Friday, October 5, 2012

The North Face Men’s Hedgehog Tall GTX XCR Review

Do you have a solid pair of trail boots?  Are you looking for a pair of boots that offer more support and protection when hiking? Well look no further because The North Face Men’s Hedgehog Tall GTX XCR boots are perfect for lighter to moderate tail expeditions. I found these particular boots completely sufficient for my all hiking needs when I was out at Yosemite this year.
The North Face Men’s Hedgehog Tall GTX XCR boots are great for those who enjoy a good hike in the backcountry or a fun boulder scramble. The boots Vibram rubber sole provides strong traction on variable surfaces. So, it’s great for those of you exploring different terrains. These boots incorporate a GORE-TEX XCR membrane making them perfect for those who are in need of winter footwear that will hold up in snow and rain. They also fit true to size and have a larger toe box for greater comfort.

These boots are made from a combination of leather and a breathable mesh material that is abrasion resistant. The North Face also included a Northotic Pro upgrade foot bed with Poron ReSource heel cushioning, which provides extra stability and comfort. The boots are extremely durable and will serve you well in every season.
The best place I found to buy The North Face Men’s Hedgehog Tall GTX XCR boots for UK shoppers was at Here you can request a price match if you happen to find a better deal reassuring that your getting the best deal out there! These boots cost £104.99 or $169.65. Get a solid boot and get on the trail! 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

SALOMON Cosmic 4D 2 GTX Men's Hiking Boots Review

All day hikes with varying elevation, temperature, and  other incremental conditions can be murder on your feet. It's not easy work by any means, but its a great way to stay fit, adventurous, and see spectacular views.

So, what could be so difficult about putting yourself in a position to become a real life postcard?  The answer is obvious to any gearhead with a gadget for every situation, but for those needing a little bit of extra help, the short answer is to start by finding a hiking boot thaByke comfortable, lightweight, and and harmoniously combines that with technology and innovation.

Read on to see why I Chose the Salomon Cosmic 4D GTX as a top performer.

I'm here to take the stress away from your search for boots, as well, as from your feet. The Salomon Cosmic 4D GTX® hiking boot will keep you on your feet whether its a few hours of hiking or a few days. With Salomon's Sensifit™ technology which cradles your foot for a precise and secure fit, your feet are going to be able to take more abuse so you can hike longer and farther.

The Cosmic also has Contagrip® technology which delivers the most innovative outsole technology to provide you with the traction and durability you need to move in every condition imaginable. Salomon also teamed up the GORE-TEX® to keep your feet dry from the outside as well as from the inside.

Salomon boots are second to none, and the Cosmic 4D GTX is by far one of my favorite boots. Their comfort and durability are what is going to keep me coming back time after time. For this style of boot, the price compared to other similar models is right on the money and even a little low in my eyes when you start adding up all the features. Price:; $219.96 US and £152.99 UK.  

Although, it is well known that you can't skimp when purchasing hiking boots, it is essential to also find a boot that has all the features that suit your needs. So do your research because if you skimp, and get the "cheaper" pair of boots, you will be regretting it pretty quickly once you get that first blister or swamp foot.. You aren't going to buy a cheap pressure gauge when scuba diving, or a cheap frayed rope when rock climbing, so why would you do that when it comes to hiking boots? They also come in an array of colours, so you can't go wrong.

The boots are worth 100% of the cost and if you get them from millet sports, you can save a little with free shipping. If you're serious about hiking, these boots need to be on your shopping list, and it also comes in a womans boot, which you can find right here!

Friday, September 14, 2012

The GoPro HD Hero 2 Review

Cameras seem to innovate and technically expand faster than cell phones these days. Cameras are becoming less expensive, more technically sound, and have developed into a multi billion dollar business now that they have found a market as POV cameras donning the tops of ski helmets, the ends of surfboards, the decks of kayaks, whatever else you can think of. There is a broadening array of manufacturers out there making head cams, but the true market leader and pioneer of this growing gizmo has got to be GoPro: and man did they step it up this year with their 2nd Generation version of the infamous GoPro HD Hero

NEW features for the GoPro HD Hero 2 include: option of frame rate ranging from 30-120fps, resolution from 720-1080p, an impressive 11MP resolution that can shoot up to 10 photos/sec., and a field of views at 90°, 127°, and 170°. They even increased low light shots, making the pictures crisper adding detail to any gloomy day.

