Review: Bio Skin Calf Skin

IMG_3212-0Running usually doesn’t make an appearance in my work out regimen, if you could call it that. I ski, hike, and participate in a variety of activities to keep myself active and in shape. I received Bio Skin Calf Skins a month ago to test, therefore I began trail running.

IMG_3211-0 Never having used any sort of compression sleeves or socks, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

Running with compression takes a little getting used to, but after a few minutes on the trail, I hardly notice the Calf Skins. They’re comfortable, supportive, and stay in place. I’ve also noticed much less stiffness and soreness in my calves and shins during my recovery time due to using Calf Skin Sleeves.

I absolutely recommend the Bio Skin Calf Skins to runners and hikers who may suffer from shin splints or are just looking for some extra lower leg support out on the trail. The thin material allows breathability and comfort even during rigorous activity.

IMG_3213-0 Look for Bio Skin Calf Skin Sleeves on their website. Pay attention to sizing as these are compression sleeves which are designed to be tight, but you need to make sure they fit properly. My calves measure 14″ at the widest part so I wear a large.

Thanks to Lauren Stanberry for these photos!

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Review: Teton Sports

IMG_2641-0Each morning I guzzled coffee and tried to warm up by the fire. I then groggily packed up my gear for the day ahead. I shoved my sleeping bag to the bottom of my Teton Sports pack and stomped it down to make room for my extra food, clothes, and non-essentials. I rolled my sleeping pad and secured it using the straps at the bottom of the pack. The pockets on the top carried my first aid kit, flashlight, and knife. After a quick double-check, I threw my pack on and joined the rest of my Hell Hike and Raft crew. I did the rest of my waking up on the trail.

Hiker 3700

IMG_2644Teton Sports threw support behind HHAR right from the get-go and provided the team with Hiker 3700 packs. I lined up the quick and dirty of some of the features.

• 60 liter capacity
• 7 pockets
• Adjustable torso length
• Padded lumbar support
• Attached rain fly

Starting out on day one of Hell Hike and Raft, I found myself constantly adjusting my pack. I couldn’t quite get a good balance and found the padding on the back to be a bit bulky. However, by the end of the day, I stopped noticing the bulk. My shoulders felt good after the hike so I know the weight was pretty evenly distributed.

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Photo by Missouri Howell

The subsequent days of hiking quashed my initial concerns. Honestly, I stopped noticing the padding. I stopped thinking “bulk” and instead thought “comfort.” My back and shoulders didn’t ache at the end of each day even after trucking around with 40 lbs in my pack all the time.

Teton Sports may not be the first place you’d think to look for a new pack, but I’d strongly suggest looking them up. They build a high-quality, competitively-priced product. You’ll find Teton Sports packs at a lower price than the leaders Osprey, Gregory, or Deuter. Members of the HHAR crew can also attest to their exceptional customer service. The Hiker 3700 is far too large for a day hike, but I plan to get a lot of mileage out of this baby for my multi-day trips.

Teton Sports provided the Hiker 3700 to me at no cost. I am under no obligation to provide a review of this product. Opinions are entirely my own.

Hammer Nutrition Feature: 6/11

My head broke the river’s surface as I continued to swallow water. Somehow I’d managed to hold onto the side of the raft after we were “dump-trucked.” Our guide, Rick, appeared to my left, jumped back in the raft and pulled me in before dragging the rest of our paddleboat crew onboard. We counted our missing items and laughed at our epic failure.

This was our introduction to Waterspout Rapids on the Snake River in the belly of Hells Canyon.

Continue reading about our little adventure in Endurance News online!

Review: Fresh Body (May Contain TMI)

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I don’t know about the other ladies out there, but I sweat a lot when I hike. When I sweat, I get itchy, especially in areas where undergarments contain tight elastic.

It took me a while to find a sports bra that fit comfortably and functioned well for long hikes. I finally found just what I was looking for, (Moving Comfort rocks by the way) but it didn’t completely eliminate the itchiness.

Enter Fresh Breasts by Fresh Body.

In all honesty, I thought the product was a prank when fellow Hell Hike and Raft crew member, Trevor, introduced Fresh Body to our crew last year. I’ve since experienced the benefit of the product for the sweaty, itchy hiker like myself.

FB goes directly on the skin like a lotion, but dries almost instantly with no greasy residue. I’ve used FB several times on various hikes and it works. I can definitely say I feel less disgusting, smelly, and itchy than before I tried it out.

Fresh Body touts their products as being hypoallergenic, talc-free, paraben-free, aluminum-free, and with an added bonus of no animal testing.

Don’t worry, fellas, Fresh Body has a product for you called Fresh Balls, however I don’t believe I’m qualified to give an accurate review of that product.

