Articles - Alpkit Product Review
Jamie Maddison - Posted on 02 Jun 2011
EU 700+ Fill Power 90/10 White Goose Down
Micro Ripstop Fabric with DWR Coating
Classic Stitch Thru Construction
Contrast YKK Zips
Down Filled Zip Baffle
External Hand Warmer Zip Pockets
Internal Zip Pocket
Adjustable Elasticated Hem Drawcord
Zip Grips (easy to use with gloves)
The Filet is a down-filled gilet, part of the company's growing range of high quality down clothing. By the end of my month's climbing trip the Filet had become something of an extension of my own body; whenever the wind picked up, or the sun started to set, on it went straight away. It seems the ideal companion for non-winter bouldering and bolt-clipping trips, with the sleeveless nature of the design allowing for a good freedom of movement so that you can actually climb in it with little impediment. In addition, the Filet seems a pretty useful item of clothing for dealing with fluctuating temperatures such as those created between periods of activity and rest. If the gilet is unzipped then a cooling circulation is created through the armpits in addition to around the chest, yet if you close everything up then the heat is retained and the core kept warm. Obviously the design is not intended for drastically cold temperatures, but I found that when used in conjunction with a decent hoody I could put up with even the chilliest night in Rocklands (which was around 5`C degrees). Lastly, the design and colour schemes are attractive and I’d feel just at home wearing the vest around town as I would in the back of beyond.
(Jamie Maddison wearing the Filet on Salty Egg, Font 7A, in Rocklands. Photo: Maddison Collection)
What We Say: A great piece of kit, well thought out and cleverly designed, it’s ideal for keeping the bite out of the weather with minimum encumbrance to the active wearer.
Weight (gr): 888
Thickness (cm): 5
Real World Packed Weight (gr) 1060
Dimensions (cm): 180 x 50 x 5
Min Rolled size (cm): 56 x 12
Realistic Rolled size (cm): 56 x 17
50D Ripstop Nylon / 50D Nylon Base
Expected R-Value 5*
Repair kit included
I found the Dirtbag to be a good product also. It seems to have struck a decent balance between volume, weight and comfort. The sleeping mat is probably a touch too large for Alpinists and other diehard fast-and-lighters, but then I don’t think it was ever designed with them in mind. Instead the Dirtbag makes for good base-camp bedding, ideal for people looking for luxury but still restricted by weight and size (for reasons such as taking it on an aeroplane for example). I think the best testimony to its comfort came after I was ‘upgraded’ to an old caravan during my stay in Rocklands. I left the Dirtbag inflated under a tarpaulin outside for reading and lounging about during the day on, only to find one morning that the farm dogs had all chosen to make the mat their bed, ignoring the big open bouldering pad right next to it!
What They Say:
"This is our fattest baddest mat for all those dirtbag moments in your life. The most comfortable mat you can carry with near fat pad comfort for those squished in to smaller tents. Out of all of our mats this is the one that has the widest range of uses and looks set to redefine the boundary between car based fat mat comfort camping and trail based wilderness camping. It is ideal for weight conscious adventurers looking for sub kilo weight and deep pad comfort. We think Dirtbag is the fattest mat you are likely to want to carry, perfect for people who enjoy all round comfort away from home, but who don't own a Yak to carry it."
What We Say: No flaws with this one, offering comfort and luxury with little sacrifice to portability.
Weight: 118g with batteries
Instant off from any mode
XPC Cree LED or 5mm LED modes
Single multi operation button
White, Green and Red LEDs
Pivotable head unit
Emergency strobe mode
Adjustable elastic headband
Duracell batteries included
Red light on battery pack with strobe mode,
For its price this is a very good headtorch indeed. The Gamma has a main, dipped and flashing setting as well green, red and red-flashing modes as well. I personally didn't find much use for all the extra functions but then I wasn't part of a multi-person team high up on a fogged-up peak (or some other situation where I’m sure they could be useful.) Still, the torch has a decent level of brightness, perhaps not quite as bright as some of the other brands, but after all it is a quarter of the price. The extra red light on the battery pack is a nifty idea and I could imagine that it would come in most handy when walking or cycling down unlit roads. The only thing that I was a little bit surprised with was the very sudden transition from a healthy light source into a dark, dead weight when the batteries seemed to run out over the space of thirty minutes whilst I was running around in the pitch black trying to find out why a campsite water-pump wasn't working! But this could have been down to the batteries rather than the torch itself.
What They Say: "Gamma was voted best value headtorch in the February edition of Trail magazine."
What We Say: "A great buy. Perhaps the best reasonably priced headtorch on the market today."
Titanium handles with rosewood tips
Weight: 19gms (Pair)
Packed Dimensions: 115mm
Open Dimensions: 213mm
Materials: Titanium & Rosewood
If you try and describe this product to people without them seeing it, all you get is a bemused, blank stare. But as soon as they watch the LiteStix in action it's “wow! What a great idea!” Basically Alpkit have designed a pair of collapsible chopsticks where the tapered wooden pinching end (please forgive the vague terminology here) can be packed away into the sticks’ titanium handles. It is a really innovative invention in my book, and I tried eating everything with them from braiied meat through to the morning's Weetabix!
What They Say: "These foldaway Chopsticks really can be taken anywhere (perhaps not in your hand luggage though). For the skilled aficionado, chopsticks can replace the spoon, fork or knife. Not just for the camp, take them anywhere."
What We Say: Not everything can be eaten with chopsticks, so if you’re being a fussy camper then a spork will serve you better. But still; very simple, very elegant, very clever. And I do take them everywhere.
(Eating Weetabix with LiteStix! Photo: Maddison Collection)