I love this camera. GoPro was definitely on point with this one!  I can use the bluetooth technology to turn my smart phone into a view finder. I no longer have to guess as to whether or not I am getting the shot. When in the water, I didn't have to worry about getting it wet because of the water-proof housing, and that same housing is incredibley durable.

GoPro added more LED lights on the camera so you can make sure its recording no matter what side of the camera you are standing on. And with a range of different accessories, you can customize it to fit your specific needs. My favorite thing about the new GoPro is that you have the option of going almost completely Wi-Fi!

At the price of $299.99 US or 369.83 UK , you get 3 different sport packages to choose from.

The first is the Surf Edition, which includes 1 11MP HD HERO2 Camera, 1 Waterproof Housing (197′ / 60m), 1 HD Skeleton Backdoor, 1 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery, 1 USB Cable, 2 Surfboard Mounts, 1 FCS™ Compatible Camera Mount, 1 Floaty Backdoor, andAssorted Mounting Hardware.

The 2nd package is the Outdoor Edition. That included 1 11MP HD HERO2 Camera, 1 Waterproof Housing (197′ / 60m), 1 HD Skeleton Backdoor, 1 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery, 1 USB Cable, 1 Vented Helmet Strap, 1 Head Strap, 2 Curved Surface Adhesive Mounts, 2 Flat Surface Adhesive Mounts, 1 Three-Way Pivot Arm, Assorted Mounting Hardware.

The final package is the Motorsport Edition, which includes 1 11MP HD HERO2 Camera, 1 Waterproof Housing (197′ / 60m), 1 HD Skeleton Backdoor, 1 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery, 1 USB Cable, 1 Suction Cup Mount, 1 J-Hook Buckle, 2 Curved Surface Adhesive Mounts, 3 Flat Surface Adhesive Mounts, 1 Three-Way Pivot Arm, Assorted Mounting Hardware.

All great choices - GoPro is just making it easy for specific action sports.

Check out their website, for more information

The best online web store that I found that carries GoPro is Cotsworld Outdoor for customers out of the United Kingdom, and when you order from them you only have to pay £300, plus free delivery. Not too shabby.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


2013 Icelantic Review

Just when I thought Icelantic Skis couldn't outdo last year's stellar lineup and "You are an animal" themed artwork, they come out firing on all cylinders with two new skis, a line of Side Country boots (First Degree ST1 and ST2 boot review
coming soon) and an array of artwork that would bring Alex Grey himself to tears. Artistic Director and hypothetical student of metaphysics Travis Parr, (one can only guess his ideals lie with Plato's notion of that which holds that what exists lies beyond experience) set his sights high and shaped a line of artwork that everyone at SIA couldn't take their eyes off.

This year, Icelantic's theme is, "Find Your Rhythm." An audibly growing drum beat that builds to a reckoning of what is to come from this Denver-based ski company. Icelantic has been busy this past year building up to a 2013 season  bound for not only more snow (much much more snow, right snow Gods?) but a year where they find their rhythm, delving into a plan of action that saw them sign one of the top big mountain skiers on the planet, Julian Carr, (owner of Discrete Headwear) who by the way also got the cover of the new Warren Miller movie, Flow State improved on their already bomber ski construction, added a line of ski boots, dubbed The First Degree, and threw the most monumental and first ever, Winter Concert at Red Rocks over the SIA show weekend this past January. That show sold out I might add, and if you weren't there, you missed one hell of a party. But don't worry, word around the campfire is they are making this an annual event. sshhhhh
Not only have they added two benchmark skis to their growing iconic lineup- the Seeker and Nomad RKR, but a few material additions have also sprung up. First, for 2013 Icelantic's top-sheet material has changed from Nylon to Carbonium. Carbonium has increased durability, (chip resistant) is lighter, damper, snow doesn't stick to it, and it is by far the finest top-sheet material on the market today.
Keeper Hypnotic Horizon
Icelantic chose Carbonium due to the success Never Summer had with it last year, and to stick to their historical M.O. of providing consumers with skis made up of the finest and most technologically advanced materials on the market, it just made sense. In addition, my thoughts on the Carbonium, especially for this year's artwork, is that it gives the skis a deeper, almost 3D appearance.

