Mizu Life Insulated Water Bottle Review

Travis Gneiting Reviews

If you are a frequent visitor of GearChase.com’s reviews, you know we love insulated water bottles.  We have Hydroflask Reviews, Fifty/Fifty Reviews, and Klean Kanteen Reviews. We were excited to get a couple Mizu insulated bottles for review.  Two Mizu’s most popular insulated bottles are the V8 and V12.  They offer the bottles in both an insulated and non insulated bottle, with a variety of caps for chugging 36 oz of coffee or sport caps for sipping on the go.

Of the bottles we have reviewed, the Mizu bottles trump with their attention to detail and little thing like the paracord lid leash and the etched lid logo.

Mizu V8 Review

The V8 is a 26oz bottle currently available in 11 colors or prints.  We opted for the “Soft touch” orange, and think it looks pretty good with the Utah desert and red rock in the background.  The lid screws into the bottle and has a metal loop for attaching the bottle.  The lid is insulated and etched on the side with the Mizu logo.  It looks cool, but it also provides a little grip to unscrew the lid when the bottle is wet.

The bottle build quality is top notch.  The soft touch feels great in hand or just admiring it in a cup holder.  The logo stands out on the front of the bottle with a stainless steel bottom cap to finish things off.  The welds are hardly noticeable on the bottle, and it is very comfortable to drink from in this size as opposed to the V12 which is a bit more clumsy to drink from.

Ice can be a little difficult to get into the bottle with out some hand use to guide it in.  But the convenience of drinking from a smaller mount is worth the difficulty.

Every time I use a vacuum sealed bottle I’m amazed at just how well they keep hot drinks hot all day, and cold drinks cold for hours even in the heat of the Utah desert.

I’ve been using the two bottles for the past few months.  Usually I drop some ice in the bottle in the morning and with a few fill ups during the day, the ice last me all day long.

Mizu V12 Review

The big brother to the V8 is the V12 insulated 36oz bottle.  It’s wide mouth make it convenient for sharing and loading up with ice.  It’s stand out feature is the paracord leash around the color that attaches to the lid.  We found that the leash can’t be trusted too long, and easily slides off the lid or collar.  It’s also makes screwing on the lid a little cumbersome, as it requires rotating the lid through the noose.

The larger lid makes the bottle easy to fill with ice, and still is fairly easy to drink from. As you can see from the image above ice seems to last for days.  This is after filling the bottle full of ice and water in 70 to 50 degree weather for about 24 hours.

The build quality and attention to detail of the Mizu life bottles has to be the best we have seen.  They have the V12 we looked at had a nice green hammered outer shell, highlighted with stainless steel lid and bottom cap. If you have used Hydroflask with the sip straws you know they can leak pretty easily. The solution is a solid sealing cap like the one included with the V12.  We had zero leaking from this bottle, through many hikes in southern Utah.

Enjoy the Journey, Leave nothing Behind, the motto stamped on the inside of the lid are great words to live by.  Mizu insulated offerings are a great option if you are looking for a water bottle that will turn heads.  A huge upgrade from your old Nalgene bottle, and a step above in terms of looks and features for about the same price as other insulated bottles in the same category.

Mizu also offers discounts on their products from mugs like the T20.  Currently, they have the v12 in copper color for 39% off, it’s one of our favorite colors.  You can view all the discounts and over 70 other bottles and utensiles on GearChase.com.

What Happened to WhiskeyMilitia.com?

Travis Gneiting News

If you are a regular visitor of GearChase.com you may have wondered is WhiskeyMilitia.com down?  Or Why is Whiskey Militia redirecting to SteepandCheap.com?

We have been informed by Backcountry.com the parent company of both WhiskeyMilitia.com and SteepAndCheap.com that they have indeed removed WhiskeyMilitia.com from the interweb and redirected all traffic to SteepAndCheap.com.  This is not a new decision for Backcountry.com.  If you remember such sites as Bonktown.com for roadbikers, ChainLove.com for mountain bikers, Tramdock.com for Skiers are just a few others one deal at a time websites that have been retired.  And now WhiskeyMilitia.com is joining them in the grave.

Backcountry.com stated that they plan to spend more time enhancing SteepAndCheap.com to make it the one stop shop for closeout items from Backcountry.com.  Providing better discounts, searching, and functionality overall.

As always you can keep a close eye on the one deal at a time from SteepAndCheap.com on GearChase.com homepage

Or you can see if SteepAndCheap.com can really replace WhiskiMilitia.com

GoPro Gimbal Review – The Evo SS Gimbal

Travis Gneiting Reviews


Features

  • Mount options for GoPro Hero 5, Garmin Virb Ultra 30 & GoPro Session Cameras Supports, GoPro 3, 3+, Silver, Black, Sessions (With adapter), SJ4000, Xiao YI, and many more
  • Compatible with GoPro LCD back pack or battery back pack
  • Precision Stabilization Accuracy of ±0.01°
  • Works fast out of the box
  • Integrated 3.5 mm A/V output port for external monitor or recording
  • Built in 1/4-20″ threaded base for tripod mounting
  • Supplement your GoPro’s battery with included charging cable (Only for GoPro with Mini USB, not Micro USB)
  • Up to 5 hours of extended battery life
  • Supports wireless control through Bluetooth connection of phone or remote control
  • 5 Modes – Heading Follow Mode, Heading Lock Mode, Heading & Pitch Follow Mode, Inverted Mode, New Turn Back Mode
  • 3-Axis brushless motors
  • Multiple Shooting Modes: Pan Follow Mode, Pan Lock Mode, Pan/Pitch Follow Mode, Inverted Mode and NEW Turn Back Mode.
  • Warranty: Backed by a 1 Year USA Parts and Labor Warranty, Not an overseas warranty that takes months to get resolved

The EVO SS 3 axis wearable gimbal allows you to effortlessly shoot silky smooth video with your action camera. If you have watched much of your footage from your POV camera, you know why you might want something you make your video less nauseating. The EVO SS works with a wide range of popular action cameras such as the GoPro, Garmin Virb, and other action sports cameras.

The EVO SS gimbal is very versatile, it can be mounted to any 1/4-20 tripod mount, also paired with GoPro mounts.  It includes an extendable pole that is the perfect size for packing and extending for smooth gliding shots.  The gimbal is also equipped with Bluetooth for connecting to iPhone or Android phones to remote control the gimbal.  However, we like to use our phone to preview out GoPro framing, so we opted to use the new EVO Bluetooth remote control.

Some other great features include a 3.5 mm AV output for external monitor.

The available modes provide a handful of options to lock some motors, while smoothing out other motions.  It’s nice if you are trying to get a periscope view while keeping the framed shot level, or other times you might want to tilt up to the top of a tree, you can use a setting to smooth out tilting.  Another nice feature is the ability to lock the position by just holding it in the spot you want it to start stabilizing from.  It will lock this the angle and work to retain this position.  Lastly, there is a selfie mode with 3 clicks on the mode button the gimbal rotates around to point at you, or film behind you for some nice chase scenes.

Performance

The performance of the EVO SS gimbal is remarkable.  Below we have listed some of the specs on the performance, while we are unable to verify the actual stabilization accuracy, the video quality and stability shows that it’s working.  The range of the angles do match up.  It’s worth pointing out that on few occasions the gimbal got out of sync with the motors or balance.  It was frustrating when this happened, but a simple reboot on a level surface always worked to get it set back the correct position.

Below is some footage of us snowshoeing in Utah with the EVO SS gimbal attached to the telescoping pole.  You can see how we are able to get some really nice panning shots, as well as transitioning from different shot angles.  You will notice it doesn’t take out the bouncing in our steps, but smooths out a lot of the shaking from having the GoPro extended 3 feet in front of us.

  • Stabilization Accuracy: ±0.01°
  • Follow Accuracy: ±0.2°
  • Pan Axis Range: -160° to +160°
  • Tilt Axis Range: -90° to +180° (Inverted)
  • Roll Axis Range: -45° to +45°
  • Tilt Axis Control Speed: Min 1°/s Max 50°/s
  • Pan Axis Control Speed: Min 1°/s Max 80°/s
  • Motor Type: 3x Triple Wound High Torque Brushless
  • Working Current Static Current: 6.8 mA (at 6.8 VDC)
  • Dynamic Current: 120mA (at 8.4 VDC)
  • Max Motor Current: 2 A maximum (at 12.6 VDC)
  • Sensors: Independent IMU module, High Definition Position Encoders

Specifics

  • Control Modes: Heading Follow Mode/Heading & Pitch Follow Mode/Inverted Mode/Locked Mode
  • Height: 11.6″ / 295mm
  • Width: 3.7″ / 96mm
  • Depth: 3.5″ / 88mm
  • Operating Temperature: -5 to 122°F / -15 to 50°C
  • Dimensions: (W x D x H) 3.7 x 3.5 x 11.6″ / 96 x 88 x 295 mm
  • Weight: 0.75 lbs / 335g (unloaded no batteries)

Unboxing

It’s worth noting that some of the previous EVO Gimbals have been shipped in older style boxes.  We received our EVO Gimbal in their newer packaging.  Similar foam to hold parts in place, just a little larger and printed images on the box.  Additionally, the box is the only transportation option and requires you to remove the camera to store.  This quickly get’s old when moving around and trying to protect the gimbal in a backpack or bag.  There is a case EVO sells, but we opted to buy our own hardcase with pick foam that we could customize to allow us to keep the camera in the gimbal for transportation.

 

  • 1 – EVO SS 3 Axis Gimbal (Includes Standard Hero3/4 Mount)
  • 4 – IMR 18350 Rechargeable 3.7v batteries (900mAh each cell)
  • 2 – M2.5 x 22mm thumb screws
  • 2 – GoPro Charging Cables (3 Wire for Power, 4 Wire for Video-out/Power)
  • 1 – GoPro Accessory Mount Adapter (for GoPro Mounting System
  • 1 – Universal Telescoping Extension Handle
  • 1 – Micro USB Cable (for Charger & Software Update)
  • 1 – Warranty Card
  • 1 – User Guide

Quality

The quality build of the gimbal feels very good in hand, it’s heavy weighted, the exoscelaton of the EVO SS is all metal, and tight screws to hold down the case and mounts.  Because it’s a gimbal and has three working arms with motors there is some feeling of it being fragle, expesically when transporting it in a bag or pack.  The only transport is the box it came shipped in, but is oversized and hard to travel with.  While the build quality is very well, there are some design changes that would have helped overall performance.  The number one complaint would be the batteries and battery door.  The batteries are hard to get in and aligned just right until the door is on and secure.  Also, it’s very easy to get moisture into the battery door when using near water, snow, or moisture.

There are 3 motors on the gimbal, these are brushless high quality motors. They have continued to remain smooth and function as expected for the few months we have been using the gimbal.

Battery

The EVO SS comes with 2 sets of Lithium-Ion batteries.  There is plenty of life to run your GoPro battery out a few times.  Also, with the included cord you can supliment your GoPro with the battery power from the gimbal.  The cord feels very delicate, but get’s the job done. Batteries also come with a cheap feeling but small and light weight charger.  It takes about 2 to 3 hours to charge the batteries via a micro USB port.  One nice feature is the battery indicator on the gimbal.  While not linear, or completely predictable there are a series of 4 flashes that indicate 75%, 50%, 25% remaining and quickly flashes when the batteries are less than 25%.  It’s worth noting as most of us will try, the batteries can not be charged from the gimbal itself even though there is a micro usb on the gimbal. This is used for upgrading the firmware of the gimbal and not charging batteries.

There is a 3 pin cable included to charge the GoPro LCD on older GoPro models.  There is also a 4 pin cable that is used for charging a GoPro and activating the A/V output port for external monitoring.

You can expect to get about 4 hours of use out of a single charge.  Obviously you will get much less in extreme conditions, or when they are used to supplement the GoPro battery.  When we were hooked up to a dead GoPro, it was around 2 hours of use.  However, when mounted to a tripod, and not using bluetooth we got up to 5 hours of use.  The optional charging cables included do not work with GoPro Hero 5, or session because they use Mini USB.

Ease of Use

To start using the gimbal, you need to attach your GoPro with the thumb screws.  If you are using an adapter you may need to use a small Allen key to replace the mounting bracket with a couple screws and install the correct bracket for your camera.  The gimbal has a standard ¼-20 female screw on the bottom of the base. There are two buttons, one to power on, and another to select the mode.  The gimbal turns on after holding the power button for a few seconds.  To initialize the gimbal, it should be set on a flat surface and press and hold the mode button, the gimbal will then snap into place and start working.

The overall functionality of the gimbal is buttery smooth, with 80 degree roll, 315 degree tilt, and 650 degree pan, there are many mounting options that the GoPro can be locked in to achieve ground shots, selfies, aerial shots are all possible.  There are a few basic modes

  1. Heading Follow Mode – one click keeps the camera pan left to right smooth, and locks Roll & Tilt
  2. Heading Lock Mode – one click, keeps Tilt and Roll are smooth, but Pan is locked
  3. Heading & Pitch Follow Mode – two clicks, Smooth Pan and Tilt follow but Roll is locked
  4. Inerted Mode – to use upside down, two clicks, rotate the camera upside down, you can then enter other modes.
  5. Turn-back (Selfie) Mode – three clicks

Calibration

If you notice you took a hard bump with the gimbal, or it’s just not panning or tilting just right you can re-calibrate the gimbal.  To do this set the gimbal on a flat surface and power on the gimbal.  The light will flash while powering up as the gimbal calibrates.  If this doesn’t work, you can manually calibrate the gimbal.  This can be done with the help the remote app, or the remote control. There are specific instructions for a 6 point camera position that needs to be done to manually calibrate the motors on the gimbal.

Remote

An optional remote control is available which we found very helpful.  Most of the time we liked using our phone to frame out GoPro shots, and not to control the gimbal.  So it was nice to have another device to do this. It’s very light and compact. However, I wish there were a mount for it on the telescoping pole.  The remote can indicate the battery power remaining in the gimbal, it’s Bluetooth connectivity, control via joystick and click functions and directions.  The joystick is great for providing panning and following modes for videos.  The joystick clicks down like a button to quickly switch between functions.

Phone App

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An Android and IOS app are available from the apps stores.  It provides a Bluetooth connection to manually control the gimbal.  Simply pair the gimbal with the control and will see the controls appear on screen. The remote allows for full control of the gimbal, you can also put motors on/off.  Other options include calibration of the gimbal with a 6 point calibration.  Also you can update the gimbal firmware wirelessly with the phone app when connected.

Accessories and Extensions/Add-ons

  • Extension stick
  • Remote control
  • Adapters for GoPro Session
  • Adapter for GoPro Hero 5

Upgrading the Gimbal firmware

The gimbal can be connected to a computer and transferred the latest firmware upgrades that can be downloaded from EvoGimbals.com download sections.

