On my dad's birthday trip to Portland in March of 2015 we were in the local Patagonia store and looking around. While there we were getting some gear for the upcoming July JMT trip, for example I tried on the amazing Houdini pants to feel the fit and see if I'd be able to last a long time in them if necessary. And let me say they were great, I'll probably do a review of them soon.
Anyways while we were looking around I, for some reason, noticed a jacket hanging on a rack near the front of the store. I think I noticed it, because it simply looked different. But, once I walked over to it I knew it was most definitely very unique. My first time picking up the All-Weather Zip Neck Hoody I immediately noticed a few key characteristics that I would soon realize makes this jacket absolutely incredible.
These characteristics are:
- the back of the jacket is vented
- it's thin, but looked warm
- thumb hole
- over the finger stretch cover
Once I tried it on I realized it had a tight, but comfortable fit that, I knew, would allow me to wear it easily all day. Also I pulled up the hood and saw yet another great characteristic. The hood is tight and stretchy much like a Buff and the zipper reaches up to your nose/upper lip. Meaning fully zipped the hood will not only cover your head, but also your mouth and maybe even your nose. And finally the zipper reaches down to your lower chest, making it very easy to put on and remove the jacket and even undo the zipper to cool off.
We immediately bought a jacket each and fell in love. I personally live by the V-4F rule to determine if something is an amazing piece of gear. V-4F means Versatility, Functionality, Fit, Feel. If the gear gets a yes in all four categories then it's amazing. A piece of gear might be good if it doesn't get a yes in all four, but it has to get a yes in all four to be amazing!
And let me say this jacket most definitely gets a yes in all four.
- Versatility: Yes, I have used this jacket, and it has kept me warm, everywhere from the Southwestern US to the Sierra Nevada.
- Functionality: Yes, it packs very small and with its overall stretchy feel it can be used anywhere.
- Fit: Yes, it has a relatively tight fit that keeps the warmth in and the cold out.
- Feel: Yes, it has a relatively smooth feel and I love the tight fit.
And so therefore the All-Weather Zip Neck Hoody is AMAZING!
The only con that I would have with this jacket are this minuscule topic:
1.) The tight fit might annoy some people who like a more loose fitting jackets. If that is the case then maybe this jacket isn't for you, however the tight fit is what contributes greatly to this jacket's warmth factor.
So overall I'd probably have to say that this jacket is perfect. A perfect solution for any type of adventure, that will keep you warm on the mountaintop and comfortable in the coffeeshop. So please enjoy this amazing jacket that I would recommend to anyone and everyone looking for a solution to their mid-layer and all around layer warmth needs.
And for all those reasons and more I really hope Patagonia continues to make this jacket!!!
This is the counterpart to my Tailwind review and it's the other fuel that I use constantly. It is actually the first hydration mix that my dad and I found and fell in love with. We mainly used Carbo Pro on our run of the Wildwood Trail in Portland, our run down to Phantom Ranch in the Grand Canyon, and our run of Mt. Wilson in SoCal. These are just some of the many adventures and of course local runs that we have employed Carbo Pro on. My journey of fueling techniques went like this: when I first began to run I used gels (like Hammer gels), then we found Carbo Pro and fell in love, then like I talked about last week we found Tailwind, and now we use both Carbo Pro and Tailwind.
It's not a fuel that is overtly expensive or not useful. It is in fact the opposite. At only $25 you get a 2 lbs tub of Carbo Pro, which is enough for the 200 calorie recommended serving. That statement may sound like an advertisement and it isn't, directly, I love Carbo Pro for what it is, not because they are paying me or anything of that sort.
What is it?
Carbo Pro is a pure complex carb fuel that "provides safe, clean, efficient calories for any exercise activity." It is manufactured from corn sourced form Europe and is Non-GMO and NSF certified. Meaning it is GMO free and has a good bill of purity. It's high molecular weight and low osmolality helps with quick absorption. And carbohydrates by nature provide 4 calories per gram while fat may provide 9 calories per gram, it is easier for the body to break down ATP (the primary fuel for exercise) and carbs yield better to ATP and therefor better to more efficient energy. In addition fat takes longer to break down.
