where do I stand on issues that affect the world I live in?
Did you know…
As of 2012, 31 million primary-school pupils worldwide dropped out of school
1 in every 13 people is a refugee
Over a billion people live with some form of disability
The LGBTQ community was the predominant victim group for assaults in Toronto in 2016
Canadian women earn 87 cents for every dollar made by men
It is up to you – smart, innovative young adults – to fight for the causes that affect the well-being of other people just like you all over the world.
We are all a part of one world. No matter what cause weighs on your heart, it is our responsibility to come together to fight for equality, diversity and inclusion.
How can you help?
Practice Inclusion. Bringing the world together can be as simple as changing your own mindset. We encourage you to practice inclusion and love with those in your own life and community.
Educate Yourself. Do whatever you can to learn about others. Attend conferences like the one featured above; read online journals or blogs; talk to people who may be experiencing a different lifestyle than you.
Join the Fight. On campus, you will find countless places to lend a hand and encourage change. Find the club, organization or group that speaks to you and join! Meet like minded individuals and learn what you can do to help others.
As you head back to school this fall, think about the ways you can make a difference.
With the arrival of summer it is important to shield yourself and your loved ones from the sun’s harmful UV rays. 90% of skin cancers and premature aging are a result of UV exposure. To avoid the consequences of the sun it is important to invest in good sunscreen with SPF and clothing with UPF protection. The Skin Cancer Foundation considers clothing to be the most safe and effective defense in the fight against skin cancer and aging. When you wear clothing with UPF you are protected where there is fabric, so there is no need to worry about re-applying sunscreen every two hours. UPF does not wash out of clothing so you are free to swim and wash UPF garments as you wish.
Unlike sunscreen with SPF that only protects against UVB rays, UPF clothing is effective in protecting both UVA and UVB rays.
UVA (Ultra Violet A) penetrates and damages the skin’s thickest and deepest layer, the dermis, breaking down collagen along the way. UVA penetrates clouds and untreated window glass. It is harmful from sun up to sun down.
UVB (Ultra Violet B) causes your skin to burn, your body’s mostly unsuccessful attempt at blocking UV light from going deeper. UVB penetrates clouds and is harmful from about 10:00am to 4:00pm.
At Sporting Life, we carry a variety of clothing with UPF technology from a variety of brands. UPF fabric is incredibly lightweight and durable even in salt or chlorine water. UPF clothing offers style and functionality for activities like swimming, sports, hiking and more!
Don’t Forget About Sunscreen!
Shop a variety of options for everyone in the family. From water-resistant formulas to sensitive options for kids and infants, we have everyone covered to ensure a fun and safe day out in the sun.
Not sure how you’re spending your holiday weekend this year? We’ve rounded up the best ways to celebrate Canada Day in each of our home cities – Calgary, Toronto and Ottawa. Where will you be when Canada turns 150?
Fort Calgary will host a celebration that is bigger and better than ever! Take part in a free pancake breakfast, live music and entertainment, children’s crafts and petting zoo, food trucks, and a chance to dress-up like a Mountie!
Visit the new Canada 150 sign in Prince’s Island Park! Appreciate it as a symbol of how we’ve come together as a nation, and snap a photo to remember this milestone for our country. While you’re at the park, stick around for an Aboriginal Showcase and Powwow, and learn more about Canada’s military history.
The site of our finish line party for the Sporting Life 10k, Olympic Plaza is the perfect place to spend your Canada Day! There will be entertainment galore of all sorts – song, dance, art, and more. Afterwards, take a short walk over to Riverside Avenue, where you can watch fireworks against the incredible backdrop of the Rockies.
It may be tough to get tickets if you haven’t already, but the Blue Jays are playing a home game on Canada Day…what could be more patriotic than cheering on our country’s lone MLB team? If you can’t get a seat at the Rogers Centre, you can always set up at a local patio or at home to watch the game. Come together with family & friends and support Canada’s team!
