Klean Kanteen TK Canister Review

Travis Gneiting Reviews

The Klean Kanteen TK canister is a double-wall vacuum-sealed canister for holding hot or cold food and liquids well on the go. The Klean Kanteen TK canister comes in three sizes we have been using them for the last few weeks and this is our honest review.

The TK canisters come in 32 oz, 16 oz, and 8 oz sizes. The larger size claims to keep hot foods warm for up to 11 hours and cold food chilled for up to 45 hours the smaller sizes range from about 7 hours hot to 20 hours cold. These claims were under perfect circumstances when the containers were properly chilled ahead of time not opened and closed repetitively and stored in a relatively cool shady spot that went outdoors. Realistically, when we were using the TK canisters you can expect them to keep your cold food cold for the day, and warm food warm for the day. I wouldn’t recommend planning on the TK canister to keep your food cold for 45 hours.

One of the cool features about the TK canister from Klean Kanteen is there is a quarter-turn lid that makes it easy to open and close. Also, the wide-mouth design makes it easy to eat directly from the container. The containers are leakproof and stainless steel they won’t shatter or rust are BPA and toxic-free.

The handles on the canisters are convenient for hauling around and opening the container. I was also surprised to see the containers are dishwasher safe. Additionally, the Insulated Food Canisters are great for all sorts of food storage. The food canister has a unique dotted quarter-turn screw-on lid.

My favorite use for the TK canisters is filling them full of cold fruit and taking them hiking or climbing. It’s always nice to have refreshing cold fruit after an outing in the hot sun. I’m looking forward to bringing hot soup in the winter that we can eat directly from the container and clean up is ease.

Conclusion

The Klean Kanteen TK canister is really for someone looking to haul small amounts of warm or cold food or beverages. I prefer them overhauling around a large cooler full of ice when I’m on small outings. The convenience to eat right out of the container and the ease of cleanup when I get home to make these a great option for hauling food at a certain temperature.

Endura Single Track Lite Mountain Bike Shorts Review

Travis Gneiting Apparel, Bikes, Reviews

I have been wearing the Endura Singletrack lite mountain bike shorts for the last month and here is my honest review of them.

The Endura single-track light short is a lightweight short for cross country or light Enduro riding. Endura sent us a pair to try out. The short is made of a four-way stretch nylon fabric that feels durable and slick to the touch but lightweight. They have a slightly baggy fit to them with a lot of extra room for shorts, and pads under them. There are two buttons and a zipper front as well as an adjustable waistband.

The shorts have perforated holes on the inside and outside of the legs that make these shorts extremely breathable. They are a great choice for the hot days here in Utah where we are well over 100 degrees. The shorts overall have a light feel to them. That with the shorts’ breathable holes they are perfect for hot days.

The shorts have a flat seam that is glued instead of sewn. That easily fits over knee pads. I have the Dakine Slayer knee pads on here.

The shorts have a slightly baggy cut to them with an angled cut on the bottom to allow them to stay over your knee pads and provide additional protection around the knees. They work well with small to large size knee pads. I use them with my Fox Enduro knee pads, the Dakine knee pads, and 611 knee pads and they all worked great underneath the shorts.

The shorts have logos silk-screened on the outside. As you can see the shorts get dusty and dirty in the dry Utah dirt.

The single track light short I’m wearing is in size medium. I am about 165 lb 5 ft 10 in. The shorts hang well over the knee pads which keeps nice coverage when in a seated pedaling position.

There are a number of pockets around the singletrack light short all zippered. It’s worth pointing out that the pockets on the front are flat and sometimes difficult to get into when in a seated position.

The single-track light short has a baggy fit. There’s plenty of room for a bike short underneath. The single-track light short also includes Enduras clickfast compatibility. If you are using Enduras liner short there are buttons that line up with the single track light short to attach your liners.

I would recommend these shorts for someone looking for a baggy-fitting highly breathable and comfortable lightweight shorts. They are also very quick drying if wet has an adjustable waist and added grip on the inside to keep the shorts up.

RTIC Cooler Review

Travis Gneiting Camping, Reviews

RTIC 45 Cooler Review

ProsCons
Great ValueDrain plug not attached to the cooler
Simple DesignT-straps can break after extended use
Drain Plugs on both sidesKnotted handles that can slip
RTIC Coolers are well-designed durable coolers with “T” style latches to keep the cooler closed.

Rtic Cooler Review Overview

I have been personally using the RTIC 20 and RTIC 45 Coolers for the last couple of months to give you an honest review of how I think RTIC Coolers stand up against some of the other big names in the cooler market. RTIC coolers are manufactured with the same rotomolded process that YETI uses. The coolers are also insulated the same way with injected insulation and have similar handles attached to the sides. As well as injected insulated foam, and have similar molded and carrying handles. They also have locking holes, are “bear-proof” and have about the same rating. 

RTIC Coolers have a number of accessories like the wire basket and divider cutting board.

There are at least a dozen videos on YouTube showing the ice retention of RTIC coolers, which you can watch here. I am going to focus more on the real-world application of the RTIC coolers I used. Rotomolded coolers are pretty simple products; they are insulated boxes designed to keep cold things cold as long as possible and in some cases warm things warm. They are designed to be bear-resistant with a lock. The various sizes and costs make RTIC and other rotomolded coolers a great all-around option for car camping, or a week at Lake Powell, Utah in the United States.

RTIC Coolers are different from YETI Coolers because they have a drain plug on both sides while YETI coolers only have one.

I have used the RTIC 45 on a few camps and car trips. It’s great to keep in the bed of a truck and with the rubber feet, I didn’t feel like I was ever on any roads that I needed to tie it down.  However, if you need to there are built-in tie-down holes under the lid near the handles to run a cooler tiedown strap.   One downside to most rotomolded coolers with the “T” style closure is the difficulty of opening the cooler when packed into a truck bed.  I usually have my truck bed packed side to side, and unless the cooler handles are at the end of my bed where I can lower the tailgate to access them, it usually requires some unpacking to access the latches.

RTIC Coolers have a rubber seal around the lid. As you can see there is a seam where the rubber starts and stops.

The RTIC 45 is my go-to cooler size. It’s still manageable by one person but can support a week-long camp trip for myself and a friend.  RTIC currently does not make a cooler with wheels. If you are looking for a cooler with wheels, check out our review of the BLUE Cooler 55.

RTIC Coolers are bear-resistant if you use a lock through the corner holes.

The RTIC 45 Cooler can fit up to 36 cans with ice in its 45-quart chest. I do like using the separator and dry basket inside the cooler when I have a little extra room in the cooler. If I’m going to be packing the cooler full, I like to include a couple of RTIC Ice Packs in addition to bagged ice to help the ice chest stay colder longer. Another trick to keep your cooler colder longer is to pre-chill the cooler with ice-cold water for a few hours prior to filling the cooler with food, drinks, and fresh ice.

RTIC Coolers have a strong padded handle with a knotted rope handle.

I did have a couple of issues, first, the rope handles are knotted in and I found that a couple of the knots were loosely done and started to slip out when carrying a heavy load.  Other coolers use a continuous rope to prevent this from happening.  Second, the feet on the bottom of the cooler seem to just be popped in and when sliding around a heavy cooler these might pop out.

The knots have been known to slip out, be sure to check your cooler handles from time to time.

One of the biggest complaints is that the knots can slip out when carrying heavyweight in the cooler. Be sure to check them regularly.

The small cutout above the handle is used for tie-downs to secure the cooler in a truck, boat, or side by side UTV.

You should buy this cooler if you are looking for a perfect-sized all-around cooler that can support a couple of people for a few days, a single person for over a week, or a family on a tailgate or overnighter. The current retail price is about $200 for a 45-quart cooler. In terms of value (getting what you pay for), it’s really hard to beat RTIC Coolers. Click the button below to check for any deals and pricing for current RTIC Coolers.

The RTIC 45 is great for backyard BBQ holding drinks, you can fit about 30 cans with ice.

The accessory pack with the divider that can also be used as a cutting board as well as the wire basket are some nice to have added features. However, if you are going on a longer trip or really trying to pack stuff into the cooler you will notice the convenience of the cooler accessories just seem to get in the way and you can fit more in the cooler without them.

The black dots on the back of the cooler are likely where the insulation was sprayed into the lid.
Hinges on the RTIC 45 Cooler

Hinges on the RTIC Coolers are attached with a riveted pole. They have been very durable from opening and tipping the cooler back, even lasted through many camping trips with kids. They aren’t indestructible, for example, if you have your cooler upsidedown to dry out after washing and a kid was to climb on it, they could be damaged.

Rubber feet stay in place and are very grippy.

Overall, I have been very impressed with the RTIC Cooler. You might have seen another great cooler we reviewed The Blue Cooler and coming soon a closer look at some of Yeti’s coolers. RTIC Coolers are simple, durable, and just work. RTIC is one of the fastest-growing cooler brands and edging on YETI for users that don’t want to pay a brand name premium.

RTIC 20 Cooler Review

Here is a good size comparison of the RTIC 45 and the RTIC 20 cooler. You can see the main difference in size and handle.

The RTIC 20 cooler is a great size for one person to manage even when the cooler is full of food, drinks, and ice. It is the perfect size to fit inside a vehicle yet still provides the long ice retention of the larger coolers.  The RTIC 20 can hold about 24 cans with ice and will last around 7 days if the cooler is properly prepped, and used.

The RTIC 20 has a metal handle that fits into the side of the cooler.

The RTIC 20 uses the same “T” style closures but the handle is different. Instead of rope handles on the side, the RTIC 20 has a rigid metal handle across the top. It semi locks into place when in the up position.  The diameter of the handle is about the same size as the YETI with the padding. However, it feels a little small in my hands and when the cooler is full it feels like it should be a larger diameter.

The inside of the RTIC 20 cooler is almost identical to the other larger RTIC coolers

The cooler is the same rotomolded design, rubber seal, and drains. It also has the same accessories available; a divider inside the cooler as well as its own sized dry food basket for the top.  It’s worth noting during our use I thought I’d like to use the divider and basket more than I actually did.  It takes up more room and makes it more difficult to pack the cooler so I ended up leaving it out most of the time.

The exact same “T” style closure and lockable corners

You should buy this cooler if you are looking to keep things cold for one or two people for a few days or want to keep a hard cooler inside your vehicle.  Keep in mind you will likely run out of food and drinks before you run out of ice in a cooler like the RTIC 20, so a better option might be the smaller more portable soft cooler for short trips.

The lid has a nice lip for opening when the cooler is stuck in the bed of a truck.
RTIC Cooler drain plug

Much like the big brother coolers, the RTIC 20 also has drain plugs on both sides of the cooler. The drain plug is simple and easy to open even with gloves on.

RTIC Coolers have a handful of helpful accessories like the cooler basket, also cooler tie-downs, and Ice Packs.

Here is a close-up picture of the recess for the “T” handles closure.
Stong rubber feat prevent slipping

The rubber feet on the cooler are nearly identical to the competitors like Yeti. They are pressed into the bottom of the cooler. I was a little afraid of dragging the cooler across the bed of a truck or boat would pull the rubber feet out, but have not had a single issue with them so far.

Other RTIC Coolers not Tested:

I didn’t get to test the following coolers from RTIC but wanted my readers to know that there are even more options.  Below are a list of the rest of RTIC hard coolers currently offered.

RTIC Ultra-Light Cooler 52

Rtic Cooler 65

RTIC Cooler 110 

RTIC Cooler 145

RTIC Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is RTIC really as good as Yeti?

When putting an RTIC Cooler side by side with a Yeti cooler there are very few subtle differences. From my personal experience using an RTIC cooler and a Yeti cooler, Yes, RTIC are really as good in terms of build quality and the ability to keep your items cold for long periods of time.

Are RTIC coolers worth it?

Yes, RTIC coolers are worth the money. They are some of the best value coolers available. The extra cost for the cooler over a cheap, thin wall cooler from Walmart is that your food and ice will last a lot longer, and the cooler will last a lot longer. They are very durable and will likely last you for years with the proper treatment.

Is RTIC owned by Yeti?

No, RTIC is not owned by Yeti. Entrepreneurial twin brothers, John and Jim Jacobsen, gained success in the cooler industry by selling their high-end products for less. They offer high quality coolers with all of the features customers want – at a fraction of the price you can buy in a retail outlet. How? By cutting out the big box retailers, using word of mouth, & social media to promote their coolers. In the three years since launching Rtic Coolers—now known as Rtic Outdoors—the duo’s ultimate goal remains the same; provide high-quality, affordable products for all. The brothers are ready for the journey ahead!

What Cooler is better than a Yeti?

RTIC Coolers are often referred to as a cooler that is better than Yeti. I think this is largely because of the lower cost for almost identical coolers. There are dozens of ice challenges on YouTube showing just how similar the performance is between a Yeti and Rtic cooler.

What does RTIC Cooler Stand For?

RTIC is not an acronym, it’s a play on the word “Arctic” the polar, very cold region. It’s an excellent name for a company that focuses on keeping things cold.

Is RTIC Coolers going out of business?

There have been questions in the past about RTIC coolers because they were sued by Yeti coolers. However, they are not “going out of business”.

What size RTIC Cooler should I buy?

RTIC Hard Coolers come in 20, 45, 52, 65, 110, and 145. A cooler should ideally be just big enough to store your items with ice and minimal air space. WIth RTIC coolers, warm air inside the cooler after opening and closing the cooler repeatedly is what causes the cooler to warm. Think about how you will be using your cooler, as well as how long you will need your items to stay cold. Then estimate the size of cooler you can fill with your items and ice to have little to no empty space for maximum cooling.

