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Sherpa Adventure Gear Karma Jacket – Product Review

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The Sherpa Adventure Gear Karma Jacket – So soft and cozy I never wanted to take it off!

When I ordered the Karma Jacket I was looking for a multi-purpose layer to wear under a light rain jacket or parka, depending on whether I was hiking an urban trail or heading up to snow. The Karma jacket really fit the bill!

The Sherpa Adventure Gear Karma Jacket
The Sherpa Adventure Gear Karma Jacket takes on Mount Rainier. Seams are off the shoulders increasing comfort under pack straps.

Sizing

I typically wear a Medium shirt, and would recommend a Large in the Karma jacket if you plan to wear a heavy sweater or shirt underneath. I ordered a Medium and found the fit roomy enough (jacket provides underarm gussets) to allow athletic movement, even with a long sleeve t-shirt underneath. I have long arms and found the sleeve length to be adequate whether I was using the thumb holes or not.

Features

Since I was planning to layer the Karma Jacket, I appreciated that the jacket fabric, a high performance two-sided fleece, provided a smooth outer surface which slid easily against other layers and didn’t grab or bunch up when I put on my rain jacket. Also, the seams of the Karma jacket are placed off the tops of the shoulders for non-chaffing comfort under pack straps.

There is a medium sized media pocket on the sleeve with an internal access point to plug in headphones. The media pocket was too small for my large iPhone, but can easily accommodate smaller devices. Speaking of pockets, I’m really a big fan, and was pleased to find external zippered pockets as well as roomy internal pockets.

Sherpa Adventure Gear Karma Jacket
The Sherpa Adventure Gear Karma Jacket is packed with pockets to keep you organized when you are on the go.

 

Materials

The Karma jacket is 100% polyester two-sided fleece brushed on both sides for comfort and warmth. The fabric wicks moisture away from the body, keeping you dry and cool. I appreciated the wicking as well as the anti-stink Polygiene® antimicrobial technology since I tend to run hot and sweat a fair amount.

Recommendation

The Karma jacket is very versatile. I have worn it on chilly days over a t-shirt, around the house or running errands and love the soft fabric, vibrant color and colorful details. I’ve also worn it during early morning runs on damp grey Seattle days, appreciating the light-weight warmth.  And finally, I’ve worn it as a layer under a heavier coat in cold weather, finding it provided great insulation from the cold.  I highly recommend the Karma jacket and find the combination of features, makes it a valuable addition to an active wear wardrobe. It’s easy to care for and always looks good.

Extra credit: I was especially pleased to see that sales from Sherpa Adventure Gear supported youth programs in Nepal. For every garment Sherpa Adventure Gear sells, a donation is made to provide scholarships to children who grow up in remote Himalayan villages. I also appreciated that the company is environmentally conscious, they are committed to constantly improving the environmental impact of sourcing, manufacturing, packaging, distribution and recycling efforts throughout all phases of their business.

Teva Arrowood Lux Sneakerboot – Product Review

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Teva Arrowood Lux waterproof mid-high sneakerboot for women.  From the minute that I took the Teva Arrowood Lux boots out of the box, I could tell that they were going to be completely different from any of the other waterproof hiking boots I had purchased and worn in the past.

Teva Arrowood Lux comfort and performance test.  The first thing I noticed was how lightweight they felt, and once I put them on, the Teva Arrowood Lux were extremely comfortable – like having your favorite pair of slippers on and the inside was like having a memory foam mattress for your feet!!  I wore them around the house the first day, just to break them in a little before taking them out for a real hiking test.   But, I have to tell you that this was not even necessary, as I learned the next day when I wore them on a 2.5 mile challenging hike.  I put the Teva Arrowood Lux to the test on steep up and down terrain, these boots have excellent tread grip, even on steep uphill terrain that had loose soil, gravel, and rocks – much to my surprise (and happiness) I had no slipping issues.   The comfort level is extraordinary for a hiking boot.

teva arrowood lux
The lightweight Teva Arrowood Lux has great traction and is sturdy enough to take you over all the obstacles you find on the trail.

The rain test.  Next, I took the Teva Arrowood Lux out in one of our northwest torrential down pours, to see how well the waterproofing worked.  I walked through small creeks, and large puddles on the trail and my feet were 100% dry when I got home.  The only thing that I would recommend, is that if you are going to be hiking in wet weather, is to wear a  warmer pair of socks.  Although my feet stayed completely dry, the coldness of the water did make my feet feel cold.  I loved the new FloatLite technology, it is so much more comfortable and lightweight from my previous boots, that have the eva or vibarum souls.   I am telling you, the FloatLite technology is truly amazing, and a cut above the competition.

teva arrowood lux
The waterproof Teva Arrowood Lux keeps your feet dry on even the wettest of Pacific Northwest days.

I would recommend the Teva Arrowood Lux sneakerboots to everyone.  They are not only an extremely comfortable and waterproof boot, but they are also so stylish that you could and will want to wear them with jeans, or leggings.

Sol Escape Lite Bivvy – Product Review

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Lite Bivvy
Sol Escape Lite Bivvy ensures critical warmth and surface protection in outdoor emergency situations. Photo by S.B. Patlan.

In the wild with the Sol Escape Lite Bivvy If you are sleeping in a bivvy, chances are your day did not go as planned. Often overlooked as a part of the 10 Essentials, a lite bivvy or emergency shelter is crucial for staying warm, dry, and comfortable. Well, as comfortable as you can be when you using an emergency bivvy.

