Gear review: So farewell then North Cape clothing

North Cape

IS it possible to review an item of clothing that’s more than 10-years-old and that was made by a company that no longer exists? Let’s have a go.

Don’t know where it came from, don’t know how much it cost, don’t know anything about the manufacturer; but when I pull on my North Cape fleece I know I’m going to really enjoy my day in the hills.

Why is it great? It’s mainly because it’s has a zip that goes halfway down the front. This is not something that’s unique but it’s certainly not the standard. Oh, and it fits really well.

The half-length zip not only makes it easy to get the fleece on and off, but from a ventilation point of view I’ve nothing else that compares with it.

It’s made from Polatec and is an odd purple-gray colour with a square grid pattern, and stretchy black panels down the side and underneath the arms.

North Cape no longer exists, but according to my research it was based in Stirling, Scotland. One rumour I’ve heard is that a fire at its warehouse around 2005 finished the company off, although the designs were bought by a company in Manchester.


Since I wrote this blog post the North Cape name has been revived by Daleswear,  in Ingleton, North Yorkshire.

Postscript: In summer 2015 the Daleswear shop ceased trading, and it appears, taking the North Cape brand with it. Are there any entrepreneurs out there willing to buy the name? I can recommend a marketing man to help take the business forward.

  1. My first ever fleece was a North Cape bought in the mid 70s, I think from Ellis Brigham in Liverpool. It lasted for many years of almost non-stop student wearing and mountain walking. I was reminded of it when reading Doug Scott’s new book and seeing a photo of him wearing a North Cape balaclava with that unmistakeable compass logo (The Ogre p.129). That’s pedigree for you!

  2. Every day as I leave for work I pull on a 30 years old North Cape Ogre jacket. Three quarter length Polartec WindBlocker (vastly superior to Gore WindStopper); two massive zipped chest pockets not blocked by the rucsac belt; waist drawcord; and best of all a hood that come right round the face and over the chin. I’ve never seen anything as good or effective

  3. I bought a North Cape fleece a long time ago, It’s a standard Polatec fleece but with a windproof Pertex lining and it’s the best piece of outdoor gear I’ve ever owned. It was reversible and you could wear it with the Pertex outside on cold days and with it inside on warmer days. It’s a great shame they closed and now Daleswear has also gone due to petty restrictions placed on them by Craven council. The planners involved in this should be really ashamed of themselves.

    • Fingers crossed that someone will take up the mantle and revive North Cape.
      Just read in the Craven Herald about why Daleswear closed, although the article doesn’t really shed much light on it. A great shame that it’s no more.

  4. I’ve been trying to find out if any company make thermal underwear using the same fabric North Cape used in their Cool Max t-shirts. It’s by far the best thermal base layer I’ve ever used. A lot of modern base layers wick very well, but to me don’t have much of a warm feel to them. With my old North Cape top I feel warm instantly when I put it on. It’s a bit bobbly, but who cares, really? I’d love to be able to buy another, but can’t. Even wool thermal underwear doesn’t seem as good as North Cape CoolMax. I think other companies state some of their fabrics are cool max, but they’re nothing like what I’m after. Any suggestions welcome, thanks.

    • Thanks for finding and reading the blog post. Afraid I can’t help you with your search though. It’s a real shame that North Cape went under; returned for a couple of years and went under again.

      • Hi guys
        I’m thinking of making them. I’ve got some fabric, but need a pattern

        So can buy anybodies old one and will replace it with new

        We currently produce other gear so could be a useful add on

        Rgds peter

  5. Ive just been looking for a new North cape fleece too as the quality is second to none; ive had my half zip pertex lined one for over 22 years and worn it non stop for much of that time. The fleece never pilled, has been washed numerous times without any loss in quality and the only hole is from a bonfire spark. What a shame you can’t buy this quality any more.

  6. Trawling the web wondering whatever happened to North Cape – FYI I have a base-layer shirt, turtle-neck with 1/3 length zip, worn to death and still going strong after 23 years (I think). In fact, I wore it whilst tobogganing with the kids at Dinner Plain (in Australia’s southern alps, Victoria) the other week and it’s still brilliant. Tragic that a British company capable of making such quality products can’t last.

  7. I bought a North Cape jacket /fleece at least 10 years ago in Arundel . It’s the warmest most wind & water proof jacket I’ve ever had . We do a lot of caravanning so it’s had a lot of wear. Wer’e just off to Scotland , it will be the first weather gear item that goes in the caravan Thank You an , aged outdoors person who much values the quality the comfort and the value .

  8. I have a green north cape fleece jacket which was bought in about 1977 along with 2 black tog 24s.
    All the fleeces are still in use, great fleeces.

  9. I have a number of North Cape fleeces that are a least 10 years old along with pertex jackets and salopets, etc. All still in great shape and worn on a regular basis. Great clothing at what was great price. Pity the company is now gone

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