Why is my RTIC cooler not holding ice?

The biggest reason users think their RTIC cooler is not holding ice is because either the cooler was not prepped, warm items were put in the cooler, or the cooler is repeatedly opened and closed in warm weather. There may be a possibility that the seal around the lid is damaged or allowing airflow in the cooler. Also, check that the drain plugs are tightly closed. The coolers are pretty simple, if they are not holding ice, warm air needs to be getting into the cooler somewhere.

Do RTIC coolers go on sale?

RTIC Coolers offers 10% discount to Active military and first reponders with verifications from ID.me. As a direct to consumer model, RTIC markets their products as “30% off competitors” but doesn’t typically offer sales on their coolers.

Does RTIC do promo codes?

RTIC coolers don’t typically offer promo codes.

Do any stores carry RTIC coolers?

RTIC is not typically sold in stores. However, we are seeing them more and more in online shoping locations like Walmart.com and Amazon.com.

Is RTIC a Walmart brand?

No, RTIC is not a Walmart brand. However, you can purcahse RTIC products on Walmart.com

Does Walmart sell RTIC coolers?

RTIC Coolers are not sold in Walmart. However, you can purchase a RTIC Cooler from Walmart.com that are typically sold by a 3rd party.

Are RTIC Coolers made in the USA?

RTIC Coolers are not made in the USA. The majority of the coolers and parts are made in China.

Where are RTIC Coolers made?

Most RTIC Coolers and parts are made and assembled in China.

Does RTIC offer free returns?

RTIC Returns are not completely free. There is a 15% restocking fee on items over $500. RTIC offers a 30 day return policy. However, within 30 days you can get a full refund if following the return guidelines. You can read the entire return policy here: https://rticoutdoors.com/returns

How long to Rtic coolers keep ice?

RTIC Coolers website claims the RTIC 45 qt cooler will hold ice for 10 days. Obviously, there are many factors that go into the estimate of how long your food and ice will remain cold. In our use, with a cooler 3/4 full of food/drinks and 1/4 full of ice in 90 degree weather while sitting in the shade, and openening 3 to 4 times a day we get about 5 days of cold ice/water.

What is RTIC Cooler warranty or does RTIC offer a lifetime warranty?

RTIC hard coolers come with a 1 year warranty. Other RTIC Coolers, drinkware, and bags come with 1 year to 90 days warranty. You can read the entire RTIC Cooler Warranty here: https://rticoutdoors.com/warranty

Do RTIC coolers float?

RTIC hard and soft coolers will float when empty. However, the seal is not waterproof and if the cooler is submurged or full enough to submerge the seal the cooler can fill with water and sink.

How do you clean an RTIC cooler?

The best way to clean an RTIC Coolers is with a scrub brush and dishsoap on your front yard with a garden hose. Coolers can be cleaned inside, however because of their size it can be difficult. No RTIC coolers are not dishwasher safe.

How do you store an RTIC cooler?

The best way to store your RTIC Cooler is to remove the drain plugs and crack the lid by putting an old newspaper or something else to allow airflow from the lid. The key to keeping your cooler stink free is clean it before storage, and allow airflow when in storage by removing the drain plugs and proping the lid open.

RTIC Cooler Review Conclusion

It is hard to find a better value cooler than the RTIC hard cooler. Regardless of the size you choose, the rotomolded design paired with tough handles and rubber for feet and closures makes this a great step up from the old Colman cooler you might have been using. Ideally, owning a few sizes makes using the larger rotomolded coolers easier. It allows you to select the size based on the adventure. There are more and more rotomolded coolers hitting stores every year, RTIC has been around for a long time and stands behind their products and there is some added value in that vs. a new cooler just being introduced to the market.

KUHL Shift Amphibia Short Review

Travis Gneiting Apparel, Reviews

KUHL offers a wide variety of summer clothing including shorts and shirts that are great for outdoor recreation. The Amphibia short is one that we have recently been trying out. It’s a soft stretchy shorts that is great for wear around town or a quick dip in the pool. Keep reading to see why it’s become one of our favorite shorts this summer.

The Shift Amphibia Short has quickly become my favorite short of the summer. Its dual-purpose short and swimming trunks make it ideal for trail or everyday use. The quality and material of the shorts are something I’ve come to expect from KUHL and was not let down by the comfort and fit as well as the thought that went into the Shift Amphibia short.

One issue I’ve had in the past with traditional rear pockets in soft fabric shorts is the pocket gap. It feels like anything placed in the rear pocket would easily fall out. I also don’t like the look of a back pocket hanging open. KUHL has the Industry first pocket that stays level and flat called EQUALIZR. I don’t know how it works but it does. The pocket lays flat, and stays closed for a clean looking backside.

Designed to get wet

The KUHL Shift Amphibia as the name hints makes a great in and out of water short. The pockets have drain holes and the FreeRyde waistband keeps the shorts up even when they are wet. They drain and dry quickly because of the Nylon, Polyester and Spandex blend.

The FreeRyde waistband has an internal draw cord. They are elastic and stay tied when wet, what more could you ask for?

KUHL calls the side pocket a stealth cell phone pocket. I have a large cell phone and it’s a bit snug, I prefer to use the waist pocket. However, I like the style and functionality of the additional pocket on the side.

KUHL Shift Amphibia Construction

The shorts are made from 54% Nylon, 41% Polyester, 5% Spandex. Most seams are double stitched, with the bottom hem single stitched. The fabric blend and fit of the shorts are really what stands out to me most. The options KUHL offers are really something I’m not used to with other brands. Just the Amphibia short comes in 5 colors, 11 waist sizes, and 3 inseams. I am 5’10” and weigh about 165 lbs, I’m wearing a size 32 with a 10-inch inseam and they fit me exactly the way I like.

I paired the KUHL Amfib short with the KUHL Outsidr T (shirt) size Medium. Much like the shorts, the shirt fits just the way I like it. The Outsidr is an organic cotton T with a silk screen graphic on the back.

The T shirt has a bottom hem that allows it to stay down and it’s slightly longer cut.

Conclusion

KUHL has a number of different shorts from extremely durable for your next multi-day backpacking trip to many like the Amphibia short that is great for wearing around town or in the water and really comfortable to lounge in. The quality and materials used by KUHL stand out as premium clothing and I would recommend these shorts to anyone looking for a comfortable, stretchy short that can transition from the streets to bike to pool all in the same day.

Blue Cooler Review

Travis Gneiting Reviews

ProsCons
Seamless Rubber sealDrain plug not attached to the cooler
WheelsT-straps can break after extended use
Multiple carries optionsHeavy (but well built)
Value
The Blue Cooler 55 with wheels has a large metal handle for hauling a lot of weight around.

I have been using the blue cooler for the last couple months on biking trips, camping trips and soccer games. After using many other coolers in the past, having the wheels on the cooler make all the difference for one person being able to manage the cooler alone.

The Blue Cooler Feet are securely attached to the bottom of the cooler.

Blue Cooler Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are blue coolers any good?

Our personal experience, vast YouTube videos, and verified Amazon reviews indicate that Blue coolers are a very high-quality cooler and a reasonable price. Blue coolers have 77% 5-star reviews on Amazon with hundreds of happy customers. Yes, Blue coolers are very good coolers.

Where are blue coolers manufactured?

Most Blue coolers are manufactured in China.

The 4 rubber cooler feet align with the wheels for a stable platform for sitting.

Are Blue coolers better than Yeti?

Reviewing over 40 videos on YouTube and countless reviews for “Yeti vs. Blue Cooler” Blue coolers outperform Yeti coolers in ice retention test as well as value (price per storage).

Which Brands Keep Ice the longest?

Typical ice retention for a rotomolded cooler is anywhere from 4 to 10 days. There are a lot of variables that play into how long ice will last. This included cooler starting temperature, food temperature, where the cooler is stored, airflow, ambient temperature. There are many top brands that are considered the best at keeping ice the longest. They are Orca, Engel, Yeti, Pelican, Grizzly, Kong, RovR, and of course Blue Coolers.

Blue cooler hinge riveted together.

Who Owns Blue Coolers?

Blue Coolers is a family-owned company by two friends Marcus Sorensen and Chris Studdert https://bluecoolers.com/pages/our-team.

Do Blue Coolers Float?

Blue coolers are not 100% waterproof and if completely loaded with food and ice will not float.  However, an empty cooler will float unless completely submerged where water can leak in through the air seal around the lid.

The cooler divider can double as a cutting board in a pinch.

Are Blue Coolers worth the Money?

The most compelling argument for spending your money on a Blue cooler is that you are getting a high-quality cooler at a fraction of the cost.  The value in terms of keeping cold things cold with a Blue Cooler is definitely worth the money.

Are Blue coolers bear proof?

For a product to be considered bear-proof or bear-resistant it must meet the IGBC certification. While reviewing the recent IGBC Certified list of coolers for 2021, Blue coolers are not listed as certified.  However, with a similar design to Yeti and other coolers on the IGBC and the use of a lock (which is required by other certified bear-resistant coolers), it’s safe to believe that your Blue Cooler would be bear-resistant.

“Products on both lists have met IGBC standards as grizzly bear-resistant but it is not a guarantee that a grizzly bear cannot gain entry into these products. Nor does the IGBC guarantee that small amounts of the contents of the containers won’t be able to leak or spill out.” 

There is a noticeable gap when the cooler is closed, this ensures a good air seal.

What size Blue cooler should I buy?

To decide what cooler you should buy, first look at your needs and space for using the cooler.  How much food will you be chilling, and for how long?  Remember, for proper cooling, there should be about a 70 to 30 mix of ice to food. For short road trips where it’s convenient to have a cooler inside the vehicle while driving the 30-quart cooler is a great option.  For longer trips off-grid the 55 quarts or 55 quarts wheeled is a better option.  For trips, 4+ days off-grid with multiple people the 100 quart Blue cooler is the best choice.  

How does a Blue cooler work?

Blue coolers work so well because they are manufactured with a process called roto-molding short for rotational molding. It ensures a consistent and even wall thickness of the cooler for durability.  The shell is then filled with foam (much like the insulated spray foam you can buy in a can). The foam sandwiched between the hard inner and outer shell of the roto-molded cooler and lid and seal keep warm air and temperatures out of the cooler allowing it to remain cold for up to 10 days in 80+ degree heat. 

The Blue Cooler accessories kit is a must have with a basket to hold items out of the ice water.

What is Roto Molded?

Roto molding is a process where a mold is created and filled with a plastic resin.  The mold is then heated up (and cooled) a number of times while the mold is rotating, coating all sides equally with the melted plastic resin.  This is a popular way of making coolers because of the durability and uniform thickness it produces.  

How to Clean a Blue Cooler?

The best way to clean a cooler is with soap and water and a non abrasive brush. Simply wet the cooler, apply some dish soap and scrub it down, then rinse it off.  For coolers that have taken on a special odor or stains, you can use a diluted mixture of bleach (6:1) with a scrub brush and allow the bleach to sit in the cooler to help reduce the odor. 

How to Pack a Blue Cooler?

The best way to pack a cooler is by using block ice lining the bottom of the cooler. Then pack meat or frozen food tightly to the ice. Use other space for dairy and finally produce on top.  There are many ways to pack a cooler, another way is to layer items in with cubed ices filling in the empty spaces. The main key to remember is to reduce the air in the cooler when packing by filling it with ice or foam. 

How to secure a Blue Cooler in a truck bed?

The easiest way to secure a Blue cooler is using a tie-down.  One way to secure the cooler while not preventing the lid from being opened is to run the tie-down in the rope handle under the cooler, up through the handle, and to a d-link or tie-down hook in the bed of a truck.

The middle rectangle hold is for tying down the cooler to a truck bed.

What coolers have wheels?

Blue coolers are not the only cooler company that provides coolers with wheels.  Yeti, Pelican, Igloo, even Colman make coolers with wheels.

What color of Blue cooler should I get?

If you are looking for the most efficient color cooler to buy, white will keep cooler in the sun than a colored cooler. White however shows dirt and scuffs more than other colors. You may also want to consider the aesthetics of the cooler on the backside by side and may opt for blue or grey color.

The wheels are made of a hard plastic that still provide more grip than expected.

When is the best time to buy a cooler?

Blue coolers often have promotions around holidays where you can save 10% off.  For example, the current Memorial Day sale offers 10% off everything on their site with the coupon code SAVE10. Aside from price, you may also want to take into account availability.  As the summer winds on, cooler sizes and colors often sell out. This means purchasing a cooler in the colder months is often a better time to buy a cooler if you are looking for a specific size and color.

How do you store a Blue cooler?

When not using your Blue cooler remove the drain plug and prop the lid slightly open. This can be done by placing a newspaper or other soft object that will not damage the seal in the opening. This allows any moisture or smells to escape and prevent smells, mold, and mildew from forming inside.

With Blue Coolers 55 means 55 quart.

Is there a cooler as good or better than Yeti?

In terms of construction and ice retention, there are a lot of coolers on the market that meet or exceed the functionality of Yeti coolers. 

Yeti, Blue, or Rtic?

Yeti, Blue, and Rtic coolers are all roto-molded coolers with very similar quality and construction. They all hold ice and keep things cold for about the same amount of time.  If you are interested in a brand following at a premium price, you should buy a Yeti.  If you are looking for a high-quality value cooler then I would recommend either Blue coolers or Rtic coolers.

