Category Archives: Gear Reviews

GEAR REVIEW: Ink Blaat Insoles

I recently came across a product that claimed to help with foot odor while looking good at the same time. I was given an opportunity to test some of these products in exchange for an honest review to post on Vermont SUP. The company is Ink Blaat Insoles, they have a ton of great styles with sizes from Mens 4 up to Women’s 14. Click Here to read more about their company.

The best thing about these insoles is the fact that when they get dirty you throw them in the wash they’re good to go again. I’ll be honest, my feet always stick. I know its gross but keeping the odors at bay has always been important to me. I’ve tried things like baby powder, odor balls and even vehicle air fresheners but nothing seemed to really work.

I was interested to give these Ink Blaat Insoles a try. I put them in my running shoes that were 6 months old and already getting a funk to them. It was different running in them the first time because you simply place them on your existing soles. I then replaced my insoles with Ink Blaat ones only and liked that feeling much better. After several days of using the insoles the smell seemed to diminish and within a few weeks didn’t really smell at all. After about 2 months, I did send them through the wash just because I could.

I chose the Uh-Oh style because I liked the bullseye design. They have a ton of different designs to choose from even though no one will really see them other than you. Below is just a few of their options.

The one negative thing I have to say is the fact they have no support for your feet. I have very flat feet and having some arch support is imperative for me to be comfortable. I currently use a separate arch support insole under the Ink Blaats. I will keep them in to use but would be very interested if they decide to make new models with arch support.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the Ink Blaat Insoles for free from Ink Blaat Insoles as coordinated by Outdoor PR in consideration for review publication.

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GEAR REVIEW: Orsden Slope Jacket

Growing up in Northern Vermont you get used to the long, cold winter at a young age. It’s not unheard of for temperatures to be negative double digits for weeks on end. It’s essential to have the right gear for those situations. I’ve always loved the saying “there’s never wrong conditions just wrong gear.”

The Slope Jacket from Orsden is an essential piece of gear to have with you on those cold mornings when you’re scraping ice from a windshield and shoveling a long driveway. They make a Men’s and Woman’s versions. 

On a side note, I grew up in Vermont and spent 30 cold winters enjoying the snow, cold & some of the best ski resorts on the east coast. I started to dislike the cold more and more in my late 20s and decided to move to Florida in the winter of 2013. I currently don’t live in the cold, but I sure do remember it. I’m happy to tell you some winter stories, just come down here to Florida and we’ll sit on the beach in shorts and flip flops and talk. Ha ha

Anyways, back to the review of Orsden’s Slope Jacket. Upon getting the jacket I instantly noticed it is made of strong materials that feel like it could withstand some serious use and not rip or wear out. The stitching is strong and it has a ton of built in features. I personally don’t normally wear a hood and the fact that this jacket has one that zips off is a nice touch. The 4 way stretch construction gives you a nice looking fit without feeling like it restricts your movements. It has 5 pockets around the jacket and interior tapered cuffs to keep the snow out in the deep powder. It also has under arm pit-zips allowing you to cool off in a hurry after hiking to your favorite powder line. 

With all the features this jacket has I’m holding onto it until I decide to  move back up North for the the cold winters. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants something stylish and sleek but also warm and super comfortable. It’s a great mix of style and comfort, in fact it’s the most comfy jacket I’ve worn. 

 Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the Orsden Slope Jacket for free from Orsden as coordinated by Outdoor PR in consideration for review publication.

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GEAR REVIEW: Paleo Meals To Go

paleo-meals-to-go-banner-logo-vermont-sup

Paleo Meals To Go was born out of love and passion for health and exercise, the spirit of the great outdoors, and advocacy for a holistic, wholesome Paleo lifestyle. We provide the best in class, freeze-dried Paleo meals to those on a path less traveled. Wherever our customers go, Paleo Meals To Go gets them there. With unexplored territories on the horizon, backpacking food that gets back to your roots and to your adventure is our prerogative. We balance experience with passion, providing the ultimate combination of nutrition, taste, and convenience to enhance the journey ahead. ~ https://paleomealstogo.com

Paleo Meals has several options including breakfast, snacks and dinner. They are super easy to make, just pour some hot water in the packets, close it up and wait. Once your meal has rehydrated itself, dig in because these meals are tasty and healthy!

