Mountainsmith Tour Lumbar Pack Review

Mountainsmith outdoor products are designed in Golden, Colorado which is only a couple of miles from where I grew up. I love that this review hits so close to home. For this product review, I tested the Tour lumbar pack.

What is a lumbar pack? It is Mountainsmith’s quintessential waist pack that pioneered this product category almost 35 years ago. Don’t call it a fanny pack or a bum bag. It is far from that. Instead, this pack has made me rethink what it means to travel light in the mountains. Read on to find out more about this great piece of gear that should be in every outdoor enthusiast’s gear quiver.

Mountainsmith Tour Lumbar Pack


$79.95 MSRP
Colors: Heritage Black, Otter Brown, Deep Blue, Lichen, and Asphalt Grey


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Comfort & Fit

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Versatility

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Durability

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Value

Overall Rating: 5.0


Overall, it was a great experience using the Mountainsmith Tour Lumbar pack for hiking. Keep reading to find out what I carried in it and how it performed in each of the rating categories.


First impressions out of the box were solid. What I mean is that the pack felt well designed and it wasn’t as heavy as it looked. Every inch of this pack was well thought through when it was built and the materials used were top-notch. I could tell right away that I was in for a treat.

As Mountainsmith would say, the Tour pack is “Forged For Life” meaning that it is built to last just like all of their other products. Their commitment to durability is impressive and it is visible in both the materials and craftsmanship used in this pack.

The fabric used in the production of this pack is Cordura® HP. When compared to other popular materials like nylon or poly, it excels in both abrasion resistance and anti-tear strength. It is also water resistant. The material is firm, yet very comfortable when the pack is worn.

The waist belt is well padded, soft, and flexible for a great fit. It has a high level of comfort and includes a small zipper pocket on the right side which is great for a compass, a mobile phone or a small satellite communicator.

Using the included shoulder belt, a consumer can add additional stability by throwing it over one shoulder and cinching it down. This belt also adds an additional level of comfort while on the trail. Throw it over one shoulder with the waist belt tucked in and it doubles as a carry bag for around town.

The Tour pack is extremely versatile. On one of my hikes, I was able to carry water, portable stove, fuel, base layer, fire starter, compass, mobile phone, and a puffy jacket. I had additional room for other small items in the main compartment, inner sanctum™, and in the front zipper pocket.

My favorite feature of this pack is the ability to shrink down and tighten up the load with the bottom panel compression straps. They can also double as a spot to carry an alpine bivy.

Mountainsmith left nothing out of this pack. It includes easy to use pull tabs on the zippers, an internal clip for keys, front panel bungee system, and two large handle straps on the top for easy hand carrying. They literally thought of everything with the features of this pack. Oh, and I almost forgot. The interior yellow fabric makes it easy to see things inside the pack, especially at dusk and dawn when the light is flat. This and the features listed below are a fantastic feature set for such a small pack!

The only feature that I felt was unnecessary was the pass through headphones port. With technology these days, it seems like the majority of people now have bluetooth headphones so this would not be needed in most cases.

An added bonus for this pack would be to include a small, packable rain cover. That would make me more comfortable tossing in my DSLR camera or an extra lens.

Pro Tip:

It’s not obvious at first, but the outer bungee cord is perfect for stuffing a jacket onto the outside of the pack so that it doesn’t take up precious internal pocket space. Simply scrunch up a jacket, place it under the bungee cord and cinch it down.

Here’s a quick list of features on the Tour lumbar pack direct from the Mountainsmith website:


  • Backpanel stash pocket ideal for securing passport, boarding pass, etc.
  • Patented Delta Compression System load adjustment
  • Side reinforcement bottle pockets (Fit up to 32oz)
  • Inner Sanctum™ interior zippered compartment for small valuables
  • Front panel bungee attachment system
  • Zippered front panel pocket with key clip
  • Bottom panel compression straps
  • Bright yellow lining promotes interior visibility
  • Strapette compatible (sold separately)
  • Headphone port
  • Bar tack reinforcements
  • YKK® Zippers
  • 3M™ Reflective Cord


  • 610d Cordura® HP
  • 210d Nylon Embossed Liner


  • 11.5″ x 10″ x 5″ / 29 x 25 x 13 (L x H x D)
  • Waistbelt Width: 1.5″
  • Waistbelt Circumference: 28″ – 48″


  • 550 cubic inches / 9 L


  • Up to 12 lbs


  • 1lb 9 oz / 0.73 kg

Pros & Cons:

👍 Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Great design
  • Comfortable fit
  • Lots of functional features

👎 Cons

  • No rain cover included

Mountainsmith Tour Lumbar Pack. A classic pack that can be taken on trail, travel, and everyday adventures. It is durable, reliable, comfortable, and carries the perfect amount of gear to support all of your favorite activities.

