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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.

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 15% on a pair? Go to https://rockytalkie.com/ and use offer code: Huck

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.

Scarpa’s Ribelle Tech OD and the Future of Light Alpinism

Scarpa Ribelle Tech OD
Scarpa Ribelle Tech OD

Scarpa’s Ribelle range of boots represents the future of fast & light alpinism. It is part of a growing industry trend towards fast and light alpinism, where we’ve seen a lot of new products, such as Petzl’s Irvis Hybrid Crampons, Patagonia’s Hybrid Sleeping Bags, and Edelrid’s Skimmer Pro Dry 7.1MM rope

Alpinism is certainly cutting grams, and enabling safety through speed. 

Scarpa sent us the Ribelle Tech OD Boot to review. It’s a three-season alpine boot that is a hybrid between an approach shoe and mountaineering boot. 

For this review we decided to attempt Mount Massive in Lake County, Colo., in mid-May when it had record snowpack. Unfortunately, we didn’t summit, but we did put in 11 miles on snowshoes, crampons, and microspikes. 

Customization. 

Scarpa’s standard liners are quality. However, after a 4 mile test hike, I realized these were closer to my Scarpa Phantom Techs than my running shoes, and replaced the standard liners with my custom orthotics from Bent Gate Mountaineering in Golden, CO

Once the orthotics were in place, these boots were comfortable enough to wear all day. In fact, I wore them for an entire day preparing for the trip. They were comfortable enough to drive in, run errands, and set up our camp. My goal was to make sure they had a full-day of sweat in them before bivving for the night. 

Warmth: Don’t Stop Moving 

We got to the campsite late around 8 p.m., and decided to start at 2 a.m. the next morning. As soon as my fiancé and I climbed into our bivvies, it started to snow. Perfect! In addition to sweat from the day before, now my boots had snow covering them. 

Thankfully these boots are warm. After knocking the snow out, and breaking the ice off the boots they warmed up quickly. As long as I was moving, I stayed warm in the 15 degree morning air. 

Stability: Like a Tennis Shoe 

Lacing up the boots reminded me of a tennis shoe. There is one set of holes around the ankle, but it doesn’t provide much support. That last set of lace holes appears to function solely as a way to snitch the gaiter “sock” down further. You will need good, flexible, and strong ankles for this boot, and I don’t recommend spending much time in Grade V climbs: your calves will get pumped.  

Traction

The sole on these boots are very soft and grippy. It took me by surprise when after a mile of hiking on snow ice, I realized how confident I was without extra traction. Plus, the rubber seems to be held up well. Hopefully, they hold up well over the next year of climbing. 

Running 

You can run in these. However, being able to run in a mountaineering boot, doesn’t mean you should. On a “test” hike, I put in two miles on this boot, and I was done. The soles are really stiff and unforgiving, so while you can trail run in them, don’t plan on putting in a ton of miles.

Gaiter: Holy Gaiter Batman! 

This year’s historic snowpack in Colorado combined with mid-May snow rot made for a lot of deep post-holing. The Ribelle’s Sock-Fit Plus Gaiter held up to nearly three hours of postholing. The Sock-Fit Gaiter was simple and effective, and I would recommend it for all except the dryest powder days. 

Crampons, Snowshoes, and Mircospikes. 

Sticking with the fast and light approach, I decided to use the Petzl Irvis Hybrid crampons. While these boots have some flex, they were stiff enough for the Dyneema cord and held the semi-automatic crampons on securely.  

Their stiffness also made snowshoes a dream. I could crank down the straps on my MSR Snowshoes and never experienced any wiggle. 

I would recommend sizing up on Microspikes for the Ribelle Tech’s. While not as bulky as a full mountaineering boot, they are higher volume, and I had trouble getting my size L Kahtoola Microspikes to fit my 44.5 boots. I should have used XL Microspikes. 

Summary

At 1220 grams, this boot has me excited for more four-season fast and light 14ers, and further stoked about the future of fast & light alpinism. I will continue to use this boot all year round. 

Similar boots are the: 

Please note that Scarpa 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. We appreciate your support!

Kid Climbers put Scarpa Piki Shoes to the Test

As a new father a few years ago, I knew I wanted to get my kids involved in all of the outdoor adventuring that my wife and I enjoyed, but struggled to find gear that was suitable to their tiny little frames. It seemed that outdoor companies were more focused on the 12-year-old age range and older, but didn’t make much for the 2-10 year-old range. It was a struggle.

Fast forward six years and the selection of gear has grown significantly. To the point where my two daughters have now been through three sets of climbing shoes each. With the 2019 climbing season upon us in Utah, Scarpa sent my girls the newly-launched Scarpa Piki Climbing Shoe for our review, and they are LOVING them!

