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Po Campo Kinga Handlebar Bag 2 Review

Po Campo Kinga Handlebar Bag 2
Po Campo Kinga Handlebar Bag 2

When I got my first commuter bike six years ago, I also bought a small seat bag to store tools, an extra tube, air cartridges, etc. But it was only big enough for those things. One of the more annoying aspects of my rides was that I’d also have things stashed in my pockets that couldn’t fit into that small bag: phone, wallet, keys.

Along with the Irving Backpack Pannier, Po Campo also sent me the Kinga Handlebar Bag 2. Once I got it installed on the front of my bike, it was easy to say goodbye to my seat bag. All the tools that I had fit easily in the Kinga Handlebar Bag, plus I had plenty of room to stash more, including my iphone, wallet, and keys.

Inside the bag, there is a large compartment for miscellaneous things, but there are also three smaller pockets to keep things organized.

On the front of the bag there’s an additional pocket that’s perfect to stash my iPhone.

Po Campo Kinga Handlebar Bag 2
Po Campo Kinga Handlebar Bag 2

The bag is waterproof with water-protected zippers. It is easy to attach/detach with velcro straps. The structure of the strap will also allow them to attach to any handlebars. My bike has drop bars and I was able to attach the straps to either side of my bell and light. 

For times I’m commuting to downtown Boulder it has shoulder straps that stash away in a hidden compartment that I can pull out and use to carry the bag with me.

If you’re looking for a stylish addition to your bike, the Kinga Handlebar Bag is the way to go.

Po Campo Irving Backpack Pannier 2 Product Review

Po Campo Irving Backpack Pannier 2
Po Campo Irving Backpack Pannier 2

I live close enough to my office, that bike commuting has become more of a have to instead of continuous mental debate of “Should I?” I have comfortable enough commuting backpacks, but in the heat of summer there were days where I’d show up to work and my back would be a hot sticky mess.

Avoiding a good back sweat is only one reason to buy a pannier. There’s also the convenience of not having that extra weight on your back. Even though my commute to work is around 15 minutes, the route I take back home takes me 25, but given all the trails around me, it also provides the option of going for a longer ride. And lets be honest, if you’re commuting more than 15 minutes, having the weight of a computer, lunch, clothes, etc is not the best way to start your day.

Po Campo popped up on my radar mostly because of their mission. Besides creating some really awesomely designed bags, they partner with World Bike Relief and for every 50 bags sold, they fund a bike to mobilize students, healthcare workers, and entrepreneurs in parts of the world where distance is a barrier.

They recently sent me the Irving Backpack Pannier 2 to test. This is the first pannier I’ve owned. It was easy to transition my work things from a larger backpack into the smaller, compact Irving Backpack Pannier.

On my work commutes, I can easily carry my 13-inch Macbook Pro, a change of clothes for a lunch run, food, and toss my protein shake shaker in a side pocket. 

Po Campo Irving Backpack Pannier 2
Po Campo Irving Backpack Pannier 2

It functions as a backpack, as well. To attach it to my rack, I flip the backpack straps to the front, clip the sternum strap so they stay in place, and use their patented Fidlock® magnetic clips to attach it to the rack. The straps, once reversed, are a bright reflective green that really stands out in the wee hours of the morning before the sun has fully come up over the horizon. 

My ride to and from work is a bit bumpy on gravel trails, so I also utilize their hook at the bottom of the bag to connect to the bottom of the rack.

Po Campo Irving Backpack Pannier 2
Po Campo Irving Backpack Pannier 2

The bag itself is waterproof with water-protected zippers. Hidden away in the bottom of the bag is a built-in raincover. It’s made from a bright green, waterproof vegan fabric. I had the ability to utilize this a couple weeks ago when Colorado got their earliest snowfall in decades. When I got to work the raincover was splattered, but it was easy enough to wipe away the mud before stashing it back away in it’s hidden pocket.

