Our new Escape Expedition Jacket has been developed for people with a built-in instinct to escape the ordinary. It’s an 800-fill insulated essential that protects and warms down to -15ºC but is also the versatile companion for every kind of journey.
Escape means different things to all of us. Many are driven to escape danger and hostility, but equally some of us are more compelled to escape the safety and tedium of confinement. These are the types with one eye permanently focused on the horizon, thinking about the next wave, the next peak, the next way out.
We invited four of today’s most inspiring adventurers to try our new jacket and to tell us where they escape to, in mind and body, when compelled to get away.
MARIO RIGBY: THE NIGHT SKIES OF MOZAMBIQUE
What’s Your Escape?: “You can only experience true hospitality when you've allowed yourself to be taken in by strangers. For me, one of the most memorable times was in Mozambique. It is customary to wait in front of a community or someone's property before being invited in. At times it can be immediate, other times it may take hours before someone approaches you. I was invited by the matriarch of a family, surrounded by children and entered into a beautiful property where the rich earth of Mozambique was raked with geometric patterns.
"Although we did not speak the same language, we communicated all that we needed to communicate: our intentions, our needs and our empathy. That night I sat and ate with this family around a beautiful fire. I did not feel like a stranger. I looked up at the night sky and saw the formation of the centre of the Milky Way – I was in awe of the clarity in which life can reveal to you. This is where I go.”
Born in Turks & Caicos Islands, Mario Rigby spent much of his early childhood in Germany, before moving to Toronto in Canada at the age of 16. Following an explosive stint in track and field – competing for his national team and running against Usain Bolt – he sought a renewed purpose. This transition led him to exploration and championing cultural diversity within adventure. More specifically, it led him to walk the entire length of Africa, 8000 miles from Cape Town to Cairo, to purposefully connect with the world around him and share the stories of those without a voice.
JAMES AIKEN: 10 MILES OFFSHORE
What’s Your Escape?: “When I close my eyes, I escape to the deck of my boat at night, stood at the base of the mast, putting in reefs as the wind builds and the sea whips up around me. I feel totally connected and intuitive, instinct overrides thought as I manage the forces running through the boat and seek a balance and efficiency.
"In the distance I can see the faint lights of civilisation on a far coastline and I am aware that most people are tucked up warm and safe in their homes, and the contrast of their situation and my own heightens my separation. I’m glad to be here, in the elements. Life is pure and vital.”
James sails Oaken Yarn, his 33ft wooden sloop-rigged yacht, which he has helmed solo, 2700 miles across the Atlantic Ocean. He plans to take her deep into the Arctic Circle next year. As a documentary filmmaker, James seeks out people of quiet intrigue and tells their stories. His search for these people has taken him to extreme-cold regions, from husky sledding and a traditional whale hunt in Northern Norway to within touching distance of huge icebergs in Greenland.
CONOR MCDONNELL: THE ARCTIC AURORA
What's Your Escape?: “The kind of cold where it hurts to breathe, where exposing any flesh feels like daggers and pins piercing the skin over and over. I’m deep in the Arctic Circle. It’s cold. Very cold! But none of that matters, because as I look up it is truly otherworldly.
"The aurora has come out to dance and I’m basking it its glow. It’s the most intense show I’ve ever seen. Everything else stops. Time included. I stand there still, biggest smile on my face, knowing I have the best view in the house and that there will never be another show like this as each one is unique. But this is one I’ll remember forever.”
A Nikon camera is Conor’s passport to the world. His skill behind the lens has taken him on tour with some of the biggest names in the music industry, far into the Arctic Circle to document climate change, and onto the plains of Africa to work alongside Sir David Attenborough. All before turning 30.
IAN HOLDCROFT: MID-ATLANTIC ON CHRISTMAS EVE
What's Your Escape?: “Christmas Eve at midnight, on a rowing boat in the Atlantic Ocean, 1000 miles from land. I could hear the roar of the ocean around me. I looked up to see the twinkling stars above me. I watched as the ISS made its way across the night sky, dissecting The Plough.
"I hadn't seen land or another human being, and I hadn't made a phone call or responded to an email, for 12 days. I was disconnected from civilisation. I stood, I closed my eyes, feeling the boat ride the ocean swell. In that moment, nothing mattered, I felt truly alive in a way I had never experienced before. It was complete and utter exhilaration.”
Endurance athlete, husband, dad of three, Shackleton co-founder; Ian revels in pushing his mental and physical barriers. Ian has run the 260-mile Atacama desert ultra-marathon in 40-degree heat, rowed 2700 miles across the Atlantic Ocean and competed in a wide range of endurance events on foot and on bicycle.