Thursday, August 21, 2014

Alpkit. A great brand and a cool place to visit.

Alpkit have a great showroom.

Alpkit are a brand that many of you may not be familiar with. A lot of climbers and mountain-bikers (particularly Bikepackers) certainly will be.
They are based in Newthorpe, close to the town of Eastwood, on the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire border.
They have a great reputation for producing quality kit and because they sell direct, either from their website or from the factory showroom, they are able to keep their prices very competitive. And I mean competitive. 
I'm a great believer in buying the best that you can afford, it always pays off in the long term; and believe me I've made the mistake of buying cheap! Alpkit, however, seem to have pulled off the coup de gras of making quality kit and keeping prices attractive.
I've visited their showroom a few times and I own a few items of their kit. After today's visit I own quite a few more.
I went particularly for some of their Bikepacking kit. (Bikepacking is simply the lightweight mountainbiking alternative to bicycle touring with pannier racks etc.)

I have been drooling over it for a while but with my current plan to take on The Tour Divide in America I thought it was time to take the plunge and get myself kitted out.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Review: Rab Ascent 700 Sleeping Bag

A grumpy Dave Slater demonstrating "The Rab Ascent 700" in Bupsa, Nepal, during our first trek in that region.

I first acquired this bag, from Rab, in early 2012 and it has since been on four high-altitude trips to The Himalaya. I think I can now give it a fair assessment.
Firstly it's squarely a 3 to 4 season sleeping bag, and from a UK perspective you are unlikely to use it outside of the November to February Winter period. Internationally, of course, you might well use it much more than that.
It is manufactured from the excellent Pertex Microlight fabric and is filled with 700gms of 650 fill power European duck down.
Which means that is reasonably light and very warm.
I have the (now) older version of this bag and it weighs about 1400gms when packed into the stuff sack.
(The information from Rab, provided below, is for the current model).