Other Models

  • EVO GP-Pro 3-AXIS HANDHELD GIMBAL FOR ACTION CAMERAS
  • EVO GP 3-AXIS HANDHELD GIMBAL FOR ACTION CAMERAS

The Evo GP-Pro vs. The Evo GP

The EVO GP-Pro is an enhanced version of the GP model.  The GP is not compatible with the GoPro Hero 5.  The EVO GP-Pro has a special version that is compatible with the GoPro Hero 5.  The stabilization accuracy is the same as well as the performance of the gimbals.  The difference is that the GP-Pro has a ¼-20 threaded battery cap on the handle.  This allow to add extension poles to it, can also attach to tripod or mono-pod mounts.  Also, the Pro has the power button in a different place.  The GP-Pro has a 4 way joystick for movement control.  The GP has buttons for controls.  The GP-Pro has an option to pass audio/video signal from the GoPro to the 3.5mm output port on the handle.  This can be used to feed a signal to an external monitor.  The GP-Pro also has upgraded position encoder and motors.

  • EVO SP Handheld Gimbal for Smartphones (will fit large phones like iPhone Plus)
  • EVO Rage-S Gimbal for Mirrorless camera
  • EVO Rage Gimbal for DSLR cameras

EVO Gimbal vs Zhiyun Gimbal

Just for clarification, there is another gimbal on the market that is almost identical to the EVO SS called the Zhiyun Rider-M Gimbal.  EVO Gimbals states that the gimbals are different although they share a similar look and parts.

Conclusion

The number one complaint is that the gimbal isn’t more water resistant and it doesn’t contain a small travel case.  We took the gimbal snowboarding and were worried we might fall and crush the gimbal.  It’s hard to transport.  We did find a pick foam hard case to store our GoPro and gimbal together.  However, this case is still a little large to comfortably move.  Another downside to a wearable gimbal is that they feel bulky.  When using the GoPro chest mount, it requires adapters from the GoPro fitting to a tripod mount screw to fit into the gimbal.  After this is all added, it sticks out from the chest about 6 inches, and has a lot of leveraged weight hanging off. 


LL Bean Sleeping Bag

L.L. Bean Downtek Sleeping Bag 20 Degree

Travis Gneiting Reviews

Specs:

  • 2.98 Lb backed weight
  • 76 inch x 34 inch Dimensions
  • 15 inch x 8 inch Packed Dimensions
  • Interior and exterior shells: Ripstop nylon
  • Fill: Water-repellent DownTek™ 650
  • Water-repellent coating on outer shell
  • Baffling holds insulation in place
  • Draft tube on zipper prevents cold air from seeping in
  • Retains its loft in wet conditions

This L.L. Bean Sleeping bag review covers the specifications and our use of the sleeping bag as well as the pro’s and con’s.  This sleeping bag is like a Swiss army knife of sleeping bags.  While not the lightest, if offers some features and comfort that are worth the weight.  If you are a back sleeper, stomach sleeper, legs crossed, roll around, hot/cold you can make this bag work for most situations.  With a forgiving cut, lofty down, heat seals, covered zippers and Velcro closures it’s all comfort.  Just pair this with a good sleeping pad and you are set for a great night in the woods.

Storage Stuff Sack

You have been told, “Don’t store your sleeping bag in it’s stuff sack”.  A really nice storage stuff sack included with the L.L. Bean sleeping bag.

The Little Details

There are little details hidden all over this sleeping bag from loops to hang the bag from.  Also sealed zippers to keep the air out, Velcro closure, that has additional Velcro to close the flap if you don’t want to use it and keep it from sticking to your clothes or pillow all night. Then there is the heat skirt to keep the air in when needed on those cold nights.

Pack Size

While this is a larger sleeping bag it’s still a great bag for comfortable backpacking.  The extra weight is worth it when you hit the ground at night.  The packed size of the bag is 15 inches by about 9 inches.  Still easy to attach to a pack without sacrificing too much room.

Weight

The weight of the bag inside the loose storage sack was 3.29 pounds.  This is a little heaver than the stuff sack just because of the larger sack.

The stuff sack is lighter than the storage sack at only 2.98 pounds.

Final Conclusion

The bag is nicely sized for movement and comfort.  It makes for a great 3 season sleeping bag. There is plenty of room for movement.  The down has a tendency to shift around during the night but not enough to effect the warmth.  The big baffles hold the Downtek in place, full of air and warm.  There is not a full hood on the sleeping bag, but it does have a skirt to lock in the heat. It can be zipped together with another bag for a double sized bag.  You can use the 2 way zippers for venting when things get too warm.  The outer shell does a good job of shedding light water, but if it get’s soaked the Downtek is suppose to keep you warm even when wet, we opted not to test this.  The material is similar to most nylon shell, slippery yet enjoyable for that “camping feeling”.  It’s nice to find a rectangle shaped bag with a lot of the features of a mummy style bag. The bags come in a few different temperature options and styles from around 32 degree to 0 degree.  As with most nylon sleeping bags, this bag suffers from hungry zippers.  Extra caution needs to be taken when opening and closing the zippers to keep the material out of the zipper.

You can view all L.L. Bean Downtek Sleeping bags here

 

 

Elite Custom Rack Water Bottle Cages and Bottles

Travis Gneiting Review

We were long overdue for an upgraded hydration system for our road bike.  We don’t race, and as you can tell by the pump attached to the frame aren’t real sticklers for weight.  I wasn’t going to shell out $80 for a water bottle cage to safe a few grams.  All I cared about was something that looked better than a big metal water bottle cage and cut out a little weight over the metal cage.

Elite cycling offers some great carbon cages, but as we mentioned a lot of them go for almost $80 retail.  We opted for the Custom Race Plus water bottle cage.  They look great, we found a color that matched out bike, seemed strong and held the water bottles super tight, but allowed for easy entry and exit.

Paired with the Elite 550 ml bottles the cages are like a match made in heaven.  The bottles weigh in at 91 grams, and aren’t super high quality. The tips and screw top are a bit nicer than a free water bottle you might get from a race.  The pain on the outside of the bottles gets scraped off really easy.  You can see below in a photo after just a few rides the scratches that appear on the bottles.

The cages weigh is at just 39 grams, some of the carbon cages are just 36 grams.  Not a lot of weight savings for 3 times the price.

Out with the old cages and in with the new.

The cutout on the cage makes it easy to install.

The rubber Elite piece helps to secure the bottle in the cage.  You can see the amount of scratching that the bottle endured over just a couple rides.

Conclusion

For $20 retail we are happy with the cages, they are a great upgrade from the old metal cages we have been using.

You can view all Elite product on GearChase.com, and find a lot of products discounted from all your favorite online retailer.

 

Kuat NV 2.0 Bike Rack Review

Travis Gneiting Reviews

Overview

We are now on our third Kuat NV rack.  We used the first NV bike rack, loved it.  Then it came out in black and had to have that.  Now the NV 2.0 comes out with new features that we were all asking for.  We just had to write a Kuat NV 2.0 review to include our experience and comparison to other racks.  The updated version builds on the success of the coveted Kuat NV.  It was hard to find many bad things to say about it other than we noticed our lock keys fit just about every other Kuat NV we tried them in.  The Kuat NV is defiantly the Mercedes Benz of bike racks.  It’s extremely heavy, but that’s trumped by it’s functionality and looks.  The rack builds on the original Kuat NV, but added a new lock system, wider trays to accommodate fat bikes, an updated trail doc work stand and a hands free tray adjuster.

Performance

The features on the Kuat 2.0 are top notch.  The hands free (use your foot) to lower the rack when your holding your rack, and also the extended lever make it a lot easier to adjust the rack when holding a bike.  The rack has been on many list as a top pick and editors choice award for many outdoor gear websites.  It performs well, in many environments.  We have had it in snow, rain, mud, and the high quality build keeps the parts moving and functional.

The rack comes in a 2 inch and 1.25 version.  The 2 inch version is up gradable to add an additional 2 trays for a total of 4 bikes, but talk about a heavy rack! The upgraded NV 2.0 has a smaller adjustment nob that gets out of the way a lot better.  Without fail on the NV, we ended up scraping the nob up all the time on rocks, gutters and sidewalks.

We would choose a hitch mount rack over any other style 100 to 1.  It is so easy to ride right up to the rack throw the bike on, sinch it down and be on your way in a few seconds. Also, the fear of loosing a bike part from trunk mounted bike racks is gone.  You will smile when you look in your rear view mirror and don’t see your bike bouncing all over the place as your cruise down the road at 70 mph.

Bike Security

The locks are a nice feature but don’t trust your new 5k bike to them.  An issue we had with the original NV was that almost every NV rack we tried our keys in, we were able to open.  Kuat states that they do reuse some keys and locks, but that it shouldn’t be every rack you find.  The new cable lock system is meant to wrap around the rear triangle and tire of each bike.  The first version was meant to lock both bikes together through the frame.  It is much nicer to lock bikes up with the new system.

The Trays

The trays have been widened to allow for fat bike tires to fit in them.  It also makes it a little easier to load your bike now.  As a side note, they look pretty cool too.

The Ratchets

The ratches have been updated on the new NV 2.0, they have protective coating on the underside so they won’t scratch those carbon wheels.  They also have a new buckle system, that we messed up a few times.  The design allows for two slots for the buckle to slide into, one next to the tray, and one in the ratchet.  On a couple occasions we inadvertently push it down the wrong slot and it gets stuck in there pretty bad, let this be a warning.

The Assembly

Assembling the Kuat NV 2.0 seemed a little easier, but it might have been that we were experience after putting together 2 other NV racks.  It’s not difficult, and you don’t have to thread the lock through the rack any more.  This decreased the time it took to assemble it the first time.  I could say it took us a total of 30 to 45 min to assemble the rack with an allen key and a helping hand.

Tire Support

One gripe about the NV that didn’t get fixed is where the tire support rest against the shock.  On a fox shock it usually rest right on the cable attachment.  This slowely wears a large hole in the soft rubber of the tire support.  I don’t know the solution for this, but I hope they come up with something.  On our last rack it wore all the way through the soft rubber.  The new button on the rack dosn’t seem to perform as well as the button that was on the top of the old rack.  When the button was on top it was easier to push down and close in one motion.  With the button on the side it takes some extra work to push the button in, make sure you are pushing straight down so the support smoothly slides into the housing.

Durability

The durability of the rack beside the soft rubber around the tire is top notch.  This is one heavy duty rack.  The downside is that it’s really heavy to move around it your take your rack off and on a lot.  The upside is that you don’t feel like your going to loose your bike off the back of your car, truck, or suv when cruising down the freeway.  The powder coated finish offer an easy to clean surface that looks amazing.  It doesn’t scratch easily, and is easily washed along with your vehicle.

The Trail Doc Bike Work Stand

Don’t plan on turning this into a mobile work station.  While it works in a pinch, it’s not extremely reliable.  It’s hard to clamp down hard enough to keep the bike from easily rotating even from a strong wind.  Also, the adjustable angle knob on the back is a little tricky to get tighten just right to avoid it from moving.

Value

With a retail price of $650 it’s one of the most expensive 2 bike racks on the market.  While you are paying for high quality build and a great looking rack that will last you for years, there are racks with similar features for far less.  If a high quality build and looks are important to you that the Kuat NV 2.0 is the rack for you.

Conclusion

The NV 2 is an amazing rack, and you are paying for it in the price.  It made a lot of really great upgrades from the original NV rack.  It is a top notch rack with many pro style features.  If you are looking for a similar rack without the hefty price tag, we suggest looking at the Kuat Sherpa or the Thule T2 Pro.

Check out all Kuat Rack Sales on GearChase.com

 

Friday Deals: Unimaginable Sales of the Week 3/30

Travis Gneiting Weekly Deals

Here we go for some of the best deals, sales and coupons for the week.

REI.com 20% off One Full Price & One Garage Item (Members)

REI has a great deal for members. Get 20% off one full priced item and one garage item. Keep in mind the garage items are usually reduced already up to 40% sometimes. And it’s actually stuff you would want to buy. Plus they are doing 30% off new bikes!

Take me to REI.com to spend my money

Brownells 80% off Pistol Frames!

Like buiding things? How bout’ a pistol. The Polymer80 is 80% off right now at Brownells.

Take me to Brownells.com to spend my money

Backcountry.com still running 20% off a Full Price Item

Last chance to take advantage of Backcountry 20% off a full priced item with coupon code: 20mar

Take me to Backcountry.com to spend my money

Also joining the 20% off club is Eastern Mountain Sports

Eastern Mountain Sport also joined in on the 20% off club. I guess you get to pick who you like to shop best with?

Take me to EMS.com to spend my money

You though we were done? Nope Moosejaw is offering 20% off full priced items too.

I guess it’s a thing this time of season. Everyone want’s to give you 20% off with their special coupon code. This one is from Moosejaw.com. On a side note, did you know that Walmart just bought Moosejaw?

Take me to MooseJaw.com to spend my money

EVO.com has some great deals on cold weather gear

We searched some deals from EVO.com on GearChase and found deals up to 80% off retail. Keep in mind these discounts are often XS or XL sizes and less desired colors.

Search EVO.com for Deep Discounts

Sierra Trading Post – High Sierra Backpack $49.00

Here is a deeeeply discounted 30L backpack from Sierra Trading Post. 64% off Retail.

Let’s see that Backpack

ExOfficio Closouts

Sierra Trading Post, CampSaver and More are clearing out ExOfficio gear on the cheap.

Show me how cheap ExOfficio clothing can be
Featured-Image

Jabra Elite Sport – Wireless Bluetooth Earbud Headphones Review

Travis Gneiting Reviews

While there was a lot of buzz around the apple AirPods, there has been a lot of action outside of the Apple world.  Jabra entered the truly wireless earbud market with the new Jabra Elite Sport wireless ear buds and here is our review after a couple months of using them.

Features

The Jabra Elite Sport wireless ear bud is basically a truly wireless version of the Jabra Sport Pulse bluetooth headphones.  We have been using the Jabra Sport Pulse headphones pictured below for over a years now, they are our go to headphones for cycling.  So we obviously wanted to compare the Jabra Elite Sport to these headphones.  A side from the location of the buttons and additional bulk on the ear, these headphones are similar of course without the cord attached.

