If you’ve read our review of the ORTOVOX PALA LIGHT JACKET, you know that we are huge fans. But if you’re going climbing with ORTOVOX, you can’t just climb with a jacket, you need a pair of pants to go with it.

ORTOVOX also sent us the VALBON PANTS to review as well.


These minimalistic pants are sustainably made with organic cotton and hemp materials. The combo of these materials make for an extremely comfortable climbing pants.

The VALBON PANTS is loose fitting with wide thigh-areas, a stretchy knee area, and tapered ankle cuffs for maximum movement. The crotch also features a two-way stretch material for ultimate movement that moves with you.

When climbing, I found these pants to be extremely versatile. They claim to be tailored for climbing and I found this to be true. I could stretch between holds without feeling like these pants were restricting my movement.


The waistband is flat and made with merino wool so its nice and soft and stretchy. It fits nicely underneath a climbing harness. I also appreciated how they didn’t ride up or dip down during my climb. They stayed where they were without exposing my butt or making me uncomfortable.

There is also a drawstring on the waist for extra security.

It features three pockets. Two are located on the front hip and one is zippered and on the right thigh. All of these are easily accessible while wearing a climbing harness.


There are also elastic ankle cuffs. I didn’t need them. My calves are pretty wide, but they rested naturally very comfortably at my ankle.

Just as I had found with the PALA LIGHT JACKET, these pants are so comfortable and nice that I wear them even when I am not climbing. I love the colors and how it pairs with the jacket that I will wear these to work or out on the town. I mean, its Colorado, so looking like you either came or are going to the climbing gym is normal.

The VALBON PANTS is available online for $150. I am 5’11” and 185 pounds and wear a size large. For reference, the waist fits similar to a 34″ waist. And the ankle cuffs rest, right at the top of my shoes, so similar to a 32″ inseam.


What I love about ORTOVOX is how bright and colorful their clothing is.


And the ORTOVOX PALA LIGHT JACKET is no exception. They sent me the jacket in the clay orange color (pictured above) and it pops!

But colors aside, ORTOVOX makes some of the best outdoor gear for climbing, hiking, and winter adventures.

The PALA LIGHT JACKET is a durable, athletic stretch jacket made for alpine climbing.

It is made with a sleek, athletic cut and a four-way stretch that allows for flexible movement. When climbing, I could easily stretch between holds without the jacket feel like it was catching or pulling.

It also has elastic cuffs and waistband that moved well with me when I climbed. It has drawstrings on the side to tighten around the waste as needed. I haven’t needed to use them though. I like how the jacket naturally fits. When reaching and climbing, I never felt that the jacket rode up on me.

The outer material is scuff resistant. How scuff resistant? Well, I lost a hold, slammed into the rock face, and the jacket made it out better than I did. I hit hard and the jacket has a couple scuffs, but that is it.


When ORTOVOX constructed this jacket, they added reinforcements in high-stress areas such as the hips, shoulders and underarms for ultimate protection against craggy rocks.

This jacket is also very breathable. When climbing, the morning was around 50-degrees and slowly warmed up to 65-degrees before I reached the top. Throughout I found this jacket very comfortable. I never felt overheated. And that is due to the merino wool used in the inside.

I have really enjoyed this jacket. It has been a great climbing companion, but it also looks really good off the mountain. I have worn this to work, on dates, road trips, and really, any opportunity where I needed a solid, light jacket.

The PALA LIGHT JACKET is available online for $220. I am 5’11” and 185 pounds and wear a large.

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


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.   


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 recreational 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.

Visit https://rockytalkie.com/ to learn more.

Rocky Talkies are rugged radios designed and tested in Colorado. Over 3-days of battery life and 25+ mile max range.

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!