Sunday, September 24, 2017

#ORInsightLab: Men's Equinox Shorts Review

Next up on the #ORInsightLab gear reviews from Outdoor Research is the Men's Equinox shorts.  I was very stoked to get to test these out since Outdoor Research finally made a pair of shorts with a built-in belt.  This may not get a lot of people excited but as a climber, hiker, and camper, having one less thing to worry about bringing along or forgetting is a huge bonus.

Homefront Arete v7

Here's a quick rundown of what I liked about these shorts:

1. Lightweight

2. Breathable and quick-drying

3. Pockets were very adequate and deep

4. Performed very well while hiking a climbing; very comfortable

There were a few things about the Equinox shorts that I mildly disliked.  I was very excited about the built-in belt but was concerned about the clasp being slotted locking and made of a plastic material.  I do a lot of rock climbing and worry it may pull loose or break during difficult top outs.  Also, the belt length was a little too short past the buckle and made it slightly difficult to pull tight.  None of these issues were deal breakers though as the shorts were very comfortable and were perfect for hiking.  

I give the Equinox shorts 4 out of 5 sprays only for the slight issues with the belt.  

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

#ORInsightLab: Men's Ascendant Hoody Review

The #ORInsightLab Gear Reviews are back for another round!  As always, Outdoor Research provides me with gear to test out and provide honest feedback.  This week's featured review is the Outdoor Research Men's Ascendant Hoody

The fall season is just around the corner and temperatures are starting to cool down!  The more favorable and cooler climbing weather was a perfect opportunity to test out the Ascendant Hoody.  A boulderer will carry up to 30 lbs of pads and gear along with them on a typical outdoor session.  Minimizing the amount of unnecessary weight is critical to prevent pre-climbing hike-in exhaustion.  This was one of my favorite aspects of the Ascendant Hoody.  It was lightweight and kept me warm on the first half of the hike.  Once warm the hoody did a great job in terms of breathability, allowing for a comfortable 2nd half hike.

The performance was also impressive.  The material was flexible that moved with me rather than against me.  Another favorite was the durable zippers.  I find it annoying to zip thin lightweight jackets that are built with thin lightweight zippers, so this was a relief with the Ascendant Hoody.  Pockets were provided in all the right places with perfect sizing for my needs on the hike to the crag.  It was impossible to find a negative aspect about this hoody and it became an instant favorite!

Overall, I give the Ascendant Hoody 5 out of 5 sprays.  I couldn't find anything in particular that I did not like about the jacket.  I am stoked to have this jacket for many more trips this fall bouldering season!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

#ORInsightLab Gear Review: Outdoor Research Men's Voodoo Pants

I've always been a huge fan of pants.  I mean, they are such an incredible article of clothing.  You put one leg in, then the other, pull them up and then latch them closed.  Boom!  Now half of your body is covered with just one piece of clothing!  It's absolutely amazing!  This is why I was stoked to get to review the Men's Voodoo Pants from Outdoor Research!

When I'm looking for pants they have to fit what I need for my activities in the outdoors and to a lesser degree, be stylish.  The Voodoo Pants did quite well in these areas.

The Voodoo pants are stretchy and flexible, which was perfect for hiking steep, uneven trail and rock climbing/bouldering.  The fabric was very lightweight and thin.  This tweaked my concern on the durability of the pants, but was alleviated when I careened into some heavy brush and thorns.  Although my exposed skin areas took some damage, the pants came out unscathed.  The best part about them, though, was the performance.

Climbing and hiking in the Voodoo pants were great.  They had more stretch than I anticipated, which was no problem at all.  The pants were thin, which necessitated a thermal under layer to keep warm, but beared no negative consequence to the overall review.  The only part about the pants I did not like were the pockets.  They felt shallow and did not allow to hold many things. At times I felt afraid that things would fall out but never had that actually happen fortunately.

Overall, the pants performed very well.  The Voodoo pant receive 4.5 out of 5 sprays, with the favorite aspect being the stretchy fabric and the least favorite being the pocket depth.  These pants definitely make the grade and meet the needs of a rock climber and/or hiker.

Disclosure:  The products received from Outdoor Research for the #ORInsightLab program are provided in exchange for honest feedback.  All opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way by receiving such products for review.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

#ORInsightLab Gear Review: Men's Transition Hoody

The #ORInsightLab Gear Reviews are back for another round!  This week's featured review is the Outdoor Research Men's Transition Hoody.  The weather here in the northeast has been quite mild lately, which made the Transition Hoody a perfect test piece for the outdoor bouldering sessions.  This time, I decided to take the #ORInsightLab review gear through a little more abrasive areas that did not afford easy access to trails.

The Transition Hoody is extremely lightweight and flexible.  While these are great for climbing adventures, I wanted to see if the material could withstand going through rugged areas.  Surprisingly, the outer material was not prone to snagging on branches or brush.  This is a quality that I like to see in outerwear when on the trail.

