The guys at Alpkit have been hyperactive this autumn, quietly churning out everything from new headtorches, through to neat new mountain bike components, but the biggest new arrivals are from the brand’s fledgling clothing range.
Armed with a talented ex-Rab designer, the web-only brand is taking the technical clothing market very seriously indeed. Not only that, as Alpkit marketing ninja Dan Thompson – also a mean hombre on a bike – told us, the company’s philosophy has shifted slightly.
In short, while in the past Alpkit has focussed on decent gear at a good price, it’s now fully committed to simply producing excellent kit, full stop. The price, pretty much, takes care of itself. The direct sales model, with the kit available only from the website, means that there’s no retailer margin to account for.
So a notional identical jacket from bought from Alpkit rather than a more conventional outdoors brand, should always be cheaper.
Anyway, enough of the economics lesson, what about the new kit? We’ve got a bunch of it to play with and it’s genuinely exciting stuff. For a start there’s a new, fully-featured waterproof mountain jacket, the Definition. Then there’s the Katabatic – great name – a hooded insulation piece using PrimaLoft Gold Active for active outdoors use.
Then there’s the lightweight Heiko Jacket, a packable bundle of warmth stuffed with Primaloft Silver insulation plus the latest incarnation of the lightweight Filoment micro-baffled down jacket – we’ve already previewed that one – and flying below the radar and the waistline, the Chilkoot Softshell Trousers.
Finally, we’ve also got our hands on the bright new 300-lumen Qark headtorch complete with clever automated functionality, the latest Viper II all-rounder and the neat Lampray 196-lumen camping lantern that’ll also charge your phone.
And to round things off, we’ve a pair of the new Sonder Love Mud Jekyll pedals with SPD compatibility on one side and flats with proper pins on the other. Interesting….
Full reviews to follow, but in the mean time, here are some first impressions of the new kit.