Hammock Underquilt Showdown;

Hammock camping is no longer reserved for just warm weather.

The Paddle Junkie's - Base Layer Buyer's Guide

Prepare for the cold! We run down our picks for the best base layers around.

Pentax K30 Rugged DSLR

The world's first DSLR that can take all Mother Nature has to offer

Shell Jacket Showdown

We test the most bomber shells on the market, here are our picks...

Gear of the Year 2012

Our picks for the best gear of last year.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Walls Workwear - Gear Review

Since 1938 Walls has been making quality gear ranging from hunting gear to high end work wear. Walls had quality set up at OR in Salt Lake City when we were out there in January and we couldn't wait to get our hands on some of their stuff. It was hard to decide what I wanted with such an expansive catalog. I went with a tried and true heavy winter jacket infused with Kevlar and a lighter soft shell, only because we had snow up until a couple weeks ago. Keep in mind that cold weather will be upon us before we can fully appreciate the summer that seems to disappear before our very eyes.

Walls Workwear Muscle Back Jacket with Kevlar-

The walls package showed up on one of those days where it was almost to warm to wear a heavy jacket but I knew this was the right choice. Within a matter of days it was time to wear the winter coat once again. Infuse with Walls Dry IQ water proof finish this coat is designed to keep you warm and dry throughout your entire work day. This is Minnesota, one minute the sun is out and your debating on shedding layers, the next minute it's a full blown snow storm. You don't want to be stuck outside without protection. Infused with 5% Kevlar this jacket can put up with any punishment you can throw at it. Infused with enough pockets to hold on your belongings and still have room for some snacks. The Velcro strip on the cuffs allow for the proper adjustment to keep the cold out from in between your gloves and the jacket itself. Lined with a signature RealTree AP pattern you can bring out your inter hunter at work. With a sleek design this is a jacket not just for work, it doubled as a jacket for a night on the town multiple times.

MSRP: $131.99

Wall Storm Protector Sherpa Lined Jacket-
This is the perfect jacket for those chilly spring mornings or cool summer nights. The perfect mix between the hard and soft shell, built to protect you from the wind and the water. With fleece lined front pockets a zippered chest pocket and just a hint of reflective accents gives this coat just enough to set it apart from the rest. I find myself pulling this out of the closet on a regular basis, 50 degree mornings require a little more then just a t-shirt and this is the perfect fit. Rather large cuffs and waist band keep out the cold as well as keep you comfy. Out of the two jackets we tested this one will find itself on my shoulders a lot more then the other. This is probably due to the fact that nice weather has once again graced it's presence upon this fine land.

MSRP: $91.99

Walls has been making quality obtainable gear for well over a century. With jackets, pants and shirts for almost any outdoor activity this a brand to get your hands on. I have definitely became a fan over the last few months being able to throw these jackets on, on a regular occasion. With prices ranging from $90 to $150 this is a brand that wont break the bank.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Platypus - Meta Bottle Preview

For over 2 decades Platypus has pushed the boundaries on personal water transportation. Slated for release in early May, the Platypus Meta bottle is your access to safe drinking water wherever your path takes you. Multiple sizes and colors allow for the perfect match when it comes to looking good. The Meta bottle incorporates a ground breaking 2-part design, a hard upper half combined with a stand alone soft bottom.
Courtesy of Verizon Photography
The 1L personal water filtration system allows for an easy "scoop and squeeze" delivery system. Simply separate the two halves, fill the soft bottom with dirty water, place the cap back on with the self contained water filter and gulp away. The fast acting filter cleans 99.999% of bacteria and 99.9% of protozoa. Nothing like getting sick after you get home from drinking tainted water. Filtering up to 2L per minute you can't ingest the water fast enough. BPA, BPS and phthalate free, this is a great bottle for the leave no trace lifestyle every camper should employ.

Courtesy of Verizon Photography
First impressions were good when we got our hands on these in early January. A stand alone bottle that collapses to half the original size is awesome. The 1L size is perfect for a day trip and being able to filter water on the spot will save time and keep you hydrated on the go. From personal experience, being dehydrated in the wild is an awful adventure.

Continue to look for these when they become available in the upcoming months. Having access to clean drinking water is vital to enjoying the great outdoors. Drink up and have a good time.

