All posts in “Outdoors and Fitness Desk”

This Clever Camp Stool Packs Down to the Size of a Whiskey Bottle — and Weighs Even Less

<!–This Clever Camp Stool Packs Down to the Size of a Whiskey Bottle — and Weighs Even Less • Gear Patrol<!– –>

Take a Load Off

OK, we admit it: as gear enthusiasts, we are sometimes prone to exaggeration. But the moment we laid eyes on the Hillsound BTR at last June’s Outdoor Retailer trade show, we were in love, and nearly a year later, that love remains true. The name stands for Better Than a Rock, and when it comes to taking a break on the trail, that’s exactly what it is.

The ultralight and packable product folds up small enough to stash in your pack’s water bottle slot, ready to unfurl into a surprisingly comfortable camp stool at a moment’s notice. And now, after months upon months of anxious watching and waiting, we’re stoked to say the BTR is available for purchase.

The BTR is available in two sizes, 14-inch and 17-inch, and while the former is naturally more transportable, the latter is highly recommended for those on the taller side (like, say, 6 feet and over). Condensed, the 14-incher is just 12.6 inches tall, quite comparable to your average 750-milliliter whiskey bottle. Both units weigh less than a pound (the 14-incher is just 12.6 ounces) and can support up to 240 pounds thanks to 100 percent nylon mesh fabric and aluminum alloy poles.

One other feature we love is Phantom Lock: the twisting telescopic legs magically lock out once fully engaged, capably supporting your trailside or campfire activities until it’s time to pack up and go.


Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Steve Mazzucchi

Steve Mazzucchi is Gear Patrol’s outdoors and fitness editor. Outside the office, you can find him mountain biking, snowboarding, motorcycling or sipping a dram of Laphroaig and daydreaming about such things.

More by Steve Mazzucchi | Follow on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email



<!– –><!–


These 9 Upcoming Products Will Seriously Upgrade Your Next Winter Adventure

Fresh off a couple days of backcountry skinning and sk’riding (skiing and riding) and three days trekking the floor at Denver’s Outdoor Retailer Snow Show, our heads are still spinning. Blame the altitude, the 80-plus meetings we took or 1,000-plus products we saw — or maybe those final night margaritas. Regardless, it’s a lot to process. 

But now that we’re coming up for air, we can take a moment to reflect on everything we saw and start to make sense of it. In the big picture, a ton of awesome stuff will be dropping for next winter. But zeroing in on our favorite upcoming releases, a couple of trends emerge.

The first one is accessibility. From a layering jacket that’s simultaneously warm and breathable to the perfect winter duffel and hiking shoe to snowboard and ski bindings that make life easier on the resort and way off-piste, several innovative new products stand out simply by lowering the many barriers to entry of cold-weather activities. 

The second one, critically, is sustainability. We’re stoked to see that apparel and gear makers are taking more and more steps to make use of existing resources and minimize footprints, be that in the form of solar-powered gear, an eco-friendly hoody or an earth-friendly reinvention of a product most of us rarely think about: ski wax. 

The future of cold-weather adventure can be scary to think about: it’s hard to know how long the powder will last. But as long as the passion we saw this past week remains, you can be sure we’ll be making the most of every flake. Without further ado, here are our Editors’ Picks for the best upcoming winter products. 

Additional contributions by Tanner Bowden and Steve Mazzucchi.

We attended the Outdoor Retailer Snow Show 2020 and covered it extensively. To see all of our product coverage, not just our award winners, you can head here.

Adidas Terrex Free Hiker C.Dry

Adidas proved with the original Free Hiker that sneakerhead-approved style and trail functionality aren’t mutually exclusive. With the upcoming winterized C.Dry version, it’s demonstrating that it can maintain that visual appeal within a highly technical set of features. The Free Hiker C.Dry uses a stretchy Primeknit upper that zips instead of laces, and Gore-Tex’s insulated Duratherm waterproof membrane supports it with weatherproof warmth. Adidas also gave the boot a grippy Continental rubber outsole and its beloved and springy Boost foam.

Black Diamond StoneHauler Duffel

When nearly every equipment maker has added a rugged duffel to its collection in recent years, it takes a lot to make one stand out (let alone win an award). But the StoneHauler does that, thanks to carefully designed features. Inside is an integrated storage bag that cinches shut, enclosing and separating anything that might be dirty from the rest of your stuff. The 35- and 45-liter Pro models even include an exterior-access padded laptop sleeve and the requisite backpack straps. To top it off, Black Diamond made all the StoneHauler duffels with an ultra-rugged fabric that’s 100 percent recycled.

Houdini Mono Air Houdi

It’s a sad reality that the more science progresses, the more we learn about the damage some of our manufacturing processes can do. For example, microplastic pollution in our waters, the byproduct of microfiber shedding from synthetic fleece. Upstart Swedish brand Houdini and Polartec teamed up to do something about it, and this hoodie featuring Polartec Power Air — a microfiber fabric that traps air and generates heat in small pockets — is the result. It boasts the performance of traditional fleece but sheds fives times fewer fibers. It’s also made of 73 percent recycled fibers and can be recycled again. The fact that this slim-fitting, functional garment is as comfortable and stylish as they come is just a bonus.

K2 Clicker x HB Binding

A couple weeks back, we applauded the efforts of CLEW, a German brand that won an ISPO award for rivaling Burton’s Step-On binding with its own innovative tech. Now K2 has leapt into the fray, revamping its Clicker tech with a new system featuring a highback and toe-heel mounts to better mimic the feel of a classic strap-in set-up. Potential advantages over Burton’s approach? K2 Clicker boots can still be used with traditional bindings, and the process of getting in and out may come naturally to cyclists, as it’s somewhat similar to engaging an SPD pedal. Not unlike the Marker binding below, we’d love to spend more time with the Clicker x HB to fully vet it, but our limited exposure has been promising.

Marker Duke PT Ski Binding

Marker has long been a critical player in the ski binding space, but Salomon earned yards when it released its versatile uphill-downhill Shift binding. Marker’s comeback will finally arrive in the Duke PT, a transformer of a binding with a removable toe piece that lets backcountry skiers walk uphill with 10.6 fewer ounces beneath each foot (weight counters rejoice!). When it’s time to ski down, the toe piece locks back into place and stays there thanks to a lever that engages when skiers click in their boots.

MountainFlow Eco-Wax

Here’s something you probably don’t think about much: all that petroleum-based wax on the bottom of your skis or snowboard slowly sloughs off into the snowpack, and last year, an estimated 2.5 million pounds of the stuff wound up in U.S. waterways when the snow melted. Enter MountainFlow Eco-Wax, an exhaustively researched and tested blend of plant-based waxes and oils that rivals the performance of traditional ski wax and costs the same or even less. We tried it out on some Colorado slopes and hardly noticed it, which is exactly what you want from ski wax. 

POC Cornea Solar Switch Goggle

Taking a bold swing in a snow optics market flooded with photochromic, LED and interchangeable lenses, the Solar Switch is a  liquid crystal lens that changes its tint in response to dynamic conditions, darkening when the sun is bright and lightening in clouds or shadows, quickly adjusting to accommodate everything from bluebird days to tree runs. And because it’s solar-powered, you never have to worry about charging it up or running out of juice on the slopes.

The North Face Summit L5 FutureLight Ventrix Jacket

Never mind its jargon-y mouthful of a name; all you need to know about one of The North Face’s newest jackets is that it combines two of the brand’s most impressive technologies. FutureLight is an incredibly breathable waterproof shell that launched this winter, and the somewhat-older Ventrix is a lightweight and breathable insulation. Combined in this jacket, they work to create a warm mid-layer that can hold its own as an outer layer too. Together, they prove The North Face is thinking creatively about how it mixes and matches its various apparel innovations.

Yakima CBX Solar Roof Box

Like it or not, electronics are part of heading to the outdoors. When they’re at their best, they improve rather than impede the experience. By integrating a solar panel into the lid of its forthcoming cargo box, Yakima is ensuring that happens by letting you charge an external battery or power bank while you cruise to your campsite. Sunflare produced the panel for Yakima’s purposes and made sure that it’s lightweight, thin and can stand up to anything that comes after it, like hail, falling sticks or an errant trekking pole. No surprise, then, that it was named Product of the Year at the Outdoor Retailer Innovation Awards — almost as lofty an honor as cracking our list.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

10 Products That Will Make Skiing Awesome in 2021

North America’s biggest outdoor industry tradeshow is on right now. Catch up on our highlights and follow us on Instagram for up-to-the-second coverage!

Skiing isn’t the foundation of the winter sports scene, it’s the bedrock. It only makes sense then, that skis, and the gear associated with skiing, are a primary focus of the biggest outdoor industry trade show in North America. Ski gear has come a long way in the past decade — no, nobody says “parabolics” anymore — but gear makers still find ways to push the sport further each season. Here are some of the latest examples.

Line Blade

Price: $900
Release Date: Fall 2020
So many skis these days try to give you everything you could ever want; lightness and power, float and edge control. Some do an excellent job of it, but we’re just as impressed by a ski that knows its place and owns it. Like the Blade, which Line made with one thing in mind — carving. After all, not all days are deep.

Marker Duke PT Binding

Price: $725+
Release Date: Fall 2020
Salomon proved that skiers no longer have to decide between uphill and downhill capabilities when it introduced the Shift binding, and it was only a matter of time before Marker followed suit. The Duke PT is by no means a copy though — its unique construction uses a toepiece that’s removable to keep weight down on the uphill. When it’s time to descend, lock it back in for full security.

Black Diamond Cirque 22 Vest

Price: $160
Release Date: Fall 2020
Black Diamond calls the Cirque 22 a vest, but you should think of it as a backpack. We’re not saying that it’s misnamed, just that it packs more utility than you might believe otherwise: it can carry skis, climbing skins (in a separate compartment), a helmet, avalanche safety tools and more.

Faction Agent 3.0 & 4.0

Price: $849, $899
Release Date: Fall 2020
Faction’s ski touring-focused Agent collection claims the best strength-to-weight ratio of any ski Faction makes (and it’s won awards that back the claim). For Winter 20/21, Faction is expanding the line with the wider 3.0 and 4.0, which have waist widths of 106mm and 116mm, respectively. That’s excellent news for those of us who like deep snow and don’t mind walking to get to it.

Sweet Protection Looper MIPS

Price: $159
Release Date: Fall 2020
When World Cup skiers top speeds of 75 miles per hour, they do so with an enormous amount of trust in their helmets. Sweet Protection has inspiring such faith for a decade and a half, and it’s latest helmet adapts racing tech for more casual skiers and snowboarders. The Looper MIPS has a shell with varying zones of elasticity and rigidity to provide protection without excess bulk and comes with a MIPS liner.

Dalbello Quantum Series

Price: Quantum Asolo Factory Boot $950
Release Date: Fall 2020
As with skis, today’s skiers want one pair of boots that can go everywhere. Dalbello has provided that with the resort- and backcountry-capable Lupo for years, but it’s never produced a touring-specific model until now. To create the Quantum Series, Dalbello is using an infrared welding process to bond two pieces of the shell, allowing for varying contours and a better overall fit. That, coupled with a lacing system that includes Dyneema and the ability for custom fit work, makes for a backcountry boot that’s lightweight, powerful and comfy.

POC Cornea Solar Switch

Price: TBA
Release Date: Fall 2020
The latest goggle technology allows skiers and snowboarders to ditch spare lenses entirely — when conditions change, they can adjust the tint with the push of a button, thanks to electrochromism. The best of them still use batteries and buttons, though, but not POC’s Cornea Solar Switch. The new goggle adapts to light conditions instantly and automatically and draws all the energy it needs to do so right from the sun.

Black Crows Justis

Price: $960
Release Date: Fall 2020
The Justis bridges the gap between two Black Crows all-mountain favorites. Where the Navis has a traditional rocker profile and the Daemon full reverse camber, the Justis makes do with early rise in both the tip and tail. Black Crows sandwiched a double titanal plate into its layup for power and, with a 100mm waist, created a ski that can pretty much go anywhere.

RMU Outdoors Ski Pack

Price: TBA
Release Date: Fall 2020
RMU started out making skis, but it proved itself to be a formidable power in the bag world when it introduced the travel-oriented Core Pack and BRFCS. We’re excited to see expertise from both realms combined into one product that brings tons of features — a helmet sling, rear zipper entry and dedicated avalanche tool organization, to name a few — to one slim, chairlift-friendly profile.

