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Showers Pass Apex Merino Tech T-Shirt Review

The Showers Pass Apex Merino Wool Tech is an extremely comfortable performance t-shirt. They sent us one to test and it’s been the perfect companion on many rides and hikes.

Showers Pass Apex Merino Tech T-Shirt
Showers Pass Apex Merino Tech T-Shirt

The Apex Merino Tech is made with 87% Merino Wool and 13% Nylon blend.

Merino Wool is a powerhouse of a fabric. It provides antimicrobial protection from odors and natural breathability. This makes the Apex Merino Tech the perfect shirt for long activities. When testing Merino Wool products, I always like to see how long I can go between washes before the stink sets in. I did a nice sweaty five-mile run, two 15 mile bike rides, and a four hour hike before I felt that I needed to put it in the wash. Given this performance, I am planning to take this on an overnight backpacking trip.

Showers Pass Apex Merino Tech T-Shirt

The Apex Merino Tech is also designed to reduce chafing. The sleeves and side panels have flatlocked stitching to reduce chafing. During testing with backpacks or hydration packs, I found that the shirt moved less than other performance fabrics, reducing the movement that my packs typically did.

I also appreciate that Showers Pass shirts have a longer back to keep the shirt from riding up. This is a great feature while cycling, reducing back exposure as you’re bent over the handlebars.

Unpacking the shipping box, I was immediately impressed by how light and soft this shirt was. You can tell how much thought and care Showers Pass put into this shirt.

Showers Pass Apex Merino Tech T-Shirt
Showers Pass Apex Merino Tech T-Shirt

The fit is on the slimmer side, but is perfect for the types of activities I’ve taken it on.

It was also comfortable when paired with their Cloudburst Jacket.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a performance t-shirt this summer, Merino Wool and this shirt from Shower Pass is a must buy.

I am 5’11” and 185 pounds and wear a size large.

You can purchase the Apex Merino Tech T-Shirt on their website for $75. Well worth it and it will last for several seasons.

COROS VERTIX 2 – Full Review

When COROS debuted several years ago, it was a disrupter in the field of GPS watch categories. It’s impressive out-of-the-box features and battery life threatened to push Garmin and Suunto off their pedestals.

Three years ago, when I was researching the best GPS running watch I stumbled upon COROS on Instagram and decided to purchase their Apex watch.

This was after using the Apple Watch for a majority of my training. My biggest frustration with the Apple Watch was that I would have to charge it every night and for longer GPS excursions, it would die halfway through.

What made COROS stand out more than anything else was their battery life. And the Apex delivered. Even on heavy training weeks for ultramarathons, I could still go 15 days before I needed to recharge it.

And while it lacked some features that I missed with the Apple Watch (like being able to track non-GPS workouts), COROS’ team of developers started to deliver on those features with firmware updates.

COROS VERTIX 2
COROS VERTIX 2

The new VERTIX 2 landed last summer with a ton of new features, including music playback, dual GNSS functionality, full-color topographic mapping, ECG functionality, WIFI connectivity for updates, amazing battery life, and Insta360action cam controls. Externally it boasts a larger screen and titanium alloy bezels and case to survive any adventure.

I’ve been using the watch all day, every day for the past three months. It has been with me on trail runs, bike rides, ice climbs, gym rock climbing, road runs, backcountry skiing, indoor cardio workouts and indoor bike rides.

So, let’s dive in on why this watch is the best gps watch on the market.

VERTIX 2 Overview

The VERTIX 2 is a massive watch. I have skinny wrists and was a bit uncertain wearing this monstrosity 24/7 over the course of our testing period. And it did take some getting used to: both size and weight. But after the first week, it was as comfortable as the APEX.

On the right side of the watch (if you’re wearing it on your left wrist) there are two buttons and a separate digital crown (which rotates and can be pressed in).

The top button is used to turn the backlight on or off.

The bottom button has a number of functionalities. On the main screen, outside of a tracked activity, it can be tapped to cycle through metrics on the home screen or held to jump to the settings folder.

COROS VERTIX 2
COROS VERTIX 2

With the digital crown, if you press and hold, it will unlock the screen. This is much better than the unlocking function on the APEX. With the APEX, I had to turn the dial to unlock which was especially frustrating when in the middle of an activity, especially in the wintertime when I was wearing gloves.

