Traveling with High Sierra

Traveling with High Sierra

When High Sierra approached us about testing some of their new line of luggage it could not have come at a more perfect time.  As a freelance photographer and filmmaker I travel a lot for work and am constantly wishing my luggage options were more diverse and more compatible to the type of travel.  High Sierra met my needs in two ways: one in the carry-on compatible 22″ Duffel Backpack and two in the wheeled 32″ Duffel Upright.  Both of these bags are made from 840 Denier Nylon that is a high strength, durable material with excellent wear properties.

HIGH SIERRA AT8 22" DUFFEL BACKPACK

After testing this duffel backpack on several trips, both weekend and week or so in length, I would highly recommend it as your extra carry-on piece of luggage, or as a go-to bag to bring on a weekend-long car trip.  The 22″ duffel has a large U-shaped main compartment HIGH SIERRA AT8 22" DUFFEL BACKPACK Review | Gearistopening, two side-loading water resistant gear compartments as well as a front panel waterproof zipper/fleece lined pocket.  The methods you can use to carry this pack are diverse as it has a 3-in-1 handle, grab handle/backpack strap turn into cross body shoulder strap as well as convenient side grab handles.  The exterior of the pack has daisy chain webbing loops for attaching extra gear.  You will find an interior mesh zipper pocket that is great for stashing little things you want to know where to locate at a moments notice.  The pack has a 48L capacity and weights a mere 1.9 lbs.

The key awesome feature of this convertible duffel – is that it converts from duffel to backpack with stow-away shoulder straps making it easy to trek across an airport with or walk from a bus station to an air bnb.  The spaciousness of this pack was perfect for giving me enough space to store the clothes, shoes and accessories I need for a short trip, or the emergency necessities I may want to make sure stay with me on a cross-continental trip – if let’s say I am also checking a bag like the one below.

HIGH SIERRA AT8 32" WHEELED DUFFEL UPRIGHT

I owned one of High Sierra’s previous wheeled upright duffels so was very excited to see what the AT8 line updated from their original bags.  I was not disappointed.  This bag is so full of features I could write a novel about it, but for the sake of your attention span and myHIGH SIERRA AT8 32" WHEELED DUFFEL UPRIGHT Review | Gearist finger’s fatigue, I’ll keep it short.  This wheeled duffel is AWESOME.  I know we aren’t supposed to gush, but sometimes I can’t help it.  This bag is truly revolutionizing the way I travel for long periods of time.  It helped me across Europe this winter and all around Montana this spring and I’m sure it will last me plenty more adventures to come.  The bag has a multiple compartment design; a Duffel style large front compartment and a Large drop-bottom compartment.  These two main compartments can be accessed from a top zipper as well as a zipper down the middle of the bag.  There is a small front panel waterproof zipper/ fleece lined pocket as well as two side-loading water resistant gear compartments. The recessed, telescoping handle with soft gel-bottom handle is as deluxe as it sounds – rolling this pack across the miles of London Heathrow was only made possible thanks to this cushy handle.  While they do not have gel inserts, the convenient grab handles on top, side, and bottom are equally plush and very gentle on the hands.  Oh, and to top it all off, the bag has hidden backpack straps!  The only downside of this pack is that it weighs in at 11 lbs empty, which means you have 39 lbs of leeway before it (very quickly) becomes overweight according to most airlines regulations.  The two separate inner compartments are great for separating clothes from outerwear from shoes from etc…

Both of these bags are high quality, durable and at $76 and $186 are an affordable grab for the adventurous type wanting some luggage that will last and not get in the way of having a great time on their travels.

Help support Gearist by checking out these bags from High Sierra at the links below!*

*when you shop through these links, you get the best price and the retailers show Gearist some love with no cost to you – it’s a win-win!

Topo Designs Puffer Vest Review

Topo Designs Puffer Vest Review

When all of my winter layers go into storage for the summer there are a few mighty, lone soldiers who linger to get me through chilly campfire nights and crisp summer mornings.  This Topo Designs Vest is simple in design, but highly durable and ready to take on any summer adventure.