Rab Khroma Tour Infinium

Price: $100
Release Date: Fall 2020
Go to any ski resort, and you’re bound to see the locals eschewing dedicated ski gloves for a pair of leather Kinco’s, likely purchased at the hardware store or gas station for $20. Rab’s new Khroma Tour Infinium glove gets at the same idea — it has nimble leather fingers — but upgrades it with a Gore-Tex Infinium back and cuff. It is more expensive, but it’ll also last longer than a season and stay warm on cold days.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Tanner Bowden

Tanner Bowden is a staff writer at Gear Patrol covering all things outdoors and fitness. He is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School and a former wilderness educator. He lives in Brooklyn but will always identify as a Vermonter.

More by Tanner Bowden | Follow on Instagram · Contact via Email

Here’s How to Make Your Outdoor Gear Last Forever

Our warm-weather playground is closing for the season, which means that soon, you’ll be trading wheels for skis and waders for down jackets. We know — the winter stoke is real. But resist the urge to shove all your gear into the garage to be dealt with next spring; there’s work to be done.

Dirt and grime do a good job of hiding damage that’s accumulated over six months of fun. When it comes to something like a mountain bike, that buildup can impede the function of your drivetrain and other components. “Nothing’s more frustrating than trying to ride when the weather clears and getting stopped by surprise mechanical issues,” notes Nick Martin, founder of The Pro’s Closet, the largest e-retailer for pre-owned bikes and cycling gear.

And when it comes to a sport like climbing, poorly cared for gear can become a safety issue. “Taking a couple of hours in between seasons to go through all your gear is what sets you up for success — and safety — next season,” says Matt Hickethier, senior outdoor instructor for REI’s Denver location. Plus, you paid serious money for some of this stuff. “If you take care of high-quality hiking boots season after season, they can last you 20 years,” he adds.

Caring for your gear might not be as simple as leafing through the instruction manual (which you probably threw in the trash anyway). Below, you’ll find the best way to clean, dry, care for and store all your favorite summer gear so it’s ready for action at the first sign of a thaw next year.

Camping Gear

Sleeping Bags

Clean: You want to wash your sleeping bag as little as possible, especially if it’s down, since it makes the insulation clump and reduces its lifespan. (Hickethier likes to sleep with a liner and just washes that every few trips.) At the end of the season, place the bag in a front-load washing machine and use a mild detergent. The centralized spin on top-load machines can tear the stitching apart; if that’s all you have, lay your sleeping bag out and scrub it with an abrasive plastic brush and mild detergent. Then hose it off.

Dry: Hang to dry.

Care: If your bag came waterproof from its maker, use a spray (like Nikwax TX-Direct Spray-On) to restore that repellency.

Store: Once it’s completely dry, either hang the bag in your gear closet or put it in a mesh or breathable cotton bag that’s larger than the stuff sack you keep it in for trips. You want to keep the insulation as high a loft — that’s the fluffiness — as possible. Compression compromises the bag’s resilience, Hickethier says.

Cooking Equipment

Clean: Wipe down stoves and pots just like you would those in your kitchen, getting rid of any food particles that could breed bacteria or mold over the winter months. If you have a gas line, light the stove, then shut the gas off at the bottle rather than on the stove. According to Hickethier, this lets the gas flush through the line to the burner completely, and when it stops, you know the line is clear.

Dry: Let all components air dry. If the stove uses jet fuel, dry upside down so water isn’t pooling through the system.

Store: Your stove and cooking gear should be stored inside, away from the elements, which can erode the metal. Regulations for storing fuel vary by state and area, but if you have a flammables closet in your garage, that’s ideal. Otherwise, make sure it’s in an area that’s well ventilated, well contained and not going to overheat.


Clean: It’s important to get all the dirt off and out of your tent before storing it — any sand will act like sandpaper and degrade all your soft materials including stitching, Hickethier says. Turn the tent inside out, shake it, then scrub both it and the rainfly with a mild detergent (like Dawn) and a soft-bristled brush. Clean the ends of the poles that go into the ground and the stakes. Hose everything down.

Dry: Reassemble the entire tent and let it dry out somewhere indoors like in the garage, basement, even living room — UV rays actually wear down the materials over time, and since your tent obviously sits in the sun most of its erected life, you want to limit exposure as much as possible, Hickethier says.

Care: Put a UV treatment on the outside of the tent and the rainfly to extend its life. If there’s any peeling on the rainfly, treat with a waterproofing material like Nikwax. Check all your seams and cover any tape that’s peeling with silicone glue.

Store: Break down the poles and load them into the tent bag first. Never store poles under tension since they can start to wear out if taut over time, Hickethier says. Next, stuff the rainfly in the bag randomly, in a kind of circular pattern, followed by the body of the tent, then the footprint. Contrary to common sense organizational instincts, folding your tent is a no-no. “Every time you fold your tent, you’re creating constant wear on the same spots which will eventually break down the material, waterproofing and seams,” Hickethier explains.

Sleeping Pads

Clean: Inflate the pad, then hose it down, scrubbing with a mild detergent if it’s dirty.

Dry: Dry inside, out of UV light and inflated to ensure no water gets caught in creases.

Store: If it’s pillow style, pack the pad back down and store in its stuff sack. If it’s foam and self-inflatable, store the pad partially inflated with valves open to prevent the foam from breaking down under compression.

Hiking Gear

Hiking Boots

Clean: At the end of the season, do a thorough version of what you should do after every hike: Pull out the insoles, then give your boots a light wash with water, mild detergent or leather cleaner (if applicable) and a soft brush.

Dry: Hang boots upside down to allow air to flow in and excess moisture to drain out until they’re completely dry.

Care: Check all materials for degradation. If your boots are leather and puckering, turning a lighter color, or starting to look like dry skin, apply leather conditioner (Nikwax makes a good one) and let that set, then re-waterproof with a wax-based solution or silicone-based wax. Unlace your boots and check the strings’ conditions — if they’re fraying anywhere (it’ll likely be where they’re crossing a grommet) replace them. Check all metal components, like the hooks that help cinch the ankle cuff, and make sure there’s no damage or warping there. If the soles are separating anywhere, use a silicone glue (though if your soles are Vibram, contact the manufacturer because they should put a whole new one on for you).

Store: Keep boots in a dry, low-light spot, like the bottom of your closet or in a container in a low-humidity garage.


Clean: At the very least, empty your pack, turn it inside out and shake it to get all the small pieces of dirt and food out. If your pack has seen a lot of mud, turn it right side out and use a mild soap (like Dawn), a vinyl or plastic scrub brush and lukewarm water, scrubbing in a circular motion until all the dirt is gone. Make sure the water isn’t too hot, so it doesn’t shrink the material, Hickethier says. Check the straps and the buckle components for embedded mud or dirt.

Dry: Lay flat outside to dry.

Care: Check that the stitching isn’t fraying or peeling anywhere and that all hard components (i.e., plastic buckles) are still functioning correctly. Replace before storing.

Store: Don’t hang the bag — leaving the straps under tension, even lightly, will cause the material to stretch over time. Instead, compress the pack in a storage bin and store it somewhere with low moisture.

Water Reservoirs

Clean: A poorly cleaned, sealed reservoir is the perfect environment to breed mold and bacteria, Hickethier says. If your bladder had anything other than water in it (like an electrolyte drink) or there are signs of mineral buildup from hard water, use a dissolvable tablet, like Bottle Bright or CamelBak Cleaning Tablets, which create a bubble effect to scrub the inside of the reservoir. Run through the line, then rinse the whole thing out. (You can also use warm water, silicone-safe soap like Dawn and a soft brush, but the soap is harder to get out completely.)

Dry: Disconnect the line (if it has one), drain all the water, then hang vertically to dry (like over a hook). Some newer bladders will turn inside out, which is ideal. Otherwise, invest in a reservoir hanger (like this one from Camelbak) which is designed to keep the rubber and silicone components open so the bladder can drip dry completely.

Store: Keep the cap off, then fold the hose in half and tuck the bend into the mouth of the bladder to keep it open. Store it with the rest of your hiking gear. Some people also like to store the whole thing in their freezer to ensure no mildew develops.

Biking Gear

Road and Mountain Bikes

Clean: It’s definitely possible to wash a bike too much or too hard, says Martin. “Bikes are full of moving parts that are small and delicate,” he explains. “Overzealous washing can actually force crucial lubricants out of these parts and push dirt and grime in.” Be gentle: fill a spray bottle with warm water and a little mild dish soap (this, according to Martin, works just as well as bike-specific degreasers) and spray the whole thing down. Use a soft brush or cloth to agitate dirt and grime, especially on the chain and drivetrain. “A dirty or unlubricated drivetrain will cause a lot of premature wear, noise and shifting issues,” he adds. Rinse the frame and components with a hose or a bucket of clean water.

Dry: “Leaving your bike dripping wet is a recipe for corrosion,” Martin says. Take a small cloth and wipe down everything you can reach, including the chain and drivetrain. You can use a detailing spray (like Pedro’s Bike Lust) on the painted surfaces for an extra sheen and help in repelling dirt and dust during storage and on your next ride.

Care: Once dry, apply a chain lubricant to your drivetrain. “Only the chain needs lubrication and only on the rollers,” Martin warns. Use a rag to wipe away any excess lube that lands outside the chain or on the cassette, chainrings and derailleur pulleys. Run your shifter up and down through all the gears to make sure it doesn’t need any more tuning before you store. Then, take an inventory of what maintenance you can do during the off-season. For mountain bikes, you want to service the suspension once a year, either on your own or at a bike or suspension shop, Martin advises. On any bike, check all your consumable components like the chain, tire and brake pads for wear, and replace them if needed.

Store: Store your bike indoors — namely somewhere dry and shielded from the weather, because sun, wind, rain and snow will damage and shorten the lifespan of every component on your bike, Martin says. (If you have no choice but to keep it outside, get a waterproof cover and maintain it regularly.) You can keep it on the ground, but the most convenient way to store a bike is on a hook. For road, cyclocross or gravel bikes, hang them however you like (i.e., upside down or vertically from the ceiling or wall). Mountain bikes with suspension forks should be hung vertically — never upside down — with the front wheel up to keep the seals and foam rings in the fork from drying out.

Cycling Shoes

Clean: Pull out the insoles and wash with water, mild detergent or leather cleaner and a soft brush.

Dry: Stuff with newspaper and set in an airy space to let dry. Be sure they dry completely before storing.

Store: Keep shoes in a dry, shady spot, like a container in a low-humidity garage.


Clean: Take a brush and clean with warm water and a gentle soap or shampoo, since you already know that won’t irritate your skin, Martin points out.

Dry: Hang to dry in a well-ventilated area.

Store: Store in a container in a low-humidity garage (out in the open risks dust and cobwebs).

Fishing Gear

Fly Lines

Clean: “Your line is exposed to dirt, sand, rocks and all kinds of funky stuff in the water that wants to decrease slickness and start breaking down the line,” observes Shawn Combs, Director of Product Development for Rod & Tackle at Orvis. Run the entire line through a Scientific Anglers cleaning pad — or a paper towel if you’re in a pinch.

Dry: Air dry.

Store: Re-spool your reel and store.


Clean: Wipe down with a clean, dry cloth. Wash reel in warm water with a soft cloth.

Dry: Air dry.

Store: Store in a rod tube.

Waders and Boots

Clean: River water should be rinsed off with a hose, and any mud on your boots scrubbed off with a soft brush and gentle dish soap.

Dry: Hang your waders to dry. Stuff boots with newspaper and leave in a well-ventilated area.

Store: Fold waders and store alongside boots in a container.

Climbing Gear

The most significant care aspect of climbing gear is to adhere to the manufacturer recommendations of life expectancy since your life depends on the reliability of these products. “Even if a rope was never used, it still has a life expectancy for how long that piece of gear is serviceable,” Hickethier explains. Info for harnesses, ropes and protective equipment can all be found on the manufacturer’s website.


Clean: You may still use your harness inside during the winter, but you want to clean all the dirt and grime from the outdoor season off. Always handwash it to prevent fraying and breaking, Hickethier says. Scrub the soft material and metal parts with warm, soapy water.

Dry: Hang inside to dry.

