KÜHL. Rugged by nature. Rugged by design.

Rugged by nature. Rugged by design.

Take a look here at the history of this TOUGH outdoor clothing brand, found in Utah, USA.

It all started with one man and his hat

With an enviable reputation in the outdoor industry for tough, durable fabrics and its own distinctive style, KÜHL was founded in Utah in 1983. However KÜHL as we know it now is very different to its roots, almost all but ethos has changed for this outdoor company which at its very beginning was known as Alfwear. Its only product was the Alf Hat, a Peruvian –inspired hat design that many Ski bums popped on their heads in the mid-80s.

John “Alf” Engwall, Conrad Anker (the now legendary mountaineer), and brothers Jay and Kevin Boyle set out to take this hat and then take the skiing and mountaineering world by storm. It was tough. After a tragic car accident resulted in the death of Alf Engwall, the three remaining partners tried their best to nurture the business for a few years but in 1989 went their separate ways. The Company at this point consisted of 8 or 9 plastic bags of the Alfhat.

KÜHL trousers are made of a very tough polycotton blend, making them popular with climbers, walkers and rough n' ready outdoor enthusiasts alike.
The KÜHL Fugitive shirt is made from a blend of cotton and tencel giving it an extremely soft against the skin feel
The KÜHL Fugitive shirt is made from a blend of cotton and tencel giving it an extremely soft against the skin feel

Conrad Anker became a world-class rock climber and mountaineer, traveling the world, ascending the major summits, and famously finding the body of Mallory on Mount Everest. His accomplishments speak well of realizing lofty dreams.

Jay Boyle studied Tai Chi, earned his MBA in Arizona, and moved to Shanghai, China. He speaks Chinese and is involved in overseas production for KÜHL. He often has many entrepreneurial projects on the go at once.

Kevin Boyle set out to transform Alfwear into something more than a hat company. With a passion for skiing, living in the mountains, and art, Kevin designed garments made from performance fabrics fit for his outdoor lifestyle. He turned Alfwear into today's clothing company known as KÜHL.

Things got better

KÜHL Jackets are durable, versatile and stylish. They carry KÜHL's distinct style with them everywhere from the woods to the mountain
KÜHL Jackets are durable, versatile and stylish. They carry KÜHL's distinct style with them everywhere from the woods to the mountain

Since the tough days, KÜHL is still independently owned and financed and its ideas are inspired by their founders’ intrepid lifestyle and those with whom share it. They have produced many iconic products such as rough and tough, top selling Trousers, Shirts, Outerwear and more and have a big presence in the outdoor industry worldwide. Their products are popular with climbers, walkers, skiers and mountaineers alike. KÜHL is a product driven company that has passion for the outdoor experience, The KÜHL mountain icon represents this mountain culture.

This very KÜHL post was written by Oli, our beardy gear boffin. Oli is a big fan of Unspoilt wilderness and roaring campfires. He is happiest out on the hill or in the woods, wildcamping with his two very large dogs. Here he is melting snow with a spoon in his mouth.

Photo Credit: Instagram @anguswhitby
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