Can you use dry ice in a Blue Cooler?

Yes, you can use dry ice in Blue Coolers.  When using dry ice it is a good idea to separate it from your cooler contents with some paper or bubble wrap.  Also worth noting, if you are using dry ice in a cooler it gives off carbon dioxide which can be harmful.

Conclusion

A cooler is meant to keep cold things cold, or even hot things warm. The Blue cooler does an amazing job at regulating temperatures. The construction is as rugged as any other roto-molded cooler on the market. The price and quality of a Blue cooler make them a win for a long-lasting cooler.

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The Ultimate OutdoorMaster Shark 2 SUP Pump Review

Travis Gneiting Reviews

The OutdoorMaster Shark Pump II stands out from other stand-up paddleboard pumps because of its unique design, and cooling system that allows 3 paddleboards to be inflated in a row. It takes the manual labor and exhaustion out of pumping up a paddleboard by hand or allows you to pump up multiple boards at the same time with one person. I personally use it when me and my daughter head out paddleboarding. I can hook up the electric pump to her board while I pump up my board by hand. I’ve written my thoughts, usage, and specifications below to help you know if the Outdoormaster electric paddleboard pump is right for you.

OutdoorMaster Shark 2

Maximum pressure20 PSI
Weight3.6 lbs / 1.63 kg
Size (L x W x H)11.9″ x 9.45″ x 4.84″ / 30.23 cm x 24 cm x 12.29 cm
Voltage12 V (Car plug)
Inflation Stage 1350L/min (Maximum speed)
Inflation Stage 270L/min (Maximum pressure)
Nozzles/AccessoriesC7, H3, Round 17 mm, Cone 7.3 mm
Cord length9 ft (2.75 m)
Max usage time30 minutes (continuously)
Warranty1 year
The pump connects to almost all inflatable paddle boards

Pump Inflations/Deflation Speed

I have been using the OutdoorMaster Shark II for a few months now. On average it takes about 10 min to inflate a paddleboard to about 13 psi. The pump uses two stages. The first stage is a high volume to quickly get air in the board. The second stage is for higher pressure to firm up the board. You can hear the pump switch stages as it is inflating the board. Once the pump reaches the set pressure it will automatically shut off making it nice to leave it to unload the rest of the car, or working on pumping up another paddleboard by hand.

The deflation process takes about 3 minutes. I rarely use the deflation process except for long-term storage to get all the air removed for a more compact packing of the board. It’s much more convenient to just press and open the deflation valve on a paddleboard and start rolling it up so I don’t use this feature very offten.

Pump Compatibility

The pump is compatible with a wide variety of paddleboards, kayaks, and other inflatables. Included with the pump are the following screw-on valves: H3 (Halkey-Roberts) adapter, C7 (Learfield) adapter, or an S2 (compatible with Halkey Roberts valve and Waveline XS Dingly valve).

Additionally, the pump comes with two air tap nosels. These work great for inflating air mattresses, balloons, inflatable toys. One air tap nosel is a half-inch for higher volume and larger openings. The smaller air tap is a tapered quarter-inch opening for smaller valves like those found on inflatable pool toys.

To use the pump to inflate your paddleboard screw the hose into the port on the left side of the plug (there is labeling on the pump but it can be hard to read). On the other end of the hose attach the proper valve for the type of inflation you plan on doing. It is very important that an air-tight seal be made so that the pump can use its correct cycle (high or low volume) and not overheat. This means you need to have the rubber gasket properly attached. The pump comes with many gaskets to fit a number of different uses. If you are not sure if your gasket is sealing correctly, start with the largest one and work your way down in size.

After your hose is connected to the pump and your paddleboard plug in the DC plug to your car/truck 12V connector. It’s a good idea to have your vehicle running so you do not drain your battery.

I have been using the OutdoorMaster Shark 2 stand-up paddleboard electric pump for a few months now. I can give my honest recommendation that it is one of, if not the best electric stand-up paddleboard pump you can purchase.

How to use the Outdoormaster Shark Pump?

  1. Press the pressure button (PSI/BAR) to select the unit you would like.
  2. Set the desired target pressure by pressing the + or – button.
  3. Press the On/Off button to start inflation
  4. You can adjust the pressure during inflation by using the + and – buttons or stop the inflation by pressing the power button.
  5. Once the target pressure is reached the pump will stop inflating automatically.
  6. It’s a good idea to let the pump run for a few minutes after inflation to let it cool down before storage.

The pump should always be used out of the water in dry conditions and avoid using when covered by sand, dirt of other debris.

Deflation

To use the deflation process of the pump, disconnect the hose from the inflation port and attach it to the deflation port of the pump on the right side of the plug. I have found it’s typically easier to just depress the deflation button on my paddleboard and wrap it up than go through the effort of plugging the pump back in and running the deflate process. However, it can be helpful when storing and trying to suck all the air out of the paddleboard.

How to use the Outdoormaster Shark Pump to deflate?

  1. Connect the hose to the inflatable valve
  2. Press the power button to start deflation. Note, the pump will not stop automatically like it did when inflating
  3. Press the power button to stop deflation.

Pro’s vs. Con’s

ProsCons
Ultra portableNo AC plug for outlet
Ease of useShort cord
Lighted controlsOdd shape, hard to store
Large LCD ScreenNo carrying bag
Active Cooling

Caring for your Air Pump

You should not store your pump with the DC plug into the socket, or with the hose attached. The pump has a built in cooling system. It will be on automatically when the pump is plugged in. However, it will shut off after 10 min of being idle until inflation is started again. To keep your pump cool and for multiple board inflation leave the pump plugged in to quickly cool the pump, and leave it running for at least 3 min after the last board is inflated to allow the motor to completely cool down.

You should store your pump in a dry and ventilated place. For example do not store your pump in the bottom of a boat with wet life jackets.

OutdoorMaster Shark 2 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What accessories come with the OutdoorMaster Shark 2 pump?
The OutdoorMaster pump comes with the following accessories: Air pump, connection hose, H3 (Halkey-Roberts) adapter, C7 (Learfield) adapter, or an S2 (compatible with Halkey Roberts valve and Waveline XS Dingly valve)
How long is the OutdoorMaster Shark 2 Pump Hose
The hose that attaches from the pump to the paddleboard is 42 inches long.
What attachments come with the Outdoormaster Shark Pump?
H3 Valve
C7 Valve
S2 Valve
Air Tap Valve
What is the warranty period for the Outdoormaster Shark 2 pump?
Outdoormaster warranties The Shark 2 pump for one year when used with the original accessories. To submit warranty claims you should contact Outdoormaster by email at support@outdoormaster.com.
What does PPPP code mean on my Outdoormaster Shark 2 pump?
The PPPP is an error code. It will turn off the pump if the air pressure increase is less than 0.01 psi or there is zero increase.
What does U-H code mean on my Outdoormaster Shark 2 pump?
The U-H code will flash on the LCD screen when the voltage is greater than or equal to 15V as a safety precaution. It will return to normal use when the voltage is decreased.
What does HOT code mean on my Outdoormaster Shark 2 pump?
The code HOT indicates that the internal temperature of the pump is above 85c/185F and may need to cool down.
Can you pump up car tires with a SUP pump?
No, there are no adapters for car tires with this pump. Additionally, the pump maximum pressure is only 20 PSI much less than required for a car tire.
How long is the inflation hose on the OutdoorMaster Shark Pump?
The inflation hose is about 3 feet or 36 inch.

Review Conclusion

The Outdoormaster Shark pump currently has about 1100 reviews on Amazon, with a verified rating of 4.4 out of 5 for a reason. It is one of the best electric inflatable pumps on the market. It’s easy to carry, can inflate multiple boards without cooling off first. It’s nice to just set the pressure and walk away knowing it will shut off when the paddleboard is full. This allows me to manually pump up another board while the electric pump is pumping a different board.

I have also found many other uses for the pump from air mattresses and inflatable kayaks to filling balloons and inflatable pool toys. The pump is a great value when compared to other electric inflatable pumps because of it’s added features.

We will continue using the pump throughout the summer and keep you updated on any further comments we have both positive and negative.

5 Bike Clothing Items You Should Own

Travis Gneiting News

If you have been biking for a couple years now chances are you own the basics. Maybe you have a favorite pare of bike shorts, a jersey and helmet. What more could you need. There are so many new and innovative bike products that can make your rides more enjoyable.

Below we listed our 5 favorite upgrades to a cyclist kit after they have the basics and are looking for other ways to spend their hard earned money on their new favorite sport.

Long Distance Cycling Bib

You might own a pair of biking chamois, you might even own a pair of biking bibs. As you spend more time in the saddle, having a long distance cycling bib can increase the comfort on the bike for multi hour rides. The main difference between a regular cycling bib and a long distance cycling bib is in the foam padding in the chamois. While different manufactures make different styles for long distance bibs, the common similarity is the user of a higher density foam for pressure resistance, light weight, and highly elastic stretch for maximum comfort when spending hours upon hours in the saddle.

Bike Specific Sock

If you haven’t invested in a nice pair of riding shoes, it’s time to upgrade your socks too. A biking specific sock is much more comfortable than the cotton stockings you purchased off the shelve of your local store. A biking specific sock is stitched and formed to the shape of your foot. They are made with premium materials that can be designed to stay dry, warm, or just for comfort.

For years the Fox Trail and Ranger socks (https://www.foxracing.com/mtb/mens/socks/) have been my favorite trail and road riding socks. I have recently been riding a mid height sock from Gore that has become my favorite go to sock. The ankle hight is perfect for me on the road or dirt. They are light weight and breathable with added toe and heal protection. They are a preimum price at $20 USD, but it’s worth having at least one nice pair of cycling socks in your kit. Preimum socks will last a lot longer than your cheap department store socks as well. I’m going on 6 years with some of mine wearing them a few times a month. You can view the Gore socks here:

Windproof Underlayer

Base layers are a great option for improving comfort on rides. There are mesh style base layers that are worn under cycling jerseys that help with cooling. A base layer I find myself using more frequently is the windstopper by Gore. It’s similar to a warm weather base layer, but the front panel is made of a material that blocks the wind. I use this when the temperatures are around 50 to 60 Fahrenheit. It cuts down the cold from sweat and wind and still vents out the back. It’s one of my favorite additions to my kit I use both on-road and mountain with my favorite jerseys. You can check them out here.

Knee and Leg Warmers

In addition to blocking the wind from the front, another addition to your kit is a pair of leg and arm warmers. They come in multiple lengths, as well as with and without windblocking. It’s a good way to save you joints on colder rides, or when tempatures are up and down they can easily be removed and stored in a jersey pocket. I like rolling them up when I leave for a late evening ride when I know it’s going to cool off when the sun sets. It’s a great way to stay comfortable when temperatures are changing.

Elite Sterzo Smart Review

Travis Gneiting News

The Elite Sterzo is a great companion to any smart trainer to make riding stationary bikes indoors more fun. Sometimes it’s just too cold outside, you have limited times, or just out of convenience you choose to ride your bike at home. If you are like me, riding on a bike trainer can be boring, even with Zwift. The new wireless, double ANT, and Bluetooth powered Elite Sterzo Smart is a riser block that sits under the front tire of a stationary bike connected to an indoor trainer and allows some steering capabilities when riding in Zwift.

The riser block rotates from right to left under the front wheel. It’s not a natural feeling like that of riding a bike where you might be leaning into turns, but it takes a little sting off the rigidness of a stationary bike. It’s also worth contrasting it to a trainer like the Kinetic Rock and Roll that provides a little more movement on the bike in a side-to-side motion (which also doesn’t feel extremely natural but can take the sting out of a stationary bike.)

The Sterzo currently retails for $125 USD. If you have a smart trainer and use Zwift, it’s a no brainer purchase for me. Especially if you are someone that needs a little extra excitement when riding bikes indoors. It adds a little more playful ness to Zwift, and they are release new features here and there like drafting and line choice with the Sterzo.

The standard riser block is shown in front and the Elite Sterzo Smart steering plate shown in the back. You can see it sits slightly lower than the standard riser block. It has anti-slip rubber feet on the bottom and I never had an issue with it moving on a mat or carpet.

The set up was super easy. The Sterzo comes with batteries, and simply sliding the steerer from one side to the other activates the Bluetooth/Ant+ to turn on. This is indicated by the blue light.

Clicking on the Sterzo button in Zwift in the bottom left corner will start searching for the Sterzo. Make sure the Sterzo is awake by simply moving it side to side. It will then connect, super easy.

Conclusion Review of the Elite Sterzo

The Sterzo is a great relatively inexpensive upgrade to any indoor trainer. It doesn’t have to be used with an Elite trainer. For me it took a little of the boredom out riding indoors over the winter. You can check out the full details on Elite website.

Houdini Sportwear Review

Travis Gneiting News, Reviews

Power Houdi Review

One of the most popular products from Houdini Outerwear is their Power Houdi. It comes in 16 colors and 6 sizes. The jacket is made from Power Stretch® Pro™ from Polartec® (57% polyester, 33% polyamide, 10% elastane) a very stretchy, breathable, and durable fabric. Its perfect use is for layering under a ski shell, or as I like to wear it as an outer layer for running or biking. As you heat up and move its breathability allows more air to pass through that other hardshell jackets.

A couple of things to point out with the Houdi. I am about 5 foot 10 inches and 165 lbs. I am wearing a medium and it’s pretty snug. I like a tight-fitting jacket for running and biking, but it’s too tight for me to wear as a casual jacket. If you are purchasing for different applications keep this in mind. The sleeves are nice and long which makes it great for skiing/snowboarding and bicycling.