Care: Before you store it, as well as before each use, inspect the stitching, lacing and hard components of your harness. Fix anything immediately — if you forget and head out with a broken buckle, it’s hazardous, Hickethier points out.

Store: Pack flat, somewhere dry, so the material doesn’t stretch out.

Climbing Shoes

Clean: Since bouldering shoes get more dusty than dirty and have a particular grip to them, skip the soap and rinse with warm water until it runs clear.

Dry: Stuff with newspaper and set in a well-ventilated area to dry.

Store: Store alongside the rest of your climbing gear.


Clean: Fill your bathtub or sink with warm water and add rope wash (like this one from Beal) and let it soak according to the package instructions. If the water is exceptionally dirty, drain and repeat until the water runs clear.

Dry: Set rope outside to dry.

Store: Wrapping a rope tightly can create kinks and degrade the fibers over time, Hickethier says. Instead, coil it loosely on the ground or hung on two supports (like nails). Store away from UV light.


Clean: If the metal parts have gunk built up inside, rinse with hot water and mild soap.

Dry: Wipe dry with a cloth.

Care: Lubricate the metal parts you washed, as well as any clean cams in need of some slickness (use a product like Metolius Cam Lube). Check the webbing to ensure it’s clean and not wearing down. If it’s degrading, most companies will re-sling it for you, Hickethier says.

Store: Attach to a carabiner to keep organized, then store with the rest of your climbing gear.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

The 7 Best Workout Gloves, According to Personal Trainers

When you start a new workout routine, changes often need to be made: that could mean everything from adjusting to an earlier morning alarm to learning the proper weight for a deadlift versus a farmer’s carry. And if you find yourself in the weight room frequently, you’ll notice some changes in your hands — from barbell blisters to rough palm patches.

Solution? Weightlifting gloves. These guys can quickly become your trusty sidekicks, helping you work out harder and more efficiently while protecting your hands and wrists from the weighted pressure.

They can support your wrists when lifting heavy weights, to relieve the pressure and provide more structure and protection, says Abby Schmidt, CPT and Instructor at Studio Three in Chicago.

Even better, they can actually help you heave heavier weights. “Using gloves takes the pressure out of your fingers and hands and puts the weight into your forearms, which can increase how much you’re able to lift,” she explains.

When looking for gloves, make sure they are easy to clean. A buildup of sweat and moisture in them can lead to skin infections, says Caleb Backe, CPT and health expert for Maple Holistics. It’s also worth considering what workout you’re choosing.

“Gloves, wrist supports and lifting straps should vary depending on the workout,” he says. “When doing muscle-ups, gloves are important because you can easily tear up your hands. Wrist support should be the main priority when doing heavy dumbbell press and overhead press.”

With that in mind, these are the seven best options.

Schiek Sports 425 Power Lifting Gloves

Best Everyday Weightlifting Gloves

“These gloves serve a more diverse purpose, which means they are functional for a wide variety of your weight training needs,” Backe says. They are ideal for several different types of lifting, as they give added wrist and hand support to help with a variety of workouts and moves. “While they won’t make up for grip strength, they will protect your wrists from injury and stop your hand from getting calloused,” he adds.

Trideer Padded Weight Lifting Gloves

Best Budget Weightlifting Gloves

“These gloves are super durable and come at a great price point,” says Schmidt. The Trideer gloves are great for powerlifting and using heavy weights. “The gloves are padded through the palm and the fingers and are fully supported with added StretchBack Lycra for increased flexibility through the wrists,” she says. Use them with deadlifts, heavy chest and back exercises.

RimSports Premium Weight Lifting Gloves

Best Powerlifting Gloves

“These gloves are ideal for powerlifting because they help improve your ability to pick up the heaviest bar possible,” says Backe. “They give you the necessary wrist support to lift heavier weights and also double as lifting straps,” he explains. What’s more, they can help you build muscle past your grip strength limitations, so you can expect some serious gains when wearing these on your hands and wrists.

Fit Active Sports RX1 Weight Lifting Gloves

Best Travel Weightlifting Gloves

“The Fit Active RX1 Weight Lifting glove would be my choice for travel, [as it] combines user friendly features for comfort and support, including wrist straps and breathable material,” says Jamie Hickey, CPT, founder of Truism Fitness. Plus, they’re easy to pack in a small carry-on and keep odors at bay due to the openhanded design and ventilation.

Pullup & Dip Grip Pads

Most Versatile Weightlifting Gloves

“These gloves are ideal for muscle-ups, pull-ups, dips and kettlebell workouts because they don’t restrict your wrist mobility,” Backe explains. “These gloves will protect your hands near your fingers while still allowing you to have the proper dexterity in your wrist,” he adds, so swap opt for these gloves if you do a lot of bodyweight or kettlebell work.

Crown Gear Weightlifting Gloves

Most Stylish Weightlifting Gloves

“For style I would choose Crown Gear weight lifting gloves,” says Hickey. “Featuring a striking black and red design with ergonomically curved fingers, these gloves are very easy on the eyes,” he says. Plus, the gloves are made from soft leather with stitching for contrast and durability, so they’re super sleek while still being incredibly functional.

Mark Bell Sling Shot Lifting Straps

Best Lifting Straps

“These are very affordable and offer extra hand support if you’d like to train while giving your grip a rest,” says Aaron Alexander, CR, LMT, CPT, author of The Align Method. They’re strong, light and made of high-quality materials. “These can also come in handy for gymnastics or training on pull-up bars,” he says.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

This Is the Best New Outdoor Gear, According to Experts

While our team headed to Denver’s Outdoor Retailer to check out all the awesome adventure gear to look forward to in 2020, Europe has its own showcase for innovative products called OutDoor by ISPO, which went off last week in Munich. And amongst 203 items in 28 categories, judges chose just four Outstanding OutDoor Award winners. Here’s what caught their attention and is worth keeping an eye out for next year.

Vaude Redmont All-Weather Jacket

Judges loved the sustainability touches in this wind- and waterproof jacket. Vaude eliminated pesticides and herbicides from the organic cotton that forms the building blocks of this coat. All the accents, such as the trims and logo, are made of certified cork, keeping with the earth-friendly trend. Plus, the jacket looks great on city streets and the mountainside.

The North Face Futurelight Jacket

Our team is very familiar with The North Face’s newest technology, Futurelight, thanks to an Aspen ski trip this past winter. It’s no surprise that this waterproof yet breathable coat won at OutDoor by ISPO. Nano-spinning technology changes the level of breathability throughout the jacket, keeping it comfortable and waterproof through winter storms and sweaty uphills.

Petzl Mountaineering Belt Fly

Petzl’s newest harness aims to please ski mountaineers. The combination of metal and conventional buckles is both balanced and lightweight at just 90 grams. The comfort foam is removed to make more space for gear loops that will hold your ice axes, ropes, carabiners and more.

Adidas Terrex Myshelter Parley Jacket

This Adidas jacket passes muster with us too thanks to its cowl-like collar and beautifully tapered fit. The all-white three-layer piece is breathable (surprise!) and built to keep you dry during your commute. OutDoor by ISPO judges liked the blend of performance fabric with a lifestyle cut and design, plus the Parley sustainability mission means ocean plastic makes up at least part of this jacket.

Bike Pain-Free With These Game-Changing Cycling Upgrades

Pretty much any seasoned cyclist will tell you, if you feel a consistent pain on a ride, look at your frame fit. If your back hurts, your seat is probably angled too high; if your hands are going numb, your stem length is perhaps off.

But there’s also a level of expected — and accepted — mild discomfort. For me, that’s always been in the saddle and my knees. I’ve traded out my seat twice, tried covers, adjusted the angle of the saddle itself… but no matter what, I feel like I’m sliding off the pint-size perch; I can’t quite find that sweet sitting spot to lock and load instead of squirm.

As for my knees, they also act up during long runs and, since I know my frame fits and is set up correctly for my dimensions, I’ve long written off the dull ache as a biomechanical issue I can only hope to mitigate with cross-training and better recovery.

Then, last summer, I went through a fitting with Retül Match, a program owned by Specialized that uses full-body mapping sensors to determine your bone shapes and imbalances. A technician took pressure points of my foot, measured my femur length, measured my sit bones on a pressure map and lightly analyzed my biomechanics.

(Note: The company also has a super intensive fitting conducted from Specialized’s Boulder shop that analyzes your entire biomechanics on a bike, but I just did the program on the Match Tower that’s in bike shops nationwide)

The first few things they told me I already knew: I have a wide toe box and super high arches, which limits what kinds of shoes I’ll find comfortable in pretty much every sport, cycling included. But then they dropped statistics I hadn’t heard, or even considered: My sit bones were wider than most, so I need a 168mm saddle compared to the standard 135mm. My left foot naturally turns out 5 to 10 degrees.

What that meant: I needed to upgrade my saddle and reinstall my shoe cleats at the proper angle.

It sounds super basic, maybe even obvious if you’re a super seasoned rider. But in my two years getting into the sport, these were levels of detail I had never considered.

My first 60-miler with a new perch and properly aligned cleats felt like I had popped half a bottle of ibuprofen and gotten two days worth of sleep before heading out. My knees didn’t ache, and my undercarriage didn’t start screaming till the last 10 miles (hey, some things are inevitable).

Now, every rainy day that I go to a spin class where the saddles are all that 135mm, I can recognize that my constant battle against sliding off the seat is not just part of a ride, but something I can control (if only studios would let me bring my seat in).

It’s worth pointing out some pains are most likely the result of an improper fit or not enough core strength: namely, neck pain, hand pain, low-back pain and some knee pain. But the minor details are often overlooked by intermediate riders, says Todd Carver, founder of Retül, possibly because it takes a skilled fitter, advanced technology — not to mention time and money — to figure out the finer details.

But the payoff is real: “Comfort is the most immediate benefit of these minor tweaks,” says Carver. “But long-term, you also get a reduced risk of overuse injury and better efficiency by ensuring the right balance is created between fit aggressiveness and rider flexibility.”

Intrigued? You’ll get the most benefit from paying for your fitting at a local bike shop (you can find Retül Match programs here). Meantime, here are the main micro-changes that might make all the difference to your ride.

Trade Your Saddle Shape

If you feel constant pain or numbness in your, ahem, undercarriage, or like you can never get comfortable on the perch, the stock saddle is probably wrong for your body. The two variables here are width and shape — and it’s pretty much the opposite of one-size-fits-all, Carver says.

Ask your local bike shop for a saddle fit, where they should measure your sit-bone width, then let you try a zillion shapes till one feels right under your tush. Here are a few of our favorites for different booties.

Pro Stealth

A cult favorite among aggressive riders supporting stubby saddles, this seat is wider at the nose, allowing you to stay at the front of the saddle and in the drops for longer periods of times. The wide middle cut-out chops weight and helps take pressure off the soft tissue.

Planet Bike A.R.S. Anatomic Relief Saddle

This comfort saddle has firm foam padding to keep your sit bones from screaming and a slight mid-channel for blood flow. It feels cheaper than the saddles that’ll run you triple digits, but the gel top and affordable price tag make for an easy upgrade on a budget.

Selle SMP Pro

For guys with wide sit bones and serious perineal pain, this Italian-made saddle may be worth the price tag. The super wide center channel will cushion your soft tissue and optimize circulation while the drop nose encourages you to stand more often, alleviating the pressure underneath.

Tweak Your Cleats

Try this: Standing on one foot, lift your knee till it’s up 90 degrees. Look down at your foot; is it hanging straight ahead or slightly askew? Chances are it’s the latter. “All humans have a natural foot angle,” Carver says. Clipless pedals will make each stroke more efficient, but when your foot is clipped in perfectly straight with zero float, this causes weird torque on all parts of your leg, which translates to ankle, knee or hip pain, he explains.

Speedplay Zero Pedals

“Some cleats are fixed and have no float, which can be a huge problem as the foot has no room to rotate once clipped in,” Carver says. Float essentially lets your heel pivot slightly as you pedal. The ideal amount of swivel is a personal (and biomechanical) preference, but we — along with countless pro cyclists — love the Speedplay Zero pedal system; when paired with their Aero Walkable Cleats, you can adjust from wide open (15 degrees) down to a fixed position (zero float).

Crank Brothers Zero Float Cleats

There’s a solid camp of zero float devotees, as being completely locked in gives you optimal power. And that’s OK — adjusting the angle of your cleats may be enough to help offset the biomechanical issues causing your knee pain. These Crank Brothers cleats are durable but offer no play, so be sure your cleats are installed to match your natural foot angle.