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“Timeless on the outside, technical on the inside” is what Topo Designs calls their Puffer Vest – a multi season versatile vest.  Where the style of the Puffer Vest may be a little old school, Topo has updated the classic look with technical features, filling the nylon ripstop with DWR finish exterior with warm, quick drying Primaloft to keep you warm and dry without adding much weight.  For such a hefty looking vest, the Puffer is pretty light weight.  The vest has two exterior pockets that are super roomy for keeping hands toasty, or stashing gloves, phones, or wallets, and an interior zippered pocket for anything you want to keep close to your heart – or from falling out of the larger hip pockets.  The Vest comes in a variety of colors, some far more vibrant than others.

Kulkea Boot Trekker Review | Gearist

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I tested this vest hiking, splitting wood, walking my dog and running errands.  Its deep pockets are great for warming hands and will hold even the largest smartphones these days.  There is a zippered pocket inside the chest that is where I kept cards and cash – the big hip pockets are great, but not very secure.  The durable ripstop material is exactly what I love in year round outer wear – especially during the summer – what other season might you find yourself leaning up against an abrasive rock around a campfire, or on a hike – no need to worry about Primaloft guts spilling anywhere.  Speaking of the Primaloft fill, it’s super lightweight so this vest is comfortable to wear for hours on end. The vest is unisex, so ladies size down from your normal women’s size – I usually wear a size Medium in women’s outerwear and the size small fit well.  The snap closures are great for warmer season wear as well – adds some breathability to the warm vest.  The classic cut of the vest makes it great for wear over a flannel or hoody, but also would look great around the town over something a little more professional.

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At $150 the Topo Designs Puffer Vest is a staple that will last the test of time in your warddrobe, even if you wear it regularly all four seasons.


Camp Guide at Backcountry

Trail Running with Swix

Trail Running with Swix

Known for their cross country ski apparel, wax and poles, Swix has come out with some great products for trail running this season that they sent our way to check out.  The Cyclon Packable Women’s jacket and Stadion basic Tee are high in quality, comfort and visibility and definitely worth a second glance.

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Swix sent over an bold and bright shirt and jacket combo to test – both in a refreshingly springy “Hibiscus” color.  The Stadion – Women’s Basic Tee was made for running and any high-pace activity. The cut is said to be “Ultra-comfortable”, quick-drying and has a super soft-touch thanks to Bamboo fabric. The shirt has Ventilation mesh areas under the armpits and engineered graphic detailing.  The shirt also has a media pocket on the back. The fabric is made of: Bamboo: 50% Bamboo, 50% Polyester; Mesh: 95% Polyester, 6% Spandex.

The Cyclon Women’s Packable Wind Jacket is an exceptionally versatile windshell is exactly what you need to begin an summertime early morning activity. It’s also a handy piece to scrunch down into a tiny packet. The DWR finish provides protection from wind gusts and light precipitation – but don’t rely on it for anything heavier than a sprinkle. The hood has an adjustable shockcord and the jacket has elasticized cuffs and bottom hem to make it very adjustable.  The jacket has a media pocket on the left hip that has a drawstring closure and the back of the jacket has a ventilation strip.  The front and back of the jacket have reflective graphics for safety. The fabric of the jacket is made from 100% Nylon with a 20D-DWR finish.

Both the jacket and shirt come in four vibrant colors, as well as a sleek black.

Kulkea Boot Trekker Review | Gearist
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The Stadion – Women’s Basic Tee is great for any summer outdoor activities.  The fit is my favorite aspect of this shirt – I love that has enough space in the chest and hips but is also tapered at the waist for a feminine silhouette.  I wear a size Medium which is true to size for me at 5’9″ 155lbs.  I would get one of these in every color if I didn’t already have a technical T problem (it’s a real thing – not unlike a shoe or bag problem).  The neck is also cut a smidge lower than a typical crew neck which is great for breathability and does not feel restricting when running.  The little media pocket on the back is great for a credit card and ID or car key.