With the VERTIX 2, I found the crown easy to use, even when wearing gloves. When I was skiing in the backcountry, it was easy to shift between uphill and downhill tracking, as well as pausing for a snack break.

While in the middle of an activity, the digital crown can be used to cycle through your activity metrics. This is great for some activities (like indoor cycling or GPS cardio) when I am focused on duration and heart rate (trying to keep it in the fat burning zone).

While the touchscreen isn’t a new feature for COROS or GPS watches in general, it is still worth highlighting. It is primarily used outside of workout mode. You can click into widgets to slide through your metrics. Or pull up a map and move around easily.

I haven’t found myself using the touchscreen too much outside of the widgets. It is a much easier tool that the dial to cycle through and look at a particular time frame of data.

The watch bands connect using a quick release system. Again, this is a step up from the APEX. The tabs to pull and release are much easier to use, allowing you to swap out bands or remove them all together to connect to the COROS Carabiner so you can climb without the watch attached to your wrist.

On the back of the watch is the charging port and optical heart rate sensor. The heart rate sensor is the set of LED’s and optical sensors (bright and vibrant red and green lights) that measure your heart rate, but also blood oxygen levels and ECG data.

ECG / HRV Feature

To access the ECG feature, navigate to the settings menu and click HRV test. It’ll ask you to place your hand on the bezel.

And it’ll start the ECG, lasting for 60 seconds. Throughout you’ll feel a vibration, similar to a heartbeat. At the end you’re given a HRV value, not an ECG value. Which is confusing.

I’m unsure if this is a feature that will continue being developed.

The HRV value does show up in the app and you can watch the trend over time. The value is scaled from 0-100.

  • 81-100: Superior, relaxed

  • 51-80: High, under minor physical or mental pressure

  • 21-50: Medium, under medium physical or mental pressure

  • 1-20: Low, under significant physical or mental pressure

Widgets for Days

When you’re on the home screen, you can move into the widget menu by unlocking the screen and moving the dial.

Widgets include everything from steps, KCAL burned, workout duration, recovery data, to sleep.

With each widget, you can click into with the dial and scroll through the data with the dial or your finger on the screen.

I have found that most of these widgets are pretty accurate. With the exception of sleep. I think it’s because of the size of the watch, but I have found that if the watch isn’t centered on my wrist that I will miss out on sleep data; viewable as large gaps of “awake” time during the night. Additionally, if I get up in the middle of the night for a bathroom break or to help an awake child, it will register that as the moment I awoke—not counting when I went back to sleep a few minutes later.

I slept like a rock, but COROS is registering a lot of awake time. More than likely because of the way the watch was positioned.

Notifications and Settings

One of the reasons I hated using the Apple Watch as a primary fitness watch was all the notifications I would get. Anything my iPhone received, so did my watch. Ping, ping, ping, ping, ping.

With Coros, I have the ability to be in the same predicament. But I am very conscious about the impact all those notifications have on my mental health, so I have a majority turned off. Right now, phone calls is the only notification I receive. Anything else can wait till I’m at my phone.

But it is fully customizable when you first setup the watch on the COROS app.

If you hold the bottom button, you can also access the settings menu. Here you can access the above mentioned ECG function. But you’re also able to connect to Bluetooth devices, WIFI, Insta360 action cam control, alarms, the compass, and music.

Music and Insta360 Cam Controls

The VERTIX 2 is COROS’s first watch to feature music. Bluetooth headphones are paired through the headphones menu in Settings. You can pair multiple Bluetooth headphones, which is a great feature for ultramarathons when you might burn through a pair or two.

Pairing is easy and once setup, they are easily accessible. When powered on, the watch will connect to them. When tested, it would take over the connection from my iPhone easily.

For music, the VERTIX 2 supports loading MP3 files to the device using a USB cable from your computer. Drag and drop the files you want to the “music folder” and you’re ready to start jamming by selecting the music menu from the settings menu.

You can use the touchscreen to play, pause, skip tracks, etc.

It should be noted though that you can only load MP3 tracks. Services like Spotify or Apple Music isn’t compatible and probably won’t ever be.