We tried the dinner meals first and were pleasantly surprised by the flavor and quantity. One packet filled us up and tasted great! We’ll definitely be taking these on our next paddle trip to use once our frozen meats are used up. This is the next best thing after a fresh cooked meal!

We are excited to try to the other options Paleo Meals has to offer.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the Paleo Meals for free from Paleo Meals To Go as coordinated by Outdoor PR in consideration for review publication.

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GEAR REVIEW: CrossKix APX

Most of the time when I paddleboard I’m barefoot. When paddling, going barefoot allows me to “feel the board” which give me more control on the water. 80% of the time I paddle this way, barefoot and loving it!

There are some situations where I don’t want to be barefoot and require something protecting my foot. The major situation I encounter includes rivers and most specifically whitewater rivers. When paddling on a river, or anywhere you might have to get out and walk, having a good sole supporting your feet and protection covering your toes is essential.

Recently I had the chance to test out one of the newest products offered by CrossKix, a pioneering footwear company creating functional footwear. The sleek, aggressive and stylish designs coming from this newer organization sets them apart from your normal EVA (Ethylene-vinyl acetate) mold injected shoe company.

I instantly noticed how light yet solid these shoes felt. The soft EVA material seemed to hug my foot as I slipped them on. The holes on the bottom of the sole and sides of the shoe give the water a place to drain out as your paddling through rapids or just walking in the rain.

You can be sure that I’ll be keeping these shoes with my quiver of paddling gear to protect my feet when paddling.

Key Features: 

  • Ultra Lite Kix Upper
  • Wear Moldable Footbed
  • Completely Water Submersible
  • Daily or athletic use

Crosskix 2.0 and APX

Crosskix behind the brand

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the Pannier Backpack Convertible for free from crosskix.com as coordinated by Outdoor PR in consideration for review publication.

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GEAR REVIEW: SUP Wheels EVOLUTION

Transporting your paddleboard is and important part of paddling. It’s not just strapping into your car and driving to a local river or surf spot but also how you carry it once you get there. SUP Wheels has a great solution for moving your board on location  once it’s off the car. The SUP Wheels EVOLUTION allows you to pull your paddleboard as you walk or bike to your desired secret spot. It makes it easy to move a big bulky paddleboard without having to be physically strong to muscle it to the beach or river.

It’s large heavy duty plastic wheels and sturdy cross axle makes it strong and easy to roll over bumps, curbs for maybe your best friend taking a nap on the side of the trail.

Vermont SUP Gear Review SUP Wheels

You simply slide the tale of your board into the sup wheels and secure the rubber bungee cord around the fin. The opening is large enough for even the biggest SUP and surfboards. Then attach the included handle at the nose and run the thick strapping down the board and around the fin. This gives you a nice solid handle to carry and drag your board to the desired spot.

This is a perfect item to keep in your car and use as needed depending on the paddling location. It folds down to store relatively flat in your trunk or closet.

Sun shines on Bolton Dam
Sun shines on Bolton Dam

I wish I would’ve had this sup wheels on my Winooski river trip two years ago. We paddled 65 miles in five days but had to portage nine dams. The worst was 4 damn in one day through the Vermont State Capital, Montpelier. The longest of the portages was at the Bolton Dam where it would have been nice to use the SUP Wheels on the 1/4 mile hike.

What I like about these SUP Wheels are that it’s lightweight yet strong plastic. It could take some abuse on the trail or river and still work no problem. Its large diameter wheels makes it easy to roll over bigger objects like rocks or logs. I also really like the strap and handle that comes with it. Much better design than some of the suction cup models on the market today.

CLICK HERE to view the full specs from their website.

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GEAR REVIEW: Urban Armor Gear iPhone Case

Urban Armor Gear iPhone Case

I recently purchased a Urban Armor Gear case for my iPhone 5S. I loved the look of them and seemed like a good solid case. After getting it I was relieved that it wasn’t some flimsy cheep China generic cover.  This case had some strength to it!!!

It’s hardshell outside is strong plastic that has already withstood many, many many accidental drops from heights up to 10 ft. I wouldn’t recommend trying to drop your iPhone from 10ft with this case on it but the one time mine did fall it landed on the corner and was fine.