Scarpa Piki Shoes

We’ve now climbed with their new Scarpa climbing shoes both indoors and outdoors, and the feedback the girls are giving me is excellent. A few of the features that set the Scarpa Piki climbing shoes apart above the rest from my perspective are:

  • They’re super easy to take on and off. For me, trying to manage the ropes, setup, getting access to an appropriate route, etc., takes plenty of energy. So, having a shoe that the girls can take on and off without my help is great.
  • The grip and toe point of the sole is awesome. My youngest daughter was climbing with another brand prior to these and had trouble getting her toe to stick to smaller platforms. After her first pitch with the Scarpa Piki’s, she yelled down to me that she felt like she couldn’t fall!
  • No Midsole Construction. When I first read this, I wondered if the shoe would be too flexible. But after using the shoes for weeks, it’s actually a huge benefit. Having the extra flexibility with a slightly asymmetrical curve has made the shoe very comfortable for them, but it still has plenty of grip for them to climb difficult routes.
  • Lastly, but in the eyes of my girls, not the least, they love the colors and the way they look. I know from a functional standpoint, this doesn’t matter at all. But, the excitement on the girls’ faces when they opened the Scarpa box and saw the yellow and blue was enough for me to realize that the appearance mattered.
Scarpa Piki Shoes

Overall, I’ve been super impressed with the Scarpa Piki climbing shoes and would recommend them for kids in the age range of two to eight years old without hesitation. After about eight years old, I personally think finding a shoe with a slightly more aggressive sole suits the older and more agile kids better.  


Please note that Scarpa 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. We appreciate your support!

15 Father’s Day Gifts for the Adventurous Dad

Finding Father’s Day gifts for the most deserving father can be difficult. We get it. So, we’ve put together an extensive gift guide with 15 adventure-inspired products in hopes of making the search for Father’s Day gifts much easier.

Whether your dad’s passion is hiking, biking, or any type of adventure, we’ve got the perfect gift idea for you organized below by price point. Browse useful multi-tools, trendy outdoor gear, and everything in between for Father’s Day gifts your dad is sure to love!

Keep it casual, dad knows how much you love him (below $50)

  • Hydroflask: From ice cold water to hot coffee, Hydroflask’s high-performance, insulated cup will keep your dad happy and refreshed. Perfect for baseball games, out on a hike, or for when he’s simply on the go.
  • SAXX Underwear: Why buy your dad another tie when you can get him something he’s sure to use everyday? Check out SAXX Underwear.
  • XPOT: Are you sick of dad’s only dinner option being hot dogs on your weekend getaways? Expand his cooking horizons with these collapsible pots for easy and efficient backcountry cooking.
  • FLOW 35L Dry Backpack: Whether it’s water sports, bike commutes, hiking, or anything outdoors, this water-and-snow-resistant backpack makes wet adventures doable.

The thoughtful-yet-affordable Father’s Day Gifts (Under $100)

  • Skullcandy: Dad doesn’t understand why your headphones are always in? Show him what he’s missing out on. Portable headphones perfect for running, skiing, or biking.
  • Shower’s Pass: Hauling a cycling backpack around can be a hassle, and it is especially rough on the old man’s back. Give dad a break, and help him pack light with Shower’s Pass RainSlinger Waterproof Hip Pack. With wet-weather protection and reflective LED trim, he’ll be wearing it on every bike ride.
  • Shower’s Pass: Cold weather can be hard on the hands. Whether it’s fishing, or biking or running in the rain, Crosspoints Waterproof Knit Gloves will provide your father with outstanding dexterity and waterproof protection that will keep his hands warm and dry.

For a little extra love on Dad’s special day (Between $100-$300)

  • Rocky Mountain Underground: The new Corepack 15 backpack is designed for trail sports. It not only holds a water pack, but comes with a built-in-beer holder so he can celebrate after a long trek.
  • Otterbox: Help dad enjoy staying happy and hydrated on weekend outings with Otterbox Coolers.
  • Vivobarefoot: Give the gift of healthy feet and introduce him to minimalist shoes with these recycled, lightweight shoes used for hiking, running, and everyday wear.
  • BioLite: Your dad will want to bring this portable smokeless fire pit on every camping trip. The BioLite FirePit burns both firewood and charcoal depending on your dads needs. It also has a blue-tooth controlled fan that allows you to control the flames. Get the cover to charge the battery with solar power.

