I set out to make the best, most practical shell jacket to travel with and use day to day. One that you can use in as many situations as possible.

I’m not likely to be hanging off a mountain at any point soon, and I hate waste. One jacket that will last years and keep me dry will work for me.

 

The journey so far

Skapya means escape in Cornish. The idea for these jackets was hatched on a very changeable February day on a Cornish Beach.

Escape is something we all like to do and, that is what we want to help with. It could be an escape to break records in exploration, it could be getting out into the fresh air and weather for a lunch time break and anything in-between.

I’ve had more than two decades of getting fed up with having to use kit which was never right and didn’t do what I needed it to. When I decided to invent my own, I knew exactly how essential it was to have a good quality, breathable fabric which didn’t leave you sweating underneath – but equally I knew how vital it was that when the rain stopped, you could take off your jacket or poncho and not have to carry it around with you.

I’ve spent more than 25 years being based in UK and working and travelling in tropical and temperate climates all over the world as a consultant for marine and terrestrial National Parks. I drew on this experience when it came to designing the perfect waterproof for outdoor use.

Doubting myself – as we all do – I started to test the idea with other people. First friends and acquaintances, then customers via a product run of an initial 200 products. Then came an award with the Design Council, a full UK Patent (extended to the USA) and a load of support from outdoor professionals who find the jacket I made is rugged, incredibly useful and looks amazing.

The Inspiration

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The multi-functional Skapya range was first designed in February 2012 and went through a number of prototypes before arriving at the perfect model.

I’ve used my jacket since then, nearly daily. I often can’t decide whether or not to take a jacket with me on a walk. I don’t want to have to carry a jacket or tie it round my waist, but the weather can be incredibly varied down in the South West. I had the idea of designing a really comfortable waterproof made of a very breathable material that you could turn into a bag when you didn’t need to wear it – and made sure the bag still offered easy access to the pocket of the poncho or jacket, so it was easy to reach anything inside like a water bottle or mobile phone.

I engineered the Skapya range using GE’s specialist eVent material – arguably the most breathable fabric on the market today – ensuring the garments are highly durable and comfortable to wear as well as being fully waterproof and windproof.

The cutting-edge range is made entirely by hand in the UK by Cumbrian manufacturers, using taping and stitching methods that have been tried and tested for 35 years to assemble the various components.

The Design

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The design journey has been focused on ensuring the garments offer nothing but the best in every way.

I’ve sourced the best fabric and peripherals from all over the world, from Japanese-made poppers (tested for 10,000 pops) to American buckles and British mesh, before UK manufacturers make each item by hand to ensure a lasting, quality finish.

Comfortable and dependable, the Skapya range means you can concentrate fully on where you are and what you are doing, without looking like the next budding mountaineer – whatever the weather.

The new Jackets being developed have been through 7 more prototypes, tested and scrutinised by people who spend a lot of time outdoors, design professionals and big brand designers. Everything good takes time. In 2018 these will be available for purchase.

“Cameramen are obessive with detail and quality. I saw the quality of the fabric and then went straight into the pockets (as stuff mine with camera batteries etc) to reveal the backpack pouch which is piece of genius. I can carry a water proof now on my back along with everything else and not rely on others to carry my kit for me.”

Jonathan Young, Documentary Cameraman

“Recommending a Pioneer Jacket from Skapya – one of my best bits of kit. A near perfect travel raincoat.”

Simon Reeve, TV Presenter

“The gear is sh*t-hot. The rucksack functionality is surprisingly useful”

Ash Dykes, Explorer