Who is it for?
Carbo Pro, as advertised, is for everyone! As a long distance runner I obviously use it for that activity, but I do know that swimmers, cyclists, triathletes, and many more varied types of athletes use this fuel to better perform their activity of choice.
Why would you use it?
I would recommend Carbo Pro to anyone who is putting in committed work in their respective sport. If you need a fuel that works and that is long lasting then Carbo Pro is a great choice. It will give you the sustainably effective energy that will carry you through that day's training activity or race.
How do you use it?
It's extremely easy to use. Just 2 scoops using the provided 60 cc scoop will yield a 200 calorie powerhouse of fuel that you simply mix into water. It is a white powder that mixes colorless and has a plain flavor that tastes like you drinking from the crossroads of sweet and simple.
On Carbo Pro's website they go deep into the math of how much you should be taking and when. But, personally I keep it pretty simple. I eat a solid meal before the run (usually breakfast), then on the run take in 100-200 calories for the first few hours and then bump it up to 300 if I'm going long and maybe even 350 or 400 if it's a race or long form adventure, then after the run have a snack (like one of these great Pure Bars, I love the coconut) and a little later on another solid meal.
- Easy flavor, its flavor is not to overwhelming or gross and it goes right drown.
- Packs pretty small, it doesn't pack as small as Tailwind, but it does go down to a nice size if measured into a little plastic bag.
- Long-lasting energy, this is probably the biggest one. The long lasting energy that this fuel gives me is second to none, longer than Tailwind, but like I said last week each of these fuels is for a certain situation.
- Price, at only $25 it's a great deal and coupled with the fact that it gives so much product, it makes it all the better.
- Stomach bombs, this is probably the biggest con of this fuel. The fact that it messes with my stomach a lot is a big problem. It doesn't cause problems every time, but it is quite annoying. If you can get to know your body and fuel when necessary it can be avoided I think.
- Clumping, when mixed with water it usually clumps up a bit. But, honestly the jostling of the run itself breaks it all down and it'll be ready by your first drink usually.
In conclusion, Carbo Pro is my other all time favorite fuel. Something that gives such an efficient and long lasting source of energy, a great flavor, and easy packing can't be beat. And with only two cons that can be worked around I think Carbo Pro should be one of the top fuels of choice for anyone out there pushing hard!
Get it here.
When I began to get into running my token choice for fueling on the run was water and gels. My dad employed the same strategy. But when I began to advance in my running ability my dad and I discovered powdered calories, such as Tailwind. We were dubious at first, but soon fell in love with its easy absorption, long-burning fuel, and all around benefits. It packs away small and allows for easy transport and storage. It has become a staple of our running fuel cupboard and is always an easy go to, which I think it will become with you to.
What is it?
Tailwind was created by a guy named Jeff after having stomach issues at endurance events, such as the Leadville 100. If your an ultrarunner you've most likely faced gut bombs, either at a race or in training. It's not pleasant. Messing with your head and your time, stomach problems don't bring any benefits. Which is why Tailwind's glucose/sucrose is synergistic, as the website says, to your body. Along with the included electrolytes, Tailwind creates a massively powerful, yet easy to digest endurance fuel. It also mixes clear and has a sweet, yet airy flavor. Like you're drinking, and subsequently running, on clouds.
Who is it for?
To me Tailwind is for anybody and everybody who needs sustained energy. Either at work, at a race, in training, or at home it can be used anywhere. At home or at work it doesn't substitute a healthy, wholesome meal, however. Only adds to the fire of that solid fuel. But, at a race or in training it can be "all you need, all day" as the company promotes.
I love Tailwind for a few key reasons. I'll make them easy to see...
