We've approached DMM to to make a set of limited edition quickdraws to show we are serious about making serious gear. These aren't cheaper than anyone else's, they're just a set of pretty good quickdraws with Alpkit on them.
Since we started we have wanted to make our own climbing gear. I'm not talking about a few chalkbags or boulder mats, I'm talking about the proper stuff made from metal. The problem is that there aren't too many places that make the stuff. Over the years we have been to many of the factories that make the shiny bits, Black Diamond in Salt Lake, Kouba brothers (now Singing Rock) in the Czech Republic, Clog, Wild Country even a few of the Italian ones in North Lombardia. But there's one in a small town on the shores of Llyn Padarn, that has consistently made some of the finest rock climbing equipment in the world, this was always going to be our first choice.
Now you can't just rock up to DMM and ask them to make a few carabiners for you. These guys are clever guys. They're awesome engineers, awesome climbers - in most cases at the same time. First of all they wanted to know why we wanted our own carabiners. This is a pretty easy question to answer. Who wouldn't? We can either go down the wall and climb with BD ones or we can climb with Alpkit ones. Secondly and more importantly they were concerned about the way we sell the stuff, they clearly don't want us flogging cheap quickdraws and messing up their own sales, but this isn't about selling anything cheap, this is about selling the best we can.
It's perhaps the perfect product to demonstrate the way we now look at our products. We haven't set out to sell the very best carabiner in the world, they do that already. We have set out to sell the best quickdraw we can, for someone who doesn't want, or doesn't need, the absolute best, but crucially doesn't want to sacrifice on quality. We do this already with the Phud, it's a good mat with good foam and brilliant materials, but we never pretend that it's the best
So we did it because we wanted to and because we could. We would love to work with DMM in the future but they, like us, want to see how it goes. Don't think about it too much, we know we are going to sell out, and pretty quickly at that. We like to think our McGraw quickdraws are a little better than the standard prowire sets around as we have color coded them for easy clipping and they come in a number of sets to suit the way you rack up. But they are exactly what you think they are - decent carabiners branded Alpkit and made by the best factory in the world.