If your bike has a rack that can equip a pannier, I highly suggest the Irving Backpack Pannier 2. Since using it for the first time, I haven’t gone back to my standard backpack. It is a great companion for my work commute and I’m looking forward to finding the right opportunity to take it on longer and larger adventures.

Po Campo Breathable Face Mask

Po Campo Breathable Face Mask
Po Campo Breathable Face Mask

Po Campo started based on need: the founder, Maria Boustead, had a bike and needed a bag. Now their product line has expanded based on need to face masks.

Their face masks are made from recycled fabric with a breathable microfilter between two antibacterial layers.

I’ve been using this mask very consistently on bike rides and I love it. It is very comfortable and easy to pull up and down as I’m passing others on the trail. With the Cameron Peak fire pushing smoke into the area I live and commute, the filter does a great job of making me feel like I’m not breathing smoke. All that being said, the mask isn’t intended to be a replacement for N95 or surgical masks.

One of the things I love about this brand is their mission. They are always giving back. With these masks, a portion of sales is donated to Biking Public Project to equip NYC working cyclists with medical-grade face masks.

You can purchase these face masks at pocampo.com. Their website has a size chart to determine what size fits your face best. My face is in-between a Medium and a Large. On longer rides I’ve tended to stick with the Large for a slightly looser fit, while on my shorter commutes to work I’ve stuck with something more snug.

Sunday Afternoons UVShield Face Mask Review

Sunday Afternoon UVShied Face Masks
Sunday Afternoon UVShied Face Masks

Wherever you’re reading this, it seems that wearing masks is the new norm on or off the trail.

Since we’ve started wearing face masks, more and more companies have released their variation, but Sunday Afternoons UVShield Cool Face Mask stands out.

The mask is made from a UPF 50+ sun protective, chemical-free cooling fabric. It has a contoured shape and soft mesh liner and straps to make sure the mask fits securely and comfortably over the nose and mouth. The fabric is also moisture-wicking and breathable.

This last point is probably the most important. As COVID-19 picked up speed in 2020, it became more and more important to have a mask with you at all times. With other masks when I hiked, biked, or ran it was noticable how hard it was to breath when the mask was up. With Sunday Afternoons UVShield Cool Face Mask, I can easily breath when having the mask up. And with their elastic ear loops, I can easily keep the mask connected while being active, pulling the mask up or down, depending on if people were near.

Sunday Afternoon UVShied Face Masks
Sunday Afternoon UVShied Face Masks

The masks we tested came in adult and kid sizes. You can find them at Sunday Afternoons website.

Gear Review: Showers Pass Gravel Shorts

Now that I have a gravel bike, Showers Pass has become a staple of my daily commute. Gloves, jacket, hat—always. But now that it’s summer, their new Gravel 10” Shorts that Showers Pass sent to test, have replaced them.

Showers Pass Gravel Shorts
Showers Pass Gravel Shorts

What I love most about them is that I can wear them comfortably all day. My commute is short, so it’s great to wear a pair of cycling shorts that I can keep on.

One thing I do want to call out, though, is that I found their sizing inconsistent. Across every brand I wear, I’m a 32-inch waist. Always. I also ride in the Showers Pass Cross Country Shorts and I’m a 32-inch in those as well. Even though the Gravel Shorts have an internal micro-adjustable waist cinch, I couldn’t loosen the 32-inch enough to fit my dad bod into them. I had to go up to a 34-inch, but once I did, there was no looking back.

The fit is pretty snug, but with the multi-directional stretch of the fabric, I found them extremely comfy on and off the bike. 

Showers Pass Gravel Shorts
Showers Pass Gravel Shorts

Unlike the Cross Country Shorts, the pockets shifted to the outside of the leg. I would put the occasional wallet or phone in those pockets, but I discovered just how versatile the angled zippers were when I was putting in and taking out headphones. They can also serve as vents as well on hot days or long rides.

Gear Review: Showers Pass Crosspoint Beanie and Gloves

Yesterday was a great day for some product testing. It was cold, wet, and I was going a little stir crazy with the state-wide stay-at-home order due to the Coronavirus.