We have tested quite a few of these packable windjackets this year, and the Cyclon does well against the competition – I really like how roomy it is and how well the DWR finish repells a little bit of precipitation and protects against the wind.  The reflective strips are an important addition and while I’m not sure I would store anything important in the hip pocket while running (it would bounce around too much), it makes a great spot for a phone and keys on a walk with my dog.  The hood is a great size and cinches down to stay in place while running.  The temperature can vary so much in the spring and summer time inland versus on the coast and I love having a jacket like this stored in my bag or my car for when I need a little extra protection. 

Trail Running with Swix | Gearist
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At $41 for the shirt and $99 for the jacket, these new items from Swix’s trail running line, stack up well against their competition and I would recommend to anyone looking to add to their trail running wardrobe.

Please help support Gearist by checking out this Swix trail running gear at the links below!*

*when you shop through these links, you get the best price and the retailers show Gearist some love with no cost to you – it’s a win-win!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ibex Woolies 3 Hoody Review

Ibex Woolies 3 Hoody Review

Cozy midlayers are an essential part of every outdoor enthusiast’s winter wardrobe no matter whether you prefer skiing up or down hills.  The criteria is simple for what constitutes a great mid layer: warm, breathable and wicks sweat. The Ibex Woolies 3 Hoody is a super warm layer perfect for wearing over a light thermal and under your jacket.

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The Woolies 3 is the warmest and heaviest baselayer from Ibex.  The 1/4 zip hoody we tested has a 10 inch zip neck with locking pull, flatlock seams, and raglan sleeves with thumbholes.  The back length in size Medium from the top of shoulder is 25.5 inches (I’m 5’9″ and 150 lbs and wear a size Medium) which is an improved length from Ibex’s previous lines of woolies great for us taller gals.  The exterior of the top bears a poly-faced exterior that moves freely under a shell.  Unlike the Woolies 1 and 2, the Woolies 3 are brushed on the interior for a fleece-like feel.  Together, these materials form an Expedition Weight Double Face Knit Fleece (combo of wool and synthetic fibers) that will keep you warm and dry.  Ibex recommends using this top cycling, hiking, traveling, running, doing any winter sports, aka wearing it everyday, all the time in colder temperatures.

 

Kulkea Boot Trekker Review | Gearist

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The Woolies 3 from Ibex is just about as warm as a baselayer can get for as lightweight it feels on.  Ibex describes it’s interior as fleece-like and that’s definitely my feeling as well.  At 5’9″ I struggle to find baselayers and midlayers that are long enough that I’m not baring skin every time I bend down or crash in the snow, and I like the extra length this top has, hitting right above my hip bones.  The zipper of the hooded top is a nice length as well, opening up enough to be able to ventilate well from the front during strenuous exersize.  The hood fit my large head comfortably and I think would definitely fit under a bike or climbing helmet well especially if they are adjustable.  I’ve tested this top both downhill and cross country skiing, snowshoeing and running.  It is definitely as warm as they suggest and I wouldn’t recommend wearing too many extra layers with it as it insulates and wicks sweat so well that a few times I ended up way over dressed.  For that reason I think that it is definitely a worthwhile investment as it almost throws a few pieces of clothing into one, packing a cozy fleece and a mid-level baselayer into one.  It is also a super stretchy material so when I’ve needed to shed a layer it’s super easy to tie it around my waist and because it is so lightweight it isn’t much of a hassle.  One of the best features of this top is how well it washes and dries – typically I have to be super careful about snagging my Woolies out of the washer and hanging them to dry (which I recommend you do with all of your outdoor gear), but incase they don’t make the cut, it’s good to know they dry in a machine without incident.

Kulkea Boot Trekker Review | Gearist

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At $155 (OR under $90 at the links below!!) for men and women this isn’t your cheapest midlayer fleece, but for a piece so durable, that will reliably keep you warm and dry I think it’s worth the price tag.

