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Archive for the ‘Shells’ Category

This Top Ten List of mine is half wish list, half currently owned but 100 percent awesome-ness. Out of all the cool stuff we have in our store at Good Sports Outfitters, I have managed to narrow it down to only ten items. That is a feat.

 Ben’s Top Ten List.

1. Helinox Big Agnes Chair

This collapsible chair is a very lightweight, and very easy to set up. It is a bucket seat camping chair that will sink you into “comfort zone”. I have a blog that I wrote about this chair already so I will not bore you. If you want more on the Helinox, go here.  I simply love this chair.

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2. Arc’teryx Alpha SV Jacket

Not only does it look good, the Alpha SV Jacket is THE highest in performance gear. It is like buying a Yeti. A large cost upfront, but a product that will outlast the competition and out perform.

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3. Nixon Big Player Black

First Impressions: This watch isn’t my style. I don’t really like watches that don’t have exact times on them. They are too modern. They are too artsy. They just aren’t practical. Once I put this watch on my wrist, all of those first impressions went through the window, to the wall and I can’t stop thinking about this watch. All of Nixon’s watches are landing more in time pieces and less watch functional practicality. These watches are the pieces you wear to look good in and it is easy to do so in the Big Player.

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4. Eagle Nest Outfitters Hammocks Sunshine

I have two ENO Hammocks. One in the car for… well, who knows what, and the second in the backyard for everyday usage. I typically use it most when I take the dogs outside. They run and bring me the stick/ball/toys as I lay relaxing occasionally throwing for their entertainment.  There is absolutely no reason for me to have another Hammock other that the fact that I don’t have the Sunshine color. It’s my favorite new color that we have gotten in the store. Couldn’t hurt to have another one of my favorite things right?

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5. La Sportiva Helios

The Helios is my current trail shoe. I have read and received plenty of great reviews form Ultra marathoners and other hardcore runners that come through the store about how the Helios is their favorite trail running shoe. I am a pretty low mileage runner (10- 20 miles per week). All I know is that I have found a trail shoe that is very responsive to the loose gravel and rocks here in south/central Texas hills. My low mileage may not have as much pull as an ultra runner, but I do know I am very happy with this shoe and would recommend it to any of my friends.

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6. Burton Beercuda

So I play disc golf. It is somewhat mandatory to bring a beverage to play. Really that goes for any golfing sport. The Beercuda is a bandolier cooler for beers/sodas/sparkling water/whateverbeverageyouwishtokeepcold. Some of the staff already has the beercuda and they use them for the slopes in winter. I am taking their advice and stocking up on one or two. Only 20 bucks too!

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7. Black Diamond Magnetron

So I’m honestly also not an avid climber. I DO boulder and climb when I get the chance but it isn’t exactly my THING. I simply enjoy it, I’m not all geared out with harnesses and rope bags. What I do like is the high quality outdoor equipment Black Diamond creates.  Their latest little toy is a carabiner with magnets to create easy one handed use of a two-point locking carabiner.  A video that will demonstrate the awesome-ness is here.

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8. Swany Legend Mitt

I didn’t know how awesome this glove is until recently. I was just opening pockets looking through the gloves we have and then realized the hand-warmer pocket is actually meant for your hand to slip through.. Woah. Wait. Now I can get access to the little things while still wearing my large cozy mittens. Sweet! I am also a mitten snowboarder. You won’t catch me wearing gloves. I just don’t think they are warm (plus they are more snowboarder that regular gloves).

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9. GoPro Hero 3 Black

I have previously had the Hero 2 (until the mountain ate it. Pro Tip: Don’t trust sticky mounts in very cold weather) and I currently have the Hero 3. The biggest upgrade from the Hero 2 to the Hero 3 is Wi-fi capabilities. I use this camera as a part of documenting all the fun I have, where ever that may be. In the mountains, the beach, the lake, playin’ with the dogs. Anywhere. I take this camera with me and I don’t have to worry about most issues that come along with a regular point-and-shoot. The waterproof housing allows me to be carefree in any situation. I don’t have to show people the fun things I do, I simply show them.

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10. Benchmade AFO 9051BLK

This Knife is sick. Simply said. I use my pocket knife as a tool everyday and this Benchmade is the highest quality of American made knives. Easy one handed operation. The AFO II is an sweet knife. I have always been a serrated blade kind of person, but I am beginning to lean towards straight blade because it is much easier to sharpen it yourself.  Benchmade has always been on my wish list and hopefully Santa will make his way form the Benchmade factory and grab one for me this year. The AFO II is my favorite from Benchmade because well designed mechanics. They stand behind their product. You can send it in any time and they will restore it to factory sharp, as long as you pay the shipping. I respect a company that is publicly proud and prideful of their work.

