After receiving an invite to go camping with Snow Peak at their UK base to learn more about the company and the products they make, we gladly accepted and hit the road. The weather forecast looked pretty grim, but we know from experience that Snow Peak have a knack for creating all sorts of nifty camping gear that will make for an enjoyable trip, no matter what the conditions are. With that in mind, we left all of our own camping gear at home so that we could get the full Snow Peak outdoor lifestyle experience.
Upon arriving at the Snow Peak base in Godalming, Surrey, we were welcomed by their knowledgeable sales director Emily, who had first invited us on this trip last summer, but as we couldn't make it at the time, we decided to do it on the tail end of winter instead. We'd come here to learn more about the Snow Peak way of camping and we were keen to see how it faired in the Great British winter weather so we grabbed a load of gear and headed out to a nearby field to set up camp before the rain set in and darkness fell.
"Snow Peak have a knack for creating all sorts of nifty camping gear that will make for an enjoyable trip, no matter what the conditions are"
After setting up camp and learning a thing or two about Japanese camping etiquette, such as assembling your tent poles as you feed them through your tent to ensure you don't go wildly swinging a 12ft pole around, as this could be deemed anti-social, we then decided to head back to their base to set up a tarp, build a fire and cook some food on their Iron Grill Table.
The IGT (Iron Grill Table) system is one of Snow Peak's most unique and extensive product systems. It's a versatile system, allowing you to create comfortable and highly functional cooking and living spaces anywhere. The customisable, modular nature make the IGT system the camping equivalent of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, allowing different products to come together to create a kind of outdoor cooking and dining Megazord. Okay, we're getting a bit carried away, but we loved this system so much we're going to be introducing it to nomad later this year, so keep an eye out for that.
As we enjoyed some Takibi Time (the simple practice of gathering together around a good fire) we took the opportunity to learn more about Snow Peak's rich history. From its humble beginnings in 1958 Tsubame-Sanjo area, a place famed for its metal worker's craftsmanship, under the founder Yukio Yamai, a young climber and mountaineer. Yukio's greatest joy was finding ways to improve upon the equipment he used.
Initially gaining popularity for his original high-quality climbing equipment under the name Yamai Shoten and then Yamako, he later registered a new trademark and the Snow Peak brand was born. Whenever Yukio heard the name it reminded him of the striking silhouette of Mt. Tanigawa, the beautiful but notoriously dangerous mountain that he had developed his skills and equipment on and eventually ascended years after.
The company was later transformed by Yukio's son Tohru Yamai, who ushered in a new focus on camping gear aimed at making any task associated with camping a pleasant one. Now Yukio's granddaughter is at the helm of Snow Peak Japan, while the company continues to innovate and grow. Making its mark in the UK in recent years under the guidance of Emily and the rest of the Snow Peak UK team.
Later we each tested out a different tent for the night and I had a very comfortable sleep in the Amenity Dome and had a newfound knowledge of its history and relevance to the Snow Peak story as the first tent the company produced. With a unique framework and silhouette it changed the outdoor industry in Japan forever.
The next morning we woke up and Levi cooked a full English breakfast over the IGT, ground some fresh coffee beans using the Field Barista Coffee Grinder and brewed a lovely cup of coffee using the Collapsable Coffee Dripper and Field Barista Kettle.
We then headed back home with a new understanding and appreciation for the Snow Peak way of camping and enjoying the great outdoors, making it feel like home.