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The Perfect Jacket for Backpacking

One of the challenges with backpacking in cooler / cold weather is the back sweat.

I’ve rarely had a hike where I’ve been in at a comfortable temperature for the duration of the hike.

And it’s always on my back. I’m either feeling too hot in that spot where my back connects to my pack or I’m cooling down and you get a nice chill in that same spot.

Or I’m shedding layers. Stopping on the trail, taking my pack off, taking my jacket off, stuffing it in my pack, putting my pack on, and then feeling freezing a few minutes later and reversing that process.

It’s a horrible cycle to be stuck in, which is why I have avoided winter backpacking.

Until now.

Pak-Jak: The Best Backpacking Jacket

Pak-Jak took on this exact case study to create the best backpacking jacket.

The Swappable Back Jacket

Their jacket is designed for ultimate flexibility on the trail with an interchangeable and flexible back.

  • Puffy jacket back
  • Mesh jacket back
  • Or no jacket back with connectable straps to secure your pack.

With this flexibility, it is entirely possible to start your hike with the puffy jacket back and swap out the back when you feel too warm. And I think that’s a great option for long, all-day or multi-day hikes.

When I tested this feature, it took around 90 seconds to swap out the back for the mesh back and just over three minutes to fully remove the back and connect the straps to the jacket and the pack.

Which isn’t bad. When I swapped backs, I didn’t go back to the full jacket. Because I swapped before my base layers were sweaty, I was able to manage my temperature. Plus, my backpack provided enough coverage from the cold on my back.

Options, Options, Options

I don’t call the Pak-Jak the best backpacking jacket easily.

But this jacket earns that title because of it’s flexibility.

I can’t tell you how often I am planning a day trip and I am standing there, staring at my gear closet, trying to decide what to take with me.

Part of that is because I am trying to account for all scenarios.

When you’re above tree level, weather can change very quickly, and I want to be as safe as possible.

But I also want to be comfortable.

On top of the ability to change out jacket backs, the Pak-Jak also had a detachable hood.

The hood itself adds 2.1 oz. to the total weight of the jacket.

With the full back, the jacket weighs in at 15.7 oz; the mesh back is 16.4 oz; and without any back is 11.8 oz.

Now, while there are three options, I do suggest trying out the mesh back versus the no back prior. That way for your hike, you’re only carrying one option to swap out to instead of two.

Features

The Pak-Jak features Primaloft Gold Insulation; one of the best highest performing synthetic insulations.

It has a great warmth-to-weight ratio, which is why the Pak-Jak is so light.

During one of my test hikes, it was snowing. And even with a heavy, wet snow, I found that the jacket had great water-repellency and wet protection.

The jacket also has a no-chafe guard at the top of the zipper near the neck. During my cold weather hikes I really appreciated this feature because I could keep the jacket zipped tight and not feel like my chin was going raw.

For the puffy back and the mesh back, they are connected with zippers. There are guards on the bottom that fold over the zipper so that your backpack doesn’t accidentally loosen the connection.

Pak-Jak Back Strap

If you swap to the no back option, the straps that are included synch the back of the jacket so that it isn’t blowing free. But the jacket also comes with universal shoulder straps to help keep your backpack connected to the jacket and minimize bounce.

Conclusion

I think the Pak-Jak is the best backpacking jacket on the market.

It’s a new company and I think this product is going to shake up this category.

The product designers were very intentional with everything they put into this jacket.

I should note that this jacket does come in Men and Women sizes. I test a Large and I’m 5’11” and 185 pounds.

Bundle Up With Ibex Base Layers

When it comes to winter outdoor activities, bundling and layering is key. And choosing the right base layer is an important first step.

One of the best fabrics to use for base layers is Merino Wool. Merino is a natural, high-performance fabric, in part because of the conditions these sheep live in. Winters can be as cold as -4ºF and summers as warm as 95ºF. Their coats have evolved so that the fibers react to the changes in body temperature. And this natural technology is passed along to its human wearers.

Ibex sent us their Woolies Tech Crew and Woolies Tech Bottoms to test this winter.

Ibex Men's Woolies Tech Bottoms
Ibex Men’s Woolies Tech Bottoms

Ibex’s Merino Wool comes from Australia and New Zealand. They implement the high standards in farming, making sure their sheep are treated with respect and best practices are in place to protect the land the sheep live on.