There is a lot going on in those graphics, so look deep into the various horizons that move your eye further into the ski when you see them in person, then as your hypnosis grows thicker and your mind becomes heavy, breath deeply, grab the pair off the rack and walk them to the register and just hypnotically nod to the sales associate. They will know what to do.

Second, Icelantic invested in an industrial Wintersteiger tuning machine that provides consumers with a fully tuned ski right out of the wrapper, with a pattern that is specific to each model. That right there is the equivalent of an $80 value if you ask me.

Now to the meat and potatoes my friends. Feast your eyes and turn on your minds.

The 2013 Icelantic Gypsy is back for year two. It's the POW ski all other POW skis want to be like. Back from a year where it was the new kid on the block that everybody wanted to secretly be friends with, even when they were committed to their old friend from years past. The reason? The Gypsy not only floats like a butterfly in the deep, but is cool, calm, and collected when faced with the crunchy, hard packed bully up the block.

This baby can lock in on turns when pressed and turn a bully into a friend connecting front side with backside without having to switch to another set of boards in your quiver mid-day.

One of Icelantic's 2013 new models - (The Seeker is a ski) not for the faint of heart, said one tester at SIA. Another said, "This thing is a different animal altogether, the most powerful ski I've been on in a long time, I can't believe there is no metal in that core."

True to its name, the Seeker is a blood thirsty plank of raw power that big mountain skiers will be gushing over this season. Anybody who is in need of a ski that can man-up to the task of their hard charging ways will be pointing this ski down their favorite couloir and letting their confidence build the run for them. Julian Carr will be riding this one all over the world this year and you may even see this crusher on a few podiums as well.

Ah, the Keeper - a ski that has become another benchmark of Icelantic's line, and personally my favorite graphic for 2013.

Early rise tip and tail and traditional camber underfoot makes this baby an all-mountain ripper that has a surprising 16m turn radius (178cm) on a ski that is 119 mm on the waist. An anomaly in its own right. Take two runs and come back and tell me you don't love this beast.
Take 3 runs and I'll probably be pissed that you took that many runs on a demo day. Come on share the love people.

The 2013 Icelantic Shaman is, as David Byrne so eloquently put it in his song, Once in a Lifetime off the album, Remain In Light, Same as it ever was.

Remain in light while skiing on these two effortless planks of poplar. You will feel the Shamanic light surround you like a pink Snuggy you've sewn yourself into against all your better judgement. In other words its a good move my friends.

This kind of ski comes around once in a lifetime like that sun-kissed beauty you spent 16 magical hours with only to wake up to the realization you will never see her again and strangely, your wallet is missing. So, grab destiny by the snowballs, strap in, throw I Know You Rider on your headphones, and steal an hour back from your life while you cry yourself down the hill - it only gets better with time.

And to keep with old adages,

If it ain't broken, don't fix it.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. (a proverb meaning it is better to have something that is certain than take a risk to get more) No risk here and no need to keep hunting, your one quiver ski has arrived.
Seeing is believing and in this case skiing is achieving. Get on a pair and you will never look back, I promise.

Stop me if you heard this one. So, a ski walks in a bar with camber sits down in a chair and then falls. A patron of the bar says, "You are off your rocker."

That was terrible and I apologize.

No need for pleasantries though with the NEW FOR 2013 Icelantic Nomad RKR because this ski has already turned heads and will be in all the gnar mags come this fall for best of.

Icelantic did away with the Nomad SFT to keep the confusion down a little and has put together a ski that will inevitably outsell all other Icelantic models in its first year. I'll call it the tramp of the line because this little bitty will be getting around come this winter.