Borrow Dad’s credit card and give him something nice ($300+)

  • Kokopelli Packrafts: Inflatable, packable, and easy to use, your dad won’t be able to wait to take this one out. Great for whitewater rafting, paddling, and of course, pack rafting. Made with cutting edge materials, your dad can enjoy weekend getaways in this trusted, lightweight, high performance packraft..  
  • Giant Bicycles: Get your old man out of the house and into the mountains with the Giant Talon 29 3 (2019). This classic hardtail bike is made for singletrack riders aspiring for outdoor adventure.
  • Scarpa: Scarpa’s Ribelle Tech OD is the perfect mountaineering boot to allow dad to run, climb, and stay dry on his next mountain climb.
  • Sea to Summit: For ultra-light backpacking, Sea to Summit’s Specialist Shelters are one- or two-person tents that can be pitched quickly for dad’s next trek.

Please note that this article contains some affiliate links to our brand partners. At no additional cost to you, Huck earns a commission if you decide to make a purchase by using the links above. We appreciate your support!

Gear Review: Showers Pass Hi-Vis Torch Jacket

Showers Pass Hi-Vis Torch Jacket
Showers Pass Hi-Vis Torch Jacket

I bike to work several days a week, and even though most of my commute happens on trails, visibility is key. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started the bike ride home from the office and had my taillight die or rode by another cyclist in a similar situation. On the road, it’s even more important to reduce the possibility of risk.

So when Showers Pass sent me their Hi-Vis Torch Jacket to test, it immediately caught my eye. With its reflective fabric, it’s hard to miss during the day or night, but so is its unique design. They imprinted the jackets with the maps of 11 international cities known for cycling with their silver MapREflect Fabric. As headlights approach, the streets on the fabric light up.

Showers Pass Hi-Vis Torch Jacket

Down the sides of the jacket is a blinding neon green eliteTM fabric providing day-time visibility. Additionally, the jacket comes with four LED Beacon Lights that can be inserted into specific areas of the jacket and activated at night for greater visibility.

Showers Pass sent me a jacket to test out and review, and I can attest the Hi-Vis Torch Jacket is a great addition to any cycling gear closet.

The jacket is 100% waterproof, but it’s still permeable, so that heat and sweat generated can escape. When combined with other waterproof gear, including the Showers Pass Crosspoint Flip-Mitt and their Waterproof Crosspoint Socks, you’re basically invincible to the elements. I even stood under the steady downpour of our shower to see just how waterproof this jacket was and while a little bit of water had seeped in through the neck, my shirt underneath was dry.

Showers Pass Hi-Vis Torch Jacket

There’s also three ventilation areas on the jacket (one on each side and another in the back) that can be opened or closed to allow cool air in. It also performs well in colder temperatures. Cycling with a base layer underneath the jacket in temperatures hovering just above 20ºF I was comfortable during moderate aerobic effort.

Showers Pass Hi-Vis Torch Jacket

For storage, the jacket has chest and rear pockets. Both are sized well. I was able to easily slide in and out my iPhone 7 Plus into the front pocket. In the back I could fit in a CO2 inflation kit, my keys, multi tool, and a snack bar.

Conclusion

I’ve been impressed by the Showers Pass Hi-Vis Torch Jacket. It does everything a cycling jacket in this category should do and does it exceptionally well. It’s a great jacket that’s a regular part of my commute and weekend rides.

Please note that Showers Pass 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. We appreciate your support!

You’re Never Too Small to Make a Difference: Vivokids and the Aspinall Foundation

Vivobarefoot Mini Primus Aspinall
Vivobarefoot Mini Primus Aspinall Rhino Colorway

One of the things we love about Vivobarefoot is their commitment to better our little blue planet. They believe caring about the health of our feet means caring about the earth we walk on.

Vivobarefoot’s goal is to create shoes with minimal bio-mechanical interference so that the foot can move naturally, with minimal impact on the environment. They are serious about sustainability and our constantly coming up with new, cleaner and greener materials to reduce their carbon and landfill footprint. By 2020 their goal is to use 90% sustainable materials across their product line.

Vivokids and The Aspinall Foundation

Vivobarefoot Mini Primus Aspinall
Vivobarefoot Mini Primus Aspinall Tiger Colorway

Their Vivokids line recently launched a collaboration with The Aspinall Foundation, a British charity that promotes wildlife conservation through education, captive breeding programs, and by reintroducing endangered species into the wild when possible. Over the past few years, The Aspinall Foundation has successfully reintroduced a range of wild animals, including the black rhino, Javan Langurs, Javen gibbons, European bison, and western lowland gorillas back into their natural habitats.