Ibex is also part of the Climate Neutral community of businesses. The apparel industry as a whole accounts for 10% of global carbon emmisions and remains the second largest industrial polluter. Ibex measures their carbon footprint and partners with their supply chain to reduce where they can and offset the rest.

Why Ibex Merino?

Merino Wool keeps the body cool during even the most strenuous activities by trapping moisture and releasing it as vapor before it turns to sweat.

Ibex Men's Woolies Tech Bottoms
Ibex Men’s Woolies Tech Bottoms

During testing, I wore the Woolies Tech Crew on a chilly morning run. Normally, with other moisture wicking fabrics, I would end a run like this sweaty and, in those spots in the fabric with sweat, cold. With Ibex’s Merino Wool crew, I found myself relatively dry and comfortably warm by the end of the run.

Because Merino Wool is able to regulate your temperature, it also stops odor-causing bacteria to form, so you also don’t have to worry about smelling funky after exercise.

If I wasn’t working from home these days, these base layers would be great for commuting to the office on my bike. I could easily go from my bike to my desk and still look and smell good.

Merino Wool also offers natural sun protection. The Woolies Tech Crew and Woolies Tech Bottoms offer UPF 50, while some of their lighter products offer UPF 25.

Finally, as sustainable a fabric as Merino is, as the end user, we are also encouraged to be sustainable in our care of the fabric. Because it’s odor and sweat resistant, it’ll stay cleaner for longer, which means that it doesn’t have to be washed after each activity.

For testing, I put in around 25 hours of activity before I felt that I needed to wash them.

Woolies Tech Crew and Woolies Tech Bottoms

I was really impressed by the performance of both of these products.

When I mentioned to my wife that I was testing out Merino Wool base layers, her first response was, “OMG, wool? It’s so itchy!”

But guess what? It’s not.

Ibex’s Merino Wool is the finest wool you can get. I found Ibex’s clothes to be soft on my skin and never itchy or irritating (even against a relatively fresh tattoo). On their site, Ibex shares that their fabric is ideal for people with Eczema or who have found cotton or other performance fabrics irritating. I have other Merino Wool products and I swear that Ibex outperforms them on comfort.

Ibex Men's Woolies Tech Crew
Ibex Men’s Woolies Tech Crew

The Woolie Tech Crew and Bottoms are 81% Merino and made with Ibex’s “Pro-Tech” fabric.

On the Woolie Tech Crew fit comfortably. When I paired it with a running vest, I found that the neck was structured so that I didn’t have any rubbing from my running vest. Additionally, it has optional thumbholes, which is a feature I love. When I was out running, I got to a point where my gloves were too much, but I still needed something to keep my hands moderately warm.

The crew laid close to my skin, but didn’t feel tight. I was able to pull up the sleeve easily to adjust settings on my sports watch.

The Woolie Tech Bottoms were great as well. I took them out on a wintery run as well; pairing them with a pair of running shorts over them. My legs were comfy and cozy throughout.

Ibex Men's Woolies Tech Bottoms
Ibex Men’s Woolies Tech Bottoms

Now, the most ideal winter activity to test these products in is skiing (or snowboarding).

I paired these up with a mid-layer and a hardshell.

I was slightly concerned I would get overheated, but I was comfortable for the several hours I was out on the slopes. Even after I got back to the ski lodge and shedded layers, I found that the Ibex base layers were still mostly dry.

Summary

I’ve been a big believe in Merino Wool for a while, but it wasn’t until trying Ibex’s products that I was in love with the fabric. I keep finding myself looking for reasons to put them on.

Heading out for a run? Ibex is coming with me.

Going snowshoeing? Ibex is joining me.

Lounging around in the house? Ibex, hands down.

Both products tested were larges. I am 5’11” and 185 pounds. You can find these along with many other options at Ibex’s website.

Showers Pass Waterproof Socks Review

Showers Pass Lightweight Waterproof Crosspoint Classic Socks

Update

This is a repost from one of our first product reviews.

I still stand by how awesome these socks are. They have been my go-to for many snowy and wet runs.

They were also my go-to during the Silverton 55K Ultra and I was so thankful I had them. Halfway through the run, after climbing to 12,000 feet, and running above the tree line for a couple hours, we had descended and hit a water crossing.

After this water crossing, runners had the option to change socks and shoes and continue on to finish the final 10 miles of the race. But, right after changing shoes and socks, there were two more immediate water crossings. My feet were still dry, so I opted to continue on without changing.

