Our Everyday Adventures

We are not adventurers by choice but by fate – Van Gogh

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Pearl Izumi Contest Update

Just a couple days left to get in any referral credits for the Pearl Izumi give-away and the “Contest #2” for folks who have referred friends.  Thanks again for signing up, and for all the support and kind words regarding our blog.  Although the June give-away is still active, we’ve been working hard on setting up another couple months’ worth of give-aways for July and August.  You’re going to love what we’ve been able to get lined up!  As a teaser,  some of the companies involved will be: Ryders Eyewear; Hydrapak, Patagonia and more!  Keep an eye out for the official upcoming announcement!


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Gore-Tex Demystified

Post by:  Jake

As some of you may be aware, I’ve been an active product tester for Gore-Tex for several years now.  I’ve had the opportunity to test out several Gore products including GORE-TEX  XCR, PACLITE, PERFORMANCE SHELL, PRO-SHELL, WINDSTOPPER, and OPTIFADE.  I’ve even had the opportunity to test out some Gore Bike Wear, and Gore Ride-On bike cables.

Although I had worked in retail gear shops for several years before becoming a product tester, I must admit I was a bit confused at what all the different Gore-Tex products were.  I simply attributed the different names to a clever marketing campaign.  How many different names can we come up with for the same product?  As I started digging deeper I quickly learned that each of these products is specifically engineered with a different end-user in mind.  We’ll get to the difference in a bit, but first let me start with the basics of “what is Gore-Tex”?

Just about everyone knows Gore-Tex as being a waterproof/breathable material with a “Guarantee to Keep you Dry Promise“.  But fewer people actually know what part of a garment is the Gore-Tex. Imagine a 3-layer Oreo cookie, in the most basic sense, the Gore-Tex material is the white layer in the middle.  Outerwear companies like Arc’Teryx and North Face will pick out the outer fabric (some type of synthetic material) and an inner liner (again, usually some kind of synthetic to wick moisture off your body).  They send these fabrics to the Gore-Tex factories where they are combined together with the Gore-Tex membrane.  The 3-layers are sent back to the garment company in huge rolls that are then cut up to be made into beautiful jackets and pants.  The process doesn’t end there.  The outer material isn’t waterproof, nor is the inner liner.  The only “waterproof” layer is the middle Gore-Tex layer that keeps water from passing in, but let’s sweaty air pass out.  In order to help keep some of the rain out, the outer layer is coated with a Durable Water Repellency layer (DWR).  This is just a coating that wears off with use.  You can revive this layer with aftermarket coatings like Revive X or Nikwax (make sure you get the right product for your layers, I like the spray on versions), or by simply washing and drying your garments.  Follow the tags on your gear, but don’t be afraid to wash your stuff.  Check out this link for the official Gore-Tex washing guide.

Now that we all understand that Gore-Tex isn’t just a coating on a garment, it’s an actual layer inside the garment (or shoes), I’ll try and do my best at explaining the differences between each of the different Gore-Tex materials.

Gore-Tex Paclite:  Paclite was made for light use.  It’s pretty durable, and extremely packable. It’s a 2.5 layer garment that was engineered to be worn directly against your body instead of requiring an additional inner liner fabric like all other versions of Gore-Tex.  I use these jackets for summer backpacking and day hiking where I’m concerned about weight and packability, but still want to carry a rain shell. Just stuff it up and throw it in the bottom of your pack.

Gore-Tex Performance Shell:  Performance shell is a bit more budget friendly then its big brother “Pro-Shell.” It’s waterproof and breathable, but because of the construction of the overall garment it’s a bit more affordable.  Generally performance shell is a 3-layer garment where the outer layer and the Gore-Tex layer are laminated together, but the inner liner is free-floating.  You’ll find Performance Shell in a lot of winter products as it can incorporate insulation into the garment.

Gore-Tex Pro-Shell:  Pro-Shell is the king of waterproof/breathable membranes.  It’s extremely durable, and is only put into the best of the best outerwear.  It’s a bit more expensive, but will outlast anything else on the market which in the end certainly makes it a better deal.  It’s always in 3-layer garments where all three layers are laminated into what essentially feels like one layer.  If you need something durable for heavy duty mountaineering, ice climbing, search and rescue, ect… this is your choice.

