In the middle of winter it seems that I can never keep my feet warm. Also if you have been reading my blog for a while you will know that I really like my footwear and socks. The past several years we have seen a big surge of small cottage companies who are making socks. High performance socks are being made from more than just standard wool. We are all familiar with the synthetics and Merino Wool but Alpaca Wool and Bison Down are latest additions. The newest product to hit the shelves is made of Bison down. Yep! BISON! United By Blue has come out with the The Ultimate American Sock. These socks have been gaining popularity following after the completion of a successful Kickstarter Campaign.
The socks are 100% made in the United States. One of the coolest things is that United By Blue does is that it shares the journey of the socks.
Philadelphia, PA: Socks and packaging are designed
North Dakota: Bison down collected from ranchers
Uxbridge, MA: Bison down blended with American Merino Wool, combed, carded and spun into sock yarns
Osage, IA: The Ultimate American Socks are knitted and packaged
Everything from packing materials to the socks themselves lives up to a high standard that United By Blue has for all of its products. Made from 56% Merino Wool, 24% Bison Down, 18% Nylon, and 2% Spandex these socks will keep even the coldest of feet warm. I have had to take off the socks on several occasions because my feet were getting too hot.
United by Blue claims that the socks are “Softer than cashmere and warmer than wool, we created a sock from Bison down that will keep your feet warm and dry all winter long.” They do exactly as advertised and they are incredibly comfortable. One thing I will warn you is that you will want to wash the socks before wearing them. I found them to be a little itchy for the first couple of times worn but after several washes this has since gone away. Also you may want to wear a thin sock liner if you are prone to having itchy skin.
Washing and Drying Tip: Wash in cold water and do not use bleach or fabric softeners. Hang dry is preferred but drying on low without a dryer sheet is will keep the socks from wearing out quicker.
At present the socks come in several different colors and two sizes. The socks sell for $38 and will begin shipping in March 2015. To learn more about these socks please head over to the United by Blue website.
Full Disclosure: The Ultimate American Socks used in this review were provided to me by United by Blue at no cost to me. This did not influence my review in any way. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely my own and were not guided in any manor.
Yes that is really the product’s name. Believe it or not the name of the product is exactly what the product does. Fresh Balls is a quick drying lotion that provides freshness, anti-chafing, removes excess moisture and bacteria. Fresh Balls is free of all aluminum, parabens, and talc. For all you ladies out there they also make a Fresh Breasts.
Without getting into that “TMI” zone Fresh balls works especially for those who are prone to chafing. It dries quickly into a non smelly non sticky powder. It works as advertised and worth giving it a try. The only downside of the product is that it comes in a very large tube that is not conducive to backpacking.
It is worth putting it into a smaller bottle for your day hikes, weekend trips, or even long distance treks.
“9 out of 10 guys suffer from sweaty balls… And 1 out of 10 lie!”
To learn more about the Fresh Body line of products please visit their website!
Full Disclosure: The Fresh Balls used in this review was provided to me by Fresh Body as part of the Hell Hike and Raft product sponsorship and was provided at not cost to me. This did not influence my review in any way. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely my own and were not guided in any manor.
During the summer 2014 Teton Sports launched a brand new tent line called the Mountain Ultra. This line of four different sizes of tents can accommodate those who are looking for a single person up to a four person family.
The tents all have the same construction set up instructions and overall concept. What sets these tents apart from many of the others is their very interesting ridge pole system. Designed to give you a wider ceiling and vestibules. The micro mesh tent will give you 360 degree views of your campsite, but if you would prefer a little more privacy or weather protection simply snap on the provided rain fly. The rain fly creates a nice vestibule area to stow your gear from the elements.
The 2,3, and 4 person tents have two doors to easily enter the tent from either side. Mesh gear pockets to store your gear for easy access during the night. Extra high walls in the bathtub floor help prevent water from entering the tent even in the most severe storms.
What is in the bag? The tents come with the inner tent, rain fly, footprint, stakes, and aluminum poles.