Now, at the time of testing, we couldn’t test the Insta360 controls. But to give an overview, if you have the Insta360 Go 2, One X2 and One R), you can control the camera with the VERTIX 2.

Using the dial, you can alternate between photo and video mode, then press the dial to take a photo or start recording a video.

Battery Life

COROS VERTIX 2
COROS VERTIX 2

The VERTIX 2 lasts up to 140 hours of standard full GPS tracking and 60 days of normal use. With light GPS usage, daily workouts tracked, and with wearing the watch 24/7, I have gone 35-40 days between charges. During heavy usage periods, using GPS daily, I have gone 25 days between charges.

COROS VERTIX 2
COROS VERTIX 2

Some features, like the ECG/HRV test, music, and Insta360 camera control will drain your battery faster.

It should be noted that the VERTIX 2 uses a proprietary charger, so don’t lose it!

GPS Activity Tracking and Maps

During our testing period we took the VERTIX 2 everywhere: hiking, trail running, road running, road biking, trail biking, back country skiing, ice climbing, and most recently, paddle boarding (yay! spring has sprung!).

GPS accuracy can make or break a watch.

One of the biggest challenges I had with the APEX was that when I was doing trail races with a lot of vertical gains, the watch would think that I wasn’t moving and stop tracking.

COROS VERTIX 2
COROS VERTIX 2

The VERTIX 2 has improved on this by offering Dual Frequency GNSS. This allows the watch to locate the best GPS frequency available from all five of the major satellite systems at the same time.

Additionally, navigation features include topographic, landscape, and hybrid global mapping. You can load a route by transferring it to the COROS app and loading it directly to the watch from the app. I used this feature in the backcountry and part of the challenge is that on the map there aren’t any labels or turn-by-turn directions. So it was challenging navigating back when I got off course and lost the trail.

COROS VERTIX 2
COROS VERTIX 2

When I looked at the routes tracked, I did find the VERTIX 2 to be pretty darn accurate, including in heavily wooded areas or terrain that had more vertical climbs.

I highlighted a few examples to showcase the accuracy of the GPS data.

In the middle image, this was a point on my run where I transitioned from trail to sidewalk. While it didn’t show me directly on the trail, throughout it caught every little turn and pivot I made, including where I ventured off the paved trail onto a single track.

For the Ski Touring tracking, when I zoom in, you can see all the switch backs I went up.

What I am most impressed by is the fact that the watch is more accurately picking up trail runs on steep inclines. No longer is the watch auto-pausing because it can’t register movement. And that in itself is a huge winner for me as I continue training for ultras this Summer.

Conclusion

Throughout the testing period of the VERTIX 2, I continue to be impressed by the leap forward COROS has taken with this watch.

There are a ton of really awesome features with the music and Insta360 features.

But more than anything, the feature that is worth shouting about is battery life. There isn’t another watch on the market that can match COROS on what they were able to accomplish with the VERTIX 2.

Sure there are some improvements I’d love to see (especially with maps), but if there’s a company I trust to get it done, it’s COROS. Their developer team is amazing and based on what they have done in the last few years, I’m fairly certain they will keep the VERTIX 2 ahead of the competition

If you’re an endurance athlete or avid explorer, I have no doubt that this is the watch for you.

The COROS VERTIX 2 is available online and at several different retailers. It retails for $699.

Altra Superior 5 Trail-Running Shoe Review

I’ve been wearing minimalist shoes fairly exclusively over the past 12 years.

Even with trail-running, I would wear shoes that had only 5mm between myself and the Earth. I could feel every tree root and rock on my runs.

And I loved that.

But I also recognized that, especially on more technical terrain, having minimal protection was holding me back. I could tear down the terrain as fast as I knew I could because of those rocks, roots, and uneven ground.

The reason why I started wearing minimalist shoes was because of an injury to my achilles. Any shoe I wore that wasn’t zero-drop caused pain and discomfort. And that issue still persists 12 years later.

Enter: Altra

Altra has been on my radar for years. They fit the mold of a minimalist shoe—wide toe box, foot-shaped shoe, and zero-drop—but with cushioning.

Altra Superior 5 Trail Running Shoe
Altra Superior 5 Trail Running Shoe

When Altra sent me a pair of their Superior 5, I was hesitant at first, but was immediately put at ease when I first slipped on the shoe.

