Alpkit About Us

Go Nice Places Do Good Things

"There was a time when we had a lot of time free, so we stumbled into the outdoors. We worked in outdoor shops, saved some cash, and got ourselves kitted out. We travelled, did some routes and life was good. Then our kit started falling apart, we were no longer students and we realised the cost of replacing it. As we waited to pick up yet another x-xtra large fleece in the sales we patched up our waterproofs and wore an extra jumper in our smelly sleeping bags.

During this time we realised that the passing years had taught us something, we had the experience to create something new.

And somewhere therein lays the real story of how Alpkit was born.

Born out of a passion for the outdoors and not accepting the price of getting superior clothing and equipment that's as good as the best in our sacks. Four ordinary people trying to make some thing extraordinary. And why Alpkit? It's just a name... we go to the alps, we climb, we ride, we paddle, we swim, we run, we board, we visit our in laws.. we produce kit.. we didn't want it to be complicated"

Alpkit is founded on friendship, a love of adventure and a deep frustration at the high cost of top-end gear. Our innovative business is the UKs only direct-to-consumer performance brand for those that run, hike, climb, camp, swim and bike.

Now with over 200 staff, Alpkit has grown by almost 50% per annum compound over the last decade. It started online in 2004 and has opened 10 stores in the last 6 years from Bristol and Kingston-upon-Thames in the south to Inverness in the North.

Carbon neutral, a living wage foundation employer and Certified B Corp, we gives 10% of profit and 1% of all sales to direct action grass roots projects that help people get outside through Alpkit Foundation, its independent charity.

Go Nice Places Do Good Things is more than a tag line, it captures the belief of business as a force for good and that elitism and expense should never be a barrier to time spent outdoors.

Voted brand of the year by TGO Magazine and Country Walking, Ethical Consumer Mag Best Buy, their entire range was awarded Product of the Year by Singletrack magazine.

Alpkit and Sonder is independent, co-founder led and owned with over 4,000 customer and staff shareholders from two successful crowd fund raises.

10 Things You Might Not Know About Alpkit


1. WE’RE PROUDLY INDEPENDENT. A British Brand.

2. WE MAKE. 30% of our product is Made In Britain. By us, on the edge of the Peak District.

3. WE RECYCLE. We've donated 5 tonnes of outdoor gear to Alpkit Foundation projects through our Continuum Project.

4. WE REPAIR. We mended over 2,850 products last year from all brands.

5. WE’RE SUSTAINABLE. We’re the first UK outdoor brand to publish a comprehensive sustainability report.

6. WE’RE INTERNATIONAL. We have sold to 69 countries in the last 12 months.

7. WE’RE AWARD-WINNING. We won Sustainability Entrepreneur of the Year in 2021; Responsible Finance Micro-Entrepreneur Award in 2018 and we’ve been TGO Magazine Online Retailer of the Year eight out of the last nine years.

8. WE'RE ENTHUSIASTS. We’re with you sharing our love of the outdoors.

9. WE PARTY. Our own Big Shakeout festival, which touches 1000 people, is in its 10th year.

10. WE GIVE BACK. Alpkit Foundation has helped 40,000 people and 2,000 grassroots projects. We've given away 40% of our profits to the Alpkit Foundation since 2015.

History

We love to be outdoors, talk about being outdoors and hearing about people being outdoors. We love the mountains, we love the lakes, the forested trails. We truly believe getting outdoors is good; I can’t remember when we first coined the phrase Go Nice Places do Good Things but it stuck.

It is a great privilege to have been tasked with writing this page. Col or Nick could equally have made a great job… sorry, if you are new to Alpkit I have got ahead of myself.

Col?, Nick? and who am I? Here is a very brief recap… Alpkit was formed in 2004 by Col, Nick, Jim and Kenny (that’s me). Our early history is out there for you to see, Col did a great review back in 2010. If you have time to spare you can even work back through the Waybackwhen machine.

The why behind Alpkit really started so much earlier. Nope, it didn’t drop out of a spreadsheet, on a set date, with a packet full of funding to propel it into the world. Actually it was launched on a shoestring backed by years of finding adventure in the mountains, and that’s the truth.