Fresh Breasts by Fresh Body was provided to me free of charge for Hell Hike and Raft. I am under no obligation to provide a review of this product.

Review: LifeStraw Go by Vestergaard

Overview:

I used the LifeStraw Go bottle every day during Hell Hike and Raft and instantly became a fan. I’ve since used the bottle on my last couple of hikes up Big Mountain. This bottle is convenient and awesome!

Lets start with the specifications:LifeStraw Go

*BPA-free

*Flip-up mouth piece

*Holds 650 ml

*Carabiner for attaching to a pack, belt, etc.

*Hollow fiber microfiltration technology

*Removes bacteria, protozoa, and particulates

Now, on to the review. The pros outweigh the cons, so I’ll begin with the latter.

Cons:

If the bottle doesn’t stay upright, it tends to leak out of the top. However, if you have pockets on the side of your pack for water bottles, or if you’d prefer to hang the bottle by its carabiner, this won’t be an issue for you.

LifeStraw GoI also found after four days of using the bottle on Hell Hike and Raft, I’d managed to put a very small hole in the rubber on the mouthpiece. While it doesn’t affect the usefulness of the LifeStraw Go (yet), this part of the bottle should be a bit more durable.

Pros:

The LifeStraw Go is incredibly convenient, especially if you’re trying to conserve your already filtered water. It’s easy to fill up at any water source and you’re good to go. According to LifeStraw’s website, the filter removes 99.999 percent of waterborne bacteria and 99.9 percent of waterborne protozoan parasites.LifeStraw Go The filter also removes particulates larger than .02 microns and LifeStraw Go filter cartridges are good for up to 1,000 liters of water.

Bottom Line:

Convenience. I love the LifeStraw Go and I know it will continue to get lots of use on my adventures.

If you need another reason to check out LifeStraw products, here’s one: a portion of the funds from every LifeStraw sold go toward providing water purification systems to underdeveloped countries. Check out this nifty little graphic for LifeStraw’s Follow the Liters initiative:LIFESTRAW INFO

LifeStraw Go was provided to me free of charge. I am under no obligation to provide a review of this product. Opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Beer, Bacon, and Beards

DSRCA couple of weeks ago I received this photo in a text from Myke and was subsequently faced with the ultimate dilemma: continue moving stuff from my house to my storage unit or be part of the David Steele Running Club and head up Big Mountain to indulge in these lovely comestibles?

I pondered for a few moments.

‘I gotta have my house empty by the 31st, but there’s beer at the top of the mountain….eh fuck it, I’ll go.’

Myke and I met up in the parking lot at the base of chair 1 just after 6:00 p.m. Christine and Jesse showed up a short time later. The only person missing from the David Steele Running Club was David Steele, but to be fair, Myke planned the event sans input from David.DSRC

The David Steele Running Club set off at a brisk walk straight up the mountain because the gradual zig zag of the Danny On walking trail is for suckers. The crew stopped for a brief 30 minutes or so to pick huckleberries, and we made it to the summit in time for a spectacular sunset.

The rest of our evening can best be explained through photos, courtesy of Myke Hermsmeyer.

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Continuing on despite the endless supply of hucks surrounding us. (Myke Hermsmeyer)

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Success! (Myke Hermsmeyer)

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Jesse and Christine indulging in the rewards at the top. (Myke Hermsmeyer)

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Mmmmm…..bacon. (Myke Hermsmeyer)

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(Myke Hermsmeyer)

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(Myke Hermsmeyer)

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Oh, there were also marshmallows. (Myke Hermsmeyer.

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#babeswithbeards (Myke Hermsmeyer)

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There was lots of beer to be had. (Christine Weidow)

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Jesse really wanted an extra beard. (Myke Hermsmeyer)

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Heading down the mountain. (Myke Hermsmeyer)

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Chugging before starting our flow trail running. (Myke Hermsmeyer)

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She’s a plane. (Myke Hermsmeyer)

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Flow trail running and simultaneous beer drinking. (MykeHermsmeyer)

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(Myke Hermsmeyer)

New HHAR Sponsor: Hammer Nutrition

I’m thrilled to announce Hammer Nutrition is partnering with Hell Hike and Raft 2014!

For nearly 30 years, Hammer Nutrition has provided top-tier fuels and supplements for the endurance athlete. They’re based in Whitefish, Montana and offer products manufactured in the U.S.A.

Hammer lHammer Nutritioneads the pack with their products and customer service in my book. I’ve been a big fan of Hammer products ever since I first tried Endurolytes Fizz two years ago. It’s a great product that gives me the energy I need for all my outdoor ventures.