When the box arrived, it was a wet, snowy day in Colorado, so I didn’t wear them outside initially to run. I took them downstairs to my workout area for a HITT style workout.

Immediately, I knew something was different.

With all the jumping jacks, jump squats, and even running in place, I was going harder, faster, and stronger than I had in my other workouts.

When I took them out for my first trail run, I noticed that both my speed and my stride had improved. I shaved off 15 seconds to my most recent best mile and my stride was more efficient.

What was going on?

The Altra Superior 5

I chose the Altra Superior 5 out of their lineup because it is their slimmest trail design.

It weighs only 8.5 oz. for a US M9.0 and 7.3 oz. for US W8.0.

While it is still zero-drop (meaning that there is a 0mm difference between the heel and toe placement), the Altra Superior 5 still has a 21mm height. 17mm more cushion than I am typically used to!

Altra Superior 5 Trail Running Shoe
Altra Superior 5 Trail Running Shoe

Even though it has more cushion than I am used to, it still provides some ground feel. While I wasn’t feeling everything, I did notice that my foot still had enough feedback from the ground to adjust how it was running, especially on technical terrain that was rapidly changing.

And if ground feel isn’t your thing and you want more protection, the Altra Superior 5 has a removable rock plate that adds additional protection.

The outsole is also pretty darn grippy with their MaxTrac™ outsole and multi-directional lug pattern. It handled well on a variety of terrain. My first run was on a snowy and slushy day and as a transitioned from dirt to concrete, it responded well.

The upper is pretty nice too. I had read some negative reviews about the tongue causing issues with some runners, especially going downhill and having their foot slip. But I never experienced any issues with the lacing system or the “burrito style” tongue wrap. My foot always felt very secure.

The tongue itself has more padding than I’ve seen in other shoes. It’s also integrated seamlessly as part of the upper, hence the “burrito style” reference.

Altra Superior 5 Trail Running Shoe
Altra Superior 5 Trail Running Shoe

The Altra Superior 5 also has built in gaiter attachments. This was a welcome addition. With other shoes that didn’t have this feature built in, my gaiters always sat a little bit funny and snow typically found their way in. Even after stomping through a foot and half in Rocky Mountain National Park, my gaiters stayed secure.

Hardy but Minimal

During the course of our review, I put on over 50 miles on this shoe.

Going into it, I wasn’t sure I would love it. I had run many ultras with very little protection and was somewhat content. But this shoe shook my belief that I was making the best decisions for my feet based on my previous footwear choices.

I am still happy that I am running minimalist, but in a more hardy shoe. My times have improved and I am able to tear down those trails the way I’ve seen my ultrarunning idols do.

I still appreciate that ground feel isn’t completely gone either. A big reason why I find joy in running is the ability to feel the Earth and Altra still provides that ability—granted it is with a bit more cushion.

Altra Superior 5 Trail Running Shoe
Altra Superior 5 Trail Running Shoe

If you haven’t tried Altra yet, but are curious about minimalist, zero-drop shoes, you’re missing out.

The Altra Superior 5 is available online in Men’s and Women’s sizes, but Altra has a handy tracker to show shoe stores in your area that have them.

They retail for $120.

Tifosi Optics Launches New Rimless Eyeshield

When I first started running, I slowly began to build my running gear closet. And Tifosi were the first running sunglasses I bought.

So I was really excited when Tifosi reached out for us to test out their new rimless eyeshields: The Rail.

Tifosi Optics New Rimless Eyeshield
Tifosi Optics New Rimless Eyeshield

Typical shields can offer superior coverage, but can ultimately be heavy and restrict airflow to the face. This can make shields uncomfortable to wear over long periods of time and cause fogging.

“As an avid cyclist I enjoy the coverage of a large shield like the Rail,” commented Joe Earley, Tifosi Optics CEO. “However, the drawbacks that come with larger shields – increased weight and restricted airflow – were the impetus behind creating our next rimless shield. The Rail provides Tifosi’s community with another great option to add to their collection,” Earley continued. 

