It has been a busy year for us here at Alpkit so if you don't want to miss out in 2016 make sure you're signed up to our Espresso newsletter to catch any important announcements. So as we reflect... here is just a quick look back at some of the activity that's been happening at Alpkit HQ and beyond.
Product wise it's been a particularly productive year. We've pushed forward with our sleeping bag range and now have 20 variations to cover adventures from light and minimal of the Pied d'Elephant style Point 5, right down to -48 with the ArcticDream 1400. All backed up with a full sleeping mat range.
We've taken on the distribution of Spanish climbing experts Fixe/Roca, giving a great offering of high quality ropes at strong prices, as well as a wide range of hardware from climbing anchors to harnesses. Clothing has increased with the introduction of our baselayers, including the 100% NZ merino Kepler. We tweaked the Filoment lightweight down sweater and added a smock version. We also covered off synthetic through the 0Hiro and introduced a new technical hooded down jacket with the Phantac, to give a good choice in insulated clothing. Then of course our socks made a return this year!
One big move was that into wetsuits, something that may not have seemed in keeping, but it just fits. We're always keen to look at kit that helps people simply Go Nice Places, Do Good Things, socollaborating with leading figures in the industry ona wetsuit that was focused on the 'adventure' side of wild swimming just made sense. We were also delighted to support the Outdoor Swimming Society again this year through their Adventure Swim Series and bigger events such as the Dart 10k.
With a first move into lightweight tents at the start of the year, expect more things for next spring and summer. Meanwhile, our 4 season mountain tents made a return in the Autumn. We added a couple of new headtorches and some other useful lighting solutions like the Blip safety lights and the Lampray lantern with USB power output.
Our UK Factory has increased, both in size and in staff, allowing us to increase capacity and make a move into uk made rucksacks. There's been a slight delay on this in part to the sheer demand of our bike luggage, but its looking good for early in the new year to get some sacks rolling out, so keep watch. For a little insight of our UK factory then check out our little series of short videos showing some products being made.
Then possibly the big news of the year is our new Sonder bike range, where the titanium frames have arrived, the aluminium Sonder Transmitter arriving soon and bike builds to start early in the new year. Browse the bikes now.
There's been many more new products and the exciting thing is that it's also set to increase further through 2016!
In other news, as it's not all product, product, product! Big Shakeout returned after a year off in 2014. It was another great year with over 500 people mooching about, off doing some cool things, enjoying live bands, speakers and of course just a good ol catch up with friends and meeting new ones. Keep an eye out for annoucements for BSO16 soon.
We were particularly pleased to finally launched our Alpkit Foundation, where we are donating1% of our sales each month, plus the proceeds from events such as the Big Shakeout. The money then goes direct toindividuals, schools and organisations, etc byproviding discounted equipment,fund transport costs,education programs, or supporting conservation projects. If you know of any projects or people that may need our help then take a look and pass the infomation on.
In November we were chuffed to pick up the TGO's Best Online Retailer award again, it really reflects the hard work all our team have put in and we can't thank our customers enough for voting and joining us as we try and do our little bit to help people go nice places, do good things.
Entertainment wise we explored some personal stories of people who love the outdoors, from Katie Tunn in Skye to ultra fell runner Nicky Spinks. It was also a delight to support the wonderful Eden, taking a look at the history of the Armathwaite climbers in this area.We also took over SteepEdge, UK's online adventure film channel. It's early days with this but looking exciting where we can go with this for offeringon demand inspiring films of adventure, exploration and wild places, particularly focused on the longer format andstory telling narratives.
Alpkiteers have been active again in their Daring Deeds this year and Ramon kicked the year off in style when he got an ascent of Canada's hardest mixed route Steel Koan. Tom and his dad Rich have been training hard all year for their attempt at the Tour Divide next year. At 10, Tom was the youngest to complete the Strathpuffer, before going on to attempt the Highland Trail route later in the year. We're looking forward to seeing what these two do next year! Joe turned his focus firmly from climbing to cycling as he continues his recount of the journey from his last climb Little Chamonix to big Chamonix in the Alps. Staff did their fair share too including Kenny who headed out to enjoy the Tuscany TrailandPaul who went out to attempt the Diga di Luzonne.
So the number ticks over to 2016. It doesn't matter to what level you do stuff, just enjoy being out there. Lets make this a great one, wishing you all a fantastic year and Go Nice Places, Do Good Things.