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A poem about The Wilderness Winter wild swimming tips

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Newest member of the Sonder family Filo gets a full redesign


The don’t let nature catch you off guard Issue. ISSUE 08: OUTPOST BY ALPKIT. WINTER 18/19. OUTPOST THE SURVIVAL ISSUE 1

We will survive. In 2018, warmth and light can be summoned at the flick of a switch. Food can be delivered to our doorstep by someone with a funny shaped backpack and we wash our cars with drinking water. When we do venture into the outdoors we have apps to tell us the weather, to show us the way and to turn on the heating. It’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of security but out there in the wild places, away from mobile signal, nature can still catch you off guard. Do you know the Morse code for SOS (it’s on this page)? Or which wild mushrooms won’t give you the squirts? We’re not trying to scare you here, quite the opposite. We believe it’s good to know these things and pass them on, to be able to get yourself out of a sticky situation. It’s empowering. And that’s just survival in the traditional sense – for many of us with an addiction to fresh air, just getting outside is survival. Surviving boredom, screens, offices and reality TV. There’s a difference between living and being alive, as they say. Whatever surviving means to you, we at Alpkit are taking it upon ourselves to dish out the best, oddest and simplest tips, hacks and stories to help you go nice places and do good things. Whether it’s your first night in a bivvy bag, navigating in low visibility, or just getting through dinner with the in-laws. Welcome to the latest edition of Outpost. Get involved with your own survival advice with #winwinter


The Soca Valley in Slovenia is the Alps – old school. Cheap to get to, cheap to stay and mind bogglingly beautiful. It sits on the very Eastern edge of the range and is an adventure playground with a great tradition of getting out there. Isolated mountain huts, deep limestone gorges with meandering rivers, stunning ridge lines and friendly locals. It was time to do what Alpkit was born to do – find cheap flights to the Alps and Go Nice Places Do Good Things.





We love a minimalist night under the stars, and that fun doesn’t need to stop just because it’s winter. A few nods towards thermodynamics can keep you cosy when bivvying out in the coldest temperatures. SOLUTION:

Pick an appropriate bag, with enough loft for the season. The bivvy bag should also be large enough to allow the sleeping bag to loft properly. In winter, this may mean using a bivvy bag which is larger than you would use in summer. Wearing a thermal base layer, socks and a hat will also help trap warm air directly next to your skin. It’s tempting to wear EVERYTHING before you dive into a cold bag, but if you have the right kit, you’ll warm it up quickly. You don’t want to start overheating in the night – sweating in your bag will make you cold.

How to survive bivvying in sub-zero temperatures. Figure 1: Kepler Long Sleeve £45 Heavy Weight Trekker £18 Kepler Long Johns £49

SkyeHigh 700 £199

Sleeping mats aren’t just for comfort – you are never going to warm up the ground beneath you significantly by lying on it. If you are lying in contact with frozen ground you will really feel the cold. If you’re stuck, try using leaves, spare clothes or your pack. It’s tempting to cinch up your bag above your head, but in low temperatures, the moisture from your breath will freeze inside your sleeping system. This will, of course, reduce the thermal efficiency of your system during the night. DO use the baffles to close the bag around your head and shoulders, but wear a balaclava and breathe outside of your bag. Thank us later. 6

Hunka XL £64

Dumo £49

Leaves £0

How to make an emergency arm sling. SITUATION:

Dislocated shoulder, broken collarbone, sprained wrist? It happens. Stay calm and work on isolating your arm to ease the pain, prevent further damage and leave your other arm free to fight bears, take selfies or call your Mum. SOLUTION:

Luckily all you need for a temporary but effective sling is a t-shirt, ideally from a willing friend if yours is torn up; Alpkit ones work particularly well. Follow the instructions below and once your sling is in place, seek medical help asap.

Step 1: Using your uninjured arm, scrunch up the back of a t-shirt and pull it over your head. Pull the spare material to the front, so it hangs in front of you like a big necklace.

Step 2: Pull the spare material downwards and carefully tuck the elbow of your injured arm into it, so the weight of that arm is supported.

Step 3: To finish the sling, pass the hand of your injured arm through the opposite sleeve, leaving it free to use, but elevated and isolated.

Alpkiteer Tee Organic cotton Alpkit logo t-shirt certified by the Fair Wear Foundation ÂŁ20


The wilderness. a poem by Anna McNuff.

I set out to conquer the wilderness today, I was steadfast in my stride, Mind’s fire so determined, Ambition at my side.

All things once so familiar, I now saw through fresh eyes, Withered branches, buds still sleeping, Beauty, in deep disguise.

I grappled to her mountaintops, Muddied the waters of her lakes, Forced a path through her forests, A trail of triumph in my wake.

I marvelled at the turquoise rivers, Surging onwards in crusade, Between granite banks, glowing amber, As the days began to fade.

Greedily, I gathered up her vistas, And kept them as my own. Cold and shiny trophies claimed, Of places once unknown.

I lay down with the wilderness today, Her warm earth spread across my back, Each rough root and prickled branch, All at once pressed flat.

I stumbled through the wilderness today, Her wind clawed at my face, Icy rain made fingers numb, As she watched me fall from grace.

Through a patchwork of blue and green, A rustling canopy of leaves, I stole glimpses of majestic eagles, Who soared above the trees.

She pinned me with thunderous cloud, And gently held me there, Empty tears over reddened cheeks, Everything in me lain bare.

And when blue gave way to blackness, Cut by a moon of silver light, I watched a thousand starlets sparkle, Through the quiet, sombre night.

When morning came, the tears had dried, She filled the sky with scarlet hues, So that I might know her wonder, So that I might pay my dues.

