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Apr
2
Scott Warr
Altra Lone Peak 1.5
Gear Reviews, Shoes
0
altra

Listen to our audio review

Inspired by Lone Peak, one of the rockiest, toughest mountains in the Wasatch Range, The Lone Peak™ was designed to conquer the Wasatch 100. While the foot-shaped design allows athletes to stay relaxed and comfortable for hours, this do-everything mountain shoe promotes happy feet, increases ankle stabilization and improves form with the Zero DropTM platform.

I have tested this shoe on the Western States Trail, through canyons, water crossings and through the local parking lot.  2 thumbs up.  We hit the details on this audio review.

Check out the Altra Lone Peak 1.5 HERE

Altra top Altra back Altra tred

Apr
2
Scott Warr
Asics Gel-Fuji Racer 3
Gear Reviews, Shoes
0
asics

Listen to our review of the Asics Gel-Fuji Racer 3

  • less than 9 oz!
  • 8mm drop
  • Rock plate for protection
  • Suggested retail: $110

Good:

  • Aggresive lug pattern for good traction
  • Very good drainage
  • Lightweight, almast minimalist feel – similar to the Kinvara
  • Cool Color
  • Lace Pocket!

Asics top Asics tred

 

 

 

 

Bad:

  • Seemed tight around the midfoot

Check it out at Asics

Apr
2
Scott Warr
Magellan Echo Smart Sports Watch
Gear Reviews, Watches
1
Echo

Listen to our review of the Magellen Echo watch

Sports with your smartphone just got better. The Magellan Echo watch solves the biggest problem when doing sports with a smartphone — viewing and controlling apps while the phone is tucked away. Echo streams data and controls from your smartphone to your wrist. At a glance, you can see distance, pace, and heart rate from apps in realtime.

Check it out at Magellan GPS

 

Mar
26
james wilie
ALTRA OLYMPUS SHOE REVIEW
Gear Reviews, Shoes
8
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The Altra Olympus is another entrant into the 2014 “maximal” shoes, that is, lots of cushioning with a minimal offset (for Altra shoes, it is a zero offset).  Altra trail running shoes are categorized by Maximum cushioning (Olympus); Moderate cushioning (Lone Peak 1.5); and Light cushioning (The Superior 1.5).  All are zero drop.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

Altra suggests to go up half a size from your normal running shoe size.  For me, the 9.5 size worked perfectly. There is plenty of room in the toebox. The Olympus came in at 11.70 oz (332 g) (Size 9.5). For comparison, the Hoka Stinson Evo comes in at 11.25 oz (319 g) (Size 9).  Some additional comparisons to the Hoka:

Altra Olympus (Men’s Size 9.5)

  • Stack Height: 36 mm
  • Offset: 0 mm
  • Heel Width: 94 mm
  • Midfoot Width: 120 mm
  • MSRP: $130
  • Gender Specific
Hoka Stinson Evo (Men’s Size 9)

  • Midfoot: 26 mm & Heel: 32 mm
  • Offset: 6 mm
  • Heel Width: 108 mm
  • Midfoot Width: 120 mm
  • MSRP: $160

The feeling on the foot is very cushioned compared to the Hoka (which is slightly stiffer).

I like how the tongue does not have any extra material near the top.

view tongue

The upper is well constructed and durable.

view 3

You will also notice the gaiter trap on the heel (Velcro connection) to keep any shoe gaiter in place (nice touch).

view heel

Altra recommends a unique lacing system to avoid “lace creep”.  The lacing up top is similar to how I laced my wrestling shoes and my running shoes when I need them to be secure.

lacing

See additional pictures of the Olympus below.

view 1

 

view 2

 

view toe view outsole

TRAIL TESTING

No worries about any rocks or obstacles.  The cushioned midsole eats them up without compromising stability.  The Olympus felt more stable (less ankle rolling) versus the Hoka.  They performed okay when wet (there is a lot of material in the upper).  The traction is sufficient on most terrain except in the muddiest conditions.  They held up to downhills, uphills, rocky terrain, scree, and roads.  Performance wise (and cushioning), I am impressed with the Olympus.