  • Clinical grade Heart rate monitor
  • Time, speed, distance, pace, steps, cadence, calories, heart rate zone, VO2 Max estimation, repetitions, real time coach
  • Trackfit Motion Counting Sensor (Tri-Axis accelerometer)
  • Voice control to answer calls
  • Bluetooth version 4.1
  • Jabra Sport Life App
  • Performance Tracking
  • In ear coaching
  • One Earbud use
  • Mic
  • Waterproof (IP67 rated [?]) up to 1 meter
  • 3 Year Sweat warranty (requires registration)
  • 1 Year Standard warranty

Using the Ear Buds

There is some getting use to using the earbuds.  You will notice things like when you take the left ear bud out, and hold it more than 12 inches away from the right ear bud, it shuts itself off.  Then when bringing it back to your ear, it reconnects and you hear it turn on.  Additionally, we paired these headphones with phones and bluetooth computers.  The ear buds do really well pairing and unpairing with the phone.  However, on occasion when listening to Spotify on a computer, if we put the ear buds back in the charging case and closed it we had a hard time getting Spotify to realize when we put them back in our our and wanted to resume listening. I’m not sure where the disconnect is here, I assume it’s because of the charging that occurs and bluetooth connectivity is lost for a moment.  We always had to restart Spotify and sometimes recycle the power on the ear buds. I did get use to the weird tricks and know when to do what with them to avoid issues like these but there was some learning curve.

We have sweat in these a lot through running and cycling and have had zero issues with them.  While Jabra states they are IP67 rated and can be submerged in a water up to 3 feed, we just couldn’t bring ourselves to swimming with them in ear.

 

Battery Life

At first use of the Elite earbuds I was a little worried that the 3 hours run time wouldn’t be enough. Also, a little confused at why the battery life was so much shorter that the Jabra Sport bluetooth headphones. The Elite Sport have a bigger in ear pod, so I assumed the battery life would have been longer. For desk use, short travel they work great. Frustration may set in when the battery dies 3 hours into your century bike ride, and you haven’t to put them back in the charging case and continue your ride.

The case does a sort of quick charge. I placed the ear buds in the case for exactly 20 min and started using them right away. I was able to get an hour and a half of use from just a 20 min charge, I didn’t think that was too bad. A little

We did some extensive testing on the battery life.  Keep in mind these were in pretty controlled environment where they likely weren’t loosing and reconnecting to bluetooth, or using all additional features like heart rate monitoring all the time.

First Use Fully Charged

4 Hours (10 Min Warning before shutoff), this was better than expected.  Jabra claims only 3 hours of use.

20 Min Case Charge

1:32 (10 Min Warning before shutoff), again better than Jabra claims.  Jabra states only about an hour of use after a 20 min case charge.

2nd Charged overnight in case

Put in case Red light on for a few seconds indicate charging
4 Hours (10 Min Warning before shutoff)

3rd Charge overnight in case

Opened case and saw yellow light on charging led
4 Hours (10 Min warning before shutoff)

Tried 4th Charge overnight in case

Open case saw yellow light indicating case was low on battery. I turned on the earbuds and heard “battery low”.  The ear buds lasted about 10 min then died.  There are definatly 2 solid charges from the case, but not a 3rd.

After 3rd charge placed headphones in Charger

We put the ear buds back in the charger after they were dead.  A red light on the charger came on indicating the battery on the charger was dead.  We then plugged in the charging case and a light came on indicating it was charging.  We found it did charge the case as well as the ear buds when they were both dead, although I assume this is slower that just charging the case.

There are two lights on the front of the case indicating the charge in the ear buds.  Also a single light next to the USB port that indicates the battery for the case.  Additionally, there are lights on the ear buds that indicate their power, or you can press the left buttons and get a verbal read of the ear bud power.

Fitness Analysis App and Heart Rate

The one thing that really sets Jabra apart from most headphones is the apps.  There are quite a few apps.  You can change and adjust the EQ using the Jabra sound app.

Jabra-pulse-sound-app

Jabra Assist provides some feature adjustment to Jabra products.

Jabra Sport Life is the app that provides the sport coaching and heart rate monitoring.   The app is a bit gimmicky, but there is value.  The heart rate monitoring is really good and fairly accurate for an optical sensor.  The coaching is fun to play with but not going to replace a real trainer.  It’s worth noting that you must install Jabra Service app also for the Jabra Sport Life app to work.

Controls

There are 4 buttons on the pair of earbuds, 2 on each ear. The left ear bud controls the volume up (and battery status) and down (down button also powers on/off). The right controls the music playback. Double clicking the bottom right ear bud turns on HearThrough. Although I didn’t test HearThrough a lot in outdoor noisy environments, it was hard to tell when it was on or off.

Sound Quality

The earbuds include Bespoke bass enriched speakers with 20Hz to 20kHz frequency range. While I am not an audiophile, these ear buds over delivered on expectations. Streaming from high quality Spotify they sounded great.  They are fairly heavy on the bass side, and obviously have some eqing done to bump it up a bit.  It’s not something you would be feeling from a headphone like Beats, it’s a more happy medium.  The mid range in a variety of styles also sounded pretty good.  The lows are defiantly amped up more than the mids. The highs were slightly lacking when hearing the drum high hats and cymbals of songs as well as guitar solos felt lacking a bit.  These earbuds sound great, and better than most, but don’t be expecting studio quality sound from them.

There is also a feature called HearThrough that allows you to hear outside ambient noise to help with alertness and safety awareness.

Phone Calls

There are 4 total microphones on the pair of earbuds. These microphones have noise canceling technology to switch between mics and reduce background noise. The microphone sensitivity is rated at -38 dBv/Pa with a range of 100Hz to 10kHz.  It’s easy to access siri or google now with the touch of the button.  Sound quality is good, and mic quality is OK when indoors and can bee poor when outdoors and windy.

What is in the box?

  • A Pair of Jabra Elite Sport Bluetooth Headphones
  • On-the-Go Charging and Storage Case
  • Micro-USB Cable
  • 3 sets of Ear Gels(TM) size Small, Medium, Large
  • 3 sets of Foam Tips size Small, Medium, Large
  • 3 sets of Ear Wings(TM)
  • Warning, Warranty, and Quick start guide

The Sport Elite’s come in a nice looking easy to open box.  A flap opens up to revel the charging case and ear buds.  Under that is the many ear tips and wings for different fit options.

Earbud Ear Fit

There are 3 options to customize the fit and sound you want.  The silicone ear tips are pretty similar to most ear buds.  They do an excellent job of sealing out outside noise and enhancing the listening.  The foam tips allow a little more outside sound in and don’t have the suction cup effect on your ear canal.  Each come with 3 different sizes for your ear size.  Lastly, Jabra offers winged tips for an even more secure fit inside your ear.  We never found a reason to have to use the winged tips.  The ear buds stay put really well for as large as they are in ear.

 

Compared to Jabra Sport

When riding bikes or running with the Jabra Elite Sport ear buds, we contently worry about them falling out, even though they never have.  The though of having to find one on a trail in the woods would feel like searching for a needle in a hay stack.  For this reason, we still like the Jabra Sport Pulse for biking.  They offer the same features but are tethered together so the likelihood of loosing one is far less.  Additionally, the battery last a lot longer per single charge on the Pulse, we often ride longer that 3 hours and would have to take the ear buds out and charge them through the ride.

For everything else, the new Jabra Elite Sports are our new wireless ear buds of choice.  They retail for $249, but are often found on sale for $199.  They are full of features that most bluetooth headphones are lacking. With the heart rate monitory, sports app and dual mics they are a great value.


Topeak Smartguage d2 review

Topeak – Smartgauge D2 Digital Review – Air Pressure Gauge

Travis Gneiting Reviews

The SmartGuage D2 is a must have for any semi-serious biker. We have taken a close look at the SmartGuage Tire Pressure Gauge and provided our Topeak SmartGuage D2 review.

Who needs a digital pressure gauge?

If you have been using a floor pump with a needle gauge you know how inaccurate they can be. With our current pump on a road bike tire, we can put in three pumps before the needle re-adjust, then it jumps up from 1 to 5 PSI. We were tired of never having an accurate reading and just going off the feel of the tire.

We were ready to get a little more serious about our PSI’s this year and went full digital. You might have seen our review on the Fox digital shock pump, now we are reviewing the Topeak SmartGuage D2, one of the most trusted gauges on the market.

Overview and How to use

To use the tire gauge first, select the type of valve you will be attaching to. Next push the power button, you will hear a beep and the gauge will turn on. Next align the perpendicular with the valve. Press down firmly, and you will hear another audible beep indicating that the pressure has been recorded. We noticed if there is not a good seal the first time you measure the pressure you can get inaccurate readings. You should not hear any air leak out when you measure the pressure or you should reset and check again.

The SmartGuage D2 works with both Schrader valve and presta valve. There is a sliding lever on the top of the gauge head that rotates back and forth to select the correct stem. The stem is indicated by a painted on image of the type of stem attaching to.

To get started, you simply push the power button, after which you will hear an audible beep. The gauge turns on and reads 0.0 and the last unit you used is selected. To change the unit just push the unit button and it cycles through bar, kg/cm2, and our favorite PSI. With each push of a button you hear the beep which is nice to know if you accidentally push it while getting in some of those tight valve stem places.

After taking a reading, the pressure remains on the screen for easy reading without getting your nose down to the valve stem. To clear this off and test again just hit the power button for a second. For best results always start measuring the tire pressure from 0.

Built into the gauge is an air release valve much like the high pressure shock pumps now you can bleed your tires right down to the perfect pressure. To do this takes a button press on the “Pulse” button, this will monitor the pressure as you are bleeding it. Pretty nice feature to be able to make the pressure sticky on the screen or adjustable. As we mentioned before we don’t like getting our nose right up to the stem just to read the gauge with our poor eye sight. One other feature is that you can rotate the stem to the top of the tire, and the gauge display also rotates to you can still read the output from any angle.

If “HI” appears on the screen your gauge isn’t trying to make introduce itself to you, it means the pressure it over maximum range. Also worth noting if you see “HI” on the screen while not checking pressure your gauge has been damaged.

If you see “Lo” displayed on the readout, your battery is low and needs replacing.

Features & Cautions

  • 0-250 PSI Reading
  • 0 to 85 degree operating temperature
  • The Topeak SmartGuage D2 takes a CR2032 Battery
  • Weights just 95 grams
  • Not waterproof, or dust proof
  • Don’t drop or shake violently
  • Don’t push hard on LCD
  • Don’t clean with solvents
  • Can be used with Tires, Forks, and Shocks
  • The screen only stays on for 30 seconds.
  • There can be some air spillage of about 1 to 1. 5 PSI after each pressure measurement.

Warranty

There is a 1-Year mechanical components warranty against defects, and no the battery is not covered under warranty.

Some of the downsides to the tire gauge are that it doesn’t rotate in 360 degrees, so on occasion we found ourselves still not being able to read the gauge without removing it. This is really only a problem if you are trying to bleed the pressure down to a certain PSI.

Also a nice addition to the gauge would be a light and better viewing angle. If you are not looking directly down on the LCD and viewing from a top or bottom angle it’s fairly hard to read. Also, we wear polarized sunglasses and they do not mix well with digital LCD screens just a warning it will drive you nuts.

While we don’t have a fat bike tire handy to test on, we have hear some others complain that it doesn’t work great with super low pressures like that of a fat bike.

Final Thoughts

Higher pressure like shocks, forks and road tires are a little more tricky to test the pressure with the SmartGuage D2.  If you don’t get it measured the first or second PSI and may have to go back and forth with the pump, adding air and checking pressure again.  Other than that, we have had good success with the gauge, and has become part of our pre-ride check.  We keep track of our pressure readings in our bike diary and how the bike and tires perform at different pressures.  It’s a fun little tool, little enough to keep with you in your ride bag.  We hope to see a few improvements with the SmartGuage D3 like a lite screen, and 360 degree rotating head.  Other than that, it’s one of the best digital gauges we have used.

As always keep an eye on GearChase.com for great prices on the SmartGuage D2 from all your favorite retailers

NiteRider Lumina 950 and Sentinel 150 Review

Travis Gneiting Reviews

A head light and tail light are becoming a necessity for riding a bike on the road.  Bicycle accidents are a reoccurring problem among commuters and enthusiast. A side from wearing a helmet, one of the best things you can do to improve your safety on the road is to be visible.  A bicycle front facing white light and rear facing red light are the best ways to increase visibility to motorist.

We have been using bike lights for years, from lights that ran for an hour on 4 double “A” batteries, to 2200 Lumen spot lights. We choose to review the Lumina 950 Boost light and Sentinel by NiteRider because they provide enough for multipurpose rides and the value they offer from a price point.  The Lumina 950 is bright enough on boost mode to bomb down your local trail in pitch black, can be used for a commute from work in the evening, or run during the day time to boost visibility.  We even found ourselves reaching for the Lumina 950 when a flashlight wasn’t handy but a bike light was.

Lumina 950 Boost Light Features

  • Double Click Boost mode
  • USB Charge
  • Low (200 Lumens) 5 Hours
  • Medium (400 Lumens) 3 Hours
  • High (800 Lumens) 1:30 Hours
  • Boost (950 Lumens) 40 Min
  • Strobe (hold for 3 seconds) 5:30 Hours
  • Saver (40 Lumens) 18:00 Hours
  • Hold for 7 Seconds to lock
  • Handlebar strap mount
  • Battery Charge 500mA = 5:00 Hour >500mA 2:30 Hour
  • Low Battery Indicator blue light
  • Lifetime warranty on mechanical components
  • 2 Year warranty on electrical components
  • 1 Year warranty on rechargeable batteries

The Lumina 950 is a compact light that feels very high quality with solid construction and casing.  It uses a high quality CREE(TM) led at 600K (Not those cheap eBay LEDs).  With a single LED, the light throw is pretty good.  Below we show the light pattern from about 5 feet away from the wall so you can see the pattern.

Low (200 Lumens) 5 Hours

Low (200 Lumens) 5 Hours

Medium (400 Lumens) 3 Hours

Medium (400 Lumens) 3 Hours

High (800 Lumens) 1:30 Hours

High (800 Lumens) 1:30 Hours

Boost (950 Lumens) 40 Min

Boost (950 Lumens) 40 Min

Below we took a photo profile of the light from the side.  As you can see there is not a lot of side visibility coming from the single LED.  It would be nice to have a little more visibility from the side.  If you are looking for a full night kit to keep you visible from all angles, keep reading about the Sentinel 150.

Mounting Lights

Mounting the light was a bit difficult until  you read the instructions.  You must rotate the top to thread the rubber strap through and then rotate it back.  Like any real man I tossed out the instructions the first time I installed the light and spent 15 minutes trying to thread it though the tiny space under the mounting bracket.

One argument we have had with bicycle lights for the last 20 years is mounting brackets.  We have probably broken 10 light mounts in our commuting experience.  Sometimes it from a wreck, others just being careless.  I would like to see manufactures provide less flimsy and prone to breaking mounts, or at least make the parts more easily replaceable.