Gore-Tex Active Shell:  The soon-to-be-released Active Shell will be available in products this fall (2011).  I’m told the pore spaces are a bit bigger than those in the other materials, thus letting more hot/moist air out.  Consequently it’s not quite as waterproof (although it is still technically “waterproof”).  It’s made for super high energy single day pursuits like adventure racing, distance running, high energy cycling on a rainy day, or hard, long day hikes.

Windstopper:  Windstopper is slightly similar to Gore-Tex Active-Shell.  The Windstopper layer is a membrane similar to Gore-Tex, but with much bigger pore spaces.  It’s windproof, but not technically waterproof (although it is fairly water resistant, and garments are usually still coated with a DWR layer so they shed rain pretty well.)  Windstopper gear is generally my go-to for running and biking in cold breezy weather.

I hope that helps demystify Gore-Tex.  Any questions or comments?  I’d love to hear some feedback.



Our Next Tri and Summer Outdoor Retailer Show

Post by:  Jake

Apparently we did catch the Tri-bug because today Veronica and I signed up for our next sprint triathlon.  The Bountiful Reverse Triathlon on August 6th.  It’s a unique reverse sprint-tri where you start with a 5K run followed by an 11-mile bike and then a 350-yard swim through a pool.  The pool swim has me scratching my head as apparently it’s held in an indoor 25-yard pool in a “snake style” fashion.  All competitors jump in the pool following their bike ride, and we’ll all swim down one lane, cross the line, back down the next lane, and so on 14-times.  With a cap of 400 participants, and the swim coming at the end of the race, hopefully the pool won’t be too terribly crowded.  

We signed up for the Bountiful tri just outside of Salt Lake City because we’ll be down in the neighborhood that week anyways for the Summer Outdoor Retailer ShowThe Outdoor Retailer Show is a bi-annual outdoor industry gear expo that hosts over 1,000 sporting good manufacturers and vendors.  We’re excited to participate in the event again this summer.  You can check out our show review from the Winter Outdoor Retailer Show here.  Sporting goods manufacturers consistently debut their newest and most innovated products at the OR shows,  We’d LOVE to hear from you about what brands interest you most, or if there’s any questions in particular you’d like us to ask any brand at the show.

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Triathlon and Race Gear Sale

Just wanted to give everyone a heads up that The Clymb has a pile of race and triathlon gear from 2XU  at a pretty good discount.  The Clymb, for those who aren’t familiar is a site similar to steapandcheap.com, where a certain product or brand will be on sale for a very short amount of time, then another brand/product for a short amount of time…

As of this morning, there’s about 24-hours left on this sale so act quick if your interested.  Check it out here.

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Contest Within a Contest

First of all let me say a big Thank You for signing up for the Pearl Izumi promotion we’re doing on the blog! 

 We’ve had so much support in fact that we’ve decided to run a second give-away contest.  A Contest Within a Contest. Just like the movie Inception, this contest will only be offered to a select group. 

 You are still entered into the Pearl Izumi Contest, and you can still get more entries into that contest by referring friends. Simply let us know who you referred (e-mail addresses, as that’s all we can see from our end) and when we see them sign up you’ll get another entry.   That’s contest #1.

Contest #2  is for all the people who have referred someone.  Everyone who has referred someone will have their name put into a second drawing, and you can get more names entered by referring more people (1 extra entry per referral).  Referrals only count if your friends have verified their e-mail addresses, and they will only count if you tell us who you referred so we can give you credit.  This contest will end the same exact time the other one ends… June 30th at 11:59 p.m. mountain time.

And Here’s the prizes…

Contest #1

1st Place: Pearl Izumi PRO Tri top and bottom ($200 value)

2nd Place:  Pearl Izumi  Streak II shoes ($110 value)

 Contest #2 

1st Place:  Pearl Izumi Syncro Fuel XC running shoes ($110 value)

2nd Place:  Gu Energy Performance Energy Sampler Pack ($24 value)

3rd Place:   Road ID product of your choice!  ($35 value)

 Thanks again for your support, and as always We’re always open for feedback!


Sandal… but it looks like a shoe?!

