The Scandinavian Outdoor Award is a competition exclusive for Scandinavian brands and I am proud to be on the jury since 2005 and very proud that I am asked to be the chairman for this year. Let me explain a bit more on this very special Award.
Scandinavian Outdoor Award background
The background of the competition for the Scandinavian Outdoor Award is – like so many other awards – to support product and design innovations from Scandinavia. Brands that can apply for a Scandinavian Outdoor Award should be a member of the Scandinavian Outdoor Group. Among some well known names like Fjällräven, Woolpower, Tretorn, Thule and Trangia. If you are curious for the full list, just follow this link.
Trade show connection
The first jury-meetings are always just before one of the big European Outdoor trade shows like the ISPO in Munchen and in the past Outdoor Friedrichshafen. On these shows the awards winners are announced and the awards handed out to the winning brands. In the beginning the meetings were held in Scandinavia but because of practicality and sustainability the organisation decided to move to Austria. Since the beginning of Covid-19 we have been doing the meetings digital by zoom-team-meetings. Every year there are two Award periodes: one for the Spring/Summer collection and one for Autum/Winter.
Awards to win
The connection between all participating products is that they are from Scandinavia but since not all products can be compared, there are two main categories and 5 sub categories. Because every award session is different we sometimes create categories on the spot.
The Main Award categories are:
- Overall Winner: Best in class
- Sustainability: Most sustainable product
The Sub-categories are:
In addition to the main categories, there will be the sub-categories:
How we judge
The jury of the Scandinavian Outdoor Award is an international one and varies from year to year and also by season. More on the jury members individually below. As a jury we are a very mixed group from gear geeks that is helped by a sustainability specialist and sometimes we have consumers on board too. This year we have an equal balance man and women. We judge products on functionality, quality, innovation, design and sustainability. Most of the time we have between 20 and o 30 products to judge.
Why I am on it
I have been asked to be on juries quite a lot and I hardly ever said yes. Main reason is that a lot of jury sessions are indoors and very static. Already at the beginning of Scandinavian Outdoor Award this was different: we always had the chance to test the gear outdoors in the environment where we – and potential buyers – are going to use the products. And I think that is the key feature why I like this Award so much. And… for sure, I am a keen lover of Scandinavia and Nordic gear. Take a peek at these reviews: the Hilleberg Anaris tent, the Fjällräven Singi 48 backpack and the Hestra Ergo Grip Active Glove.
Like I wrote above: this time we are doing things differently. Like in the beginning of the Corona period – maybe you have seen the posts I did on my YouTube channel in June – if not just follow this link – we are doing it from home and we have digital jury meetings. And I hope this will be the last one and that at the next Scandinavian Outdoor Award we are going really outdoors again to Urlaubsland Vorarlberg. I keep my fingers crossed.
From this moment on I will be updating you on the products that have been sent in for the Awards and I will keep you posted on how the jury-meetings develop this time. Please let me introduce the jury to you.
The international jury
Frank Wacker is from Germany and works for the German Outdoor Magazin. He is my long time gear geek friend and co-colleague in the time that I still worked for Op Pad outdoor magazine.
Piotr Drożdż is from Poland and runs a publishing house on climbing books and Góry Magazine. Next to that Piotr is a fantastic photographer and does most of the imaging at the SOA test meetings.
Piotr, Frank and I are there from the beginning of the Scandinavian Outdoor Award and the people behind the Award always refer to us as the three musketeers. What more could we wish for.
Karen Hensel is from Germany but spends her life as editor in chief of NORR Magazin between Sweden and Germany. Do I envy her? Yes, I do! She has been on the jury several times and always has a keen eye on the sustainability side of products.
Joel Svedlund works for Peak Innovation and is our sustainability know-it-all. He has great knowledge on production methods and materials in relation to sustainability.
Jana Erb is also from Germany and runs her KontraPixel photo agency. As an outdoor and adventure photographer she spends a lot of time outdoors. If you want to see her latest project just hop over to this link.
Marie Kjellnäs is from Sweden and is the editor in chief of the Swedish outdoor magazine Utemagasinet. She has a great passion for outdoor gear and outdoor life and loves to guide Utemagasinet subscribers through the gear jungle that is out there.
Cath Prisk lives in the United Kingdom and is the only first timer on this jury. Cath and I have been together at the ISPO Awards though. She owns the company Outdoor People which is more than the small outdoor store in East London; she does great projects to get kids outdoors again.
Again the Scandinavian Outdoor Award organisation – Sara Wänseth and Matthias Aßmann – managed to assemble a well balanced jury and I am particularly pleased that we have a perfect balance of 4 male and 4 female members.
At the moment the products that we are to judge are being sent in from Scandinavia to our homes so we can test them. For brands and the organisation a logistical nightmare. I just received a new Fjallraven Kanken backpack and later this week I will get a revolutionary roof top tent from Thule… More on the products later on my YouTube channel so don’t forget to subscribe !