Showers Pass products, because of their durability in those conditions, have become a go-to. Depending on the weather, I regularly wear their Hi-Vis Torch Jacket, Crosspoint Flip-Mitt, or Lightweight Waterproof Crosspoint Classic Socks. They do an amazing job creating functional products to keep you dry and comfortable on your rides or runs.

Showers Pass Waterproof Collection
Showers Pass Waterproof Collection

For the last month I’ve been testing two new products from Showers Pass: their Crosspoint Waterproof Beanie and Crosspoint Wind Glove TS. The way temperatures have fluctuated this Spring in Colorado, I’ve been wearing both on my morning bike commutes to the office and just the gloves for mid-day runs or bike rides back home.

Crosspoint Waterproof Beanie

Crosspoint Waterproof Beanie
Crosspoint Waterproof Beanie

The Crosspoint Waterproof Beanie uses a three-layer construction that places a seamless waterproof, breathable membrane between two knit layers. It feels like your standard beanie until you take it out in the elements and realize that your head is dry and warm instead of wet and cold.

Because of the waterproof membrane, it doesn’t have the standard beanie stretch, but that doesn’t bother me. The way it sits on my noggin is pretty darn comfortable. There’s no squeeze, but I’m also not worried about it falling off. When it’s underneath my helmet, it feels really comfortable. 

With it’s breathable material it is pretty comfortable on longer rides when I’ve worked up a decent flop sweat. 

Crosspoint Wind Glove TS

Crosspoint Wind Glove TS
Crosspoint Wind Glove TS

The Crosspoint Wind Glove TS (the TS stands for Touch Screen), is made with three bonded layers: the exterior is a wear resistant knit, a waterproof-breathable membrane, and a moisture-wicking antibacterial knit lining. It’s a combination that’s perfect for cycling during most of the year.

The glove itself is comfortable and allows you to move your fingers easily. I could easily pick up items, zip up my backpack and Hi-Vis Torch Jacket, and turn on my bike lights. They’re not bulky, so being able to fish out my house keys from my pants pocket is easy with the gloves on.

On colder rides, one of my key tests for gloves is nose wiping ability. Can I wipe my nose easily and is the fabric soft enough to not scratch? With the Crosspoint Wind Gloves it depends on which section of the glove you’re wiping with. It’s soft enough to use when desperate, but don’t wipe too intensely.

The Touch Screen technology works, as well. I don’t have to pull the gloves off during a snowstorm to message family or change music.

Conclusion

Bottom line is that Showers Pass does it again. The Crosspoint Wind Glove TS and Crosspoint Waterproof Beanie have become standards for every ride this winter and spring.

United By Blue’s Men’s Bison Ultralight Review

United By Blue’s Men's Bison Ultralight
United By Blue’s Men’s Bison Ultralight

Last year we posted a review on the United By Blue Bison Snap Jacket. It’s still one of our favorites, so we were more than thrilled when they sent over their Bison Ultralight to test.

Very quickly, the Bison Ultralight became my go-to jacket in the winter. It was perfect for my commute to work in sub-freezing temperatures, hikes, or going sledding with the kiddos. Even though it’s touted as an ultralight jacket, as light as it is (only 15.8 oz.), it performed well in all temperature conditions.

The interior is 50% BisonShield and 50% wool insulation.

BisonShield is made from Bison down and recycled polyester. Bison down usually will end up in landfills as a bi-product of the ranching industry. United By Blue, true to their sustainability mission, acquires the material before it gets to the landfill, combs and cleans it before blending it.

United By Blue’s Men's Bison Ultralight
United By Blue’s Men’s Bison Ultralight

The other cool thing about the Bison Ultralight is that it has a large interior pocket that you can use to pack the jacket into for easy travel. I took this jacket on a work trip and it was great. Because it was warmer in Denver than my destination I was able to compactly store it in my carry-on and easily pull it on when I arrived at my destination.