Post by:  Veronica

For about a year or so (Remember this is Montana, so we are occasionally behind the times!) I’ve been seeing Sanuk displays in footwear departments – housing a variety of footwear styles all claiming to be “sandals.”  And although, yes there are flip flops on some of the display hooks, many, if not most of the footwear on the display look like shoes.  Something that perhaps I would compare to a Converse or All-Star.  I’ll admit it – I’ve been confused as to why these shoes were claiming to be sandals.  Isn’t that like a chicken claiming to be a duck?  Both similar in nature, but serving very different roles in the ecosystem?   Sounds like philosophical jibberish, I know, but I’ll get to the point. 

 There is, in fact, a functional and philosophical difference between a sandal and a shoe.   Take the name.  Sanuk is the Thai word for “fun.”  And from style to comfort, these sandals live up to their name.  They are fun to look at, fun to wear, and fun to play in.

 Demystifying the “sandal” name-scandal.  Sanuk footwear, be it flip flops or loafers, are technically considered to be a sandal because of the patented construction that allows the user’s feet to bend and flex naturally.  They are lightweight, breathable, and just feel like (for lack of a better term) a sandal!  Unlike the big, heavy, bulky shoes you might be wearing to work everyday, Sanuks are free-spirited, easy-going and relaxing—I feel like I should be in a park playing Frisbee or walking down the beach on the boardwalk when I wear them.

 Jake and I have both had the opportunity to try a pair and our thoughts were so parallel, that I’m going to sum it all up here:  So comfortable, you seriously might consider wearing them everyday (pending your boss allows it…they are a bit on the casual side, but that’s what to love about them!).  That being said, I’m not sure if it’s the sandal construction or just irony, but I swear someone steps on the backs of my feet every time I wear them.  No joke.  And unfortunately, there are a few places on both pairs that look like the footwear material is about to pull out of the sole.  Durability may not be the claim to fame.

 But nonetheless, if you’ve seen the displays and questioned the “it’s not a shoe, it’s a sandal” claim, then we’d encourage you to try a pair out this summer.  Your feet will thank you.

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Ryders Eyewear

Post by:  Jake

Ryders (as the name implies) creates sunglasses for bikers.  While a relatively young company, Ryders has developed dozens of models of sunglasses and goggles with the biker in mind as opposed to most sunglass companies simply creating glasses for style.  That’s not to say Ryder’s glasses aren’t stylish, most of their models are simply designed first for function, then style.

Although style is a personal choice, and I’d encourage you to try and find a dealer and try on a few pairs first, the Defcon and the Seeker were my first choice in the Ryders lineup of glasses.  The Defcon’s I tried out had polarized photochromic lenses that automatically adjust to the light conditions, changing from light to dark in a matter of seconds. For me, the fit was pretty good, but is slightly “off” for some reason.  With a bike helmet on, the helmet rim pushes down on the frames ear arms slightly, making the nose piece ride up off my nose a bit.  Only a slight annoyance, but I suppose it could help to bring your bike helmet in with you when you try on sunglasses.   At $89.99 these glasses with photochromic lenses that are also polarized are an excellent value!

The Seeker glasses have polarized lenses and are exceptional at reducing glare.  Ever biked down a wet road when the sun comes out after the rain?  Situations like that and frequent fishing trips is enough to make anyone want a pair of glasses with polarized lenses.  Without a bike helmet these glasses fit well, but with a bike helmet fit was similar to the Deacons’, riding up a bit off my nose.   At $59.99 these glasses are a really good value.

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Great American Backyard Campout

The snow is just barely starting to melt here in Montana, and we’ve all been dying of cabin fever!  Time to go camping!  Join us and the rest of the nation for the Great American Backyard Campout on Saturday June 25th, 2011.  The National Wildlife Federation is sponsoring the event as a way to get kids outside and connected with nature.  So bust out the marshmallows, chocolate bars, and flashlights and take a kid camping!  Visit the official site and get signed up for prizes here.

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My Favorite Family Camping Food #1

Post by:  Jake

Over the next few weeks I’ll share a few of my favorite recipes for car camping.  #1 on my list is a childhood favorite.  Something my family has always referred to as “Hobo’s”.  Hobo’s consist of a meat patty (ground turkey, beef, pork sausage, ect.) topped with assorted veggies of your choice. Wrap it all up in a double thick layer of tin foil and plop the oversized Hershey’s kiss onto a bed of coals on the edge of a fire.  Wait about 10-15 minutes, unwrap and eat.  The best part is there’s VERY little clean up and everyone gets to customize their own Hobo to suit their taste buds.