"The most playful and fun ski I have sk'd all day." said one SIA tester.

"I'll take 30 pair." said a Michigan shop owner.

NOMAD RKR, remember it, see it, know it, but don't ever underestimate it. To paraphrase and add-lib Trey Anastasio, . . . this (ski) is going to F#$@ your face, 'Cause it knows how to scream.

 Visual urban artist, Sam Flores (left) and Icelantic Founder, Ben Anderson (right)
posing for a pic with the original limited edition print.

NOTE: American Visual Artist Sam Flores did a live painting at the 2012 SIA show that will be transferred to a limited edition Nomad RKR. Only 100 sets of of the Sam Flores skis will be available.

I believe the cost is $1000 and it includes a limited edition t-shirt, large Giclee art print, a set of Nomad RKRs with the Sam Flores design on them and a set of ski hangers. Sam stopped by and airbrushed the print live at the show after doing his mural for the Denver Airport last January as part of the Terminal Kings project. 

As if the new RKR with a limited edition Sam Flores print wasn't enough excitement to make you change your drawers, Travis Parr has created a Special Edition Nomad RKR to commemorate Loveland's 75th Anniversary.

What does this mean? It means I'm going to have 3 pairs of Nomad RKRs this year and two of those pairs will never see snow, and my girlfriend is just going to have to deal with it!

Stay tuned for the second half of the lineup in the next few days along with the chilly First Degree Boot Review. Shits about to get real.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

LifeProof iPhone and iPad Cases Review

What is so LifeProof about an iPhone case?

With the menagerie of iPhone cases on the market, the need to weed out the pretenders can lead to an extensive Google search that can leave you cross-eyed. Well search no more, LifeProof has designed and engineered cases that are dirt proof, waterproof, snow proof, and shock proof.

Last week at the US based Outdoor Retailer, I tested the durability of the LifeProof iPhone case. At the prompting of the gentleman working the booth, I spiked his LifeProof laden iPhone on the concrete floor, and after a nifty bounce I picked it up with absolutely no sign of damage to the iPhone and the LifeProof case was also in perfect shape.

After doing some digging on the web, I found some great user videos that illustrate the IP-68 waterproof standards -- the highest International Protection rating -- that the LifeProof case exhibits. At the Outdoor Retailer show they had both iPads and iPhones submerged in a tank of water with their displays fully illuminated to show that they were working without a glitch.

In this video a user freedives about 10 feet in the ocean with his iPhone shooting video. Although the LifeProof case is tested to 10 feet, LifeProof recommends staying above 6.6 feet or 2 meters.

As an avid outdoorsmen that puts all my gear through extensive abuse while hiking, skiing, kayaking, and the ever-popular getting out of my car while my iPhone is on my lap, I appreciate the no-nonsense approach that LifeProof as a company displays and the levels of protection that they spell out for you on their website. Further, I find that popular cases like the Otterbox can be obtrusively large and bulky in a pocket, whereas the LifeProof case is surprisingly low profile. 

Although, LifeProof cases start at around $79 or £59.99 for all my UK readers, the functionality in my eyes far exceeds the price. Not only are you getting a bomber case for your most prized electronic possessions, but adding the cost of a LifeProof case from the time you buy your iPhone or iPad until you decide to sell it and trade up will increase the resell value considerably. An unmarked and unscratched used iPhone will garner at least that much more extra cash when you go to resell it. Plus adding a LifeProof case with your sale only makes your ebay listing all the more desirable, which will ultimately make your LifeProof investment back and possibly even a little more. 

I'm not saying you will make money on this device, but take a look for yourself on the web and see how much an iPhone with  sells and one that has rattled around a purse for a year. The difference to me looks considerable.

The best online web store that I found for not only LifeProof cases, but for tons of their accessories is OUTDOORGB.COM for all my UK readers. Armbands, mounts, covers, and cases can all be found on this site. 