I went through the first water crossing: still dry.

I went through the second water crossing: still dry!

Part of the dryness was because the water hadn’t gone over the tops of the socks. They were still high up on my calves.

It wasn’t until I hit the final water crossing (a fast moving river I had to cross while holding a rope) near the end of the run that my feet finally got wet. The river was up to my waist and the water got in between my skin and the lining.

Since the launch of the Crosspoint Socks, Showers Pass has continued to innovate their socks. They recently sent me a new pair to test, and they performed even better than before.

These are my go-to for winter running, snowshoeing, and skiing.

Original Post

I had just begun a trail run on a wet, snowy night when my foot broke through a layer of snow into an ankle-deep puddle of cold water.

Normally there’d be swearing and I’ve have to cut my run short.  Running with wet, cold feet for any length of time is plain miserable.

But my feet weren’t wet. They weren’t cold.

My feet were dry and happy because I was wearing Showers Pass Lightweight Waterproof Crosspoint Classic Socks. Showers Pass had sent me a pair to test out, and they have become my go-to socks for snow, slush, mud, or rain-filled runs. They are the perfect partner to my minimalist shoes that don’t offer any type of water resistance.

While my fellow night runners complained of wet and cold feet—trading stories of shoes and socks lost in sticky mud and snow—I couldn’t help but be thankful for my choice of socks. Even as we rounded the final corner and I landed on what I thought was asphalt, but what was really a deep puddle of slush.

Technology and Features

Showers Pass Lightweight Waterproof Crosspoint Classic Socks

The Waterproof Crosspoint Socks are constructed with three elements: a knit exterior sock, a waterproof membrane, and a knit interior sock. They feel thicker than your average pair of socks, but still fit comfortably. The first time I slipped them on, I commented how it felt like I was pulling on a wetsuit.

Their waterproof ability starts at the toe and goes all the way to just below the cuff. Even with the waterproof technology, I still found that my foot was able to breathe. That’s because they use an ultra-thin PTFE Waterproof Breathable Membrane that stretches to let your feet breathe without letting the pores open, keeping your feet dry.

Cleaning

Showers Pass suggests machine washing in cold water (avoid fabric softeners and bleach). You can tumble dry on low heat, however, the dryer can cause shrinkage. To prevent this, I highly suggest letting them hang dry.

Conclusion

Showers Pass Lightweight Waterproof Crosspoint Classic Socks
Showers Pass Lightweight Waterproof Crosspoint Classic Socks

Needless to say, I’m a big fan of the Waterproof Crosspoint Socks. They are the perfect companion in Boulder for wetter runs and bike rides. I even took them snowshoeing with great success.

It’s worth noting that Showers Pass sells a variety of the sock with a merino wool interior for colder outings, but for my snowshoeing adventure I doubled-up with a pair of merino wool socks underneath and was pretty comfortable.

These socks are only the first step in having a full waterproof experience. Because Showers Pass is based in the Pacific Northwest, they know how to make a lot of great waterproof materials, including pants, jackets, and gloves.

Check them out at the links provided or visit www.showerspass.com.

Crosspoint Waterproof Knit Wool Gloves Review

It’s no secret, our team at Huck Adventures loves Showers Pass. They are a go-to for many of our adventures; big or small.

Crosspoint Waterproof Knit Wool Gloves
Crosspoint Waterproof Knit Wool Gloves

They recently sent us a pair of their Crosspoint Waterproof Knit Wool Gloves to try out.

The Crosspoint Waterproof Knit Wool Gloves are fully waterproof. It is constructed with three bonded layers, including a wear resistant exterior, a waterproof / breathable Artex membrane, and a lovely merino wool lining. This merino wool lining is something special. It is soft and cozy, but even with the heart rate pumping, offers great temperature regulation while providing anti-microbial properties to keep it smelling fresh.

So far this winter, I’ve taken these gloves running and snowshoeing.

While running, I found that the merino wool lining performed as expected. Even on longer runs, as I warmed up, I found myself keeping the gloves on longer. Typically, I would oscillate between having gloves on our off, regardless of the temperature outside. But with my body temperature better regulated, I didn’t have those issues.

While snowshoeing, these gloves paired well with another Showers Pass product: the Crosspoint Flip Mitt. I was able to open the mitt and have the dexterity of my fingers in the Crosspoint Waterproof Knit Wool Gloves.