BikeFit Cleat Wedges

Instead of angling your cleats, you can insert these wedges between your cleat and shoe to offset your biomechanical foot angle issues. By adding a little lift on the inside or outside of your foot, your leg won’t rotate inward or outward and, theoretically, your power will increase and knees will ache less. Considering these run about the price of a decent bottle of wine and don’t require the help of a fitter, they’re a pretty easy troubleshoot to lower limb pains.

Get Fitted for Shoes

Shoes that are too small overall or cause hot spots and numbness in your feet make for a very uncomfortable ride. You want enough room for that mid-ride swell in size, but also a tight closure around the heel and midfoot for optimal power production, Carver says. Just like with running shoes, you should go into a store, get fitted and try on a variety of brands to determine which best fits your foot shape, but here are a few of the most promising options.

Specialized Torch 2

This iconic mid-tier cycling shoe features Specialized’s signature Body Geometry technology, which means it was ergonomically designed to better align the hip, knee and forefoot to improve pedaling efficiency and decrease pain points. The Torch 2 specifically has a more relaxed fit around the toe box than other models (though it’s probably still too tight for those with a wide forefoot) and a less constrictive fit along the foot. Additionally, the insole is designed to minimize hot foot and support your arches.

Bont Vaypor S

The Vaypor S shoes are super light with a dual-layer Boa system that lets you get a tight fit without hot spots. Their biggest selling point is the wide toe box (akin to Altra running shoes), which theoretically allows your toes to grip, balance and resist more naturally than being crammed together. We also love that they come with a custom heat-molded footbed.

Louis Garneau Course Air Lite II

The shoe itself fits snugly in the heel with minimal stack height, but what makes it stand out is its adaptive fit. It features a lace design from top to toe, which means multiple anchoring points but with Boa closures for those ideal micro-adjustments. The included insole has three adjustable arch wedges for personalized support, but most impressive is LG’s patented X-comfort zone material. It’s essentially an elastomer-spandex built into the shoe’s upper that gives as your foot expands with heat without compromising the stability of the shoe.

Insert Insoles

Ideally, you want to support your natural arch, even if it’s neutral, to prevent it from collapsing while riding. This can go a long way toward preventing foot problems like toe numbness and plantar fasciitis, as well as knee pain, says Carver.

Specialized Body Geometry SL Footbeds

These Body Geometry insoles have three distinct arch supports, plus another for your metatarsals (placed right off the medial arch, something most footbed designs get wrong). They come in three levels of support depending how high your arches are from the start.

Sidas Bike+ Flashfit Footbeds

If your arches have dropped or you naturally have flat feet, opt for a custom footbed. Carver recommends having a mold created by a skilled fitter or medical professional, but for a quick at-home option, these heat-moldable insoles from beloved footbed company Sidas can help.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

These 5 Awesome New Bike Products Will Transform Your Next Ride

Outerbike is a combination of a trade show, a trailhead tailgate and one of those dreams in which you have all the toys you’ve ever wanted and your only worry in the world is wondering which to play with first. Unlike other industry events, Outerbike lets attendees demo the bikes, not just look at them, which makes it a great place to go if you’re interested in picking up a new mountain or gravel bike.

Sun Valley, site of the most recent iteration of the event, offers great riding and a real chance to see what a bike can do. Attendees get lift tickets, lunch, happy hours and unlimited access to the trails for three days. If you’re thinking of getting a new mountain bike, it’s the place to go. If you missed Sun Valley, don’t worry, there are three more events this year. Meantime, here are the five coolest things we saw this past weekend.

Cannondale Topstone

Cannondale’s latest gravel offering picks up the slack between their value-driven alloy Topstone and the shreddy-but-heavy Slate. The Topstone Carbon builds in 30mm of rear suspension using carbon flex and a pivot that Cannondale calls the “Kingpin.” A compliant handlebar, wide tire clearance and a range of bottle cage and accessory bolts (that are actually weight bearing and not just flimsy rivnuts) make this bike a great choice for gravel racing, light bikepacking and comfort commuting. We tested it on trails and dirt roads and it feels fast!

Open WI.DE Frameset

Open more or less invented the gravel bike with the groundbreaking UP a few years ago. Now the brand is reinventing it with the huge clearances on their newest drop-bar adventure bike. WI.DE stands for “winding detours” and that is where Open wants you to go with their new frameset. Clearance for 2.4-inch tires means you can shred singletrack, but a road crank means you can efficiently cover ground in your road position. This isn’t a road race bike or a mountain bike — it’s a little bit of both, and it looks like a lot of fun.

Pivot Shuttle – Race Build

Long travel bikes are great, but they suck to ride uphill. E-bikes are also great, but some aren’t designed as bikes as much as small motorcycles. Pivot makes awesome mountain bikes and added a motor to their trail bike to create the Shuttle, a bike that powers up the trail and shreds down, meaning you don’t have to pile into a smelly van to get to the starting line. With 29-inch wheels, 160mm of plush travel and a weight of 44.75 pounds, this bike is an endure ripper that just happens to have an electric boost — not a moped with some token suspension. If you’re interested in bigger lines and rougher trails but don’t want to drive back uphill, this might bike ticks all the boxes. Yes, it’s pricy, but some of the $7,899 price tag is amortized by potential savings on lift passes and/or beers for the poor person who would be shuttling you otherwise.

Rotor 1x 13

Rotor’s new 1×13 groupset is more than just an incremental step past the existing 11- and 12-speed standards. Why? Because a 2×11 setup has 13 unique combinations, meaning that you can get the same range and the same jumps as most existing road bikes without a front derailleur on Rotor’s new system. The closed hydraulic system will never need charging and won’t ever suffer from cable stretch. The system does use its own hub and offers four cassette sizes from 10-36 to the enormous 20-52 as well as chainrings in two tooth increments from 26-54t.


Moots bikes might have a timeless look thanks to their largely round tube titanium construction, but they’ve got much more to offer than classic looks. The ROUTT YBB uses a “softtail” micro suspension that ’90s mountain bikers will recognize. Mountain bikes have moved on, but for gravel bikes, the 20mm of rear axle travel might be perfect for taking the sting out of long days, especially when combined with the huge 700x45mm tire clearance. Also making a comeback, thankfully, is a threaded bottom bracket that shouldn’t creak like many press fit designs on modern bikes. Moots is offering select builds for 2019; these options promise a faster build and delivery time than their standard bespoke builds while still allowing buyers to upgrade everything from the groupset to the decals to make their bike unique.

The Best New Running Shoes Out This Month

With spring races just around the corner and more hours of sunshine in each day, it’s time to take your treadmill miles to the road. Each month there are a seemingly large number of new sneakers released, whether they’re updates to old versions or brand new models — and it can be hard to figure out which ones are worth buying. We’ve sifted through the noise for you; Here are all the running sneakers we’re excited about that launched this month.

Inov-8 Roclite 275

This light and speedy sneaker is ideal for rocky trails. Despite weighing just 9-ounces, the mesh upper and grippy, lugged outsole are heavy duty and won’t fall apart after 50 miles.

S/Lab Ultra 2

The S/Lab Ultra is for those on the high mileage side of trail running. At $180, it’s not an entry-level shoe, but runners in the know will recognize and put value in the name Françoise D’haene, an ultrarunner who collaborated on the design. He wore these during his record-breaking run of California’s John Muir Trail last October. Salomon’s newest trail runners will handle 50-mile trail races in stride, plus the improved fit means there’s ample room for foot swell.

Mizuno Wave Horizon 3

The newest sneaker from Mizuno is built for those who need stability on their runs. For those familiar with the Mizuno family of shoes, the midsole is the same as the Wave Enigma, Wave Rider and Wave Prophecy. For those who haven’t tried it, the foam is soft and cushioned, so you have a plush feel as soon as you step in.

Adidas Running x Game of Thrones

These unisex shoes, inspired by the television series Game of Thrones, come in six limited edition styles and colors. Expect the same great performance features the Ultraboost is known for like a cushioned feel and a grippy Continental outsole.

Skechers Go Run Razor 3 Hyper

In honor of the Los Angeles marathon (on March 24), Skechers, a title sponsor, released a new colorway of the speedy Gorun Razor. We tested a version of this sneaker and awarded it as one of the Best New Running Shoes of 2018, so we expect this version, which has only had a color update, will also help us pick up the pace and log some speedy meters.

Asics MetaRide

After a brief 20-minute treadmill run in the Asics MetaRide, we can vouch that the rocker technology makes for a seriously different feel. Heel strikers will get the most energy return as they hit the ground with their heel and feel the shoe roll forward (picture a rocking chair moving back and forth), which helps eliminate some energy output on your part.

The 15 Best New Running Shoes of 2018

This definitive guide to the best new running shoes of 2018 explores everything you need to know before buying new running shoes this year, including shoes from Brooks, Altra, Adidas, Asics, Mizuno, Reebok and more. These twelve shoes are worth tracking down this year. Read the Story

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

10 Workout Recovery Products That Feel Damn Good

The science behind recovery gear should come with an asterisk. It’s not that it doesn’t work, but the benefits may be more mental than physical; there’s a limit to how much it can help. The term active recovery stems from the effort to ease soreness and prepare our bodies for the next effort. And yet, science shows that the best recovery method is actually passive, free and something we can’t function without sleep.

The perception that we are involved in our recovery is hard to shake. How many runners and cyclists take an Epsom salt bath after a hard workout to help flush out lactic acid? Lactic acid doesn’t cause muscle soreness. Instead, it recycles itself back into stored energy within an hour after exercise. By the time an athlete gets home and fills the bathtub, the lactic acid is gone.

When you start a new training regimen, you might not be sore right away but you will likely feel it several days later. That phenomenon is known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and is caused by micro-tears in muscles (and not by lactic acid as is a common myth), most often happening in movements where the muscles stretch or lengthen. Think the lowering of your arm during a bicep curl or the stepping down from a box jump. That soreness remains the primary justification for massage products and the use of ibuprofen. Before you throw down hundreds for some fancy leg chambers you saw an Olympian using on Instagram, know your money is likely better spent on a comfy recliner.

That’s not an excuse to skip cooldown exercises or massages – mainly if they work for you – as studies continue to find benefits, even if they can’t explain them. “I am a big advocate of recognizing the principle of individual differences,” Dixie Stanforth, Ph.D., Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine (FACSM), and editorial board member of ACSM Health & Fitness Journal, says. She’s a big fan of foam rollers and massage, which allow you to enter a parasympathetic state, where your body knows to slow your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate. One caveat with rollers is that getting too intense can cause pain and trigger the body’s fight or flight response, where your heart rate spikes and you have a burst of energy. Make sure to track your heart rate and let your body come back down to a resting state before calling it quits.

We pulled ten of the best recovery aids to help you improve sleep and muscle soreness. While pampering yourself into a relaxed state may be the most beneficial outcome, anything that feels good after using it is worth the investment.

Fit Simply Resistance Bands

For light-resistance stretches or recovery cooldowns, these bands can work muscles in a variety of ways you can’t (safely) get from free weights. The five color-coded bands represent different weights, with the red one providing two pounds of resistance and the black one registering around 25 pounds. For recovery, you want to stay on the lower end of that scale — save those heavier bands for an actual workout. It’s a simple set that’s affordable and travel-friendly, plus it comes with a lifetime guarantee.

Trigger Point Grid Foam Roller

The Grid Foam Roller is one of the original self-massage tools. A lot of the ‘upgrades’ stray toward more dubious claims and cost more. This hands-on approach to massage helps your body know its time to begin recovering. There is evidence that post-effort self-massage with a foam roller can temporarily increase the range of motion and alleviate muscles soreness over a few days. It’s not a torture device, so avoid movements that cause too much discomfort as misuse can also lead to injury. Do you need one that vibrates? Probably not.

Addaday Type J+ Junior Roller

The Junior+ Roller is a favorite travel-ready massage tool. It’s a larger and softer version of the balls used on Addaday’s stick rollers, which is good since the massage roller reaches some of the more sensitive muscles, like feet. The roller sits inside an easy-to-grip frame that can also sit on the floor while you work your arches. If you’ve held off buying a roller before, the Junior is an excellent entry-point to recovery. It will quickly become a must-pack for post-race bags.

