Jay manages to pin down head product designer and company founder Nick to ask some questions about all these new base layers arriving.
Way back when - before my time (Jay) - Alpkit produced a Merino baselayer fondly named 'Bleat' - but after struggling with suppliers and designs, as a small company more and more things got put on the list and baselayers slowly moved down. At New Years I managed to get a brief list of what was to come in 2015 ( Check that out HERE ) now we have some more information and baselayers are due with us this Spring.
Q - What materials have we chosen for base layers?
A - The majority of the new range is merino but we have also added some models in polyester so that all budgets are catered for. We have looked at the current market and what is available, from bamboo, to merino mixes and even string shirts. We have been using merino ourselves for a number of years, and some of us still have the smelly helly's in our gear cupboard. It was obvious to us that for our customers who want lightweight multi-use clothing on long backpacking, wild camping or any type of adventure; Merino would be the best answer.
But we also understand Merino isn't everyones cup of tea, as a beginner or someone on a budget we still wanted to offer a great choice, so we have also made some options in polyester as well.
Q - Where does the Merino come from?
A - Our Merino comes straight off sheeps backs inNew Zealand. Merino sheep are a breed originating in Europe that has found it's place in the outdoor market - Well known for it's anti-bacterial properties, quick drying and for staying warm whilst wet. New Zealand has been leading the way in Merino sheep farming and breeding and we are happy we have found the best available.
Q -What styles are arriving soon?
A - We have tried to cover the most common baselayer styles - so we have; Long sleeve and short Short sleeve versions in both Merino and Polyester. Merino underwear and long johns as well as a neck gaiter. Coming from the same factory we also have some mid-layers.
Q - Will they come in male and female cuts?
A - Yes - We know unisex doesn't work and we have had a range of sizes here for staff to try out and comment on. As ever clothing is a very personal thing and we hope we have covered the majority of users sizes and shapes, but this is the first run of base layers for a while and we can make adjustments to fit quite quickly for the next batch - so let us know how it feels!
Q - Will the prices be competitive?
A - We're not going to say cheap, because we have picked the best Merino, best factory and spent a lot of time designing them. If you want a cheap Merino top you can head to the usual stores, but we have a much better knit, fit and build - Matching the quality of top end brands currently on the market - but we are going to be 40% cheaper than leading brands - purely due to our direct selling business model.
Q - Lastly - Why should I buy an Alpkit base layer over another brand?
A - We are using one of the best factories in Asia to produce them and the quality is amazing. Ultimately because of the way we source and sell we are making otherwise unaffordable luxury outdoor equipment affordable. Most brands are choosing to mix yarns in order to make them cheaper. We have chosen to get the best fabrics and designs possible and sell them cheaper.
Thanks for all the informative answers Nick!