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Oct
18
james wilie
Lululemon Athletica Apparel Review
Apparel, Gear Reviews
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Founded in Vancouver BC in 1998, Lululemon designs yoga and running apparel.  Let’s take a look at the running line from Lululemon.

INITIAL IMPRESSION & TRAIL TESTING

Metal Vent Tech Short Sleeve Shirt

Vent Tech SS

 

The Metal Vent Tech Short Sleeve Shirt is a great all around athletic shirt.  Lululemon’s “anti-stink” feature (Silverescent) keeps the odor at bay.  A great design that is seamless – no chafing experienced on those long 4+ hour training runs. It has a great next to the skin comfort.  I like the fabric in that it does not look worn on the wear spots from using a hydration pack or vest (still looking for a hydration pack or vest that does not wear the tech-shirts in one place or more).  Overall, a great versatile piece of apparel on the run or just hanging out.

Surge Shorts

Surge Shorts

The Surge Shorts come lined with boxer briefs (Luxtreme Liner) which contains the “anti-stink” feature (great addition to the fabric).  The liner is longer than the outer short length. The boxer liners are very comfortable and a great protection from chafing.  There is a small left hip zippered pocket that can hold two GU’s (or keys), but no smartphones.  There is a small inner back pocket that can hold one GU if needed (potential upgrade to the shorts could be a larger outer back pocket(s)).  I did wish for more pockets on the longer training runs.  There is an interesting outer double loop system on the back part of the waistband of the shorts that is designed to hold your shirt.

shorts loop

 

 

 

 

 

In summary, chafe-free, comfortable, but wanting more pockets to store running essentials.

Reflect Jacket

Reflect Jacket

 

The Reflect Jacket is a nice overlay on those cold and windy mornings.  The Reflect jacket is water resistant and sheds away light precipitation.  It has multiple pockets: two zippered hand pockets and one inner zippered chest pocket (can hold a smartphone or items you want to secure).  It has two vent zippers in the front next to the armpits.  Nice collar lining with a no-pinch flap over the top of the zipper.  Reflective piping all around the front and back.  The Reflect jacket is for colder days in the fall/winter that can handle light precipitation in an attractive package for running and just hanging out in town (also a great post-run jacket).

TECH SPECS

Metal Vent Tech Short Sleeve Shirt

  • Material – 66% nylon/30%polyester/4% x-static silver nylon
  • Fit – Semi-Fitted
  • Number of Pockets – 0
  • Weight – 4.15 oz (Men’s Small)
  • Made in – Sri Lanka

Surge Shorts

  • Outer Material – 86% polyester/14% spandex
  • Lining Material – Coolmax (83% nylon/13% lycra)/4% x-static silver nylon
  • Fit – Athletic
  • Liner – Briefs
  • Number of Pockets – 2
  • Inseam Length – 7 inches
  • Weight – 6.60 oz (Men’s Small)
  • Made in – Vietnam

Reflect Jacket

  • Material –100% polyester
  • Fit – Semi-Fitted
  • Number of Pockets – 3
  • Weight – 11.90 oz (Men’s Small)
  • Made in – Vietnam

 

 

 

Mar
11
james wilie
PATAGONIA APPAREL REVIEW
Apparel, Gear Reviews
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Great trail running apparel coming from Patagonia.  Let’s take a look at the following trail options from Patagonia.

Nine Trails Jacket

nine trails jacketThe Nine Trails Jacket is extremely light coming in at 4.10 oz (116 g).  The shell is treated with DWR and repels light precipitation.  It is the perfect layer to knock back a chilly morning without the bulk.  Again, at 4.10 oz, there is no bulk.  When not in use, it stows nicely into the rear pocket.  The sleeves cover the top of the hand and the cuff fits loosely, but not too loose.  The collar is lined nicely and covers the neck.  I love the fit, comfort, ultra-light weight, and versatility of the Nine Trails Jacket – don’t run without one.

 

Tec Specs

  • Full Zip
  • Number of Pockets: 1 small zippered back pocket
  • Shell: treated with DWR (durable water repellent) finish
  • Fabric: triple-ripstop 100% nylon, with breathable 91% all-recycled polyester/9% spandex stretch-woven fabric on shoulders and back
  • Fit: Slim
  • Weight: 4.10 oz (Men’s Small)
  • Stash jacket in the back pocket
  • Made in Vietnam

Outpacer Shirt

outpacer shirt 2The Outpacer Shirt feels very comfortable and light.  It comes in at 3.85 oz (109 g). It is not as light as the Go-Lite Wildwood (2.50 oz), but has a very nice next to the skin feel. It is extremely breathable and dries very quickly.  I am very impressed with the comfort and breathability.  You will also notice that the Outpacer does not have the annoying tags that you will see on most shirts – NO TAGS!  I did notice the shirt does wear easily. So be careful when wearing a hydration vest/pack or anything that may rub the fabric (e.g., heart rate monitor).  Overall, I love the next to skim comfort of the Outpacer Shirt with its breathable fabric.