Use

It’s been cold and dark here in Utah for the last few months, which makes it a great time to use a bike light for after work rides.  My initial though of the Lumina 950 was that it was going to be under powered for the types of riding I do and would only be used as a visibility strobe.  I was surprised just how well it lite up the road, even when not on Boost mode.  On trail rides we would typically ride up our local hill in low 200 lumens mode.  Once at the top we switched it over to Boost mode 950 lumens and bombed down the mountain.  The 950 lumens were plenty to get us down the mountain riding at a comfortable speed.

The light gets just slightly warm, but with the side fins and air moving over the light keeps it very comfortable.  It stays in place when riding even rough trails.  Although we did have better luck mounting it under the handle bars when on really rough chattery trails to keep the light from moving too much.

Final Thoughts

Putting aside the eBay lights that have been known to catch on fire when charging.  The value for the quality of this light can’t be beat.  The first thing you will notice with the Lumina is just how high the quality is when in you hand.  It provides enough light and is versatile enough to use for someone with many different types of riding.

The charging is done with a standard USB, and is intelligent and reduces charging time in half.

The light does fit on a helmet with an additional mount, but it’s a bit bulky with the weight.  If you have ever attached a GoPro to the top of a bike helmet, you know the feeling of it driving your helmet around on your head as you ride.

It’s water resistant and can win over the rain, this also keeps our the dirt and dust when riding.

Overall for $99 this light is a great value for someone looking for a high quality light that can do it all.  We are not the only ones happy with it, Amazon users have a 74% 5 star reviews of the light.

 

Upgrade to the OLED version?

It’s worth mentioning that this light also comes in a OLED version.  This offers some visual of the mode and battery life on the top of the light.  This addition brings the price of the light up to $150.  I’m not sure that the upgrade is worth an additional $50.  However, we are always wondering how much battery is left in our light, and end up charging it after each ride just to make sure.  With the indicator, you might be able to get 2 or 3 rides out of a single charge and not have to worry about getting stranded.

 

Sentinel 150

As important as a forward facing light, the rear facing red light is often the first indicator a car sees when approaching you.  There are many inexpensive options out there for as cheap as a few dollars.  I would say they are better than nothing, but if you are going to go through the effort making yourself visible it’s worth the extra money to get something that will really grab the attention of drivers.   Unless you are willing to go crazy like Seth from Seth’s Bike Hacks did, your better off just getting a single quality light.

Sentinel 150 Tail Light

  • Daylight Visible
  • Rubber seat post clamp (can use zip tie)
  • 150 Lumens (FL1 Standard)
  • 5 to 21 hour run time
  • Weather proof (FL1 Standard)
  • 7 Modes
  • Strobe 5 hour
  • Syncopated strobe 4:30 Hour
  • Solid High 4 hours
  • Solid Low 21 hours
  • Laser 11:30 to 5:30 hours
  • Weight 116g
  • USB Charger
  • 4 Hours Charge time
  • Display laser on ground
  • Lifetime warranty on mechanical components
  • 2 Year warranty on electrical components
  • 1 Year warranty on rechargeable batteries

Lasers

This is where we get excited, I mean who doesn’t get excited about lasers?  The Sentinel 150 has optional (on/off) lasers that track along side of you on the ground.  There are three blinking/solid modes for the lasers.  As you can see in the photos below it just looks really cool to be riding down the road with lasers on the side of you.  I’m not sure they help the visibility for traffic, but it looks really cool.

The breaking parts in the light are from our pedals blocking the light in the dark.

There are 7 modes, which is more that you will ever need. This tail light is very visible in the day light.  With other bright tail lights they seem to produce a high output more frequently.  One thing I liked about the modes with the Sentinel is that the brightest flash appears less frequently.  It is really bright at night, so I didn’t like the idea of it blinding drivers at night when stopped at a stop light.

Full disclosure, we were riding and jumping on a mountain bike with the Sentinel attached and took a pretty good sized jump with the light attached to the seat tube.  The mounting bracket broke off and the light hit the ground.  This isn’t really using the as it was designed for, but as we mentioned before we think manufactures should make the mounting brackets a little stronger or more easily replaceable.

The Sentinel 150 is one of the brightest and most visible tail lights in the market.  The value for a $54 light is there.  It will make you seen, and will improve your safety on the rode.  There are some other tail lights out there that are cheaper, but if you want quality and visibility then spend the extra money to get something that works.

There are two versions of the Sentinel 150.  One with the lasers and one without.  For $5 more get the one with the lasers.

 

FridayDealDay

Friday Deals: Incredible Sales of the Week 3/24

Travis Gneiting Weekly Deals

GearChase weekly hand picked deals selected from thousands our outdoor retails. These are often sale items, closeouts, and clearance items that don’t last long so move quick if you see something you like.

The Patagonia Micro D Fleece Pullover is on sale from Backcountry.com for only $29.96. That is a whopping 57% off retail. We checked out the sizes and colors and they are still fully stocked with Small, Medium, Large, and Extra Large in all 3 colors (Black, Grey, and Navy Blue). They are obviously trying to clear these out for the winter, they will go quickly.

You know them, you love them. Five Ten shoes are offering a great coupon code for 20% off any Five Ten Guided Tennie with their C4 rubber for supper sticky grippy. Or their bombproof Camp Four Shoe. You can check out our review on them, and why they are some of our favorite shoes.

Cabela’s bargains are plentiful this time of year, many deals up in the 70% off. We searched through a lot of them and found this deal. It’s a Gerber folding knife for just $14.99. Stock up to $99 and get free shipping with code: 37FREE, or use free shipping to store.

REI.com is offering $20 off $100, it automatically applies at checkout. The best part is that it works on qualifying REI Garage purchases. These types of deals are usually only good for full price items like Backcountry.com is doing right now with their code: 20MAR .

Sierra Trading Post has a closeout on this Smith ski and snowboard helmet. Only is size small, and only in this mustard color. Warning only 2 in stock.

Didn’t find what you were looking for today? Our homepage always has over a hundred daily deals from our favorite trusted merchants.

Check GearChase Deal Page for more Daily Deals

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Five Ten Mountain Bike Shoe – Hellcat Pro First Look 2017

Travis Gneiting Reviews

One of Five Ten’s staple downhill shoe got an upgrade, the Hellcat Pro is a clipless, bombproof shoe that caters to the gravity riders.  The Hellcat Pro and Freerider Pro are a couple new “Pro” shoes that were announced in 2016 and released in 2017.  The Pro model of the Hellcat takes protection, style and functionality to the next level. Don’t think of the Hellcat Pro as just an upgraded Hellcat, this is an entirely new shoe.  Weighing in at 577 grams (Size 10.5) these shoes are meant for some serious trail pounding as you can dish out.

Uppers

The uppers on the Hellcat are a DWR (Durable Weather Resistant) synthetic that wicks off water makes it a little harder for your foot to breath.  Not to be worried though, the perforated tongue provides ample breathing.  There are also 3 breathable hole in the top of the toe for some additional breathing room. The upper is really slick to the touch but and heavily resit abrasion from high impact rock strikes.

Tongue

The tongue is really soft and highly breathable foam.  It’s wear points are wrapped in synthetic for longer wear.  There is also an internal tongue retainer to keep it from washing side to side.  From out test rides, there are no hot spots, even when the shoe is cranked down for premium stability.

 Laces

The laces are standard flat laces with a tongue loop to hold it in place.  The eyelets are close together which allows for really good control over tightening the shoe down.  If you have ridden Five Ten shoes before you know that their toe boxes are a little large, except for the Five Ten Access .  The tighter lace loops and Velcro strap is really nice to be able to dial the shoe into your foot shape.  Another though was keeping the laces away from the Velcro.  As you can see in the photo above, there is an internal lacing eyelets for the laces under the strap.  This keeps the laces away from the sticky lace eating Velcro that is only a small spot on the closure loop.

Midsole

The Hellcat has a EVA Midsole that is compression molded.  It’s surprisingly soft, and provides some padding to a stiff shoe.  It’s going to be the first part of the shoe to see damage.  It’s almost too soft, feels like a rock could slice through it pretty easy.  Although Five Ten did a good job of protecting it with the sole wrapping around the high impact areas.  Unlike the Impact VXI that is more exposed.

Clipless

Standard adjustments and fit for the cleat.  There is some wiggle room for micro adjustments. The attachment may look like it fits close to the inside of the shoe, however, this is just because of the oversize footprint of the Hellcat.  It’s about 5mm wider that a shoe like the Kestrel.  This 5mm shows up on the outside of the sole, so the cleat still attaches well to the pedal without crank rub.

Collar

The collar is different than most Five Ten gravity shoes.  Most of the gravity shoes like the Impact, have a soft mesh material.  The new Hellcat Pro is a slick polyester material.  We were a little worried that this might get a little slick with some sweat on it, but the heel was held well in place despite the different materiel.

Insoles

You might be pleasantly surprised with the insoles in the Five Ten Hellcat Pro.  Most insoles that come with Five Ten Mountain are simple toss around flimsy insoles.  The Hellcat Pro comes with a very nice orthodontic.  It’s has a hard shell foot-bed with ample arch support.  The underside is also slip-free coating.  I hope to see this trickle down to other mountain bike shoes offered from Five Ten.

You can see the nice heel cup that offers a stable platform and the breathable holes in the insole.

Sole

 

GearChase.com C4 Stealth Rubber ReviewThe classic dot pattern and stealth C4 is the right pick for the Hellcat.  It’s ultra grippy, offers great protection, and fairly durable.  It also provids a noticeable amount of vibration reduction.  On firecracker downhill runs and heavy teeth chattering rock gardens, feet stay put, and locked into the rubber. C4 has microscopic nubs that grab and lock in with a stiffer and sticky rubber.

 

  • Advantages: Edging, Vibration damping, Hard friction, Excellent interlock
  • Shore A (Hardness): 76-80
  • Resilience (Rebound): 13%
  • DIN Abrasion: 290

Toe Cap

Another stand-out feature of the heavy duty toe cap.  For protection, it offers more than any other Five Ten shoe.  Based lightly off the Impact VXI, the Hellcat Pro took it to the next level.  A 4 layer TPU toe box with 2mm of impact resistant foam.  Short of a steel toe boot, your toes will be protected.  The toe is also thicker in the front, and as it spans out to the side, it becomes more flexible.

Toe Box

As previously mentioned, the toe box of the Hellcat Pro is on the larger size.  The sole width is about 5mm wider than a trail shoe.  The stitched toe also adds the durability that your not going to delam the sole of the shoe.

The Ride

I wouldn’t consider myself a downhill rider, however I love to jump and bomb trails according to my own ability.  My current bike is the new 2017 Pivot Firebird to give you an idea of my riding style.  I pedal up only to have fun coming down.  I was worried the Hellcat Pro might be too big of a shoe with too much bulk that was unnecessary for my riding style.  We are lucky and get to try out a lot of Five Ten shoes, these are quickly moving up as our new favorites.  They are comfortable for a larger shoe, great recess for the clips, classic sticky stealth sole, it’s hard to complain much about these shoes.  Even the Velcro closure is nicer than the classic Hellcat. It improves the issue with Velcro always eating away at the shoe laces.

Conclusion

If you are considering a pair of Five Ten shoes, and wondering if the new Hellcat Pro is the right shoe for you, ask your self a few questions.  Are you looking for top notch protection, proven winning power from Greg Minnarr at Fort Williams World Cup Downhill, no expense spared to make the best downhill shoe possible, that also look great, these shoes are right for you.

Five Ten Shoes
OnGuard vs Kryptonite Bike Lock Long

OnGuard Beast Chain Lock Vs. Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit Chain

Travis Gneiting Reviews

What lock should you buy, the OnGuard Beast 8016 Chain or the Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit? GearChase takes an in-depth view into both locks to find out what one will meet your needs.

With the price of bikes increasing year to year, new inventions from electronic shifting and large, expensive drive trains as well as high tech suspensions, it’s hard to let your bike out of your site for just a minute. According to the nationalbikeregistry.com an estimated 1.5 million bicycles are stolen each year. They are easy targets for someone looking to flip a quick buck, and don’t require the risk of automobile theft.  Bike theft has become a huge problem, there are professional bike thieves who steal bikes, and quickly off load them to different states or countries.  Components are stripped, and parted out on auction and classifieds sites.  The truth is if someone really wants your bike bad enough they will get it.  No lock or security method is 100% fool proof.  It’s about making it more difficult to steal a bike than the thief has or is willing to invest.

Give me the quick answer

If you don't want to read the entire post, our final pick is the OnGuard 8016 Chain lock

Check OnGuard 8016 Chain Lock

So you know you want to protect your bike at the maximum level, maybe you even want to secure a motorcycle, or trailer too, these locks are great for many applications, which is why we choose to look at these two chain locks, over some of the other offerings.  We wanted maximum protection and versatility, where weight and portability were not an deterrent.

We have a lot of photos below of the locks compared side by side, we will cover those and point out the pro’s and con’s of each lock.

OnGuard vs Kryptonite Bike Lock Links

Both locks have a heavy duty nylon chain cover. They both are very nice and high quality.  They attach through the chain loop and can be removed if needed.  A quality clean chain cover is essential when trying to lock up your carbon wheels without scratching them.

OnGuard vs Kryptonite Bike Lock Side by Side

OnGuard and Kryptonite Locks

The U locks included with each chain are extremely rugged.  They can be used as disc locks on motorcycles, and both are made of hardened steel.  They both have weather protection to keep water and dust out of the lock. Both locks offer protection guarantee programs with registration and a small fee. We will go into the size and weight details a bit lower in the article.  Both locks require the key to be inserted and engaged to connect the lock back to the “U” bar.

OnGuard U-Lock

The OnGuard lock is a bit larger but feels more comfortable to use and in hand.  The key only requires a 1/4 turn to open the lock, while the Kryptonite lock takes a 1/2 turn to open.  This may seem insignificant, but when you are bent over reaching between three bikes, and a bike rack you will enjoy the 1/4 turn.  It makes opening and closing the lock a lot easier in cramped quarters.  The lock has has X4P technology which is the highest tech OnGuard has that provides a quattro bolt mechanize that locks the shackle in the crossbar at four places.  This prevents prying, jacking, and twisting from snapping open the lock.

  • 1/4 Turn Open
  • Perfect size for function

Kryptonite U-Lock

The Kryptonite lock has a smaller footprint in your hand.  It takes a full 1/2 turn to open the lock. Because the lock is a bit smaller and lighter it makes it a bit easier to handle and move around into a locking position.

  • Smaller Footprint
  • 1/2 Key turn to open

OnGuard vs Kryptonite Bike Lock

Lock Dimensions

These locks are tough, they are hardened steel and would take some major cutting power to get through them.  The OnGuard has a slight advantage being an almost 17 mm shackle while the Kryptonite is a 15 mm shackle at their thickest points.  We will not be destroying a lock to test how long they take to cut through. If you get gratification from seeing an angle grinder cutting through these locks you can watch that here.