The inside layer is a softer rubber material thats gives a little more cushion and protection for the phone.  It also helps when your holding it but giving a bit of sticky grip so it doesn’t slide out your hand.

All in all this case is great. Its sturdy and rugged while keeping a small profile so it doesn’t take up your whole front pocket. I’d recommend this case to anyone looking to add a little bit of protection for their phone without breaking the bank.

My one con would have to be that Urban Armor Gear doesn’t offer a waterproof case solution. I would imagine and hope there is one in the future. As a paddler and being on the water all the time it important to keep your gear safe. I’ll be watching their case line-up waiting for that waterproof option.

Key Features:

  • Armor shell and impact resistant soft core
  • Feather-light composite construction
  • Oversized tactile buttons
  • Easy access to touchscreen and ports
  • Scratch resistant skid pads and screen surround
  • Meets military drop-test standards (MIL STD 810G 516.6)
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GEAR REVIEW: Two Wheel Gear Pannier Backpack

The Pannier Backpack Convertible from TwoWheel Gear is the perfect solution for carrying your most important items with you where ever you go. It’s designed specifically to mount on a bike while your traveling around the world. It’s small and thin design holds your gear without taking up a lot of space.

It comes with a reflective rain cover to quickly throw over when its raining and is bright green with reflector to aid in the visibility while on the road. Its backpack straps are strong and comfortable but are also easily tucked in the backpack to store while on a bike or simply stored away for later use.

Myself, I don’t bike…I paddle! I have used this many times on my BIC SUP Wing Limited 12’6” while out on day paddles around our beautiful Vermont waters. As mentioned above it’s small enough to wear it the entire paddle without killing your back. The compartment designed to hold the hardware to mount to a bike easily fits my camelback bladder. With any sport its very important to stay hydrated and this pocket allows me to bring water with me without the cumbersome water bottles. 

Long story short, this backpack will not hold a weekends worth of camping gear or food but it does give a great solution for a quick day pack to bring with you while on the bike, board, kayak, canoe or simply in the car. Two Wheel Gear made this backpack durable and stylish. Now that I have this bag, I alway make sure to have it with me on all of my adventures.

THE PANNIER BACKPACK CONVERTIBLE

We wanted to design the quickest converting pannier to backpack in the market while keeping top quality functionality and intuitive simplicity. It had to be rugged, comfortable and we didn’t want it to look like a pannier at all. It needed to be big enough to take the daily commuting essentials but sleek enough to hike around with all day (and night). Above all, it had to be able to handle the heavy rainfall of the Pacific Northwest. We designed this as the perfect compliment to our flagship garment pannier. The perfect commuter daypack for cycling to work or taking on your adventures on-and-off the bike.

KEY FEATURES

  • Quickly converts between bike pannier and technical backpack
  • Universal Rixen & Kaul rack attachment
  • Weatherproof materials
  • Padded 15 inch laptop sleeve
  • Padded pocket for phone or sunglasses
  • External U-Lock pocket
  • Integrated reflective design
  • 2 side water bottle pockets
  • Utility loops for clipping lights and accessories
  • Fluorescent, reflective rain cover included

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions: H 17.5″ W 12″ D 7″

Weight: 2.8 lbs / 1.3 kg
Volume: 24L / 1470 cubic Inches
Material: 600D Polyester with TPE Waterproof backing & UV Treatment
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the Pannier Backpack Convertible for free from twowheelgear.com as coordinated by Outdoor PR in consideration for review publication.
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GEAR REVIEW: Electro-Bites Fuel100

Electro-Bites Fuel 100

As any athlete knows, its important to have the energy while your enjoying your outdoor adventures. Throughout my many multi-day paddle adventures all over the East Coast, food and sustaining your energy is the biggest thing to think about. If your on a self-support trip you need to think about not only what food give you the best energy and calories but also how to pack it light and small. Electro-Bites gives you just that, quick and easy energy while keeping it in a small and compact package. It stuffs easily in any dry bag or life jacket pocket for that fast snack when yo start to feel sluggish and tired.

Electro-Bites are designed specifically for endurance athletes to help extend training and improve race performance. Designed as an alternative to the sweet and sticky products currently on the market each 100 calorie pack contains bite sized snacks that are slightly salty in taste.  Electro-Bites contain only the best all-natural ingredients including coconut oil and agave syrup.