Visit your local shop or order online. Head on over to their site now and check out this great lumbar pack.

➳ Outdoor Prolink provided equipment and associated materials for this review. All photos are a courtesy of LaGuardia Adventure Photography. That’s me!

Truck M1 Ski Glove Review

Truck is an outdoor industry disrupter who offers six different designs at excellent prices. By selling direct to the consumer and cutting out the middleman, they are able to provide great quality at a low price point. For this review, I tested the M1.

M1 Ski Glove


$29.95 MSRP
Colors: Tan, Black


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Comfort & Fit

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Durability

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Value

Overall Rating: 5.0


Overall, it was a great experience testing the Truck M1 glove for skiing. Keep reading to find out how they performed in each of the rating categories.


First impressions out of the package were good, but I was skeptical. When I pulled them out of the package they seemed a bit thin. I wondered if they would hold up and keep my hands warm out on the slopes.

As Truck would say, “We know good design because we use it. We know good materials because we benefit from them. We know excellent durability because we need it. If we can create products that we believe in, we are certain you can believe in them too. We are proud to offer you high-quality gear at fair prices.” Truck’s commitment to building great products at affordable pricing is refreshing because it seems that most outdoor gear today is way too expensive.

As far as comfort and fit goes, the M1 delivers. The polar fleece lining on the inside is soft and plush. The outer goat leather is flexible enough to give you dexterity clipping buckles and zipping zippers out in the wild.

The palm and thumb section adds additional comfort when gripping poles.

In terms of durability, these gloves can be deceiving. They are thin and light so they seem like they won’t last. During my testing, I tried scraping them against trees and bindings as well as pulling on the seams frequently. Time will tell for sure, but so far I have been quite impressed with their all-around durability.

My two favorite features of these gloves are the suede nose wipe and the touch screen capability. I only wish that the touch screen capability was present in the index finger instead of the pinky. Who swipes and taps on their mobile phone with their pinky? That’s not very intuitive to me.

Pro Tip:

If you are looking for gloves that will keep you warm in extreme cold, you may want to try the Pro Mitten or Trigger models. The Trigger looks intriguing to me and I hope to have an opportunity to test a pair out on the next sub zero powder day.

Here’s a quick list of features on the M1 gloves direct from the Truck website:


  • Water-resistant Goat Leather
  • Anti-Wicking Continuous Filament Nylon Thread
  • 250g Polar Fleece
  • Breathable 4-way Stretch Nylon
  • 40g Polyfil on Back of Hand
  • Reinforced Palm and Thumb
  • Touchscreen compatible pinky
  • Suede Nose Wipe

Pros & Cons:

👍 Pros

  • Excellent price
  • Great design
  • Comfortable fit
  • Free returns and exchanges

👎 Cons

  • Minimal color options
  • Loop on outside of middle finger can get caught on bindings
  • Touch screen compatibility on pinky instead of index finger

Truck M1 Ski Gloves. A great pair of ski gloves at an affordable price which offer comfort, dexterity, and durability for your next mountain adventure.

Order direct online. Head on over to their site now and check out what they have to offer. You will be stoked!

➳ Truck provided equipment and associated materials for this review. All photos are a courtesy of LaGuardia Adventure Photography. That’s me!

Grangers Down Care Kit Review

Grangers sent me their Down Care Kit and I gave it a try in my home washing machine. This product was a breeze to use and only took one wash cycle!

Meet Wash + Repel.

For this review, I tested Grangers’ Down Care Kit on my North Face Thermoball jacket before going outdoors on a photography shoot.


⛑ This solution has been specially designed to restore loft while cleaning and proofing down insulation in your favorite outdoor garments.


$17.47 – includes formula and three dryer balls


My overall experience with this Down Care Kit was a good one. As I used this product, I was reminded how much I tend to neglect cleaning my outdoor gear, especially my down jackets and sleeping bags. With Grangers’ Down 2 In 1 Kit, I now have no excuse.

The first thing I noticed about the kit were the unique dryer balls that are included in the box. They add some excitement to a seemingly dull and boring washing process. The dryer balls look cool, feel great in the hand and you can juggle them while you wait for your washer load to complete its wash cycle.

Seriously though, this kit was very simple and straight forward. After pulling the bottle and the three dryer balls out of the box, I followed the clear instructions on the back of the box. In summary, the instructions on the box are as follows:

  • 2 caps of liquid per jacket or 3 caps per sleeping bag
  • Place item into washing machine and run a 30 degree Celsius cycle (86 degrees Fahrenheit) with slow spin
  • Tumble dry on low/medium for best results

I let the washer do its job and then my wife tossed the jacket and the dryer balls into the electric dryer. Although the instructions also mention to periodically check the garment and separate the down to avoid clumping, we missed that step. The jacket still turned out just fine out of the dryer, but I could see where this would be important with a larger, outdoor product such as a sleeping bag.

