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California Cowboy’s El Garibaldi Robe Review

A couple months ago, I went in for my annual physical and had a “I weigh how much?” moment.

Since then, I’ve been focusing even more on my health.

One of the practices I introduced was daily ice baths. I know you’re reading this to learn if this robe is dope, but indulge me for just a little bit.

Settling into my daily ice bath

Ice baths have a lot health benefits, including:

1) Increase my parasympathetic activity. When you first get in, your fight or flight instinct kicks in. Your breathing is almost hyperventilating. You have to gain control. The longer you do it, the easier and faster you can relax and gain control of your nervous system. By subjecting your body to this high stress situation, you are retraining how your body reacts to stress.

2) Weight Loss. Cold temps activate your brown fat tissues and can aid in weight loss. Over the last 3 months, combined with daily exercise and 15-18 hour fasts, I’ve lost close to 25 pounds.

3) Physical Recovery. My recovery time has shortened. I can push myself hard at the home gym or on the trail, and I don’t feel as broken for as long as I used to.

Living in Colorado, my ice baths are cold. Every morning, I spend 5-15 minutes breaking up 2-6 inches of ice before settling in for 3-5 minutes of cold exposure.

When I get out, I towel off and warm up. But I’ve got stuff to do: coffee needs to be made, kids need to get prepped for school.

So, I was really excited when California Cowboy sent me their El Garibaldi Robe to review.

California Cowboy's El Garibaldi Robe
California Cowboy’s El Garibaldi Robe

The tl;dr is that this robe is amazing.

The El Garibaldi Robe has a terry cloth lining that is super absorbent. Since starting to use the robe after my ice bath, I’ve been using it to towel off and I’ve noticed that the little puddles I’d leave in my wake have diminished.

It also has a lined “dry pocket” that’s large enough I can stash my iPhone 12 Pro. This is great, because I’ll take the robe outside with me and on snowy days, my phone stays dry.

California Cowboy's El Garibaldi Robe Dry Pocket
California Cowboy’s El Garibaldi Robe Dry Pocket

Another feature that is signature to California Cowboy’s products is a pocket that is the perfect size for a bottle of beer. The robe came with a coozie and a bottle opener stashed in the pocket and I found that to be an amazing addition. I haven’t had the perfect scenario to test this pocket, but I look forward to taking this robe down to Costa Rica this summer.

California Cowboy's El Garibaldi Robe "Hold My Beer" Pocket
California Cowboy’s El Garibaldi Robe “Hold My Beer” Pocket

The El Garibaldi Robe ties closed well. Usually after my ice bath, I’ll be busy helping my kids get ready for school or making myself a cup of coffee, and even with movement the robe stays closed.

As winter turns to summer, I’m looking forward to taking this robe poolside or down to Costa Rica. For the time being, it’s the perfect companion for after an ice bath.

El Garibaldi Robe
El Garibaldi Robe

I am 5’11” and 185 pounds. I tested their El Garibaldi Robe L/XL size and I found it to be the perfect length. The arms come down around three-quarters length, but that’s what I was hoping for with the winter activities in it. If you’re looking for something for the summer, I’d suggest looking at their sizing chart to see what would work best for you.

Bundle Up With Ibex Base Layers

When it comes to winter outdoor activities, bundling and layering is key. And choosing the right base layer is an important first step.

One of the best fabrics to use for base layers is Merino Wool. Merino is a natural, high-performance fabric, in part because of the conditions these sheep live in. Winters can be as cold as -4ºF and summers as warm as 95ºF. Their coats have evolved so that the fibers react to the changes in body temperature. And this natural technology is passed along to its human wearers.

Ibex sent us their Woolies Tech Crew and Woolies Tech Bottoms to test this winter.

Ibex Men's Woolies Tech Bottoms
Ibex Men’s Woolies Tech Bottoms

Ibex’s Merino Wool comes from Australia and New Zealand. They implement the high standards in farming, making sure their sheep are treated with respect and best practices are in place to protect the land the sheep live on.

Ibex is also part of the Climate Neutral community of businesses. The apparel industry as a whole accounts for 10% of global carbon emmisions and remains the second largest industrial polluter. Ibex measures their carbon footprint and partners with their supply chain to reduce where they can and offset the rest.