Sol’s Escape Lite Bivvy not only serves as a means to protect you from the elements when caught in a tough situation, but can also be used as a liner to give you a few extra degrees if you are unprepared for cold weather.

Lite Bivvy
The compact and lightweight Sol Escape Lite Bivvy is the perfect emergency shelter for the outdoor minimalist. Photo by Kelley Goetz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was surprised to find how well my sleeping bag fit into the bivvy which measures 32″ x 82″.  It would definitely work well as rain protection in case of wet conditions or as a minimalist ultra-light summer bag. There is the inevitable crinkly noise if you move around so if you are a light sleeper looking for the extra warmth, you are better off using a sleeping bag liner.

Sol’s Escape Lite Bivvy is constructed with proprietary Escape fabric and weighs  only 5.5 oz.  The proprietary fabric lets moisture escape at the same time that it keeps rain, snow, and wind on the outside – all while reflecting 70% of your body heat back to you for warmth.

Overall, the bivvy is small, light-weight, and easily fits into a small cranny of your backpack. If you are in a bind or sleeping outside without a sleeping pad, this will do a good job keeping your sleeping bag dry and clean but if you’re like me and dislike the extra noise, you’ll prefer the sleeping bag liner. While you can’t always bank on good weather, you can always fall back on good planning.

 

SunRidge Farms Trail Mix – Product Review

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SunRidge Farms
SunRidge Farms Trail Mix, a fueling adventure. Photo by S.B. Patlan

Fueling outdoor adventures with calories is usually a bland task occasionally punctuated with a minimal spice kit and your choice of hot sauce.  Nothing is more of a staple in outdoor adventures than a bag of trail mix.  In 16 years of outdoor excursions, I have tasted many types of mixes that were all pretty much the same; nuts, M&M’s, and the occasional dried fruit.  Earlier this summer, I was able to try several new mixes by SunRidge Farms.  They pride themselves on environmental sustainability, variety of flavors and quality, but are not widely distributed.

SunRidge Farms takes sustainability seriously.  Their products are non-GMO, both USDA and International Quality Assurance certified organic, kosher, fair trade certified and come in reusable packaging.  Even their distribution center is run on the energy of 2500 solar panels.  This is clean eating for the conscience.  I tried three of their regular mixes and two custom mixes on a variety of outings such as long distance cycling, rock climbing and hiking.  The regular mixes were well balanced with dried fruit, nuts and seeds.  Seeds are a great source of nutrition and not found in many mixes. Their trail mixes often include roasted and seasoned nuts and seeds to spice things up such as tamari roasted almonds.  However,  the real story lies in their seasoning options.

When you customize a mix, that is where things can get really interesting.  I tried a number of exotic spicy and sweet flavors from New Mexico Chimayo Red Chile Lime Cashews, which were actually spicy, to Dark Chocolate Sea Salt and Turbinado Sugar Almonds.  The best things I tried was a Pomegranate Coconut Chew.  Think of a cube twice the size of a sugar cube made out of coconut with pomegranate seeds in the middle.  I would serve that at a dinner party for dessert.

SunRidge Farms
The goods from SunRidge Farms. Photo by Kelley Goetz

The catch is that SunRidge products are not widely available.  They are only available at Whole Foods Markets and Simply Bulk.  There is a wide array of products available online, but they are also only sold in bulk. The verdict: it is worth finding a Whole Foods to check out simply because of the range of flavors you can get in a trail mix and the sustainable way in which it is produced.  For someone that ventures out regularly the online bulk option is appealing and what I plan on doing since I have already eaten all of my samples.

Adventure Medical Kit – Product Review

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Adventure Medical Kit
Adventure Medical Kit, this compact versatile kit gives you all you need to handle minor outdoor emergencies. Photo by S.B. Patlan.

Earlier this year, I completed a Wilderness First Aid (WFA) certification. I took the course to better equip myself to handle the inevitable blister, falling rock, bug bite or broken bone that many of us face in the backcountry. While the course was helpful in providing some of the basics for safety in the outdoors, I realized my “do it yourself” hodgepodge of a First Aid Kit, was woefully inadequate. Enter the Adventure Medical Kit.

The ultralight and watertight kit weighs only 8 ounces, and fits into the top of my backpack where it is easily accessible. The bag is also completely waterproof, which is critically important for any hiker in the Pacific Northwest. To keep the kit dry, there are two layers of protection with the medical supplies stored in a DryFlex liner inside of a silnylon layer. The two systems work well, but having two layers to open your kit can be a nuisance if you’re trying to quickly access your pack.

Adventure Medical Kit
The Adventure Medical Kit two bag system ensures that your supplies stay dry even in the worst weather. The kit comes with all the necessary supplies for most First Aid emergencies. Photo by Kelley Goetz.

On any trip, you never want to use your First Aid Kit, but if you do, this one should have you covered for the most common injuries, scrapes, aches, and pains. I am confident this medical kit will improve my ability to help myself or others should my WFA skills be needed.

The kit includes over the counter pain medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, antiseptics, antihistamines, gloves, and a lot of bandages for orthopedic injuries. It even includes things that would be helpful in your Emergency Repair Kit (always remember your 10 Essentials) with safety pins and duct tape. I wish the moleskin were a heavier gauge, but that is a personal preference.

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