I was still in the arms of the wilderness today, And I let her soothe my soul. For I had begun my journey broken, And she had made me whole.

I took a walk with the wilderness today, And listened for the first time, To the breath and rush of her oceans, To her birdsong so divine.

Anna is a British born adventurer, motivational speaker, influencer and author. She gets her kicks by travelling the world on long, human powered journeys, and in sharing those journeys with others.


Published on 4 October, Waymaking is an anthology of prose, poetry and visual art by over fifty women who are inspired by adventure, wild places and landscape. Waymaking aims to continue the legacies of Gwen Moffat’s Space Below My Feet and Nan Shepherd’s The Living Mountain which set a precedent for women writing about wilderness that isn’t about conquering landscapes, but instead about living and breathing alongside them, becoming part of a larger adventure. With contributions from adventurers including Alpinist magazine editor Katie Ives, multi-award-winning author Bernadette McDonald, adventurers Sarah Outen and Anna McNuff, renowned filmmaker Jen Randall and many more, Waymaking is an inspiring and pivotal work published in an era when wilderness conservation and gender equality are at the fore.




For the past decade, we’ve been at the forefront of the resurgence of lightweight bikepacking, innovating ultralight and durable custom luggage carrying systems to transport your kit to all corners of the world, on all kinds of inspiring two-wheeled journeys. That’s 10 years of testing, sewing, going back to the

drawing board, expanding the range, listening, testing again, riding, sourcing better materials, going to wilder places, refining, adapting and gaining wisdom in a niche sport that’s not so niche anymore. Bikepacking is part of Alpkit and Alpkit is part of bikepacking, which makes us feel all warm and tingly inside.

Camino Ti Frame and fork £1249 and bikes from £1799 Bike luggage: Gnaro 3 litre dual-ended handlebar dry bag £35 Koala 13 13L bikepacking seat bag £64 Possum Bikepacking frame bags from £50 Enduro Pod Top tube accessory bag £28

We couldn’t back up all our UK made bikepacking kit by a 25 Year Alpine Bond Warranty if we didn’t really, really believe it was the best it could be. Here’s to the next 10 years.

FYI, we've made a few careful tweaks to the Sonder Camino Ti. Logos are now sandblasted, the headset and front brake cable integrated and the geometry tweaked to differentiate clearly between sizes.


How to survive the Boxing Day hangover. SITUATION:

26th December. The morning after the day before. Thick head, too many sherries and ALL the chocolate selection box, even the Bounty. Still half a turkey dinner in the fridge to get through. 364 sleeps ‘til next Christmas – could things get any worse?

Jake Baggaley @cakejaggaley


Swim! Winter wild swimming may seem like the very last thing you feel like doing, but it’s immediate and long-term health benefits are proven. In the short-term, it’ll soothe your aching muscles, burn more than a few calories and release natural endorphins that’ll shift that headache and give you the verve to get through all three Lord of the Rings films later that evening. The long-term impacts, backed up by NASA no less, show that repeated cold water swimming can bring down blood pressure and


cholesterol, reduce fat deposition and increase fertility and libido in both men and women, wahoo! So put down the Christmas crossword, grab anyone else feeling a bit sorry for themselves, pour yourselves into a wetsuit and dive in. If you’re close to our Ambleside store, we run wild swimming classes in Lake Windermere right through winter. FIND OUT MORE ambleside

Silvertip Thermal swimming wetsuit £195


The effect on the body on entering water 15°C and below is often underestimated. It can quickly and seriously affect your breathing and movement, sending you into cold water shock, which can lead to drowning. With many UK rivers, coastlines and lakes below 15°C for most of the year, this isn’t just something to look out for in winter. Alpkit have teamed up with the RNLI to pass on advice on what to do to combat cold water shock.

What to do if you’re in trouble in cold water.


1. Fight your instinct to thrash around. Thrashing about can lead to swallowing water, it increases the strain on your heart, cools the skin and lets air escape from any clothing, which reduces buoyancy. 2. Lean back, extend your arms and legs. Floating is not always an easy skill in cold open water but most people can float. Air trapped in your clothing can make it easier. 3. If you need to, gently move your arms and legs to help you float, but the main principle is to do as little as possible until you have control of your breathing. 4. Float until you can control your breathing. The effects of cold water shock will pass quite quickly, within 60-90 seconds. Regaining control of your breathing will increase your chances of survival. 5. Only once your breathing is under control should you make the decision to swim to safety, call for help, or continue to float until help arrives.

Help save lives. Share the Float to Live advice. OUTPOST THE SURVIVAL ISSUE 13


DAY HITTER ALPINE DAY HITS – HAPPY, LIGHT, FAST AND FREE. Anna is an Alpkiteer currently chasing her passion for being in the mountains with a career breakout in Chamonix. Follow her extremely energetic exploits @annawells89