- It's long-lasting fuel. Because, it absorbs so well into the body, but can be drank so easily it provides sustained energy throughout the whole event. And I love that, it's hard to due that with gels. Gels are quick boosts of energy and I even use them sometimes still, for a pick me up when I'm really struggling. But, I'm probably only struggling because I didn't drink enough Tailwind. If I had I would of been A-OK.
- Portability. A very small scoop equals 100 calories! Meaning I could pack away 400 or 500 calories in a little plastic bag, easy.
- Electrolytes. It has electrolytes! I can't even believe it. Largely eliminating salt caps the fact that Tailwind has the electrolytes I need during any type of effort, from easy to hard, Tailwind is always there with the electrolytes to replenish me.
- Taste. Tailwind has a sweet taste that really gives my mouth and body a change during the run.
For me Tailwind only has a few drawbacks.
- Sucrose. The fact that Tailwind has sucrose, for me, is a benefit and a drawback. Other calorie drink mixes don't which is sometimes better. With its sucrose Tailwind sometimes gives me a little to much of a boost then not so much a crash, but a low. But, I know that if Tailwind had complex carbohydrates like other mixes gut bombs would be much more common. But, those other mixes don't have electrolytes mixed in. So it's whatever the situation calls for I'll use.
- Electrolytes. I love that it has these, but the only reason that electrolytes is also in the Cons category is because I almost wish it had more. Sometimes on a really hot or tough day I'll have to supplement with some salt caps. But, I know that this is a situational thing and I think the solution is to just know your body or Tailwind could add more electrolytes. :)
All in all Tailwind is an extremely efficient, effective, and portable drink calorie mix that has fueled me on many an adventure and will on many more. With only a few cons I highly recommend it, but also recommend that you get to know how to listen to your body and know when you need something else. If this incredible product sounds interesting to your needs (and if your an endurance athlete it should) you can check it out here.
"Follow the yellow brick road!"
A famous saying, from an infamous movie this saying not only applies to Dorothy's adventures, but to trailrunners also. The Tikka RXP creates a yellow brick road down the trail and brightens the way for any adventure. I know this sounds like a total endorsement and I guess it kind of is, because I really love it.
-Reactive Lighting (amazing!)
-several lighting modes
-wide, mixed, and focused beam patterns
-secure and absorbent headband
What I Like:
Over the past few months I have been using this headlamp exclusively for night time runs. When I run in the dark it is in the early morning and this headlamp functions perfectly throughout my run. Some other headlamps I have tried have cut out from the sweat, or cold, or rough handling. But this one is great in any temperature, it is water resistant, and is tough as nails.
Probably one of the absolute best features of this headlamp is its Reactive Lighting. The lamp's light sensor automatically adjusts brightness, optimizes burn time, and minimizes handling. The sensor works with almost no lag and so there is no worry of moving your head and not having enough light.
This headlamp has a multitude of settings, so much in fact that you can customize burn times and make profiles with the OS by Petzl. With all of these settings and options you really have to sit down and read the instructions. But, for me I tend to just use the Reactive Lighting and it works well enough for day to day, which is what I have used it for so far.
This headlamp charges via a USB cable and with a 4-5 hour charging time, which may seem long, this charging system works great. I plug it in over night and it is most definitely ready in the morning. If I am going to use the headlamp the next day I always make sure that it is charged, to avoid any problems that might occur. The battery lasts about a year according to Petzl and so will probably need to be replaced. Also this headlamp could be used with the Petzl standard battery pack for longer, more remote adventures.
At only 115 g (4.057 oz) its comfortably light and with the cross designed strap it sits easily and almost forgettably on my head.
What Could Be Better...
This is just an arbitrary opinion really, but the whole gamut of settings could be a little simpler. But like I said if you just leave it on the Reactive it's fine.
I love my Tikka RXP and I hope you will to, because it's versatile, tough, and distinctive!
Thanks for reading.