After 40 miles, I did notice on the midsole “paint” coming off, that is, sections of the midsole are painted versus having the midsole EVA molded to the color.  Although cosmetic, this could be improved by not painting the midsole. The flaking paint makes the shoe appear “cheap”.

paint flakes

Weight Table

weight table

Tech Specs

  • Stack: 36 mm
  • Offset: 0 mm
  • Gusseted tongue
  • Neutral  Shoe
  • No Rock Plate (well cushioned)
  • Midsole – EVA
  • Upper – Synthetic
  • Made In – China
  • Women’ Version  

CONCLUSION

The Altra Olympus is a maximal cushioned shoe without sacrificing a minimal drop (zero to be exact). It eats up obstacles on the trails with plenty of room in the toe box in a very comfortable package.  Watch out Hoka!  One thing I would change (although cosmetic) is to not paint the midsole.

Mar
19
james wilie
ULTIMATE DIRECTION PB ADVENTURE VEST 2.0 REVIEW
Gear Reviews, Hydration
0
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Wow! A very nice update from the 1.0 version.  You will immediately notice the new color/branding and logo change on the PB Adventure Vest 2.0. The brand redesign has moved away from its signature red logo to a simpler UD design with the navigational north arrow integrated into the design (a nice clean look).

ud logo

Back to the 2.0 upgrades:

(1)    Beefed-up the bungee cords

(2)   Side adjustment straps (hidden in both side velcro pockets)

strap inside pockets

(3)    Front zippered pockets are a little larger to provide easier access (plus more storage)

(4)    An added side access zipper and gear storage separator making accessing and securing a hydration bladder much easier

side view

(5)    Silnylon 66 (replacing the Cuben fiber) provides increased seam strength (still waterproof)

The 2.0 version weighs in at 17.20  oz and slightly heavier than the 1.0 version (12.75 oz).  With the added upgrades, the PB Vest 2.0 is more durable than the former version.

TRAIL TESTING

Plenty of storage along with the upgraded material and increased durability, the PB Vest is stable with two full 20 oz bottles up front while running.  You can use the new UD Body Bottle instead of the traditional hard plastic water bottles to safe some weight.  The UD Body Bottle weighs 1.10 oz (empty of course), but the fluid capacity is 14.2 oz.  They fit nicely in the front bottle pockets or side Velcro pockets.

front pockets w bottles  side pocket w bottle

The PB Vest 2.0 is durable and there is room to store lots of gear. I’ve packed it full of gear (e.g., trekking poles, lightweight stove, jacket, etc.).  It has a nice fit.  The Medium/Large size fit me well. I like the added side zippered opening to access a hydration bladder and the gear separator.  It is a nice touch to the new update.

side view

The PB Vest performed well on long training runs when needing more storage to carry my gear. I had no issues with chafing or unusual wear spots on my tech shirts. I like the attached whistle near the left front pocket.  In summary, a great fitting vest with ample  storage that will last.

TECH SPECS

  • Volume Capacity: 671 in3 / 11L
  • Fluid Capacity: 2 x 20 oz bottles / 2 x 591 mL (plus optional reservoir)
  • Weight: 17.20 oz. (22.70 oz. with empty bottles) (Size Medium/Large)
  • Height: 16 in. / 41 cm
  • Width: 9 in. / 23 cm
  • Depth: 4.5 in. / 11 cm
  • Attached Whistle included

Sizing (Unisex) – Chest Measurement

  • S/M: 23 – 36 in / 58 – 91 cm
  • M/L: 31 – 40 in / 79 – 102 cm
  • Measure wearing the clothes you intend to wear
  • A vest full of gear will fit smaller

CONCLUSION

The Ultimate Direction PB Adventure Vest 2.0 is a very nice update to the prior version.  I love the new UD branding and all the updated features to the Adventure Vest 2.0.  This is a must piece of gear for the long training runs and/or races when you need to care your essentials and like to have bottles upfront in hands reach.  You may want to try the new UD Body Bottles for easier storage and reduced weight.

Mar
11
james wilie
PATAGONIA APPAREL REVIEW
Apparel, Gear Reviews
0
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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