Yvon Chouinard famously said, “If you take bivvy kit, you will bivvy.” This year I came to the Alps questioning the ‘normal’ strategy of carrying sleeping gear and food for staying in a hut before summit day. Why not just set the alarm for a few hours earlier and set off from the valley floor? A better night’s sleep, lighter, smaller pack, better fitness, saving time and money, and most of all that blissful satisfaction of collapsing exhausted at the end of one massive day. My first such adventure was a traverse of the Swiss 4000er Weissmies. We chose the South Ridge route, usually done with a night spent in the Almagellerhütte after a four hour approach from the valley. Instead, we set off at 4am from the car. Passing the hut in the middle of the night, we expected to meet other climbers but there was not a single headlamp to be seen. We missed the social vibe of the hut, it left us feeling more isolated, but gave a greater sense of adventure. Nearing the summit, our legs ached and our breathing was heavy but we were fuelled by the excitement of


having ascended so many vertical metres in one continuous effort. It felt pure. Our light packs rested easily on our shoulders, our trainer-style boots with aluminium crampons almost weightless on our feet. Back in the valley for apple strudel at midday. Happy, light, fast and free. I was hooked. Next came Rimpfischhorn, Lenzpitze and Nadelhorn as two separate ‘day hits’ on two consecutive days, totalling over 5000m of ascent and 27 hours moving. This provided some of the best high altitude ridge scrambling I have ever experienced. The following week I climbed three more 4000m peaks of the Grand Combin from the valley at midnight. Three awesome adventures, and three different climbing partners all converted to ‘day hits’. Back in Chamonix, I met up with my friend Tim Gomersall who was keen to climb the Grand Montets Ridge of the Aiguille Verte (4122m) as a single push. Due to badly crevassed terrain, the top section of the approach was ‘closed’, the only option was to take the lift for the first 2000m. The route was

described by the guidebook as taking two days, with several suggested bivouac sites. Even with the first lift we wouldn’t be walking until 9am, a very late start by alpine standards, all but guaranteeing a dark descent. Starting at the col at 3300m we were immediately treated to mind-blowing views and a feeling of remoteness as we breathed in the thin, cold air. If we wished to retreat at any point there would be no gondola to carry us down – the only way was up and over. We saw only one other climbing party on the route. They were laden with huge rucksacks, ready for anything, whilst we pushed on with our 20L running packs and measured optimism. The climb involved a long rocky ridge traverse with several imposing towers to circumnavigate. We made fast progress initially but slowed as the route became complicated by the previous day’s snowfall. Icy sections of rock forced us back into crampons. After a few hours, only several hundred metres of steep snow and ice slopes remained as the final hurdle to claim our prize. There were no tracks to follow as we were the first climbers here since the recent snowfall but looking up we could pick out a line that weaved around the looming seracs and

gaping crevasses. Then unexpectedly, dense clouds blew in, shrouding us in mist and suddenly we could see no further than the end of our front points. Disorientated, we continued to ascend following our instincts and memory hoping that the weather would soon relent. After an hour, the mist finally cleared, and we realised we were within minutes of the summit. We topped out after seven hours of climbing, enjoying a few moments of relaxation and joy before we turned to the complex descent and impending darkness. Without any bivouac gear, we had no choice but to hastily descend. The descent was a harrowing affair as we delicately danced our way down the mountain. Each step required precision to avoid displacing the whole steep slope which felt held together by magic. Eventually in fading light, we realised our only option was to abseil blindly into the abyss below, hoping beyond hope that our ropes would reach the bergschrund. Relief, joy and exhaustion hit us all at once as we found ourselves back on the glacier.

The ‘fast and light’ approach has become increasingly popular in mountaineering. Multi-day missions can now be pulled off in hours instead of days. Lighter packs mean we can move faster and more efficiently with less chance of tiring and running into the type of situations where we need all the heavy kit.

READ MORE anna-wells




In the factory here at Alpkit HQ, Hebe, Nick and Dom have been developing our new pads for the fingertip shredding winter season ahead. Designed with the highest quality foam for the optimum balance of sweet cushioning and no nonsense durability – maximum per‘foam’ance guaranteed. Ahem.

NEW Phud Lightweight and compact 8cm thick taco pad £99

Katherine uses: Kepler Zip Top Pure merino base layer £49 Kraft Organic cotton canvas trousers £49 NEW Waffa Open cell foam 4cm thick sit-start pad £50 NEW Origin 12cm thick taco pad £145 Also available: NEW Sputnik Closed cell foam top sheet pad £28

NEW Origin 11cm thick taco pad with rucksack carrying system £145

NEW Mujo 12cm thick hinged pad, adjustable carry system and large grab handles £175

NEW Project Our biggest hinged pad, full rucksack carry system and 15cm thick £225


Choosing a head torch? Our online guide will shed some light on the situation:

How to ensure batteries survive the cold. Certain batteries can stop working in sub zero temperatures, so keeping your head torch and spare batteries close to your body heat until you need them can make all the difference.


Muon 450 lumen For short sweet adventures: brightness over burn time. Battery powered, rainproof  £15

Head torch brightness is measured in lumens: handy when you want to compare a load of different head torches, but somewhat meaningless when you’re trying to get a real-world idea of how bright your head torch needs to be. As a rule of thumb, here's what we'd recommend: 0 lumens Sleeping. 10

Viper III 240 lumen For all-round use: balances brightness with burn time. Battery powered, rainproof  £19

Gamma III 180 lumen For navigation and trail running: red, green and white LEDs, a rear safety light and rear battery pack.

Close-up stuff (pitching tents/ cooking/reading). 60 For walking when you’ve not got too much navigating to do.

150 For trail running when you haven’t got much nav to do.

Battery powered, rainproof  £22 300

Qark II 580 lumen For non-stop adventure: dual power source compatibility and rechargeable when in use. With focus beam adjuster. Rainproof  £29

Manta 300 lumen For all-nighters and multi-day trips: with the longest burn time and a focus beam adjuster. USB rechargeable, rainproof  £35

Navigation in the dark; for lighting the way and reading maps.

400 For after dark navigation in winter conditions when there’s snow on the ground and fewer features for you to navigate by.

500 Winter mountaineering; pre-dawn starts and after dark finishes.

Prism 400 lumen For being gnarly: submersible, drop-proof and dustproof with a 10 second boost. Great for obstacle races such as Tough Mudder. USB rechargeable, waterproof  £39

10,000 The sun, approx.