Tifosi Optics New Rimless Eyeshield
Tifosi Optics New Rimless Eyeshield

When designing The Rail, Tifosi removed the rim from around the polycarbonate lens; shaving down significant weight. But this design choice also breaks the restrictive seal that the rim could create around the face. This allows for greater breathability and comfort on long rides or runs, but I also found in testing that these glasses don’t fog.

That right: no fog.

Even when I took them into the backcountry for snowshoeing, I didn’t have any issues.

The Rail weighs only 32g. And total lens coverage is 131mm x 59.5mm with scratch-resistant polycarbonate lenses. It also has adjustable nose and ear pieces for customized fit, hydrophilic rubber nose and ear pieces that improve grip as you sweat.

Tifosi Optics New Rimless Eyeshield
Tifosi Optics New Rimless Eyeshield

You can choose between two separate lens combinations: an interchangeable model that includes lenses for bright, low, and no light scenarios, as well as their Fototec lens that adapts to changes in ambient light, making it perfect for mountain bikers or trail runners.

During our tests, I grew to love these sunglasses. They were light and comfortable and they looked great!

Tifosi Optics New Rimless Eyeshield
Tifosi Optics New Rimless Eyeshield

One of the core reasons I chose Tifosi as my first pair of running sunglasses was because of it’s affordability. And that brand promise still remains true, even with The Rail. No matter which lens or color combination riders choose – including the stylish Midnight Navy – the Rail costs a highly affordable $79.95. The Rail will launch online and through retailers on March 15, 2022. For more information, please visit: http://www.Tifosioptics.com 

Swiftwick FLITE XT® TRAIL Sock Review

Swiftwick recently launched their new FLITE XT® TRAIL line of socks and sent our team of product testers a couple pairs to test.

Swiftwick® FLITE XT® TRAIL
Swiftwick® FLITE XT® TRAIL

Previously we had highlighted the Swiftwick VIBE™ and Swiftwick PURSUIT™, but this new sock line was built for the trail and built for speed.

The FLITE XT® TRAIL combines Merino wool and Swiftwick’s proprietary GripDry™ Fiber that is incorporated into the heel and forefoot of the sock to provide traction and grip inside the shoe. When tearing down the steep terrain of Mount Sanitas, the sock stayed in place, not sliding or bunching as my foot shifted in my shoe.

Around the ankle, Swiftwick uses their AnkleLock™ Technology with strong elastic to make sure that the sock stays in place, but also provides a sense of stability on rocky terrain.

Over the course of our testing, we wore them in a variety of conditions, including trail-running and snowshoeing. During these colder activities, we found that the Merino wool performed as expected. During these activities, we never felt like our foot was overheated or too cold.

“After the release of our original FLITE XT® socks, designed with advanced stability technology, we heard growing feedback from our hike and trail running customers on their love for the line’s performance features,” said Joanna Mariani, Chief Marketing Officer of Swiftwick. 

“Using that feedback, we set out to combine the FLITE XT’s signature stability features with the natural wonders of Merino wool to provide the best-performing outdoor sock on the market. FLITE XT TRAIL was inspired by our customers and ardently crafted by our team– we’re excited to see what adventures our customers take these socks on.” 

Swiftwick® FLITE XT® TRAIL
Swiftwick® FLITE XT® TRAIL

These socks are a welcome addition to our gear closets. We’re looking forward to ultra season and being able to put more miles on these.

The FLITE XT TRAIL sock line launches in a Two and Five cuff height. Learn more about the FLITE XT TRAIL line at : https://swiftwick.com/pages/flite-xt-trail

Ibex Woolies 2 Base Layers Review

We recently covered Ibex’s Woolies Tech Crew and Bottoms.

Since that review, Ibex launched their new Woolies 2 Base Layers and sent us a pair to test in the snow.

Ibex Woolies 2 Crew
Ibex Woolies 2 Crew

Ibex’s Woolies 2 Base Layers differ from the Woolies Tech in that they are 100% merino. They are a bit heavier, and more insulating as well at 240gsm. If you’re heading out for long hours in colder weather, the Woolies 2 is going to be your best option.

Ibex Woolies 2 Bottoms
Ibex Woolies 2 Bottoms

For testing, I took them out in a variety of conditions: trail-running, snowshoeing, and back country skiing. I found that during low-impact activities (showshoeing or skiing downhill) that these were the perfect match. I wasn’t too hot or too cold. But during heavier activities (trail-running and the ski ascent) they were too much.