Here’s a quick list of features listed on the Grangers website:

  • Specially formulated to clean all down and down-filled articles
  • Maximizes breathability
  • Powerful cleaning
  • Durable water-repellency
  • Bluesign® approved


When I last checked, this product was no longer available on the REI website. However in the United States, you can pick it up for a few dollars less on Amazon.


👍 Easy to use with a washing machine

👍 Instructions are easy to follow.

👍 Adds water repellency to down insulated clothing

👎 A discrepancy exists between the instructions on the box and the instructions that are published on the Grangers website. This has to do with the amount of liquid to use in the washing machine. I chose to fill only one cap for this test and review which worked out great.


  • Volume: 10 fluid ounces
  • Sustainability: Meets Bluesign® criteria

Grangers’ Down Care Kit. An awesome way to maximize the performance of your insulated down clothing in an easy-to-use, washing machine compatible liquid. Head on over to their site  now and check ’em out.

➳ Grangers provided equipment and associated materials for this review. All photos are a courtesy of LaGuardia Adventure Photography. That’s me!

SOLE Active Medium Footbed Review

SOLE is a Canadian company that was born in 2001 and is focused on making a positive impact on people’s lives. It is worth mentioning in this review that their products are obsessively designed to help athletes of all skill levels while also putting a strong emphasis on sustainability. Using recycled wine corks in their new products and planting cork oak trees are just two examples of how they are offsetting their company’s carbon footprint. They are growing their company in a responsible way while providing great products to the outdoor industry. These facts encouraged me to perform this testing.

For this product review, I tested the Active Medium footbeds which are a perfect fit with running shoes, every-day sneakers, and tennis shoes. I have to admit that I had never used custom footbeds prior to this review, but I was pleasantly surprised with their comfort, quality and performance when testing them in general running shoes and trail running shoes.

SOLE Active Medium Footbed


$49.00 MSRP
Colors: Black/Red


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Fit

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Comfort

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Performance

Overall Rating: 5.0


Overall, it was a good experience using the SOLE Active Medium footbed for general running and trail running. Keep reading to find out how these footbeds can benefit you and how they performed in each of the rating categories.


Out of the box, my first impression was a good one. The first thing that I noticed was how lightweight the footbeds were. The packaging was simple, straightforward and recyclable.

At first, I was concerned about the fit inside of my running shoes because out of the package, the footbeds looked a bit too long. However, once I removed my old insole from the shoes and replaced them with the SOLE footbeds, they fit perfectly. No trimming was required during my initial testing in the running shoes, but I did end up trimming them slightly for a perfect fit in my trail running shoes.

When looking at the side profile of these footbeds, one can see that they have been constructed with an attention to detail and are of high quality. The 1.6mm open-cell foam (blue layer) provides excellent shock absorption and comfort. These footbeds are latex free and consist of three important layers – the moldable orthopedic base, softec cushioning layer, and a thin top sheet. The moldable orthopedic base offers personalized support to prevent the arch of the foot from collapsing and the deep heel cup provides cushioning and helps prevent lateral movement.

After inserting the footbeds and slipping my feet into my everyday running shoes, I instantly felt the cushioned support and I felt my weight distribute evenly over my feet. On my first run with these footbeds, I decided not to heat mold them and see how they performed. Then before subsequent trail runs, I followed the directions that were provided in the packaging and popped them in the oven for a custom fit.

Heat molding the footbeds was quick and easy with the following steps:

  1. Heated the oven to 175 degrees
  2. Removed the factory insoles from my trail running shoes
  3. Trimmed the top of the footbeds just slightly
  4. Placed the footbeds on a baking sheet for 5 minutes (3 min didn’t quite do the trick as described in the directions)
  5. Inserted the footbeds back into my trail runners
  6. Stood on them for 2 minutes

I found these footbeds to be super comfortable both before heat molding and after. However, heat molding them gave me an even more customized fit that left me wondering why I had not invested in custom footbeds prior to this testing.

During trail running, I typically have some heel pain and some mild soreness in my knees. However, I did not experience any pain while using this product during trail running sessions. I enjoyed feeling like I was floating on air as I took each step along the trail.

An added bonus to the consumer for these footbeds would be the ability to customize the graphics and colors online. It would be great to be able to match colors to running shoe colors as well as upload a custom image online that would be custom printed directly on the top of the footbeds.

Pro Tip:

Be sure to perform the heat mold method that is provided on the instruction card. It will give you a solid fit, faster than wear molding!