The biggest positive thing about these tents is that they are built with the average person in mind. Easy to set up and use, easy to pack up, and are light weight. They are perfect for backpacking, car camping, and everything in between. The prices are great for the quality of the product you are getting in both the manufacturing and the materials used in the tents. (More after the photos)
The tents are incredibly roomy with plenty of head room to be able to move around comfortably while camping alone or with others. Specifically designed pass-through ventilation technology clears away condensation. These tents are a huge asset to the Teton Sports gear arsenal to get the everyday Joe camper, backpacker, and car camper outfitted with low cost quality gear.
Mountain Ultra 1
Cost:$139.99 | Learn More!
Mountain Ultra 2 – Pictured Above
Cost: $159.99 | Learn More!
Mountain Ultra 3
Cost: $189.99 | Learn More!
Mountain Ultra 4
Cost: $209.99 | Learn More!
Full Disclosure: The Teton Sports Mountain Ultra 2 Tent used in this review were provided to me by Teton Sports at not cost to me. This did not influence my review in any way. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely my own and were not guided in any manor.
As hikers and backpackers we have experienced merino wool in many types of clothing especially our socks. The most common is Merino is wicking, quick drying, and antimicrobial. There is a new sock contender in the market. The entire line of socks are made from Alpaca yarn. Cleverly named Alpacor® the Ausangate sock company is adding new fibers to the sock industry.
The obvious would be that the yarn comes from an Alpaca and not a sheep. They both grow fibers that can be farmed to create many different types of products. Just like merino wool they are antimicrobial natural fibers that comes from a renewable resource.
Alpacor® Yarn was created by using a unique patented process for the yarn itself and the yarn manufacturing process. This process blends the unique alpaca fiber with other natural and synthetic fibers.
Many of you have figured out by now that I am a big fan of socks and sock technology. This may seem weird to you but keeping your feet dry comfortable and comfy is extremely important when in the outdoors. Especially if you are on longer adventures. When Testing socks I have several factors that I examine to determine if I will wear the socks again and if I will like them or not.
After wearing the socks during the Hell Hike and Raft adventure as well as a few times since then as every day socks I am comfortable providing a truthful review on these socks. They are very comfortable with the right amount of stretch but also allowing for a snug fit. They are not the fastest drying socks on the market but they also do not claim to be. While wearing them in both hiking boots and trail runners I found that they allowed my feet to breathe and did not leave my feet and socks soaking wet post hike. They did not leave any unwanted blisters or hotspots after wearing them. Overall they are a great quality sock and I am excited to see how Ausangate continues to refine and grow their current sock lines.
To learn more about Alpaca yarn and Ausangate socks please visit the Ausangate website.
Full Disclosure: The Ausangate Socks used in this review was provided to me by Ausangate as part of the Hell Hike and Raft product sponsorship and was provided at not cost to me. This did not influence my review in any way. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely my own and were not guided in any manor.
One of the products that I received as part of the Hell Hike and Raft Epic Social Adventure was a LifeStraw® Go by VesterGaard. They have taken their LifeStraw® technology and adapted it to be built into a water bottle. I normally only take soft bottles with me into the backcountry however I will make an exception for this bottle. With its built in water filter all you have to do unscrew the lid dip the bottle into the water replace the lid and drink. No extra time needed to filter because it filters as you drink. The amazing thing is how much water one filter can filter before it needs to be replaced .
From the first day on the trial in Idaho we were all dipping our bottles into the lakes, and streams filling up our bottles. All of our other filtration and purification products never left the backpacks the entire trip. These bottles are great for any application not just backpacking and white water rafting. Everything from everyday use to remove nasty taste at the office to Epic Adventures. I was not sold at first and hesitantly tried the product. That is what gear testing is all about right? Finding things that really work and then share the best stuff with all of you! The LifeStraw® GO is now part of my every day gear arsenal. You never know when you will need clean water and this is one of the easiest ways to get it. A huge thank you to Vestergaard for sending all of the Hell Hike and Raft Crew one of the new bottles. These bottles are so new that we had them before they hit the stores.
The LifeStraw® GO sells for around $30 and can be purchased online at BuyLifestraw.com or at your local outdoor retailer.
To learn more about the LifeStraw® GO or any of the other products Vestergaard please visit their website.
Full Disclosure: The LifeStraw® Go by VesterGaard bottle used in this review was provided to me by Vestergaard as part of the Hell Hike and Raft product sponsorship and was provided at not cost to me. This did not influence my review in any way. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely my own and were not guided in any manor.