The gloves also became my go-to this winter for walking the dog. With the fit and dexterity, I was able to pull out the poo bags, open them, and pick up the little doggie droplets with easy. That might seem like a small thing, but with my other gloves, I’d always have to pull them off in order to perform this activity.

This winter, I also picked up a new daily routine: outdoor ice baths. Every morning, I’ll sit in a horse trough full of icy water in my backyard for 3-4 minutes. I’ll wear the Crosspoint Waterproof Knit Wool Gloves during this time, resting my hands on the outside of the bath.

And I can attest to how waterproof these gloves are. My dog loves to chew on ice. Throughout this morning ritual, I’ll dip my fingers into the bath and pull out chunks of ice and throw it to him to play with.

These gloves are terrific and my go-to this winter.

I consider my fingers normal sized and wear a large comfortably.

All I Want For Christmas: Huck Adventures Holiday Wish List

The holidays are right around the corner and I wanted to share with our dear readers some of the products that are at the top of my list.

Faherty Good Feather Long Jacquard Knit Robe

Faherty Good Feather Long Jacquard Knit Robe

When I was at Outdoor Retailer in August, I had the opportunity to chat with the folks at Faherty. I had been getting served Instagram ads for the past couple of years and had fallen in love with the aesthetics of their brand.

Being able to chat with them solidified how darn awesome their company was.

And being able to see and touch their products in person solidified how darn awesome their clothing was.

At the top of my wishlist, is the Faherty Good Feather Long Jacquard Knit Robe. It is part of their Native Designed project where they partner with indigenous native artists on product design. This robe was designed by Doug Good Feather. He’s an artist, veteran, author, and teacher from the Standing Rock Lakota and Dakota Nation and is the founder of the Lakota Way Healing Center.

While this robe looks and feels super duper comfy and would be perfect to lounge around the house in, my ideal use is for putting on after my daily ice bath.

United By Blue Recycled Wool Hawk Sweater

United By Blue Wool Hawk Sweater

We’ve featured United By Blue in the past. They are still one of my favorite brands; mostly due to their mission: removing a pound of trash from our waterways with every product sold.

Their Wool Hawk Sweater is a standout in their new products for Winter.

The design is pretty darn cool.

Plus, the symbology of the hawk, definitely speaks to my journey over the past year and my quest for spiritual awareness.

COROS VERTIX GPS Adventure Watch

I’ve had the Coros Apex for almost three years. Throwing out (not literally) my Apple Watch was one of the best decisions I ever made for my fitness journey. And, while the Apex is still performing as if it’s brand new (review forthcoming), a part of me is ready to upgrade. Because ’tis the season, right?

COROS VERTIX GPS Adventure Watch
Coros Vertix

The Coros Vertix GPS Adventure Watch is an upgrade, for sure. Longer battery life. Longer battery life with GPS going. If you’re looking for a new adventure watch and you’re looking at other large watch manufacturers, compare the specs. I don’t think you can beat Coros on battery life.

With GPS use on the Apex, I typically charge once every 14 days. Sometimes every 7 if I am putting long hours on the trail. I have a friend that has a watch brand that starts with a G and he’s charging his once every 48 hours with light use.

Why do I want to upgrade?

Well, in part for the longer battery life the Vertix will provide.

Second, because I want to continue taking my fitness to new levels, their 24/7 blood oxygen monitoring can help me reach new heights.

Finally, their Vertix in the Mountain Hunter colors (pictured above) is pretty darn sweet.

Gnarly Nutrition Sample Box

You already know: I’m a big fan of Gnarly Nutrition.

But there’s still products I haven’t tried.

Gnarly Sample Box

That’s where their sample box comes into play.

You get a mixture of protein powders, collagen, greens, BCAAs, pre-workout, and their hydration mix.

If you’re looking for a new workout partner, try their sample box. You won’t be disappointed.

United By Blue Dog Products

Okay, so this one really isn’t for me. But it’s for my pup, so it is still sort of for me.

United By Blue this Fall came out with some of the awesomest dog products: leashes, bowls, toys, harnesses. And I want them all.

United By Blue Dog Harness and Collar

At the top of my wish list is their matching leashes, harnesses and collars. The colors on these are fantastic. My pup is all white, so he needs some color in his life.

But one important piece I’ll highlight on the harness is that it is a no-pull harness. It clips in the front and will keep your dog, no matter how big or enthusiastic, from pulling.

“Oh sure,” you might say, “they’ll still pull.”

