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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Get in Gear...And Climb!

Scarpa Epic Approach Shoes
For the beginner's climbing camp I attended with Matt Walker from Inner Passage, I needed to get my hand on all kinds of gear. So here are reviews of some of the things that made my trip easier!

I didn't even know there was such a thing as approach shoes. But, I suppose one does need to approach the rocks if one is going to climb them. Anyway, I was glad I had these with my. They were incredibly comfortable and offered great support. And since I have super-high arches, that was greatly appreciated. They have actually become my favorite go-to shoes. I trained in them for the Breast Cancer 3-Day and walked the 60-mile event in them! I'm sure it's time to retire them. But I don't see that happening until I get my hands on a new pair!

The North Face Zephyrus Pullover
Love this pullover. It kept me warm and dry and was awesome for layering. I learned very quickly that layering is key for climbing - and tone of other activities for that matter!

Lole Jasper Jacket
This jacket is almost too good-looking for wearing outside. It's hard to tell in the pic, but it looks like a real jacket, not outerwear. I wear it to travel in a lot since it never looks wrinkly or gets dirty. And it looks amazing with my black Lole Balance pants, which are also awesome for travel. No matter how long you sit, they never get stretched out of shape. I love my Lole Evolution capris for the same reason. I climb, hike, canoe, dance, do yoga, and go to the supermarket in them. I have a Lole uniform I wear almost all the time now between these pieces and my Lole Silhouette tops!
Westcomb Jacket
This jacket has such a nice body to it. Instead of meaning mushy. It has a really form and shape to it that it somehow keeps no matter what. It is super breathable and great for layering with everything. I wear it for traveling too - adventure and otherwise - and it looks really sharp on the rocks and at the post office!
The North Face Scythe Jacket
I am OBSESSED with this jacket. We call it the Muppet jacket because it's so furry and snuggly. You can wear it like a sweater or hoodie or as an outside jacket. I know clothes aren't necessarily designed to be comforting. But this jacket really is. If I'm feeling grumpy or blue, I nuggle into this jacket and feel so much better. It's hard to be unhappy in anything this purple and so, so super soft!
Mammut Keiko Jacket
This jacket is amazing. It is kind of incredible engineering-wise.  It's a summer weight shell that offers multi-sport weather protection. But it is ULTRA light. It feels strangely light actually. Apparently it only weighs 12 ounces. It's fully waterproof and breathable. Plus, it's made form Mammut’s DryTech Premium stretchy hard shell fabric, but somehow moves and wears like a softshell. In other words, it's super protective but doesn't make that hideous crunch sound when you move around. Thank goodness.

It also has a waterproof zipper, adjustable hem and hood, watertight zippers on the two front pockets, pre-shaped sleeves with adjustable cuffs, and zippered underarm ventilation.   Sorry, I'm rambling. But this is such a super-cool jacket. Truth be told, I've been wearing it constantly since I got it in October and it's already January. I think I've found my year-round love!
Patagonia Nano Puff
I have fallen in love with this Nano Puff Jacket. It is ridiculously warm despite being super thin and easy to squash down into almost nothing. I actually slept in it when we were camping!
Tilley Hats
These hats offer super sun protection and do not give me a migraine - which is a very big deal since most do!
The North Face Nalani Backpack/Tote and Wayfinder Duffle
I am an excellent packer. And I NEVER check luggage. But with the airlines getting insane about the size of luggage, even carry-ons that have allowable in the past are getting me in trouble now. But no one even thought of stopping me with these two pieces. The 19" Wayfinder holds a TON more than it looks like and you can get into the Nalami from the top or the sides. Plus it has pockets and zippers and can be carried as a tote or a backpack. I've officially found my two favorite travel companions...and they never ask for the window seat either!
Mammut Crea Light Pack
I have to say it - I felt so cool with this pack on. It is totally the real deal. It has a zillion pouches and pockets and you can pull it all in tight with all of the attached straps in order to keep everything nice and tidy. Plus, it has this super light frame that keeps any of it from touching your pack and causing you to get hot and sweaty. And I do not like being hot and sweaty. Water bottles fit on the sides and you can keep shoving stuff in and in and in. If there's a limit, I haven't reached it yet.
Petzl Helmet
I had no idea what a difference the right helmet would make. This helmet was super-adjustable and fit me awesome. It was perfectly comfortable and breezy, especially with a Buff underneath. My climbing partner had a helmet that was rented and it kept slipping off and driving her nuts, which made me extra glad that I have this one. Plus, it's pretty great looking!
Mammut Vision Harness
The same thing goes for my Mammut harness. It fit great. It looks awesome. And even if you're a casual climber, like me, it's so nice to have your own harness adjusted just the way you like it with no one else sweating it up. And everyone I climb with is always complaining about how uncomfortable their harnesses are and how they can't wait to take them off. Me? Not so much. Don't tell anyone. But I kind of like wearing it around. Everyone thinks I'm a hard core climber, and who am I to tell them otherwise...

Scarpa Thunder Climbing Shoes
I love these shoes. And it's not like I have a thing for purple suede. Although I sure do now! Climbing shoes are supposed to fit snugly. But they are not supposed to break your toes. These fit like ballet slippers. They are shockingly comfortable despite being so tight. They are super supportive and very sticky, which is definitely want when you're faced with a sheer rock face!

Buff Headwear
I know. It just looks like a scrap of fabric. That's exactly what I thought when I first saw it too. But the Buff is so much more. It's bug repellent and protects you from the sun. It wicks sweat and it fits great under a climbing helmet. You can wear it in lots of different ways and it looks pretty awesome no matter what you do with it. You can also tie your ponytail back with it or wear it on your wrist to mop up sweat. Gotta love multi-purpose.
The North Face Flux Power Stretch
This was another great layering piece. It is super soft and stretchy and comfortably fitted. Not in a "this is way too tight to move in" sort of way. But instead in a "I feel comfy and warm and can still reach that hold up there" sort of way. And when I'm not climbing or working out, I wear it running errands or hanging out writing. I have a habit of wearing too many hoodies and this is a great thing to wear instead.
The North Face Outbound Pant
These are great for all kind of adventures, indoor and out. But they look enough like khakis to wear for a day shopping or running around town.
The North Face Horizon Valley Convertible Pant
These are great as pants or shorts and have been great for climbing, hiking, bowling, and even roller skating. And the fabric refuses to stain or rip. And, believe me, I tried.
Tilley Waterproof Jacket
This jacket can fold up into itself into a nice tidy packet that you can even wear around your waist like a belt bag. It is waterproof and provides great coverage while taking up next to no room on your luggage or your pack.


This shirt is as comfortable as it is good-looking. I wear it for everyday wear as much as I wear it for travel and adventure wear. It's great for layering, is highly breathable, and shockingly easy to keep clean. Stains seem to fall right off of it, which is a very good thing for me. Kinda klutzy with the coffee.

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