Here’s a quick list of features on the Active Medium footbed direct from the SOLE website:


  • Provides cushioned support
  • Reduces plantar fascia strain
  • Improves balance
  • Promotes natural foot alignment
  • Distributes weight and pressure equally
  • Heat and wear moldable for a customized fit
  • Polygiene odor control
  • Supportive arch and heel cup
  • 90-Day guarantee


Width – Forefoot (approx.)

  • Men’s 10 – 98mm 
  • Women’s 7 – 87mm

Length – Heel to toe (approx.)

  • Men’s 10 – 290mm
  • Women’s 7 – 245mm

Pros & Cons:

👍 Pros

  • Clinically proven to reduce plantar facia strain
  • Custom moldable
  • Durable construction
  • Comfortable fit
  • Earth-friendly packaging

👎 Cons

  • No image customization or custom color options available

SOLE Active Medium footbeds. Lightweight, durable inserts for your trail running or athletic shoes. These footbeds provide amazing cushioned support and promote healthy alignment for adventure-ready feet.

Visit your local shop or order online. Head on over to their site now and check out these great footbeds.

➳ Outdoor Prolink provided equipment and associated materials for this review. All photos are a courtesy of LaGuardia Adventure Photography.

The North Face Thermoball™ Eco Traction Mule V Review

The North Face is making our feet comfy, one traction mule at a time. What is a traction mule anyway? This short review will explore these slip-on mules that are great for camp, wearing around the house, or even après-ski.

I purchased and tested the Thermoball™ Eco Traction Mule V for this review, but first things first: The term “mule” can be defined as a slipper or light shoe without a back. The product name confused me at first, but as soon as I used my trusty friend Google to define the term, I felt instantly better about performing this write-up. Once an outdoor enthusiast slides on these mules, they will quickly realize that they are light, comfortable, warm, and perfect for just about any adventure.

Thermoball™ Eco Traction Mule V


$55 MSRP
Available colors:



⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Weight & Pack-ability

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Comfort & Fit

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Warmth

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4/5) Protecting Our Planet

Overall Rating: 4.8


These have to be the most comfortable slippers on the planet. They are cozy warm, easy to slip on and a joy to wear. Overall, I enjoyed testing these mules indoors and out. Keep reading to find out how they performed in each of the rating categories.


When I removed these slippers from the packaging, the first thing I noticed was how light they were. At 8.1 ounces each, I immediately began to daydream about taking them on a backpacking trip. These mules are definitely pack-able and perfect for sliding into a backpack.

The design has a relaxed fit, but they don’t feel sloppy at all. The sidewall gives just enough support for lounging around camp and the collapsible heel cuff can be worn around the heel or underneath for easy on-off scenarios.

The 100% recycled ripstop nylon upper, Thermoball synthetic insulation, and the Oso-fleece lining make this product very comfortable. When sliding in, they instantly feel comfy on the bottom of the foot and the insulation hugs the top of the foot just like a puffy jacket does on an upper torso.

From the perspective of protecting our planet, The North Face is up for the challenge of creating environmentally friendly products that perform well on all types of adventures.

I was impressed by the PrimaLoft® ThermoBall™ Eco synthetic insulation that is made from recycled polyester fabric and recycled insulation. The recycled insulation is spun from recycled bottles, making this material even more responsible. In addition, the 100% recycled P.E.T. ripstop nylon is ECO friendly while the sole is made from 40% recycled rubber.

Pro Tip:

Head over to The North Face official website and sign up for their VIPeak Rewards program before you order. They will send you an email with 10% off your first purchase.

Here’s a quick list of features about the Thermoball™ Eco Traction Mule V direct from The North Face website:

  • Water Resistant – Partially blocks rain/snow to increase breathability.
  • Insulated – Insulation traps hot air for reduced heat loss and increased warmth.
  • Recycled Content – Helps reduce landfill waste and the use of virgin materials.
  • Upper: Durable, water-resistant, 100% recycled P.E.T. ripstop upper
  • PrimaLoft® ThermoBall™ Eco synthetic insulation
  • Cozy Oso-fleece lining
  • Collapsible heel with elastic side gore panels for easy on/off
  • Sole Unit: 40% recycled rubber outsole for supreme traction

Pros & Cons:

👍 Pros

  • Simple, yet effective design.
  • Lightweight and breathable.
  • Great fit and comfort
  • Collapsible heal for flexibility
  • Like walking on the clouds

👎 Cons

  • Limited color options

Thermoball™ Eco Traction Mule V. Never stop exploring comfortably when you wear these well designed mules on your next adventure.

Visit your local shop or order online. Head on over to their site now and check out these great indoor/outdoor slippers.

➳ All photos are a courtesy of LaGuardia Adventure Photography. That’s me!

Adidas Agravic Alpha Shield Men’s Hooded Jacket Review

Adidas is getting people geared up for their cool weather missions. This review will cover one of the outdoor jackets in their Terrex line that is made specifically for aerobic activities like trail running, hiking or cross-country skiing.