I’ve been using a cheap one (that is partially chewed and falling apart) over the past month and my puppy has never walked better. Clipped to the leash or on the back of the harness led to a lot of pulling. And he is almost 60 pounds. That is a lot of pulling.

You see, that’s why this is really a gift for me.

Vuori Ripstop Climbers and Aspen Shirt Jacket

I love Vouri.

They make some of the most comfortable activewear on earth.

When Huck Adventures first started, we featured their Ripstop Climbers in a brand feature. They are still one of my favorite pairs to wear and honestly, I really want another pair, especially their blue Ripstop Climber Pants.

Ripstop Climber Pant | Indigo
Vuori Ripstop Climbers

I’ve also had an eye on their Aspen Shirt Jacket for a while.

Aspen Shirt Jacket | Ink
Vuori Aspen Shirt Jacket

I work remotely in my basement, so I am always layering up. Plus, I also spend a lot of time outside walking the dog. Having something nice and warm like this would be amazing.

Cozy Up This Winter With Selk’Bag Human Shaped Sleeping Bag

When it comes to Winter, I love being outdoors: skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, trail-running.

But after spending a few hours in cold conditions, I always have a heck of a time warming up.

Likewise, when I’ve done winter camping, the only time I am truly warm is when I am buried inside my sleeping bag. And, as you know, sleeping bags are great for sleeping in and not much else. You’re essentially a human burrito capable of rolling from side to side without much freedom of movement.

When Selk’Bag reached out for Huck Adventures to review their wearable sleeping bag, I was 100% game.

Selk'Bag Wearable Sleeping Bag
Selk’Bag Wearable Sleeping Bag

The Selk’Bag is a human-shaped sleeping bag. It has openings for arms and legs. You can walk, run, and jump around easily in it, but you can also sit cozily reading a book or stand cooking a meal.

The Selk’Bag has pockets for days, including a kangaroo style pouch in the front that’s perfect for resting your hands or holding essentials like your smartphone. It also has a cargo pocket on the side.

It comes several zippered ventilation openings: on both legs and on the waist so you can access your pant pockets.

There’s an adjustable hood with a built-in balaclava for additional warmth and protection.

Selk'Bag Wearable Sleeping Bag
Selk’Bag Wearable Sleeping Bag

For additional warmth and coziness, the Selk’Bag also has elastic hand covers that slip on and off easily. And it has removable booties—perfect for sleeping in.

The Selk’Bag is filled with synthetic insulation that mimics the properties of down clusters, which kept me extra toasty while wearing it.

Selk'Bag Wearable Sleeping Bag
Selk’Bag Wearable Sleeping Bag

For testing, I wore it after a few high-country trail-runs. Once I got back to my car, I stepped into the Selk’Bag before driving back home. Typically after cold runs like this, I spend a majority of my time shaking, trying to regulate my temperature. But with the Selk’Bag on, within a handful of minutes I was comfy and warm.

With the ventilation openings, I was able to open them easily while I was driving when I got too warm.

I also tested this product at home over several days when I had a breakthrough case of COVID. For 72 hours I was cycling an on and off fever and body aches. When I had chills and couldn’t stay warm, I turned to the Selk’Bag. It was cozy enough that I fell asleep on my couch seated upright, the hood acting as a pillow of sorts.

Selk'Bag Wearable Sleeping Bag
Selk’Bag Wearable Sleeping Bag

One other thing I’ll note is the sizing. I am 5’11” and 185 pounds. According to their sizing chart, a Large fits up to a 5’11” adult, but I found it too tight in the crouch. When I did simple movements like sitting, I felt that I might tear the fabric. So I sized up to an XL that fits up to 6’4″. This size was comfortable and I was able to move freely, but I had to roll the sleeves and legs so that it fit better.

I am looking forward to taking the Selk’Bag with me on my next winter camping excursion. This has become a trusted partner to keep me warm on the coldest of days. It is rated between 44ºF to 35ºF, but I did test it in 20ºF temperatures for two hours and stayed comfortable.

The Selk’Bag model I tested was their Original Recycled. They have several models to choose from, including ones for kids.

The Perfect Holiday Gift For Your Dog: The Yeti Trailhead Dog Bed

Yeti, who built their company on high-end coolers, now sells a dog bed.

And not just any dog bed, but a $300 dog bed.

Yeti was kind enough to send a dog bed for us to review with our newest addition to our gear review team: Parker.