For skiing, I had paired up the base layers with a mid-layer, shedding the mid-layer about halfway up to regulate my body temperature. When I had taken the Woolies Tech out into the backcountry, they were light enough so that when paired with a mid-layer, I felt perfectly comfortable.

Ibex Woolies 2 Bottoms
Ibex Woolies 2 Bottoms

One thing I’ll note with the Woolies 2 Bottoms was that no matter how heavy or light the activity was, I didn’t experience any chafing in the nether region.

There’s a lot to be said about why the Woolies 2 perform so well and it’s in part due to the magic of Merino wool. As mentioned in the previous review, Merino is a natural, high-performance fabric, in part because of the conditions these sheep live in. Winters can be below zero and summers as warm as 95ºF. The sheep’ coats have evolved so that the fibers react to the changes in body temperature. And this natural technology is passed along to its human wearers.

During a cold spell in Colorado, with temperatures dipping to -12ºF, I started to wear these base layers everyday. Even when I wasn’t playing outside, I wore them throughout the day for work, typically paired with a pair of jeans and flannel.

Ibex Woolies 2 Crew
Ibex Woolies 2 Crew

And they were extremely comfortable. If you’re in the camp of “Oh no, wool is so itchy!” you have to try Merino. It doesn’t itch and is so comfy and cozy.

Given that they regulate my body temperature so well, I also found these to perfect base layers to transition from the slopes to the ski lodge in. They weren’t wet from sweat and the natural odor control Merino has kept them from being stinky.

For the test, I wore a size large in Men’s. I am 5’11” and 180 pounds and it fit really well.

For information, you can head over to ibex.com. The Woolies 2 come in Men’s and Women’s sizes.

Atlas Helium-MTN Snowshoes Review

One of my resolutions this winter was to get out and explore more. I’ve been making good on that resolution; hiking, running and cycling as weather permits. But I was missing out on one of my favorite winter activities, snowshoeing, until recently.

Atlas was kind enough to sponsor that activity by providing us a pair of their 2021 Helium-MTN Showshoes to test out and review.

Atlas Helium-MTN Snowshoes
Atlas Helium-MTN Snowshoes

Over the last month, I have gotten out a handful of times, logging in around 20 hours and 25 miles in them.

One of my favorite places to take them locally was the Switzerland Trail that’s west of Boulder near the Sugarloaf Mountain peak. There’s a handful of trails in that area. Everything from hard-packed snow to fluffy hip-deep drifts.

What makes the Helium-MTN Snowshoes great is their construction.

“Helium” is named after the snowshoe deck, which Atlas claims to be the  lightest composite snowshoes available. The deck is designed to shed snow, which during our tests I found to be accurate. Even when my snowshoes kicked up a lot of snow, as I lifted my foot up, it was able to shed the loose snow piled onto the deck. This allowed me to move very quickly across the terrain, not having the weight of snow slow me down.

Binding

Atlas Helium-MTN Snowshoes
Atlas Helium-MTN Snowshoes

The first time I had gone snowshoeing, I had borrowed a friend’s pair. They were around 15 years old and not that great. But the thing I remember most from that experience was the bindings. So many times, in -5ºF weather, my boot would come loose and I’d shed gloves to try and tighten it back up. I didn’t have any of those issues with the binding on the Helium-MTN Snowshoes.

The binding at the back of my boot, once in place, stayed in place. In the front, to help secure the toe-box, Atlas introduced the BOA Fit System. This addition of the BOA Fit System helped secure my foot for several hours of comfortable snowshoeing.

Atlas Helium-MTN Snowshoes
Atlas Helium-MTN Snowshoes

Additionally, these bindings on my first use were very easy to figure out.

But speaking of the secure fitting, I should mention that the boots I wore weren’t mountaineering or stiff hiking boots, but minimalist zero-drop boots. Even with a lighter construction, I didn’t feel that the snowshoe was putting too much pressure with it’s binding of Boa system.

Traction

The traction rails worked really well on both snow and ice, even on steep terrain. The serrated teeth of the aluminum rails were able to provide enough grip that I didn’t experience any slippage. Additionally, my foot was able to move freely enough so that I could lean into or back depending on the terrain to have the best balance.

