History

Established in 1951, Helsport is a Norwegian tent and sleeping bag manufacturer. We developed our first sleeping bags in 1954 and our first tent in 1957. We launched the world's first tunnel tent in 1970, and since then have set several international standards in innovation. We received our first design award in 1968, and our latest one in 2012.  

Today we're proud to be considered Scandinavia’s leading tent and sleeping bag manufacturer. Read our history to learn more about how we got here:

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1951 - Helliksen Sport is founded by Arild Helliksen. This was our company name until 1974, when we became a corporation and re-named as Helsport AS. 

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1954 - Our first sleeping bag models are designed and created, and the Helsport brand and logo is established. 

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1957 – The first Helsport tents are developed. The boy on the left is Stein Helliksen, our CEO today.

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1964 – Until the mid-1960s Helsport mainly focused on camping products. That all changed in 1964 when Arne Næss Snr, who was planning a Norwegian climbing expedition to Himalayan Tirich Mir, contacted us. We developed revolutionary lightweight sleeping bags for his expedition. This was the start of a total restructuring of Helsport products.

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 1968 – Inspired by the expedition community, Helsport created one of the world’s first lightweight tents and became the first company north of Dovre to receive the Norwegian Design Award for “Fjellteltet Nylon”. At the same time, we developed expedition down jackets and pants. 

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 1970 – Norwegian climber Trond Aas tests a prototype of the world’s first tunnel tent on his Himalayan expedition!

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1971 – The world’s first tunnel tent is introduced to the industry at the SPOGA tradeshow in Germany. We're proud to see that, with this invention, we set the standard for tent development for decades.

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 1979 – Through innovation we continued to set world standards developing tents, and were the first to launch a tent with large vestibule /camp solution.

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 1986 – Børge Ousland, Agnar Berg and Jan Ertsås decided to not only follow in Nansen's footsteps from 1888, but to surpass him (at least in distance), and crossed Greenland with skis and parachutes. This expedition was Ousland's first, and the beginning of a long-lasting partnership with Helsport.

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1988 - It nearly ended in disaster when Aslak Aastorp and Øyvind Vadla attempted to climb one of the world's most inaccessible mountains, Cerro Torre. After a dramatic snow and ice avalanche they managed to reach the top!

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1993 – A solo, 50-day journey of 1319km concluded at 0600 on January 7th, 1993, when Erling Kagge reached 90° South and was welcomed into the U.S. South Pole base. We were delighted to be part of this major Norwegian expedition.

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1994 – On April 22nd, 1994 Børge Ousland achieved his goal and became the first person to reach the North Pole alone and unsupported. This will forever stand as one of the greatest achievements in polar history.

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1996 – We introduced a brand new sleeping bag series based on several year's collaboration with active users. A new fit, new compression bag and new details made Alta a winner of several consumer tests; this bag remains one of our most popular models today.

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1996 - We supplied gear for the world’s longest ski-expedition. Torry Larsen and Rune Gjeldnes skied the length of Greenland, a distance of 2928km, unsupported for 86 days.

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1996 – This was also the year we set another standard in tent development, launching the world’s first pole cup.

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1996 – Our first lavvu, the Tana, is launched. Several of our lavvus have since won a variety of consumer tests.

 

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1997 - We launch the world’s lightest and most compact 3-person tent, the Rondane, and it becomes an immediate success.

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1999 – We introduce the Svalbard 3, our flagship tent and a multiple test winner for many years. This tent has probably accompanied more expedition members to the North Pole than any other tent! Since 1999 Svalbard has become a series of tents for tough winter and expedition use.

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2000 - After many years of collaboration with various expeditions we introduced the Arctic Super 3, a sleeping bag for use during extreme cold. The bag is rated to -55°C, tolerates longer periods of time at these extreme temperatures, and consists of 3 bags in 1.

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2003 – Børge Ousland and Thomas Ulrich became the first team to cross the trans-Patagonian glacier in South America, unassisted. The expedition gave us valuable feedback for future product development.

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2004 – We introduce the Fjellduk and our first backpack collection.

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2005 - Like the Rondane in 1997, the Fjellheimen becomes a sensation when launched in 2005. We reduced the weight, and increased the volume by more than 20%. More space, less weight!

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2006 – “North Pole by Night” is one of the toughest expeditions ever undertaken. Børge Ousland and Mike Horn set off to the North Pole during winter, the coldest time of the year and in total darkness. Once again we were able to test our tents and sleeping bags under the most extreme conditions imaginable. Thankfully they reached their goal safely!

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2006 – Apparel once again became part of our product range, and several exciting developments for sleeping bags throughout the years provided important input for our new jackets.

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2009 – We join Petter Nyquist and Lars Oma Erichsrud on their journey the top of Mount Everest.

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2010 – We introduce the Huldreheimen, a brand new sleeping bag concept for women, based on long-term testing and research in collaboration with SINTEF research institute  and the Baffin Babe adventurers.

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2010 – Based on the very popular Varanger lavvu, we introduce the Varanger Camp, a unique new lavvu with vestibule/camp solution.

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2010/2011 – Proudly and humbly we received the Design Award from the Norwegian Design Council two years in a row, for the sleeping bags Huldreheimen and Kongsfjorden. These awards confirm that we remain a leading company in product development, more than 40 years after our first award.

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 2011 – Weighing only 850gm, the Ringstind SuperLight sets a new standard for lightweight tents and becomes a test winner. We use the same materials and solutions and launch another breakthrough product the following year: the Fjellheimen SuperLight 3 Camp, a 3-person tent that weights less than 2kg!

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2012 – Long-term product development and close cooperation with Børge Ousland results in the launch of the Patagonia – the ultimate expedition tent. It's the first in a series of Ousland products, with new and unique features. 

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2013 – We launch LY, a series of hiking gear that is lighter, more flexible and easier to use than ever! 

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2013 - The Snota backpack is an immediate favourite; its smart solutions makes it suitable for several different activities.

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2014 - Our Superlight-series expands with two new models, and now represents a complete range including several of the world's lightest tents, by category.