Don't be afraid of the dark 15
With the clocks going back, the natural inclination is to head inside. Close the curtains and put the fire on, watch a bit of telly and live for the daylight hours at the weekend. Well that's just not our style, we want to ride the trails, do that running route we've been eyeing up and climb as late as possible. We break down some activities you should get stuck into and the torches we have to help you on the way!
Everything is a little different at night - the same roads you may have trotted along before could be totally pitch black, the quiet forest track for after work training suddenly looks nothing like you remember. Well that's all part of the charm, you feel like you're on that little bit more of an advenutre and if you want to take it up into the fells or mountains it will give a new test for your navigation skills!
You will need some kind of light to help you see out there and one thing to remember is not to get too carried away with numbers - bigger lumens are helpful, but do you really need them? Our most popular torch over the past five years has been the Gamma and this has 89 lumens, which was the only light we used for everything from campsite trips to the loo to full on fell running. It only really matters in a group as one really powerful light will almost cancel the others out, so if you run alone or as a pair, if you both have around the same lumens you should be fine. Fit and weight, as well as running time will be something to look at; all of our torches have elastic adjustable straps, the lighter the torch the better it feels on your head over longer periods. Lastly battery life only matters if you don't plan ahead or you have a really long night running event, for example our lightweight Muon torch has 134 lumens and using a single AA battery weighs only 68g, but lasts 9 hours - I've not been out running for longer than 5-6 hours for a long time, and only a short period of that was in the dark! For a weekend's worth of running or a long stage race, check out the Arc with quick change battery packs.
Add a bit of security whilst out on the road with our accessory light the Blip - this attaches to either 20mm or 25mm straps - so will fit your existing head torch, rucksack strap or well anything really...
Squeeze in that extra night away. In winter we often hear about taking half a day off to get somewhere in the light to pitch the tent, or finishing a day on the hill a bit early to get back and cook in the light. Or possibly even forgoeing the camping and booking somehwere inside... At Alpkit we try to get the most out of the 67 hours from 5.30pm Friday to 9am Monday, so getting to the hills a little late to enjoy an extra night under canvas is part of the deal. Our more general torches, the Viper and Indigo are perfect for camp chores, getting the tent up and cooking. But to extend your evenings, add one of our lanterns to bring a group together.
Play cards, cook a larger meal, kick back in the tent and chat about the days happening's around Bob, our waterproof floating light, the Glowe lightweight but powerful lantern that also switches into a hand torch, or the Lampraythatdoubles as a portable battery!
Climbing, Bouldering and Mountaineering
Drop a grade and head to all the spots close to work for an evening session with friends. Grab one of our more powerful lights, such as the Prism 550 or Arc and light the way for a friend. Alternatively pick up the Viper or Muon, get out on the hill a few hours before anyone else and bag the first ascent that day. Climb or walk all day and only come down when you're done, if the days not long enough just ensure you have your headtorch handy.
Getting up a little earlier in camp to cook breakfast under lamp light before trekking across the still frozen snow and ice up in the highlands this Winter will guarantee some amazing sites. Sunrise from the summit of your favourite munro has got to be worth that extra cup of coffee.
Extending your Bike Ride
Don't let the winter ruin your commute to and from work, grab a set of bike lights to make sure you're seen, such as the new Alpkit Tau lightsthat you can charge from your USB port on the computer at work. But even better, get out on the trails and pack a head torch for some bikepacking - combine camping and cycling to get that little bit further. We don't make those super powerful bike lights that have a humongous battery attached, but recently the team hit Sherwood Pines trail centre for a loop of the Red trail using the Prism 550 zip tied to our helmets and handlebars.
Don't let Winter or the darkness get in the way, a little forthought, charging batteries, a few more layers and you could be out enjoying empty trails. But keep it a secret, we wouldn't want everyone out doing it!