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The Market Place

There are multitudes of proprietary waterproof-breathable fabrics on the market. If you know anything about waterproof breathable fabrics, you must have heard of Gore-Tex®. Once you have worn a high quality breathable waterproof garment, you understand that having a breathable waterproof fabric can make a world of a difference. Gore-tex is the standard for a very high quality W-B (Waterproof-Breathable: I’m going to use the W-B acronym for my own sake) fabric mostly because they started the idea of a Waterproof-Breathable Fabric in 1966. They are the go-to because their launch of the first Waterproof-Breathable raincoat hit the shelves in 1977 as a major success (many who tread lightly would likely still have that same jacket). While Gore-Tex® is the benchmark for W-B fabrics, it is certainly not the only. Patagonia uses their own H2NO® in their raincoats, rain pants, and ski gear which is a spray on “laminate/membrane.” Marmot’s version is Precip®. The North Face’s has their Hy-vent® which is used in a lot of their price-point W-B apparel lines.

I will go into detail how spray-on membranes/laminates are constructed at the end of the next section.

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Photo courtesy Gore-Tex®

Breath-ability  – Understanding The Science

For things to breathe you need to be in a climate temperatures inside and outside of your jacket/pant. “Wait” you say. “I am wearing this technical Waterproof-Breathable jacket/pant, which means I will not get sweaty and will always stay dry because this jacket is like an A/C Unit right?” Not so much. Not AT ALL.

Let’s say the outside and inside of your jacket is 90˚F with 80% humidity. It is then scientifically impossible for a piece of fabric to fix both climates, inside and out. AKA will not breathe!!

If you find one that does PLEASE let me know, I’d love to wear it and see this miracle fabric you have found.

But, when you are out on the slopes and it is 10˚F with 20% humidity outside, and inside your jacket is 90˚F with 80% humidity (because you are crushing some fresh POW-POW lines) your W-B jacket breathes very well.

On the other hand, imagine crushing the same slopes while wearing a trash bag. You are still water proof, but you’re Niagara Falls on the inside. You will wish you had come to Good Sports before you hit the slopes.

Bottom-line: When the climate inside your jacket/pant is greatly contrasting the outside climate, you will be able to feel moisture management at its best. Also, waterproof is waterproof. So if you are in a trash bag, you will be waterproof. With Gore-Tex you are also waterproof, but now you are comfortable.   Comfort is driven by the breathability.

Another good way to look at GTX (Gore-Tex) membrane is thinking of it as a bird’s nest. A bird’s nest structured membrane that has billions of tiny holes per square inch. The fact is that each hole is 20,000 times smaller than a water droplet, yet 700 times larger than a water vapor molecule.

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Photo courtesy Gore-Tex®

Gore-Tex Performance membrane is the standard which everything has been built on, but there are also variances of breath-ability within Gore-Tex fabrics. It gets pretty heady getting into details. Which fabric is which? Which one do I need to wear? That purely depends on what you want to do; Where and how you are getting there. If you need a direct answer, contact us at Good Sports. Happy to help with your specific adventure inquiries.

  • Performance Shell – Original GTX fabric breathable, mid-weight, with great durability
  • Pro Shell-  Breathable, light weight, with superb durability
  • Pac-Lite-  Most breathable, lightest weight, with good durability
  • Active Shell- More breathable, Light weight, with good durability AND stretch!

Now! to spray on liners. Spray on Waterproof-Breathable liners are interesting. It is a Polyurethane (PU) material that is sprayed onto the fabric. Then using a factory sized squeegee, spread out on top of a large sheet of fabrics. It is then heated, baked onto the fabric. This is most frequently seen when companies keep the price range feasible. They are significantly less durable than Gore-Tex, yet still breathable and waterproof. For example, the Patagonia Torrent shell rain coat and The North Face Venture shell are a proprietary liner. These breathable rain coats are truly great intros to a rain coat. A huge step up from a plastic poncho. No doubt. It all depends on how much you want to shell out.

Durability

As I mentioned before Pro-shell is the most durable and lightweight waterproof fabric that Gore-Tex has created. It is a pretty simple equation. The more durable the jacket plus the higher breathability, equals a higher price for the product. With these two components, they directly correlate with the price of the garment.

  • Durability + Price = Degree of breathability

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There is very rigorous testing done on everything “Gore”. Coming from a scientifically born company, the company is filled with scientific personalities  diligently curious about the cutting edge. They do it very thoroughly. The bottom line that you need to know is that Gore-Tex is the highest quality of W-B fabrics on the market. You will be paying for that. When you are buying a comparable product and paying less you are simply losing durability and breathability.

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Mountain Hardwear’s new focus on fast and light really shines through in their new Ghost Whisperer.  This piece is an ultralight pullover that’s both wind and water resistant.  Because it hasn’t been waterproofed, the amount of breathability is amazing.  The material used in this piece, a super-light ripstop, keeps the shell under 2 oz., a feat you won’t find anywhere else on the market right now.  Even though the material is already super breatheable, the neck zipper offers the ability for the shell to really open up to let air pass more easily between the Ghost Whisperer and you.  This piece is also so packeable that you’ll be able to fit it in your pocket if need be.

Come in to Good Sports to see this new piece as well as a few other new pieces we’ve brought in by Mountain Hardwear!

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