Go far, go further.
- Slim fit.
- XS-XL sizes.
The Patagonia Forerunner is a quick drying, lightweight shirt made of recycled polyester that even has permanent odor control that works. It doesn't have any tags behind your neck, instead it has the label printed nicely and a moisture wicking edging. With gusseted underarms and an optimal design the shirt allows for a wide range of movements and actions slow and fast. Final features are flat lock seams providing no chafe and sun protection at 15-UPF.
Everyday when I set off down the trail this is the shirt that I have on. The Patagonia Forerunner has always been in my running apparel favorites, because of its versatility. I have worn this shirt on all of my adventures too.
When I was in the Sierras on the John Muir Trail and could not get to a shower I did wash the shirt in the river, but that didn't remove the smell that was brewing in the shirt. Although the odor control does work during the run, I have found that if you don't wash it afterwards it will become very flavorful to say the least.
People might find that the shirt does not stretch like an everyday cotton shirt might. This might get uncomfortable and annoying at times, I know it did for me when I first started wearing this shirt. But, if you think about it this becomes part of this shirts positive features. By not stretching it stays close to your skin, consequently wicking away moisture and evaporating heat away. Also by not stretching, the shirt keeps its form for years to come.
Due too it's build of 100% polyester the shirt does not stick to your body. Instead it comfortably rides on you, but not attached to you.
Obviously the Patagonia Forerunner is not the cheapest shirt coming in at $39 on the Patagonia website, but as with all Patagonia gear you are paying for quality, functionality, and durability. With its moisture wicking, sun protection, and comfortable design properties you can't go wrong with the amazing Patagonia Forerunner.
The brick and mortar and online retailer of ultrarunning and fastpacking gear based in Bishop, CA in the Eastern Sierra was one of the first stops I called on after my adventure in the Sierras and JMT last July. I had actually purchased a few pieces of gear online for my trip and so in my Instagram photos that I posted of the gear Sage to Summit commented that I should swing by and so I threw that on my plan and began to look forward to it. Once my father and I finished our ill-fated fast packing adventure in the Sierras, which you can read about on the reports I wrote a while back, we stayed in Mammoth for a few days and then headed down to Bishop. I grabbed an Açaí bowl from Eastside Juice a few streets down and then hung out in Looney Bean Roasting Company, both pretty awesome places.
Then as soon as Sage to Summit opened we headed over and I was in awe of all the gear they had. From Ultimate Direction and Salomon to companies that I've never heard of. We actually bought the sleep shelter we used for the Sierras, the Brooks Range Ultralite Quick-Tent, from Sage to Summit. They had a great selection of race packs and fastpacking packs. Since the store particularly specializes in fastpacking and ultrarunning gear their products have been brilliantly curated to cater towards those sports. Therefore, since I am primarily an ultrarunner and have done some fastpacking I loved the selection. To give a few examples they had for nutrition Cliff products, Carbo Pro, and many more. In terms of shoes they had a large variety from Hoka and Brooks to Altra and New Balance. And of course clothing had a large selection to choose from also, carrying The North Face, Outdoor Research, etc.
I didn't buy a piece of gear or anything, but I bought a shirt! My dad got a cotton everyday shirt, but unfortunately he bought the last one. So I had to get a tech shirt and probably my only complaint from this store is that the tech shirt is a Brooks shirt and for me Brooks shirts are a little to heavy and thick. However the dislike is extremely personal and in no way takes away from the awesomeness that is Sage to Summit.
So if you get a chance take a yonder over to the Eastern Sierras and enjoy a ramble through the mountains and then some awesome gear at Sage to Summit or alternatively shop online at their even more varied store!
As they say on their website, "the original performance toesocks," Injinji are the original and I would venture to say the best. I have been wearing Injinjis for years now and I have always loved them. Since I am still in high school, when I had PE last year taking off my shoes got plenty of weird looks. "That kid with the socks with toes, weird." But to me it was just funny because they didn't know what they were missing! The support, strength, and durability these socks provide have featured everywhere in my life. From everyday use at school, to using the lightweight run versions on my runs, to using the heavier mid weights on the John Muir Trail.