MSRP: $49.95 - 1L w/filter

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Fjallraven - Kanken Laptop Backpack - Gear Review

With Summer fast approaching and school on the brink of summer break, the last thing on people's minds right now are backpacks. But I have found the game changer for all genders and ages for carrying your essentials, the Fjallraven K√•nken. 
In 1978, Fjallraven created this pack for Swedish school children to help prevent back issues. This grew from a child's pack to a widely functional pack for adults as well. The array of color options allow anyone to use this for their everyday needs. With two large side pockets, accessible storage is not an issue, The water resistant vinylon fabric allows this pack to be used year round. It's the perfect pack for class, work, then out to your favorite outdoor location. 

I used this pack for an overnight trip and was able to pack all the overnight essentials with ease, perfect for a 24 hour adventure. Not bulky and in the way like most packs. This is the perfect transitional pack for the office worker by day, outdoor enthusiast by night. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Dish & DU/ER Performance L2X Denim - Gear Review

One of my favorite things about going to the Outdoor Retailor show in Salt Lake City is getting to put your hands on new and exciting gear you had no idea existed. This is exactly what happen when we stumbled upon Dish & DU/ER in the Venture Out section. As soon as Ryan and I touched the display we knew we had to have a pair. These jeans quickly became the ones I grabbed the most, even if it means grabbing them out of the laundry basket.

Dish & DU/ER have taken the technology of some of your favorite hiking pants and combined it with the look of high end jeans. Designed as the perfect alternative, built with the L2X fabric these pants have enough stretch to sit comfortably all day in the office then straight to blazing your favorite trails. They are developed with multiple features that allow you to reach peak performance.

As I said previously, these have quickly become my favorite jeans. I'm not one to perform yoga or exercise in my jeans but these are comfortable enough to have free range of movement in all everyday activities. Quick to dry when my water bottle seemingly springs a leak, yet has enough stretch to not allow bunching up around your family jewels when you sit down.

I was in the process of explaining this to my girlfriend when she proclaimed these are what females wear almost every single day. It's just not sociably acceptable for men to wear yoga pants to work on a daily basis. I'm not comparing these to yoga pants but these are by far the most comfortable pants I have ever put on. If I wasn't so afraid of staining them on the trails I'd prefer to push these to there limits.

With multiple styles, fabrics and colors Dish & DU/ER has pants for every outfit. And don't forget about the women's styles. These are on my super short list for birthday and Christmas gifts. Add it to your list too!


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Lifestyle Wear - Buyers Guide - Winter / Spring 2016

We see it pretty much everywhere we go. Someone wearing a very technical jacket out on the street standing in the rain. From experience I understand why, the technical jackets work! But I have to admit, sticking out like a sore thumb all the time isn't always a good thing. This year were trying to focus on more of the lifestyle gear. Not only because it looks good, but because it works. Blending the high end technologies with the look of urban wear and feel is right in our wheel house and we can't wait to share our thoughts with you.
Cash Work Jacket

Coalatree - Cash Work Jacket

The shell and lining of the jacket is about 60% poly and 40 % S. Cafe, a material made infused with recycled coffee grounds to improve UV protection, odor control and drying capabilities. The material is soft to the touch, and had a weight I'd compare to a heavy sweatshirt rather than a work jacket, making it a great Spring/Fall option.  With waterproof zippers, elastic waist and cuffs and a small leather patch they keep the work wear feel and function alive.  Though not "waterproof" it does surprisingly well in wet weather.  It will saturate, but I found it to shed raindrops well when caught in an unexpected shower.  I have this jacket in heavy rotation of late, it's been ideal for the MN "Spring", 20-50 degrees and possible rain/sleet/snow at any moment.

Carhartt- Force Equator Jacket
I have thrown on this coat with even the smallest threat of rain. It's extremely light and surprisingly good at regulating temperature. Put a sweatshirt on underneath and you are perfectly content to stand out in the coldest of rains that the season can throw at you. The waterproofing is exceptional, walking through campus with absolutely no fear of my electronics getting wet underneath. Once inside, a simple flick of the shoulders and the water has practically disappeared from sight.  With the three-layer, polyester shell with 4-way mechanical stretch and the Storm Defender waterproof breathable material this jacket is up for anything.

Patagonia - Insulated Fjord Flannel
Patagonia makes some killer gear, from top of the mountain to helli skiing these guys do it all. This shirt jacket has been in a heavy rotation over the last few months as a mid to top layer. The 100% organic cotton paired with the 60 gram insulation makes for a hell of a combo when the temperatures drop. This was the mid-layer I brought to Salt Lake City in mid January and it worked perfect. Shed a layer when you step inside and let the stellar pattern do the talking. Soft to the touch and extremely flexible this will continue to have a home out of the closet for a couple more months. This lightweight jacket is perfect for sunny or overcast days, don't get caught in the rain with out a shell though.