The hood has a strange shape. I rarely if ever wear hoods on my jackets so it’s not too concerning for me. If you like wearing a hood, it has a bit of a cone shape on the top with a lot of extra material.

The micro fleece is very comfortable, soft and stretchy. I’ve washed mine a few times now and haven’t noticed any shrinking or pilling which are my usual complaints when it comes to technical clothing.

The jacket is also full of pockets inside and out. Two hand pockets on the outside and 2 stash pockets on the inside.

Overall, I really like the Houdi jacket for biking in specifically both mountain biking and road biking. I also use it regulary for backcountry ski touring and splitboarding. It has a really good warmth to weight ratio and packs down small making it a great alternate to a down puffy for layering in the winter.

About Houdini Sportswear

Sustainability is at the center of Houdini sportswear they have dedicated their production methods and business to sustainability to become a positive force and reinforcement in society and for our planet, Houdini started in the early nineties in the climbing community. Houdini has big goals for the future by 2022 they plan to make all products from recycled and recyclable or renewable and natural biodegradable fibers with full traceability and transparency into their supply chain. They also have an open-source initiative to share all the day of learned for sustainability and technologies with others.

By 2030 Houdini plans to have a complete circular flow of their material products and knowledge. All of their resources will be taken from the Earth and replaced by recycling or renewability with all of their waste being transformed back into the resource flow. 100% of their energy used through their value chains for production are to be created from sustainable renewable sources.

the first thing you usually notice in Houdini sportswear is their minimalistic design This is done by intention under the moniker less is more it helps them to reach their goals of circular sustainability.

Conclusion

Houdini first caught my eye with their minimalistic design that still catered to the ski snowboard climbing and outdoor industry. Their designs and colors set them apart from some of the other flashy outerwear on the market but it still had a style unique to its own. After wearing their hoodie and Moreno tee for the last couple of months I’ve come to enjoy the brand fit and quality more than before. With her dedication to sustainability and the environment, it’s hard to not appreciate what they’re doing. I’ll be looking to purchase a pair of shorts for the summer from Houdini because I support what they’re doing, like the materials and designs they come up with and the quality exceeds my expectations.

With the 365 day return policy it’s worth giving it a try for your next technical piece of backcountry clothing.

You can check out the entire line of colors sizes and jackets over at https://houdinisportswear.com/

Velo Angel TT Bike Seat Review

Travis Gneiting News

I have been riding the Velo Angel TT road bike saddle for a few months now both on my Felt road bike and my Scott indoor training bike. I swapped the saddle between bikes to give it my honest opinion for a variety of bikes. While the name implies the use on a time trial bike, and the shape with a shorter nose also lends the bike seat to the forward aggressive position of a time trial bike, I’ve found I prefer a shorter nose saddle nose for a few reasons.

Often when I am riding indoors I am hunched over at a raised desk multi-tasking with Zwift up on one computer monitor and work emails up on another. This puts me in a more aggressive position and the shorter nose of the saddle makes this more comfortable.

The textured of the Velo Angle is mostly aesthetic but adds a little bit of grip to the saddle as opposed to a completely smooth saddle. In the picture above you can also see that the rails are a Crn/Ti-Alloy for light weigh, and strength.

The saddle on top is a Prolog saddle just to give you a comparison in the overall length of the Angel TT. YOu can also see the less aggressive overall shape of the saddle in comparison.

Velo has been making saddles for over 40 years for various types of bikes. The Angel series of Velo saddles are all 241mm in length. A standout look the saddle is the patented Y-Cutout. It releases stress on the sensitive areas, but also allow just the right amount of flex in the saddle to stay comfortable on long rides in an upright position.

Retail price for the Velo Angel TT is $198 to $290 depending on the Carbon or Alloy Rails. The Velo Angel TT only comes in one width 143mm.

There was some noticeable getting use to riding a shorter nose saddle on an endurance bike. I’ve probably ridden over 20 saddles in my lifetime, and always seems to be hunting for the next best thing. In my experience the answer to everyone’s saddle dilemma is that it depends. I may prefer one saddle over another depending on the ride I’m planning. My preference for using the Velo Angel TT is for rides in the 25 to 75 mile range. I have had almost no numbness or discomfort in that range.

The saddle mounts to all seatpost the same, and with the patented Y cut out it makes fine tuning adjustment even simpler.

The oveall ride quality is very comfortable when paired with a quality chamois. The foam used in the saddle is very dense and preferred for a high end saddle. It always makes me laugh when a non cyclist feels a saddle and complains about how much that hard seat would hurt their back side. After explaining the dynamics of long rides and chamois I usually just have blank stares.

While the saddle is shorter in length, I wanted to show what is looked like with a standard size bike seat bag. With enough room for a few air cartages, a tool, and extra tube it looks a little oversized but better than being stranded on the side of the road.

Overall, the saddle rides very well, it’s standouts for me were the Y-cutout; I feel like it releaves even more pressure that other cutout saddles I’ve used as well as offering just the perfect amount of flex making it one of the most comfortable saddles i’ve used. It will be staying on my bike for the next year and I’ll make updates to this post as issues or other thoughts come to mind.

If you would like to check out the complete line of Velo saddles or the Angle TT you can use the affiliate link below:

STIO Fremont Fleece

Travis Gneiting Apparel

A solid Fleece jacket is essential for layering during cold temperatures. There are so many options, materials and prices. We recently tried on the Stio Fremont Fleece that was noticeably different.

Stio’s Fremont fleece jackets come in Men’s and Women’s size S-XXL and XS-XL respectively as well as a handful fun and mild colors. What really set’s the Fremont Fleece apart from other fleece from brands like Arc’teryx Delta, Patagonia R1, or The North Face fleece is the use of Toray Karuishi Japanese fabric. This technical fabric is very soft, extremely stretchy and has a higher “yarn stack” than traditional technical fleece.

This makes the Stio Fremont a perfect addition to any outdoor enthusiast who participates in a variety of activities. I choose to wear it with a thin “first layer” style underneath. This might be a poly t-shirt or another moisture transferring fabric. I then rely on the Fremont fleece to add warmth on top. It’s great for backcountry skiing, fall weather biking and trail running. The nylon/poly blend seems to resist pilling and wear that I’m use to seeing on shoulders and back from backpacks and hip packs.

I am 5″10″ (178 cm) and 165 lbs. (75 kg) wearing a size Medium in “Tap Shoe” (a dark grey color). The Fremont zip retails for $159 and $169 for the hooded version. Free shipping and free returns on This is the hoodless half zip, the Fremont also comes in a hooded pull over. This is a new offering from Stio and stock is always low on them. Check their website [affiliate link] here for current size and colors available.

Stio offers a full warranty on manufacturing and workmanship defects. Click on the image below to see all the offerings from Stio or browse Stio on GearChase.com.

Urban Cycle Clothing Review

Staff Bikes

Urban Cycle is based out of Missouri and Arkansas they offer value priced cycle clothing. They offer road, mountain, gravel, and city clothing designed for biking. We were sent some clothing to try out and provide our opinion on to give you an idea if Urban Cycle clothing is right for you.

I recently had the chance to ride the shredder Urban Cycle mountain bike shorts, they came with their own padded chamois for under $60. I recently wore the shorts in a base layer on a mountain bike ride in southern Utah. The most attractive thing about these shorts is the value for the price. Most mountain bike shorts are well over $60 and do not include a chamois or padding. Comparing the Urban Cycle shorts with some of my other favorites from Pearl Izumi and Dakine there are some noticeable differences. I will leave it up to the reader to decide if the cost savings out way the features and fit.

The fit of the Urban Cycle Shredder definitely fits different than any other mountain bike short I’ve worn. They are very high-waisted coming well above my belly button. I am 5’10 165 lb wearing a size large, the waist is a little large but I would prefer the waist of a large over a medium for my height and weight. The chamois sits even higher than the shorts on my torso when pulled all the way up they come well above my belly button. I can see how this would be a preferred fit for some who like the compression or the coverage where a jersey might creep up the back. The overall build quality felt well, and I like the lightweight polyester stretch material. The pockets were well sized and offered plenty of breathabilities. The chamois had a very simple design with a flat single pad. If you have never ridden a padded chamois before you will notice a great improvement over nothing. However, if you have ridden more expensive Chamois before you will notice a difference from a multi-layered, contoured pad. That being said, you are paying about $25 for the padded chamois. It’s nearly impossible to find a padded bike short at that price.

The shorts are multi-paneled with secure zipper pockets and adjustable waist with velcro tabs. They are a loose fitting bike short. Around the legs there is plenty of room to fit over the top of knee pads.

Most base layers cost at least twice as much as Urban Cycle base layers. I tried out the Men’s Mesh Baselayer in the sleeveless version. It’s a simple, lightweight 100% polyester mesh top. Designed like most to help keep you dry, by evaporating sweat and cooling on hot days and adding a layer of warm air on colder days. More expensive options from other companies may provide a cocktail of fabrics, panels, and stretching, but if you are looking for a great deal on an entry-level base layer you need to check out Urban Cycle Base Layer.

Urban Cycle Clothing really offers a great, inexpensive way to get into cycling clothing. To me that is the real benefit. I’ve ridden bike shorts that cost over $300. They are amazing, they fit like a glove, but not everyone is going to spend that kind of money for bike clothing. Especially when risking damaging them during a wreck. Urban Cycle gets you into a basic base layer for under $30 they even have entire top jerseys and bottom bib cycle kits for under $100

If you are looking to get into new cycle clothing without spending an arm and a leg take a look at Urban Cycling.

UAG Holiday Sale

Travis Gneiting Deals

Over the last couple of months, I have been using Urban Armor Gear (UAG) phone cases on my Galaxy note 20 ultra. For anyone living an active lifestyle, phone drops are inevitable. The monarch series phone cases are some of the toughest on the market when compared with OtterBox phone cases. They’re all-terrain rugged enforced corners with a five-layer construction that I’ve tested multiple times on accident and still don’t have a scratch on my phone. The phone cases come with a 10-year warranty.

When I was looking for a little more room in my pocket the plyo series still gave me some added protection around my Galaxy note 20 without the added bulk that the monarch series has.

We also got to try out the Standard-issue 24 L backpack. It’s not the most rugged travel pack I’ve ever used but the clamshell design makes it ideal for quick trips when you’re rummaging through your bag frequently.I like how it also has a separate compartment in the back for a larger laptop or tablet to keep things separated. There are plenty of dividers inside as well as water bottle holders and passport holders on the side. In the top is a padded compartment perfect for camera sunglasses or phones. Other backpacks I’ve used have had these padded compartments but they were so small it was hard to get larger phones into or multiple pairs of sunglasses. The urban

when people talk about Urban Armor Gear phone cases or other premium phone cases price is usually one of the first items that come up. For me, it’s easy to justify a $50 case when I just spent $1,200 on a phone. Especially for someone who spends a lot of time in the mountains and dirt. The peace of mind that comes withholding a phone in a solid case above rocks and dirt or tossing it in a dry bag float down a river makes it well worth the price. Urban armor gear has a holiday sale going on right now with deals up to 60% off for example the monarch series case which is normally $59.95 is now $34.95. you can also get free shipping in some locations or two-day shipping for $2. Watching for sales on Urban armor gear cases and bags or coupon codes don’t come around very often

Check out UAG for the current prices and sales going on through the end of the month.

When when sales are over, check GearChase.com for any UAG Coupon Codes or sale currently going on.

Onguard mastiff bike lock review

Why I use the OnGuard Mastiff Chain Lock

Travis Gneiting Bikes, Reviews

OnGuard Chain Lock Review

Why the OnGuard 8019 LP Mastiff chain lock is the lock I choose to secure my bike.

OnGuard Mastiff Lock

I have used many on guard chains and kryptonite chain locks over the last decade. While the on guard 8019 LP is a smaller diameter chain it has more convenience yet protects just as well as other chains I’ve used in the past. The single best feature of the chain is the circle link that ultimately lengthens the chain to twice its length. This is extremely convenient when locking my bike up in my truck bed. It’s easy to wrap the chain through the bike frame and use the u-lock to secure it to my truck bed D-Link.

My favorite setup is pairing the lock with an OnGuard 8043 cable that I can run through my tires. I feel like this is the ultimate in convenience and weight benefit for the protection and security of locked up mountain bikes and road bikes. There are bigger and stronger locks available but nothing over the last 10 years has been more convenient yet provided me peace of mind that my bike would be safe when running into a store or camping overnight.

No bike lock is 100% foolproof, there are ways to pick locks or cut through them with bolt cutters and angle grinders. There are tricks that thieves use to freeze locks or use car jacks to break them open. My advice is to always keep your bike in view when you can and to never rely on your lock as 100% foolproof. A lock should be used as a deterrent or to slow down a bike thief. The longer and harder you make it to steal your bike the less appealing it is to the thief. A more expensive bike like an e-bike or high-end mountain bike or road bike May incentivizes a bike thief to spend more time or effort to steal. Finding a bike lock that makes it the most inconvenient and difficult to steal is your best option for protecting your bikes.