Yeti Trailhead Dog Bed
Yeti Trailhead Dog Bed

Now, I know what you might be asking: does my dog need a $300 dog bed? Well, if you’re experiencing sticker shock, this certainly isn’t the most expensive dog bed. Several other brands make dog beds within this price range and the Yeti Trailhead Dog Bed is packed with features that are perfect for any four-legged adventurer and their human.

The first feature I want to highlight is that the dog bed separates into two pieces. This allows the bed to function as a full-size dog bed or as a travel bed. The full-size bed has rails around the perimeter that adds additional support. Parker loves hanging his head off the edge of the bed when he is down for a nap.

Parker is still too young to go camping (gotta watch out for parvo) so we haven’t had the opportunity to take the travel bed out and about, but at home we’ve tested it out. It’s really easy to remove the center mattress. It fits well within his crate and would be the perfect travel companion for tent camping or a hotel room.

Both the base and the travel bed have durable, waterproof bottoms. It’s interior is made of a high-density foam that is surrounded by a lighter weight foam that feels squishy but supportive.

The entire bed is LxWxH: 39.37 x 29.14 x 6.46 inches. Which is the perfect size for a 12 week old pup and a toddler, but I know it’ll be the perfect size when Parker grows up.

Yeti Trailhead Dog Bed
Yeti Trailhead Dog Bed

The other thing I love about this bed is that the Travel Bed and Base have removable covers that are machine washable.

But let’s get back to the price. The Yeti Trailhead is definitely on the high end, but it is extremely durable, and we’ve already gone through Parker’s puppy bed ($45 out the window). Parker has nipped at the Trailhead, but it doesn’t have the soft tassels his other bed had and I haven’t detected any wear and tear from those puppy teeth.

When I looked for other beds at other outdoor retailers, I couldn’t find any with a similar design. Having the waterproof bottom and removable cover is a key selling point to me, especially as I consider the type of adventures I could have with Parker.

But is it right for you? Well, that’s for you and your doggo to decide.

Vvolt Begins ebike Sales and Deliveries

Vvolt ebikes
Vvolt ebikes

Following June’s brand launch, Vvolt e-mobility has enjoyed strong pre-orders of their value-oriented line of ebikes. With the arrival of their initial production of ebikes at their Oregon warehouse, they  are now fulfilling those pre-orders and opening regular sales. Pre-order bikes are shipping now, with the brand working toward a one-week shipping time on new orders as the initial order backlog is cleared. 

“It’s amazing to deliver our initial orders after we’ve had such great feedback on our pre-production units from consumers and media, but one of my favorite parts about this is that we finally get to debut our packaging,” says  founder Kyle Ranson. “We’ve designed a fairly unique box enabling our riders to receive their bikes 97% assembled, only needing to install the front wheel and pedals before topping off the battery and enjoying their first ride.” 

All models and sizes are now in stock at Vvolt.com. Both existing and new order customers will have the option of taking free home delivery, or having unboxing handled by one of the independent bike shops in Beeline  Connect’s nationwide network for an additional charge. 

Stellar Series Offers Clean Designs with Rider-Friendly Technologies 

The Stellar Series comprises four ebike models sharing technologies designed to make the riding experience simple and rewarding. All bikes use clean-running Gates Carbon Drive belts, hydraulic disc brakes and motor systems  selected for durability. The $1399 Alpha and Alpha S models deliver motor assist via 350w rear hub drive. Premium Sirius ($2699) and Proxima ($2799) models are equipped with 250w MPF mid-drive motors, delivering 80nm  of torque through Enviolo’s unique CVT internal gearhubs. All bikes meet common Class 1 pedal-assist requirements, adding motor assistance up to 20mph. Mid-motor models can be upgraded to Class 3 with an alternate handlebar computer enabling motor assist to 28mph.

Stellar Series ebikes Are Built for Utility in the City and Beyond 

Vvolt e–mobility announces their debut product line– a series of four electric bikes offering exceptional ease of use, delivering lifetime value to riders from the moment of unboxing. The Stellar Series of ebikes all feature belt drives for  mess-free durability, hydraulic disc brakes for powerful and consistent stopping, and electric assist systems selected for durability and reliability.  

Balancing portability and power, Vvolt ebikes use mid-sized electric power systems to keep overall weight down, because lifting and carrying your ebike shouldn’t require herculean strength. Furthering practicality, all models are  designed for semi-upright riding positions that blend comfort with predictable handling on pavement, paths, gravel and trails. Frames are equipped with fittings to carry cargo, water and mount optional fenders for riding in damp  conditions.  