8 1

6 7



3 5 4

1. MytiMug 400 400ml titanium cooking mug £20

4. Viper III 240 lumen rainproof head torch £19

7. TiMigos Titanium knife, fork and spoon set £15

2. MytiMug 650 650ml titanium cooking mug £29

5. Haline Waterproof gloves with a goatskin leather palm £36

8. Kraku Ultra-light titanium stove £24

3. MytiPot 900 900ml titanium cooking pot £30


6. Prism 400 lumen waterproof head torch £39

9. Helio Performance sunglasses £15

14 17


11 15 12



10. Pelmo 18L classic styled wax cotton backpack made in the UK £60 11. Frazil Super warm, pile-lined, softshell climbing glove £35

12. Hydra Wallit Waterproof phone pouch £14

15. SkyeHigh 700 Hydrophobic down sleeping bag £199

13. Mirage Classic sunglasses £12

16. Woodsmoke Temperature regulating mountain shirt £59

14. Numo Lightweight sleeping mat £39

17. Lhfoon Long handled titanium spork £7


Brevent 22L pack £80 Tyrol 20L pack £70



Our new range of wax cotton packs are designed as a natural alternative to our technical mountain packs. They are made by us here at Alpkit HQ using wax cotton canvas sourced from a UK mill.

Inspired by equipment used on Alpine first ascents, the packs offer a modern take on traditional technologies. Just add your Thermos, Kendal Mint Cake and early edition Wainwright guide. Wear them for long day walks and big pub teas.

Pelmo Zip entry, external zip pocket 18L pack £60

Tyrol Single buckle and flap closure, zip lid pocket 20L pack £70

Brevent Twin buckle flap closure, 2 side pockets, hip belt and chest strap 22L pack £80


Figure 1: A survivalist’s guide to fine dining.

Porcellio scaber



Helix pomatia


Common woodlouse


Ground beetle

Burgundy snail



We all have that one mate who’s watched a few too many survival programmes and wants to start every trip by being airdropped into somewhere remote, wearing only their undies and surviving on a highly nutritious diet of bugs and leaves.

How to survive a survivalist.


We’re all for a bit of foraging, but we were thinking more... berries, herbs and the odd mushroom, all of which aren’t around in the winter months. So, we think the best thing to do here is distract your survivalist friend by saying something like, “I think I can smell a fresh sheep carcass not far from here...” Whilst they dash off to retrieve it, you bust out your own nutrition and lightweight, speedy cooking set-up. The set-up below weighs less than 750g all in (850g with gas canister) and can have you eating a piping hot energy rich meal in less than five minutes. You can have it packed away before they even get back with their new sheepskin sandals.

Firepot Dehydrated meal pouches from £6.50


TiMigos Titanium cutlery set £15

Brukit All-in-one cooking system £45


There is no avoiding it, you’re mid adventure and need to go for a number two. SOLUTION:

How to dispose of your waste in the wild.

To get yourself out of this particular hole, you need to dig one. In most wilderness situations, burial is the most acceptable form of human waste disposal. About 10/15cm deep and as wide as your aim will allow – you’re aiming for a hole in one here. If you think this situation might arise, you’ll need to have packed, or be able to fashion, a suitable digging tool. The theory is that bacteria rich soil which will help breakdown the waste and burying spares the rest of us any unpleasant sights and smells. Toilet paper will not decompose anywhere near a quickly, so should be burnt, or carried out with you. Don’t make a big deal of it, just carry a few zip lock bags on multi-day trips. Leave no trace.

If you do end up in a ‘I need to carry out my own poop’ situation, a sacrificial dry bag might come in handy. we make our Airlok drybags in 1-35 litre capacity depending on what you’ve had for dinner.


Mark and Anna wear: Definition Jacket 3 layer mountaineering jacket £229 Balance Jacket Lightweight, 3 layer waterproof jacket £185

We’ve gone and made a guide


to buying the right waterproof.

Check out


Katherine and Mark wear: Resolute Jacket £89 Ardent Trousers £79



Put simply, it’s a layer that protects you from the elements without being fully waterproof, which allows better breathability and comfort over a wide range of conditions. Softshells protect you from wind and light moisture, and breathe much better that ‘hard’, waterproof shells.

Enter the Resolute Jacket and Ardent Trousers. Designed for the variable weather found in the mountains, they cut out the chill from the wind and will shrug off a bit of drizzle or light snow whilst remaining superbly breathable and flexible.


Resolute Jacket Double weave softshell jacket with adjustable hood perfect for climbing and mountaineering in mixed conditions £89

Ardent Trousers Double weave softshell trousers with reinforced areas for flexible and comfortable protection in the mountains £79



How Al Humphreys keeps his feet warm by putting on a hat.

Now's a good time to tell you about Al’s new book. It features incredible journeys undertaken by twenty of the most heroic and impressive explorers who ever lived. Al says “I wanted to write a book to introduce my own personal heroes to a new generation. These are the mad men and women who lit the fire that inspired my own adventures. It’s not just the tick list of the ‘usual’ explorers you get in kids’ books such 30

Al Humphreys, you know, that round the world cycling, long distance walking, ocean rowing, National Geographic Adventurer of the year bloke, likes to sleep barefoot as much as possible. He enjoys the simple pleasure of being able to pull on a warm pair of socks on a cold morning, bliss. But if you’ve already got socks on and STILL can’t feel your toes, what do you do? SOLUTION:

Al recommends putting on a hat. Yes, we know how this sounds, but in Al’s experience it works. We have a theory of why: If your core body temperature is warm enough, your body will continue to pump warm blood to your extremities, including your bare feet. Basically the body feels it can keep everything working normally, rather than just keeping the core warm. So putting a hat on helps your body to keep your feet warm. Well, that’s our theory anyway. If you’re an actual scientist who understands these things, maybe let us know if we get a gold star or a ‘must try harder’.

as this, and I made a big effort to make it really diverse and inclusive.” Inspiring stuff for adventurers from 5 years old and up. Al will be doing a children’s literature event at the Kendal Mountain Festival on Saturday 17th November at 4.30pm, more details at The book will be available on the Alpkit bookshelf very soon.

