It seems it is time for the hiking blogosphere to start posting their “Christmas Lists” – I have already seen three or four just in the last week.
I had an article about 95% of the way written, and decided to delete it and do something different. The idea pop’ed into my brain to write up ‘my favorite piece of gear from my sponsors‘, but the more I thought about that, the more I realized I just could not decide on a single piece of gear from a couple of my sponsors. For instance, I have over 2000 days of use with the Montbell Dynamo Wind Pants and my absolute love for the Montbell U.L. Thermawrap Jacket would make it impossible for me to pick between the two. (opps, guess I just gave away that companies two favorites, doh!). The same could be said of companies like Six Moon Designs and ZPacks. So I figured the only way I could make this happen is if I picked two pieces of gear from each company that sponsors me!
As most of you hopefully know, Black Rock Gear, the makers of the most beloved beanie in the outdoor industry, and a sponsor of mine, has been working on creating a non animal down, synthetic, version of their beanie for the last year.
With Christmas fast approaching I have worked with Black Rock Gear to be able to get a 15% off coupon that I can share with all of you.
The coupon is only applicable for the synthetic beanie and will expire on Tuesday, November 8th.
Black Rock Gear is offering free USA Domestic Shipping, and only $10 for International shipping.
On the checkout page, enter the coupon code ‘nogoose15’ for your 15% off!
They have a ‘hunter orange’ colour that I suspect is going to be crazy popular – might want to try to be one of the first to grab one, if you are into orange gear, which I know a lot of you are!
The ‘aurora red’ could also be pretty popular. Not sure I have seen that colour of a beanie from BRG before.
The ‘silver pearl’ looks like it could be a really good neutral colour, for those that are not into having their gear stand out and screaming “look at me, I’m a beanie!” – but hey, if you got a BRG beanie, why would you not want it to be doing that!
The following is a Q&A session between myself and Evan Cabodi, the founder and owner of Black Rock Gear, based out of Washington USA.
I have been a fan of BRG for many years now, know an insane amount of fellow hikers that also love them, and I have been super proud to a sponsored hiker of BlackRockGear.
Black Rock Gear is introducing their very first pack, a rather impressive leap forward for a company that has only made garments and accessories, and they have brought forth an amazingly beautiful and functional pack right from the get-go.
Below is a short interview that took place with Evan and myself, it will give you a bit of insight into how BRG operates, approach being a cottage industry company, and of course details about their brand new packed called the “BlackRock Day Pack“. It might not be something for everybody, no pack out there is, but all indications are this is going to be one really amazing pack.
One of my sponsors, specifically Black Rock Gear, based out of Seattle, Washington, has just introduced an entire line of winter season down gloves – and these are awesome looking!
Many of you that are BRG fans might remember that they previously had in their product lineup a very sweet pair of undermitts (which most of us have been buying/own) and earlier in 2013 they introduced a pair of gauntlet mitts which have apparently been huge sellers for them!
In addition to their existing gauntlet mitts, they are introducing a new Expedition Grade Liner Mitt, which they are indicating are the warmest mitts they have ever created, and a pair of Foldback Fingerless mitts, which feature a fingerbox that can be folded back to help you have quick access to your fingers without taking off the entire glove.
Being Black Rock Gear, quality, durability and attention to producing the lightest possible gear, are of course the mainstay of these new gloves.
Just before the 2012/2013 winter season I placed an order for the Montbell Alpine Light Down Parka, one of the best ranked parka’s from gear reviewers that I have encountered in a very long time. It has been rated the #1 or #2 parka for a few years by just about everybody. For the last few years I have been using the Montbell U.L. Down Parka, and it is a great inner parka, but it started loosing its loft and I was looking for something a bit warmer, and the Alpine Light Down Parka really seemed to be the next best option out there.
A fellow hiker, gear reviewer, and friend, Stick, had one that he sent out to me with some other gear that I was wanting to trying (and at the same time, I had sent him a whole bunch of gear he wanted to test that I had) so I had a chance to put it on, give it a try, determine size and fit, and so forth. Here in the Redwoods of Northern California we only have one decent outdoor store and they are not able to do specialty gear such as what Montbell offers, so any chance I can get to try Montbell gear I take, and huge thanks to Stick for letting me try this/his jacket.
I ordered my Montbell Alpine Light Down Parka from Moontrail.Com in size Large.
It is 470 grams (16.57 ounces / 1.036 pounds) total.
The parka itself is 453 grams (15.97 ounces / 0.998 pounds), and the stuff sack is 17 grams.
It uses 30-denier Ballistic nylon material on both the inside and the outside.
It has a wonderful micro-fleece lined collar – a feature I have read other hikers did not like, but I really found this to be nice.
It has the standard hem draw cords for adjustment, which are hidden in the pockets. You can really tighten up this jacket to keep 99.9% of the wind from getting in.
The medium size has 4.3 oz (121 g) of down fill, so I am going to guess that the large that I bought has around 4.5 ounces of down – I just do not know, as Monbell does not seem to include this information anywhere I have looked.
In the world of hiking keeping your hands and your feet warm are a vital key in the quest to having a successful hike. While your hands and feet, arms and legs, are not as vital as keeping your core temperature under control – a situation the vast majority of sul/xul hikers rarely face – the necessity of keeping ones hands and feet warm goes a long way towards the overall well-being, pleasure, and adventure, of being outdoors.
The Black Rock Gear Undermitts are perfecting for helping you keep your hands warm throughout most of the climates and conditions that most of us, all but those who go into the most extreme environments, face each and every time we go out.
For many years a lot of people have been using gear made by Black Rock Gear to keep their core temperatures as stable as possible. They have been the manufacture of the highly popular – and always in demand – Black Rock Hat which has been used pretty much around the world by those going out for a day hike to those hiking the highest mountains in the world. The Black Rock Hat gram for gram (19-25 grams / 0.67 – 0.88 ounces) is very likely the best down hat on the market and one or two of them are almost always in my backpack.
My Glove Layering System:
As a hiker in the Northern regions of California I encounter cold ocean wind, rain forest rain, and high mountain snow over the course of a year hiking. Having a good hand layering system has proven to be important to me.