In addition to calorie replacement each serving contains 190mg Sodium, 55mg Potassium and 46mg Magnesium.  Using Electro-Bites may reduce or eliminate the need for electrolyte replacement and other nutritional supplements the body needs to perform at the highest level.

Electro-Bites were designed to dissolve easily in a dry mouth and absorb quickly into your system. There is nothing like this on the market.  -electro-bites.com

electro bites Fuel 100 Variety pack vermont sup

The variety pack offers you a great way to try several different flavors in the Fuel100 line up. “We are excited to offer a variety box of Electro-Bites. It’s a great way to sample flavors to see which ones you like best. Each box will contain at least three different flavors.” -electro-bites.com

Simply Salty:

Simply salty is our base flavor on which all the others are built. We’ve always loved this flavor and during trials and testing we found that so did everyone else. It is great to use early on or when you are ready for a more simple flavor. It combines the salty signature of Electro-Bites while letting the lightly sweet agave and coconut come through.

Pumpkin Spice:

Pumpkin Spice started as a seasonal product but due to popular demand, it is here to stay! We have also reformulated the recipe to make it even better.  We have added real pumpkin pie spices – cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice to the formula creating a tasty treat that delivers calories, electrolytes and naturopathic benefits.  These Electro-Bites are dusted with ultra fine sea salt for a delightful combination of salt and sweet.

Salty Vinegar:

Salty Vinegar was born from our desire to take a big step away from a sweet flavor profile. Sea salt and vinegar potato chips are one of our favorite cheat foods, but certainly not a great option during racing and training. We developed the next best thing. Our signature formula is lightly dusted with sea salt and powdered distilled white vinegar.

Salty Vanilla:

Reminiscent of a cookie, Salty Vanilla is our most popular flavor.  A dusting of Madagascar vanilla powder, fine sea salt, and a little sugar we’ve created what might be the perfect comfort fuel for a long effort. This is a simply delightful flavor.

Apple Cinnamon:

We took our signature formula and flavored it with natural apple and cinnamon spices. The apple takes the spotlight in these Electro-Bites, with just a hint of cinnamon to enhance the flavor experience. These Electro-Bites are dusted with ultra fine sea salt prior to baking for a delightful combination of salt and sweet.

 

I tried each flavor and I feel the Apple Cinnamon is the best. The Electro-Bites almost dissolve in your mouth and really do have a pleasant salty taste. I’m not a hug fan of the Cliff bars and these will be a great substitution to the typical granola bars on my next trip.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received LifeStraw Personal Water Filter for free from Electro-Bites.com as coordinated by Outdoor PR in consideration for review publication.

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GEAR SPOTLIGHT: DocksLocks – A Paddle Lock

DocksLocks Paddle Lock

Keep your paddle Secure with this Dockslocks Paddle Lock. To Use, simply clamp around your paddle and secure it using the same  you use to lock your board. Lock your paddle and your SUP board together.

Great for protecting your paddle from theft.
A simple add on to a DockLocks system
Works with any 1 piece Paddle
Sleek Aluminum design is strong and will not rust
For use with a Dockslocks Cable

Read the full DocksLocks Systems review here

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Gear Review: SUSTAINABLE ACTIVEWEAR FOR SUP WOMEN

As paddlers and active outdoors women, it’s important we have the activewear that allows us to perform at our best.

But it’s also important that the activewear we purchase is produced responsibly to avoid inadvertently harming the environment that gives us so much. With endless activewear brands offering the latest and greatest in textile technology, we figured we’d take a look at the companies that are taking the extra steps to create products that are seriously sustainable as well as stylish or cutting-edge.—Shari Coble

prAna Sabin TBack Top1 activewear

prAna Sabin T-Back Top
Designers at prAna updated the Sabin T-Back Top, but fear not, it still features the same lightweight, quick-drying and shape-retaining performance “Chakara” fabric, which is unique to the brand. The top’s gathered front and ventilated racerback allow for extra comfort while you’re working it, and the built-in shelf bra with removable cups give the option for more or less fitted support. You’ll be doing something good for your performance and for the planet when wearing prAna, as they’re a Bluesign Certified brand, which means that the company is held to the textile industry’s highest standards for environmental health and safety, as well as chemical management.
$65, prana.com