Tec Specs

  • Tag free
  • Fabric: 5% recycled polyester/25% recycled nylon/10% spandex blend
  • 15-UPF sun protection
  • Fit: Slim
  • Weight: 3.85 oz (Men’s Small)
  • Made in Mexico

Nine Trails Shorts

nine trail shortsThe Nine Trails Shorts fit a bit snug in the hips.  The shorts loosened a bit after several runs/uses.  You may need to size up if you are a borderline between sizes.  The shorts worked well on the trails with plenty of storage in the 2 hip envelope pockets (one on each side) and the centered zippered back pocket (can store the Nine Trails Jacket).  For those who may be concerned with “shorty shorts”, the 8 inch inseam has the appropriate coverage for the modest trail runner.  The Nine’s are very breathable (mesh interior gusset and side panels) and quick drying.  A nice addition is the DWR treated outer that repels light precipitation.  The Nine Trail Shorts have plenty of storage, breathability, and conservative inseam length for the modest trail runner – but watch out for the tighter fit around the hips.

Tec Specs

  • Number of Pockets: 3 pockets (2 envelope pockets on hips and 1 center back pocket)
  • Shell: treated with DWR (durable water repellent) finish
  • Fabric:
    • Body: 3.5-oz 75-denier 91% all-recycled polyester/9% spandex with 4-way stretch
    • Gusset, panels and rear pocket: 3.2-oz 100% polyester Air Flow mesh.
    • Waistband: 5.6-oz 88% polyester/12% spandex.
    • Liner: 4-oz microdenier 100% polyester striped mesh with Polygiene® permanent odor control
  • Inseam: 8 inches
  • Side Split: None
  • Weight: 4.75 oz (Men’s Small)
  • Made in Vietnam

Strider Pro Shorts

strider pro shortsWow! The Strider Pro Shorts are awesome.  They fit very nicely. The waist rides nicely on the hips – not too high or too low, but just right.  The brief liner is normal size.  If you have noticed the trend in the brief liners of shorts, they are getting slimmer in the crotch area making for a “thong” liner versus brief liner – maybe okay for the ladies, but not necessarily for the guys.

Plenty of storage for the long trail runs.  The four envelope pockets on the hips stores all the nutritional needs you will need on the trails.  The large centered zippered back pocket stores larger items (e.g., Nine Trail Jacket).  The outer shell is treated with DWR and repels light precipitation.  What makes the Strider Pro very breathable (beside the fabric) is the mesh panels in the interior gusset and side panels.

You will notice the drawcord can be routed to the outside or inside – leaving the preference up to you (simple and nice touch).  The Strider Pro Shorts have been well thought out for the trail runner looking for a minimal feel while carrying the maximum load for those long trail runs.

Tec Specs

  • Number of Pockets: 5 pockets (4 envelope pockets on hips and 1 center back pocket)
  • Shell: treated with DWR (durable water repellent) finish
  • Fabric:
    • Body: 2.3-oz 50-denier 100% polyester (50% recycled) micro dobby with a DWR (durable water repellent finish).
    • Liner: 4-oz 100% polyester stripe mesh with Polygiene® permanent odor control.
    • Panels: 3.2-oz 100% polyester Air Flow mesh. Rear pocket: 4.28-oz 91% nylon/9% spandex
  • Fit: Regular
  • Inseam: 5 inches
  • Side Split: 2 inches
  • Weight: 4.10 oz (Men’s Small)
  • Made in Vietnam
Feb
17
james wilie
MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR PLASMIC JACKET REVIEW
Apparel, Gear Reviews
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front view

The Plasmic Jacket is sized appropriately and fits well (even with thinker underlayers).  The Plasmic comes in at 9.20 oz (261 g).  It is constructed of Aquaguard VISLON with Dry.Q EVAP technology for great wicking properties.  The Dry.Q EVAP fabric helps accelerate evaporation allowing breathability and comfort.

inside jacket

It is a full zippered jacket with hood.  The hood is adjustable with a single pull in the back.  The cuffs are Velcro adjustable and the hem drawcord allows for quick adjustments on the go.  There is no stuff sack, but you can use one of the pockets to stow the jacket.

packable

Overall, the Plasmic Jacket appears to be a great piece of gear to shed precipitation and perspiration.

TRAIL TEST

The Plasmic Jacket shed rain without any effort.  It protected me from the rainy elements even in the most torrential downpour.  I wore the Plasmic Jacket with either a long sleeve shirt, or a short sleeve shirt with arm warms.  In both cases, the jacket worked well to regulate perspiration.  On the most active hill climbs on the trails, I did wish for some venting under the arms.  The jacket is a standard fit so you won’t feel like it is too snug, but some may want a more articulated feel.