READ MORE al-humphries

How to keep going and going. And going!



The mountains never stop calling. It’s just that sometimes, life gets in the way of answering the call. And when you do get there, things like the increasingly rapid recurrence of birthdays make it harder to do the things you want to, which can be hard to handle. Eva, who we met about 2100m up the steep winding Mangart road, had some sound advice for us.

Eva and her husband have just knocked back a double espresso each and are very interested in our Sonders, particularly the disc brakes. “To keep my eyes open on the descent”, she grins, in reference to the espresso. She asks our age and though we’re too polite to ask hers, she implies that it’s roughly thrice that of her beloved bike. Eva’s bike does not have disc brakes but Eva doesn’t really care. As we’re packing up, she explains that she might get a new bike one day, but as she’s always looked after this one, it continues to look after her, so she’s sticking with it; you should wear in your best kit, not wear it out. Cycling up to 2100m for a coffee means she’s looking after herself too, which makes even more sense. Ok, we’ve shoe horned this into a ‘survival tip’ a bit, but Eva’s philosophy resonates with us – buy good kit, look after it, look after yourself and don’t miss that call. On the theme of loving your kit for longer, our Hathersage and Ambleside in-store Repair Stations will mend your kit regardless of what brand it is.


Orion 40 40L backpack for year-round Alpine, winter and rock climbing £70

Alpine Dream 1000 -25ºC limit, 4-season winter camping, goose down sleeping bag. 1500g. £375

SkyeHigh 900 -13ºC limit 4 season hydrophobic duck down sleeping bag. 1420g. £229

Kangri 2 person, 4 season classic geodesic mountain tent. 3.8kg. £469

Oryx 35L UK made, fast and light hiking and Alpine climbing sack £75

Winter camping. Shorter, colder days don’t have to mean less camping. With the right gear, a good friend or two and maybe something strong in the hipflask, a frosty night under the stars is an experience you will never forget.


Airo 180 Full length, lightweight and compact self inflating mat. 630g. £49

NEW Filo Warm and durable hydrophobic duck down jacket £195

NEW Manta 300 lumen, USB rechargeable head torch, with long burn times and a focus beam adjuster £35

Vizsler Durable and cosy, smooth face, dense-knit fleece £69

Koro A high powered titanium camping stove suitable for mountaineering in subzero conditions. 124g. £45




Built around a clear coat Reynolds 631 steel frame, Santiago is the definition of dependable. Capable of being battered, fitted with mudguards as a winter workhorse, ridden all day in all day comfort as an audax slayer or loaded with racks and panniers and pedalled around the world. Whatever your endeavour, Santiago has your back.

Features: Available with flat bar. 50kg load bearing capability. Classic road geometry, with a longer wheel base. Love Mud finishing kit. Full builds from £999

EVERY ONE HAS A STORY. WHAT’S YOURS? Santiago Steel touring bike from £999 Rando waterproof, welded luggage range: Toliari 20 Pannier 20 litre waterproof bike pannier £30 Toliari 12 Pannier 12 litre waterproof bike pannier £42 Tivaro 20L 20 litre welded handlebar mounted drybag £50


Lhfoon Long handled ti forked spoon £7

How to survive Sunday lunch with the in-laws.


Sunday lunch, good. Being inside with the family-in-law (whom you love dearly) when it’s a belting autumn day outside, bad. SOLUTION:

This has saved us on multiple occasions and should be seen as a genuine life survival skill. It’s wonderfully unpredictable as it really depends on what grub is being served. The idea is to survive the internal turmoil you’re in and head to your outdoors happy place by physically constructing it from your food. See figures 1 and 2 below for some classics. Top Tip: BYO Ti Cutlery.

Fig 1: Stanage Flying Buttress, with broccoli and pork chops.


Fig 2: Wast Water, which works well with extra gravy, from pie and mash.

Surviving a night in a dorm room.


Er no, not even close! After huge amounts SITUATION: of effort, sticking to their roots and The YHA has been offering affordable investment, the modern YHA offers accommodation for Britain’s adventurers private rooms, camping, dog friendly sites since 1930. It was established as an and en-suite family rooms as well as the antidote to the poor air quality, cramped traditional mixed and same sex dorms. housing and harsh conditions of inner They are and always will be a backbone city life and to give young working people of the British adventure scene. If you access to fresh air and open countryside do end up in a dorm room (we’d highly – a role it still plays today. But Youth recommend trying it), here are a few Hostels are all 97 bed dorms, scratchy tried and tested essentials for ensuring sheets, scary wardens, 8pm curfews a top night's sleep: a neckwarmer to pull and cold showers, aren't they? over your eyes, ear plugs and a head

torch with a red light for reading and night time loo trips. If you’re up early, have your bags packed the night before so you’re not waking everyone up. Lastly, if you’re still not happy sharing with a load of others, take advantage of the YHA’s whole hostel hire service and book the entire place for you and your mates. If you don’t fancy camping out this winter, a night in a Youth Hostel is hard to beat. For more information visit