That being said I find myself wanting to protect my bikes both in my home, in my garage, on my bike rack, in the bed of my truck, or when I am running in to grab a bite to eat or pick up something during the camping trip. The on guard 8019 LP is an intimidating looking chain that should be the first deterrent to a bike thief. There there are beefier chains like the beast 8016 that have a thicker link that would be harder to cut through but the chain length and weight make it difficult to weave through multiple bikes or attach to bike racks or lock up in truck beds. These bigger locks also have a massive 14 mm link and a short shackle you lock when positioned correctly makes it extremely difficult for a thief to cut or pick the lock. The u-lock on these bigger locks measures 55 mm and offers just enough space to run through two links of a larger chain.

Some of the features on the on guard locks that make them stand out above others are the dust cover around the chain that protects it when sliding through bikes frames the automatic dust cover in the key cylinder and a protective coating on the crossbar and shackle. On guard also offers five keys one that includes a light for the locks with the option of purchasing replacement keys if you have recorded the code on the keys when you first purchase the lock. The lock also comes with a $1001 powersports anti-theft protection offer as well as a $3,001 offer. It’s worth noting that this requires registration and additional cost for the protection and is not available in the state of New York.

Conclusion

OnGuard locks are not cheap but when you are spending thousands of dollars on bikes they are a worthwhile investment. I also find myself using them to lock up skis and snowboards in the bed of my truck motorcycles even lawnmowers that have all been stolen out of the back of trucks. The OnGuard locks I use have been through winters snow storms rain storms and freezing conditions and still continue to perform as intended. I also think it’s important to consider the lock that meets your needs. On guards has locks that start at under $30, if you were trying to protect a bike that was worth a couple of hundred dollars this might be a sufficient deterrent to a bike thief. It’s also worth looking at the different sizes and shapes of locks from u-locks cable locks and chain locks. If you are going to try to lock your frame and rear tire with one lock a larger u-lock would be a good option. If you also want to lock the front wheel you could add a cable lock to that setup. You can spend upwards of $200 on locks to protect your investments. It’s hard to say whether a $100 lock or a $200 lock will protect your bike any differently, a motivated thief is going to look for opportunities everywhere. A thief armed with an angle grinder against a $200 lock may only take him 30 seconds longer to cut through than a $100 lock and maybe well worth the risk involved. My advice is to take into account the value of your bike or assets and select a lock that is convenient yet provides the most protection. For me, that’s been the on guard 8019 LP Mastiff chain lock, but it might be something different for you. Consider your budget how you will be traveling with the lock and the convenience when purchasing your next lock for your bike. And remember no lock is foolproof keep an eye on your bike whenever you can even when it’s locked up.

View OnGuard Mastiff locks on GearChase.com from multiple online stores

or

Check out all bike locks on sale at GearChase.com

Are Rome Snowboards any Good?

Travis Gneiting Snowboard

Rome snowboards are a very reputable snowboarding company that has been manufacturing high-end snowboards for almost two decades now. Rome SDS (Snowboard Design Syndicate) are known as some of the best boards on the market in terms of technology, snowboard shapes, and innovation. Anyone looking to buys a new or uses Rome snowboard can be assured they are buying one of the best brands of snowboard on the market.

When riding on a Rome snowboard you can feel the quality under your feet of the binding. It’s not just a cheap rental board you may have started out on. The flex of the board is maintained through the board and follows the board profile flex it was designed for. A Rome snowboard with rocker and/or camber will be just that. The edges are strong and durable and comparable to many other top snowboards on the market.

Some of the tech that Rome snowboards use is the “Hotrods” in their new boards. They are carbon or bamboo rods that are inserted into the board from tip to tail. The hotrods improve how snappy or playful the board is on the snow. These configurations are layed out in the board to improve the overall characteristics of the snowboard, and something Rome has mastered.

The edges of Rome snowboards are designed in different patterns for either directional or twin cut. These different profiles improve handling in variable terrain and initiate smooth turns and are more forgiving when catching an edge.

The base of Rome snowboards are made of many different materials and offer many boards with the industry leading sinterspeed base. It holds wax has a high molecular content and is the fastest base they offer. However, even at the low end of Rome snowboard base is the impact base that is durable, easily repaired and still accepts wax very well.

Snowboards are build up in many layers one of them being fiberglass. Rome snowboards use both Biax and Triax fiberglass as most standards snowboards manufactures do in the snowboard industry.

To lessen the impact under feet, little shock absorbing impact plates are woven into the fiberglass.

In 2021 Rome introduced the Double kick nose/tail for a more floaty feel in powder and pressy feel in the park.

If you are new to snowboarding and trying to decide if a Rome snowboard is a good purchase, when comparing with other popular snowboard brands like Burton, Ride or Gnu, you are definitely looking at one of the top brands to pick from. Their snowboards range from about $650 down to $350. They have some really great boards and shapes, check out the Service dog and Stale Fish for some really great powder boards, or the Pardy Mod for a great playful board on the snow. They currently have about 20 boards in their lineup and every size you could think of.

Rome SDS was started by Josh Reid and Paul Maravetz who both worked at Burton Snowboards previously. The company was founded on the princaples of creating the best quality boards in 2001. The focus was placed on snowboarders and snowboarding, period.

If you are thinking of buying a Rome snowboard you can usually find a great deal on last years boards by Checking our website that searches hundreds of outdoor gear websites to find you the best deal on outdoor gear. Give it a try

Fix it Sticks Bike Tool Review

Travis Gneiting Reviews, Tools

There are about a million bike tools out there to choose from some are simple with only a few Allen keys screwdrivers and wrenches while others have built-in chain breakers brake pad spreaders, bead breakers for your tires, and more. The decision of what Bike tool to carry with you is a hard one. For short rides, I like to carry the smallest tool I can for an emergency saddle adjustment or brake lever adjustment that might need to be made. However, on longer rides, I like having a chain breaker tools to work on tires and anything else that might go wrong.

Fix it sticks sent us a few pairs of their tools to try out. They are well known in the shooting industry for their tools. However, they also make a few bike tool products specifically. We tried out the ratcheting t-way wrench the mountain kit and the classic Fix-It sticks original for both mountain biking and road bike rides. This review contains affiliate links.

Ratcheting t-way wrench

The ratcheting t-way wrench was really cool it’s a small ratchet that you can change directions or spin freely it also has a locking mechanism as well. It can hold standard hex tips and bits in place and the ratcheting mechanism can be removed. It’s perfect for tight to reach places that a standard socket can’t get into. I found myself reaching for this socket more and more as I work on motorcycles and putting together furniture from Ikea. It is expensive at $48, but once you start using it you realize what a great product it is. The ratcheting t-way ranch isn’t one that I like to carry with me because it’s a little bit heavier and doesn’t hold the bits as well. It’s a wrench I leave on my tool bench and reach for it over standard Allen keys all the time.

Fix it sticks mountain kit review

The mountain kit is the perfect gift for a road or mountain bike cyclist. It comes with bits a set of tire levers a chain breaker all in a small pouch. It also has a bracket to hold the extra bits. If it’s perfect in the pocket of a cycling Jersey or in the bottom of a Camelbak backpack. The bits are removable and I’m always afraid that I’m going to lose one the bits are held in place by a magnet and stay in place fairly well. However, the bits that are extra in the carrying case are sometimes hard to remove when your fingers are cold the bits can also be shaken out if not careful.

My first use of the chain breaker I thought it was a little bit gimmicky just trying to get too many tools out of one small set. However, the way that the Fix-It sticks fit into the chain breaker and The leverage you can get make it one of my favorite chain breakers in a small compact size. Overall the mountain kit is a little bit large for short rides and heavy, but it has just about everything you would need for a trailside or roadside repair to get you home.

The classic or original fix it sticks

The original Fix-It stick comes with a set of four, five, and six mm hex for mountain bikers or you can order a three four five mm, or a 2.5 4 and 5 mm set for road bikers. This shows some of the limitations with the bits being stuck into the sticks and not being able to be removed. This makes me feel a lot more comfortable that I’m not going to lose the bits when I am riding around with them underneath my water bottle. if you’ve used multi-tools in the past you know how awkward they can be with the Swiss army knife fold-out design. It seems like you can only get a half a turn in here and there in an awkward position.

That is the stand out for The fix it sticks for me. The ease to quickly tighten and remove bolts and screws with a t-style wrench. If you’ve ever worked on motorcycles you know how convenient this is to be able to spin the screwdriver with one hand and balance it with the other. The torque is a lot easier to manage as well and found me not rounding off screw heads because of the control that the fix-it stick s gives you.


One thing I would like to see is when the fix it sticks are put together with a magnet inside to hold them together. There were a few times when I was spinning where the top stick slipped off because I was screwing upside down. this is something that doesn’t happen with the ratchet stick because of the locking mechanism on it.

Overall I really like using to fix it sticks and would choose them over the Swiss army knife style multi-tool. Carrying multiple pieces or having to carry them in a separate bag is a slight downside they also take up different size space than some of the smaller multi-tools I use. Ideally, you have a few different multi-tools and can grab the one that would best suit your ride.

Velo Saddle Review

New Velo Senso Wilson Saddle Review

Travis Gneiting Bikes, Reviews

Velo Mountain Bike Seat

We were sent the Velo bike seat to test out and give our honest review. We were not compensated for this review. We may receive a small compensation for purchases made through links on this review.

The Velo Senso Wilson is a new saddle just released from Velo. It has a tiny price tag and is aimed at mountain bikers were the majority of Velo seats are road bike saddles.

We headed off to Fruita, Colorado, USA and put the Senso Wilson seat on my Santa Cruz Megatower.

The Velo Senso is designed for mountain bikers with a 242mm length, a short nose and a rear cut out to prevent hitting the big 29 in tires.

The first thing you will notice when riding the Senso Wilson saddle is the grip and texture on top. I found my bike shorts getting hung up on the grip of the saddle a few times. Over time dirt and wear have smoothed out the grip.

The rails on the Senso are Cr-Mo (Chromium Molybdenum, or Chromoly), This saddle was designed to be tough and get the job done at a very good value.

The Saddle has a similar cutout under to relieve saddle pressure.

Conclusion

Overall, the first few rides took some getting use to for me. The saddle is a lot more grippy than the WTB Volt and other saddles I’ve ridden for years. The saddle is supportive enough for 2+ hour rides with no problem. I’ve got about 40 hours on the saddle now and feel like it’s a great value for someone looking for a mountain bike seat that’s a little smaller at 242mm where a lot of others in the same category are around 265mm. The smaller saddle improves the ride when you are up and around on the bike (how I like to ride) and don’t like the saddle getting in the way.

Grayl Water Purifier Review

Travis Gneiting Reviews

Lake Powell, Utah Paddle boarding with Grayl water bottle filter.

Grayl recently send us a couple water bottles to test out. This post was not sponsored by them, or compensated. However there are affiliate links included in the post to help us continue to operate GearChase.com. We were heading out the door to Lake Powell, Utah, USA to go camping, boating and paddle boarding and knew this would be a great time to test the bottle.

Grayl Water Bottle Filters

Grayl offers a few different product on their website. The Geopress Purifier, a large convenient bottle great for all applications near home or deep in the backcountry. The Grayl Ultralight Compact Purifier a small light weight water filter for smaller pack size and weight. Grayl also sales replacement filters or cartridges, cups, single and double wall water bottles, and replacement parts.

Grayl Geopress Review

The Grayl Geopress Purifier water bottle is the main bottle offered by Grayl. It is a 24 oz. water purifier. All of the pieces of the Geopress bottle come apart for easy cleaning and filter replacement. It has a nice grip and textures that the Ultralight bottle doesn’t. The Geopress also has an attachment ring for easy carry or throwing on a carabiner.

The Grayl Geopress water filter has to be one of my favorite filters I’ve used. With Straw filters, they take too long to filter, the same with other gravity filters. There is no additional parts or pieces or extra bags or bottles that need to be carried. It is all self contained, that saves space, time, and the chance of forgetting additional pieces. I did find myself using an additional bottle when I didn’t feel like 24 oz. was going to last me. I would filter 24 oz. pour it into another sanitary bottle, then fill the Grayl Geopress and take both bottles with me.

The videos (see below) of people using the Grayl make it look difficult to push down the filter into the water. While it does take some force, it’s worth noting that it’s simply slow to filter the water, and not as difficult to push the filter through the water.

The water taste and looks as clean as any water filter I’ve used. As with most filters the cleaner the water you start with the better the results.

Grayl Ultralight Compact Review

The Grayl Ultralight provides the quick and convenient filtering in a smaller 16 oz. version. It also looses weight by ditching the fancy texture, attachment loop, and drinking spout.

How does the Grayl water filter work? and What does Grayl filter?

The Grayl water filter works by pressing dirty water through the filter that then ends up in the top of the bottle as clean water. The filter uses an electroadsorptive media to capture pathogens and inorganic contaminates. When dirty water is pushed through the filter it is purfied and the pathogens like virus, protozoa, and bacteria are stuck to the filter and absorbed into the carbon.

Grayl filters clean out waterborne pathogens like viruses, bacteria, protozoan cysts including Rotavirus, Hepatitis A, Norovirus, Giadiasis, Cryptosporidium, E. Coli, Cholera, Salmonella, Dysentery and more. It also removes sediment, chemicals and heavy metals that aren’t good for you and make water taste awful.

When to change Grayl filter?

Grayl Filters are rated for 300 cycles or about 40 gallons. A new filter cost about $25 to $30 you can purchase them here

Where to buy Grayl Replacement filter?

You can purchase Grayl filters directly from their website Grayl.com They currently offer free USPS shipping. Or you can purchase them from Amazon, see the link below.

Grayl filters is on Amazon.

You can also purchase Grayl replacement filters on Amazon.