Oofos OOmg Fibre Low Shoes

If your workout runs overtime, elevating your legs isn’t always an option. That’s where recovery footwear comes in. The Oofos flip-flops make great house footwear, but don’t fare as well outside. The shoes can go out on errands and withstand light outdoor use. A flexible and breathable upper makes for a snug, sweat-free fit meaning they make walking around after a workout extremely comfortable, especially for those with foot issues like plantar fasciitis.

Tailwind Rebuild Drink

Sometimes a ride or run goes long, and you’re behind schedule. A recovery drink can help save time and sate your hunger for more than an hour. Tailwind’s Rebuild recovery mix is unique in that it offers a complete protein made from vegan ingredients like organic rice, amino acids and coconut milk. The six-pack of single-use packets comes in chocolate or vanilla.

CEP Merino Socks for Recovery

Compression socks have shown promise as a legit post-run recovery device, though some studies had participants wear them for an improbable two days after a marathon effort, and then tested their recovery on a treadmill test. Hopefully, you’re not running to failure anytime soon after a marathon. Pros and weekend warriors alike swear by their socks, and even researchers admit that a perceived reduction in muscle soreness and inflammation may benefit the athlete. At worst, wearing these is a comfortable way to signal you are in lounging mode. Weekend warriors may want to use them to alleviate next-day soreness for those Saturday-Sunday efforts.

Charlotte’s Web Extra Strength CBD Oil

The science behind CBD and its benefits is still emerging, which means it is easy for companies to throw out overreaching claims and hope research backs them up some day. That said, studies in humans have found that full-spectrum hemp oil can curb anxiety and reduce inflammation which in turn help regulate sleep. Hemp oil is also high in omega fatty acids and plays well with other micronutrients. Charlotte’s Web sources its hemp from Colorado farms which have a reputation for monitoring soil contamination and product consistency. Despite the naming convention, the Extra Strength oil is a good entry level, as the Original Formula contains three times as much CBD.

Nuun Rest

If you have trouble falling asleep, try one of these magnesium and tart cherry-packed tablets. The melatonin in these tablets will aid sound sleep — dissolve one tablet in four ounces (half a cup) and don’t worry about getting up in the middle of the night. The Lemon Chamomile and Blackberry Vanilla flavors can be served cold, or try one in warm water with a dash of honey, like a tea.

Slumbercloud Nacreous Cooling Mattress Pad

Cooler bedroom temperatures make for better sleep — aim for 60 to 67 according to The Cleveland Clinic — but the thermostat can’t keep heat from building up between your body and the mattress. This cooling mattress pad siphons excess heat into the mattress and returns it when your temperature drops. The liner inside the mattress pad contains tiny beads that attract or repel heat according to a set temperature, creating a consistent sleeping temperature, which is especially useful for old school souls who sleep without air conditioning in the summer.

Good to Go, by Christie Aschwanden

What does a book have to do with recovery? Good To Go pulls back the curtain on the recovery industry and questions the efficacy of many popular recovery methods. Aschwanden is an author, athlete and lead science writer at FiveThirtyEight. Her research even challenges the notion that athletes need to help their body recover faster, which should make you stop popping ibuprofen like its candy. If you’re a weekend warrior, a post-effort nap is the most effective and cheapest option out there. If you’ve thought about investing $100 in infrared pajamas or a recovery gym, give this book a read first.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

6 Recovery Tools from One of the Fastest Runners on Earth

Last weekend, professional runner Johnny Gregorek became the second American ever to run an indoor mile in less than three minutes and fifty seconds. His final time of 3:49:90, completed at the pro portion of a collegiate conference at Boston University, clocks out to about 15.65 mph — insanely speedy — bringing him just .09 seconds behind the fastest indoor mile by an American man and 6th in line for fastest indoor mile in the world. The World Record was earned by Ethiopian Yamif Kejelcha the same race last week in Boston when he ran a 3:47:01. For reference, the fastest mile ever run was a 3:43:13, completed outdoors.

Gregorek, an Asics runner, ran for the Columbia University and the University of Oregon (home of the famous Hayward Field, where the 2020 Olympic Trials for Track and Field will be) until 2015, when he graduated. His dad, John Gregorek Sr., was a two-time Olympian in the 5000-meters and his mom, Christine Gregorek, is a two-time NCAA champion.

“After a race, if it went well, I will treat myself to something [like] burgers, fries, a beer,” Gregorek says. “Recovery for me usually involves getting a good meal in me, sleeping well and running very easy for a day or two after. After that mile, I immediately had dinner with friends and then tried to get a good night sleep. It can be a challenge after getting so much adrenaline going. Now I’m still just jogging around easy because it’s my downtime for a week or two.”

Since it was Gregorek’s final indoor run for the season, we chatted with him to find out what gear he finds most pivotal in his post-race recovery.

Polar M430

Monitoring your heart rate after a race is a great way to keep track of your fitness level — the faster your number returns to normal, the better. Gregorek uses his Polar M430 all the time. “It tracks my heart rate, and I’ll check in on that on easy days to make sure I’m keeping it low and recovering,” he says. Everyone’s resting heart rate is different, but ideally, you’re seeing lower numbers on your days off than when you’re in the middle of a HIIT workout.

Asics GT 2000

As an Asics athlete, Gregorek warms up and cools down in his Asics GT 2000 training shoes or DS trainers. The GT 2000 are best for over pronators (people who land on the outside edges of their shoes instead of closer to the middle) because they have Asics’s Trusstic System Technology with Guidance Line technology to help make your runs more efficient and propel you off the ground faster. The DuoMax midsole is supportive yet soft, and the gel cushioning under the toe and heel provide added support to help with recovery after a race. That added cushion can help keep your energy levels high.

Premvida Arrow

In addition to getting a weekly sports massage for an hour, Gregorek does some self-myofascial release as well uses a foam roller. “It’s an awesome vibrating foam roller. Nice and soft and it has multiple vibration settings. Awesome for hitting those tight spots and trigger points before or after a run,” he says. The foam roller has three speeds to help reach the deep tissues in your legs and glutes, plus at only 13-inches, you can throw this in your carry-on for after every race.

Garden of Life Recovery and Protein Bars

“I use Garden of Life products for energy bars, recovery bars and protein powder,” Gregorek says. “All of its products are plant-based and taste great. I don’t use any gels or anything like that.” Garden of Life products are clean, organic and non-GMO as well as NSF for Sport and Informed-Choice for Sport certified, meaning it’s free of banned substances, which is sometimes an issue with protein powders.

Clif Bar

Athletes: they’re just like us. “Before a race, I like to eat something easily digestible that will still energize me,” he says, “I do lots of healthy grain and rice bowls. I’ll have a Clif Bar and a banana a couple of hours out, and that’s pretty much it.”

Gatorade Electrolyte Powder

“I have used 5-hour energy a few hours before a race here and there, but I also just drink coffee,” says Gregorek, “After a race, I’ll try to rehydrate well. I like to use the Gatorade electrolyte powder to replace everything I lost during a hard effort.” Gregorek’s place to order coffee is in his hometown of Providence, RI, at either Dave’s Coffee or Bolt Coffee.


Gregorek meditates regularly. To do so, he uses the Headspace app. “The guy on there has a soothing voice,” he says, “I find it helpful for just calming the mind and letting background noise settle before a big performance.”

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

BioLite’s Newest HeadLamp Offers A Rare Feature: Comfort

BioLite has a knack for taking heavily used gear and re-designing it into something you’ll reach for day after day, all while helping to increase access to energy off the grid. At Gear Patrol, we’ve been big fans since day one. Starting with the CampStove, CampStove 2 and the portable grill, and followed by many other successful fire starters, pizza grills and backcountry chargers, BioLite has paved the way for outdoor enthusiasts to get outdoors with an easy power supply — whether that’s grilling over a stove or lighting up the campsite. BioLite’s latest success story is the HeadLamp. We carried the re-engineered light with us through sunrise summits in upstate New York (hello, Mt. Marcy), as well as along the sidewalks of Brooklyn to light up our night runs. After a hugely successful kickstarter after Outdoor Retailer last year, the headlamp is available for preorder as of this Outdoor Retailer Snow Show.

The Good: BioLite’s HeadLamp features a split light in the front and battery pack in the back, all in a lightweight package that is comfortable, even in the wee hours of the morning. There are four light modes: red flood, white flood and spot (both with dimming) and the strobe, all of which provide you with hours of vision and ways to alert everyone around you. Even after hours of use, it was not headache inducing. The stretch fabric is soft and adjustable yet reinforced, so you don’t have to re-arrange once it’s on your forehead. It comes fully charged in four different colors: red, teal, yellow and grey.

Who They’re For: These lights are for everyone. Whether you’re a runner, hiker, walker or someone who likes to lead the dawn patrol, the BioLite HeadLamp works.

Watch Out For: It can be a bit tricky to use with gloves because of the thin rim around the light. The button to turn on and off, and the lever to aim the light down are both located on the skeletal frame of the light, so it takes time to get used to it.

Alternatives: Most other running headlamps I’ve tested have the battery pack and light all on the same side, so it’s heavy. The Petzl Reactik+ was the last one I tested ($100), and it worked just fine for everything I needed. You can also check out our list of Best Headlamps.

From unboxing to using, it takes less than two minutes to get started with the BioLite HeadLamp. Brushing my teeth takes longer. With just a few adjustments on the moisture-wicking band, the headlamp sat flush against my forehead. One of the first things I noticed was just how bright the slim light was. It’s 330 lumens at full brightness, and if you happen to turn it on while looking at the light, you’re sure to see some spots for a while. Reading while wearing the headlamp caused no issues thanks to the high visibility and comfy band.

For me, one of the most important things to test on a headlamp is to see how it performs when I’m running. Most lamps that I’ve used bounce around — I’ve run with them through two Ragnar Relays and an entire training circuit for a marathon which resulted in a lot of night activity. The BioLite lamp stayed put, likely because of the separation of the battery from the light itself. The battery sat low against the nape of my neck, while the light laid flat against my forehead. In the past, I’ve had to wear a hat under my headlamp to keep it from bouncing, but with this light, I can wear right where I want it. Now also seems like a good time to mention that I didn’t have any of those pesky red lines around my forehead after I ripped the light off post-run.

The band gets damp after a long run, but chafing wasn’t an issue. At first, I needed two hands to get the front tilt exactly where I needed it — illuminating the uneven cobblestones that line the Brooklyn Promenade and nearby roads — but after my initial mile or so, I had it down. It’s a breeze to click through all the different light options, dimming it when I run near street lamps and quickly turning it off when I finished running. It’s become my go-to lamp whether I’m heading out on a night run or just walking down to the campfire.

Verdict: If you’ve had issues with headlamps in the past, the re-jiggered BioLite HeadLamp is worth giving a shot. At a competitively priced $49, the lamp is hard to beat, simply based on value. With a run time of three and a half hours on full brightness, you can knock out a sunrise summit and nighttime run without sweating over battery life.

What Others Are Saying:

• “But where the brand stands out from the crowd is its comfortable design and lightweight. By integrating its electronic components into the soft 3D SlimFit fabric of the headlamp, BioLite created a light that wears more like a sweatband. For those looking for a light, comfortable headlamp for camping or hiking, this is a solid choice from a cool brand. It fits well, stays comfortably on the head, and will light up the night.” — Sean McCoy, Gear Junkie

• “here are plenty of small headlamps out there, but BioLite is taking a wise approach to the genre with this new unit. If you’re anything like us, you’ve got a closet full of lights. This would include at least a few you don’t use, because they’re dim, uncomfortable, or flop around on saggy elastic when you move your head. It’s not just lightweight — there’s already plenty of light… lights…but this unit stays put to an impressive degree. It’s not a tight head-grabber torture device either.” — Kel Whelan, Off Grid Web

• “BioLite didn’t just make the HeadLamp small and bright — it put a lot of emphasis on comfort too. Using what it calls “3D SlimFit Construction,” the company has managed to squeeze all of the electronic components into a surprisingly small space. This allows the light to nestle neatly into a flush housing, while also providing improved stability and balance while being worn. The headband that holds the lamp in place is made from moisture-wicking fabrics that are designed to be comfortable to wear, even while running, cycling, or hiking in warm conditions.” — Kraig Becker, Digital Trends

Key Specs

Lumens: 330
Battery: Rechargable with Micro USB
Weight: 69 grams
Materials: composite textile headstrap, PMMA, high efficiency lens material, ABS plasic housings, nylon plastic hardware (buckles)
Run Time: 3.5 hours (max brightness), 40 hours (minumum brightness)
Weather Resistance: IPX 4

BioLite provided us with products for testing purposes.