Why Ibex Merino?

Merino Wool keeps the body cool during even the most strenuous activities by trapping moisture and releasing it as vapor before it turns to sweat.

Ibex Men's Woolies Tech Bottoms
Ibex Men’s Woolies Tech Bottoms

During testing, I wore the Woolies Tech Crew on a chilly morning run. Normally, with other moisture wicking fabrics, I would end a run like this sweaty and, in those spots in the fabric with sweat, cold. With Ibex’s Merino Wool crew, I found myself relatively dry and comfortably warm by the end of the run.

Because Merino Wool is able to regulate your temperature, it also stops odor-causing bacteria to form, so you also don’t have to worry about smelling funky after exercise.

If I wasn’t working from home these days, these base layers would be great for commuting to the office on my bike. I could easily go from my bike to my desk and still look and smell good.

Merino Wool also offers natural sun protection. The Woolies Tech Crew and Woolies Tech Bottoms offer UPF 50, while some of their lighter products offer UPF 25.

Finally, as sustainable a fabric as Merino is, as the end user, we are also encouraged to be sustainable in our care of the fabric. Because it’s odor and sweat resistant, it’ll stay cleaner for longer, which means that it doesn’t have to be washed after each activity.

For testing, I put in around 25 hours of activity before I felt that I needed to wash them.

Woolies Tech Crew and Woolies Tech Bottoms

I was really impressed by the performance of both of these products.

When I mentioned to my wife that I was testing out Merino Wool base layers, her first response was, “OMG, wool? It’s so itchy!”

But guess what? It’s not.

Ibex’s Merino Wool is the finest wool you can get. I found Ibex’s clothes to be soft on my skin and never itchy or irritating (even against a relatively fresh tattoo). On their site, Ibex shares that their fabric is ideal for people with Eczema or who have found cotton or other performance fabrics irritating. I have other Merino Wool products and I swear that Ibex outperforms them on comfort.

Ibex Men's Woolies Tech Crew
Ibex Men’s Woolies Tech Crew

The Woolie Tech Crew and Bottoms are 81% Merino and made with Ibex’s “Pro-Tech” fabric.

On the Woolie Tech Crew fit comfortably. When I paired it with a running vest, I found that the neck was structured so that I didn’t have any rubbing from my running vest. Additionally, it has optional thumbholes, which is a feature I love. When I was out running, I got to a point where my gloves were too much, but I still needed something to keep my hands moderately warm.

The crew laid close to my skin, but didn’t feel tight. I was able to pull up the sleeve easily to adjust settings on my sports watch.

The Woolie Tech Bottoms were great as well. I took them out on a wintery run as well; pairing them with a pair of running shorts over them. My legs were comfy and cozy throughout.

Ibex Men's Woolies Tech Bottoms
Ibex Men’s Woolies Tech Bottoms

Now, the most ideal winter activity to test these products in is skiing (or snowboarding).

I paired these up with a mid-layer and a hardshell.

I was slightly concerned I would get overheated, but I was comfortable for the several hours I was out on the slopes. Even after I got back to the ski lodge and shedded layers, I found that the Ibex base layers were still mostly dry.

Summary

I’ve been a big believe in Merino Wool for a while, but it wasn’t until trying Ibex’s products that I was in love with the fabric. I keep finding myself looking for reasons to put them on.

Heading out for a run? Ibex is coming with me.

Going snowshoeing? Ibex is joining me.

Lounging around in the house? Ibex, hands down.

Both products tested were larges. I am 5’11” and 185 pounds. You can find these along with many other options at Ibex’s website.

Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Kit Review

Outdoor Research sent our team their Skytour AscentShell Bib and Jacket to test. It was perfect timing because ski season had just started.

Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Kit
Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Kit

The Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Kit uses a proprietary waterproof/breathable membrane to provide top-of-the-line weather resistance. The Bib and Jacket combo is the most breathable water-resistant hardshell we have tested. It is comfortable to wear and stretchy. It has a lot of features, making it a great choice for backcountry skiers.