Grayl REI

Another favorite of ours is REI.com if you are a co-op member to earn your dividends and you can’t beat their great return policy.

Grayl for backpacking

The Grayl Ultralight Compact purifier bottle is the first pick for backpacking. It’s small and light weight but offers the same convenience of the larger Grayl water bottle. You can always bring an extra light weight bottle and fill it up with filtered water so you are not limited to the 16 oz. of the Grayl Ultralight.

It’s worth noting that if you will be flying or climbing high elevations it’s sometimes worth disassembling the Grayl water bottle to prevent it from getting stuck together.

Grayl Warrantee and Return Policy

Grayl offers a free 30 day no hassle return or exchange. In addition to the return policy they also offer a ten (10) year warranty covering workmanship and materials. You can contact them directly if you every have any issue with the bottles and they guarantee to make it right.

Where is Grayl made and located?

Grayl stated in Seattle Washington. The idea for the water bottle got it’s jumpstart on kickstarter where it raised over $250,000 USD. The bottles are all designed in the USA and manufactured in China. Grayl also contributes 1% to charity. You can read more about their charitable contributions here.

Where to buy Grayl water bottle?

The easiest and best place to find a deal or discount on a Grayl water bottle is from their website Grayl.com.

Some additional options for buying a Grayl water filter is on Amazon

Grayl discount codes and coupons

Currently Grayl is offering a free Camp Cup with the purchase of any bottle with coupon code FREECUP. However, this code expires soon. The best way to find discount codes, coupons, and other sale items on Grayl.com is to check the home page of their website, watch the banners at the top of the page for current promotions.

Grayl vs the competition

Grayl vs Sawer water filter

Sawer filters and Grayl filters both work by forcing water through a filter to remove the bad stuff. They both claim to filter out 99.9% of the bad stuff. The main difference are in the form factor, reusabability, and price. The Sawer filters connect to a soft bag that you can squeeze the water through the filter into a straw, or another clean bottle. Sawer filters can also be reused by back flushing the filter, where Grayl filters need to be replaced. You can pick up the smallest Sawer filter for around $30 where the cheapest Grayl bottles retails for $70 to $90.

Grayl vs Lifestraw water filter

The Lifestraw is a microfilter that is active carbon much like Grayl water filters. Which means it works very good at attracting the bad stuff from water but has a limited lifetime. The Lifestraw water bottle is the closest related to the Grayl. The main differences is that you have to create the suction power on your own rather than pushing through your body weight to purify the water. This can become tiresome.

Grayl vs Lifestraw Go water filter

The Lifestraw Go is very similar to the Grayl bottles. They both hold water on the go, both use active carbon filters, and both work very well. A few main differences are that the Lifestraw Go is a double walled vacuum insulated bottle where the Grayl bottle is double walled, but not designed for insulation. Second, the Lifestraw Go requires you to generate the filter power by sucking. The Grayl filter is all filtered water after the initial press through the filter.

Grayl vs Lifesaver water filter

The Lifesaver water filter and Grayl filter are both active carbon filters. The Lifesaver filter uses a pump to force the water through the filter. This can be a bit easier to use than pressing through the Grayl filter, however it can take far longer to filter your water. There are also more moving parts, and it is heavier. Additionally, it’s worth pointing out the cost difference between the Grayl and Lifesaver filters.

Grayl vs Berkey water filter

Berkey water filter are most recognized by their large stainless steel filters sitting on counter tops. However they do have a personal water filter called the Sport Berkey Water bottle. It’s a 22 oz. bottle shaped like a bike water bottle with a Berkey filter at the end of the straw. The Berkey filter retails for $35. It’s great for casual hikers, and those who like the straw type filter design. However, it’s not leak proof and not as durable as the Grayl bottles.

Grayl vs Larq water filter

Larq and Grayl filters a very different. The Larq filter uses UV-C Led to kill the bad stuff in water. Larq claims to kill 99.99% of the bad stuff. The problem is you need to start with fairly clear water or your will still be drinking the muck. Larq water filters retail from about $95 to $120. If you are near a clear mountain stream they would be a great option, but collecting water from water filled with sediment, I would always select a filter.

Grayl vs Katadyn water filter

Katadyn offers a wide variety of water filters. The most comparable is the Katadyn BeFree water filter. It’s light weight but not extremely durable.

Grayl vs Water to Go water filter

The Water-to-go filters are somewhat similar to the Katadyn BeFree water filter. A small filter attached to the cap. They are not extremely durable, or leakproof. They would be good for the occasional hiker, or someone that just likes to get the chlorine and fluoride out of there daily drinking water. Grayl would be my choice for a more durable backcountry multi-day adventure.

Grayl water bottle on YouTube

There is a lot of great content on Grayl water filters on YouTube. One of my favorites is the first one from the Science Channel. It shows the beginning of the products and is reviewed by the host as they drink toilet water. These are the top 5 highest viewed videos on YouTube for Grayl water bottles.

Grayl Final Thoughts

I have used a lot of water filter in my life. I have purchased filtered water, and had a reverse osmosis water filter installed in my home. Grayl water filters really shine when it comes to simplicity and ease of use. There are very few moving parts. Grayl filters are a great value when compared to the competition water filters. They would be at the top of my recommendation to friends looking for a durable, portable, and easy to use for almost anyone.

You can find out more about all the offerings by visiting Grayl.com. Subscribe to their email list and get 10% off your first purchase.

If you are looking for deals and sales on all sorts of water bottles, check out GearChase.com

Manna Water Bottles

Travis Gneiting Reviews

Is Manna a Good Water Bottle?

Manna water bottles are very good water bottles made from top grade 18/8 stainless steel and have a double wall vacuum insulation. Their vacuum sealed bottles will keep ice and drinks cold for 2 days, and warm drinks for 24 hours. Manna bottles come in many sizes and designs from the enormous 128 oz. Titan to the small 9 oz. Ridgeline Flask. They are BPA free, and keep harmful chemicals out of your body. Manna water bottles also are condensation free because of the construction and double vacuumed wall, your hand and table won’t get a bath when drinking a cold beverage on a hot summer day. When comparing Manna water bottles with Hydroflask, Yeti, FiftyFifty, Swell or Contigo they are just as good as the competition but in our opinion offer a bit more value. Some of the stand out features are the various lids, finishes, prints and features that help separate them from other good water bottles on the market.

Is a Manna water bottle Dishwasher safe?

Generally, most Manna water bottles are not dishwasher safe and should only be hand washed. A non abrasive cleaner to avoid removing the finish on the bottles.

How to Wash a water bottle?

After washing hundreds of water bottles from small sippy cups to large 128 oz. Titan water bottles we have come up with a pretty good solution on how to clean insulated water bottles.

The best way to wash a water bottle is to:

  1. Put a drop of dish soap in the water bottle
  2. Add warm water until the bottle is about half full
  3. Use a water bottle specific brush like the 13 inch Ultimate Bottle Brush from Manna. The benefits of using a bottle specific brush is that they don’t scratch the bottle, inside or out, are dishwasher safe, come with a straw cleaner, and fit inside wide and narrow mouth water bottles.
  4. Rinse with cold water
  5. Set to dry upside down on a dish cloth, prop the mouth of the bottle up with a straw or other object to allow air to circulate in the bottle. Avoid leaving moisture in the bottle by screwing the lid on tight if you plan to store the bottle for long periods. The best storage option is to leave the lid off or open.

Manna Ultimate Bottle Brush

Manna water bottle Discount Code and Sales

Manna always has discounts, sales, clearance items and BOGO offer, and free shipping on their website. Additionally, they are currently offering 10% off on your first purchase if you sign up for their email list at the bottom of their website.

Current Manna Discounts

  • Buy 1 Convoy Collection, get one 50% off (use code CONVOY50)
  • Free bottle brush with Titan 78 oz. (use code: CLEANTITAN)
  • Free 17 oz. Tumbler with Titan 128 oz. purchase (no code needed)

Our Favorite Manna Water Bottles

17 oz. Manna Dash Armored Push

Color Options: Black or Blue
Size options: 17 oz.
Lids: Push Lid

This is a great morning coffee mug. It fits in standard car or truck cup holders. It’s the perfect, great looking travel mug. It is easy to clean, feels great in your hand and against your lips when sipping.

20 oz. Manna Retro

Color Options: Many colors and patterns View all on Manna Website
Size options: 20 oz.
Lids: Screw on lid

The Retro water bottles are a simple double walled vacuum insulated bottle just like the other bottles we have looked at. They come is some great prints with a simple screw on lid. I love the color options and durability of the water bottle print. They are hand wash only like most double walled bottles.

40 oz. Manna Convoy

Color Options: Many colors View all on Manna Website
Size options: 18, 26, 40, 64 oz.
Lids: Screw on lid, with drinking screw on lid

The Convoy Manna water bottle has to be our personal favorite. The size options, it’s a manageable size and beautiful metallic and powder coated colors are beautiful and durable.

128 oz. Manna Titan

Color Options: Blue and Black View all on Manna Website
Size options: 78 and 128 oz.
Lids: Screw on lid, with drinking screw on lid

Manna vs Yeti Water Bottles

When comparing Manna and Yeti water bottles they are both double walled vaccume sealed insulated water bottles that will do about the same thing. Keep warm drinks warm longer, and cold drinks cold longer. Some of the difference come when comparing the quality, offerings, and price. For example the Yeti 1 gallon jug is $129.99 and the similar 1 gallon manna jug is currently on sale for $40. Additionally, the Manna folding handles make it much easier to drink and pour out of than the Yeti 1 gallon jug. Both products are really good at what they do, I think there is a bit of a markup for the Yeti brand, but as for side by side quality they both work great.

Manna vs. Hydro Flask Water Bottles

Hydroflask is one of the biggest names in vacuum sealed insulated water bottles. When comparing Manna water bottles vs. Hydroflask water bottles they both offer great insulation for water bottles. When comparing the Hydroflask bottles and the Manna bottles, the main difference is that Hydroflask doesn’t offer the different lid styles that Manna offers. Also, the handles are much more convenient on most of the Manna water bottles. Hydroflask offers a lot more color options and offerings such as backpacks, coolers and food bags. While the price difference between Manna water bottles and Hydroflask aren’t as extreme as with Yeti water bottles the Manna bottles are usually slightly cheaper and Manna offers many more sales and offers. Always check their website before purchasing, there are always some great offers.

Manna vs. Swell Water Bottles

When comparing Manna water bottles to Swell water bottles again, they both do a great job at insulating the contents. Swell offers high quality bottles in similar fashionable colors and textures. The prices are very similar to Manna water bottles, they also offer coupon codes and discounts. The main difference for us was the size and shapes of the bottles are a lot different. Swell has some traditional shapes but also some unique like the Marble Eats cup and different shaped tumblers. Additionally, Swell doesn’t offer the larger sizes with as many drinking lid options.

Conclusion

We have used literally hundreds of water bottles over the last few years from many different companies. Manna offers some of the best value for insulated water bottles on the market today.

TimTam Percussion Massager

Travis Gneiting Fitness & Nutrition, Reviews

Hand held percussion massage guns have been very popular lately. Athletes and celebrities have been endorsing them. Do they work, are they worth the money?

DO MASSAGE GUNS WORK?

A massage gun, percussive massager or sometimes called “vibration therapy” works by sending rapid bursts of pressure to the tissue of the body. They are capped with a ball, or pointed tip for isolating different depths and locations on the body. It allows individuals to get a similar effect from a masseuse by their self in the comfort of their own home. Although more clinicals need to be done, there is enough information out there plus my personal experience to say yes, they do work. They relieve my tight sore muscles, it feels great, and offers a nice massage when using the device. That is enough for me.

Foam Roller Replacement

I am a regular foam roller for problem areas such as my quads and hamstrings, so I was looking for an easier way to find the same type of relief. The PowerMassager PRO allows me to sit on the couch and use a massage gun rather than climb on the floor with a foam roller. I was able to get better relief from the comfort of my couch with this percussion massager.

A massage gun also allows me to lay on the couch, relax and let the massage gun do the work. I find it easier to take care of my body after beating it up all day. The TimTam has been my favorite because of it’s rotating head, heated tip, variable speeds and programmed routines.

The percussion therapy helps with sore and achy muscles but also helps to increase blood flow. The massager we chose to test was the TimTam PowerMassager PRO which also has an automated heated tip for even more relief.

Percussive therapy is relatively new, more and more studies are being released about the effectiveness and limitations of their use. Science and history seem to point to the benefits of using a massage gun. A Swedish massage technique called tapotement has been used for years that applies the same principles as a massage gun.

TimTam Review

I have been foam rolling for years now. As an avid cyclist, I suffer from tight quads and hamstrings. Foam rolling has been an effective way to loosen my leg muscles after days of cycling. We were sent the TimTam PowerMassager PRO to compare our experiences and see if we get the same relief and benefits.

TimTam Unboxing

There are a lot of options for massage guns ranging in price from around $50 USD to over $500 USD. The TimTam PowerMassager PRO currently retails for $399. Its contents are pretty simple, the massage gun, three tips, a charger and travel bag.

Massage Gun Tips

Inside the box you will find three different tip attachments. The small red tip is an auto heating tip that can heat up to 99.5 degrees, which you can control this feature by the click of a button on the PowerMassager. There is a large vibrating tip that is great for back, neck and legs. Lastly, it comes with a small rubber coated ball that is great for isolating areas where the smooth ball would slide away from.