Flotation

One of the key features I wanted to test in these snowshoes was flotation. I went off-trail a few times to find the deepest, most fluffiest snow possible to see if I would sink in to my hip. I would try certain spots, first without snowshoes, to test how deep I would sink. Then with snowshoes. In the spots I tested, I found that the Helium-MTN Snowshoes had adequate flotation. I would sink 25-50% of the total depth. And granted this was off-trail, so I was really pushing what this snowshoe was capable of.

Conclusion

Overall, these snowshoes were great. I really enjoyed my time on the trails with them and look forward for more adventures with them during the winter months.

These shoes are available at REI, but could also be purchased off Atlas’s website for $220.

COROS VERTIX 2 Unboxing, Setup, and Interface/Menu Walk-Through Video

Today we are doing an unboxing and initial setup and thoughts on the COROS VERTIX 2

I am a big fan of COROS. When I was looking for an outdoor adventure watch three years ago, I did a ton of research; looking at the top brands, trying to decide which would be the perfect watch for me.

COROS was new to this category in 2018, but was already shaking things up in an industry that was dominated by Garmin and Suunto. In 2019, I purchased their Apex 46mm watch. What won me over was their unmatched battery life and their developers. They were churning out multiple firmware updates a year—building on an already impressive design—and really engaged with their community; listening constantly to feedback from users.

And three years into it, the Apex is still a solid watch. I can still go between 10-14 days between charges and the firmware has only gotten better with their major releases.

COROS sent me their latest watch, the VERTIX 2, to put through our testing protocols. Their goal with this watch was to make the ultimate adventure watch. Check out our video and let us know your thoughts.

Did they succeed?

We’ll dive in further in a later video.

Bundle Up With Ibex Base Layers

When it comes to winter outdoor activities, bundling and layering is key. And choosing the right base layer is an important first step.

One of the best fabrics to use for base layers is Merino Wool. Merino is a natural, high-performance fabric, in part because of the conditions these sheep live in. Winters can be as cold as -4ºF and summers as warm as 95ºF. Their coats have evolved so that the fibers react to the changes in body temperature. And this natural technology is passed along to its human wearers.

Ibex sent us their Woolies Tech Crew and Woolies Tech Bottoms to test this winter.

Ibex Men's Woolies Tech Bottoms
Ibex Men’s Woolies Tech Bottoms

Ibex’s Merino Wool comes from Australia and New Zealand. They implement the high standards in farming, making sure their sheep are treated with respect and best practices are in place to protect the land the sheep live on.

Ibex is also part of the Climate Neutral community of businesses. The apparel industry as a whole accounts for 10% of global carbon emmisions and remains the second largest industrial polluter. Ibex measures their carbon footprint and partners with their supply chain to reduce where they can and offset the rest.

Why Ibex Merino?

Merino Wool keeps the body cool during even the most strenuous activities by trapping moisture and releasing it as vapor before it turns to sweat.

Ibex Men's Woolies Tech Bottoms
Ibex Men’s Woolies Tech Bottoms

During testing, I wore the Woolies Tech Crew on a chilly morning run. Normally, with other moisture wicking fabrics, I would end a run like this sweaty and, in those spots in the fabric with sweat, cold. With Ibex’s Merino Wool crew, I found myself relatively dry and comfortably warm by the end of the run.

Because Merino Wool is able to regulate your temperature, it also stops odor-causing bacteria to form, so you also don’t have to worry about smelling funky after exercise.

If I wasn’t working from home these days, these base layers would be great for commuting to the office on my bike. I could easily go from my bike to my desk and still look and smell good.

Merino Wool also offers natural sun protection. The Woolies Tech Crew and Woolies Tech Bottoms offer UPF 50, while some of their lighter products offer UPF 25.

Finally, as sustainable a fabric as Merino is, as the end user, we are also encouraged to be sustainable in our care of the fabric. Because it’s odor and sweat resistant, it’ll stay cleaner for longer, which means that it doesn’t have to be washed after each activity.

For testing, I put in around 25 hours of activity before I felt that I needed to wash them.

Woolies Tech Crew and Woolies Tech Bottoms

I was really impressed by the performance of both of these products.