If you want a little more information on LifeProof's technologies and products, visit their website at Worried about your iPhone sinking, they also have a new LifeProof LifeJacket that works seamlessly with your LifeProof case.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Native Watercraft Slayer Kayak Review NEW for 2012-13

Native Watercraft Slayer 12 and 14.5 Review

The Slayer is Native Watercraft's new boat for 2013 and it will come in both 12' and 14'6" models. According to Legacy Paddlesports, the Native Watercraft Slayer should be shipping in September 2012. The Native Watercraft Slayer 12 is priced at $1179 and the Slayer 14.5 at $1279. I've seen the design both as CAD specs on paper and from video released last week. Legacy Paddlesport's resident kayak fishing gurus Jimbo and Woody spent the last two summers fishing with pro kayak anglers and really getting a feel for what these fishermen were looking for, and I think Legacy has really nailed it with this one.

Designed with a clean deck layout (KISS) the Slayer offers ample room to stand, rig, strip line, or simply chill out and enjoy the day. (Native Watercraft Catalog 2013)
Unlike some pretenders this thing is ultra stable in terms of being able to really stand up and not feel squirrely. The Slayer paddles more efficiently and maneuvers better than any sit-on-top fishing kayak on the market, which I believe manifests from the Native Manta Ray in terms of hull design, because that boat really moves for a sit-on-top.

The seat is unprecedented, sticking with the same First Class Seat design in terms of material and comfort, but is a huge step up from other high-low seats out there. Many kayak anglers had complaints about how other high-low seats on the market have a bar that digs into their tailbone. Plus the supposed option to use a cooler under your seat wasn't really an option at all in other high-low models. In the video a Yeti cooler is displayed and fits perfectly on its own, or as a boost to the seat. They also showed how easily Plano boxes fit underneath the seat and how easy they are to access.

Anglers wanted lots of easily accessible storage and universal features that could be used throughout the whole Native line - from the Ultimate to the Manta Ray to the Slayer. That is why Native fans will be pleased with the design. Both the fore and aft open bow storage areas not only perfectly fit the Native Watercraft coolers that go all the way back to the first years Native arrived to market, but the Groove Track Mounts fit all the same Native accessories from years past like the Folding Dash, Lashpoints, "The Groove" Scotty Rod Mounts, Outfitting Plate, etc.

As a kayak fisherman, I really hoped that Native made the area for resting your rods open. I have fished with multiple rods on a kayak where you are sticking your rod into a closed compartment and it becomes cumbersome and in all actuality you just don't use it. I usually just set my rod on top of the compartment, but with multiple rods on board, tangles and clutter just seemed to follow. The Slayer -- thank the fishing Gods -- has simple rod tip rests that are split by a functional dry compartment, which holds all of your electronics and valuables. It sounds like a small feature, but in my world it is huge. Kayak Anglers wanted simple, streamlined, and uncluttered features with clean lines that can be easily customized and the Native Watercraft Slayer has done just that.

Rounding out the features are carefully designed and well placed scuppers in the fore and aft storage areas, and both open storage areas have an option for hatch covers if you so choose. Further, their are molded indents fore and aft for tackle boxes. From the video the indents make a lot of sense - very subtle indents - just enough so that tackle boxes and buckets aren't sliding around the boat. Last, the Tag Along Stern Wheel comes standard on the Slayer because fishing sit-on-tops loaded with accessories can only be so light without giving up options and extras. The Tag Along Stern Wheel just gives you one more nice extra after you unload the boat and need to take it that last 20 feet or so to the water without dragging over concrete or rocks.

The Slayer will be available Fall of 2012 and comes in Mango, Fire Brick Red, Lime, Olive, Sand, and Camo.