TimTam Massage Gun

The TimTam PowerMassager PRO comes with a lithium ion battery, charging plug and battery dock. Also included is a travel bag.

TimTam Warranty

The TimTam pro comes with a 365 day warranty and an extended warranty is available for purchase from their website.

Using the TimTam Massage Gun

I have been using the TimTam PowerMassager PRO for about a month now. I grab it before and after rides to warm up and cool down my legs. The TimTam has a “warm up” feature that slowly works into the muscle by varying the revolutions. I spend just 5 minutes on a warm up and I’m able to jump on the bike and start pedaling right away without that tight feeling waiting for my legs to get use to riding again. When I return from a ride I sit down on the couch and work my legs for 5 or 10 min. Prior to having this PowerMassager, I was spending 20 to 30 min on the floor with a foam roller. I really like the 175 degree rotating head, it allows for an easy grip in any position I’m working on. It’s also lighter (weighing in at 2 lbs.) and quieter than other massage guns.

I think the biggest reason to opt for the TimTam PowerMassager PRO over other massage guns like the Hyperice Hypervolt or other similar shaped units is the variation and flexibility of holding options. With the 175 degree rotating head, and being able to hold onto the gun in different positions, it makes it a lot easier than other percussion massage guns when trying to reach muscle groups like shoulders, back, hamstrings, and glutes. Additionally, there are not many percussion massage guns that have heated tips.

TimTam Heated Tip

The automatic heated tip warms up in a couple minutes to 99.9 degrees. The red tip is required in order to use the heated feature. There is a “+” button that when pressed for a 3 seconds it will display a heated ball icon on the LCD screen indicating the ball is warming. I like using the heated tip on cold days against my bare skin to avoid that initial shock of something cold touching your skin.

Temperature Sensor

The TimTam also has a temperature sensor built in. This as a little hard to figure out, and also a little confusing without reading the instructions. There is a thermometer icon button on the back of the TimTam. At first use, I thought this was how you activated the heated tip (the “+” button actually activates the heated tip). However, it’s used to measure your skin temperature. Skin temperature can help optimize a safe and effective recovery session by keeping your skin around 90 degrees. There is a small metal dot on the front of the PowerMassager (located under the tip) that you place firmly onto your skin (you can change the position of the articulating head of the PowerMassager upward if you need to). Then while it is pressing onto your skin, hold the temperature sensor button down for 3 seconds, release (while keeping it on your skin) and allow the temperature to appear on the screen.

TimTam Battery Life

The battery lasts on average about an hour depending on how you are using the PowerMassager, how hard you are pushing, if you are using the heated tip, and the oscillation settings. The battery charges from completely dead to fully charged in a couple of hours.

Conclusion

After using the TimTam PowerMassager PRO for a month, I feel like it’s worth the investment for anyone serious about improving the results and effectiveness of their recovery. It is so much better than climbing on the floor and trying to get to those hard to reach areas with a foam roller. The downside would be that a foam roller is much more forgiving on your bone, where the percussion massager is uncomfortable when it bounces off shoulder blades or knees.

I was not paid to write this review from TimTam. The TimTam PowerMassager PRO has been one of the best percussion massagers I have used. I really like the articulating head, heated tip, light weight and that it is a lot quieter than some of the competition.

TimTam currently has their PowerMassager PRO on sale for $399. That is $100 off the normal retail price. You can check it out on their website TimTam.Tech

If you are looking for other recovery products be sure to check out GearChase.com for daily deals and more.

GORE WEAR – CANCELLARA KIT

Travis Gneiting Reviews

GORE Wear has created a beautiful road bike kit and collection in honor of Olympic and World Champion Fabian Cancellara. Cancellara (a GORE ambassador) has launched a signature collection including both C7 (racier streamline kit) and C5 (slightly looser more comfortable) versions. As well as jacket, socks, and matching gloves.

Seven Epic Moments

The design incorporates a heptagon shape with a seven sided geometric figure signifying Cancellara’s seven epic moments. Cancellara won many of the biggest one day races on the World Tour calendar, leaving a legacy on the world of modern era cycling. These accomplishments are incorporated into the subtle heptagon design.

The Moments

♔ Winning Paris-Roubaix in 2006 on the freshly laid cobbles of Arenberg forest


♔ Winning Paris-Roubaix in 2010 by attacking at the Mons-en-Pévèle


♔ Victory at Milan-San Remo in 2008 with a well timed move at the Poggio


♔ Winning the Tour of Flanders in 2014 by playing the tactics at the Oude Kwaremont


♔ Winning Tour of Flanders in 2010 with a precisely timed breakaway on the Muur Van Garaardsbergen


♔ Riding into the Piazza del Campo in first place during Strade Bianche 2016


♔ Taking Gold at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro 2016

The Cancellara GORE Kit

A lot goes into the design of a new kit. Each kit and design is made from many decisions. Fit, ride length, speed, comfort. The Cancellara kit, is no exception, drawing from the existing C7 and C5 collections with new materials the Cancellara kit stands out.

The Collection

The collection consists of both GORE Wear C7 and C5 styles. The C7 bib and jersey are more race driven featuring a tight and aero fit to reduce drag and sustain comfort. The C5 is a slightly roomier fit, leaning more towards comfort. There is some really cool technology that goes into the design of bibs by GORE, which was redeveloped from the ground-up ahead of last year’s collection premiere: https://www.gorewear.com/us/en-us/about-us/our-products/the-new-bib-shorts-concept/

C7 Cancellara race bib shorts

C7 Cancellara race jersey

C7 Gore-Tex ShakeDry Cancellara Stretch Jacket

C7 Cancellara Socks

C7 Cancellara Short Pro Gloves

C5 Cancellara Bib Shorts+

C5 Cancellara Jersey

C3 Cancellara Mid Socks

Our Thoughts

I was lucky enough to grab a set of the C5 Bibs and Shorts from GORE. I really liked the streamline fit. It was tight, but still comfortable with a high end stretch fabric, it moves well with my body. GORE Bibs have always been some of my favorite. The straps are low profile, the cut is just about perfect for my body shape. The front is low enough for those emergency potty breaks, but high enough to hold my belly in. The panels on the shorts were slightly different than I’ve been use to. The flat panel across the front made the fit a little better for me. The mesh bib is great for airflow. A comfortable medium density foam has been great on 2+ hour rides. Lastly, the 7 collection design just looks really good. The heptagon design and “orbit blue” color are a perfect combination in my opinion.

Riding in Salt Lake City, Utah wearing the C5 Cancellara Bib Shorts+, C5 Cancellara Jersey, C7 Cancellara Socks, and C7 Cancellara Pro Gloves

GORE is having a hard time keeping these in stock. For good reason. Currently, (July 2020) the C5 Cancellara bibs are sold out in all sizes and many of the jerseys sizes are too. But, you can enter your email address to be notified when they are back in stock.

Have a look at their site below to view the entire Cancellara collection and stock on hand.

Gore Wear C5 Gore-Tex® Infinium Hybrid Jacket Review

Travis Gneiting Bikes, Reviews

I have been riding the Gore Wear C5 Infinium Hybrid Jacket for a couple months now here in Utah since the weather turned cold. Last year we reviewed the Gore C5 Active Jacket a full Gore-Tex® Jacket. The new Infinium Hybrid offers similar protection from rain and cold weather in a stretch soft fleece lined fabric called GORE-TEX Infinium. It is not as waterproof as the C5 Active Jacket, but offers a more comfortable, quite, jacket for cooler days with a chance of precipitation.

Non-welded seams

With all Gore Wear products we have tested, quality is expected and usually delivered. The C5 Infinium jacket is no different. I top sections of the jacket, arms, shoulders, and back are covered by traditional Gore-Tex® fabric. The chest, under arms and back is covered by a soft quite and breathable layer.

Extended cuffs provide full coverage over riding gloves.

The key to the relatively new Gore Infinium splits the lines of waterproof and breathability. Infinium fabric provides a bit of warmth and a bit of waterproofing with a lot more breathability and comfort. The Infinium offers a four way stretch, and makes it a lot more comfortable to ride both road and mountain bike in.

The pocket zippers on the hand have small inconspicuous pulls. The chest pocket zipper is easier to grasp with gloves on and a great place to stash a phone.

A panel of Gore-Tex® on the rear of the jacket makes for easy clean up after a wet or muddy ride. There are also two reflected tabs on the side of the back panel for visibility.

Large internal pockets are great for stashing arm or leg warmers, gloves, large phones, and snacks.

The hood can be rolled up and secured with a plastic button. It works under a helmet but not over. It can also be tied with a draw cord to help with fit and side visibility.

Features

  • A lightweight trail jacket for riding in mixed conditions
  • Material offers windproof and highly water-resistant protection
  • Breathable membrane prevents overheating and clamminess
  • Hybrid construction is lightweight, warm, comfy, and packable
  • Adjustable under-helmet hood can be stowed away when not in use
  • Taped seams on shoulders and back for added weather protection
  • Stretch panels ensure freedom of movement on the bike
  • Adjustable waist hem with cord stop keeps mud and moisture out

This must watch video explains the hybrid jacket and some of the amazing technology that Gore Wear has created.

Material

Membrane/laminate Gore-Tex Infinium
Face fabric 55% polyester, 45% nylon,
Shoulders, upper arms Gore-Tex Active,
Front and back panels, underarms 87% polyester, 13% elastane,
Lining 100% polyester

Final Verdict

This is not just a cycling jacket. It works well for a slim fitting all around active jacket. There are no back pockets, so you won’t be getting strange looks wearing it to the movies. However, you won’t have that familiar pocket you are so use to reaching for. It’s my current go to jacket for mountain biking.

It does a pretty good job of regulating heat as the temperature fluctuates during a ride.

The jacket fits true to size as a medium. I am 5’10” 160 lb and it fits me perfect with a single layer under. It would not be considered a race fit, but it’s slimer that typical mountain bike specific jackets.

The jacket has held up to some mud and rain rides as well as machine washed and hung dried. It’s been used with back packs and hip packs.

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Jaybird Vista Headphone Review

Travis Gneiting Reviews

In July 2019 Jabird announced one of the smallest and lightest truly wireless and waterproof headphone on the market. Having been a wireless headphone user for many years, we were excited to try a new headphones by Jaybird. In full disclosure, Jaybird send us the Vista to provide our unbias and honest review.

The Vista is offered at $180 which puts it in the same class as Apple Airpods and Jabra Elite wireless headphones. The price may seem a little high, but when compared to cheaper wireless earbuds on Amazon.com they are far superior in quality and sound. All have true wireless capabilities, on board charging, and waterproof. I’ve been using Jabra Elite earbuds for years so I will be making a lot of comparisons to the them throughout this review.

The Jaybird Vista Features

Jaybird Vista Case

The Jaybird case is extremely small and light weight when compared to the competitors. It’s clam-shell design with a small lanyard make it really nice to toss in your pocket and forget it’s there, or easily retrieve it. Weighing in at just 6 grams, it’s one of the lightest and smallest on the market, while still offering an additional 10 hours of charge. The case also offers a quick charge feature to add an hour of play time to the headphones in just 5 minutes in the charger. Connecting the headphones via Bluetooth is simple, just hold down the button in the center of the case, watch for the light on the front, and scan for the device on a phone or computer.

The case also has magnets to secure the headphones when dropped into the case. It’s a nice feeling to just sortof toss them into the case and the magnets grab them and secure them in the right position.

The case using USB-C for charging, something Jabra still hasn’t moved toward and is still using micro-USB. I’m currently paired with the Samsung Note that has USB-C charging, so it’s nice to only have a single cable to charge both.

Jaybird Earbuds

The earbuds are centered around a 6 mm milled driver that fairly decent sound quality. The Jaybird app allow for fine tuning the EQ to provide a customizable sound. This is something I really liked as I enjoy many different styles of music.

The earbuds can be used to take phone calls in stereo or use each headphone independently. This is something Jabra Elite headphones can’t do. Even cooler is that you can use each earbud independently, and maintain battery in each earbud independently. In theory you could get up to 32 hours of listening when using only one earbud at a time, and charging the other during use.

The earbuds are IPX7-rated waterproof and sweat-proof.  I sweat in them a lot. I use them on outdoor bike rides a couple times a week, and haven’t had any issues with them yet.  Time will tell, if issues arise and if they do I’ll keep them updated here.  For example after about a year of the Jabra Elite earbuds I started having issues where one earbud was quieter than the other.  I’ve read online it’s a common issue, some say it’s overheating, other say they just get dirty.

Some of the features missing that we would like to have that were offered with the Jabra Elite are the hear through feature that allows you to hear the surroundings. The functionality on the earbuds is a little limited too, with only a single button on each earbud.

Jaybird Vista Earbud Buttons

There is only a single button on each earbud on the Jaybird Vista while there are two buttons on each ear bud with the Jabra Elite. While the Vista buttons are customizable, I still found myself lacking functionality at the earbud. You have to select button functionality in the app for 1 of 3 button clicks. Single click (default play/pause), double click (default next song), click and hold (default to power off). To use volume, google assistant, next/previous, or volume up/down require setup in the app and loss of other functionality previously assigned to the button. Even the custom setting for single click only offers functionality capable with Spotify premium account. I am and Amazon music user so these customizations were useless to me.