I am 5’11” and the jacket I am wearing is a Large. On their site, United By Blue notes that the jacket runs a half size small, so please consider sizing up for an optimal fit.

Please note that United By Blue is an affiliate to Huck Adventures, and at no additional cost to you, Huck earns a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the links above.

United by Blue’s Men’s Flannel-Lined Salvaged Hemp Shirt Jacket Review

United by Blue’s Men's Flannel-Lined Salvaged Hemp Shirt Jacket
United by Blue’s Men’s Flannel-Lined Salvaged Hemp Shirt Jacket

United by Blue is one of our favorite companies. Not only do they create amazing, durable clothing, but they also have an amazing mission: for every product sold, they remove one pound of trash from oceans and waterways.

But they also have an amazing collection of products that are made from sustainable material, like their Flannel-Lined Salvaged Hemp Shirt Jacket.

This jacket has become a favorite on cold days. It pairs well with other flannels, henleys or other long-sleeved shirts. It is perfect for working outside on the house, wearing on a hike, or layering in the office.

The Salvaged Hemp Shirt Jacket is made from—you guessed it—hemp. If you aren’t familiar with hemp, it’s a hardy crop that can grow almost anywhere and uses a fraction of the amount of water that cotton requires. It is a plant that also absorbs more carbon dioxide than trees and when harvested, nothing is wasted. Seeds are used to make oil while the stalks are transformed into fiber.

Also, the buttons on the jacket are nuts! Literally nuts. They use nuts from the Tagua Palm, which grows in Central America. They are hard, durable, and look pretty darn sweet.

United by Blue’s Men's Flannel-Lined Salvaged Hemp Shirt Jacket
United by Blue’s Men’s Flannel-Lined Salvaged Hemp Shirt Jacket

I love how functional this jacket is. It doesn’t skimp on pockets, including an interior workwear pocket with an additional tool slot pocket; perfect for the pencil I’m always misplacing when doing woodwork or for the iPad stylus in the office.

If you’re looking for a great jacket this Fall, Winter, and Spring, take a look at the Flannel-Lined Salvaged Hemp Shirt Jacket or some of the other United By Blue jackets. You won’t be disappointed.

I am 5’11” and the jacket I am wearing is a Large.

Please note that United By Blue is an affiliate to Huck Adventures, and at no additional cost to you, Huck earns a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the links above.

Rocky Talkies Review in the Backcountry.

Backcountry radios occupy an interesting niche in the outdoor community. They’re used operationally by heli guides, ski guides, mountain rescue teams, some mountain guides and ski patrol, but rarely by recreational users. I think the vibe is that they’re too sophisticated for whatever mellow multipitch we’ve decided to do today. In a word, embarrassing for weekend warriors, but I’ve seen so many people yelling at each other from rope lengths away, often making life-or-death decisions based on the muffled cry of their partner. Wild that people do that.

The established radio in the outdoor world is the BCA Link, which helps the above phenomenon make sense. It’s a 2-piece unit, and it’s burly. Beyond being a little intimidating, finding a place for all that in your pack feels like a lot. And it’s expensive ($180).

In the smaller, single body radio world, there’s not much on the scene, apart from crappy Motorola and Chinese radios. Having used both options for mountain guiding a number of times, I can say that they are unsatisfactory. Poor, poor battery life and functionality not built for the mountains makes them far from my first choice. With cell service, I would rather use my iPhone. 

Enter the Rocky Talkie. It aims to bridge the gap, offering a slim, backcountry oriented design without all the bulk and presumption of the BCA offering. It’s marketed not only as a skiing radio, but a climbing radio, making long, windy alpine routes a touch less scary. With huge battery life and range specs and a much lower price point that the Link, I was highly intrigued. 

Rocky Talkies in the backcountry with Huck Adventures

Performance:

In my first two months of use, I’ve found these radios to perform on par with larger units. My local ski area is two large basins divided by a prominent ridge, and the radio has had no problem receiving or transmitting signals several miles through this ridge, and the fidelity has been strong. The performance is comparable to the larger sets used by patrollers across the mountain. Even in tight, rocky gullies facing away from the rest of the ski area, I can still pick up what’s going on. 