OnGuard U-Lock Dimensions

The inside diameter of the OnGuard locking portion of the lock measures about 14 mm.  This is about the same as the Krpytonite lock.  This is only measuring the portion of the u bolt that sits inside the lock when closed.  It would not be the portion of the lock that is cut through.

OnGuard vs Kryptonite Bike Lock Cut

The larger portion of the u-lock where actual cutting would take place measures a beefy 16.85 mm (with the protective rubber rolled back.  The rubber is a nice feature to the u bolt.  We often found ourself looping it through a spoke, chainstay, or other small part on a bike.

OnGuard vs Kryptonite Bike Lock Thick

Kryptonite Lock Dimension

The inside portion of the u bolt on the Kryptonite lock measures about the same as the OnGuard lock.  However, the main difference is in the outer portion of the u bolt, which is about 2 mm smaller.  The Kryptonite lock also offers a nice rubber coating on the u bolt to protect against scratching and takes out the rough metal on metal feeling.

OnGuard vs Kryptonite Bike Lock Inside

OnGuard vs Kryptonite Bike Lock U

 

OnGuard and Kryptonite Chain

The Chain on both locks is a hex (six sided) hardened chain.  We will not be destroying a lock or chain to show just how strong these chains are, there are plenty of YouTube videos showing how strong these chains are.  Typically they are impossible to cut through with even the largest bolt cutters.  The only way we have seen to get through these is with a grinding or cutting wheel.  This can be done in about one to two minutes, and will typically take two cuts to free the chain, depending on the side of the cut.

OnGuard Chain

The chain is a 14 mm titanium enforced hexagonal hardened steel chain.  It features a nylon dust cover which resist holding onto dirt.  This is great when your dragging it over your bike frame over and over to prevent scratching, it is also fairly easy to remove and wash if needed.

OnGuard offers their chain in two lengths.  A 3.5 foot and a 6 foot.  The actual measurement of the OnGuard chain is about 70.5 inches (5.8 feet).

OnGuard vs Kryptonite Bike Lock Length

  • Two Chain Lengths 3.5 and 6 Foot
  • Longer length than Kryptonite

Kryptonite Chain

The chain is a 14 mm manganese 3T (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mangalloy) hexagonal steel chain.  It also has a chain cover.  However, we noticed that the Krpytonite chain cover holds onto dirt and dust more.  This can cause scratching and is a bit more wear when dragging it through spokes, frames, bike racks etc.

The Kryptonite chain claimed length is 5 feet.  The actual measurement of the chain is 58.5 inches (4.8 feet). It’s in between the two sizes of the OnGuard chains.

OnGuard vs Kryptonite Bike Lock Link

  • Dust cover holds onto dirt and dust

Lock and Chain Weight

Don’t kid yourself, these locks are heavy. There is defiantly a trade for protection offered with these locks to the weight. I don’t anticipate anyone using these as commuter bike locks.  Our use was always pulling it out of the bed of a truck, or leaving it hanging on the wall to lock up a bike in a garage.

OnGuard Lock Weight

OnGuard vs Kryptonite Bike Lock weight

The OnGuard U-Lock weighs 1.88 pounds (853.2 grams)

 

OnGuard vs Kryptonite Bike Lock Chain Scale

The OnGuard lock and chain weigh 19.23 pounds (8.7 KG)

  • Extremely heavy

Kryptonite Lock Weight

OnGuard vs Kryptonite Bike Lock Weight 2

The Kryptonite lock weighs 1.649 pounds (747.9 grams)

 

OnGuard vs Kryptonite Bike Lock Chain Weight

The Kryptonite lock and chain weigh 15.08 pounds (7.16 KG)

  • Smaller lock and smaller chain for lighter weight

 Lock Keys

Both locks come with similar shaped keys, and one larger lighted key.  Also, both locks offer a key replacement program where if you retain your key code provided when you purchase the lock, you can get replacement keys for a nominal price if you every misplace them.

OnGuard vs Kryptonite Bike Lock Key

 

OnGuard vs Kryptonite Bike Lock Key Light

Lock Warranty

Both locks offer a Lifetime Warranty

Anti-Theft Protection

Both companies offer an insurance for a small fee when purchasing these locks.

OnGuard Protection Insurance

  • Anti-Theft Protection ($1401 Power Sport/$5001 Bicycle) *Requires Registration
  • 1 Year ($1), 2 Year ($10) to 3 Year($15) protection
  • Does not cover dismantle or cutting, or force, torches, battery operated tools, hydraulic tools
  • Must retain broken lock

Kryptonite Protection Insurance

  • Optional Anti-Theft Protection ($2000 Power Sport/$5000 Bicycle)
  • Covers malicious, unintended opening, breaking by force
  • Base Cost of Vehicle excluding tax
  • Insurance deductible
  • Cost depends on lock rating
  • 1 Year $9.99 to Free
  • 5 Year $29.99 to $24.99

Standard Lock Ratings

OnGuard Lock Rating

Non listed

Kryptonite Lock Rating

Sold Secure (UK): Gold
ART: 4127
N.F.(France)
SFF(Sweden)
VAREFAKTA(Denmark)

Conclusion

The Kryptonite Lock on rack. Kuat has built in cable locks but we never trusted too much.

The OnGuard lock attached to a Kuat rack. It gives us piece of mind that it’s going to take a lot of work to get this bike away from the truck or rack.

After looking at and using these locks almost daily we would have to choose the OnGuard lock over the Kryptonite lock.  The extra length comes in handy more often that we though, and it makes things easier to shift around and lock up different items, not just bikes, but other valuables too.  The chain can be shortened as needed to make it more difficult to access the lock by just using links further up the chain.

Both of these locks offer the intimidation factor which is a big deterrent to a thief.  Have a look on GearChase.com to see the best prices on both locks from 100’s of retailers online.

OnGuard Locks on GearChase Kryptonite Locks on GearChase

 

Bear Sleeping Bag

Sleep Inside a Bear?

Travis Gneiting News

Looking to up your camping game?  Why not sleep in a bear?  This realistic bear sleeping bag was created by Eiko Ishizawa as a sculpture.  Inspired by a new story in 2006 about a bear that escaped into the Alps. This was the first bear in the wild in the region for 170 years. Controversy over if the bear should be killed or left alive inspired this creation. Ishizawa wanted to capture the human transition and perception of both fantasies in reality.

 

Bear Sleeping bag

If that bear is a little to realistic, there is always this option!

Nice Bear Sleeping Bag

Fox Digital Shock Pump Review

Fox Digital Shock Pump Review

Staff Reviews

A shock pump seems like a pretty simple little high pressure pump for setting sag and pressure on your forks and air shocks.  Making sure that your suspension is set up properly and adjusted for the type of trail you are riding is essential for getting the most performance out of your mountain bike.  This could be adding air to a fork, adding or removing volume spacers, or setting up sag.

A shock pump is different from a normal tire pump or even an air compressor.  They are designed with a single purpose to adjust high pressure air of a air shock or air fork in small increments.  Most tire pumps can’t get much hire that 100 PSI.  However, shock pumps are designed to pump up to 300 PSI.

Fox Digital Shock Pump Review

We have used a half dozen shock pumps over the last decade, and really wanted to start keeping a closer eye on air levels.  With a needle gauge pump it’s often hard to know exactly where the needle lies.  In fact with some pumps you can put a few pumps into a shock and the needle wouldn’t even move. It was time for an upgrade.

There are not many digital pumps on the market for shocks. In fact the few that we have seen look like the are all coming from the same factory.  However, once you go with a digital pump, it will be impossible to go back to a gauge. They are highly reliable, and accurate, we have double checked them with other pumps and gauges and been extremely satisfied with the reading on the Fox digital pump.

There is this one that looks an awful lot like the Fox pump above, but is branded with a Rockshox logo.

The handle, body and hose of the digital shock pump is pretty similar to everything else on the market.  It suffers from the same issues of the schrader valve only freely until it there is some resistance, then the entire pump has to rotate to get is screwed onto the fork.  The bleed valve is also a nice feature, but hard to control.  Typically, it requires a bleed, which ends up letting too much air out. Then adding air back in.

Fox Digital Shock Pump Review

The Fox digital shock pump is one of the best pumps we have used.  It has always been reliable. The pressures are repeatable.  There is a little pressure loss when reading the gauge, so keep this in mind when connecting just to test pressure.  The Rockshox pump seems to run a little cheaper on Amazon, but be sure to pick the shock that matches your bike, unless your running RS shock and Fox forks, then your out of luck.

C2 Tight Extreme Cold Review

C2 Extreme Cycling Tight Review

Travis Gneiting Reviews

We here at GearChase.com are avid cyclist. When asked if we would like to try out the C2 Extreme Tights we jumped at the chance. C2 is a Boston based company that produces 100% USA manufactured products. Currently, our go to cold weather tights are a pair of Pearl Izumi thermal cycling tights, so you will hear our comparison to these throughout our review of the C2 Extreme tights.

C2 Tight Extreme Cold Review

Main Features:

  • Abrasion-resistant fleece
  • Polartec Power Stretch(R)
  • 4 Way stretch material
  • Highly breathable
  • Soft inside and out
  • Machine washable
  • Calf and ankle reinforcement
  • Ankle zippers
  • 100% USA Manufactured

Cold Weather Riding Tights

We spend a fair amount of time on the road and dirt here in Utah, USA in the winter, and feel that we can adequately evaluate and provide the pro’s and con’s of the C2 tights. The C2 tight is rated for 25 degree weather, without some strenuous activity it’s a little chilly for 25 degree weather in these pants. I would say to our comfort level, they were well down to 35 degrees when worn alone. They really excel when layered with another pair of pants.  Our Pearl Izumi thermal tights are comfortable down in the 20 degree range, and are much more windproof, however not as comfortable.

The tops of the tights from the waste down to the upper calf are Power Stretch Polartec fleece. It’s a 4 way stretching material that is as soft on the inside as it is on the outside. The waist is an elastic band that are stitched with a flat laying seam. Down the thighs they are very soft and comfortable. One of the things we like about the C2 tights is just how soft and comfortable the tights are against our legs. The C2 tights, they are really nice to just lounge in after a ride.

C2 Tight Extreme Cold Review

While C2 states that the tights are wind resistant, we felt a lot of air coming through them. They are defiantly breathable, and wick moisture through the Polartec(R) stretch material but this is at the sacrifice of wind blocking.  I would not call them wind resistant.

After the knee, starts the Polartec(R) Power Stretch Hard Face. We really like this material, it’s a more durable 4 way stretch that resist grabbing on to snow like fleece does. It’s also more more durable when running against chain rings, pedals, etc. It also maintains the softness on the inside of the upper fleece. The leg zippers run up the outer leg about 6 inches. This is advertised for use of getting tights over shoes, but our experience is that the opening is still too small. They are however helpful in putting the tights on and off, just not over shoes.

In the saddle the tights feel really good, they move with the body much better than the Pearl Izumi tights. They also wear well with a chamois short. We found us wanting to pair them every time with a cycling short every time we wore them.  We also noticed some initial signs of wear on the seat of the tights, and wearing chamois help prevent this wear.

C2 Tight Extreme Cold Review

The fit is defiantly a cycling fit. The back of the tight fits high up the back for coverage when in cycling position. Also like a lot of cycling shorts, the crotch of the tights is less than ideal, seems to be cut much more for females than for male riders.

So who are these tights for? They work well for cycling in weather above 40 degrees. We have worn them in many hour long rides. They pair well with cycling shoes. Also, best matched with a pair of cycling shorts. We really like the tougher Polartec(R) shell around the calf and ankle for added protection. Another pro for the tights is how soft they feel. The con’s would be the concerns we have is to how long the Polartec(R) material will last, it seems to easily pull off, and sheds a bit the first time washing. We have about 100 miles on the tights and they seem to be holding up well, but still is a concern. Also, as we mentioned before the crotch of the tights fits a little weird with the seam, but this is similar to other biking tights we have ridden in.

Retail price for the tights is $149.00 which is a bit high, but you are paying for the Polartec(R) name.  However, there are many other Polartec(R) tights on the market for around $100, most of these don’t offer the added protection around the calf and ankle.  Right now C2 is selling the Extreme Tights in Teal on Closeout for $89.00.  Here is a link to them while they last.

Tiger Tail Travel Foam Roller

Travis Gneiting Reviews

We are avid users of foam rollers to help with stretching, sore muscles, leg and knee pain relief.  While there are a lot of controversial statements online regarding the effectiveness of rolling, we find that it works for us, and that’s proof enough for us to keep doing it.

We have used many foam rollers, and hand rollers, you can see in some of our other foam roller reviews.  However, we needed something that was more portable and provided the same relief that roller did without the bulk.  After searching for terms like “travel foam roller” and “portable foam roller” we came across the tiger tail.  To be honest we were familiar with the Tiger tail rollers from seeing them at the Outdoor Retailer show year after year.  However, we didn’t know that they made a travel size version of their popular hand rollers.

The travel roller is 11 inches long, is low profile and high quality build.  It has short stubby handles on the end.  It’s a bit harder to get the leverage that you can on a long 20+ inch roller but it’s perfect for what we need.  There is always room for it in a carry-on luggage.  It’s also more discrete when using it it public. Being short and stocky, the roller is very stiff, there is almost no flex, as compared to longer hand rollers.

If you are a believer in rolling, and find yourself missing your roller when away from home, we suggest taking a look at the Tiger Tail Roadster.

Mucky Nutz Bike Fender

Mucky Nutz Mountain Bike Fender Review

Travis Gneiting Bikes, Reviews

There are few upgrades that are less expensive that do as much as adding a mountain bike fender. Mucky Nutz mountain bike fenders are some of the most well known in the indusrty. Riding mountain bikes in early spring means lots of mud and puddles. For around the cost of a 12 pack, you can protect your bike, save some clean up time, and keep your grill dirt free.

Mucky Nutz Bike Fender

We took the Mucky Nutz XL fender strapped to our Fox Float 36, and the standard Mucky Nutz fender strapped to the rear, more on this later.  We opted for the velcro attachment knowing we would want to be able to easily remove them for bike washes. You can however go with zip ties, which make the installation a little easier, but you will need to cut and re-attach if you want to remove the fenders.

The fenders are super light weight, you wouldn’t know they were there if you weren’t admiring how cool your bike looks with them attached. The sound of the Mucky Nutz fender stopping sand and pebbles is also gratifying knowing it’s not sandblasting your down tube.

The bike fenders can be installed or removed in seconds with the velcro attachments.