Jaybird Vista Earbud Fit

The earbuds come with a 3 sizes of silicone ear gels that all have a wing to fit into the upper part of the ear for a secure fit. I used some of the first generation wireless Jaybird headphones year ago. The wings attached around the driver/battery and quickly became useless. The earbuds were contently falling out of my ears unless I was sitting still at a desk. The new Vista earbuds fit really well, I can’t get them to fall out of my ears if I wanted to. Additionally, it worth pointing out, the Jabra Elite headphones are larger. I’ve been told it looks like I have olives in my ears when wearing them. Also, I’m not the only one to complain about the look of the Airpods just being ridiculous. As an avid mountain biker, I’ve seen a number of Airpods laying on the trail having fallen out of riders ears. The Vistas have to be my favorite fitting earbuds with a low profile, even after wearing them for hours, sleeping against them on an airplane, I have the least pain with them.

Sound

The headphones feature Jaybirds JBS1 wireless technology using Bluetooth 5.0 to connect to any bluetooth audio source.  Now I’m no audiophile, but I like good sound, and can tell the difference between poor sound and good.

If I had to pick the Jabra Elite or the Jaybird Vista over sound alone, I think I’d pick the Jabra.  However, with the Jaybird app, a lot more can be achieved in terms of finding the sound you like than with the Jabra Elite.

Jaybird App

The Jaybird app has to be my current favorite for managing the headphones. The battery life, EQ, button assignment, and profiles make a perfect companion to the headphones, and its easy to use.

One annoyance was the updates to the ear pieces. I was traveling without internet access and kept being requested to update my Jaybird Vista. Only after failing to update a number of times was I able to proceed with sections of the app.

Button controls can be customized in the app.

Find my bud is a feature to find earbuds that might be lost. You must allow location access and it will use a small amount of additional phone battery. However, it works surprisingly well. While I have never lost an earbud, as a mountain biker it’s nice to turn on this feature when riding to offer a little bit of security.

Voice prompts are offered to readout power and battery life when turned on. This can be changed to only queue on tones, voice and tones, or turned completely off. Additionally, there 8 different languages to select from.

Lastly in the app is settings for the Auto off. It can be set to “Don’t turn off”, “Turn off after 15 min”, or “Turn off after 60 minutes”

Frequently Asked Questions about the Jaybird Vista Headphones

Who are the Jaybird Vista for?

The Vista are targeted at athletes with the waterproof and sweat-proof design, they stay put during everything from running, gym sessions, cycling and everything else we tried from yard work to writing reviews.

What it’s like to use the Jaybird Vista?

The Vista have a unique shape and ear fit design. The ear gel are more oval in shape that most round shapes. They seal out almost all outside noise. There is a single button on each earbud that can be used in three functions. Single press, double press, and press and hold. The single press can be used to answer and disconnect phone calls or control music.

Are Jaybird Vista good Gym headphones?

The Jaybird Vista have to be our favorite gym headphones we have used to date. The small and compact case, low profile ear buds, waterproof and sweat-proof make them ideal for gym use. I can keep the case in my pocket and forget it’s there because it’s so small.

How long does the battery last in Jaybird Vista earbuds?

During normal use in ideal conditions sitting at a desk I was able to get close to the advertised 6 hours of playback with both earbuds powered on. It takes about 2 hours to charge the earbuds back up to 100%, but they can be speed charged for an hour of use in just 5 minutes.

How do you pair Jaybird Vista to your phone?

The Vista are about the easiest headphones to pair with. Simply open the case, hold the internal button for a couple seconds and look for the device in your available devices to connect.

Do the Jaybird Vista have a warranty?

Yes, in AMR and AP One-Year limited warranty. In EMEA Two-year limited warranty.

The Bottom Line

Would I recommend the Jaybird Vista headphones to a friend?  Absolutely, with the caveat they are a bit expensive. But the overall value is right on par with other headphones in the same category.  They stay put in your ears and don’t fall out. They are comfortable for long periods of time.  I haven’t experienced any latency issues with them, or even any connection issues thus far.  The biggest issue has been when the earbuds try to “Update” from the app.  It always seems to hang and fail.  This hasn’t effected the use of the earbuds, but I anticipate I’m not benefiting from the updates.  Overall, a great buy, keep an eye out for new colors and think about these as a great holiday gift for that special someone.

 

Disclosure: We may receive affiliate compensation in connection with purchases of products via links on this page. Even though we may receive compensation, we always give our honest opinion, findings, beliefs, or experiences on each product.

Thule Travel Suitcase and Backpack Review

Travis Gneiting Reviews

Thule is synonymous with ski, bike, and cargo haulers. However, with over 75 years in product engineering specializing in plastic and metal construction, hard shell luggage is a natural product category for them to expand. The new Revolve collection offers a simple, durable collection of products for business and personal travelers that is sophisticated yet reliable and durable.

We were sent the Revolve Carry On Spinner and Backpack to test while traveling to Europe and a few domestic flights, and road trips. Having used everything from duffel bags, backpacks, and fanny packs to travel in the past we were excited to try out a piece of premium quality luggage. They are a perfect match

Thule Revolve Wide-Body Carry-On Review

The simple design of the Revolve carry on suit case is a super solid build that has nothing that is not needed.  The inside has a simple secure strap to hold down items on one side, and a zipper full closure on the other side.

The rolling wheel are far superior to much cheaper alternatives.  My travel companion was using a less expensive big box store version of a similar 4 wheel carry on.  We did a fair amount of walking (a couple miles) on sidewalks, cobblestone, and asphalt.  The wheels remained smoother and it was obvious they where a higher quality wheel and bearing.  The wheels continued to roll smooth the entire trip. 

The hinge on the Thule suitcase we reviewed was build to last. It felt solid, and even when over stuffing the carry on.  At one point had to sit on the suit case to get it zipped closed because we had purchased to many souvenirs.  I felt confident in the zippers and hinges the entire time.  Additional, there are bumpers to protect the hinges.   

The internal zipper pouch fully seals one side of the carry on suit case.  It also has a flat zipper pocket.  It works well for storing ties and other flat items. 

One of the nicest features to the simple design is the locking system.  A TSA three digit lock can be used to secure the zippers into a secure slot.  A push of the button ejects the zippers for opening the suit case.

The Thule Revolve is the perfect companion when traveling with the Thule Crossover 2 backpack.  The updated Thule backpack with the carry on provided enough room to travel Europe for a week.

Thule Crossover 2 Backpack 30L Review

The Thule Crossover 2 is a rugged professional looking travel backpack designed with the traveler in mind.  

Having used over a dozen different backpacks for travel, it’s refreshing to use a clean bag specifically design for the purpose.  It doesn’t have all the additional chest straps, and waist straps that only get caught in seats and overhead compartments.

The Crossover backpack has three locations designated for laptops, and tablets.  As someone who typically travels with multiple laptops and tablets this was so nice to have padded sleeves for each item.

External pocket are allow convenient access to necessities. There is also a zipper for holding power banks and internal route wires.

The top pocket is great for frequently access items.  A small complaint is the size of the pocket.  I have a few larger pair of sunglasses that were hard to store with anything else in the pocket.  Additionally, when storing easily accessible items is that they are easily accessible to others.  When riding busy subways I was always removing the bag for security reasons.

The Thule Crossover backpack fits perfectly under the seat on an airplane.  The abrasion pads protect the bag from the abuse of storing and retrieving the bag.

The internal is just as clean and protected as the external of the backpack. 

Conclusion

The Thule Revolve suitcase is a very high quality, clean suitcase that comes in a variety of sizes. We tested the carry on but it is worth checking out the entire collection. If you are looking for a sophisticated look, high quality build, that will last for many flights, and through that streets, to the office or hotel, this is a top rated pick.

The Thule Crossover 2 backpack is a bag I would recommend to vacation and business travelers. It’s a great “Crossover” pun intended use backpack. It can double as a great looking professionally bag, but is equally comfortable being used as a day pack around the city. The price of $230 (As of October 2019) might be a lot to swallow. But after using many cheaper bags, I can say you are defiantly paying for a much higher quality bag, with more protection and features that a standard off the shelf backpack.

DIRETO X FIRST LOOK

Travis Gneiting First Look, Reviews

Elite Released the Direto X at Eurobike 2019.  The sleek looking new black and chrome is an upgrade from the companies best selling home trainer the original Direto. The Direto X now tops the charts as one of the most accurate trainers on the market with 1.5% Accuracy and 2100 W Power.  As of today, Direto X is the only trainer on the market that is able to actually measure your power output via built-in power meter alongside the Drivo II and the original Direto. 

The Direto X interacts with ANT+ FE-C and Bluetooth FTMS, meaning that they both interact with any app, software, computer, smartphone and tablets via iOS, Android, OSX and Windows in order to obtain total customization and interactivity for your indoor training sessions. 

The home trainer is a ergometer used to measure effort from the rider.  The new Elite Direto X home bike trainer transmits data from the device to a smart phones app, or other software.  It offers a very accurate representation of the amount of power that is being exhausted.  Automatic pedal resistance is managed via magnetic resistance.   The powered Direto X is connectable to computers, smartphones and other training devices that include video training, Google maps training, Strava and TrainerRoad.

Out of the Box

  •  Direto X Trainer
  • 3 Support Legs
  • Front Wheel Riser Block
  • Instruction book
  • Power Cable with adapters
  • Quick release and hub spacers
  • Promotional material with free trials

Assembly

The Direto X requires just a few minutes to assemble.  here are 4 bolts on the bottom of the unit to hold the legs, that’s it. 

Depending of the bike and cassette you are using there you may need to install an adapter to the freehub body for compatibility.  

Storage

The 3 legs collapse together to make the Direto X extremely small and able to slide under a bed or flat against a wall.

Sensors

  • Power Sensors
  • Cadence Sensor
  • Compatible 

Data Transmission and Connection

The Elite Direto X uses both Ant+ and Bluetooth Smart protocols to connect to Smartphone apps and other software.

Power Range and Slope

The power range is wide and depends on the speed.  The accuracy of the Direto is measured at plus or minus 1.5% accuracy. 

Slope

Slope is simulated on the Direto X as a function of speed and weight.  The higher the slope the more power is required and simulated. This is controlled by the Direto X magnetic braking system. It basically acts on a spinning metal disc to provide resistance. This allows the Direto X to be extremely accurate and a wide variety of training options, and prevents the pedals from locking for safety.

Freehub Compatibility

The Direto X is equipped with a freehub body that is compatible with 9/10/11 speed cassettes by Shimano and SRAM.  Additionally, with an accessory the freehub is compatible with Campagnolo 9/10/11 speed cassettes.  

LED’s

The LED lights on the Direto X indicate data is being transmitted.  The red LED indicates that the device is turned on.  A green LED indicates the Direto X is connected view ANT+, while the blue LED indicates the Direto X is connected via Bluetooth.

Bike Compatibility

The Direto is compatible with 130 to 135 mm hubs with a 5 mm quick release and 130 to 135 with a 12 x 142 thru axle.

Conclusion

We were excited to see the release of the new Elite Direto X in person and get our hands on it. Look for an in-depth review coming in the future once we have more time with the newest home trainer from Elite.

More Info:
https://www.elite-it.com/en

Hutchinson Griffus Tire Review

Travis Gneiting Bikes, Reviews

Hutchinson hit the market with a new aggressive enduro tire aimed at fast, durable, and grippy riding. The tires come in a variety of diameters and widths. Namely a 29″ and 27.5″ both in 2.4 and 2.5 widths.  They have a foldable rugged bead and side to side hard skin protection that place different tread compounds (different rubber mix) in flats, sidewalls, and edges.  They weigh in at 27.5 x 2.4 = 930g, 27.5 x 2.5 = 980g, 2v9 x 2.4 = 1030, 29 x 2.5 = 1080.

The 2.5 were designed to be used as a front tire with a 2.4 on the rear.  The 2.5 tires have an aligned row with steep edges to help lead corner traction. The 2.4 is slightly faster rolling and a more steer friendly tread pattern while the 2.5 has a thicker and taller knobs for traction in the corners.  Most riders will opt for a 2.4 up front and a 2.5 in the rear.

The 2.4 tread pattern has a more off shoulder design.  It pushes the knobs out offering a smoother less resistant roll, with really good traction in the corner once they engage.  For such a large tread tire, they roll fairly well because of this design.

Ride Quality

I loaded up my Pivot Firebird with 2.4 and 2.5 27.5 Hutchinson Griffus. I have them set up tubeless (Stan’s Sealant) with a pair of DT Swiss M1700 Rims, and no inserts. I’ve ridden them in Park City, Utah USA dry and dusty conditions, Park laps at Deer Valley, Utah, and Moab Slick rock. These are all very dry, sandy, and dusty riding conditions here in the Utah summers. I’ve put a few hundred mile on them and they are wearing very well.  The tires were designed for dry conditions but just looking at the tread pattern of the tires, and tall knobs they are still very usable for wet conditions.  If you are riding the wets on a frequent, you may want to look at Hutchinson’s other specific wet tires.

The Griffus has a round profile keeping the outer knobs off the flats to improve rolling resistance, but once engaged in transition the tire really shines.  The casing is supple and conforms to the trail well. The tires hook up well on dry sand and dust.  They also offer gripping braking performance with aligned knobs to improve stopping power of the tire.

The larger volume tires increase confidence.  I drug them through a number of jagged rock gardens where I was sure I’d end up with a puncture or torn sidewall, but have yet to have an issue with them yet.

The Griffus has already made it’s way to the podums of EWS.  Isabeau Courdurier has won the first two rounds of the 2019 EWS aboard the new tires. The Griffus are a great option for any lover of the Maxxis DHR and DHF, or just looking for great value and traction on dry dusty trails.