Gear Review

My husband and I are outdoor gear junkies and I noticed there aren't a lot of gear and clothing reviews from a woman's perspective.  You will find the main theme of these reviews are cozy and comfortable.

Arcteryx – Atom LT

I’m sure you’re going to start seeing a theme in my closet.  My family LOVES Arcteryx gear.  We love it so much so that my 3-year-old has asked when she can get an Arcteryx jacket.  I think my first Arcteryx item was the Atom LT jacket and I’m now on my third Atom LT (I keep getting smaller).  It’s my go to jacket for everything.  Through the winter, I wear this jacket as a layering piece under a shell for skiing downhill.  On a cold day of cross country skiing I’ll often wear it over my lighter jacket until I warm up.  I’ll wear it during my warm up at a skimo race and for winter hiking.  During summer camping season, it’s often the perfect weight to wear on a cool summer evening.  It’s light to carry in your pack as a layering piece and it beads water if you are caught in a bit of a shower.  I have many options in my closet when it comes to outdoor gear and the Atom jacket is the number one on my list.  It’s always the jacket that I grab first and it’s on my body or in my bag for every adventure I take.  If you are looking for a layering piece, really consider the Atom.  There are three different weights, the SL (superlight), LT and the AR (heaviest weight).  I find they fit a bit roomier than some of my other Arcteryx jackets and it allows for great range of movement and is not at all constricting.

 

Soupin’It UP - Backcountry and Camping Meals

I discovered Soupin’It Up last summer at the local farmer’s market and fell completely in love with their healthy and fast soup mixes.  This local business makes homemade dried soup mixes and rice dishes that are excellent for camping and backpacking.  All products are hand made locally in Calgary, Alberta and they provide free home delivery in Calgary when you purchase $35 or more (which is so convenient for those of us who can’t find time to hit the grocery store far less the farmers market).  Some of their dishes take longer to cook than others, but so far, I’ve really enjoyed every one that I’ve tried.  In the backcountry, we have taken the Lentil Dahl and the Potato Leek Chowder (Bring powdered potatoes to add).  I use these soups as a base and add whatever fresh veggies or meats that I have in the fridge when at home and trying to make meals on busy weekday evenings.  There are also several that work in the slow cooker for weekends when you’re out in the mountains and want to come home to a fantastic meal that’s ready to eat.   My favorites so far are Coconut Chicken Curry, Coconut Thai Lentil (Backpacking), Lentil Dahl (Backpacking), Potato Leek Chowder (Backpacking), Split Pea and Taco Bean (Slow Cooker).  For the backpacking meals bring rice or powdered potatoes to increase the heartiness.  You could also add freeze dried chicken for extra protein.  I usually put in an order for about 10 soups and then I have several options for great meals in my pantry.

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Dynafit TLT Primaloft Skirt Damen

Who would wear a down skirt”, “I’d like to have a down skirt”, “I LOVE my down skirt”.  This is the evolution of my thoughts regarding thermal skirts.  The Dynafit Damen skirt is a wonderful primaloft skirt that I have been wearing every chance I get since Christmas.  It zips up the left side top to bottom and has a second zipper on the right front and along with the stretch side panels this skirt allows for total freedom of movement when you are hiking up a steep slope and need to take some bigger steps.  I’m going to get technical here and say that the inner side of the skirt is made of the same smooth shiny material as the outside (PERTEX® QUANTUM PA DWR 36 BS ), which means the skirt doesn’t climb up your winter tights and end up in a big bunch around your waist.  Yay!!  It’s warm, wind resistant and water repelling and it looks so fashionable for your après ski/hike/run when you hit the pub.  I’ve worn it hiking, backcountry skiing and xc skiing.  I’m a size 4/6 and I bought a small.  It fits higher on my waist than I’d normally like, but I think that’s where it’s supposed to fit.  I wear it with insulated tights underneath, if I were going to wear it over my softshell pants, I’d go up a size and get a medium.

 

Arcteryx Axina Knicker Review

The Arcteryx Axina Knicker is an insulated coreloft layering piece that I was fortunate enough to receive for Christmas.  I was cautiously optimistic about this base layer, as I’ve found most base layers just don’t seem to keep me warm.  I’ve wanted the Atom pant for years and they finally came out with the Axina, which is a version of the Atom pant but women’s specific for skiing.  I was very pleasantly surprised by this super cozy pant.  I’m not going to go in and start talking about all the technical aspects of it, as you can find that on the Arcteryx website, I’m going to give you my opinion.  This pant is fantastic!  It’s warm and comfortable to the point that at the end of the day I don’t want to take it off.  It does have a pocket for you to store your lift pass or credit/debit cards if you would rather not store them in your shell for fear of losing them (which I’ve already done this season).  I am a size 4/6 and I went for a size medium as the Axina is a bit tight getting up over the hips.  The medium fits me perfectly.  I wore the Axina under my Arcteryx Ravenna pant for two days of amazing powder skiing in about -10 degrees Celsius and I was never too hot or too cold, just cozy the entire time.  I would highly recommend Axina for a downhill resort skiing base layer.

 
Arcteryx Ravenna pant   http://www.arcteryx.com

Arcteryx Ravenna pant

http://www.arcteryx.com

Arcteryx Ravenna Pant Review

The Ravenna pant has proved to be a great Gore-tex ski and all round play in the snow pant.  As you read my posts, you’ll see a trend for me is comfy.  This pant is comfortable, but also excellently put together with great durability and features.  I use it for downhill skiing, my skimo training, teaching the kids how to ski and playing in the snow.  I bought it as a size Large when I was about a size 12 and I’m now a size 4/6 and it still fits fine, although a smidge baggy in the legs and bum.  The waist adjusters have enabled me to keep my pants fitting around my waist.  I really appreciate the vents for all my uphill skimo training.  Although mine fit baggy as they are on the bigger side, the Ravenna pant generally fits on the slimmer side.  The Arcteryx website description discusses the brushed flannel backer which supposedly adds warmth to the pant, it’s nice, but this would not add much in the way of warmth for me, you still need a great layering piece underneath.  For winter downhill I use the Axina knicker.  My one complaint about this pant is there are only two hand pockets.  I’d prefer a third pocket somewhere where I can store cards and ski passes.  I’ve already lost one ski pass this year as I had it in my left pant pocket and with gloves on, and fumbling for wallet or keys and dealing with small toddlers, the pass disappeared on one of my outings.  Overall a great downhill/backcountry ski pant that I would and have recommended to friends.

 

Hoka One One - Speedgoat

Hoka shoes are fantastic for those of us who want to run, but are dealing with a lot of injuries.  I spent 10 years in my 20’s-30’s struggling with chronic foot pain that stemmed from an injury I had when I was 13.  I was unable to run until I tried Hoka runners.  I was cautious about running trails in Hokas as I was worried about rolling an ankle wearing a shoe with such an oversized midsole.  As it turns out I didn’t have to worry.  The speedgoat is a very stable shoe that has allowed me to pursue trail running.  I ran in the speedgoat all last summer building up a running base and will continue to use them this summer as I increase my distances.  My goal race for 2017 running is the climb, conquer, cruise in September in Golden, BC and I’m confident these shoes will help me reach this goal.