Mark wears a Phantac in Nemo

Firn (The new kid) Firn epitomises our design ethos, a packable extra layer, perfect for everyday outdoor use. Form and function with stripped back design and features that set the standard for quality down products at accessible prices. Using premium, responsibly sourced 550FP duck down and a soft handle 20 denier nylon for comfort, lofting and layering. £99


Katherine in the Filoment Hoody in Chilli

Filoment Hoody (The all-rounder) We could tell you what it’s perfect for but that would fill the page... wear the Filoment for everything when the temperature drops, layer it over a tee, under a shell... whatever you want, Filoment does it all. With an adjustable hood and hydrophobic treatment, Filoment is a lightweight micro baffled 650FP hydrophobic duck down hooded jacket. £145


Anna wears a Filoment Hoody in Reef

There was a time when we only made about six products and the Filo down jacket (launched in ‘05) was one of them. We’ve been working with down insulation since the very beginning of Alpkit and wearing it for even longer. This winter we’ve redesigned the whole range, gone back to basics with what we know; high quality down, performance fabrics and (a few) years of design pedigree... and although the range has grown, we have stuck to our original principles of making adventure more accessible through great technical gear that costs less and works harder.

Filo Jacket (The tough guy)

Phantac (The Alpine hero)

The Filo is true to its roots. Perfect for those crisp, cold days standing under the boulders, round a winter campfire, on Alpine summits or trekking to Himalayan peaks. Lots of comfy, warm premium 650FP hydrophobic duck down, a burly nylon taslan fabric and a (just) helmet compatible, zip off hood. £199

The perfect partner for Alpine dreaming. Lightweight and packable, for when maximum warmth and minimum weight are the major consideration. Premium 750FP hydrophobic goose down wrapped in 15D nylon for lightweight lofting and protection. £225


New Filo. Naturally superior. It has to be warm, it has to be durable, it has to have enough pockets, it has to be lightweight, it has to be uncomplicated and it has to look and feel smart. The Filo is one of those pieces of kit that has become synonymous with Alpkit. The new Filo resets the standard for down jackets.


Features: 650FP hydrophobic, responsibly sourced duck down. Durable nylon taslan fabric. Detachable hood. 2 way front zip.


How to tackle Striding Edge with confidence.

Helvellyn 3,117ft

Striding Edge

High Spying How

The Chimney Figure 1:

Low Spying How



Striding Edge, the gnarliest way to the summit of Helvellyn, is a grade 1 scramble with legendary status. While it doesn’t require any specialist equipment, it should be pointed out that walkers have fallen to their deaths from here, so it should be approached with extreme caution. SOLUTION:

If it’s your first time on Striding Edge, or conditions are against you, you can make life both easier and safer by picking your line. See fig 1 for guidance. The technically difficult section of Striding Edge is the scrambly descent known as ‘The Chimney’, 42

Red Tarn

Already bagged Striding Edge in all conditions? The Lakes has other great technical scrambles; look at Jack’s Rake, Sharp Edge, Cam Crag Ridge or St Sunday Crag.

which remains out of sight until ambushing you just before the final ascent. It’s a seven-metre rock tower that requires an awkward down climb. It can be avoided by backtracking and following a lower path, but is perfectly doable if you double check all your hand and foot holds. Send your most confident scrambler down first to guide the rest of you down. The final scramble to the summit ramps up over a bulging rock face. It’s tempting to skirt sideways to avoid the intimidating middle face, but this can lead you to difficultly. Suck it up and head for the middle, it’s the easiest way.

1. Layer up! Start with a thin layer made from something which wicks sweat away from the body – merino wool or wicking polyester are our tips. Avoid cotton which will go clingy and cold.

second half of your run when you’re sweaty and could catch a chill.

2. Wicking sock liners and gloves help – mittens work particularly well as your fingers can share heat. Don’t neglect your head – take a hat.

Our favourite early season races like Marsden to Edale on the Pennine Way or the infamous Edale Skyline are perfect for testing the legs after Christmas.

3. Don’t overdress – you’ll warm up once you get moving,so you should feel a little bit chilly when you start your run. Warm up indoors if possible. 4. If you head out into the wind, remember it will be at your back for the way home. That’s usually preferable to running into the wind during the

5. Make a target – choose an event or end goal and use it to focus your training.

If you’re running in the Peak District then call in to our Hathersage store for route advice, or join Lola or Andy for the Saturday morning run club.

Surviving the winter running season.


! izes


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2018, with even b e t t e r p r

en you fi wh e k a m nd you

k for bac

tive treasure h s e f t i unt pk l A is the


Oh yes. Our UK Christmas Treasure Hunt is back for 2018 with some absolutely stonking Alpkit prizes (no pressure prize issuing department). So, if you’re a fan of treasure, riddles, Christmas, Alpkit or Oddventuring, keep your eyes peeled throughout the week between Christmas and New Year for the first clue.



SRMR2018 FINDING WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR ON THE SILK ROAD Head out with Pete on a Peak District cycling adventure, with Adventure Pedlars – bikepacking courses, Alpkit kit hire, Sonder Bike demos and custom expeditions.

The Silk Road Mountain Race is a 1700km, self-supported bikepacking event that takes in 26,000m of elevation through the Tian Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan along broken Soviet roads of gravel, winding singletrack and the occasional gruelling hike-a-bike. Alpkiteer Pete McNeil finished eighth on his Sonder Broken Road. “‘Why?’ is the question that reverberated around my head for long stretches of solitary riding and in many ways, the psychological challenge of answering it was more demanding than the 4000m passes I was hauling my bike over. There’s something counter-intuitive about going to one of the most stunning and fascinating parts of the planet and then putting your head down and racing through it. Not for any prize, reward, just for the hell of it.

