It can sometimes be difficult to get out and test our geodesic mountain tents in the harshest weather. Luckily we know Alex, who is often out somewhere that’s cold and windy.
Alex has quickly established himself as one of the UK’s foremost Arctic explorers, when in 2008 he dragged a sled across the Greenland Ice caps for four months to complete 1374miles in the longest unsupported Arctic journey. ‘The Dark Ice Project’ scheduled for later this year, will see Alex attempting another 1900 miles unsupported trek to the North pole this time in winter - having previously used some of our down clothing (Filo- Down Jacket) we lent Alex a tent and sorted him out with some smaller bits and pieces - drybags, and titanium cutlery - that kind of stuff.
Alex has been out to Iceland for a pre-trip kit test before his Dark Ice trip and he has reviewed the largest of our tents, the Heksa.
We are very proud that Alex trusts the design and quality of our products and is happy to take them into the harshest places on our planet. Alex gives his review of the tent here.
After his first week at Alpkit HQ, James mentioned he had a race at the weekend and it was quite a big one. Now we knew he was quite good and was a road cyclist, we had heard rumours that he was quite quick as well - little did we know it was the Junior National Championships that weekend.
This road race up in Cumbria took place on a gruelling seven laps totalling 112km! It came down to a lead group of 18 that split on the very last lap, with 5 getting away from the main group. James was in the chasing group and managed a 7th place finish.
James casually arrived on Monday morning on his bike and nonchalantly mentioned in the Monday morning meeting when we were chatting about weekend adventures his result!
Results Courtesy of British Cycling:
1 Christopher Lawless Kuota - Spinergy - GSG
2 Gabriel Cullaigh RST Racing Team @ 4 seconds
3 Tao Geoghegan Hart Cycling Club Hackney @ 7 seconds
4 Matthew Gibson Velocity WD-40 @ 8 seconds
5 Scott Davies Liverpool Mercury @ 9 seconds
6 Tristan Robbins Cardiff JIF @ 40 seconds
7 James Shaw Forme Bikes UK @same time
8 James Knox Champion System/Maxgear/Base @ 42 seconds
9 Harry Franklin Team De ver @same time
10 Ben Chapman Team Corley Cycles @same time
The National Railway Museum York are currently using a Phud bouldering mat to soften the landing of Barbie/Cindy (maybe even a Ken) Doll. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?
At Alpkit we produce a range of foam mats for low level rock climbing, this helps prevent injury if a climber did fall off. But there are other uses;
The Museum are enticing kids and adults in with science shows throughout the weekend and school holidays. The new custom made 'impact mat' will be used in their interactive show ‘From Rocket to Bullet: The Science of How Trains Move!’, where they use an elephant launcher, cannon launch and doll to demonstrate steam pressure.
With our factory based in the same open plan showroom as the Alpkit team, we can make these one off items here in the UK with a quick turnaround.
Continual development, custom products and large runs of our bouldering mats are all handled with ease in house, although some of the factory staff's singing is a little out of tune, we prefer to have them with us here at Alpkit HQ than far overseas.
All of this got us thinking, what else could a foam bouldering mat be used for?
There have been some big changes in the Alpkit team over the past couple of months. Both Pete and Anna took some life changing decisions and set out to explore life outside of Alpkit. Rebecca is expecting a baby, and Jim has just had one! With all this going on we needed a few extra pairs of hands to help out!
We have been looking for an experienced machinist to work alongside Ben in the factory - Ant has taken up the challenge. Ant is a climber based in the local area who in his spare time makes some of his own kit, well versed on a domestic sewing machine, the slightly faster machines took a bit of getting used to. If you buy a piece of UK made kit now, Ant has most definitely had a hand in either cutting the fabric, sewing it together or adding the zips. With all the stress(!) involved at Alpkit HQ Ant has to vent it out at Kendo and boxing classes after work.
The Customer Service team has almost doubled in strength; James Shaw started recently - a nationally ranked road cyclist - who can cycle faster than all of us put together! It’s his first job and he has been answering e-mails and helping out with phone queries. He’s been trying to spread the knowledge on nutrition, but on Chippy Thursday and Pie day Friday, we’re not quite following his shining example.
Ashleigh Naysmith one of the original Alpkit bouldering team and long time climbing lover, ex Junior and Senior British Team member comes in as part of our customer service team. With more time out on the rock than we can get during a working week the experience and product testing she can do will help us continually improve our gear.
With all the extra products coming out from the factory and a step up in time spent out playing we have also gained two strong guys to pack orders, sort the warehouse out and do all the heavy lifting. Derrick Bolger has come to relax after running Nottingham Climbing Centre and pack a few parcels, make more tea than anyone can drink whilst sharing some well earned rock climbing experiences, including his first ascents of Curving Arete (E5 6b) and Birchtree Eliminate (E4 6b). If he hasn’t climbed it in the UK it’s probably not worth doing!
Last but no means least is Ed - young and enthusiastic he cycles into work no matter what the weather, puts our new bike luggage through it’s paces and has become an expert on any repairs we need doing. Although a bit shaky on identifying animals (What goats do you know that look like camels?) he has no problems telling the difference between a Y-beam and a Candy Cane for your parcel.
Green Peak Gear is a Community Interest Company - we first met them at our Big Shakeout event in 2012, liked what they were doing and asked if we could stock some of their stuff and promote their aims. GPG collects used climbing gear and makes it into all sorts of products. Their profits are donated to the Access Conservation Trust - the charity arm of the British Mountaineering Council. Green Peak Gear is looking for more climbing walls to join the scheme, so if you think you can help just get in touch.
We had a few of their rope rugs in before and found our friends, family and staff bought them all! So with all the positive feedback we got some more and managed to reduce the price further.
Grab a piece of climbing heritage, put some money towards conserving access to your favourite climbing venues and gain something durable to wipe the mud off your boots.
Green Peak Gear Available for Sale here
Co-Founder Car Wash!
When Alpkit was started 9 years ago by Nick, Kenny, Col and Jim they wanted to offer good quality gear at the best value, whilst providing awesome customer service. The team has grown slightly since then but our ethos has never changed!
Buy a new tent from our showroom Weds 12th until Fri 14th of June and you will get a free car *wash, whilst you have a browse and a brew.
Who will be washing your car if you buy a:
Heksa - AlpNick
Zhota - AlpCol
Kangri - AlpKen
*excludes buses, elephants, tractors or any transport of similar size
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