This versatility gives the Stellar series more ways to inject more fun into your day from 9-5 and beyond. 

Alpha / Alpha S: The Simplest Solution is Often the Best 

Vvolt’s entry-level models are the Alpha and Alpha S. With simple, one-speed gearing it’s all about the ride; amplified by the 350w hub motor and silent-running belt drive. These models feature wide 27.5×2” tires to tame any surface  and excel on dirt roads as well as around town. At $1399, Alpha models are the most affordable ebike in the US market to feature the combination of belt drive, clean-lined internal battery and powerful hydraulic disc brakes. The  diamond-frame Alpha presents a traditional look, while the Alpha S offers a lower step-through frame, making it easier to hop on and off – especially when loaded with cargo.

Proxima and Sirius: Incredible Durability and Extra Power 

Proxima and Sirius models step up to a more powerful mid-drive motor from Taiwan’s MPF drive with torque and speed sensors to deliver up to 350% of rider power. Vvolt is the first brand to offer the MPF system to the US in  commuter and fitness-oriented ebikes, having made the selection due to their reputation for quiet operation and durability based on the self-lubricating, full-steel motor gearing. 

Vvolt pairs this super-resilient engine with the toughest transmission on the market: Enviolo’s CVT rear hub that runs for tens of thousands of miles without requiring service. As with Alpha models, Proxima and Sirius drivetrains are  linked by Gates Carbon Drive belts that run clean and silent without oil. 

Made for long commutes and sporty weekend riders, the Proxima runs on gravel-bike style wheels to deliver speed and versatility across multiple terrains. 

Riders who seek unpaved paths, dirt roads and singletrack will enjoy the wider 27.5×2” tires on the Sirius, which also features an air-sprung suspension fork to tackle rougher terrain.

Vvolt ebikes
Vvolt ebikes

The Bluetooth-compatible handlebar computer syncs to an upcoming mobile app for mid-drive models, with integrated speed/distance/range info and GPS navigation. Riders in hilly locales can also use the app to make their bike  more responsive for tackling steep grades while riders looking to maximize range can reduce motor sensitivity to add an extra layer of battery conservation. All Vvolt ebikes come standard with 20mph top pedal assisted speed for  compliance with Class 1 standards (the most widely-accepted ebike type across the US.) Mid-drive models may be upgraded to “Class 3” 28mph top pedal-assisted speeds with the purchase of an alternate handlebar computer. 

Vvolt is primarily selling consumer direct, so particular care has been taken to create packaging that delivers a rewarding unboxing experience for riders with any level of mechanical ability. Arriving in an oversized box, new owners can  easily slide the 97% assembled bike out of the end of the box, rather than lifting it up and out. The only parts needing installation are the front wheel and pedals, both easily attached using the included multitool. Unlike most bikes that arrive swaddled in layers of foam, cardboard and zip ties, Vvolt is able to package their bikes with minimal in-box protection due to the oversized envelope, cutting down on single-use plastics while making for a  faster and more satisfying unboxing. To further plant their flag as a customer-centered company, Vvolt is offering a three-year warranty on all new ebikes. “It’s important to us to stand behind our products, and that includes taking on  some additional responsibility when it comes to warranty,” says company founder Kyle Ranson. “We think the fact that most of our suppliers offer two-year warranties speaks to their quality, but we’re also making the additional  commitment to our customers to say ‘Hey, we’re going to be here to help you out in the future should the need arise.’”

Vvolt ebikes
Vvolt ebikes

About Vvolt e–mobility 

Vvolt is a new electric vehicle brand founded to solve the challenges of human transportation through creating innovative electric mobility products and advocating for people-safe streets. 

Based in Portland Oregon, we’re drawing on our decades of experience in consumer electronics, bicycles and fashion to make rider-friendly ebikes and vehicles, and back them up with a company that delivers the kind of service we want as riders  ourselves. 

We’re imagining a future where more people ride more often, reducing the number of cars on the street in favor of a mix of electric and human-powered mobility vehicles. This human-scale future is one where we move efficiently from door-to-door,  with less time spent in parking lots, or traffic jams. We’re here to change our streets and shared spaces from being dominated by cars to places where more riders create safety in numbers for one another. This future is for everyone, where ebikes and other EVs are easy to ride and easy to own. 

