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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.

HeadPeace Ethically-Made Headbands Product Review

Now that my hair is longer, I have been trying various solutions to keep my hair out of my face. Hats of various shapes and sizes are the obvious choice, as are various hair ties. But what about headbands?

I’ve tried a couple that I flatout didn’t like. They were too tight or they wouldn’t sit on my head; constantly rising and rising until I had an unattractive pile of hair on top of my head. I wanted something that looked good and felt good and would hold up with some sweat.

That’s why I was excited to receive a sample to test from HeadPeace.

HeadPeace Headband
HeadPeace Headband

HeadPeace specializes in making various styles of headwear, including headbands.

The sample I received was lightweight, soft and extremely comfortable. I immediately pulled it on and went outside to work up a sweat working on the lawn. During my time wearing it, I didn’t have to make any adjustments. The headband stayed in place and didn’t move around.

Plus, HeadPeace’s designs are pretty awesome. Their designs are fairly gender neutral and they have everything from fun and funky color combinations, to designs that are a bit more earthy. My favorite on their site is one that incorporates mushrooms into its design.

But sure, there are a lot of headband companies out there. What makes HeadPeace so special?

A big part of their specialness is their mission.

All of their products are made in Nepal by a socially-ethical, fair trade manufacturing company that helps women coming out of slavery and trafficking situations get back on their feet.

If you’re looking for a headband or even a lightweight hat, neck gaiter, or kids bands check out HeadPeace and support a really great mission.

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.

Product Review: BN3TH vs. SAXX

BN3TH and SAXX Underwear
Photo by Andrew Patra.

Like most boys in the 80’s, I grew up wearing tighty-whities. It wasn’t until my later teen years that I realized that there was a bigger world out there when it came to supporting my dangly bits. This came to a head when, due to years of not having proper support, I had to have surgery on a pinched blood vessel on one of the boys. Something had to change.

During athletic activities—hiking, running, jumping, climbing, skiing, cycling—you need to have the proper support. Everything down below needs to be packed away tightly enough so it’s safe from twisting and too much bouncing. Underwear needs to be more than comfortable. It needs to be breathable, quick-drying, and chafe free.

As my own level of activity has increased, I’ve had a difficult time finding running shorts that fit all these criteria. Some brands I’ve found have lasted for a time—providing support and comfortability—but would then wear down leaving me chaffed after short runs and bleeding after longer ones.

Over the last two years, I’ve begun running in Prana Super Mojo Shorts and a pair of Adidas Climalite Boxer Briefs. This combination has worked, but over time, the Adidas Boxer Briefs have worn down, and I’ve run into similar chafing issues.

Needless to say, I was hunting for the perfect combination.

At Outdoor Retailer Snow Show, I had a chance to talk to two underwear companies: BN3TH (pronounced like the properly spelled word “beneath”) and SAXX. Both claimed that they were the best in the market due to the technology they had developed for their products. For BN3TH, it’s their “MyPakage Pouch” and for SAXX their “BallPark Pouch.” So why not put them head-to-head?

SAXX

SAXX Underwear
Photo by Andrew Patra. Modeled by Nathaniel Nash.

SAXX has been reinventing the underwear category since 2006. Their BallPark Pouch is a hammock-shaped pouch designed to keep your twig and berries in place while minimizing bounce during sport activities. The pouch keeps your equipment separate and safe like a baby kangaroo, preventing the skin-to-skin friction that usually leads to chafing.

The other thing that I liked about the product design was how they reversed the stiching. The flatter, softer side of the fabric is against the body. In the past with other brands, the stitching side would be against the skin, always leading to chaffing or bleeding during longer activities.

The fabric of SAXX’s Volt line is a mixture of polyester (88%) and elastane (12%). This helps fight clamminess and helps wick away moisture away from the skin.

BN3TH

BN3TH Underwear
Photo by Andrew Patra. Modeled by Nathaniel Nash.

BN3TH, formally MyPakage, recently rebranded in Feb 2018. They created the patented MyPakage Pouch Technology as an internal pouch designed to keep your Bilbo Baggins from rubbing against everything else. It keeps everything secure, providing support from every angle, to eliminate the need for shifting and adjusting.

Their design also includes the “Pucker Panel,” which removes the need for seams in your most sensitive areas, reducing the likelihood of chafing.