When I mentioned to my wife that I was testing out Merino Wool base layers, her first response was, “OMG, wool? It’s so itchy!”

But guess what? It’s not.

Ibex’s Merino Wool is the finest wool you can get. I found Ibex’s clothes to be soft on my skin and never itchy or irritating (even against a relatively fresh tattoo). On their site, Ibex shares that their fabric is ideal for people with Eczema or who have found cotton or other performance fabrics irritating. I have other Merino Wool products and I swear that Ibex outperforms them on comfort.

Ibex Men's Woolies Tech Crew
Ibex Men’s Woolies Tech Crew

The Woolie Tech Crew and Bottoms are 81% Merino and made with Ibex’s “Pro-Tech” fabric.

On the Woolie Tech Crew fit comfortably. When I paired it with a running vest, I found that the neck was structured so that I didn’t have any rubbing from my running vest. Additionally, it has optional thumbholes, which is a feature I love. When I was out running, I got to a point where my gloves were too much, but I still needed something to keep my hands moderately warm.

The crew laid close to my skin, but didn’t feel tight. I was able to pull up the sleeve easily to adjust settings on my sports watch.

The Woolie Tech Bottoms were great as well. I took them out on a wintery run as well; pairing them with a pair of running shorts over them. My legs were comfy and cozy throughout.

Ibex Men's Woolies Tech Bottoms
Ibex Men’s Woolies Tech Bottoms

Now, the most ideal winter activity to test these products in is skiing (or snowboarding).

I paired these up with a mid-layer and a hardshell.

I was slightly concerned I would get overheated, but I was comfortable for the several hours I was out on the slopes. Even after I got back to the ski lodge and shedded layers, I found that the Ibex base layers were still mostly dry.

Summary

I’ve been a big believe in Merino Wool for a while, but it wasn’t until trying Ibex’s products that I was in love with the fabric. I keep finding myself looking for reasons to put them on.

Heading out for a run? Ibex is coming with me.

Going snowshoeing? Ibex is joining me.

Lounging around in the house? Ibex, hands down.

Both products tested were larges. I am 5’11” and 185 pounds. You can find these along with many other options at Ibex’s website.

Crosspoint Waterproof Knit Wool Gloves Review

It’s no secret, our team at Huck Adventures loves Showers Pass. They are a go-to for many of our adventures; big or small.

Crosspoint Waterproof Knit Wool Gloves
Crosspoint Waterproof Knit Wool Gloves

They recently sent us a pair of their Crosspoint Waterproof Knit Wool Gloves to try out.

The Crosspoint Waterproof Knit Wool Gloves are fully waterproof. It is constructed with three bonded layers, including a wear resistant exterior, a waterproof / breathable Artex membrane, and a lovely merino wool lining. This merino wool lining is something special. It is soft and cozy, but even with the heart rate pumping, offers great temperature regulation while providing anti-microbial properties to keep it smelling fresh.

So far this winter, I’ve taken these gloves running and snowshoeing.

While running, I found that the merino wool lining performed as expected. Even on longer runs, as I warmed up, I found myself keeping the gloves on longer. Typically, I would oscillate between having gloves on our off, regardless of the temperature outside. But with my body temperature better regulated, I didn’t have those issues.

While snowshoeing, these gloves paired well with another Showers Pass product: the Crosspoint Flip Mitt. I was able to open the mitt and have the dexterity of my fingers in the Crosspoint Waterproof Knit Wool Gloves.

The gloves also became my go-to this winter for walking the dog. With the fit and dexterity, I was able to pull out the poo bags, open them, and pick up the little doggie droplets with easy. That might seem like a small thing, but with my other gloves, I’d always have to pull them off in order to perform this activity.

This winter, I also picked up a new daily routine: outdoor ice baths. Every morning, I’ll sit in a horse trough full of icy water in my backyard for 3-4 minutes. I’ll wear the Crosspoint Waterproof Knit Wool Gloves during this time, resting my hands on the outside of the bath.

And I can attest to how waterproof these gloves are. My dog loves to chew on ice. Throughout this morning ritual, I’ll dip my fingers into the bath and pull out chunks of ice and throw it to him to play with.

These gloves are terrific and my go-to this winter.

I consider my fingers normal sized and wear a large comfortably.