Vivobarefoot believes that the more kids understand about wildlife, the more ingrained it will be in them and the more aware they’ll be of how their actions can affect the planet.

Vivobarefoot Mini Primus Aspinall

For their Wild collection, Vivobarefoot redesigned some of their best-selling Primus line with two of their favorite animals in mind.

The first is colorway inspired by the eight East African Black Rhinoceros that were successfully bred and released into protected reserves through The Aspinall Foundation. Black rhinos have doubled in numbers over the past two decades, but are still only a fraction of their former population.

Vivobarefoot Mini Primus Aspinall
Vivobarefoot Mini Primus Aspinall Tiger Colorway

The second is a colorway inspired by the Amur Tigers living in The Aspinall Foundation’s parks. Their numbers have been growing, but they are still endangered because of the loss of their habitat.

In-Field Testing

My kids were already big fans of Vivobarefoot Primus, but when Vivobarefoot sent a pair from the Wild collection for us to review, they became their new favorite shoe. My daughter ran around in them all day and had to be persuaded to take them off for bedtime.

Vivobarefoot Mini Primus Aspinall
Vivobarefoot Mini Primus Aspinall Rhino Colorway

For our trip to Moab, UT, the Vivobarefoot Mini Primus Aspinall were their go-to shoe for hiking around Arches National Park and clamoring up boulders in Big Bend’s world-famous boulder field. My kids loved how they looked and how comfortable they were, and I appreciated how easy it was for them to put them on and take them off by themselves. And even though we spent the trip in red dirt that stained some of our clothes, the shoes’ material repelled any stains and they still look as good as new.

The packaging of the Wild collection also provided some fun activities for them. From cut-out masks to a “treasure” hunt, it helped educate them about the animals they were “wearing” and provided some healthy conversations about animals and their habitats and the decisions that we can make to help make the world a better place.

Vivobarefoot Mini Primus Aspinall
Vivobarefoot Mini Primus Aspinall Rhino Colorway

Check the Vivobarefoot Mini Primus Aspinall out on Vivobarefoot’s website and help support a great charity. Enter the code HUCK at checkout and save 10% off your order.

Please note that Vivobarefoot 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. We appreciate your support!

Gear Review: Vivobarefoot Tracker FG

Vivobarefoot Tracker FG Boot
Vivobarefoot Tracker FG Boot

Winter can be challenging for wearers of minimalist shoes. Because of their ability to let you feel the ground beneath you, there’s not much protection between your feet and the snow. In the past, I’d typically compromise my minimalist values on snowy days and put on a pair of clunky snow boots to shovel the driveway or take the kids sledding.

Since moving to Colorado, I’ve been wanting to get out for more winter activities, but have been limited by my footwear. Vivobarefoot’s Primus Trail SG is great for snowy runs, but if you aren’t moving at a fast pace, your feet will get cold in the snow.

Vivobarefoot Tracker FG

Vivobarefoot Tracker FG Boot
Vivobarefoot Tracker FG

That’s why I was excited to receive a pair of the Vivobarefoot Tracker FG to review. The Tracker FG is a lightweight, durable leather hiking boot designed for all terrains and conditions. When you look at this boot, it looks like it can handle anything. The top and sides of the boots are made of flexible “HydroGuard” waterproof leather while the soles keep your feet close to the ground while providing enough traction on rough terrain. Because they are minimalist, they also feature a wide toe box and zero drop.

The soles are similar to the lugs on the Primus Trail SG, but shorter—only 3mm. For the terrain I tested them on, I found that the lugs on the Tracker FG were perfect. They provided enough grip, and I didn’t have any issues with balance or slippage.

Hiking in Moab

My main goal was to take these into winter conditions to see how they held up, but I first took it out to Moab for several days of hiking. On the first day, after several hours and miles in Arches National Park, my feet were comfortable, but a little toasty. It was once I got back to the campsite that I really took note of the removable 3mm thermal insole. Given the +60ºF temperatures in Moab, I removed the thermal insole noting a reflective, metal liner nestled within the foam. After I removed the liner, my feet were more comfortable temperature wise.

After two more days of hiking, I was absolutely in love with these boots.

Will they Snowshoe?

Vivobarefoot Tracker FG Boot
Will they snowshoe? Yes, they can!

I wanted to do more, though, especially in snowy conditions. My biggest question was whether I could snowshoe in them. Anytime I had brought up the idea of snowshoeing in minimalist boots amongst other outdoor enthusiasts, they thought I was crazy. I needed a stiff and thick hiking boot after all.