Native Watercraft Slayer 12 $1179.00
Native Watercraft Slayer 14.5 $1279.00


Slayer 12 325 lbs
Slayer 14.5  385 lbs

Slayer Performance/Features Pros:

- Stability of the flat deck for standing
- Paddles Extremely Well
- Overall Comfort of the First Class High-Low Seat
-  Clean lines and features
-  Molded indents for buckets and tackle boxes
- Padded Aluminum Grab Handles
- Well placed scuppers
- Easily accessible storage fore and aft
- Previous years Native Watercraft accessories fit on the Slayer
- Made in the USA

Slayer Cons:

- At $1179 and $1279 these are close to the high end for their respected categories, however the peace of mind of knowing that the boats are all designed, engineered and manufactured in the USA is something most Americans want to stick by.
- The optional covered hatches not coming stock on the Slayer Models
-  The Slayer only comes in SIX colors, not seven

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

2012 Icelantic Skis Review continued . . . Nomad & Nomad SFT

The Nomad & Nomad SFT

The 2012 Icelantic Nomad is cosmetically and spiritually symbolized, with good reason, by the mountain goat. Mountain goats have a natural ability to descend down precarious rock faces, traverse across jagged cliffs, and shuffle down sloughing slopes faster, and with more grace than Sly Stallone dodging a melee of gunfire while cascading a two-step down a mountain cliff hanger. Yeah - that fast, and that graceful!

A fitting creature to represent a ski with an equal amount of versatility and maneuverability. I know I've said it before, but this ski is the one quiver ski. With a narrower waist than the iconic Shaman, the Nomad surfs in at a cool 105 mm underfoot. Another brilliant ski from Icelantic that is a crowd favorite due to its adaptability and explosive power. It's as shapely as Marilyn with dimensions running 140 mm in the tip, 105 mm on the waist, and 130 mm in the caboose, and as balanced as Daniel LaRusso, Crane-Style against the Cobra Kai nemesis, Johnny Lawrence. Although, its sidecut is not as drastic as the Shaman, it provides a different style of all terrain shredding.

The turn radius runs 14, 17, and 20 meters respectively for its 156, 168, and 181 cm lengths. I'd categorize this ski under anyone looking for one ski to literally do a little bit of everything. If you like hitting little booters in the BC - no problem - with its balance and exceptional control, it's super fun and playful. If you run into groomers a lot in the Midwest and out East, it can handle it, and handle it well - holding edge on hard pack with surprising side to side quickness. If you make it out west a couple times a year and hope to stumble upon some blower conditions, or you want to hike a ridge you've had your eye on, then no need to demo a powder ski, ride your Nomads with pride and feel the solid planks keeping you confident on that precarious ridge, and floating you to the promised land. 

The Nomad SFT is a lighter, more flexible version of the Nomad. It features Icelantic's soft Nollie Flex Core. It's a big mountain jib ski that allows skiers to take their front-side antics to the BC. One rider I spoke with on a lift was rocking the Marker Schizo binding on his SFTs and was grinning from ear to ear talking about how fun his set up was. He remarked, " . . . it has awesome flex for park days (and the Schizo adds ability to turn your traditional mount into a center mount (with a few key turns on the toe piece ) and even with the 105 mm underfoot, it's light enough to go back side on tree runs and throw down, and so easy and effortless when you want to carve around with your Grandma." I added Grandma.

If you feel the call of the mountain goat, and have spoken to him in your dreams, ask him why his cousin eats leather, and tell him to guide you on your journey to skiing nirvana with the 2012 Icelantic Nomad and Nomad SFT.

140, 105, 130
156, 168, 181
14, 17, 20

Currently, Icelantic can be found at the following Midwest and Great Lakes Shops for the 2011-12 season.

The House Board Shop (St. Paul, Minnesota)
The Ski Hut (Duluth, Minnesota)
Summit Sports, Inc. (Michigan)
Benchmark Outfitters (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Phillip Galls Outdoor and Ski (Lexington, Kentucky)
Aspen Ski and Board (Columbus, Ohio)
Savvy Skate (Bismarck, North Dakota)
Laacke and Joys (Madison, Wisconsin)
Viking Ski Shop (Chicago, Illinois)
Village Snow (North Olmsted, Ohio)
Geiger's Ski Haus (Cleveland, OH)
Big Powderhorn Ski Resort (Ironwood, MIichigan)

Dealers interested in carrying Icelantic can contact Josh at