Read More Gear Patrol Reviews

Hot takes and in-depth reviews on noteworthy, relevant and interesting products. Read the Story

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

We Tried Road Tubeless Tires, and We’re Never Going Back

Tubeless tire technology is nothing new. In fact, it’s been industry-standard in the mountain bike world for a while now. It’s taken the road cycling industry longer to embrace the upgrade, but companies are finally taking the hint and producing wheels, tires and accessories aimed specifically at tubeless-curious riders.

As a lifelong mountain biker, it always amazed me that road cyclists stuck with tubes. Everything about them is a pain — pinch flats, extra weight, greater rotational mass. The upsides on a tubeless setup are tremendous: lighter, able to run at lower pressures (more comfort and control), less rotational mass and fewer flats. The biggest roadblock in the switch to road tubeless seems to be the setup, which takes some time and practice and can be a bit of a pain.

I recently decided to switch to road tubeless and did a ton of research before I did on how to set it up. My reason for making the switch was the promise of increased comfort and a lighter setup (I was also in search of a wider tire for decreased rolling resistance). On paper it sounds fairly simple: Tape the wheel with tubeless wheel tape making sure there are no bubbles; poke the tubeless valve stem through the tape; set one bead of the tire on the wheel; set the other bead of the tire on the wheel; use a compressor or piggyback pump to set the beads and inflate to around 60psi (you’ll hear some popping sounds while you do this); deflate the tire and remove the valve core; pour recommended amount of sealant into the tire through valve core; reinstall valve core and inflate the tire to 60psi; spin the tire so the sealant coats the inside and seals any gaps; go ride. Well, relatively simple anyway.

Photo: Hunter D. Kelley

That’s all well and good, but the truth is that the process will take you a couple of tries. It took me three tries until I eventually gave up and left it to the professionals (it took them a further three tries to get the wheel to seal). It’s not a perfect science, but the hassle is worth it. The ride is supple and supremely comfortable. It’s immediately noticeable. There’s more grip in the corners, and while it may seem counter-intuitive, running your tire at a lower pressure actually decreases rolling resistance, making you faster. I also found myself seeking out rougher roads and straying from my usual road loop with more confidence than with my typical setup. I chose both wheels and tires that can handle some gravel jaunts, but can still keep up on the pavement.

Of course, road tubeless isn’t for everyone. You may be perfectly happy with your tubes, and that’s OK. But for those seeking a faster, lighter and more comfortable ride, tubeless is a no-brainer. Sure, setup can be a hassle — but it’s worth it. If you endeavor to try road tubeless for yourself, here’s everything you need to make it happen.


ENVE’s SES 4.5 AR disc wheel is specifically designed to be run with a tubeless tire. It’s stiff and compliant at the same time and offers some of the best ride quality available. Simply put, there’s a reason everyone wants ENVE wheels — the hype is real.

WTB Exposure 30

WTB’s Exposure 30 is one of the few tan sidewall, tubeless-compatible tires. In fact, in our extensive research, it’s the only tubeless-specific tire that has tan sidewalls and is available in a 30. It’s supple and provides a shocking amount of grip in a variety of conditions. They are a touch heavy at 310g per tire, but the comfort and durability they offer are worth the small weight penalty.

Orange Seal Endurance Tire Sealant

There are a few tire sealant brands available, but we’re partial to Orange Seal’s Endurance Sealant. The Endurance version of Orange Seal is designed to last longer (sealant will eventually dry out) and will seal up the smaller punctures that you might encounter on a road bike. It also weighs less than Orange Seal’s regular line of sealant, and that’s a good thing.

ENVE Road and Gravel Tubeless Kit

You’ll need ENVE’s Tubeless Kit for setup, which includes tubeless wheel tape, two tubeless valves (that fit the SES 4.5 AR without the need for valve extenders) and a valve core removal tool.

Lezyne Digital Pressure Overdrive Floor Pump

With a tubeless setup, you’ll likely be playing around with different tire pressures more than you would with a standard setup. For this, a floor pump with a digital gauge will give you the most accurate reading. Lezyne’s Digital Pressure Overdrive pump also has a piggyback chamber that can be pressurized up to 200psi. The pump then works in essentially the same way as an air compressor, helping seat a tubeless tire quickly and efficiently.

The Best Gifts for Hikers

Hiking is a simple activity. Really, it’s just walking, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t call for a vast array of apparel, equipment and accessories you might not use in other aspects of life. This is especially true when trekking farther through the woods and higher up mountains becomes the goal. It’s arduous and requires a particular mindset. Luckily though, this makes hikers especially easy to shop for — they’re always in need of something, be it a new backpack or an additional pair of socks.

Powderhouse Titanium Omni-Heat 3D OutDry Boot

Winter hikers need a boot that can withstand the elements. Columbia’s Powderhouse Titanium Omni-Heat 3D OutDry Boot does that better than most with advanced thermal-reflective lining and a high-grip Michelin outsole. It’s also constructed with OutDry waterproof leather to keep feet warm and dry. The hiker on your list can stay on the trail all winter long with the Powderhouse Titanium Boot.

Alltrails Lifetime Membership

Hiking hasn’t lost pace with technology, and while you should always carry a paper map as a backup, smartphones have become helpful tools that aid in exploration. Alltrails crowdsources trail maps, reviews and photos from its community of nine million so that you can find trails wherever you go (and download and print maps for use in areas with no service).

Naglev Unico Hiker

Born in the Alps, the Unico brings the heritage of hiking together with contemporary materials in one high-performing trail shoe. It has an upper made of a single piece of durable Kevlar fabric and contains a sock-like wool liner for a conforming fit. It’s as tough as hiking footwear comes.

Parks Project National Parks Candle

The experience of being in the woods and hills shouldn’t have to end when you get back to the parking lot. Parks Projects’ collection of National Parks-themed candles bring the scents of cedar forests and Rocky Mountain lavender into the home, so the hiker in your life can at least pretend to be out in the trail, even when napping on the couch.

America the Beautiful National Parks Pass

In the outdoors, there’s no better gift than that of access, and while we’re all collectively the owners of our nation’s National Parks, they do cost money to get into. An annual pass provides entry to all federal lands for its holder and might be just the thing to inspire next year’s big trip.

Osprey Stratos 24 Daypack

The Stratos leaves nothing to want — outfitted with all the pockets, compression straps and access points you’d expect, but surpasses all other hiking packs with its floating mesh back panel that’s both comfy and incredibly breathable. It’s our favorite daypack for hiking, and we think everyone will agree.

Patagonia Houdini Jacket

Hiking is an inherently peaceful activity, but it’s also strenuous, and doing it in a jacket can be a sweaty affair. That’s why Patagonia made the Houdini as breathable and lightweight as possible. At 3.6 ounces, it’s barely noticeable, except when it’s protecting you from wind and drizzle.

Good To-Go Mexican Quinoa Bowl

Just because you’re in the woods doesn’t mean you have to eat like a barbarian. Avoid the rehydrated slop and reach for something made with ingredients like raw organic cacao powder and ancho chiles.

Darn Tough ATC Socks

Proper hiking socks are as essential as boots, but they can also be expensive. Thankfully, Darn Tough backs up its peds with a lifetime guarantee, so no matter how many miles are put on them you know that they’ll be good for just as many more.

Kammok Firebelly Trail Quilt

Unfamiliar with trail quilts? The best, like Kammok’s Firebelly, are lighter, more versatile alternatives to sleeping bags. Wrap up in one inside a tent or hammock or just use it to keep warm while watching Netflix at home.

Hilleberg Nammatj 2 GT

Hilleberg’s bomb-proof tents have accompanied expeditions across the globe and are standard-issue at the National Outdoor Leadership School. The all-season Nammatj 2 GT sleeps two, has a vestibule for gear storage and is very easy to pitch with a handy one-piece design, all of which make it suitable for the weathered pro and the casual weekend warrior alike.

BlackYak Modicana Jacket

Blackyak categorizes the Modicana as a “midshell” — it’s neither an outer- or mid-layer, but both at the same time. The jacket is soft to the touch, breathable and stretchy, but it’s also waterproof and warm with a merino wool lining. It’s about as technical as a shell can get, and versatile enough for activities beyond the hiking trail too.

Black Diamond Stormline Stretch Rain Pants

Hardcore hikers know that it’s a rain-or-shine activity, but the former calls for some additional thought to apparel. Black Diamond has made its Stormline pants as comfortable as possible; they’re waterproof (as required), but they’re also stretchy, allowing for enough freedom of movement to make walking in the rain a pleasant experience.

Oakley Frogskins Lite

In the eighties, Oakley created the Frogskins, its first lifestyle sunglasses, and asserted that its eyewear wouldn’t just be about sport. But the shades, which have endured through the decades, contain all of Oakley’s up-to-date performance optics to supply more clarity and contrast in shifting light conditions.

Western Rise Icon Camp Hat

Any ballcap will help provide that bit of much-needed shade from the sun during a full day outside, but the Icon Camp Hat goes a step further. It’s constructed with a durable cotton ripstop fabric in a five-panel profile that functions on the trail but looks good in town too.

Picky Bars

Hikers who still buy the same old energy bars that have been on shelves for decades are missing out on the current golden age of trail food. Picky Bars, which were dreamed up by a group of athletes and come in flavors like “Chai and Catch Me” and “Cookie Doughpness,” are crafted with real food ingredients to provide clean energy before and during long jaunts.

The James Brand Ellis Tool

The Ellis is The James Brand’s reinterpretation of a Swiss Army-style tool; it comes with two locking implements in one sleek package that’s worth its weight (only 2.8 ounces) on and off the trail. Use its tool to open bottles at the summit and turn screws on your gear and its partially-serrated blade to make repairs and cut rope (or sharpen sticks for marshmallow roasting).


Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Series

Accidents happen. It’s best to be prepared, and wilderness wanderers don’t need an entire backpack’s worth of supplies to do so. Adventure Medical Kits makes carefully-considered medkits for all types of outings — from a day hike to a 28-day expedition.

GSI Outdoors Essential Travel Spoon

Forks don’t exist in the backcountry. Seriously, you can eat anything with a spoon, and tiny-tined sporks never really work anyways.

Petzl Tikka

Sunsets and sunrises are best viewed from mountaintops, with a companion and a warm beverage. Hiking in the dark is no excuse to miss one with a headlamp as affordable and powerful as Petzl’s classic Tikka. It boasts 200 lumens of light that can be utilized in separate modes for proximity, movement and distance vision.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

This Tiny Device Attaches to Your Clothing and Tracks Your Stress Levels

Your breath is a powerful tool. Studies have shown that your breath can help control your response to stress, thus helping with your physical and mental health. While breathing can help calm your body physically, learning your body’s stress cues enables you to respond more accurately and calmly to stress. That’s the premise behind Spire’s Health Tags — a breath tracker that monitors the rhythms of your breathing. It can show when you’re stressed, tense, calm and focused, and all in a dog-tag-sized sticker that attaches to your clothing.

The Good: Spire’s Health Tags are small, a breeze to apply and simple to use. It takes seconds to sync your data, and the app gives you as many or as few notifications as you would like. Just peel off the sticker from the back of each tag and press and hold on your boxers or pants waistband. You can wash and dry the tag for up to two years. It’s invisible once on and doesn’t bother those with sensitive skin (in my experience).

Who They’re For: Built for those who are obsessed with their health, this two-inch by one-inch tag also appeals to those who are interested in fitness data but can’t be bothered to wear something on their wrists. If you’re not a Garmin, Apple or Suunto watch lover, we understand. Seiko and Rolex guys will appreciate the wrist space this tracker provides. If you’re getting into monitoring your health data, the Spire Health Tags provide you with active minutes and sleep, two of the most basic (and most needed) fitness stats.

On the other end of the spectrum, health nuts who are obsessed with data and having the latest and greatest piece of technology will appreciate the minute details that went into creating Health Tags. Using your breath, Spire will monitor your calm, focus and tense minutes, sending you reminders throughout the day to work on your breathing if your nervous system puts out a fight or flight emergency. If you’re a superuser of any watch or tracker, these Tags can give you even more information than what you’re getting from your phone right now.