Here’s how I prepare it for my family… Start by cutting a bunch of tin foil pieces about 14-inches long, take 2 for each Hobo and lay them perpendicular to eachother (so they form a plus sign “+”).  Pre-shape several meat patty’s about the size of a hamburger, and place one on the center of the pair of tin foil pieces.  Chop up whatever mixed veggies you can find: zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, carrots, potatoes, broccoli, onions, celery, cilantro, parsley, bell peppers, ect… into coin size pieces, except the potatoes, I usually slice those into potato chip size flakes.  I usually have a bowl for each different veggie so that when people are ready for dinner they can take a little of each type of veggie they want.  Have people take their foil and hamburger patty and start loading veggies on top of the hamburger patty.  Once completed, top off your pile with whatever spices you want.  I like a dash of ”season all” salt, or just salt and pepper and garlic powder.  When your pile is complete, take the sides of the foil and wrap the whole thing up like an oversized Hershey’s Kiss, and set it directly onto a bed of coals.  The steam from the meat and veggies will cook everything pretty fast.  The tighter you wrap your foil the better the steam will cook everything.  Your end product will be steamed veggies, and a unique burger that is fairly caramelized on the bottom from all the veggie moisture and direct heat.

That’s it.  My favorite camping recipe.  It’s so simple anyone can be successful and I’ve never met anyone that didn’t like the outcome since they created it themselves.

What are your favorite camping meals?


100 Classic Hikes in Oregon

Post by:  Guest Author John R.

From time to time we like to have friends and local experts contribute their writings and experiences.  This piece is from our friend and local Oregon hiking expert John R.  If you are interested in contributing a guest article please let us know here.

Guest Contributor Background:

John R. has been hiking since he was a little lad.  His parents often took his brother and him to places where they could hike and explore.  Those trips definitely instilled a sense of adventure and let’s-see-what-is-around-the-next-corner.  Growing up in the San Francisco bay area, his favorite trip destination was  Yosemite.  John has lived and hiked in Oregon since 1966 and has actually hiked portions of at least 35 of the trails mentioned in 100 Classic Hikes in Oregon.  John now lives in the Willamette valley some 90 miles south of Portland.  From his house it is 45 miles to the coast and about 70 miles to the Cascades.  He lives right in the shadow of Marys Peak, a 4,027 foot mountain in the coast range which he considers to be his personal backyard adventure area. While John enjoys hiking and summer backpacking, his favorite way to travel is on skis. 

About the book (words by John R.):

My first impression of the second edition of 100 Classic Hikes in Oregon was very good.  Douglas Lorain is a renaissance man.  He is an adventurer, a skilled writer, historian, geologist, botanist, and is storyteller with as sense of humor as well.  The layout of the book is first class, starting with an overview of the trails covered in the book as well as their location in the state and how easy or difficult the trails are.  The descriptions of the trails cover all of the necessary information including driving directions, distance, hiking time, elevation gain, difficulty, and best time of the year to hike.  I especially appreciated the very nice topographic maps and elevation chart for each hike.   He has also included descriptions of special features of the hike, for example, pertinent geological features or specific flora in the area.  Some of his descriptions of the hordes of winged vampires (mosquitos) are hilarious.

This book is suited to all levels of hikers, from beginners to experienced backpackers.  Some hikes are less than two miles while other hikes would take weeks to complete.  His  intimate knowledge of the trails he has included in his pages shows that he has actually a very comprehensive knowledge of the   various hikes throughout the state.  The photos in the book, which he took, are drop dead gorgeous. 

 When I open this book, I feel like I am a kid again going through the toy section of the Sears catalogue, dreaming of the presents I would like for Christmas.  Douglas has me pouring over his book, dreaming of new adventures in Oregon’s backcountry.  I have put together aa short list of the new hikes I want to do.  I know I won’t be able to hike all of the trails in this book, but he has shared the essence of his journeys and through this book, I can experience the magnificent variety and beauty of hiking in Oregon.

 ~John R.

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