Date19 / 03 / 2019
Winter Testing in the World's Weirdest Town
“Hidden among the forests and lakes of northern Sweden is the town of Arjeplog. In winter, its monochrome landscape invites stark contrasts. Short, bedazzling days reveal nature at its most pristine, while long, interminable nights turn the mind in on itself, triggering grisly Gothic thoughts of Jack Torrance stalking the Overlook Hotel. Yet during these darkest, coldest months, teams of engineers from all the world’s major carmakers descend to test new models under a veil of secrecy, and to claim this surreal environment as home.”
Matt Crane, Jaguar Land Rover
When Shackleton heard that a team from high-end car magazine The Road Rat was heading towards the Swedish arctic circle to document winter testing season, we thought they’d appreciate our help. We sent Endurance Lightweight Parkas to Photographer Greg White and Jaguar Land Rover test driver Matt Crane to protect them from the extreme weather in Arjeplog, the winter testing capital of the world.
Order yourself a copy of The Road Rat to read about the world’s weirdest town and how rigorous testing here at minus 20 is almost certainly responsible for your car starting on a frozen January morning.
Greg White, Photographer
“The doors of the Volvo V40 hire car need a firm, frost-cracking yank to open, despite a mains-powered pre-heater that keeps the interior warm. Dear God, even a home-grown car struggles out here.”
Daytime temperatures in January shifted between minus 8 and minus 15, with occasional wind chill on the frozen lakes making it feel like well under minus 20, especially during early morning and late afternoon shooting. Conditions were mostly bright during the max 6 hours of daylight.
“The atmosphere is bone dry and, without any wind to supercharge its progress through your clothes, at first you could believe it’s not that chilly at all. But this is a different type of cold, a still and sneaky kind that needles its way under your skin, leeching the warmth from your blood and making your bones feel brittle.”
So, how did the Endurance perform in these conditions? At first there were concerns as to whether a jacket weighing just 950 grams could possibly protect the team’s vitals. But as the 100% goose down began to loft and the jackets quickly inflated, the guys became progressively warmer throughout the shoot. Fleece-lined pockets, waist cords, ample storage and a great hood configuration were also praised.
In short, the Parkas were deemed lifesavers. In fact only one of the jackets made it back to Shackleton HQ. We’ll take that as a compliment.
Take a look at The Road Rat at theroadrat.com.
Inspect the Endurance Parka here.
Michael Harvey, Editor, The Road Rat.
Quoted words: Richard Porter
Photographs: Greg White