SPOTLIGHT – ALPKIT.
I first discovered the magic of Alpkit.com when I was
scouring the internet for a new headtorch, I was a bit disillusioned with other
brands and when I saw the legendary Gamma
for the bargain price of £15.00 I snapped it up. It is still going strong and
shining brightly. That was the beginning of an amazing relationship for me.
Alpkit.com is a small company with big plans. It was formed by 4 friends: Col, Jim, Kenny and
Nick. They started off by selling t-shirts and down clothing, humble beginnings
which soon became much bigger. Now they offer their own brand of tents,
sleeping bags, climbing equipment, camping cookware/equipment/accessories, as well as some
awesomely toasty down jackets/waistcoats and a range of really cool clothing,
of which my wardrobe is full!
Alpkit are an entirely web-based company, selling their
marvellous goodies on-line. Based near Nottingham, the entire team are all very
keen outdoors folk, who are active climbers, paddlers, pedallers, runners,
mountaineers, slackliners and horse-riders. It is not your everyday outdoors
retailer, they do not sell the entire spectrum of outdoors goods, what they do
offer is their own brand of top quality gear, at a good price, with amazing
customer service. Alpkit customers love Alpkit, what is not to love about them.
It is not just a shop; it is a very happy community indeed.
The website is awesome, along with the whole range of products; there is an
abundance of information, advice and a range of Daring Deeds (of which I will indeed write more myself!) There is
also a very active facebook page
I have been good friends with the Alpkit team for quite a
few years; they have helped me a lot. As Alpkit do not have any stores as such,
(nor is their gear sold in any stores/outlets) they regularly attend outdoor
shows and events, such as the recent Keswick
Mountain Festival (which they kindly invited me and the Silver Streak along
to). They also organise an outstanding social weekend in the autumn, called The Big Shakeout an event where I was given a
slot to do a bit of a public chat (so to speak) about our Mongol Rally plans,
where I was grilled by the Grimester, Niall Grimes, and quizzed by Captain
Kirk, Andy Kirkpatrick. All being well, team Mongoliando.com will be back there
this October. The Big Shakeout is a brilliant weekend, based in the Peak
District, with a veritable plethora of activities, music, food, drink and
merriness. 2012 promises to be even more exciting. I am sure that everyone who
was there last year will return this year, and more! Get your tickets early…
Alpkit recently moved into new premises, from Ilkeston,
to just down the road in Newthorpe. The
bigger and better HQ is much roomier, and has a lot of potential. The team has
expanded too, with some brilliant ground-breaking new products in the pipeline,
exciting times ahead, watch this space!
My long suffering North Face Mountain 24 tent was due
for retirement a long time ago, it had been a trusty servant, but we needed
something slightly roomier for the rally, a home-from-home, so Alpkit helped us
out with the Alpkit Zhota. I am a
complete gear freak, so the prospect of a new tent filled me with giddiness.
The Zhota is amazing. We used it on a mini road
trip to John OGroats and the Highlands, in that week of glorious sunshine
that we had back in March (no midges=a HUGE bonus!) It was better than staying
a hotel, with bags of storage space in an absolutely bombproof shelter. This
beauty positively wreaks quality!
When I started cooking up the idea of our Mongol Rally,
I made a small list of all the companies that I had used over the years, and
wrote to them offering a link on our website, advertising space on our Micra,
shameless plugging/social networking of their brand/service/products, in return
for any gear that they could offer us for our trip (with full reviews/pics of
any gear). Sponsorship is a two-way thing. Companies get constantly barraged by
people asking for gear-for-nothing, for nothing-in-return! Although our crack at
the Mongol Rally isn?t a hands-fre ascent of If Six was Nine, it is something a little bit different that may
catch peoples eyes (as I am hoping that our increasingly pimped Silver Streak will do too!)
We are looking forward to sleeping in Hotel Zhota after a long day on-the-road
and also to sing the praises of Alpkit from the rooftops of UlaanBaatar, and
everywhere else in between. The front wings of the Silver Streak are adorned in
Alpkit red, a facelift kindly done by the AK team one afternoon.
If you need any gear for your Mongol Rally, or for
anything outdoors, you would be bonkers not to check out their website. Tell them I sent you