I tested the Agravic Alpha Shield Hooded jacket for this review, but first things first. What the heck does the term “agravic” mean? A quick Internet search reveals that “agravic” pertains to the condition of zero gravity. Once an outdoor enthusiast puts on this jacket, they will quickly realize that the name is appropriate because of the fact that it is extremely lightweight.

Adidas Agravic Alpha Shield


$159 MSRP
Available colors: Shock Blue, Legend Ink, Carbon (tested), & Active Orange


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Comfort & Fit

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4/5) Venting & Breathability

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Weight & Packability

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Wind Resistance

⭐️⭐️ (2/5) Protecting Our Planet

Overall Rating: 4.2


I was impressed with the weight to warmth ratio of this jacket. I was also psyched by the way in which the fabric released sweat vapor while regulating my body temperature during aerobic activity. Overall, I enjoyed wearing this jacket on the trails for hiking, running and Fall season mountain biking. Keep reading to find out how it performed in each of the rating categories.


First impressions are important and Adidas did an outstanding job getting my attention in a positive way. When I removed this jacket from the packaging, the first thing I noticed was how light it was. At 6.3 ounces, it resembled the weight of a feather. However, the jacket left me wondering if it was going to be warm enough on early morning, Fall missions.

The lightweight fabric was super comfortable, even with the collar fully zipped to the top. I am wearing a men’s small in these photos and I am 5’7″. You can see that it fit great in the shoulders and was the perfect length in the arms and around the waist.

The design is form fitting, yet flexible enough to still be extremely comfortable while trail running or hunched over the handlebars on a mountain bike. The Polartech® Alpha and the Pertex® Quantum® Air fabrics are soft to the touch and seemed to have just the perfect amount of stretch for outdoor aerobic activities.

The fabrics are engineered to be air permeable for maximum breathability and warmth. Polartech® Alpha was originally invented for the U.S. Special Forces. They wanted an insulation that kept out the cold, but allowed for high-output activity without overheating in extreme temperature changes. Alpha was created with lofted-knit fibers connected to a solid mesh core. It allows for other outer fabrics such as Pertex® Quantum® Air, used in this jacket, to be paired with it for maximum performance.

The combination of fabrics in this jacket limit cold air intake while moving excess heat away from the body. As activity increases and moisture in the body increases, the fabrics move the moisture outward, keeping the body warm and dry. Adidas states that the more one moves during activity, the harder Alpha will work to regulate temperature. I found this to be true while trail running in 40 degree weather. This jacket kept me both warm and dry while layered with a thin, long-sleeve baselayer.

The only feature that I felt was missing from this jacket was pit zips. Adding a small zipper under each armpit would allow for greater venting capability on warmer days.

Pro Tip:

Use the bungee-adjustable hem and hood mechanisms to cinch the jacket up snug to your body. This will minimize the amount of air being let into the jacket. Use one hand to push the button with your thumb and use the other hand to pull on the plastic tab and cinch the bungee cord.

Sign up for the Adidas Outdoor mailing list and get $20 off your first order.

On the bike, I could tell immediately that the resistance to wind was ok for a jacket of this weight. It does not fully break the wind and keep out all of the cold, but it cut out just enough air to keep the upper body warm and comfortable during early morning, athletic outings in Colorado.

Here’s a quick list of features about Agravic Alpha Shield jacket direct from the Adidas website:

  • Slim fit is snug through the body and arms
  • High neck
  • Long sleeves with elastic cuffs
  • Zip pockets; Wind-resistant overlay; Bungee-adjustable hem; Full zip with bungee-adjustable hood
  • Polartec® Alpha padding for lightweight warmth and insulation even when wet; Pertex® Quantum® GL for best strength-to-weight ratio

Pros & Cons:

👍 Pros

  • Great fit
  • Simple, yet effective design.
  • Lightweight and breathable.
  • Packs up small.
  • High neck and hood keep out the elements.
  • Unique cinching mechanism around the hem and hood.

👎 Cons

  • Price point is too high.
  • No pit zips
  • Made from 100% nylon materials that are new, not recycled
  • No fair trade certification

As far as protecting our planet goes, I did not see any mention of Adidas using recycled materials in the construction of this jacket. I also did not uncover any evidence in my research about this garment being fair trade certified. Unfortunately, this brought the overall rating down quite a bit, but I feel it is important to take this into consideration when rating or purchasing outdoor clothing. For more information about Adidas’ approach to sustainability, please visit their website as they are doing some great things in other areas.

Adidas Agravic Alpha Shield Men’s Hooded Jacket. Live without limits when you wear this incredibly light and capable jacket for early morning or late evening missions when the air is crisp and cool. I definitely recommend this jacket for anyone looking for a strong performing shell without the extra bulk and weight.

