Spotlight - equipment views and reviews from the AK team
28, Dec, 2016
Taking a quick look back at the main goings on through 2016
We probably say it every year, but we're going to say it again... wooh what a busy year it's been!
First up we'd like to say a huge big thank you to all our customers who have followed us on our journey this year. Heck, maybe you've not even bought anything but there was something of interest to check out. Great, we hope you can join us again for 2017 and we hope you continue to like what we're trying to do. So we'll try not to bore you too much with what's been happening, but here's a quick run down...
Well, so one of the biggest focus for us this year has been clothing, with plenty of exciting new products coming through. All of which means we can now pretty much cover all solutions to your outdoor wardrobe woes. We really feel we’ve put more effort than ever into honing our products to provide simply the highest level of quality we can. This has been incredibly important to us, but equally so has backing it up with efficient sales and support online, all hopefully meaning that it's not been too bad dealing with us.
We set out our intentions early in the year with the super light 170g Gravitas waterproof jacket for light and fast activities, then rounded off the year with our top level Definiton mountain waterproof. Read what our head clothing designer wrote about the Definition. Then in between we slotted… other outer layers like the all rounder Balance, half zip and comfy Pulsar, Arro windshell, Parallax waterproof trousers. Moved onto insulation where we brought in 2 new synthetic pieces using high quality and state of the art Primaloft insulation. The Heiko with Primaloft Silver, the Katabatic using Primaloft Gold Active. Then in our down jackets we’ve got the much loved Filo again joined by the Filoment Hoody, Filoment Vest and Phantac, all now using NikWax Hydrophobic and Responsible Down Standard down. We brought in a range of lightweight trousers and shorts for travel and adventure for both men and women and finished the year with some rather nice technical cycling clothing.. phew
In other areas: We’ve updated most of our down sleeping bag ranges with hydrophobic RDS down and added 3 weights of Primaloft synthetic in the Mountain Ghost range, giving a comprehensive selection ranging from +7 to -48 to cover adventures in all environments. We’ve improved our lighting range by introducing a selection of higher powered options, like the Qark and Prism 630, whilst updated some old favourites.
Our UK factory has been going from strength to strength, having spent much of the year simply battling to keep up with demand for our range of bike luggage! On top of continuing to tweak and churn these out, producing high quality bouldering pads, we’ve also managed to add some new additions into bike luggage and released our new El Burro roll top rucksack. All indications of what we’re hoping will be an exciting time for our UK manufacturing in 2017.
Back in February we had our official launch of Sonder bikes at the London bike show, since which the reception has been brilliant. It was a big move for us, but one we were passionate to get stuck into, so we’ve been truly chuffed to bits with how people are enjoying the bikes out on the trails. From the initial and rather lovely collection of 3 bikes exhibited, the Transmitter, Camino and Broken Road we added the carbon Vir Fortis fat bike and a more affordable aluminium version of the original titanium Camino, with the top spec full SRAM Rival1 groupset coming in at just £1199. Now whilst the Camino Ti has had plenty of people swooning over it, including Ole who flew over from Norway to collect his in person! (read his love affair here), the Transmitter has won many plaudits too. From the 5* WMB review to being shortlisted for the best sub £1000 bike in the Singeltrack awards. So all in all a good year, which we have great plans to build on in 2017, so watch out for exciting developments including the carbon Transmitter, full suss and more…
Check out the entire Sonder range.
As there’s been lots happening this year and plenty of new developments planned for 2017 make sure you keep an eye out. To pick up any end of line, old models, limited sizes and that kind of jazz then be sure to check out our Clearance section.
As an online brand retailing our own stuff we’ve always enjoyed unplugging, touring the country with our little stand and meeting people. Well we started the year a little bigger than normal with a stand at Excel for the London Bike and Telegraph Outdoor shows, then ended at Kendal Mountain Festival. This year with Ben heading up the tour make sure you keep an out for the AlpVan. We’ll be keeping our diary up to date, so keep checking back to see where we’ll be.
Our annual little weekend festival, Big Shakeout was another success this year with more people coming to share in some outdoor fun with us. All proceeds from this event goes to our Alpkit Foundation, which has also had a great year having supported over 80 projects through 2016. These have been really varied and included such projects as planting sensory walks, personal training for mountain leaders and forestry school, improving the water quality of the river Lea, helping put on bushcraft skill sessions for those suffering from neuromuscular dystrophy, kit to help get disadvantaged youngsters out the city into the outdoors and reinforcing and strengthening bonds in families who are experiencing difficulty and financial barriers by getting them camping.
Find out more about the Alpkit Foundation
There have been plenty of interesting stories coming through this year from both Alpkiteers and other friends of Alpkit. Ramon started his year with an excursion into Scottish winter climbing and found he rather liked it. Nicky Spinks carried off an impressive double Bob Graham round, Johnny P finally found his running mojo since moving out to Lima, whilst young Mini Pips and his dad have just carried on cycling. 3 wild swimming brothers headed into the Arctic circle in order to swim across the worlds two largest maelstroms and Aleks started his run from the top of Norway to the southern most tip of Europe, 6000km away (he’s currently running through France!)
This year we also wrapped up our first series of Mountain Journal Shorts, all personal stories of what it is that draws people to love the outdoors. One of which was Tom Seipp and we were delighted to see this pick up a winners gong at Kendal Mountain festival for Dom Bush. You can see the full series of films here on our Vimeo channel.
So as the desk calendar gets flipped over to 2017 it doesn't matter to what level you do stuff, just enjoy being out there. We really do hope you have a great last few days of 2016 and send best wishes for a fantastic year… Go Nice Places, Do Good Things. If you want to keep up to date then sign up to our Espresso newsletter. This year we also started producing a much frothier version of our standard short Espresso email newsletter, you may well have recieved it. If not then you can catch up on past issues of Outpost here.
Gravitas [Mens]Ultralight waterproof jacket for fast-paced running, riding and racing: a barely-there-barrier for ultimate wet weather freedomSale: £144.99Was: £159.99
Gravitas [Womens]Ultralight waterproof jacket for fast-paced running, riding and racing: a barely-there-barrier for ultimate wet weather freedomSale: £144.99Was: £159.99
Definition [Mens]Waterproof mountaineering jacket for the harshest of conditions: impenetrable storm protection, whatever the mountains throw at you£229.99
Definition [Womens]Waterproof mountaineering jacket for the harshest of conditions: impenetrable storm protection, whatever the mountains throw at you£229.99
Katabatic [Mens]Primaloft Gold Active insulated jacket for warmth in cold weather activities, be it fat-biking through a Cairngorm blizzard or climbing Alpine icefalls.£149.99
Katabatic [Womens]Primaloft Gold Active insulated jacket for warmth in cold weather activities, be it fat-biking through a Cairngorm blizzard or climbing Alpine icefalls.£149.99
El Burro45 litre roll-top style duffle rucksack with sewn in daisy chain spawned from the legacy of our El Packer big wall stash bag£64.99
Big Papa17 litre expedition bikepacking seat bag. Hardwearing, large capacity, exo-rail compatible with additional bungee cord for keeping your kit secure and safe£104.99