Watch Out For: Health Tags come in a single pack ($50), a three-pack ($129) or an eight-pack ($299). Spire sent me an eight-pack, and throughout the past month, I have yet to stick them all onto clothing. While $299 is comparable to many fitness trackers and less than many GPS trackers, it can be a steep purchase if you’re looking for a way to dip your toes into fitness and health tracking.

I experienced some issues with my sleep tracking during the first week, which then cleared itself up. I was notified that my sleep wasn’t tracking from the night before, but then my sleep data would later register, confusing me and my stats. When I spoke with Jonathan Palley, CEO of Spire, he mentioned this is fixed — as well as a handful of other user-reported bugs. I had to deal with the app not being able to find my Health Tags, but besides one time (while I was writing this), I didn’t have any other Bluetooth connectivity issues.

Once you attach these Tags to your clothes, they are pretty tricky to remove. I was nervous about flying with them because I wasn’t sure how it would show up in security. When I tried to pull it off before my flight, I couldn’t get the Tags to move an inch.

Alternatives: There aren’t that many apps or trackers that base everything off of your breathing alone. For sleep tracking, you can try the Nokia Health or iFit, but both rely on movement and heart rate. Apple, Garmin and Suunto watches all rely on wrist-based heart rate, which pales in comparison to the amount of data gleaned from your lungs and breath rate.

Review: When I first heard about Spire’s Health Tags, I was incredibly skeptical. I test a lot of wearables, each boasting new stats and updated technology that’s guaranteed to help me become faster, stronger and more aware of every single movement I make. The Spire Health Tag is the first tracker I’ve tested that focuses solely on my breath. For years, I’ve heard whisperings of the data my breath can tell me. Breathing is tied pretty closely to mindfulness, and sleep, but developers and tech companies haven’t quite bridged the gap between fitness, health and breathing — until Spire.

About a month ago, Spire sent me the eight-pack of trackers, and I hopped on the phone with them to get the low down. I learned how studies have shown that sensing respiration patterns can reduce symptoms of distress and that negative affect generally decreases while using something like this. I opened up my package of eight and attached them to my clothing. Pop the Tag out of the packaging — set in there like a pack of gum — peel off the back sticker and press firmly into the waistband of your pants, underwear or pajamas, then forget about it. The tracker needs to be in contact with your core to track breathing and movement. The entire process, including downloading the app, and connecting all eighty of the Tags took all of five minutes.

As for how it works? “What we measure is called thoracic expansion, which is what happens when you take a breath,” Palley says. “The muscles that facilitate breathing are below your rib cage, and those expand and contract, so our sensors sense that force.” From that force, the Tag can differentiate between your calm, tense, focus and sleep stages. “When you’re tense, you breathe faster, and more erratically. Your brain is preparing for stress and sucking in oxygen, so you get a very erratic breathing pattern.” When you’re focused, you’re actually in a state of stress, but it’s good stress. “When you’re in the zone and feeling good [about whatever you’re doing] our bodies are activated, we’re not in a calm state, but because we’re focused and confident with what we’re doing, our breathing is faster but very stable. The variability is low.” And then when you’re calm, your breathing is slow with a low variability rate.

After a month of using Spire, I was able to draw a correlation between my meditation moments and my minutes of calm. I could also feel the buzz of the Tag against my core when I started getting tense — which happened during meetings, conversations and other moments that I wasn’t always aware of, until I felt the vibration. Each time I was reminded to start breathing deeper and slower. While I still haven’t figured out the key to lowering stress, I do like that the Tags help me track when I am stressed, even if I don’t realize immediately.

Beyond your mental state, the Tags can also tell when you’re exercising (activity) and when you’re sleeping. The Spire Health Tags use respiratory rate variability and breath rate as well to alert you to a change. During sleep, ‘your breathing becomes more regular, and the variability of breathing goes down as you fall asleep,” Palley says. “For many reasons, we’re more accurate than wrist trackers because we look at the shape of your breath.” It’s how you breathe in and out in a certain way. “That shape becomes regular, and once you cross a certain threshold, you’re asleep,” Palley added. REM and deep sleep are slightly different. “When you go into REM sleep, your breathing rate changes dramatically, the shape of your breath stays similar, but the rate is affected by your dreams. Your breathing reacts to your dream,” Palley notes. Think about those times you fall asleep and then feel like you’re falling and quickly jolt awake. Your breathing is stilted at that point. In a deep sleep, your breathing is perfectly regular. “You’re the perfect metronome,” Palley explains. At the end of every sleep (shown in the app as the day before) you can compare your awake, light sleep, REM sleep and deep sleep minutes to your average, as well as look at how many times you wake up during the night.

While the app doesn’t provide me with any takeaways per say, I sign up for all the LiveInsights that I can. Between three categories (stress, sleep and activity), I register to get notifications every time my breathing gets tense, tips about maintaining healthy sleep habits as well as a notice if I’m sitting for too long. The overall picture of my health is one that doesn’t compare me to anyone else, rather, the app provides me with my averages, so I can evaluate and think about what I want to do to change my stress-inducing habits. In the app right now, there’s no way to look at a stressful moment and record it as something like ‘review’ or ‘conversation with the boss,’ but when I asked Palley about future integration, he sounded hopeful. “Right now, if you go into the detailed view, we have these meaningful moments, but we are working on integrating it into calendars.” Right now, you have to compare it with your calendar, but an update is in the works to add that automatically.

Verdict: If you want a tracker to set and forget, this is the one for you. While I’m a long time fan of my Apple Watch, I never wear it at night, so having the sleep data with the Tags opens up a new dataset rife for comparison. The Breathe feature on my Apple Watch is one of my favorite parts, so having an entire app dedicated just to my breath was fascinating and helpful. Tags can help you establish patterns and evaluate what triggers stress, so you can get to the root of the problem. The Tags buzzed during obvious stressful times — interviews and reviews, but also during conversations I wouldn’t have customarily categorized as stressful. It helped me learn and ‘tag’ those times, plus was a reminder to start breathing more normally again to slow my fight or flight response.

If you’re someone who continually craves more data about your health, the Spire Health Tags are a solid place to start. The stats the Tags provide are way more thorough and unique as compared to many other fitness trackers. I’m especially excited to watch as the app continues to update and change to see what new features the Spire Health Tag will offer.

Spire provided this product for testing purposes.

Read More Gear Patrol Reviews

Hot takes and in-depth reviews on noteworthy, relevant and interesting products. Read the Story

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

The 9 Backyard Games You’ll Find Us Playing This Summer

This summer, we’re on a quest to spend as many hours outdoors as we can. Most of us are happiest when we’re outside, whether that’s climbing a mountain or running along a trail or heading to the beach to surf and swim. Sometimes it’s as simple as kicking our feet up in the backyard and enjoying a beer. To further aid in that conquest, we’ve rounded up a list of our favorite summer games. Whether you have a backyard or just dream of having one, these nine outdoor games will help you make the most out of your time outside this season.


“When it comes to backyard games, Cornhole is the GOAT. It’s fun, competitive and is easy to setup. Plus, it has simple rules and anyone can pick up and play regardless of athletic ability. It’s a frequent go-to, especially during backyard barbecues, poolside or down the shore. Sink a hole-in-one after a few beers and you’ll be feeling like Tiger!” Alyx Effron, Account Executive


“Croquet suggests a certain level of aristocratic snobbery — it’s hard to avoid when the tools of play are mallets and wickets — but the actual execution of the game can get delightfully vindictive. I learned the official rules from the husband of a British expat who, despite his politeness and buttoned-up nature, taught me the technique of using one’s own ball to launch another player’s as far out of the area of play as possible. After discovering this competitive element, I’m not surprised that the game’s origins involve a discrepancy between two men with the last names Spratt and Jaques. Personally, I don’t give a hoop who did, so bully to both of them!” Tanner Bowden, Associate Staff Writer

Over the Line

“While Over the Line (or OTL) hasn’t made it big on the east coast, my West Coast parents grew up playing and passed it on to my sister and I growing up. It’s a simple game, and can be played with just about any ball and bat, but there are official rules that can be found here. Everyone puts their own spin on it, but it’s essentially baseball without bases and gloves, and your own teammate pitches to you. A hit is a ball hit in fair territory that isn’t fielded on the fly by the other team. Three hits is a run. Three outs per inning. Growing up games got somewhat competitive.” AJ Powell, Assistant Editor


“Mock it. Ignore it. It’s still the best backyard game for quite literally any circumstance.
Having converted countless lost souls to the church of badminton, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that badminton is alone in its ability to be absurdly fun for seasoned vets (they exist) and the uninitiated alike. Through my years as a badminton evangelist, I’ve encountered many who doubted its joy-producing capabilities prior to picking up the racquet and none who continued to do so after.” Will Price, Home & Design Writer

DIY Climbing Wall

“As a parent, I can’t pass up something that provides endless hours of fun for littles who are itching to move. It gives me the time and space to make dinner, relax on the back patio or clean the house. I love that there isn’t only one way up the wall, so kids have to experiment and problem solve while building strength and burning energy. It’s easy to make, inexpensive and is Insta-worthy. We attached ours to a wooden platform in a tree and found a used slide from a neighbor to attach for the descent.” Ali Carr Troxell, Managing Editor

Disc Bash

“I’m all about the Disc Bash, and not about KanJam. These are both backyard riffs on disc golf, but the Disc Bash design makes it 200% more portable and quick to set up and take down. Each can-style target pops up and/or condenses using a spring-style mechanism. And when collapsed, the whole kit is storable in a bag that can easily slip into a large backpack or beach bag. Not so with other can-style disc games that are typically unwieldy and not at all collapsible.” Kyle Snarr, Head of Marketing


“The truth is, I love bocce. I’m not bad at it either. But recently, I was talking to a friend who casually mentioned picking up a game of croquet, like it was the most common summer activity in the world! I have never played and now I am obsessed with learning. I’m imagining myself doing so while sipping on a chilled Pimm’s Cup. I think it will be very leisurely and refined. He planted a seed and now this has become my ultimate goal of summer ’18. Until then, I’ll keep practicing bocce.” Megan Billings, Deputy Editor, Gear Patrol Studios


“Let me clarify — this isn’t my go-to backyard game. I was brought up on Cornhole and then later Spikeball, but I discovered Chippo last year when a friend brought it on our family vacation to the Outer Banks. As somebody who used to play a lot more golf than I do now, it’s a frustratingly addicting game. Think a hybrid between cornhole and golf; it’s wicked hard and fun. And the best golfer in the group doesn’t always win, which makes the banter between friends top notch, especially when a few beers are thrown into the mix.” Tucker Bowe, Assistant Editor

Paddle Ball

“While some might argue this game can only be played on the beach, I beg to differ. Paddle tennis is a go-anywhere game — front or backyards, the street, or an actual court. And since you only need two people, it’s an easy game to play whether you’re in a group of 25 or four.” Meg Lappe, Staff Writer

What GP Staff Members Can’t Travel Without

We travel a lot for Gear Patrol, but how each of us travels varies enormously. This is what is always in our carry-ons. Read the Story

Hip Packs Are Back — Here are 11 Worth Buying

Fanny packs, waist packs, hip packs — whatever you call them, the ubiquitous 90s accessory is back. While fashion designers are incorporating them into their runway shows, the real place the hip pack shines is in motion. Whether on the trails or on the road, a waist pack is an easy, lightweight alternative to a hefty backpack or a hydration pack while riding. The fanny packs of years past filled with pens, snacks and an autograph book (let’s be honest, I never wore mine anywhere besides Disney), have been updated with pockets and longer-lasting fabric.

While you can sport one of these pretty much anywhere, the two places where you’ll get the most use out of them is on day hikes and mountain bike rides. When you’re hiking up a mountain, there’s absolutely no need for you to carry a huge pack. All you need is a water bottle, snacks and an extra layer — all of which can fit in a hip pack.

For ripping up trails, a hip pack is an easy way to ditch cumbersome backpacks. Any core repair items and snacks can go in the pack along with pressure gauges, tools and CO2 canisters. Some hip packs for cycling now come with hydration options inside, so you can fit water in there as well. It’s an easy way to take a load off your back.

Hiking Hip Packs

Patagonia Lightweight Travel Mini Belt Bag

Patagonia’s pack folds up into itself, so you can stash it in a larger pack for traveling purposes until the day calls for its usage. The ripstop nylon fabric and padded back further add to the pack’s durability and comfort respectively.