Jala SUP Yoga Legging activewear

Jala SUP Yoga Legging
Whether you’re practicing SUP yoga or paddle surfing, these extra long leggings will protect you from the elements while also keeping your style in check. Constructed from eco-friendly, quick-drying fabric with UPF50+, the leggings are long enough to wear over the heels or to bunch around the ankle. Four-way stretch material helps you stay comfortable and makes for a perfect fit on your backside. With a name like “Jala,” which means “sacred waters of life” in Sanskrit, we can’t help but think this brand speaks directly to SUP ladies.
$76, jalaclothing.com

Cozy Orange Vesta Jacket activewear

Cozy Orange Vesta Jacket
Designed for function, the Vesta Jacket provides support and compression without sacrificing breathability or comfort. Created from Cozy Orange’s own Revive Eco Lux—a recycled polyester and lycra blend—this jacket has pilling resistance and stretch for added comfort to the already super soft material. The fitted waist and the chafe-free side seams flatter all body shapes, while also adding a little flair. Thumb holes in the sleeves allow for extra coverage when your hands are chilly, and the zipper pockets keep your accessories safe while providing easy-access. And, the company takes their sustainability practices super seriously by continuously going under evaluation by sustainability teams to ensure their production process is truly eco-friendly.
$78, cozyorange.com

Patagonia Active Mesh Bra Howling Turquoise activewear

Patagonia Women’s Active Mesh Bra
If you’ve never had a seamless bra, this one by Patagonia is the one to try for a chafe-free future. Redesigned from its original, now a few generations ago, the Active Mesh Bra is a v-back and offers moderate support while staying flexible enough to move with you. Wide reinforced straps help keep everything in place without digging into your skin or obstructing movement. The recycled polyester, nylon and spandex jersey blend is double-layered and moisture-wicking, while that annoying clothes tag that usually needs to be cut out of the back can be easily torn out so you stay scratch- and itch-free. The sizing on this item tends to run small, so we suggest trying one on in-store, or, ordering a size up.
$39, patagonia.com

Threads for Thought Zabrina Long Sleeve activewear

Threads for Thought Zabrina Long Sleeve Tee
Threads for Thought came to creation on the notion that apparel should be more sustainable and they’ve carried that concept as they’ve grown from graphic tees to a full apparel line that even offers activewear, like this performance long-sleeve tee. Lightweight, with moisture-wicking fabric the scoop neck top is fabricated with a recycled polyester-spandex and features a laser-cut detail on the center back for a stylish touch and extra breathability.
$55, threadsforthought.com

Alternative Apparel Eco Jersey Joggers activewear

Alternative Apparel Eco-Jersey Jogger Pants
Once you put these joggers on, you won’t want to take them off. Constructed from Alternative Apparel’s eco-jersey fabric—a blend of polyester, cotton, and rayon—the material on these is dyed with completely non-toxic, chemical-free dyes and feels extra good against your skin. Side stripes add some detail to the outer leg, and a back right pocket keeps you from having to carry your junk. Oh, and we forgot to mention that the Alternative Apparel is a Certified Green Business, as designated by Los Angeles.
$52, alternativeapparel.com

Teeki Mermaid Fairyqueen Teal Tank activewear

Teeki Mermaid FairyQueen Tank
Channel the waterwoman goddess within while you sport this trippy tank by Teeki, which features a mystical mermaid scale pattern. The high neck top is a shorter cut (you’ll most likely show some belly in it) and lining-free to stay lightweight, while the breathable, stretchy material makes you feel like you’re not wearing anything. Teeki’s entire line is made from recycled or sustainable materials, which we think is crazy cool—just like their apparel.
$38, teeki.com

The OM Collection H2OM Capris activewear

The OM Collection H2OM Capri Leggings in Sri Yantra
Designed specifically for SUP women, the H2OM Capris feature a unique pattern of the sacred Sri Yantra mandala over an image of the ocean, designed by artist and outdoors lover Marisa Aragon Ware. Constructed of recycled polyester and lycra, these capris will take you from land to sea as they’re quick-drying and stay in place when wet. The material is a medium-thickness, offering extra support and coverage, while keeping you as comfortable as these are funky.
$79, theomcollection.com

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