Sometimes in life we don’t need ‘sensible’, we need ‘ridiculous’. Through choosing this, I subjected myself to ecstatic highs and crushing lows, a good dollop of tortuous boredom and the occasional blissful sensation of effortlessly flowing through a landscape and culture of magical, timeless beauty. On rolling into the finish camp after eleven and a half days of feral living, my overriding sensation was one of having finally scratched and itch; of finding a way to give my soul what it needed, letting me breathe a contented sigh. And for a while, no longer scanning the horizon in search of the big ‘what next?’”

READ MORE adventure-pedlars


DATES FOR YOUR DIARY Come and see us as we tour the country through 2018/19. Here’s a list of some of the bigger events we’ll be showing our goodies at. We shall also be running and attending smaller events through the year. So keep a watch out on or sign up to our newsletter for regular updates.

BIG SHAKEOUT 2018 28-30 Sept 2018 KENDAL MOUNTAIN FESTIVAL 15-18 Nov 2018 STRATHPUFFER 24HR MTB RACE 18-20 Jan 2019 SAUNDERS LAKELAND MM 6-7 Jul 2019 OUTDOOR SWIMMING SOCIETY EVENTS: BANTHAM SWOOSH 6 Jul 2019 DART 10K 27-28 Nov 2019 HURLY BURLY 11 Dec 2019 BIG SHAKEOUT 2019 27-29 Sept 2019 SCHOOL OF ADVENTURE COURSES THROUGHOUT 2018/19 Alpkit Ambleside, Lake Road, LA22 0DB Alpkit Hathersage, Main Road, S32 1BB


Every month Alpkit donates 1% of its sales to the Alpkit Foundation. So far the Foundation has awarded £130,000 to over 450 projects. We support projects that enable people to overcome the obstacles that prevent them from Going Nice Places and Doing Good Things. The trustees meet every two months to review applications and agree the initiatives to support, so if you have a project that cannot go ahead without the Alpkit Foundation’s involvement get in touch. Apply online or donate at


Read the rest of Kate's story in the next Sidetracked magazine

"It was choppy and stormy around Loch Hourn, a remote, fjord-like sea loch deep in the Scottish Highlands. But, however restless the surface was, once I dipped my head under the water, everything was calm and smooth. For a moment, I stared into the abyss and then I began swimming. I fear the cold, for me it’s waters hostile element, but I’d done enough acclimatisation to find myself enjoying it. There’s something clean and cleansing about severe cold. We struck out, nothing but the water and mountains around me. I was feeling strong in my swimming, stretching out and lengthening my stroke, feeling the water in my hands, my friend Kari alongside me. It's such a lovely thing to swim alongside someone." Kate Rew is founder of the Outdoor Swimming Society. With her friend Kari, they travelled to a stormy loch in the Highlands to make a film, and be further out of their comfort zone than ever before. Chasing the Sublime is a mesmeric look at the physicality of long-distance cold water swimming by award-winning director Amanda Bluglass. Produced in partnership with Alpkit.





How to avoid poisonous mushrooms.

You’re lost in the woods and have completely run out of food. It’s late autumn and there is an abundance of mushrooms, but you don’t know which ones you can eat? The dark art of mushroom identification is a serious and well published business – of the 15,000 types of wild fungi in the UK growing between late summer and early winter, many are edible but some are deadly poisonous. SOLUTION:

It’s best to learn from someone that really knows their stuff – learning from even the most well illustrated books is tough as each species varies in appearance throughout its harvestable lifespan. So as beginners, it’s perhaps better to learn which mushrooms to AVOID.

Figure 1: Red usually means stop – avoid ones with any obvious red colour on the cap or stem. Again, there are some edible red ones, but many poisonous ones too.

Figure 2: Avoid mushrooms with white gills, a skirt or ring on the stem and a bulbous or sack like base. While you may be missing out on some good edible ones with this rule, you’ll also be avoiding the deadly members of the Amanita family.

We can’t stress enough the importance of not consuming any mushrooms unless you are 100% sure of what they are. There are lots of mushroom identification gurus out there, we think Roger Phillips’ guide is particularly good. 48

“Left a bit, right a bit, stop!”


How to navigate in low visibility.

You need to navigate across some featureless ground. To complicate things, it's misty and visibility is low. You know your current location and have used your map to take bearing of the direction you need to go, but know that attempting to walk on a bearing, i.e. whilst looking at the compass, is pretty much impossible to do accurately. The solution; leapfrogging. Sadly, this requires more than one of you. SOLUTION:

Here's how it works. Having got your compass ready with the bearing you want to follow, send one of your buddies up ahead, making sure they know (it’s important you both understand each other here) to keep turning around, and to stop when you are disappearing into the mist. Once they stop, you need to check whether they are exactly on your bearing. The chances are they won’t be, so use your arms to direct them left or right until they are in-line. Hands by your side when they are in place. While they stay put, walk towards them until you’re together again. Now repeat the process, with the person at the back ‘leapfrogging’ the person at the front and being directed to stay on the bearing. Repeat as many times as necessary to reach your target; the more in your group, the quicker progress you will make. We suggest you celebrate your survival by doing an actual leapfrog. OUTPOST THE SURVIVAL ISSUE 49

Baths and Bothies. A Scottish wildswimming adventure.


have planned for a better introduction to the world of

highland bothies and swims, we didn’t expect to arrive by

‘bothy-ing’, as we chatted late into the evening with eight

police escort.

other hikers from around the world. It was late when we

We’d started our journey earlier that day at Fort William, where we stocked up on supplies for five days of walking

eventually settled into our sleeping bags ready for our first day of walking and swimming.