The fit of the hoody to to my chest, arms, and back area was true to the sizing and was perfectly snug.  The inside texture of the jacket, to which I can only compare to a waffle iron pattern, features Polartec® Power Grid fabric.  The material feels similar to fleece but a little thinner and slightly stiffer.  Even though this is a thin jacket, it did an amazing job keeping my body warm during a mid 30s bouldering session.  An extra bonus for the hoody is the thumb holes on the sleeves.  I love the versatility of jackets/hoodies that are able to provide a little extra warmth to the hands while also keeping sleeves in place while putting on extra outerwear.

The performance of the Transition Hoody worked as well most other Outdoor Research lightweight jackets and hoodies.  The flexibility and stretch capability of the fabric allows full range of motion with no setbacks.  I didn't utilize the hood part of the Transition Hoody during any of my testing because it was not warranted.  I think it would have been a great to try the on the hood while carving some lines on the slopes... but another warmer winter season has left a lot of empty slopes here in the northeast!

The overall grade of the Transition Hoody was given 5 out of 5 sprays.  It has proved its worth and is perfectly capable of being a 3 season Hoody for my climbing needs.

Disclosure:  The products received from Outdoor Research for the #ORInsightLab program are provided in exchange for honest feedback.  All opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way by receiving such products for review.

Monday, July 25, 2016

#ORInsightLab Gear Review: Outdoor Research Whirlwind Hoody

When I was sent the Outdoor Research Whirlwind Hoody for the summer #ORInsightLab review, I was a bit skeptical I would be able to use it during the warmest months out of the year.  After unwrapping the package, I realized quickly how this hoody could be quite useful, even during the summer season.

Ringing in at 9.1 oz. the Whirlwind Hoody is extremely light.  The material is breathable and quick drying from a light rain to a moderate sweat from the hike to the crag base.  This pullover half-zip hoody fit like a glove.  There's a little extra length in the sleeve as well as thumb hooks to partially cover the palm and top of the hand.

Like most of the lightweight shells Outdoor Research has to offer, the Whirlwind Hoody holds up well to abrasion and light wear and tear on the trail.  There is limited pocket space, but being a light weight shell, you don't want to weigh it down with unnecessary items.  The lone pocket itself can hold something the size of a cell phone or wallet with an attachment cord inside to clip on items you don't want to drop while on the wall.

The performance was perfect for the cool morning hike and the initial warm-ups at the crag.  The hoody provided free range of motion without interfering or limiting any movement.  However, I did not wear it for very long since the weather warmed up rather quickly and the hoody was not needed.  The Whirlwind will be something I could wear all day once the weather breaks to the fall style.  Overall, I was satisfied with this piece from Outdoor Research.  I give the Whirlwind Hoody 4 sprays out of 5.  I recommend this for anyone needing that little bit of an extra layer before they hit the trails or crags.  

Saturday, June 25, 2016

#ORInsightLab Review: Men's Ferrosi Shorts

This round of #ORInsightLab has me very excited to try out what Outdoor Research has given us testers to review.  The first feature review is the Men's Ferrosi Shorts.  The Ferrosi collection has long been heralded as a fan favorite from OR.  With its lightweight, soft shell, breathable fabric, it's no surprise about the popularity of this line of clothing.

As a rock climber, restrictive free movement of clothing is important as well as staying cool during the summer months.  When I tested the Ferrosi 3/4 pants, I was impressed with the material.  The breathable stretchy fabric performed great on the rock.  I wasn't so stoked on the length of the pants though.  I'm a shorts kind of guy, so  I was very happy to see OR take the Ferrosi line right down to what I wear most.  I took the Ferrosi shorts for the test ride out on the some of the best problems in New England at Great Barrington.

Pressure Drop v10

These shorts performed better than I had expected.  They allowed free flow of movement and the stretch in all the right places.  The breath-ability and light-weightness of the fabric was perfect for hiking and climbing in the overgrown jungle like areas of Western Massachussetts.  The material even held up well to scuffs during top-outs on the abrasive gneiss type rock of the boulders.

These are very competitive with the performance of other shorts that I have worn for hiking and climbing.  I feel the Ferrosi shorts have a slight edge on the competition due to the very good breath-ability and light weight fabric.  The price seems high for shorts but are in the same price range as other name brand shorts made for these activities.  I'm giving these 5 sprays out of 5 for these shorts for their ability to not crush my stoke when the temps kick up out at the crag.

Disclosure:  The products received from Outdoor Research for the #ORInsightLab program are provided in exchange for honest feedback.  All opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way by receiving such products.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Bouldering in the CT Video Edit

I just finished up the edit for the recent sends here in the CT area: Slice (v9/10), Chisel Chest (v7), and Slice variation (v10).  These problems became insta-classics (IMO) and I am looking forward to finishing my project of Buzzer Beater (v11/12) on the Slice boulder.  Check out the video, enjoy!  

Thanks to Asana Climbing, Julbo Eyewear and Climberism for all the support!