Excursions to the globe's far flung corners demand technical, performance apparel that's up to the challenge. Shackleton has been chosen as the official apparel partner for Pelorus to equip guides and clients with technical expedition apparel engineered for extremes.
Pelorus design tailor-made travel, yacht charters and experiences in extraordinary places across the globe. They endeavour to meet clients’ wildest aspirations using their global network of contacts, exclusive access, innovative team and extensive research to transform their perspectives.
To kick off the partnership, Pelorus co-founders Jimmy Carroll and Geordie Mackay-Lewis, came with us to Biggin Hill Airport to try on our latest releases, catch up about the collaboration, and share why having the right equipment can make (or break) a trip.
What is it about Shackleton that made you choose us as apparel partner for Pelorus?
JC: "For us, it’s a no brainer. It makes complete sense. The values that Sir Ernest Shackleton stood for when he was exploring the world certainly ring true today in the products and apparel that Shackleton produce. This resonates with me personally and aligns very well with what Pelorus stands for which is excellence in everything that we do."
GML: "We want to work for like-minded brands that really understand what is needed, certainly from apparel, in different environments, different regions, and different conditions within which we operate. Testing kit and ensuring that it is up to standard in the most arduous and remote conditions is incredibly important to us. It’s a key area that we look for in an apparel partner and what Shackleton delivers on."
You have both travelled the world extensively, please could you share one story from your own experience where you feel you have had to embody the values of Sir Ernest Shackleton?
GML: "It’s difficult to arrive at just one, I've been very fortunate at Pelorus to have travelled to many locations around the world. Across all kinds of terrain; from desert, jungle, and rain forests; to polar regions, mountain ranges, and even the open ocean. I’d say the desire to press on and see more is a general embodiment of his values."
JC: "On a personal level, and before establishing Pelorus, I ran and managed the largest medical research expedition to Mount Everest which certainly embodied the values of Sir Ernest Shackleton."
Why have you chosen to recommend Shackleton apparel to Pelorus guests?
JC: "At Pelorus we'd only recommend the best. Our clients expect this in each aspect of their life. They demand good quality, robust equipment, and clothing. The Shackleton ethos fits our brand and their products quite simply fit with our own pursuit of excellence.
"The added fact that these products are used by modern extreme adventurers, like Lou Rudd who used Shackleton in Antarctica during his ground-breaking expeditions, just builds in extra added confidence the capabilities and overall spirit that our two companies share."
GML: "We're always testing and improving every element of our trips. Recommended partners must be operating at this same level. After gaining a deep understanding of their process and through first-hand experience with what they produce, we are confident that Shackleton are. That is why this partnership works so well for us."
Why is the right kit so important when taking people to the world’s most remote locations?
GML: "When planning an adventure or expedition the right kit is truly vital, especially when you're in remote locations. We need kit that can stand up to the test of the environment."
JC: "There's nothing stronger in this world than Mother Nature, so the right kit really has got to be tested and proven to be working in these remote locations. It needs to be durable, and it needs to be adaptable. That is what I am looking for from every piece that we use. Assurance that it can keep us safe, dry, warm, and sometimes cool, depending on the environment. It allows our clients to truly enjoy, appreciate and immerse themselves in whichever region they are looking to explore."
Can you describe a particular instance when a piece of kit made all the difference to a trip?
JC: "Certainly, for a recent trip to Alaska, having the right kit was of crucial importance. Not only did it ensure that we could deliver on a challenging experience safely, it also kept each client warm, comfortable, and ultimately very happy. On this occasion, there were several items, which I found really stood out and made the difference.
"First of all, I'm a big fan of layering and when working hard even in cold environments, you can get particularly warm. Therefore, merino wool for me is key and the Docker Merino Sweater was brilliant for this. It helped wick and remove the moisture and sweat away from the body whilst the half zip was great for extra ventilation. Alongside the technical spec, the Docker’s versatility really came into play here, it was often worn out in the field (deep in the Glacier, crevices, ice caves) but on numerous occasions it also made for a very smart layer donned during lunch or dinner."
GML: "Obviously in the most extreme conditions, you don't want to just be wearing a piece of merino wool. Here the Lockroy All-Conditions Parka comes into its element. It keeps the elements out and the body warm with a high neck that’s brilliant for creating insulation around those areas where you can get a bit of wind rustling down through the collar. During an especially fast-moving snowstorm, a well-constructed hood and the faux fur feature are really important for keeping snow out of your eyes and just giving you that extra protection when it was needed the most.
"In these instances, your items need a fine balance of being hard wearing, but not too heavy, and the insulation needs to be excellent when exposed in negative degrees for a prolonged period of time. Especially in places like Alaska, where the weather can change in a heartbeat. You need the kit that's going to be able to ultimately keep you functioning and keep you alive."
Has not having the right kit ever lead to a difficult situation, and what you would do differently second time around?