It’s our purpose to get more people out of cars and into riding e-mobility. It’s a friendlier way to travel, and with the ability to sidestep auto traffic, often the fastest way to get door-to-door. 

We’re also here to promote safer infrastructure in our cities, towns and beyond. It’s our goal to bring together our public agencies, advocates, media and other brands to make it easier for people to integrate electric mobility vehicles (bikes and beyond)  into their lives. 

Learn More at vvolt.com 

The Rock Honors Military Veterans With UA For The Heroes Collection

Under Armour For the Heroes Collection
Under Armour For the Heroes Collection

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Under Armour have collaborated on a new collection: Project Rock “For the Heroes.” This latest apparel collection was launched to support the Travis Manion Foundation.

The Travis Manion Foundation was named after 1st Lt. Travis Manion, who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of his patrol in 2007. Under Armour and Project Rock are supporting the organization by providing funds from the For The Heroes collection.

Under Armour For the Heroes Collection
Under Armour For the Heroes Collection

This new collection features new pieces for men, women, and youth. They are branded to celebrate veterans and features distressed type, metallic golds and an eagle illustration.

Vet Day Hoodie and Jogger Review

Under Armour sent us their Vet Day Hoodie and their Vet Day Joggers to try out.

Under Armour Vet Day Hoodie
Under Armour Vet Day Hoodie

Over the last month, I’ve been doing a lot of my workouts in my garage. And with it getting colder, the Hoodie and Joggers are perfect companions. I am comfortable throughout my workout, including when I am just warming up and still and little bit cold. But it’s also able to withstand a solid flop-sweat.

The material isn’t clingy as the workout gets more intense. This allows me to squat deeper and lift cleaner while the fabric moves with me.

The Vet Day graphics add an additional layer and texture to the material. On the hoodie, the large circle feels rubbery to the touch, but doesn’t sit heavy.

Under Armour Vet Day Joggers
Under Armour Vet Day Joggers

The joggers have two side pockets and a snap pocket in the back.

Conclusion

I really appreciate what The Rock and Under Armour are doing to support this organization. You can get involved too by purchasing these products from Under Armour or visiting the website for the Travis Manion Foundation and seeing how you can get involved.

Sunglasses For Every Run

Every time I leave the house, I wear sunglasses.

It’s better than the alternative: squinting and stressing out my eyeballs.

But I am picky about what I wear, especially when I run. I don’t know about you, but I always feel that after an hour or two, my head expands and sunglasses can start feeling tight and uncomfortable.

My perfect sunglasses can’t be rigid and hard. They have to be flexible; bending and flexing to accommodate for the blood pumping into my noggin.

I was excited to hear that Nathan was launching sunglasses. They already make great packs and apparel for running, so why not sunglasses?

They have several variations of running sunglasses, but with winter coming, they sent me a pair of their Summit Polarized Sunglasses with the blue mirror lens to try out.

Nathan SUMMIT POLARIZED RUNNING SUNGLASSES
Nathan SUMMIT POLARIZED RUNNING SUNGLASSES

The choice of lens was intentional. I have plenty of sunglasses for bright, sunny days. But what about those fall / winter days when it is overcast and windy or when I am running on trails with a lot of tree coverage? I want eye protection on those days too and darker lenses are too much.

The frames themselves are really comfortable. They are made from a lightweight thermoplastic material that is durable and flexible. The flexibility allows the frames to bend and contour to your face, but they are also resilient to damage. I did a few drop tests and the glasses came away still looking brand new.

Nathan SUMMIT POLARIZED RUNNING SUNGLASSES
Nathan SUMMIT POLARIZED RUNNING SUNGLASSES

There are also rubber grips that sit flush on the frame around the nose and ears to help minimize bounce and keep the glasses securely on your face. Bouncing down trails didn’t dislodge them. Even a slip and fall on my head didn’t askew them.

As for the lens: they are great. Before when I’d run on cloudy days or in dense forests, I’d always oscillate between having my glasses on for a period, then off. On and then off. Over and over again. But with their blue mirror lens, I kept them on the entire time. And I felt that I had less eye fatigue because of that.

While I have plenty of other sunglasses for bright, sunny days, I’ll definitely be picking up another pair from Nathan. These glasses are the most comfortable out of my collection and will be a great companion for when I start ultra training this spring.

You can find these sunglasses at Nathan’s website for $50 a pair.