Breathability

Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Kit
Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Kit

The Skytour AscentShell Bib and Jacket provides little warmth. The shell is thin and allows air to pass through the fabric, so that as you’re moving up through the backcountry and working up a decent sweat, warm air can escape easily. This kit needs to be paired with insulating mid- and base-layers (such as the recently reviewed Ibex Baselayers). The warmth of this bib and jacket is comparable to a pair of hiking pants or a heavy rain jacket. But this lack of warmth is ideal for anyone that is wanting to ski hard and elevate their heart rate.

It also has several vents that were easy to unzip and zip with gloves on. This provided additional breathability and didn’t compromise the waterproofness.

Waterproofing

When we tested how waterproof this product was, it held up over our half-day excursion in the backcountry. Outdoor Research’s proprietary waterproof/breathable membrane is called “AscentShell” and is built in the bib and jacket. Both products are fully seam-sealed and the zippers are waterproof. The hood on the jacket provides good coverage, but it didn’t fully cover my ski helmet. Additionally, the bib’s legs are wide enough to fully cover my ski boots while providing enough coverage so snow didn’t pack inside the leg openings.

The Fit

Many of the hardshell jacket and bibs we tested were stiff and didn’t allow for a lot of movement. During testing, we found that the Skytour AscentShell Kit didn’t have that problem. The material is soft and stretchy and the brushed interior fabric is light on the skin. On the jacket, there is a fleece-lined chin guard, which provided an extra layer of comfort.

Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Kit
Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Kit

The fit is straight-cut which was perfect for my body-size and accommodated my mid- and base-layers.

I also found that the jacket and bib weren’t noisy. When I’m out in the backcountry, I enjoy the stillness the snow brings, and crinkly and noising hardshells can easily ruin that serenity.

Skytour AscentShell Kit comes with a lot of pickets that were easy to access and use. On the jacket, the two hand pockets and two external chest pockets provided tons of storage. The jacket’s left sleeve pass pocket was useful for accessing RFID turnstiles without stalling. On the inside, it has a mesh stash pocket and another zippered chest pocket. I was able to easily store and access snacks and my iPhone.

Conclusion

Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Kit
Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Kit

If you’re looking for hardshell jacket or bib or both, the Skytour AscentShell Kit is a great value. It provides terrific weather and water resistance at a much lower price. Plus, it has some amazing features and storage. If you’re heading into the backcountry, this jacket and bib will be the perfect companion for you.

The Skytour AscentShell Kit is available in Men’s and Women’s sizes. I am 5’11” and 185 pounds and I wore a large in both the bib and jacket comfortably.

Showers Pass Waterproof Socks Review

Showers Pass Lightweight Waterproof Crosspoint Classic Socks

Update

This is a repost from one of our first product reviews.

I still stand by how awesome these socks are. They have been my go-to for many snowy and wet runs.

They were also my go-to during the Silverton 55K Ultra and I was so thankful I had them. Halfway through the run, after climbing to 12,000 feet, and running above the tree line for a couple hours, we had descended and hit a water crossing.

After this water crossing, runners had the option to change socks and shoes and continue on to finish the final 10 miles of the race. But, right after changing shoes and socks, there were two more immediate water crossings. My feet were still dry, so I opted to continue on without changing.

I went through the first water crossing: still dry.

I went through the second water crossing: still dry!

Part of the dryness was because the water hadn’t gone over the tops of the socks. They were still high up on my calves.

It wasn’t until I hit the final water crossing (a fast moving river I had to cross while holding a rope) near the end of the run that my feet finally got wet. The river was up to my waist and the water got in between my skin and the lining.

Since the launch of the Crosspoint Socks, Showers Pass has continued to innovate their socks. They recently sent me a new pair to test, and they performed even better than before.

These are my go-to for winter running, snowshoeing, and skiing.

Original Post

I had just begun a trail run on a wet, snowy night when my foot broke through a layer of snow into an ankle-deep puddle of cold water.

Normally there’d be swearing and I’ve have to cut my run short.  Running with wet, cold feet for any length of time is plain miserable.

But my feet weren’t wet. They weren’t cold.

My feet were dry and happy because I was wearing Showers Pass Lightweight Waterproof Crosspoint Classic Socks. Showers Pass had sent me a pair to test out, and they have become my go-to socks for snow, slush, mud, or rain-filled runs. They are the perfect partner to my minimalist shoes that don’t offer any type of water resistance.