My Pakage - Action Series
Underwear are definitely the first item to get packed when I go anywhere. If I over pack on anything, it's definitely the under garments. My pakage just gets it done right, they call it keyhole technology. I compare it too, two little angels wings angled perfectly to keep your business held up with just enough firmness mixed with just enough give to never have to waddle your way down the sidewalk again. The action series features 1.25 in no roll waste bands with 100% hydrophobic wicking polyester. These things rock, I could go into some serious detail with how awesome these things feel. With full length options for the colder temperatures, my pakage is the first choice at The Paddle Junkie for base layers.

Findlay - Hats
These hats are built for good times. Portland based with world domination on the brain these are something you need to have (obviously). What sets these apart is the laces, that when not holding the hat to your noggin, are resting peacefully on the bill. The laces serve two purposes, one, not to lose your hat and two, they make the hat look damn good. Laces are interchangeable, quite easily, which allows for the customization of the cap to your specific outfit. Looking good is high on the priority list! High quality materials, hand crafted care and some of the best designs on the market make these a must have. I put the laces to the test rocking that #findlayforce on a roller coaster. All hats come with a stash pocket glued into the front, it's for holding your ID.With fresh designs coming out on the regular and the option to join the hat of the month club, get Findlay on your side.

Laundromat - Sweaters
The story of the Laundromat gear is unlike that of most makers of woolen knitwear.  The Canadian design team understands the needs of those of us here in this Winter Wonderland.  From hefty zippers to lined pockets, all the creature comforts have been integrated.  Combine that with their artfully skilled knitters in Nepal and 100% natural wool and dyes and you have some of the nicest sweaters on earth.  A proud member of the Fair Trade Federation, Laundromat strives to create quality product while ensuring the planet and all people involved are treated fairly.
These sweaters don't mess around.  They are warm, bordering on HOT...  Rugged wool lined with a velvety soft fleece make them incredibly sturdy and comfortable (no itchy makes me happy!)  The construction is simply amazing, durability is not going to be an issue.  The only drawback is, as with most natural wool, the three most dreaded words in laundry; DRY CLEAN ONLY...

Mizzen+Main - Dress Shirt
Derived from the driving forces of the sailboat, the Mizzen+Main dress shirts have catapulted traditional dress wear into a new era. Combining athletic materials into a traditional dress shirt creates the professional look with the feel of your favorite pullover. The moisture wicking four way stretch fabric gives you the freedom to work in the comfort of athletic apparel. The best part of these magnificent dress shirts, machine washable, no more being afraid of destroying your shirts. Not only do they create exceptional dress shirts they have a long list of apparel to keep you dressed to impress. These shirts may not make you look like JJ Watt but they damn will go a long way in making you feel that good.

Bergan's of Norway - Humle Jacket
This is what wool was meant to be.  Stylish and technical at the same time, this zip hoodie is a fall-winter-spring juggernaut.  We've worn this piece for everything from a light outer layer to a winter busting insulation layer.  Throw it on over a t-shirt for a back yard campfire or pair it with a shell for all weather play.  Sporting an athletic fit, zip front pockets, accent stitching and a fitted hood, this is a sweater you can wear anywhere and be comfortable and look good.  The ultimate in technical lifestyle wear.

Palladium's - Pamba Hi's
After a trial period of 10 weeks, my Palladium’s have attracted many compliments and proven themselves as comfortable shoes, even during long days on my feet.  Aside from wearing them for daily tasks (going to the store, social outings, work outings, chasing my children) I took my Palladium’s to Europe for 2 weeks of touristy exploring. The Palladium’s were my primary footwear and I expected that I would regret my decision of not bring running shoes.  I beat on these shoes for my 2 weeks abroad. I had 18 hour travel days in them, dragging luggage and children through multiple airports. I spent days romping through unforgiving cobblestone streets for miles and miles on very hot days. Not once did I think about my feet. The Palladiums look good, too. I wore them with shorts as well as jeans, with khakis and linen pants. I could wear them all day for “urban hiking” then wear them again for dinner without feeling under-dressed. Summary: These shoes look good, feel good and they’re a bargain at about $60.  Available in Hi, Chucka and Oxford versions.