JanSport Fifth Avenue 2L Lumbar Pack

The JanSport Fifth Avenue pack is one of the originals. It’s simple and durable, and features two liters of space. If you happen to brush up against any rocks, the 600D polyester material will take it in stride.

Osprey Talon 6

The dual pockets on the Talon 6 are ideal for water bottles, and the extra pockets along your hips hold all the tiny essentials like keys or a pocketknife.

Camelbak Repack LR 4 Hydration Pack

A hip pack that stores your phone and water is gold. A magnet keeps the hydration straw in place so you don’t have to worry about it dragging on the ground or getting stuck in the trees.

High Sierra Tokopah 3L Waistpack

This pack features four individual pockets. There are separate ones for your sunnies, phone, keys and any layers you take off. The reflective attachments are key if you’re hitting the trails early in the day or coming down late at night.

Biking Hip Packs

Mission Workshop The Axis

We tested The Axis on the Kingdom Trails in Northeastern Vermont, and it continuosly impressed each tester who gave it a try. The minimalist design combined with rugged materials makes for a pack that’s easy to wear and comfortable all day long.

Eagle Creek RFID Tailfeather Waist Pack

Eagle Creek’s packing cubes keep us organized when we’re traveling, and the brand is bringing that same mentality to its hip packs. Thanks to lockable zippers, you don’t have to worry about your things falling out, and the padded breathable mesh back channel keeps the air circulating.

Deuter Pack Pulse Four Exp

With a dedicated water bottle pocket, phone pocket and space for an additional layer, the Pack Pulse Four Exp allows for plenty of organization. The ripstop material and three-liter capacity make this ideal for the bike.

Dakine Hot Laps 2L Hip Pack

The Hot Laps pack is perfect for singletrack laps. Dakine cracked the code on the ideal hip pack: abrasion-resistant fabric, a fleece lined pocket and loads of internal pockets. Pop out the bonus side pocket and throw in an extra water bottle if needed.

EVOC Hip Pack Race 3L

The EVOC Hip Pack Race 3L is a pro at keeping your back cool thanks to a ventilated flap system — simply tighten the cord to keep it closer to your body or add some slack to feel a breeze.

High Above V.3 Cascadia

High Above mountain bike hip packs are some of the best on the market. And they’re serious pieces of outdoor gear — despite the tagline and lighthearted feel of the brand’s website. Each High Above hip pack is designed and sewn in Bellingham, Washington. They come in three different models that vary in size and can be outfitted with an optional water bottle holder. Each material that High Above uses has been obsessed over and combined into a product that’s built to go the distance.

Best Enduro Mountain Bikes We tested the six best enduro mountain bikes and enduro bike gear on the market to determine which one reigned supreme. Read the Story
Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

21 Terms Every Knife-Lover Should Know

Blade, handle — the vocabulary that describes the different parts of a pocket knife are simple… right? The sharp tools may not be as complicated as mechanical watches or automobiles, but there’s more to knives, both folding and fixed, than that. Aficionados will bandy around terms like action and slipjoint, but these aren’t even the most complex or specific words that can be used to describe every part of a pocket knife. For those new to the world of blades, this guide will act as your shortcut from novice to pro.

Action: Refers to how a folding knife opens. A knife’s action can be described in many ways, but it will be either manual or automatic.

Belly: The curved part of the blade used for slicing.

Bevel: The tapered part of the blade that extends from the spine down to the cutting edge.

Butt: The end of a knife’s handle.

Choil: The unsharpened portion of a knife’s cutting edge that’s close to the handle. Some choils are notched.

Clip Point: A common blade shape, the clip point is characterized by a spine with a front section that appears to be clipped off. This seemingly cut-out area can either be straight or concave and results in a fine point.

Drop Point: One of the most common blade shapes, the drop-point is characterized by a convex spine that curves down from the handle to the point. This creates an easily-controlled point and a bigger belly for slicing. Ideal for hunters.

Guard: Part of the handle designed to prevent the hand from slipping onto the blade. This can be integrated into the handle or a separate component.

Gut hook: A sharpened hook on the spine of a hunting knife designed for field dressing.

Jimping: A notched portion of the spine close to the handle, designed for extra grip.

Quillon: The part of the guard or handle that extends beyond the tang of the blade to provide additional protection to the hand.

Ricasso: The flat and unsharpened portion of a blade between the handle and the bevel. Not to be confused with choil, ricasso refers to the flat side of a knife, not its edges.

Sheepsfoot: A blade shape characterized by a straight edge and a spine that curves down to meet it at the point. Sheepsfoot blades are designed for slicing while minimizing the potential for accidental piercing with the point. Originally made to trim the hooves of sheep.

Slipjoint: A common type of folding pocket knife that uses a spring to keep the blade in either a closed or open position.

Spear Point: A symmetrical blade shape with a point that’s in-line with the center of the knife. Commonly used for throwing knives.

Spine: The unsharpened “back” or “top” of a knife. The spine is the side opposite the sharp edge. Double-edged knives do not have spines.

Swedge: Also known as a “false edge,” this is a portion of the knife’s spine that is unsharpened but has been ground to give the appearance that it is.

Sweep: See “belly”.

Tang: The portion of the blade that extends into, and is held by, the handle.

Tanto: Inspired by the short swords that were worn by Samurai in feudal Japan, this blade shape replaces a curved belly for an angular edge transition that makes for a much stronger and prominent point.

Wharncliffe: Like a sheepsfoot blade, this shape has a straight edge and a curved spine, but the curve extends gradually from the handle to the tip. The shape is similarly ideal for slicing while minimizing the possibility for an accidental puncture with the tip.

Priority’s Newest Bike is All-Terrain, Yet Still Low-Maintenance

From Porsche to a 12-Speed

Priority’s Newest Bike is All-Terrain, Yet Still Low-Maintenance

Here at Gear Patrol, we’re big fans of Priority’s low maintenance, high reward bikes. I tested out the Classic NeverFlat for a couple of weeks and now have been riding the company’s Classic Plus Gotham Edition for about a month. Priority continues to push the envelope on bikes that are a joy to ride and easy to maintain. Today, Priority launches the Priority 600; a car-inspired bike meant to ride on roads, gravel and dirt without breaking a sweat.

The 12-Speed Pinion Gearbox was designed by two former Porsche transmission engineers to offer loads of power and adventure to every single rider. It sits between the pedals so you won’t feel a weird weight imbalance and it only needs to be oiled every 6000 miles — plenty enough for any commuter.

Paired with the same great gates carbon belt drive and all-weather composite fenders, this bike is geared up and ready to go for all the excursions you can think up. The bikes start shipping on June 18th and if you use code VELOFIX600, you’ll get a free Velofix white glove delivery.

Today in Gear

The best way to catch up on the day’s most important product releases and stories. Read the Story

Adult Summer Camps Are a Thing. Here’s Everything You Need to Take One On.

The Pursuit Series, which is essentially a summer camp for adventure-loving adults, was designed by four outdoor-loving adventurists who have spent their lives outdoors: Julia Stamps Mallon, Bart Davis, Brian Heifferon and Tyler Drake. The foursome pulls from past experiences at Outessa, an outdoor weekend adventure camp to encourage more women to get outdoors, as well as The Outbound Collective, an online community designed to help adventurers locate the best spots for all explorers. A typical Pursuit weekend includes over 26 different categories of events over the course of three days to help you learn more about an outdoor activity you love, or introduce you to a new one. It’s a series worth checking out, and one that requires some outdoor gear to make it through. Here’s what the founders recommend.

Tyler Drake

One of the founders of the Outbound Collective, Drake’s favorite things revolve around staying comfortable.

Wigwam Beacon Heights Socks

Durable and dry socks are a must-have. “I love the Wigwam Beacon Heights Socks. With moisture control and cushioning, these socks help keep my feet dry and comfortable all day long.”

Sleeping Pad

You need a comfortable and reliable sleeping pad. “We camp the full week we’re setting up, working and taking down the event, so it really helps to have a good night’s sleep. It’s a little bit of a luxury, but I splurged for the Exped Megamat Duo.

Water Bottle

“With summer heat and long days, it’s key to have a good bottle to help me stay hydrated. I’m a fan of Igloo’s Tahoe Chugger water bottles.”


“It’s always important to protect against the elements. I like Sun Bum to keep me covered.”


“From being on the water and trails to hanging out at camp, it never hurts to have a good pair of glasses.”

Brian Heifferon

The other co-founder of the Outbound Collective has a few more necessities, but stands by Drake that sunscreen is non-negotiable. “I spend a lot of time in the ocean, so I have a bias toward sunscreens that don’t contain oxybenzone, which damages reefs and sea life when it inevitably washes off of your skin. I’ve found Bare Republic sunscreens to be affordable, high quality and good for hours of uninterrupted fun. My go-to is its Mineral SPF 50 Sport Sunscreen Stick.” Here’s everything else Heifferon brings with him.

Sleeping Pad

Similar to Drake, the quality sleep Heifferon gets is important. “We’re on-site at Pursuit for about a week setting up and breaking down, so getting a good night’s sleep is really important. My go-to basecamp pad is the Exped MegaMat. It’s pretty expensive, and definitely not for backpacking, but it’s as close to sleeping on a mattress as you’ll get.”


“An indispensable product. I hide them everywhere: in my car, house, daypack, emergency kits, etc. My go-to is the Black Diamond Storm. Although it’s a little on the heavy side, it’s affordable, has a ton of settings and is water-resistant. It’s a total workhorse.”

Merino Wool Shirt

“I pack light and unfortunately sweat a lot, and merino wool is my savior. It’s cool, breathable, easy to take care of and doesn’t stink. No really – it doesn’t hold odor. Icebreaker’s City Lite crew works like a charm. If you haven’t already, given merino wool a try. You can thank me later.”

Trucker Hat

“I like to have a well-ventilated hat that I can really beat up, and our Outbound Trucker fits the bill perfectly. It’s not overly tall, and the pliable foam front panel makes it a breeze to rinse off and put right back on.”

Mini Lantern

“Headlamps are awesome, but you don’t always want to be wearing one inside your tent. A nice mini-lantern hanging inside your tent is convenient and makes the space feel more like home. My go-to is the MPOWERD Luci Outdoor 2.0. It’s crazy light, solar powered and more than bright enough to light up the inside of your tent.”

Bart Davis

Davis and Stamps Mallon have worked together for years, so it makes sense that working with them is a bit like working with an oiled machine. Weekends like these are old hat for Davis, so his picks are certainly fun.

Puffy Jacket

“Even in the summer, I don’t head to the mountains without a puffy coat. I love the Marmot Featherless Hoody because of its great warmth to weight ratio, and being a synthetic insulation, it stays warm even if it gets wet.”

SAXX Underwear

“It may seem funny to be as passionate about my SAXX underwear as I am, but they simply are the best, whether I’m being active or not.  The fit is perfect, meaning they don’t ride up or bind, and I love the designs.”


“Being prone to ‘Hangriness’, I always am carrying snacks with me. The GU Energy Stroopwafel is super tasty and provides the right mix of ingredients to keep me on track, whether running on a trail or needing a snack while working. Check out the Gingerade flavor, my personal favorite!” 

Portable Charging Light

“The Luci Pro Outdoor 2.0 + Mobile Charging is a must have item!  Super lightweight, serves as a great area lantern, charged by the solar panel on top or a USB and can provide a charge to my phone when needed. So many sweet features in a small and lightweight package. This goes on every trip with me.” 

Julia Stamp Mallon

The O.G. founder of these adventure-filled weekends, Stamps Mallon is no stranger to the backcountry.

Marmot Tent

“I like the Marmot Limelight 2 Person Tent, which you can get in the Pursuit Series camping kit, as it feels really spacious and is my go-to accommodation.”

Sleeping Bag

“The Marmot Trestles 30 Sleeping Bag is super comfy and perfect for 3-season camping.”

Igloo Tumbler

“I love my Igloo Tumbler so I can enjoy Tito’s cocktails and Kenwood Wines in the evening as I sit back enjoy Chauo Chocolatier s’mores around the campfire.”

Wet Wipes

“Even if we’re camping where there are amenities (like Pursuit Series), it’s always ideal to have wet wipes on hand for swift and easy cleanups.”

The Best Camp Chairs

Lightweight seating for every type of camping out there. Read the Story