The Sock Itself:
Injinji has many, many different models and colors to choose from and I am not really talking about any specific one. They have knee high compression, trail,
Simply put the Luna Sandals Osos are the absolute best piece of footwear that I've used to date. Their versatility, grit, and all around toughness have taken me very far. I love them and when I'm out there suffering on the trails you'll most likely see a pair of these guys on my feet. I wore them on my very first 50k in October of 2015 and everyone was impressed with my age at 16 and that I was running in sandals. Even with Born to Run and the minimalist craze that happened a few years ago, true minimalism like running in sandals or barefoot is still very surprising and impressive to most. But, I am simply trying to get back down to basics. At the minimum: a pair of sandals, shorts, and a bottle and I'm at my happiest. And these sandals bring me down to that simplicity.
The name Oso translates to Bear in English and the tread on the sole of these things is as tough as a bear. Just like bears, anywhere in the mountains you want to go this tread will take you. I have never had a problem with the tread, except for the fact that due to its very rough nature mud tends to be more prone to staying stuck than on something like the Leadvilles. I love the tread and the Vibram sole seems to be of a high density making rocks almost not a problem, but don't expect it to be a cushion-y float on clouds. The dense tread makes it tough, but stiff you just have to get used to it.
Like most other Luna Sandals the Osos have the MGT (Monkey Grip Technology) on their footbed. Locking your foot in and keeping it stable for the whole run is what the MGT does and it does perfectly.
Again like many other Luna's these use the Performance Laces. And again they are amazing, being the second part to the locking in your foot process. Apart from some fraying that is bound to happen and eventually needs replacement, these laces are great.
Coming in at a mere 7 oz (Men's Single Sandal Size 9) the Osos are light, durable, tough, and just gnarly! I love them and I hope you do to.
Following along with my Luna Sandals reviews, the Leadvilles. The classic and the simplest! These were my very first pair of sandals and even before I started running my dad gave me a pair of these to walk around and hang out in when I didn't have to wear shoes (like at school). That was when I first started middle school and I am now in 11th grade so it's easy to say that I have gone through my fair share of this model. Cleaning out my closest recently I found three pairs. So yes I absolutely love these sandals and weighing in at only 5.6 oz (Single, Men's Size 9) they are perfect for the city and the trail.
Vibram's neoprene rubber 10mm (11 w/ MGT) uber thin, but durable sole is perfect for this rugged sandal. With the almost V shaped aggressive tread that grips almost anything. I personally prefer the Osos with an even more aggressive tread for rougher terrain. The Leadvilles however provide ample traction for most trails and function even better in mud, because the Osos with the more aggressive tread holds onto the mud and the Leadvilles do not as much.
Featuring the MGT (Monkey Grip Technology) this secures my foot to the sandal for the whole run. The MGT also happens to secure in mud to and with just a little upkeep, by cleaning your sandals, that won't be a problem.
As I talked about in last weeks Origen review these sandals also have the amazing Performance Laces that lock in my feet. With these laces, as with most, you really have to make sure you have a good fit and keep it tight. So before and after every run I adjust the laces to achieve optimal fit. Around your foot there are some friction points on the long runs. For example, wear the laces come up between your toes, where they connect to the sole on the inside of your foot, and on the ankle strap occasionally. With just a little tape or Body Glide this problem disappears. The last thing I have noticed with the Performance Laces is that the two points on either side of the foot where the laces touch the ground over extended use this frays. Eventually, needing replacement but this is obvious and is a big reason why I have gone through so many pairs.
But, overall this is a wonderful piece of equipment I use almost everyday. From the coffee shops to the mountains I love my Leadvilles!