GML: "There have certainly been instances where kit has let me down, thankfully the worst of it was a long time ago and very early in my career. I think each time this happens it can be seen as a learning experience and something that you work out and get right next time. The build-up and preparation of our trips is where these mistakes are either made or avoided. Therefore, we will always look to over prepare. When offering kit and making recommendations to our clients, we need to know that we're only offering the best and this is very much where Shackleton comes in."
JC: "I think the most important thing with kit is testing it before you go away because you want to make sure you have it ready for you in the right environment. We've tested multiple pieces of kit on recces and on training weekends just to ensure that we are absolutely confident in what they can handle. It’s during those testing trips that you find out which pieces of kit are not quite up to what they say they are. If they are not waterproof enough. Not durable enough. They rip, they tear, or simply can't live up to what Mother Nature is throwing at you, it makes for a truly miserable experience."
What is your favourite piece of Shackleton kit and why?
JC: "Geordie and I both agree that the Docker Merino Sweater that I mentioned previously is our favourite. It’s one of the best pieces of kit we’ve come across. The merino will never smell, no matter how hard you work in it, and no matter what climate you are in. It's incredibly breathable. It's lightweight, and it looks very smart. You can wear that, as I say, training hard out on an expedition in all sorts of climates, but then just as easily get away with wearing it out to dinner and still looking absolutely tip top."
What do you look for in a Parka or in a Down Jacket?
GML: "A parka or down jacket has got to live up to its name. And ultimately that's to keep you warm. There's no point in having one that’s not going to do that. The added benefit of the Parkas is their extra length and the heavyweight nature of the tough fabric that you find on the outer shell. This is going to keep you warm in conditions where the temperature is well into the minus degrees and deal with the wetness of snow, wind, and rain, all hitting you at the same time. That added length will also keep the top of your legs warm as well in order to really insulate you."
JC: "With a down jacket, I'm looking for something which is light and durable. Something you can pack easily and stuff away. But when you pull it out, you know you're going to get the immediate effects of that warming down to really make you feel toasty, especially in arduous conditions."
How important is the use of recycled materials to you?
JC: "In every part of our business, recycling and regeneration is forefront in our mind. Even within the fashion world, we're looking at companies, that are using new techniques to deliver recycled materials and place utmost emphasis on research and development in this area. The more we can work with those who are building for durability and extended product lifetimes in conjunction with operating robust recycling practises, the better we can collectively shift industries and attitudes towards better stewarding of our planet."
GML: "We're absolutely looking for businesses and brands that are using recycled material in all sorts of products. It’s hard to properly describe how important it is that we start to take care of this world, but certainly at Pelorus, we believe that we're the custodians of the world for future generations. Without protecting it now, those future generations won't be able to experience the many delights we're able to create for our clients."
You’re going on a trip around the world where you will be encountering numerous climates and conditions, what would be on your ultimate kit list?
JC: "On a trip where we're encountering numerous climates and conditions, we would be essentially adopting the layering approach which would involve a clever arrangement of items.
"My ultimate kit list for layering would start with merino wool as it can really be adapted to many different conditions and environments. The Docker Merino Sweater will be the first thing in my pack and the Dudley Polo would really help when the weather turns towards the hotter side of the temperature gauge. It certainly looks the part, and being merino, will wick away any moisture that may occur during any arduous activity."
GML: "The Ronne Down Jacket would likely be next, it’s easily stuffed away so can be stored in any sized baggage and pulled out to keep you warm at any point. It's that really handy extra layer with multiple pockets to keep you ready to go in changeable environments."
JC: "For when you're really out and about, in the most extreme of environments, the Vostok Storm Parka, or Haakon Tactical Parka, would provide that final level of insurance and comfort. Both excellent pieces of kit, which keep you toasty warm in really cold weather and incredibly durable. These will allow you to operate in truly harsh conditions, on the mountainside, down on the water, and in storms that would otherwise be very unpleasant indeed.
"I think if you are packing this selection of items, you can enter a variety of environments with trust and faith that they will do the job."
Jimmy Carroll has lead multiple expeditions around the world, including the largest ever medical-research expedition conducted on Mount Everest, Xtreme Everest 2 in 2013 and rowing the Atlantic in December 2020. Prior to co-founding Pelorus, Jimmy served for eight years as a Captain in a British Army reconnaissance regiment, with tours to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan; worked as head of marketing and communications for Winch Design, a world-leader in superyachts, private aviation and architecture; and as the global tour manager for Manchester United Football Club.
Prior to co-founding Pelorus Geordie Mackay-Lewis served as a Captain in a British Army reconnaissance regiment, deploying twice to Afghanistan before running a group of automotive technology businesses across Europe. He spent a number of years as MD of a high-end adventure travel company. In addition to running Pelorus he also spends time with the Pelorus Foundation and is committed to global conservation.