This fall sees the welcome return of an old friend, the Rab Kinder Smock. The Sheffield-based brand was born in the small terraced house of Rab Carrington. The Kinder Smock was one of the his great successes of the 1990s, named after the highest point in the Peak District, Kinder Scout.
A long-time favourite of the Sheffield climbing scene, the Kinder Smock, originally handmade in Sheffield, was a ubiquitous fixture at many crags up and down the country. Providing what every 1990s crag-rat wanted: Durability, dependability, warmth and looking sharp at the pub later. It also served double duty on many a winter route in Scotland and the European alps. The relatively thick original Pertex would handle nicks from your ice axe or that barbed wire fence without much bother—and if it did rip, the classic field repair of a strip of duct tape would see you through. In fact, in some social circles the more duct tape your jacket sported, the better, each piece a testament to some heroic adventure you and your jacket had been through in the mountains (or at least a particulaly challenging stagger back home from the pub through a hedgerow).
The smock design has fallen from favour of late but undeniably offered some benefits to the climber. The short zip meant lower weight compared to a jacket, and also the zip is never really in tension so unliekly to fail, hence increased reliabilty. And if the zip did ever fail the smock was still perfectly wearable. Climbers also found it fit under a harness nicely, and the big front two-handed pocket invaluable for warming cold hands during a winter session on the gritstone.
Whilst not a carbon copy of the original, this resurrected version is instantly recognisable as the iconic design, yet benefits from modern hydrophobic down to shrug off the odd shower easily. Available in three retro color schemes for the time honoured look. Only the classic dilemma remains: Black or silver duct tape?