The newest pair of Luna Sandals comes with some great new features and some issues. The Origens are based off of the original Rarámuri (Tarahumara) sandals made out of tire tread and leather straps. Because of that the Origens are sturdy, solid sandals.
Made out of up-cycled tire tread with a vibram midsole this sandal has an almost wave like tread pattern. The vibram midsole provides flexibility and support, while the tire tread provides a durable, dense base. I don't foresee the tread wearing out any time soon.
The MGT (Monkey Grip Technology) provides a rubberized top that really connects and holds your foot down and into the sandal. The traction and durability it gives performs best in wet or muddy conditions.
I buy all of my sandals with the Performance Laces. With their cushioned heel strap, durable nylon, comfortable design, flush and protective outsole plug I find these straps to be the best for trailrunning and even the everyday.
The everyday is what I use these specific sandals for. Because the only complaint that I have is that they weigh in at 8.6 oz (single sandal, Men's size 9) which is not light. Because of that I find that it becomes to cumbersome for running and wearing out and about is more applicable. I do love these sandals though, because I know of their amazing craftsmanship and design they will last for a very long time, especially if the only abuse they are getting is walking around the city.
So I do highly recommend the Luna Sandals Origens as a beautiful and tough piece of footwear.
These shoes are a true work af art. Which may sound to generous, however these shoes are durable, tough, gritty, and of course well made. They are my go to shoes, when I'm not wearing my Luna Sandals of course.
I had been running in the Topo Oterro (which they sadly no longer make), but with my father and I's John Muir Trail trek approaching we needed to look for a shoe to fit the terrain better, specifically with a rock plate. These shoes were the obvious choice. Topo made a logical progression from their MT shoes to these Runventures by adding a rock plate. As we trained in them and eventually did the John Muir Trail we saw how great and versatile these shoes are.
The outer sole of these shoes provide extreme traction and durability for any terrain. I have used them in varied terrain, from rocky and rooty trails to flat, sandy surfaces and at a 4.5 mm outsolen the lugs are big enough for anything. The ultimate test of these shoes for me was in the Sierras on the JMT. They handled supurbly, the tread carrying me up the climbs and across the mountains. But, more than the tread, what makes these shoes one of the best trailrunning shoes (in my opinion) is their rock plate. This was a magnificent and brilliant decision, whereby now I can take these shoes almost anywhere. If you've ever been to the Sierras you'll now that its terrain is extremely technical and with the rock plate the rocks are shot down to nothing. They feel as though they're not there and like I said before the outer sole of this shoe can take you anywhere. From the beach to the mountains.
The mid sole of the Runventures creates a supportive, minimalist, and effective bed for your foot. It allows for the natural flex and flow of your foot to give your body the best form possible. Coming from a minimalist background, I run in Luna Sandals, this shoe is just a bigger sandal! It allows my foot to do its job and not the other way around like some many other conventional shoes on the market today. With a 5 mm foot bed and only a 2 mm drop, also at only 8.9 oz (size 9) this truly is a minimalist shoe of quality.
The upper of this shoe is the topping of the cake. It's dual-layer, but overlayed design keeps the weight down and as every single trail shoe should have it has a fully gussetted tongue. The mesh is tight knit and with the tongue hardly anything gets in. After a long run I can take them off and there will probably be nothing inside. However, because of its tight knit material your feet can heat up if you are prone to that. The other complaint is a simple one, where the upper connects with the midsole (where the forefoot bends) the material tends to split. The Topo customer service however is so great that when I complained they sent a brand new pair asking only for a picture of the problem and not asking for the old pair back, which is very rare in the shoe industry.
In conclusion, with only two complaints that I have and an amazingly built shoe this is quite honestly my favorite, not sandal, piece of footwear. It has held up through challenges and has taken me very far. Thanks Topo for such an amzing piece of hardwear!
A review of the great, protective, and almost monstrous Luna Sandal Gordos.
A review on the awesome Buff headwear.