While my fellow night runners complained of wet and cold feet—trading stories of shoes and socks lost in sticky mud and snow—I couldn’t help but be thankful for my choice of socks. Even as we rounded the final corner and I landed on what I thought was asphalt, but what was really a deep puddle of slush.

Technology and Features

Showers Pass Lightweight Waterproof Crosspoint Classic Socks

The Waterproof Crosspoint Socks are constructed with three elements: a knit exterior sock, a waterproof membrane, and a knit interior sock. They feel thicker than your average pair of socks, but still fit comfortably. The first time I slipped them on, I commented how it felt like I was pulling on a wetsuit.

Their waterproof ability starts at the toe and goes all the way to just below the cuff. Even with the waterproof technology, I still found that my foot was able to breathe. That’s because they use an ultra-thin PTFE Waterproof Breathable Membrane that stretches to let your feet breathe without letting the pores open, keeping your feet dry.

Cleaning

Showers Pass suggests machine washing in cold water (avoid fabric softeners and bleach). You can tumble dry on low heat, however, the dryer can cause shrinkage. To prevent this, I highly suggest letting them hang dry.

Conclusion

Showers Pass Lightweight Waterproof Crosspoint Classic Socks
Showers Pass Lightweight Waterproof Crosspoint Classic Socks

Needless to say, I’m a big fan of the Waterproof Crosspoint Socks. They are the perfect companion in Boulder for wetter runs and bike rides. I even took them snowshoeing with great success.

It’s worth noting that Showers Pass sells a variety of the sock with a merino wool interior for colder outings, but for my snowshoeing adventure I doubled-up with a pair of merino wool socks underneath and was pretty comfortable.

These socks are only the first step in having a full waterproof experience. Because Showers Pass is based in the Pacific Northwest, they know how to make a lot of great waterproof materials, including pants, jackets, and gloves.

Check them out at the links provided or visit www.showerspass.com.

Crosspoint Waterproof Knit Wool Gloves Review

It’s no secret, our team at Huck Adventures loves Showers Pass. They are a go-to for many of our adventures; big or small.

Crosspoint Waterproof Knit Wool Gloves
Crosspoint Waterproof Knit Wool Gloves

They recently sent us a pair of their Crosspoint Waterproof Knit Wool Gloves to try out.

The Crosspoint Waterproof Knit Wool Gloves are fully waterproof. It is constructed with three bonded layers, including a wear resistant exterior, a waterproof / breathable Artex membrane, and a lovely merino wool lining. This merino wool lining is something special. It is soft and cozy, but even with the heart rate pumping, offers great temperature regulation while providing anti-microbial properties to keep it smelling fresh.

So far this winter, I’ve taken these gloves running and snowshoeing.

While running, I found that the merino wool lining performed as expected. Even on longer runs, as I warmed up, I found myself keeping the gloves on longer. Typically, I would oscillate between having gloves on our off, regardless of the temperature outside. But with my body temperature better regulated, I didn’t have those issues.

While snowshoeing, these gloves paired well with another Showers Pass product: the Crosspoint Flip Mitt. I was able to open the mitt and have the dexterity of my fingers in the Crosspoint Waterproof Knit Wool Gloves.

The gloves also became my go-to this winter for walking the dog. With the fit and dexterity, I was able to pull out the poo bags, open them, and pick up the little doggie droplets with easy. That might seem like a small thing, but with my other gloves, I’d always have to pull them off in order to perform this activity.

This winter, I also picked up a new daily routine: outdoor ice baths. Every morning, I’ll sit in a horse trough full of icy water in my backyard for 3-4 minutes. I’ll wear the Crosspoint Waterproof Knit Wool Gloves during this time, resting my hands on the outside of the bath.

And I can attest to how waterproof these gloves are. My dog loves to chew on ice. Throughout this morning ritual, I’ll dip my fingers into the bath and pull out chunks of ice and throw it to him to play with.

These gloves are terrific and my go-to this winter.

I consider my fingers normal sized and wear a large comfortably.

All I Want For Christmas: Huck Adventures Holiday Wish List

The holidays are right around the corner and I wanted to share with our dear readers some of the products that are at the top of my list.

Faherty Good Feather Long Jacquard Knit Robe

Faherty Good Feather Long Jacquard Knit Robe

When I was at Outdoor Retailer in August, I had the opportunity to chat with the folks at Faherty. I had been getting served Instagram ads for the past couple of years and had fallen in love with the aesthetics of their brand.