Visit your local shop or order online. Head on over to their site now and check out this great jacket.

➳ Outdoor Prolink provided equipment and associated materials for this review. All photos are a courtesy of LaGuardia Adventure Photography.

Ride Concepts Livewire Mountain Bike Shoe Review

Ride Concepts advertises their shoes as premium footwear for mountain biking. I set out on this review to either confirm or deny this claim and to give an honest rating based on my experience using their product.

I had the privilege of testing out the Livewire model for this review. The Livewire is part of the men’s Session Series products from Ride Concepts. The models in this series of mountain biking shoes cover park pumpers, single track riders and casual cruisers.

Ride Concepts Livewire


$100 MSRP


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4/5) Comfort

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Traction

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Durability

Overall Rating: 4.6


I was pleasantly surprised with my experience testing these flat pedal shoes. I wore them in a number of different situations including cross-country and downhill riding as well as post-ride walk around town.

The Livewire is a do-it-all, flat pedal, mountain bike shoe with an impressive amount of technical capability and comfort.


Overall, I found myself more impressed on each ride with this mountain bike shoe compared to others shoes on the market.

The first thing I noticed about the Livewire was the build construction when I pulled them out of the box. I noticed that the soles looked extremely durable and I could tell that all of the glued seams were there to last.

The toe box was cleverly constructed with molded toe protection and a durable mesh top cover.

As I loosened the laces and slipped my foot inside, I felt the wide tongue mold around the top of my foot.

The heel cup fit snug and I had no slippage when walking. The shoes felt like they were custom fit to perfectly match the shape of my feet.

The insoles felt soft and comfortable, both under the ball and heel of each of my feet.

Pro Tip:

After you lace up these shoes, don’t forget to place your tie loops underneath the included elastic band. It is located on the tongue between the third and fourth lacing holes and has a pull tab for easy use. This will keep you from catching those laces on your pedals or in your front chain ring.

What about on-the-bike performance?

On the bike, I could tell immediately that the DST 6.0 soles were not going to fail me when riding aggressively. They were tacky, yet firm, and the hexagon lugs matched up well with the pins on my flat pedals. On climbs, my feet stayed connected with the pedals on both the downstroke and the upstroke. I asked myself, “Why do these feel just as good as clipless-pedals and shoes?” Traction was amazing both on the pedals and on rocks when hike-a-biking uphill on gnarly sections.

When descending rocky, technical terrain, I never felt like my feet were going to slip off the pedals. I could place my feet on the pedals at the beginning of a downhill, quickly twist my heels back and forth a bit and then I felt connected and in total control. The shoes performed amazingly well in dry, wet and muddy conditions.

Bunny hopping and launching off rocks was satisfying in these shoes too. They gave me complete confidence that my feet would stay positioned correctly and that there would be no slippage upon landing. This proved to be true each time I launched into the air.

Here’s a quick list of features about the Livewire:

  • Rubber Kinetics | DST 6.0 HIGH GRIP Rubber Outsole
  • D3O High Impact Zone Insole Technology
  • Durable, synthetic upper with anti-abrasion mesh
  • Custom molded toe and heel guard protection
  • EVA midsole provides support and shock absorption
  • Fully gusseted tongue prohibits intake of dirt and debris
  • Modern lifestyle Performance Fit
  • Approximate weight – 16 oz (455 g) 

Pros & Cons:

👍 Pros

  • Excellent comfort on and off the bike.
  • DST 6.0 Rubber performs well in all conditions.
  • Comfortable insole and form fitting outer shell.
  • Convenient elastic band to keep tie loops tucked in.

👎 Cons

  • Long tongue tends to rub against top of the ankle until broken in.
  • Elastic band should be a different color. It’s hard to spot but a great feature everyone should use.

Ride Concepts Livewire Mountain Bike Shoes. I found them to live up to what is being advertised. Ride Concepts could very well produce the most comfortable, most durable and most reliable mountain bike footwear on the planet. I highly recommend these shoes. They took my riding to the next level.

Visit your local shop or order online. Head on over to their site now and check ’em out.

➳ Outdoor Prolink provided equipment and associated materials for this review. All photos are a courtesy of LaGuardia Adventure Photography.

Ground Keeper Mountain Bike Fender Review

Great design are the words that come to mind when I think about the product in this review. We had 5 riders testing these fenders over the past couple of months and the results were fantastic. Everybody loves them!

The shape, material, hole pattern and the printed artwork are all thoughtful representations of this great product.

About Ground Keeper Fenders

This company is brining some cool artwork to the bike industry, one fender at a time. Fenders can be ordered from their standard design selections or can be custom printed to fulfill your wildest dreams. Read on to learn more…

Ground Keeper MTB Fender


$24 MSRP Standard Designs
Available in Space Ferns, Earth to Mars, Flour Power, La Crud, Church of Dirt, Oil Slick, Racer’s Delight, Mud Rug, Cascadia, Just Bead It, Vintage Palm, WMBC Galbraith Trail Map, Staycation, Colorado Flag and many more.