and then looked round for a bus to take us to the path

We woke up to rain beating down on the tin roof – that

for our first bothy up near Glenfinnan. There wasn’t one.

sound was to be our constant companion throughout

So with the light rapidly fading, we stuck out our thumbs to

the trip. As we struggled out into the rain with our packs,

try and hitch our way to the start of the trail. Who wouldn’t

dwarfed by Streap and Sgùrr Thuilm mountains on

pick up a large bearded man and two girls, each with

either side of the tiny valley where we walked, the stone

a gigantic rucksack and wildly misplaced enthusiasm?

track where Hugo had driven us the night before quickly

Everyone, apparently.

disappeared and was replaced by deep, slippy bogs and

Just as we were losing hope, we noticed the indicator

dripping forests.

and red brake lights of a police van pulling in beside us.

Water. Scotland is full of water, we realised, and nowhere

We all hastily adopted positions of nonchalance and faces

more so than the Great Glen. On every side we could see

of innocence. Was hitchhiking even legal? But as it turned

cascades of water, rivers big and small with crystal clear

out, Hugo the policeman was not coming to arrest us.

springs, rippling lochs and even a tiny windswept beach

He offered us a lift – and not just to the start of the bothy

where we bothied on our third night. Over the course of the

path, but right to the bothy itself.

five days that we walked, we rarely left the side of a river.

Hugo was the first of many kind people that we would meet, and the perfect start to our Scottish wild swimming

If anything, the main problem was choosing where to swim, when round every corner there was another perfect spot.

adventure. As we pushed open the door of our first

Our swim on the first day was in the River Dessary, under

bothy, the smell of woodsmoke filled our noses and we

a wooden bridge in a deep clear pool fed by rapids. It was

were warmly greeted by a crackling fire. We couldn’t

not warm. It was not dry. Standing shivering in the drizzle


in our swimming costumes, we all began to question our

levels, it was with increasing relief that we made it to the

own sanity. But as we dived in to the water, doubt was

bothies each night – not just for their shelter and firewood,

quickly replaced by adrenaline as we floated up and down

but also for the company of other walkers who brought

in the rapids, our laughter and shouting echoing down

news from around the highlands.

the valley. We climbed out smiling, and after drying off as best we could in the rain, we struggled through more bogs to A’ Chuil Bothy to change into dry clothes, set up the stove for a cup of tea, and explore where we were staying. And that became our routine over the five days: bothy; rain; walk; why-oh-why-are-we-about-to-swim; wow-we-loveswimming; bothy.

A friendly scout leader walking the Cape Wrath trail; a couple of friends from Scotland trying to make it across a broken bridge to the island ferry beyond; bike-packers from Lithuania battling through the rugged terrain. Night after night we gathered round a bothy fire to share tales with fellow walkers from around the world. There was no electricity and no running water. Four stone walls, flickering candles and a nearby stream for drinking water was what


brought us together. One night, I headed out of the bothy onto Sourlies beach to look for firewood. The sun was setting, and the rain had finally cleared for a brief hour or two. The water was lit up with red and purple, and a waterfall cascaded down into the sea in the distance. As I turned round to look up the beach, I saw a young stag standing there watching me, about 20 metres away. These bothies, unreachable by roads and surrounded by wilderness, were a truly magical setting to end each day of walking. On the fifth day, we emerged from the same high pass

Every day we would find a new spot – from the beautiful Lochan a' Mhàim hidden at the very top of a highland pass, to the deserted beach at Sourlies, and the deep, crystal clear River Pean where you could float lazily downstream. That was our final swim, and we’d been tipped off the night before that the section of the River Pean that flowed beneath our next bothy was a perfect swim spot. So we waited until we

that we’d used to enter the Great Glen and walked back to civilisation. As we reached the road (an actual road!), the sound of bagpipes drifted up from the Glenfinnan Highland Games to signal the end of our trip, and we stuck out our thumbs for the journey back to Fort William. We were drenched with rain, windburnt, and feeling like we’d returned from another century after five days without

arrived that evening and did a mad dash in our swimming

electricity or running water.

costumes through waist-high ferns and rain to plunge into a

Scotland: you gave us bothies, you gave us baths, and you

deep pool just below. It was a wild swimmers’ paradise, and

gave us rain so constant we could tip water out of our shoes.

despite the weather, our daily swim in the rain surrounded

But above all, you threw wilderness at us so beautiful

by spectacular scenery was the highlight of our trip.

that we cannot wait to come back. If you love your paths

For days we wouldn’t see anyone on the paths or in the

rugged, your swimming cold and your accommodation

rivers. We had no phone signal or internet for the entire trip. On our second day, we passed a sign warning walkers

remote, then the Western Highlands and its bothies should be your next adventure.

of the remoteness of the area, urging us to turn back if we weren’t fully prepared for all weathers and terrains. And with the weather closing in around us and rising river

For more lovely OSS stories, check out


A HEAD TORCH FOR NON-STOP ADVENTURE. Qark II A brand spanking new 580 lumen, rainproof head torch with focus beam adjuster. Dual power source compatibility and rechargeable when in use. £29

Hang about, outpost looks a bit different? Walkies can wait! IT IS DIFFERENT!

But it’s even more awesome. It’s smaller, has no nasty plastic wrap and twice the amount of Alpkit goings on. All printed on PEFC certified paper.





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Drop by our first ever shop, it’s in Hathersage.

Our second store is in the lovely Lake District.

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Five minutes from J26/J27 M1.

Alpkit Outpost - Issue 08  
Alpkit Outpost - Issue 08