One problem we ran into running the XL Mucky Nutz fender was when using a front tire clamp bike rack like on our Kuat NV, the tire clamp should sit right where the fender in.  The nice thing about the fenders is that they are flexible,  so we just clamp down over the top of them.

Mucky Nutz Mountain Bike Fender

With complex suspension linkages, problems arise. For example we were riding the new Pivot Firebird  (watch for upcoming reviews on this bike) and noticed that tiny rocks and bigger pieces of sand were getting stuck in the lower part of the DW link. The thought of that grinding away at a carbon frame isn’t a pretty site. We threw some 3M helicopter tape on the link and frame to protect it. Then we thought wouldn’t it be nice if we could keep the grit from getting in there in the first place? The Mucky Nutz standard fender fits almost perfectly to the Pivot Firebird rear triangle and does a pretty good job of keeping the debris out of the linkage.

Overall, we think mountain bike fenders are great, they look kinda cool, they are inexpensive, and they very simply do what they should do.

Update:

We just got the new Full Face Fender and gave it a run today in some variable wet conditions.  As you can see by the photos, it’s perforated around the rear of the fender so it wraps around the tire more, buts still has a great look to it.  You can see the muck on the downtube from running the MuckyNutz XL on the front.  After our ride with the Full Face, there was almost no new mud on the down tube.  It does a far better job of actually being a fender and less than some enduro status symbol.

MuckyNutz Full Face

MuckyNutz Full Face

You can order them now from here.

LL Bean Air Mattress Blow Valve

LL Bean Camp Futon Double Two Person Sleeping Pad

Travis Gneiting Reviews

There are a lot of sleeping pads on the market, from light weight backpacking to full on inflatable mattresses.  Each sleeping pad has a list of pro’s and con’s.  We were interested in taking a look at a semi-portable sleeping pad that doesn’t suffer from the issues of large air mattress punctures and weight. Also, didn’t require a pump to inflate.

LL Bean Sleeping Pad inflated

When searching for double sized sleeping pads there are a few on the market.  Below are two double wide air mattress worth looking at if you are in the market for buying a double wide sleeping pad.

The LL Bean has some great features that make it a great option for car camping with a friend or loved one.

  • 50-denier laminated TPU construction on top
  • 75-denier laminated polyester bottom
  • Open cell foam for soft cushion and easy inflation
  • two valves for easy inflation/deflation
  • Stuff (roll) sack

Inflating

Inflating the LL Bean double sleeping pad is fairly easy, we liked to unroll it, open the valves and toss it in the tent while we get the rest of camp set up.  The pad does a great job of self inflating over a few minutes. We then close one valve and like to blow a little extra air into the pad.

LL Bean Sleeping Pad

Comfort

Sleeping on the double pad by yourself is a dream.  It turns camping into glamping.  It evenly distributes weight, is extremely stable and provides great insulation.  We were unable to identify the R value of the pad, but would guess it’s around 6.   Sleeping with another person on the pad works well. It’s large enough to hold two standard size sleeping bags.  Movement from  your sleeping partner isn’t transferred too much, but you can feel some shifting when they move or get up off the sleeping pad.

Weight
LL Bean Sleeping Pad

You won’t be backpacking with this double wide sleeping pad.  It weighs in at 10.35 lbs.  It’s pretty big, but a lot smaller than having to cram two foam rolls into a car for a weekend of camping.

Packing

LL Bean Storage Bag

The pack size of the air mattress is as shown about 33 inches long and the diameter of the girth is about 14 inches.  It’s straight forward to deflat, fold in half roll up and stuff in the bag.  The double valve design is really nice when emptying out the air, it takes much less time to deflate.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, a lot of sleeping pads are really good products, and the L.L. Bean double sleeping pad is no exception.  It comes with a patch kit, it provides insulation and is a million times better than sleeping on the ground.  You can still feel large rocks and roots through the pad, so pick your location in a flat smooth area.  We had dogs and cats on the pad and didn’t see any damage or holes caused by them.  For a quality build, double wide sleeping pad that offers great value we would recommend the L.L. Bean double sleeping pad.

 

Best Website To Save Money on Outdoor Gear

Best Websites for Finding Sales on Outdoor Gear

Travis Gneiting Deals

This is the ultimate list of cheap outdoor gear websites. There are many websites that offer discounts, deals, and sales on outdoor gear that are from outlets, clearance items and liquidations. We wanted to put together the absolute best list for buying discounted outdoor gear. These websites offer discounts on anything from men’s, women’s, and kids clothing, skis, snowboard, fishing, camping, hunting, cycling and a lot more. So if you are looking for the best place to buy camping gear, or the best outdoor clothing websites for sales keep reading.

GearChase ❤ Clearance Rack

We combine the inventory of over 200 Outdoor websites

It’s not easy to find the best place to buy camping gear online.  If you love the outdoors you use your gear and it wears out, or new gear is always on your mind. It might be a new hiking back pack that you are looking for a deal on, or even a bike or sleeping pad. Let’s face the facts, outdoor gear can be very expensive, especially if you are just getting into a new hobby like rock climbing or snow shoeing. You could be buying a warm coat, water replant pants, snow gaiters, snow shoes, poles, oh and a GoPro to capture your new adventures. Fortunatly, there are some great websites, including GearChase.com (shameful plug) for finding some of the best deals on outdoor gear. In some cases we been able to find deals on GearChase of 70 to 80% off retail from these websites. That makes your hard earned money go a lot further. So let’s take a look at some of the great sites you may have already heard of and hopefully some you have not.

If you want the quick list without all the details, here they are:

Backcountry.com

Backcountry.com was one of the innovators of the daily deal site that sent gear heads crazy for a few years called Steep and Cheap. Since the formation of Steep and Cheap it has been through many revisions and is recently back on track showing closeout deals usually around 50% off. But if you watch closely you can find discounts up to 65% off. It’s worth also pointing out Backcountry’s other discount site Whiskey Militia. Backcountry also has a sale section on their website that they list items around 25 to 40% off. They typically post one deal at a time that is more clothing based, and less outdoor gear based. It’s always a brand you can trust. Steep and Cheap, Whiski Militia, as well as over 50 more one deals at a time and deals of the day can be watched on the homepage of GearChase.com.

  • Connector.

    Headquarters: Salt Lake City, UT

  • Connector.

    Ships From: Utah & Virginia

  • Connector.

    Shipping: Free over $50

  • Connector.

    Returns: Free with Free Shipping

  • Connector.

    Price-Match: Even up to 48 hours after order

Go To Backcountry.com

SierraTradingPost.com

Our second pick for locating the best deals on outdoor gear is Sierra Trading Post. They are a closeout company that buys overstock and factory seconds from the best brands in the outdoor industry. They are also partnered with these top brands to get them as soon as seasons end, so they always have a huge selection of deals. One thing we really love about Sierra Trading Post is that they are always running additional discounts or free shipping deals. Sign up for their email subscription list to get the latest on them, or check GearChase.com Sierra Trading Post Coupon Feed. Lastly, Sierra Trading Post has a clearance section, which is really a clearance, of clearance section that offers super deep discounts I just checked the page, and it’s loaded with shoes, gloves, pants and shorts over 80% off retail!

  • Connector.

    Headquarters: Cheyenne, WY

  • Connector.

    Ships From: Local Pickup & Shipping from Multiple Locations

  • Connector.

    Shipping: Free usually for over $50 to $75

  • Connector.

    Returns: Up to 90 Days on Unused Equiptment

SierraTradingPost.com

GearTrade.com

Don’t overlook second had gear, and in some cases even new gear at great discounts from GearTrade.com. It is loaded with items from private sellers as well as returned items from many popular online websites like Backcountry.com and Campmor.com. Another nice thing most people don’t know about GearTrade.com is that a lot of the items price decreases every day until they are sold! So if you don’t like a price, just keep an eye on it to see if the price is reduced each day. But don’t wait too long… As a side note, if you are looking to fund your next purchase, you can sell your old gear on GearTrade.com for a flat fee of 13%. That’s pretty equal to what you would pay on eBay with listing and payment fees. There is a lot less competition, and items to sift through, so chances are your going to get a better price and a better deal using GearTrade.com.

  • Connector.

    Headquarters: Park City, Utah

  • Connector.

    Ships From: Seller Location

  • Connector.

    Shipping: Depends on Seller, Many Offer Free Shipping

  • Connector.

    Returns: Depends on Seller

GearTrade.com

TheClymb.com

TheClymb.com is a popular destination for deal hunters. They have a large selection of great discounts on outdoor gear. One thing we don’t like is that you have to register to see their prices. But we have a little secret. If you use GearChase.com you can search their inventory and see prices (http://gearchase.com/search/ProductGrid.aspx?m=10845). Then you only have to register when you are ready to make the purchase.

  • Connector.

    Headquarters: Portland, Oregon

  • Connector.

    Ships From: Portland, Oregon

  • Connector.

    Shipping: Varies by Location, Ships to 60 Countries

  • Connector.

    Returns: Unnused up to 30 Days

TheClymb.com

The-House.com

Outlet pages on many websites can be a great place to search for sales on outdoor gear. The-House.com has a great outlet with discounts around 40% to 50% on stuff that you would actually want to buy. One thing we don’t like about browsing their outlet is that you have to drill down through their categories. For example they have “Discount, Outerwear Outlet & Cheap Winter Clothes” (what a mouth full) then you see “Discount, Cheap Winter Jackets”, and “Discount, Cheap Fleece Jackets” clicking through you then see a list of a few fleece jackets. If you want to browse this is time consuming. GearChase.com pulls in the entire inventory of The-House and makes it all visible, searchable, and filterable.

  • Connector.

    Headquarters: Minneapolis, Minnesota

  • Connector.

    Ships From: Minneapolis, Minnesota

  • Connector.

    Shipping: Free over $50

  • Connector.

    Returns: 30 Day + 100% Customer Satisfaction

  • Connector.

    Price Match: Price Match Offered

The-house.com

Campmor.com

Campmor has a discount/clearance section on their website with great discounts on camping gear. There deals are not extremely discounted, but they have a great selection of sizes and colors, where other sites often lack. We don’t like that their prices don’t show the percent discount, so you only see the retail and sale price. I know we are sounding like a broken record, but with GearChase.com you can get right to the deals of Campmor.com with all their percent discounts listed, in an easier to browse format.

  • Connector.

    Headquarters: Mahwah, New Jersey

  • Connector.

    Ships From: Mahwah, New Jersey

  • Connector.

    Shipping: Free over $50

  • Connector.

    Returns: Accepted, You Pay Shipping

Campmor.com

Moosejaw.com

One of our personal favorites that is often overlooked by other list of discount outdoor product websites is Moosejaw. The sale section of their websites starts at about 25% off and the discounts go up from there. Again, you kind of have to know what you are searching for to drill down the category tree. Or, a little hint is to use their site search and include the work “sale” with your search term. For example “Hat Sale” will return about 370 different hats on sale. Or perform the same search on GearChase and we return over 8000 hats on sale from over 50 trusted online merchants.

  • Connector.

    Headquarters: Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri

  • Connector.

    Ships From: Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri

  • Connector.

    Shipping: Free over $49

  • Connector.

    Returns: Lifetime Returns

Moosejaw.com

REI.com

REI Garage just recently popped up as a way for REI to liquidate their old stock. It appeared in 2016 as a re-branding of the sale or outlet side of REI.com. It still resides on the REI.com website and includes an REI deal of the day. Browsing by category, there are some unmached deals. We consistently find deals in the REI Garage that are better than the in person REI Garage sale (https://www.rei.com/promotions/garage-sale) that is for REI members only, and happens once or twice a year. REI does a great job of filtering down to products and categories, but if you want to get right to the deepest discounts just look at our REI page on GearChase.com.

  • Connector.

    Headquarters: Washington

  • Connector.

    Ships From: Sumner, WA & Bedford, PA

  • Connector.

    Shipping: Free Store Pickup, Free over $50

  • Connector.

    Returns: 100% Guaranteed, Returns to Retail Location

Rei.com

PlanetGear.com

Just for the women out there, PlanetGear offers up to 70% off women’s outdoor apparel, footwear and gear. A great resource for for women. They don’t have an extremely large selection, but we were able to find great deals on women’s cycling, jackets, and other footwear for over 70% off. You will be asked to register to view their products, or just go to GearChase.com and you can browse their products with pricing and don’t need to login or create an account with us.

  • Connector.

    Headquarters: San Luis Obispo, CA

  • Connector.

    Ships From: San Luis Obispo, CA

  • Connector.

    Shipping: Free over $50

  • Connector.

    Returns: 30 Days, You Pay Shipping

PlanetGear.com

GearX.com

For the rock climbers, ice climbers, and vertical addicts GearX.com has a huge outlet center, though not only climbing gear, they also have a large selection of clothing around 30 to 40% off.

  • Connector.

    Headquarters: Burlington, VT

  • Connector.

    Ships From: Burlington, VT

  • Connector.

    Shipping: Free over $49

  • Connector.

    Returns: 30 Day, you pay shipping

GearX.com

RunningWarehouse.com

A great resource for trail and street runners is Running Warehouse. They have a great selection of just about every running shoe from every brand that you can think of. Their clearance center boast deals around 50%. We really like they they list the size and width of the shoes available right next to the listing. This make browsing the sale wall a lot more convenient that having to click through to each shoe to check the sizes.

  • Connector.

    Headquarters: San Luis Obispo, CA

  • Connector.

    Ships From: San Luis Obispo, CA

  • Connector.

    Shipping: Free over $50

  • Connector.

    Returns: 90 Day Returns Free Shipping

RunningWarehouse.com

EVO.com

Winter lovers will also love Evo.com sales page (http://www.evo.com/sale). Evo is an online retailer that is heavy on the ski and snowboard products but also care a large selection of clothing, bikes, wakeboards, surf gear and shoes. We would recommend using GearChase.com again to really dig through the clearance bin of Evo.com. From their website you see mostly 30 to 40% discounts, with GearChase.com we dug up discounts up to 80% off.

  • Connector.

    Headquarters: Washington

  • Connector.

    Ships From: Washington, Oregon, Colorado

  • Connector.

    Shipping: Free over $50

  • Connector.

    Returns: 365 Returns or Exchange

EVO.com

SidelineSwap.com

Lacrosse, hockey, skiing, baseball, snowboarding, SidelineSwap.com is similar to GearTrade.com. They offer an online market for sellers to list their new and used gear online. One neat option they offer is to trade gear with others using their trade button. The fee for selling is 12%. Buyers are protected by SidelineSwap, and provides a 3 day buffer to dispute a purchase if it was received different than described.

  • Connector.

    Headquarters: New York, NY

  • Connector.

    Ships From: Seller Location

  • Connector.

    Shipping: Buyer Pays Shipping

  • Connector.