$35 Custom Designs
Upload and print your own!


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Design

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Utility

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Durability

Overall Rating: 5.0


These fenders are “the shizzle”. They are easy to customize online, install quickly and save your face from being slung with mud on that epic ride.


The first thing I noticed about these fenders was the shape. The cut of the polyethylene material is just the right width and length. Some fenders are too small and others are a bit overkill, but I felt that the Ground Keeper fender had a perfect fit.

In addition, I really enjoyed the various color ways and designs that we tested. The printed graphics were scratch resistant and looked great on each of the bikes we rode.

The second thing I noted was the build quality. I noticed that they were lightweight, yet felt very strong and durable. On the trail, they proved to work quite well for protecting my face and body from mud, dirt and debris that typically gets kicked up from the front tire.

Installing the fender takes only a few minutes and fastens to the underside of a mountain bike fork with the included zip ties. There are four points of contact for fastening the zip ties. Optionally, you could fasten the fender with velcro straps.

One of our testers emailed me today and mentioned that he has had a handful of positive comments about his fender from various riders on our local trails. That is a testament to how great these fenders look on a bike.

Another thing that I love about these fenders is that they can be passed on to a friend to compliment their sweet ride or they can be recycled when they are end-of-life.

Pro Tip:

When first installing the fender, lay it flat and string the zip ties through the holes before placing it under the fork. It will be much easier to attach if the zip ties are already in position. Oh yea – make sure you have some wire snips with you to trim off those ugly zip tie ends after install!

Pros & Cons:

👍 Pros

  • Lightweight, debris stopping design
  • Easy install
  • Fits most mountain bikes
  • Ability to customize online
  • Matching top caps are also available

👎 Cons

  • I can’t get enough of these amazing fenders!

Ground Keeper Mountain Bike Fenders. They get the job done in a variety of conditions and keep mud, dirt and debris from slinging back. I highly recommend you give one of these fenders a try.

Order one of the models online or customize one with your own digital image. That’s up to you! For more information, head on over to their site now and check ’em out.

Happy trails!

➳ The equipment and associated materials for this review were provided by Ground Keeper Fenders. Unless otherwise noted in captions, all photos are a courtesy of LaGuardia Adventure Photography (that’s me).

Wekapo Air Lounger Review

What is an Air Lounger? It is a cross between a hammock and a bean bag – sort of. Filled with air and a unique, patented design, Wekapo aims to introduce adventurers to a new kind of outdoor relaxation.

About Wekapo

If you do a Google search for the word “Wekapo”, it will return results of a handful of videos and links to an Amazon store. One thing that alludes the consumer is a proper phonetic spelling of the term. What does it mean? How do you pronounce it? Even after this review, I am still not 100% sure.

Read on for my full review…

Wekapo Air Lounger


$35.98 MSRP
Available in black, green, orange, pink, purple and blue.

There are additional colors in the photo album on the Wekapo website but it is unclear if those are available at this time (green camo and black & white word cloud designs)


⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3/5) Packability

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4/5) Ease of Use

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4/5) Comfort

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4/5) Durability

Overall Rating: 3.8


Overall, the manufacturer has done a good job with the design. They have invented a product that challenges traditional thinking on how we lounge around in the outdoors. I personally didn’t find this product to be much of an enhancement to my outdoor experience, but others may feel otherwise. Although it is a nice product and an interesting idea, I most likely would not add the extra weight to a backpack when going on my next big adventure. However, taking it car camping, to the pool, local park or to the reservoir might be good options.

Read on to determine if this new outdoor product would be right for you.


The Wekapo comes packaged in a flat, zip lock bag that contains the air lounger, stuff sack, instruction booklet, ground stake and a bottle opener.

From a packability perspective, it packs down to a size of 3.94″ x 7.87″ x 11.81″ and weighs 2.65 pounds. It’s a bit on the heavy and bulky side for a long backpacking trip, but just perfect for a quick day trip or car camping outing.

Filling the dual chambers with air is simpler than having to tote around an air pump. Simply open up a chamber, shake the lounger up and down to catch air inside, and then quickly close the chamber. Once air is in both chambers, the end can be rolled up and the strap clipped together. This pushes all of the air down to the end and creates the air lounger platform.

As far a comfort is concerned, the Wekapo feels a little unstable at first. Once you get used to laying on the air chambers, it becomes more and more comfortable. There is a nice head rest on the back and legs can be placed in the center or around both sides for more stability.

The first time I tried sitting on the air lounger, I bottomed out and touched the ground. It was at that moment that I realized I didn’t have enough air inside the chambers. After a quick intake of additional air, I no longer had that issue.