Thank you for supporting Gearist by checking out the Ibex Woolies 3 Hoody at our partner links below!

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Traveling With Topo Designs

Traveling With Topo Designs

Made in the mountains of Colorado, Topo Designs bags are built tough to last through all of the possible rough conditions you could put them through. The three bags we are featuring in this post are made from Topo Designs’ classic and ultra-durable 1000d Cordura fabric that is reminiscent of a cross between military grade rucksack and elementary school backpack material.  We’ve chosen these three bags out of Topo’s extensive bag line-up as three great travel companions for a long weekend, or lightly packed week trip away.

22 inch duffel

Topo Designs DuffelThe 22 inch Duffel is the perfect carry on bag, or the right heft and size to throw in the trunk of a car, taxi or bus.  The natural leather handles, and tough exterior fabric will withstand the abuse of airport baggage handlers and the coated pack cloth lining of the bag is nice to your clothes and other belongings.  The bag has two interior zippered pockets which are great for stashing any small things you don’t want to loose within the cavernous bag.  This bag holds 34L and is TSA compliant, making it my go-to carry on bag when I fly.  I’ve traveled quite a bit with this bag since I started testing it and love the tough nature of all of its features – the straps are made from seatbelt materials, the leather handle grips and lash tabs and the YKK zippers all make this 22 inch Duffel super reliable.  I’m not worried if I drop it in a parking lot puddle, or a pile of dirt as I’ve found the Cordura material can withstand a lot of trauma.  I love the bright red-orange color Topo sent us to test as it always stands out amongst a crowd of other black and blue bags, although you can purchase it in a more muted tone if bright orange isn’t your thing.

CLICK BELOW TO SHOP FOR THE 22 INCH DUFFEL AT:

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rover micro

Topo Designs Rover MicroThe Rover Micro is great for endeavors around town, or for carrying your important personal items while traveling either domestically or internationally. The sturdy fabric comes in fun colors that make it easy to find and add a pop of color to any outfit. There is a zippered pocket on the top flap that is great for easy access to your most used items- like chapstick, bobby pins, or spare change. There is a sleeve pocket that goes down the back that could easily hold flat items, such as brochures from the museum you just visited, or a map of the town you’re passing through. The top flap is held down by a toggle clasp so that your important items stay where you want them. Inside are two small sleeve pockets, a zippered pocket, and another larger pocket which is perfect for your wallet, passport, shades, or whatever accessories are your necessities on the road. The shoulder strap is adjustable and made of a black 1” nylon webbing. The strap is removable from the bag via aluminum hooks, so this shoulder bag can be packed away with ease. I had a great time testing this bag, the fabric is dependable and the slim design is exactly what I want from a purse as an adventurous lady. It holds everything I need and is still non-obtrusive so I get to focus on the people I’m meeting and sights I’m seeing, rather than constantly worrying about my things.

CLICK BELOW TO SHOP FOR TOPO DESIGNS AT:

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dopp kit

topo1Last but not least – the Dopp Kit.  This triangular shaped bag is small enough to pack well within your duffel, but big enough to fit all of your toiletry essentials.  It’s three sided shape allows it to sit upright on small hotel shelves, and provides easy access to everything you need.  The large handle is great for pulling it from within the bowels of your duffel and doubles as a great hanging handle for on the back of a door.  I was able to stuff the following in my Dopp kit: travel sized shampoo and conditioner, lotion and face wash, deodorant, contact lens solution, glasses case, toothbrush and paste, floss, and the list goes on of all the tiny little other things that can fit in the nooks of this bag.  
The moral of the story: after testing these Topo Designs bags on a number of trips both by car and by air, I feel pretty confident saying that you are missing out on the simplicity and durability that these travel essentials have to offer if you don’t own them yet!

CLICK BELOW TO SHOP FOR THE DOPP KIT AT:

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