Being able to chat with them solidified how darn awesome their company was.

And being able to see and touch their products in person solidified how darn awesome their clothing was.

At the top of my wishlist, is the Faherty Good Feather Long Jacquard Knit Robe. It is part of their Native Designed project where they partner with indigenous native artists on product design. This robe was designed by Doug Good Feather. He’s an artist, veteran, author, and teacher from the Standing Rock Lakota and Dakota Nation and is the founder of the Lakota Way Healing Center.

While this robe looks and feels super duper comfy and would be perfect to lounge around the house in, my ideal use is for putting on after my daily ice bath.

United By Blue Recycled Wool Hawk Sweater

United By Blue Wool Hawk Sweater

We’ve featured United By Blue in the past. They are still one of my favorite brands; mostly due to their mission: removing a pound of trash from our waterways with every product sold.

Their Wool Hawk Sweater is a standout in their new products for Winter.

The design is pretty darn cool.

Plus, the symbology of the hawk, definitely speaks to my journey over the past year and my quest for spiritual awareness.

COROS VERTIX GPS Adventure Watch

I’ve had the Coros Apex for almost three years. Throwing out (not literally) my Apple Watch was one of the best decisions I ever made for my fitness journey. And, while the Apex is still performing as if it’s brand new (review forthcoming), a part of me is ready to upgrade. Because ’tis the season, right?

COROS VERTIX GPS Adventure Watch
Coros Vertix

The Coros Vertix GPS Adventure Watch is an upgrade, for sure. Longer battery life. Longer battery life with GPS going. If you’re looking for a new adventure watch and you’re looking at other large watch manufacturers, compare the specs. I don’t think you can beat Coros on battery life.

With GPS use on the Apex, I typically charge once every 14 days. Sometimes every 7 if I am putting long hours on the trail. I have a friend that has a watch brand that starts with a G and he’s charging his once every 48 hours with light use.

Why do I want to upgrade?

Well, in part for the longer battery life the Vertix will provide.

Second, because I want to continue taking my fitness to new levels, their 24/7 blood oxygen monitoring can help me reach new heights.

Finally, their Vertix in the Mountain Hunter colors (pictured above) is pretty darn sweet.

Gnarly Nutrition Sample Box

You already know: I’m a big fan of Gnarly Nutrition.

But there’s still products I haven’t tried.

Gnarly Sample Box

That’s where their sample box comes into play.

You get a mixture of protein powders, collagen, greens, BCAAs, pre-workout, and their hydration mix.

If you’re looking for a new workout partner, try their sample box. You won’t be disappointed.

United By Blue Dog Products

Okay, so this one really isn’t for me. But it’s for my pup, so it is still sort of for me.

United By Blue this Fall came out with some of the awesomest dog products: leashes, bowls, toys, harnesses. And I want them all.

United By Blue Dog Harness and Collar

At the top of my wish list is their matching leashes, harnesses and collars. The colors on these are fantastic. My pup is all white, so he needs some color in his life.

But one important piece I’ll highlight on the harness is that it is a no-pull harness. It clips in the front and will keep your dog, no matter how big or enthusiastic, from pulling.

“Oh sure,” you might say, “they’ll still pull.”

I’ve been using a cheap one (that is partially chewed and falling apart) over the past month and my puppy has never walked better. Clipped to the leash or on the back of the harness led to a lot of pulling. And he is almost 60 pounds. That is a lot of pulling.

You see, that’s why this is really a gift for me.

Vuori Ripstop Climbers and Aspen Shirt Jacket

I love Vouri.

They make some of the most comfortable activewear on earth.

When Huck Adventures first started, we featured their Ripstop Climbers in a brand feature. They are still one of my favorite pairs to wear and honestly, I really want another pair, especially their blue Ripstop Climber Pants.

Ripstop Climber Pant | Indigo
Vuori Ripstop Climbers

I’ve also had an eye on their Aspen Shirt Jacket for a while.

Aspen Shirt Jacket | Ink
Vuori Aspen Shirt Jacket

I work remotely in my basement, so I am always layering up. Plus, I also spend a lot of time outside walking the dog. Having something nice and warm like this would be amazing.