But our sense of what makes a good hiking boot is from recent history as shoes became more stiff and thick. I remembered a story about a mining town outside Aspen, Colo., where in 1899 miners were trapped in snowy conditions and running out of food. In a last ditch effort, they took planks from the side of their cabins and strapped them to their feet in make-shift skies and cross-country skied into Aspen. If they could do that back then, certainly I could snowshoe in the Tracker FG.

I planned a snowshoeing trip that was a 6mile trek, out and back, to Brainard Lake. The conditions were well-below freezing, and a head-wind with gusts up to 40 MPH drove the temperature down even further. To be safe, I double layered my socks with a pair of Injinji socks with the Showers Pass Waterproof Socks pulled over them.

Vivobarefoot Tracker FG Boot
Snoeshoeing in the Vivobarefoot Tracker FG is an absolute blast!

This was my first time snowshoeing, and I had an absolute blast. The Vivobarefoot Tracker FG performed extraordinarily well. I reinserted the thermal insert, and my feet were warm. In retrospect, I would have been perfectly fine without the Showers Pass socks. The boots held up in the snow, and none of the interior was wet at the end of the hike. There were balls of snow caked into the laces that had melted and refroze, but none of the water seemed inside the boot.

Conclusion

Vivobarefoot Tracker FG Boot
The Vivobarefoot Tracker FG in snowshoes.

As I write this, spring has officially come to Boulder. Even though the temperatures are rising, I still find that I am taking every opportunity to wear those boots. Whether it’s in the office or hiking around the Flatirons.

I’ve had them for around eight weeks and have put around 200 hours of wear on them. So far they’ve held up with no visible signs of wear.

The Vivobarefoot Tracker FG comes in sizes for men and women. You can find these shoes and learn more about Vivobarefoot at https://www.vivobarefoot.com. Use the offer code HUCK10 at checkout to save 10%.

Please note that Vivobarefoot 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. We appreciate your support!

Gear Review: Showers Pass Crosspoint Flip-Mitt

I know I’ll lose credibility when I say this, but I do most of my outdoor activities with the less-than-superior Apple Watch. I use the Strava app, and since their “Auto Pause” feature doesn’t register progress during steep climbs, I run with “Auto Pause” off and manually pause the watch whenever I need to stop and refuel.

Winter has made this difficult. Every time I stop, I have to pull off my glove, hit pause, put my glove on, grab a Honey Stinger, refuel, take my glove off, un-pause, and put my glove on again. Needless to say, it’s a pain in the butt.

Crosspoint Flip-Mitt

Showers Pass Crosspoint Flip-Mitt

At Outdoor Retailer’s media event, I had the chance to chat with Jeremy Rider, National Sales Manager and PR Director for Showers Pass, as they unveiled a new product: the Crosspoint Flip-Mitt.

The Showers Pass Crosspoint Flip-Mitt eliminates the issue I was having with traditional gloves. It’s constructed with a magnetic gasket closure that allows for quick access to your fingertips. I can easily pull it open, pause my Apple Watch, and close it with a flip of my wrist.

Inside, there’s merino wool lining with ultra-light synthetic insulation. I’ve taken the gloves running, cycling, skiing, and snowshoeing, and they are an absolute joy to be outdoors with. The merino wool keeps my hands comfortable and dry, and if my hands do get warm, I can pull them open and let them breathe for a little bit before flipping them closed.

During most outdoor activities, I’ve worn them without an additional set of gloves in the interior of the Flip-Mitt. For longer activities, like skiing or snowshoeing, I paired them with an old set of lightweight running gloves. They worked well, but after talking to Jeremy, I’d highly recommend pairing the Flip-Mitt with another one of their products: Crosspoint Waterproof Knit Gloves. With these gloves you get the added benefit of a breathable waterproof for extra protection.

The only issues I had with these gloves happened during two crashes. While skiing, I fell, and the slip-mitt pulled open, letting snow pile in. I was able to shake most of the snow out, but it was a little bit cold. The second crash happened while trail-running. I hit a section of ice with no traction, slipped, fell, and when I caught myself on the ground with my mittened hand, the flip-mitt’s gasket closure rolled open. Those two crashes didn’t impact my review of this product in a negative way. I mention them, because that’s where having a pair of waterproof gloves inside the Flip-Mitt will come in handy.

Conclusion

Showers Pass Crosspoint Flip-Mitt

Over the past two months, I’ve had plenty more positive experiences wearing the gloves. These are now my go-to for any winter outing.

Having access to my fingertips while keeping the Showers Pass Crosspoint Flip-Mitt on has worked in a number of scenarios: the aforementioned Apple Watch challenges, refueling, shedding layers, or helping my kids zip up their winter gear.

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