Somewhere on my desk there’s a scrap of paper from a few years ago outlining what we wanted from our range of UK range bikepacking luggage. Much of what I’d scrawled down was feedback from our customers.
I’d like to say that waterproofing was the top request, but it was more along the lines of “I want to buy some of your bike luggage, it’s great, but it’s never in stock”. Waterproofing was up there as a priority though.
Our UK-made products are pretty good - if we do say so ourselves; we tweak them constantly, the range is comprehensive, and demand is so high that we just can’t make them fast enough.
So why the lack of stock? Anyone who pays us a visit at AKHQ will see how our UK production is constantly evolving. A couple of years back we moved our factory into a larger space to accommodate more machines and staff; it was so successful that we’re now making more stuff in one month than we did in the whole of the first year.
The expansion hasn’t stopped there and the factory will soon be making yet another move to accommodate even more production and stock, this time to its own 2500 square foot building just a stone’s throw from HQ (literally, just next door).
Of course, there was always a simpler solution than moving our entire factory; we could have just made it all in Asia. But that’s not what we’re about.
Lodo and Tivaro from the Rando range
However, whilst we continued to produce our UK-made range in the UK, we were given the opportunity to branch out into something different, something that may help to meet the rising demand for bike luggage, something that we couldn’t make in the UK…
One of the factories that we work with in Asia showed us how they could create welded versions of our bike luggage. Welded bike luggage? This sparked our interest, especially as there were certain elements of the welded construction method that stood out from what we were already doing. The potential new range would have a fully welded, stitch-free construction to maximise water resistance. It would also be simpler, with clean lines and minimal extra bits. We took this model, added on a few clever features, such as dual zips and reflective logos, and created with the Rando range.
The Rando range has a slightly different feel to our UK-made range. If pushed, I’d say that this luggage leaned slightly towards the Camino rider: someone who is content on the tarmac, but will take it off road at every opportunity. Someone who is happy with something that isn’t quite belt and braces in a 100% waterproof, filling it with dry bags for a trek through Scotland kind of way, but who will be glad of the water resistance when caught out on a deserted fire road. The range is also slightly more subdued - a little less in your face.
The Rando range is created to meet a different set of requirements than the UK-made range. If you’re looking for 100% top notch gear with a 25-year Alpine Bond then UK-made is for you. If weatherproofing is your priority and subdued colours are more you’re then the Rando will meet your needs. In fact, why pick a camp? You could even mix and match!
Analoko from the Rando Range