The Rock Honors Military Veterans With UA For The Heroes Collection

Under Armour For the Heroes Collection
Under Armour For the Heroes Collection

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Under Armour have collaborated on a new collection: Project Rock “For the Heroes.” This latest apparel collection was launched to support the Travis Manion Foundation.

The Travis Manion Foundation was named after 1st Lt. Travis Manion, who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of his patrol in 2007. Under Armour and Project Rock are supporting the organization by providing funds from the For The Heroes collection.

Under Armour For the Heroes Collection
Under Armour For the Heroes Collection

This new collection features new pieces for men, women, and youth. They are branded to celebrate veterans and features distressed type, metallic golds and an eagle illustration.

Vet Day Hoodie and Jogger Review

Under Armour sent us their Vet Day Hoodie and their Vet Day Joggers to try out.

Under Armour Vet Day Hoodie
Under Armour Vet Day Hoodie

Over the last month, I’ve been doing a lot of my workouts in my garage. And with it getting colder, the Hoodie and Joggers are perfect companions. I am comfortable throughout my workout, including when I am just warming up and still and little bit cold. But it’s also able to withstand a solid flop-sweat.

The material isn’t clingy as the workout gets more intense. This allows me to squat deeper and lift cleaner while the fabric moves with me.

The Vet Day graphics add an additional layer and texture to the material. On the hoodie, the large circle feels rubbery to the touch, but doesn’t sit heavy.

Under Armour Vet Day Joggers
Under Armour Vet Day Joggers

The joggers have two side pockets and a snap pocket in the back.

Conclusion

I really appreciate what The Rock and Under Armour are doing to support this organization. You can get involved too by purchasing these products from Under Armour or visiting the website for the Travis Manion Foundation and seeing how you can get involved.

My new favorite hoodie: the Hydro Grid Fleece

It’s that time of year again in Colorado: the leaves have fallen, the days are shorter, and the temperature is dropping. Bundling up is key for outdoor activities. And there is nothing I like to wear more than a good hoodie.

Jack Wolfskin Hydro Grid Fleece
Jack Wolfskin Hydro Grid Fleece

Jack Wolfskin sent me their newest hooded sports jacket, the Hydro Grid Fleece, to try out and it quickly became my favorite hoodie.

It’s light, but warm due to the polyester material. The outer is smooth with a DWR finish to repel water. It has a soft interior for next-to-skin comfort.

The Hydro Grid Fleece is stretchy too. When I’ve taken it out on the trail for hikes and runs, I found that it moved easily with me. It wasn’t clingy and it also didn’t chafe.

While this hoodie performs great for outdoor activities, it has also become my go-to hoodie.

Jack Wolfskin Hydro Grid Fleece
Jack Wolfskin Hydro Grid Fleece

Just this morning, when it was 27ºF, I threw it on to walk the dog. Actually, I threw it on last night to walk the dog as well, and in the afternoon, and wore it for a handful of work Zoom calls.

It’s a really great jacket. No joke.

Product highlights:

  • It has a scuba-shaped hood, fitting comfortably over my head. It isn’t lose, which makes it a great hood for running. It doesn’t blow off and I can easily pull it over my head and ears without disrupting sunglasses or headphones. Or mess up my hair.
  • On the sides it has two deep, zippered pockets. When I am wearing the jacket to run errands, these pockets are great to hold a mask, keys, and wallet. For outdoor activities, because how deep the pockets are, I won’t put things that bounce. For running, I’ll leave them empty, but use them to stash a beanie or gloves for when I warm up.
  • On the left breast, it has another zippered pocket. This is wear I stash my iPhone. It’s large enough for an iPhone 12 Pro and while it does bounce, it isn’t bothersome.
Jack Wolfskin Hydro Grid Fleece
Jack Wolfskin Hydro Grid Fleece

Conclusion

Yes, I love the Hydro Grid Fleece. It’s a great hoodie and a great jacket overall. For the holidays, this is at the top of my recommended gift giving list!

I am 5’11” and just north of 190 lbs. I wear a large and it fits perfectly.

You can find the Hydro Grid Fleece at Jack Wolfskin’s website for $149.95.