TECH SPECS

  • Full Zip
  • Number of Pockets: 2 zippered
  • Fabric: 100% Nylon (DRY.Q EVAP)
  • Fit: Standard
  • Weight: 9.2 oz (Men’s Small)
  • No carrying bag (but can use one of the pockets to use as a stuff sack)

CONCLUSION

Overall, the Mountain Hardwear Plasmic Jacket exceeded my expectations in handling the rainiest conditions and regulating perspiration during trail runs.  It’s a great piece of gear for 2014.

Jan
25
james wilie
ICEBREAKER DRIVE LS HALF ZIP REVIEW
Apparel, Gear Reviews
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INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

drive ls

The Icebreaker Drive is very comfortable right out of its packaging (no itching experienced).  It comes in at 9.35 oz. The sizing is a regular fit with a half zippered front for great temperature regulation. There is plenty of coverage on the neck to keep the cold out. There are eyelet panels to provide great venting (along the sides and underneath the arms).  There is a small chest pocket (with headphone port) – can also hold 2 to 3 GU gels.  The most important new feature is the nanotechnology used in Drive. Besides the great benefits of wool (see Wool 101), Icebreaker’s nanotechnology contains tiny nano particles which attach themselves to the merino fiber, leaving pockets of air to maintain breathability and prevent overheating. The nano particles have a ridged surface that reduces the contact area, allowing water, oil and mud to simply run off. [1]

REVIEW

The Drive performed well in cold conditions.  When the wind kicked up, I put a thin shell over the Drive, and it kept me nice and toasty.  After the initial washing, I gave it the 100 mile test, that is, no washing whatsoever.  After each run, I just hung it up to dry and wore it on my next run.  As expected from the awesome properties of wool, there was no odor – well none that I could smell – so I asked members of my family (of course without full disclosure). The verdict was – no odor smell.

Also, the “nanotechnology” used in the Drive really works to shed light precipitation.  The water just beeped up on the surface and rolled off. Very nice!

Overall, the Drive is a nice piece of outdoor apparel updated with “technology”, and it looks great around town.

Tech Specs

  • Half Zip
  • Number of Pockets: 1 zippered (Chest)
  • Fabric: 96% merino wool, 4% elastane
  • Fit: Regular
  • Thickness: 200 lightweight
  • Thumb holes
  • Weight: 9.35 oz (265 g) (Men’s Small)

CONCLUSION

The Icebreaker Drive  is a great piece of winter running apparel that should last a very long time in your gear closet.  I love the fit, style, warmth, and the addition of nanotechnology (for water repellency) of the Drive.  You will not be disappointed.

[1] The nanotechnology is accredited by bluesign®, an independent global standard for low-pollutant textiles, environmentally-friendly production and responsible management of resources.  

Jan
23
Scott Warr
Recofit Calf Compression Sleeves
Apparel, Gear Reviews, recovery
0
recofit

Listen to our review of the Recofit Calf Compression Sleeves

The Recofit Calf Compression Sleeves are one of the many products available at this Boulder-based business.

Retail: $45

Jan
16
james wilie
HEADSWEATS TOASTER BEANIE REVIEW
Apparel, Gear Reviews
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view 1It’s been cold running this winter, and I needed something light, moisture wicking and quick drying.  I thought I would try out the Headsweats Toaster Beanie.

Headsweats states the Toaster Beanie has been taken from “…the popular Midcap Beanie and combined its proprietary fabric Eventure™ Spandex with an Eventure™ Terry sweatband to offer the same great features of the Super Duty moisture management system in a light-weight beanie…Eventure™ Stretch Fabric on one side. Eventure™ Knit Fabric sweatband quickly wicks moisture away. Great mid-weight fleece item for colder temperatures. Low profile, technical construction makes it perfect for any winter activity especially for use under a helmet.”

All the statements above are true.  I found the Toaster Beanie to be very warm in cold conditions. Any perspiration was soaked up immediately leaving nothing to get in the eyes.  It feels very light on the head and is not thick or bulky like traditional beanies. I enjoyed using it on long trail runs, bike rides (works great under the helmet), and even while hiking.

Headsweats states one size fits all, but I would say that it is one size fits most.  It was a little snuggle for my large cranium, but not too uncomfortable.  I like the black color, but others may want varying colors for their personal style.

It was easy to wash and dries quickly. I general hand wash, but it is machine washable.

The Toaster Beanie came in at 1.20 oz (~34 grams) – lightweight.

In summary, the Toaster Beanie is a lightweight moisture wicking performance beanie that will shed the cold.  Runners with large craniums may find it a little snuggle but manageable.