    Returns: Depends on Seller

SidelineSwap.com

Massdrop.com

A bit of a wild card is Mass Drop. Requiring signup for access, they offer gear from audio to ultralight backpacks. They work on the concept of group orders. Get enough people that want a specific item they can negotiate the purchase of larger volumes for discounted prices that are passed on to you. Don’t expect to dive right into deals like you do on other sites, but it’s worth taking a look at if you have some spare time.

  • Connector.

    Headquarters: San Francisco, California

  • Connector.

    Ships From: Seller Location

  • Connector.

    Shipping: Buyer Pays

  • Connector.

    Returns: No Returns

Massdrop.com

Camofire.com

Camo Fire is Steep and Cheap for hunters. The home page list a number of one deal at a time products. Typically these are camo jackets from Sitka, or game cameras usually around 40 to 50% off retails. This is a hidden gem that not may people are aware of, even if your not a hunter, they often include sleeping pads, hiking shoes and boots, sometimes up to 70% off.

  • Connector.

    Headquarters: Salt Lake City, Utah

  • Connector.

    Ships From: Salt Lake City, Utah

  • Connector.

    Shipping: Buyer Pays

  • Connector.

    Returns: 10 Day Returns, Buyer Pays Shipping

CamoFire.com

Cabelas.com

Cabelas is a family name, with years of experience serving up deals from their bargain cave. The sales are real, up to 70% off. Cabelas is currently trying to get your phone number to send you upto 6 text a month with deals from the bargain cave. Just text BARGAIN to 247365. GearChase also searches the cabelas bargain cave for comparison against other retail stores for the best price on outdoor gear.

  • Connector.

    Headquarters: Sidney, Nebraska

  • Connector.

    Ships From: Tooele, Utah

  • Connector.

    Shipping: Many Items Free, and Discount

  • Connector.

    Returns: 90 Day Returns

Cabelas.com

PeterGlenn.com

One of our favorite online shops in Peter Glenn. They have been in the business of selling outdoor gear like Spyder Jackets on sale season after season. They cater a lot to the winter snow shopper. However, the also have a large selection of running, water, and outdoor clothing discounted. The sale section of their site is broken down by category but also offers a really nice set of filters to drill down by sex, children, clothing, brands, and sizes. They currently have over 3000 items on sale through their website. Defiantly worth spending some time browsing Peter Glenn sale items.

  • Connector.

    Headquarters: Lauderdale, FL

  • Connector.

    Ships From: Florida, Georgia

  • Connector.

    Shipping: Free 3-Day over $49

  • Connector.

    Returns: 30 Day, Buyer Pays Shipping

PeterGlenn.com

DicksSportingGoods.com

When you think big box outdoor retailer, Dicks sporting goods should come to mind. They have a mind blowing inventory and offer free shipping with no minimum from time to time. They also offer free instore pickup. Check at the end of seasons for 30% to 40% off end of season sales. Dicks also has some purchasing power and is able to score markdowns and sales that other retailers can’t. The clearance section of their website offers deals on all outdoor and sporting goods from baseball and basketball to hunting, MMA, and camping. Some of these categories are deeper than others. For example there are over 200 soccer cleats currently listed, but only one pair of snowboard goggles in the clearance section, so shop by season would be our advice.

  • Connector.

    Headquarters: Coraopolis, PA

  • Connector.

    Ships From: Atlanta, Georgia

  • Connector.

    Shipping: Free over $49

  • Connector.

    Returns: 60 Day Returns

DicksSportingGoods.com

LLBean.com

L.L. Bean loves do dish out the deals on outdoor gear. There always seems to be a popup when visiting their website for 25% off some amount. Or 15% off total purchase. Don’t ever plan on paying full price or shipping from L.L. Bean you can almost always find a discount or coupon. Another secret tip to score deals and Coupons with L.L. Bean is to use their Phone App. Remember they don’t only sell their branded merchandise but also many other top brands in the industry.

  • Connector.

    Headquarters: Freeport, Maine

  • Connector.

    Ships From: Freeport, Maine

  • Connector.

    Shipping: Free Shipping

  • Connector.

    Returns: As long as you own, and not missuse

LLBean.com

ChristySports.com

Cristy Sport is sprinkled around the western rocky mountains. Their stores offer a selection of ski and snowboard gear. One secret to shopping Christy Sports is that they empty out their stores at the end of the ski season to bring in patio furniture for the summer. That means they need to liquidate a lot of merchandise, so keep your eyes planted on them starting around March and April for some really deeply discounted Ski and Snowboard gear on sale.

  • Connector.

    Headquarters: Lakewood, Colorado

  • Connector.

    Ships From: Lakewood, Colorado

  • Connector.

    Shipping: Free over $50

  • Connector.

    Returns: 30 Days, Buyer Pays Shipping

ChristySports.com

EMS.com

Eastern Mountain Sports is known as the east coast REI. A bunch of stores in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut. With a lot of stores comes a lot of inventory. The are currently running at up to 70% off warehouse sale to make some room for the summer gear that is coming into stock for the season. Great time to pick up on winter clothing that you can still use this season. The sale section of EMS.com offers one of the best filtering, reviews, and sorting sites around. With great deals easy to filter down and find what you are looking for. The best deals are usually on EMS branded clothing, and inventory levels can change week to week to keep checking back often, and be sure to check out the EMS end of season sales.

  • Connector.

    Headquarters: Peterborough, New Hampshire

  • Connector.

    Ships From: Seller Location

  • Connector.

    Shipping: Free over $50

  • Connector.

    Returns: Depends on Seller

EMS.com

Conclusion

So, why do online stores sell gear for so cheap. Well, it usually comes down to shelve space. They can’t hold onto inventory of clothing or gear that is not selling, or out of season when they need to start stocking the new gear, or up coming seasons clothing. It’s far more economical for a store to liquidate the equipment and create room for new items than it is for them to pack it back up in boxes, store it until the following year. Even brands like Patagonia and Cotopaxi run into shelf space issues and run sales on their gear from their own websites.

There are many ways to find great deals on outdoor gear and clothing and stretch your dollar just a little further

  • Shopping out of season
  • Looking for year old inventory
  • Watch for coupons, specifically brand specific (i.e. 40% off North Face)
  • Look for holiday sales
  • Meet the minimum free shipping threshold
  • Watch for second markdowns of items, this means they are really trying to dump inventory

In the end if your are patient, you will win. There is something gratifying about not paying full retail price on an item you have been wanting or needing. You get the name brands you know, love and trust like North Face, Patagonia at prices you love.

GearChase Search Tool

We pull in inventory from 200+ online stores for you to search for an filter to the best deals online.

Go the the Search Tool
Shoe Lace Locker

Shoe Lace Locker Review

Travis Gneiting Look

Here at GearChase.com we love to ride bikes! We love mountain biking shoes too.  We ride all types from clipless shoes and pedals to laced shoes and flats.  One of the issue we always seem to run into is getting laces stuck in the chain and chainring.  There is a solution, it’s called the lace locker.  Carol Stanley, the inventor of the shoe lace locker saw a need and created a solution for loose shoe laces.

Although Shoe lace locker seem to cater toward the running community. I think they worked pretty good for biking.  There is some velcro on them, and that can chew up shoelaces after a while, but other than that if you despise cramming your shoelaces in your shoe, or under your other laces, the Lace Locker dose a great job of keeping your laces out of harms way.

Shoe Lace Locker

Shoe Lace Locker

Shoe Lace Locker

You can get them online for $8 to $10 bucks if  you want the reflective logo.  They have a ton of designs.

Five Ten Gambit

Five Ten – Gambit VCS Climbing Shoe First Look

Staff First Look

The recently released Five Ten Climbing shoe in a new color has been added to the wide array of Five Ten shoes.  We were lucky enough to get our hands on a pair from Five Ten before they are available from their website (They are currently showing “Out of Stock”).

Five Ten Gambit Top Toe

The Gambit is meant to be a less aggressive climbing shoe meant for comfort on long, trad, slab, or climbing gyms.  Designed for beginners to intermediate climbers.

Five Ten Gambit Heel

The Gambit has some striking similarities to other Five Ten Shoes. Specifically, the Verdon VCS. Although there are some differences that you will notice if you look closely. The Gambit has a dual compound, using the Stealth® C4™ rubber outsole and a different white rubber moving toward the heel cup.

Five Ten Gambit Inner

The Leather uppers of the are similar to most Five Ten Climbing Shoes.  The Gambit uses a standard buckle and Velcro closure. The tongue is made of a neoprene breathable 4 way stretch material that is very soft and comfortable. They call it Ariaprene and we really like it.  It keeps the feet cool and allows more air into the shoe than a leather tongue.

Five Ten Outer with Open Velcro

The Gambit takes the comfort of the Rogue climbing shoe and the extremely popular Anasazi and meshes the benefits of both.  It offers a deep heel cup, that still is comfortable for extended periods.

The fit of the Gambit is in line with most Five Ten climbing shoes.  We usually go up 1/2 size from our street shoe, and we did the same for this shoe.

Five Ten outer

The mid-sole of the Gambit is slightly stiffer made from a molded thermoplastic.  The flat buckle and strap along with the minimal stretch upper make this one of our new favorite all around shoes. from the crag to the climbing gym.

As you can see by the photo above the down turn for the Gambit is fairly mellow.  However there is a nice edge on the toe that is seeming to wear nicely providing the edging of a more aggressive shoe with the comfort of a flatter profile.

While we haven’t had much time on these new shoes, they feel like they will need a few days and some sweat in them to get the broken in.  We were feeling some major hot spots on the top of the foot and heel the first day in them.

 

Five Ten Gambit VCS Velcro Open

Here you can see the attached tongue and velcro

The rand and toe a slightly smaller when comparing to a more aggressive shoe like the Verdon, but offers plenty of rubber to work with.

Five Ten Gambit Weight

Size US 11 weight 9.1 oz/258g

The Gambit comes in a Velcro and a Lace version each selling for $120 USD that is right in between the Anasazi (~$145-$165 Retail) and the Rouge ($100 Retail). We feel it’s defiantly worth the extra money to go with the new Gambit over the Rouge.  While the Rouge may be more supple, with it’s 2mm outer sole the Gambit comes with a 4mm sole that is only slightly stiffer that the Rouge.  The shoe is going to last a lot longer.  It’s also got a breathable mesh tongue that the Rouge doesn’t have.  It’s well worth the $20 to upgrade to the Gambit.

You can check out the Gambit here on Five Ten Website

Marathon Facts

[Infographic] Interesting Statistics about Marathons

Travis Gneiting News, Running

For an ordinary runner, running a marathon can be among the most challenging goals that you can aim for. A marathon is not some ordinary race that you can just step on the starting line and run like you normally do and reach the finish line. Running a marathon requires months of preparation and dedication.

When running a marathon, you have to have the right amount of endurance, leg power and stamina. Running a 10k marathon is no joke.  10 kilometers might sound easy, but as the meters pile up when you are running, you will start to feel the burn. You have to know the right pacing in order to complete it. Aside from the physical preparation, you have to prepare mentally to endure the ordeal. You also have to have the proper gear as well.

Every marathon is unique. Before you start running, you need to learn all you can about the race. Every marathon has its own “specialty” so to speak. That is why it is also important to read about it in advance to learn how you can best attack the course. This is how experienced marathon runners usually do it. Here’s a compilation of useful information for marathon runners. Check it out.

American Marathon Statistics

what-size-snowboard-should-you-buy

What Size Snowboard Should You Buy 2017 Version

Travis Gneiting Article

It is imperative that you get the right size snowboard for your body height, weight and foot size.  If you are unable to see the snowboard in person and wondering “What size snowboard should you buy”, follow the instruction below to help you out.

What Size Snowboard Should You Buy?

There are many articles on line that explain what size snowboard you should buy, but GearChase.com is the only one with a calculator to find the right snowboard size.

Length

Snowboards are typically measured in centimeters.  Knowing what size snowboard you should buy is just as important as the quality of the board.  A good rule of thumb is that a snowboard should come up to about your chin.  However, depending on the style of riding you will be doing you may want to go with a board that is a little longer or shorter.  Big mountain riders typically will ride a snowboard that is a few centimeters taller than their chin. Someone that enjoys riding rails in the snowboard park may buy a snowboard that is a little smaller snowboard.

An additional good idea is to also look at the manufacture recommendations for each snowboard. They usually have some information listed as to the height of a person and how it would relate to a given snowboard.

Snowboard Size Calculator

Use our snowboard calculator to determine what size of snowboard you should buy.

Height Feet:
Height Inch:

Find Your Size Snowboard on GearChase for Less.

Also, you can also use this chart below to determine what size snowboard should you buy based on your height.

Height Feet/Inch Snowboard Size Centimeters Snowboard Size Range Centimeters
3’7″ 109cm 90-105
4’1″ 124cm 110-120
4’6″ 137cm 115-130
4’10” 147cm 125-135
5’1″ 155cm 130-140
5’3″ 160cm 135-145
5’4″ 163cm 140-150
5’5″ 165cm 145-152
5’6″ 168cm 148-153
5’7″ 170cm 150-155
5’8″ 173cm 152-155
5’9″ 175cm 153-157
5’10” 178cm 154-159
5’11” 180cm 155-160
6′ 183cm 156-162
6’1″ 185cm 157-163
6’2″ 188cm 158-166
6’3″ 191cm 159-167
6’4″ 193cm 160-170

 

How Wide of Snowboard Should I Buy

Some consideration needs to be taken to know what size the width of your snowboard should be.  There are many snowboards that come in a “WIDE” version, and kid’s snowboards come in a variable with. Make sure that the snowboard width is not too wide or so narrow that your toes are going to be hanging over the edge of the board.

A good rule of thumb is that your boots should hang over the edge just slightly, around 1 cm.  Below is a table to give you a guideline on what the width of your snowboard should be.

Men’s Boot Size Women’s Boot Size Board Middle Width
Up to 5.5 Up to 6 Up to 24 cm Narrow
6 to 10 6.5 to 11 24-25.5 cm Regular
10 to 12 24.5-26.5 cm Mid-wide
12 or larger 26 cm+ Wide

 

How Stiff or Flexible of a Snowboard Should I Buy

Most snowboards you can buy online have a flex rating.  Sometimes this rating is “Soft”, “Medium”, “Firm”.  And other times you might see a rating from 1 to 10, where one is a noodle, and 10 being as stiff as a piece of solid wood.

Often times you want to match the flex of a board to the style of snowboarding that you will be doing?  For example a soft flexing snowboard will be more playful and easier to pop with, often what someone riding in the snowboard park might ride.  On the flip side someone why is riding big mountain choppy snow would benefit from a firmer board.  For beginners, a medium flex is a good place to start.  It offers a great foundation for turning and engaging the edge of the snowboard on the snow without a huge amount of effort.

