Two days of cold, drizzly November weather in the Peak District made forperfect conditions for testing kit! Team members from all Alpkit locations met up in the Hathersage store’s backyard, utilising the Adventure Pedlar’s Bunkhouse (owned by Alpkiteer Pete McNeil) near Castleton in the Hope Valley. Conditions were perfect for training - cold enough to layer up, a little bit of drizzle to test hardshell waterproofs versus softshell windproofs, and plenty of wind to really test out the lightweight tent range.
On the first day Ronnie (Alpkit Design Manager) was kind enough to join us to talk all things Product. We chatted about layering systems, how to use trekking poles, and how the Soloist, Ordos & Jaran tents handle strong winds whilst on the way up onto Lose Hill.
On the way down the hill we found a good stream and learnt about filtering water using the Hippo Water Filter. After a quick cuppa, it was time to go through the Alpkit headtorch range, then head out into the darkness to go for a short jog using different headtorches.
Our second day was all about bikes - specifically mountain bikes & adventure biking. Pete McNeil was kind enough to join us for the day to talk about his experiences taking part in self-supported adventure bike races (HT550 & the Silk Road to name a couple), and to guide us on a route around the Hope Valley.
Jon - Assistant Manager, Gateshead - Wild Camper, passionate about trying new things.
"The layering system is a lot more versatile than people think; and the Evol is a very forgiving bike when you constantly mess up. This winter, I'm hoping to have a go on a stand-up paddleboard."
Lucy - Assistant Manager, Ambleside - MTB guide, passionate about the social aspect of the outdoors and bringing people together.
"I hope to race more Enduro next year, and go on a Summer bikepacking trip!"
Neil - Store Hero, Gateshead - Avid cyclist, who loves being around cool products and planning adventures.
"The Sonder Cortex is so capable; great on the ups and downs."
Josh - Customer Support Hero, HQ - Passionate about just getting outdoors no matter what the activity.
"Waterproof socks are a good investment!I want to try my hand at Winter wild camping this season; I seem to limit myself to day trips when it gets to the cooler months."
Caroline - Store Hero, Hathersage - Passionate about incorporating cycling into any journey.
"I'll be running a few mini mountain marathons in the Peak District over the next couple of months, and then my main plan for 2020 is to push the cycling a bit harder and further."
Luke - Assistant Manager, Hathersage (officially started work the week after this, very keen!) - Wild camping enthusiast, passionate about sharing knowledge and encouraging others to get outdoors.
"After settling in to the new role, I plan on resuming kit testing wildcamps. Overnighters and multi-day trips in the Peaks and Lakes, Wales and Scotland. Hopefully island hopping again soon."
Caroline - Customer Support Hero, HQ - Passionate about the environment, and getting out into it.
"I'd love to bikepack theGreat North Trail, section by section in the next few months."
Jordan - Store Hero, Hathersage - Keen on massive challenges in mountainous places, currently dreaming of some epics.
"The Soloist is bomber; very strong little tent, and reasonably easy to pitch in very high winds. Great to see these things in action as provides confidence in what we sell. As for what I'm getting up to in the near future: the 13,000km Iron Curtain trail, but that’s a...2021 job? In the meantime a winter/spring traverse of the Cape Wrath trail coming up soonish!"