Toronto Ribfest happens to fall on Canada Day weekend…can you say perfect? Spend the day outside, grab some delicious food & drinks and enjoy the entertainment available at Etobicoke Centennial Park.
Fireworks are a given for the big 1-5-0. Whether you set up on your street (safely!) or visit a local park, there are countless locations to get cozy under a blanket and watch a fireworks show. May we suggest visiting Nathan Phillips Square? Fireworks kick off at 10:55pm on Friday, Saturday, Sunday AND Monday night, and you can get an Instagram opp with the infamous 3D Toronto sign!
Last but not least, the Nation’s Capital! Ottawa is the hub of all things Canada 150. Stop by one of three designated celebration zones in the city and take part in some of the exciting activities!
Parliament Hill – Experience the “Inspection of the Guard”, a 21-gun salute, an Air Show with the Snowbirds and CF-18 and more! You might even catch a glimpse of the Prime Minister or some of the incredible Canadian talent performing at the evening show.
Major’s Hill Park – Enjoy a huge variety of family-friendly programming including buskers, trivia games, face painting, fun photo opportunities, swing dancing performances, rides for kids on the VIA Rail miniature train, the 25th annual Great Canadian Chicken BBQ, and much more!
Canadian Museum of History – Take part in indoor and outdoor programming including inflatable games, wall climbing, live wild animals, puppet theatre, a Syrian house, plus the official opening of the museums’ new Canadian History Hall! Live entertainment will also be present.
Camp is one of the best times you can have as a kid. Between action packed days, campfire nights and friendships that last a lifetime, there is so much to look forward to in a week of camp! With your checklist in hand, take a look at the top 10 things that should be in your child’s suitcase when you send them off on a new adventure – aside from the obvious…t-shirts and shorts galore! Download the checklist here, and save big with our Buy More, Save More deal.
Swimwear What would camp be without a dip in the lake? Be sure to check your camp’s guidelines for appropriate swimwear – some have restrictions regarding one vs. two piece suits. Whether used for playing on the sand or swimming your heart out, the right bather will make the difference between a good and a great week at the beach!
Rashguard Okay, so this does go along with swimwear. But it really does deserve its own category! This is a great way to get around the aforementioned “two piece restriction” in place at some camps. A rashguard can serve as a nice barrier underneath a life jacket, and many have UPF protection to keep your child from getting a sunburn.
Sun Protection Another great segue – sun protection is an obvious MUST for camp! Long days spent playing outside need the right clothes to keep sunburns at bay. Along with UPF clothing, a hat is an easy and affordable way to keep the sun off your child’s face. Don’t forget sunscreen!
Hydration Play hard, hydrate harder! A reusable water bottle will ensure that your child is hydrated and healthy on hot days at camp. We love S’well bottles – their water will be cold all day long!
Comfy Clothes Who doesn’t love being comfy and cozy on a cool summer night? When the sun sets and it’s time for campfire games, you want your child to be warm and comfy. A great hoodie or sweatpants are sure to do the job…pass the s’mores!
Bug Protection Can you believe that clothes can be bug repellent? Craghoppers clothing has insect repellent woven into the fabric…perfect for those late night campfires we were talking about! We also love that these pants are convertible – easily rolled up into shorts for those warm, buggy days.
Equipment Are you sending your child to a sports specific camp? Make sure that they have the right equipment to play their best!
Rainy Day Wear While we have our fingers crossed that this will be a rain-free summer, chances are there will be a damp day or two. Make sure that your child is prepared to stay dry to prolong the fun! K-Way jackets are colourful, waterproof AND packable – the ideal camp jacket.
The Right Shoes
It’s summer – sandals are a must. But don’t forget that many camp activities require closed toe shoes! Make sure your child is ready for days at the beach, but also skills that require foot protection like archery or rock climbing. Take advantage of our Junior Footwear BOGO while you’re at it! Buy one pair of kids shoes and get the second pair 50% off. This is perfect for grabbing fresh new runners and some funky sandals for your child’s week at camp.