The Wekapo air lounger is made of 210T rip stop polyester and sealed with German Bayer PC for durability. It should definitely not be placed on top of sharp objects, but for the most part, the material seems durable enough for short-term, quick outdoor excursions.

Pro Tip:

To fill the dual chambers with air faster, spin your body in a 360 degree motion while capturing the air.

Here’s a quick list of specs:

  • Weight | 2.65 pounds
  • Material | 210T Rip Stop Polyester
  • Capacity | 550-650 pounds
  • Inflated size | 82″ x 27″ x 35″
  • Packed size | 3.94″ x 7.87″ x 11.81″

Pros & Cons:

👍 Pros

  • Comfortable and relaxing
  • Innovative design

👎 Cons

  • Unknown pronunciation. How do I influence others if I can’t even say the name?
  • I felt a little silly spinning around in the outdoors while trying to fill the chambers with air.

Wekapo Air Lounger. An interesting design that challenges the way we think about outdoor comfort.

Are you intrigued and want to try it out? Order online on Amazon here or for more information, head on over to their site and check ’em out.

➳ Wekapo provided the equipment and associated materials for this review. Unless otherwise noted in captions, all photos are a courtesy of LaGuardia Adventure Photography (that’s me).

Xpedo Spry Mountain Bike Pedals Review

The phrase, “Money well spent” comes to mind when I think about the purchase for this review. I even ended up buying a second set for my 12 year old ripper.

Being a long-time clipless pedal user, I was skeptical at first about flat pedals in general. However, these Xpedo Spry pedals have made me a flat pedal convert and I am never going back to my old riding habits.

About these pedals…

The fact that there isn’t much marketing hype about these pedals is a bit refreshing. The main mention about the Spry is that they have a sleek and super low-profile design. Along with the 270 gram weight per set, this is the extent of main selling points mentioned on the Xpedo website.

Xpedo Spry Mountain Bike Pedals


$79 MSRP
Available in black, white, silver, gold and red.

$89 MSRP
Available in oil slick.


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Comfort

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Grip

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Durability

Overall Rating: 5.0


These pedals are designed for all-mountain trail riding and park riding with flat pedal shoes. They have the perfect mix of comfort, grip and durability.

The Spry is a go-anywhere, flat pedal, with an impressive amount of technical capability.


The first thing I noticed about these pedals was the build quality when I pulled them out of the box. I noticed that they were lightweight, yet felt very strong and durable. On the trail, they proved to take a beating too.

The pedals have a sleek, slim design at 11mm thin with plenty of space for auto cleaning dirt, debris and mud while pedaling.

As I took my first ride on these pedals, I noticed right away that they gave my feet a solid, comfortable platform. There was no slippage and they were the perfect width for my foot. I did’t experience any foot fatigue, even after long, downhill rides.

I thought that I would be slipping off the pedals and hurting myself occasionally, but that simply was not the case. I even felt like both my pedal down stroke AND my upstroke were more efficient than my old clip-less setup. I honestly was amazed at how well they performed.

After riding the Xpedo Spry in variable conditions over the past few months, I haven’t seen much in the way of damage. They have held up well, even after multiple pedal strikes on rocks, roots and tree stumps.

Bunny hopping and launching off small features have also proved to be just fine with these flat pedals. My feet have stayed ‘glued’ to the pins the entire time. I also found that after placing my feet on the pedals, my shoes would ‘tighten’ their grip with a slight back-and-forth motion of my heels.

Pro Tip:

Although the oil slick colorway is freaking cool, they are made out of aluminium and weigh 50 grams more than the other color offings. If weight is important to you, avoid the temptation of paying an additional $10 for more weight and good looks.

Image courtesy of

Here’s a quick list of specs on the Xpedo Spry:

  • Weight | 270g / pair; 320g for oil slick
  • Body | Magnesium; Aluminum for oil slick
  • Spindle is Cromoly
  • 2 Cartridge Bearings
  • 1 DU Bushings
  • 28 Straight Pins Per Pair
  • Size | 101x106x11 mm

Pros & Cons:

👍 Pros

  • Comfortable under foot.
  • Pins provide great grip.
  • Light and durable material.

👎 Cons

  • Ouch! Those pins hurt when they scrape against skin.

Xpedo Spry Mountain Bike Pedals. They get the job done in a variety of conditions and keep your feet ‘on’ for great pedaling efficiency. I highly recommend these pedals. They made me a believer in exclusively riding flats from here on out.

Visit your local shop or order online. For more information, head on over to their site now and check ’em out.

Happy trails!

➳ I purchased the equipment and associated materials for this review. Unless otherwise noted in captions, all photos are a courtesy of LaGuardia Adventure Photography (that’s me).