The battery life has also been quite impressive. I’ve not charged them once since I picked them up two months ago, taking them out at every opportunity (maybe two dozen times). They still sit at about 70% battery life. While they will not sit ‘on’ for hours on end, they will stay on for about an hour without input before sleeping. If you are base comms, this is a little inconvenient, but these radios are designed for on-route on-demand communication.   

Design:

I’ve also found the design quite inspiring. Attaching radios to backpacks is always a pain. Where do they go? Do I just cinch them on crane my neck in to speak? How floppy is the attachment? How large and obnoxious is the unit? Do I have to run cords to my backpack? The Rocky Talkie has two attachment points, with one pre-setup on a spiral extension cord. This means I can keep the radio secure on my bag, and unclip the main carabiner easily to bring the radio right up to my mouth. While orienting the radio initially was a bit of a pain, once I found my spot, it has lived on my bag ever since, even on ski tours where I didn’t need a radio. 

The single unit design has also been quite nice. When I do find myself swapping bags often (Black Diamond Cirque 35 to Mammut Pro X, depending on avalanche conditions and terrain), it is really convenient that I don’t need to rethread the mic and transceiver through a port in the bag with every swapover. It clips on and clips off. Done. 

Will I keep it on my backpack?

What Rocky Talkie set out to do, which was to create a safety tool that climbs and skiers would carry every day, is a daunting task. For people cutting grams out of their equipment lists, creating a radio that could be compelling for disasters yet still sleek enough for a recreationalist is hard. But I think they did it. This is a no-frills radio that doesn’t seem handicapped by that feature. It’s powerful, and will go on my bag deep into the backcountry without (much) complaining from me.

Want to save 10% on a pair? Go to https://rockytalkie.com/ and use offer code: HUCKADV

Lems Version 2 of the Trailhead is versatile and stylish

Lems Trailhead

I am a big fan of companies that listen to feedback from their customers and use it to actually make changes to products! That’s exactly what Lems did when outdoor enthusiasts let them know that their women’s Trailhead shoes were not quite perfect yet. 

I reviewed the first version of Lems Trailhead back in June. I enjoyed the shoe but did find it to be a bit narrow. A lot of Lems loyalists also found the shoes to be narrow, as well as stiff with its rock plate.

So, Lems took the shoes back to the drawing board. They redesigned them to make adjustments where needed while maintaining the functionality that attracted me to this shoe in the first place. The alterations range from practically non-noticeable removal of the bunion area overlay to ahhhhh-inspiring increases in toe box width (read the full list of changes HERE).  

One difference from the original Lems Trailhead design is that the lacing system. It used to have two loops, but Lems reduced it to one to release pressure on the top of the foot. I noticed that with this change, the tongue has a bit more tendency to shift to the side. By paying a bit of attention when lacing up, I can ensure it stays where it should.

They also widened the toebox, but if you have wide feet, these may still be too narrow for you. Even with the increased width in the toe box this shoe is narrower than others in Lems product line.

Flexibility has increased from the first design to the second with the removal of the rock plate. There is adequate tread and cushioning on both of the designs to provide comfort while trekking. The biggest difference is your foot feels more of the impact and terrain with the newer version. I would limit this shoe’s use to walking around town or for day hikes where the added flexibility increases comfort. I appreciate rock plates in my shoes for backpacking to minimize foot fatigue on longer multi-day hikes.

These shoes have become the workhorse of my footwear. They are comfortable for the mundane mile-long walk to school with the kids in the morning, and stylish enough for travel to far-off places where we are on our feet exploring all day long.

I recently took them on a four-mile hike in the foothills of Boulder, Colo. I was pleased with their grip on the sandstone boulders we climbed over. The onyx color does have a tendency to show dust after hikes. But, I can are easily restore them with a quick wipe down. They also pair as easily with leggings as they do jeans or even a casual dress.