Backpack With all of these layers, accessories and equipment, your child needs a backpack to haul it all around! Small, summery packs are lighter than the one they may use for school, and come in some fun colours perfect for a week at camp.
While our Calgary community is lucky enough to have scenic mountain trails and some of the best hiking in Canada, Ontario has some beautiful hiking spots that are perfect for the beginner hiker. You don’t have to be an experienced outdoorsman to get out and enjoy nature! We’re sharing some of the best places in the Toronto area to go for a hike, some tips for the first-time hiker, as well as the gear you will need to make the most of your adventure.
5 Beautiful Beginner Hikes in the GTA
Scarborough Bluffs Park
Before leaving the city entirely, why not stop by the beautiful Scarborough Bluffs Park right here in Toronto? The Bluffs offer stunning views of Lake Ontario and the beautiful bluffs. The trails are not difficult and are easily accessible, and sandy beaches await you once you’re done your hike.
Webster’s Falls Conservation Area
Who knew that some of Ontario’s most stunning waterfalls were located just outside of Hamilton? Take a walk down beautiful trails towards Webster’s Falls and Tew’s Falls – totally Instagram-worthy! After chasing waterfalls, hop on up to Dundas Peak for a beautiful panoramic view of Hamilton.
Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area
While you probably won’t see any rattlesnakes, this conservation area in Milton allows you to seek some extra adventure. If you’ve been practicing your hiking and are feeling a bit more advanced, explore some of the hidden caves or partake in some rock climbing! While this hike is most beautiful in the fall, it isn’t the worst thing to look out upon miles and miles of green trees!
Elora is a bit off the beaten path for Torontonians, but it is totally worth it to make the trip this summer. This trail is perfect for all age groups – ideal for a family weekend or a beginner hike. While you’re there, stop by the Elora Quarry and take a dip in the blue-green water, or partake in some kayaking!
Did you know that the Bruce Trail is Canada’s oldest and longest foot path? This trail stretches for over 800km from the Niagara River all the way to Tobermory! You can enter at various points throughout Ontario, and walk for as long or short of a distance as you like. The closest entrance point to Toronto is just outside of Milton near Kelso Conservation Area, and the views are out of this world!
Hiking 101: Tips & Tricks
– Proper hiking gear is a must, especially for spring hikes. The weather is unpredictable, and you need to be prepared for whatever comes your way! Be sure to have these items in your wardrobe to make the most of your adventure:
Waterproof/windproof outer layer.
Base layers – moisture wicking fabrics to keep you warm (or cool!) and dry. This goes for socks too; bring extra, and go for a smart wool to keep your toes dry.
Hiking shoes – these don’t need to break the bank, but they are absolutely crucial for both seasoned and first-time hikers. Good shoes are the key to a fun and safe hike; keep your toes and ankles protected, especially on uneven terrain.
A lightweight, sturdy pack…especially when you need to shed some of those added layers!
– Convertible pieces can be your best friend…who doesn’t love pants that turn into shorts and back again? Adjust your outfit to suit the conditions at hand without leaving anything behind.
– As with any physical activity…HYDRATE! Be sure to bring enough water, no matter the length of your hike. Whether you prefer a colourful S’well that keeps your water cold for up to 24 hours or a hydration pack to keep your hands free, make sure you’re stocked up on H20.
– Similar to hydration, your body needs fuel to get through your trip. Give yourself an energy boost on the go with gels, chews or waffles available at our retail locations. They contain carbohydrates to keep you fueled, electrolytes that aid in hydration and amino acids that reduce mental fatigue!
– We mentioned the importance of a solid hiking shoe; be sure not to embark on your hike with brand new, stiff boots! Our friend Leigh from HikeBikeTravel.com wrote a post about breaking in your hiking boots on her blog – check it out!