Hammer Nutrition has graciously provided HHAR with a wide variety of products to keep us fueled during this epic adventure. Keep checking back here or on our website at HellHikeandRaft.com for more preparations and reviews from the crew! Hammer Nutrition Discount

Also, be sure to check out all our awesome sponsors!

Shoes, Shoes, Shoes

The amount of shopping I’ve done in the last month for various pieces of outdoor gear and clothing for Hell Hike and Raft is probably more than my clothes shopping over the last two years combined.

I hate shopping.

But on the bright side, I’m ending up with some pretty cool stuff and I’m starting to check items off my highly unorganized list. I started with what I consider to be the most important piece of gear: shoes.

I chose to look at Salomon because I’m a fan of their ski gear and I’ve heard great things about their footwear. A friend of mine works for their PR firm, Outside Media, so of course his knowledge about their products is pretty extensive.

SalomonWhen I began looking at Salomon hiking boots, my main focus was something that had a lot of ankle support and was water resistant. I picked up a pair of Salomon Authentic LTR CS WP at our local Sportsman & Ski Haus. Despite the ridiculously long name (I have no idea what the letters mean), I can tell you they seem like they’ll be great for extended trips. I wore them hiking two days in a row for their first test, and thus far I’m really pleased. It doesn’t seem like there’s much of a “break-in” period needed. My feet weren’t sore or blistered at all after hiking about 12 miles so I’m optimistic and hopeful these boots will remain comfortable for approximately 40 miles of hiking during Hell Hike and Raft.

For the rafting portion of the trip, I knew I needed some sort of rafting shoe or sandal but didn’t know where to start. I asked a couple of friends and was again directed toward Salomon.

I ordered a pair of Salomon Techamphibian 3’s through ProMotive.com. What appealed to me initially about these babies was the aggressive sole. I tested them out on a float trip last week and it seems like they’ll be great for HHAR! Salomon

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Be sure to keep visiting my page as I’ll be posting full reviews of these items and several others upon my return from Hell Hike and Raft 2014!

#HellHikeandRaft

Hey all! I’ll soon be heading off on my biggest adventure yet! I’ve been given a great opportunity to take part in Hell Hike and Raft, courtesy of America’s Rafting Company and HikingtheTrail.com.

In September, I’ll be joining 13 other adventure blogging folks from across the country for an epic six-day backpacking and whitewater rafting trip. We will spend three days backpacking through the Seven Devils Mountains of Idaho and three days rafting through Hells Canyon on the Snake River.

I’m pretty new to long-form adventure blogging, but I’ll be posting to my website a lot more often in the weeks leading up to my trip. So, make sure to tune in for all the latest on my adventure preparations. Also, check out our website (HellHikeandRaft.com) and follow each crew member for excellent gear reviews and outdoor tips.

You can also “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtags #HellHikeandRaft and #HHAR.

*I’d also like to give a special shoutout to our sponsors without whom this trip would not be possible.

OR Insight Lab: Enchainment Jacket

Hike: Columbia Mountain / Columbia Falls, MT

Review: Women’s Enchainment Jacket from Outdoor Research

My main venture partner and roommate, Ingrid, and I set off to hike Columbia unable to see more than 100 feet up the mountain due to heavy fog. After being on the trail less than 30 minutes, I ditched the flannel underneath my Enchainment soft shell. columbiafog

I could tell I’d grossly underestimated how warm this jacket is. Now, the trail up Columbia Mountain is no picnic, however with the temperature sitting comfortably in the low 30s, I assumed the hike would be chilly.

photo (3)My thoughts about the jacket during the first 90 minutes of the hike were positive, but I found myself wishing it had vents under the arms. I ended up hiking the majority of the way up with my jacket unzipped and only a long-sleeve shirt underneath.

Further into the trek, I realized jeans were a bad choice. Actually I’ve always known jeans were a bad choice of hiking attire, however I’d also underestimated the amount of snow settled on the upper half of the mountain.

Luckily we came prepared with our trusty MSR snowshoes to blaze trail through nearly two feet of snow.msr

By the time we broke through the fog and witnessed an awesome inversion, the wind proved to be brutal, but I was pleased to find the Enchainment jacket actually does a great job against the wind.

Unfortunately, we had to turn around about 1/2 mile from the top due to time constraints, but we still got a killer view.

photo (2)Overall, I love this jacket. It’s a great soft shell for hiking. It’s water resistant and holds up well in the wind. The Enchainment is pretty breathable, but I did find myself wishing it had vents. Maybe I’m just a vent-snob, but regardless, I would definitely recommend this jacket.

(Thanks, Ingrid for photos of the jacket.)

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Here are some more photos from Columbia Mountain:

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photo (1)

tandem trekking

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