I dare say we were also seduced by the innovations that made everything just so damn cool. Mysterious fabrics that could actually breathe, sleeping mats that inflated all by themselves and ripstop nylons which when stretched over bendy poles could provide shelter on top of an inhospitable mountain top.

You can’t get enough of that kind of stuff.

Mix that in with a spoonful of romanticism from earlier times, stories of absolute heroes who made journeys to remote and unexplored lands, committing self-supported, self-suffering adventures, discovering all of the nice places, doing all the great things and publishing awesome coffee table books.

Yes, Alpkit existed way back when, it was just that it took until 2004 before it finally got captured in a squash court sized unit at the foot of Mount Ilkeston.

So where is Alpkit today? The company has grown, it has outgrown the squash court and shards of ice no longer fall on our heads in winter. Our resilience may have surprised some, but hiking up mountains in all weathers teaches you a lot about pig headed perseverance.

I really believe Alpkit has survived these years thanks to the support of our customers and their stories. We simply have the best customers. The relationships forged with our customers has always been direct.

While the fundamental ethics and values of Alpkit today have not changed over time it is now a much greater team effort. The team is many and spread out all over the country.

This is in an industry that genuinely cares about how it behaves and how it operates. I am proud Alpkit is part of this, and proactive in leading change in areas such as single use plastics, phasing out.

Many of you reading this will have accompanied this company on its journey. Some of you are still wearing stuff from the early days and that makes us enormously happy.

So thanks to David for inviting me to write this piece, thank you for visiting, enjoy your stay.

Kenny
#gnpdgt

Award Winning Since 2004

  • 2004 Alpkit Formed by Nick, Col, Kenny and Jim
  • 2005 Best new product: The Alpkit Range | Outdoors Magic
  • 2007 Best new product: Hunka Bivvy Bag | Singletrack
  • 2008 Best online retailer | Outdoors Magic
  • 2008 Best value 3 season sleeping bag SkyeHigh600 | Trail Magazine
  • 2011 Best buy – PipeDream 800 Sleeping Bag | TGO Magazine
  • 2011 Best value and best of test RIG 7 tarp | Trail Magazine
  • 2012 Best Lightweight budget sleeping bag – Pipedream 400 | Trail Magazine
  • 2012 Online retailer of the year | TGO Magazine
  • 2012 5/5 starts Kangri Mountain Tent | Trail Magazine
  • 2012 Best lightweight budget sleeping bag | Trail Magazine
  • 2012 Best value – Gamma Headtorch | Trail Magazine
  • 2013 Best buy – Hunka bivvy bag | Walk Highlands
  • 2013 Best value; 5* overall – Airo | Trail Gear
  • 2014 Online Retailer of The Year | TGO Magazine
  • 2015 Sonder Bikes launch Transmitter, Camino, Broken Road
  • 2015 Online Retailer of The Year | TGO Magazine
  • 2017 Hathersage Store Opens
  • 2017 Ambleside Store Opens
  • 2017 AK Factory moves to new building
  • 2017 Online Retailer of The Year | TGO Magazine
  • 2018 Keswick Store Opens
  • 2018 Alpkit win Responsible Finance Microentrepeneur of the Year
  • 2018 Online Retailer of The Year | TGO Magazine
  • 2019 Metrocentre Store Opens
  • 2019 Online Retailer of The Year | TGO Magazine
  • 2020 Alpkit becomes a Certified B Corporation and Living Wage accredited
  • 2021 Betwys -y-Coed Store Opens
  • 2021 Edinburgh Store Opens
  • 2021 Ilkely Store Opens
  • 2021 Bristol Store Opens
  • 2021 Alpkit wins Sustainability Entrepreneur of the year
  • 2021 Online Retailer of The Year | TGO Magazine
  • 2022 Highly Commended edie sustainability awards
  • 2022 Best Buy | Ethical Consumer Magazine
  • 2022 Kingston Store Opens
  • 2022 Awarded Brand Of The Year in both TGO Magazine and Country Walking magazine
  • 2023 Inverness Store Opens