Nathan TrailMix 7L – Men’s Review

Nathan sent us the TrailMix 7L, a trail-running pack, to test. Over the last month, we’ve taken around the local trails, up and down several mountains, and have put on around 75 miles with the pack.

Nathan TrailMix 7L
Nathan TrailMix 7L

As the name suggest, it has a total capacity of 7 liters, including 2 liters of water storage with an included HydraPak reservoir.

The Fit

The TrailMix 7L wears like a small backpack. It’s fit is snug, yet comfortable, with contoured shoulders and multiple cinch straps to ensure a proper fit. The build is light and flexible, letting it move with you as you tear down the trail.

It features a compression system that keeps your load tight against your back for stability. With the water reservoir, I always flip it upside down and suck out any extra air prior to running with it. This helps reduce any natural bounce that may occur with the pack, but I honestly didn’t feel any excessive bounce.

One of the key features I always look for in a running pack is comfortability on long runs. During ultra season a few years ago, my go-to pack at the time always left chafe marks on my shoulders. The TrailMix 7L has a soft perimeter and I didn’t experience any chafing on my arms or shoulders.

Storage

Nathan TrailMix 7L
Nathan TrailMix 7L

The TrailMix 7L might seem light on storage, but I found it adequate for runs up to 20 miles in the changing temperature of Fall. Starting out in the morning, I had gloves, beanie, and a jacket. Once it warmed up, they easily stashed in the pack. I also always run with a small first aid kit that fits snuggly in the bottom of the pack.

On the front of the vest there are two front pockets. They are large enough for my 20 ounce soft flasks, but for the runs I did with the pack, I used them more for my iPhone 12 Pro and snacks.

Nathan TrailMix 7L
Nathan TrailMix 7L

The back of the pack also has daisy chains for attaching lighting (great for night runs) and trekking pole attachments.

When I took my poles out, I found that the attachments kept them stored adequately. I didn’t have any issues with my poles falling out. When I did pull the poles out or stashed them, I had to stop and remove the pack. Not ideal for races, but good enough for training.

Hydration Sytem

It’s worth taking a few sentences to talk about the hydration system.

As mentioned previously, the TrailMix 7L comes with a HydraPak 2L bladder.

The bladder hose snakes out of the top of the pack and down the right breast where it hooks securely. The hose is long, so when it’s hooked, I don’t have to unhook to drink. However, on longer runs, I did find the bounce of the hose slightly annoying, so I ended up tucking it into the bottom belt of the pack.

HydraPak is one of the best manufacturers of hydration systems, so it was awesome seeing that it was included.

Quick pro tip: when washing, HydraPak’s can be reversed. Just reach inside and pull out to reverse. It makes cleaning a heckuvalot easier. Plus, drying is a lot faster.

Conclusion

I’m excited to continue trail-running this winter with the Nathan TrailMix 7L. It offers ample water storage and the remaining space is large enough to pack in or out with my running necessities.

The TrailMix 7L is also the most affordable pack we’ve tested. At $100, it is $30-$100 less than it’s competitors.

If you’re looking for a new trail-running companion, look no further than the Nathan TrailMix 7L.

Tilley Bucket Hat Review

Tilley T1 Bucket Hat
Tilley T1 Bucket Hat

Tilley sent us their O.G. T1 Bucket Hat to review.

Tilley’s mission is creating “authentic products with enduring purpose for life out of doors.” For years, they have been known for their quality. Each hat passes through 23 pairs of hands in a 41 step process as it’s constructed from raw material to it’s finished product.

One of the larger reasons why I like Tilley’s hat is because they don’t sit tightly on my head, unlike some other bucket style hat brands. It “floats” on top of my head. But it also floats on water too due to a foam insert in the lining of the crown.

This hat also includes a hidden security pocket that is big enough to hold credit cards or cash.

The T1 Bucket Hat is perfect for all environments. I’ve worn it on hikes, but also thrown it on to walk the dog. It’s light and comfortable.

I also love the brim of the hat. On the website, their images show the brim turned down, but it is very flexible. You can have it turned down, turned up, or curve it so it’s partially up or down.

This hat also includes wind cords that you can loop around your neck on windy days to keep your hat from blowing off. But they are also easily and comfortably stashed inside the hat.

The T1 Bucket Hat is available in a variety of colors and sizes for $80 USD.