In Conclusion

Now that you know what size snowboard should you buy, make sure you buy a good snowboard that meets your foot size, and height.  Also important is to buy a snowboard with the correct flex. Shop less for a certain brand name or graphic, rather look for the right fit.  Furthermore, shop around there are thousands of snowboards out there.

Klean Kanteen - Featured Image

Klean Kanteen Quick Look Review

Travis Gneiting Reviews

We have been looking at a lot of vacuum insulated bottles lately, you may have seen our review of the Fifty/Fifty bottles as well as the Hydro Flask review.  Well we have another one to look at, it’s the Klean Kanteen Insulated Vacuum bottle.  The reason we chose to look at the Klean Kanteen 20 oz bottle is that it offer a few different features that differ from the Hydro Flask or Fifty/Fifty bottles.

First off, you will notice the sipper top is completely different design from the others, it uses a spinning top that was completely leak proof.  The lid also comes apart into 4 pieces for cleaning.

Klean Kanteen - Lid Bottom

You can see in the photo above the cross shaped plastic piece that is screwed on in the bottom.  This unscrews to remove the rubber seal and top closure lid.  It’s a unique twisting lid that is remarkably leak proof, even being tossed around in a backpack.

Klean Kanteen - Lid Top

Twisting the lid opens and closes the sipping hole.  There is some resistance when closing and opening, this is because it’s pulling the rubber piece up from the bottom completely sealing the lid from leaks.  One unusual thing we noticed with this style of lid is that there is more nose room.  Yup, like the nose on your face has room to fit in the lid.  Other flip style lids fill up more space and we always end up rubbing our nose on the lid.

Klean Kanteen - Rim

The rest of the Klean Kanteen is pretty similar to other vacuum insulated bottles.  It keeps hot drinks hot for hours, even in sub freezing temperatures we were able to keep hot chocolate warm for over 6 hours.  Although the claim on their packaging states 14 hours for hot drinks and 48 hours for cold drinks may be stretching it.  It really depends on the outside temperature and the starting point of the beverage inside the container.

Klean Kanteen - Inside

The craftsmanship of the insulated bottle is really well, no seams in the lid, and a nice accent piece on the base of the bottle that is done in stainless steel and etched with bottle information.

Klean Kanteen - Weight

The bottle is constructed of 18/8 stainless steel which is pretty much standard for all metal water bottles.  The Klean Kanteen is also not dishwasher safe, nor is it meant to be frozen or microwaved.  It weighs just 363 grams (12.80 oz) empty.  In comparison the Hydro Flask weighs 317 grams, this is likely due to the bottom stainless steel cap, and slightly stronger “feeling” construction to the bottle.  The bottle is also about a half inch taller than a Hydro Flask bottle, again this is likely because of the accent at the bottom.

Also pictured above is the wide loop cap which is very strong and rugged.  We carried the bottle around with a carabiner for days and it showed no signs of letting down.

Conclusion

We like the look of the Klean Kanteen slightly more than the Hydro Flask, with the bottom accent, they both perform almost identically other than the different style of lid on Klean bottles.  The Klean Kanteen has a bit more mature color offering, and a more mature color palette.

I wish Klean Kanteen offered more options in their larger bottle sizes, like a 32 oz or 40 oz and straw options.

Lastly, worth pointing out is that Klean Kanteen is a certified B Corporation meaning they follow certain standards of social and environmental.  Klean is seeking to reduce garbage like water bottles and disposable cups, and we like that idea too.

Klean Kanteen defiantly come at a premium price, currently the Insulated Wide Mouth 20 oz bottle we looked at is $32.95.  You can usually find them on sale at GearChase.com. Amazon also has some great deals too, depending on the color and the seller and a very impressive 76% 5 star reviews.  According to fakespot.com these are real reviews too, not just paid, or fake reviews.

 

How to dress kids for cold weather featured image

How to Dress Kids and Toddlers for Cold Weather

Staff Article, Snow

Keeping your kids dry and warm outside during winter can make the cold weather months much more enjoyable. If you are looking for information on how to keep your kids and toddlers warm in cold weather you are in the right place. From toddlers playing outside in the front yard to snow shoeing in the backcountry you can expose them to all sorts of temperatures outside, so how do you keep your child happy in the cold weather. You will need to anticipate the weather ahead of time, how to dress a toddler in 60 degree weather is a lot different than how to dress a toddler in 40 degree weather.  Dressing your kids for dry snow in freezing temperatures or playing in the slush while it rains, we will try to cover it all in this article.

The key to being happy outside for children is being dry and warm.  The number one rule dressing for cold weather for any person is layering.  Layering, clothing allows for removing and adding layers as the temperature or activity changes outdoors.  Think ahead of time, consider what the temperature is going to be, are we going to be hiking up the sledding hill, the little ones might get pretty warm if we bundle them too much.  Are you going to be spending the day on piste, away from the car? Chair rides can get pretty chilly on a windy day.  Is the snow really wet? They will likely need some good waterproofing.  Check the weather ahead of time and try to anticipate the clothing you will need to pack along on your adventure.  Additionally, if you know you are going to be far away from the car or house for the day, you will want to bring some backup clothing with you for your daily adventure.

Knowing how to dress your kids for cold weather will require some planning. Below are some general guidelines for layering clothing on your kids when they go outside. Typically 3 to 4 layers are enough for any temperature you will be encountering.  The weight of the layers may vary depending on the temperature, or you may choose to skip a layer to adjust to activities throughout the day.  All of they layering properties apply to both the upper body and lower body of children.

Body Layering

LL Bean First Layer

Young childs polyester spandex blend that offers softness and comfort and is easy to care for.

1st Layer

  • The first layer should be a lightweight moisture wicking material.  It should act as a foundation for all other clothing.  There are many different options of base layers. Silk, synthetic layers, wool and others all should fit close to the body.  This should sit on the skin and be able to pull and exhaust moisture from the skin.  
  • Synthetics base layers dry quickly and are usually made of polyester or a poly blend.
  • Merino wool is a good option if you are unsure what the weather or activities is going to be. It’s warm, naturally wicking, also very soft and comfortable.
  • Silk layer is great for moderate temperature layering, it feels great against the skin and is less bulky.
  • Stay away from cotton, it retains moisture from sweat and can make you cold and clammy.
LL Bean Second Layer

Fleece layer, offering light insulation, durability and flexibility.

2nd Layer

  • The second layer should be a lightweight insulating layer.  If you have every looked for base layers before you likely have heard of merino wool, it is a type of sheep with very fine, soft wool that is perfect for regulating heat, and insulates even when wet.  One great property of wool is that is absorbs water and sweat to help with wicking yet retains its warmth.  Merino wool is also very lightweight and comfortable, not like the old itchy wool socks you might remember from the army navy surplus store.
  • A first and second layer can be one in the same, for example merino wool works best when worn against the skin. And has a good natural fit.  Although you might be tempted to buy a large size, just try to get something that isn’t too big, and not too tight.
  • This can be combined with the first layer if choosing different fabric weights.  There are some heavier weight under garments that can be worn for colder temperature days, or lightweight under garment for more mild conditions.

 

LL Bean Insulating Layer

Kid’s down insulated jacket that is super compressible for packing, yet offers extreme warmth to weight properties. This jacket from LL Bean also features DownTek(TM), a down coating that resist moisture to stay dry and warm even when wet.

3rd Layer

  • The insulation layer should trap air and warmth next to your body.
  • Should act as the main insulation layer
  • A great insulating layer is a down fill or a synthetic filling.
  • Natural down fill like goose down are some of the best insulators on the market but can be expensive, however the warmth to weight ratio is unbeatable.
  • Fleece layers like Thinsulate(R) or Polartec(R) offer great warmth at a cheaper price
  • Like the first or second layer, look for a weight that matches the conditions your little one will be facing, there are light, medium, and heavy-weight insulating layers.

 

LL Bean Outer Layer

Kid’s waterproof shell, 100% polyester coated waterproof, breathable to let moisture out

4th Layer

  • Think of the fourth layer as the protecting layer.  If your child is going to be out in the wet snow, make sure this is a waterproof breathable layer. Wind blocking pants and bibs
  • This is your first defense against the elements, make sure it blocks the wind, stays dry, and is breathable
  • It could be rain, snow, mud, even rocks some bib offer reinforced knees and rear ends, these are great for kids as they spend a lot of time on the ground in the snow.
  • A good shell will be treated with a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating remain dry.
  • For extreme temperatures, look for insulating shells that provide an additional layer of insulation in the coat shell.
  • We recommend bibs for kids over snow pants because of the protection from snow entering up the back or down the pants.

Layering Kids Extremities

Layering extremities can be a bit difficult with little ones. Here are some guidelines for keeping those little piggies warm, toasty and dry.  Remember, when thinking about how to dress your kids for cold weather hands and feet are the first thing to get cold.

Layering Feet

Sock Liner

Childrens foot liner, light weight, and low profile

Our little one has overly sweaty feet (Hyperhidrosis).  When we are going out in the cold weather we always bring an extra pair of socks.  In fact, if we are driving to the ski resort we have her wear a different pair of socks, then switch them out for a dry pair just before we put the boots on.  Layering feet works best with a thin nylon or polyester sock and a thicker wool sock.  The sock shouldn’t be too thick that it makes boots uncomfortable, but enough to provide movement and warmth. 

Wool Sock

Wool socks provide some of the best comfort and warmth

Stay away from cotton socks. Wool blends, and synthetic fibers are best for feet.  Like gloves, it’s always best to have an extra pair just in case they get wet, and to prevent blisters.  Knowing how to dress a toddler in 50 degree weather means choosing just the right socks, they can be too thick, or not thick enough, so make your selection according to the temperature and climate.

Boots

Boots are the first line of defense against cold toes. Boots should provide grip for required conditions, warmth, and waterproofing for conditions in the cold weather.

Warm BootsThere are a few options for toddlers boots. If you are doing a specific outdoor activity like skiing or snowboarding you are going to be using specific boots for the activity.  These are typically best to rent from a local shop.  Kids feet grow fast, and a good fitting boot can make a big difference in warmth and performance while they are learning to ride on the snow.

Rain boots or galoshes can work in a pinch when layered well with socks, however they usually provide less traction in snow or ice.  They are great at keeping feet dry, but can cause feet to sweat because of they rain protection they offer.  If your child like to run, you might want to think about the best way to dress them for cold weather running.  Boots aren’t always the best for running up hills, or around the neighborhood.

The best option is a good set of snow boots that have good traction for playing in the snow, offer flexibility and mobility that a ski or snowboard boot wouldn’t are breathable and waterproof.

Layering Hands

Hands Base Layer

A light weight liner can be great for keeping hands warm

Gloves can be layered with a light polyester liner, then a water resistant glove.  Although you may quickly learn that liners are more hassle than just bringing an extra pair of gloves.  They can be difficult to get children to align fingers. If you plan on using a liner, we recommend pairing it with mittens over gloves. Gloves are also a way to add some style to your kids outfit.  If you are concerned about how to dress cute for cold weather, matching gloves to outfits always looks great.

Young ones are notorious for getting wet hands, and gloves.  Another option is to look at some of the newer leather gloves that are treated with Nikwax(R) it offers a very durable glove and waterproofing that will help keep your kids hands drier longer.  

Gloves

Lightweight waterproof, Thinsulated(tm) gloves for kids or toddlers

There really is no substitute for having an extra pair of glove just in case. Trying to dry a pair of glove out after they have gotten wet is hard to do when out at the sledding or ski hill, so to ensure the best day possible always have an extra pair of glove on hand.

MIttens

Waterproof mittens with a high wrist to keep snow off the arms and wrist, excellent for keeping toddlers warm.

Mittens are a great option for kids, they are typically much warmer than fingered gloves.  As mentioned above, they are also easier to layer with and offer easy on and off for kids.

Look for gloves that have attachments to coats, or make your own. Kids are notorious for losing gloves, find a way to attached them to your little ones.  This is key for knowing how to keep your kids hands warm.

Head and Face

You have heard it before, you loose most heat through your head.  Covering up your toddlers heads, faces and necks will keep them happy longer.  But be careful, any item around your kids mouth and nose is likely to get wet.  While you or your kids may be tempted to cover up mouth and nose, keep them uncovered to allow the moisture in our breath to escape, only covering up for short periods as needed.

Beanie

A good medium weigh hat to capture head on the head

Just as important as hands and feed is their head.  Knowing how to keep their head warm with the right had is a must. A winter hat should be chosen based on the temperature and activity.  If temperatures are warmer and you are planning to be active a breathable lightweight hat would be OK. However, if temperatures are frigid you want something that will trap the heat in, completely cover the ears and keep them close to the body.

Balaclava

A kids style balaclava

Balaclava are great option for really cold days and can be paired with an additional hat, or helmet.  While most balaclava’s look like they should go over your mouth, they should fit just over the chin to stay dry and warm.

 

Neck

Kids neck gaiter

How do you keep your toddlers neck warm in cold weather?  Neck Gaiter are a better option that scarfs for kids. They offer sun protection and can keep ears and necks warm as well as keep snow out of the back of their coat. Gaiters often serve as a tissue for your child, keep them washed and clean.

Warm Helmet

A good winter helmet can offer a lot of warmth, and when paired with a good neck gaiter and goggles can cover most of a child’s head, providing both safety and warmth.

Cover the Gaps

Some of the most uncomfortable points on a child are where skin can be exposed.  For example where the gloves meet the coat, or the coat covers the snow pants. Keeping these gaps covered, snow and wind out, will keep children much happier in outdoors for longer.  Some coats and pants have attachments to keep them together and prevent snow from entering.  Also, some jackets offer inner sleeves that fit over the thumb and inside the glove to keep snow out.

Snow suits can be a great option for keeping warm air trapped in and snow/wind out.  They are really good for little ones that will rolling around in the snow.  They make potty breaks a bit more difficult, but the simplicity of them is very convenient.

Final Preparation

Here are some last minute suggestions for keeping outdoor play time to a maximum.

  1. Check the weather ahead of time. Know what the high and low temperature will be for the day.  Also know if there is any chance of precipitation and prepare for it.
  2. Stay away from cotton, it stays wet longer, and causes a clammy feeling.  Additionally cotton provides little insulating property when wet
  3. Bring extra clothing and hand warmers for emergency. This includes hats, gloves, socks, additionally extra upper and lower layers to adjust as the temperature changes throughout the day.
  4. Hot chocolate can fix a lot
  5. Don’t forget the sunscreen. Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you can’t get a sunburn. Keep the nose and cheeks covered with some SPF.  This also includes protecting eyes with sunglasses or goggles from the sun.  Often times snow amplifies the brightness of the sun and can make it uncomfortable for little ones on a bright sunny and snowy day.