BN3TH claims that their underwear is so comfortable that it’ll feel like you aren’t wearing anything, like you’re “floating on a cloud.” While I felt like I was still wearing underwear, I did find their product to be very comfortable.

Part of their Working Out collection is the Entourage line. They are collaborations with BN3TH’s entourage—a collection of athletes and artists. The fabric of BN3TH’s Entourage line is a mixture of post-consumer recycled polyester (86%) and spandex (14%), reducing their impacts on the environment. The fabric also reduces the impact on your fish and chips by allowing for a high level of breathability and moisture-wicking. Their underwear also comes in a recyclable and reusable bag.

So… How did they stack up?

Over the past three weeks, our team has taken both products out skiing, snowboarding, hiking, trail-running, and to the crossfit gym. Don’t worry, though, we didn’t share.

And there was no clear winner.

Some team members preferred the look, style, and fit of one brand while others preferred the others.

When it came to the MyPakage Pouch and the BallPark Pouch, it varied as well. Users commented about how their bacon and eggs felt more support in the BN3TH product; feeling like there was a more lift and separation during high-impact activities. Yet, during those same activities, other users preferred SAXX, saying that their crotch luggage felt more secure.

From an aesthetics standpoint, I personally prefer BN3TH’s MyPakage Pouch. However, since wearing both of these brands, I haven’t had any chaffing issues. My Tom and Jerrys are happy, and that’s enough for me.

Both companies make great products. If you’re in the market to upgrade your performance underwear, we’d highly suggest looking at both brands. Just like our team, you’ll have your own opinion, because when it comes to the land down under, everyone is different.

Buy now: BN3TH

Buy now: SAXX

Product Review: Vuori Clothing

Last year, REI had a trail running event at their Boulder location. Wandering through the aisles, I ran into Austin Prideaux from the Vuori clothing brand. He showed me their line up, which included a sweet pair of olive camo running shorts.

The brand, at that point, was a relatively new addition to a lineup of athleisure companies. Their functional design was geared towards a more active demographic. Their products ranged from workout, climbing, running, swimming, hiking, to just relaxing. Whether you’re sweating or chilling, you’ll always look good.

This year, Vuori sent me a few items to give my honest review. 

The brand, at that point, was a relatively new addition to a lineup of athleisure companies. Their functional design was geared towards a more active demographic. Their products ranged from workout, climbing, running, swimming, hiking, to just relaxing. Whether you’re sweating or chilling, you’ll always look good.

Kore Shorts

One of the first things that stood out to me was the internal liner in the shorts. I’ve had a few uncomfortable run ins with other brands that had internal liners that—shall we say—left a negative impression.

The Kore Short felt immediately different when I first put them on. They were the most comfortable running short I have ever worn. The material had better stretch for easy movement and mobility. I also felt that my nether region was better supported.

After running  20+ miles in them across 4,000+ feet of elevation gain, I didn’t have the normal chafing issues I was used to experiencing, which was a joyful thing.

Movement Hoodie

This hoodie has become my go-to hoodie for all my activities. It’s made from an ultra-soft Stretch French Terry fabric and is lined with jersey fabric, making it a great combo that was  moisture-wicking, quick-drying, and super soft. Vuori’s website says that it’s great for traveling, hiking, and chilling, but it quickly became my favorite tech top for running during winter.

During a recent snowfall, I was cruising around Green Mountain in the hoodie, making fresh tracks for around 10 miles, and I was completely comfortable in it. It was able to dry quickly, and I never found myself feeling too hot or too cold. After running, when I got back to the car, I took the hoodie off to see if it was soaked after running two hours in the snow, but the interior was still dry.

Ripstop Climber Pants

For once we’re not going to talk about running.

The Ripstop Climber has a stretchy waist, Vuori’s signature drawstrings, and gusset construction in the crotch area for increased movement. The legs feature a slim fit that’s perfect for hiking, climbing, or walking at Outdoor Retailer for 12 hours.

While bouldering at Movement Gym, I found that the pants had enough stretch without being uncomfortable. I’m hoping to take these outside to do some bouldering on Flagstaff Mountain to see how they hold up.

The Bottom Line

I’m a big fan of Vuori’s clothing line. Their quality and comfortability is outstanding. If I could, I would probably be wearing their product every day. I hope they continue to expand their product line for adventure athletes, because I’d be first in line for them.

CWHemp.com