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.
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:
Lightweight, debris stopping design
Fits most mountain bikes
Ability to customize online
Matching top caps are also available
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.
➳ 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).
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.
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.
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:
Comfortable and relaxing
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).
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.
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.
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:
Comfortable under foot.
Pins provide great grip.
Light and durable material.
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.
➳ 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).
Permanence • Performance • Environment. That’s what DPS PHANTOM 2.0 is all about. If someone asks you about DPS PHANTOM wax, be sure and tell them that it is NOT WAX.
DPS PHANTOM 2.0 is an innovative and permanent, wax-less solution made for the base of your skis or snowboard. DPS has devised a technologically disruptive way to permanently bond their solution to any polyethylene base and create a smooth glide that lasts the life of the base. Yep, you never have to wax your boards again.
DPS has found an ingenious way to neutralize chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that contribute to ozone depletion in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. DPS PHANTOM 2.0 an environmentally friendly solution that should catch on and become widely adopted in the snow sports industry very soon.
DPS PHANTOM 2.0
Product Description from the DPS website:
PHANTOM is a permanent, one-time application, waxless base treatment that forever eliminates the need for waxing skis and snowboards. PHANTOM’s patent-pending polymer technology offers ultimate convenience combined with great glide performance that never wanes across all snow temperatures, and for the life of a ski or snowboard’s use.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4/5) Application process
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4/5) Curing process
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Performance
Overall Rating: 4.3
Although I was skeptical at first, DPS PHANTOM 2.0 did not disappoint. The application and curing process was fairly easy to perform at my home and performance in the backcountry was stellar. I’m completely stoked by this product and see it as one of the most innovative products to hit the snow sports industry in years. Say goodbye 👋 to traditional wax that is bad for the environment and welcome this new era of environmentally friendly, permanent base glide treatment for skis and snowboards.
My overall experience with DPS PHANTOM 2.0 was an excellent one. However, as I applied this to the base of my DPS Alchemist Wailer 106 skis I thought to myself, “I really hope this works!” After waxing my own skis for the past 33 years I was a bit skeptical.
The first thing I noticed about DPS PHANTOM 2.0 were the package contents. The following items were in the box:
Packet of Part A
Packet of Part B
Cork & Roto brush tool
If you are the type that doesn’t like to read directions, change that right now and make sure that you read them. It is important to follow the DPS instructions step-by-step for a successful application.
Before you even begin to prepare your skis for application, take a look at the weather forecast. You must have continuous, direct sunlight during the curing process. Choose a day when you will have clear skies and direct UV exposure. Clouds are a no-go for this curing process so make sure you plan accordingly. The temperature also needs to be above 32˚ Fahrenheit.
So how did my preparation process go?
The first step was to remove any wax that existed on the bases of my skis. There are three methods that can be use to remove the wax. You can use olive oil and a roto brush if you want to put in the work or you can use a citrus based cleaner to remove it. A third and best option is to take your skis or snowboard to a shop and have them run through a stone grinder. This is the method that I chose.
*Note that I did not do any base or edge repairs for this review, but I recommend that you do so prior to applying DPS PHANTOM 2.0.
A big thanks to Carter Nuttall over at Outpost Sunsport in Fort Collins, CO for helping me with this part of the project. He ran my skis through their Wintersteiger Omega which removed the wax and provided the perfect polyethylene base surface for the DPS PHANTOM 2.0 application.
Let’s move on to my experience with the Application Process
Once I returned to my home, I setup my workbench to accommodate the skis and began the application process.
In the first step, I applied packet “A” of the permanent base glide treatment to the bases of my skis. As the instructions stated, I was careful not to drip contents onto the tip and tail so that it didn’t run off of the ski. Once the liquid part “A” was dripped onto the ski bases, I then spread it around using the included rubber sponge in a circular motion. The liquid will stain the top sheet of any ski or snowboard, so once I completed this step, I wiped down the top of the skis.
After applying Part “A”, it was time for the first curing process to begin. I found an area in my back yard that was exposed to direct sunlight. I laid the skis with their bases up toward the sky for 1 hour and let the sun’s ultraviolet rays do their bonding magic.
I knew that the skis were ready for the next step once an hour had elapsed and once the bases turned white with a chalky-like coating. The next step was to use the provided roto brush to scrape off the white coating. Once that was all scraped off of both skis, I gently wiped the bases with a microfiber cloth.
Next, I repeated the same process as above but this time with packet “B”. After dripping the liquid onto the skis and rubbing it with the rubber sponge, it was time again to set the skis outside to cure in direct sunlight. I set my timer for 1 hour and waited for the final result.
Once the second go-round of 1 hour in direct sunlight had elapsed, I noted that the bases were sticky to the touch (no white, chalky finish this time) and brought them back inside for a final scrape down.
I rated the application and curing process with a 4 out of 5 stars just because of the amount of time that the skis have to sit out in the sun. This wouldn’t be possible during the winter months in some geographical locations due to many days with cloud cover and low temperatures. Alternatively, it would be possible to have a ski shop do this work for you or perform the curing process at an authorized DPS dealer that has a DPS curing station.
At the time of writing this review, there were no DPS curing stations in my area and I wanted to perform these steps from the perspective of the average DIYer to show that it is possible to do this on your own.
Now, for the best part – Performance
A few days after completing the DPS PHANTOM 2.0 application and curing process, I jumped in the 4Runner and headed up to Rocky Mountain National Park to test the finished product on a backcountry ski trip. I couldn’t wait to get onto the snow.
Applying my climbing skins to the surface of the skis proved to be no different than normal. I toured for 1.5 hours up the mountain, met some new friends along the way, transitioned from uphill to downhill and immediately noticed a smooth glide.
I had heard reports of PHANTOM being “sticky” at first when backcountry skiing but that proved to be incorrect in my testing. The second I began skiing downhill, I noticed that there was a silky smooth glide to my skis that I hadn’t experienced before.
The glide was consistent as I traversed an access road toward the area that I had planned to ski. There wasn’t much angle to the slope I traversed but my skis continued to glide quickly over the snow.
At that point, conditions were clear skies, winds out of the Northwest and the temperature outside was 32˚F. Snow conditions were hard packed with just a dusting of fresh snow from the night before.
I dropped deeper into the trees and continued to glide effortlessly through the snow while picking up speed in my turns. At this point, I did not feel any sporadic resistance from the base area of my skis like I normally do with wax. The result was again, a smooth, consistent glide.
At that point, I was stoked and ready to get after it on a steeper slope. I skied over the crest of the hill and dropped into a more challenging section. It was mostly shaded with pockets of sun, lending well to my testing.
As I picked my line, I skied both in the shade and in the sun to test how well the skis turned in crud and in softer snow. I was impressed at how well I could control my speed in difficult terrain. The glide was super consistent so I had an easy time anticipating each turn before they occurred.
As I reached the end of my run, I let my skis run out as fast as they could go and I was elated. Not only was it a great day for backcountry skiing, DPS PHANTOM 2.0 did not disappoint.
Here’s a quick list of features about DPS PHANTOM 2.0:
patent-pending polymer technology
UV light chemically bonds PHANTOM 2.0
faster cure time than the old 1.0 version
permanent, one-time application
wax-less base treatment that absorbs deep into the base material
great glide performance across all snow temperatures
no need to re-apply after seasonal stone grinds
Pros & Cons:
Permanent, one-time application
Smooth, quick, and consistent glide performance
Does not present any long-term environmental risks
2 hour cure time in direct sunlight (although it is better than the 6 hour cure time with the previous 1.0 version)
DPS PHANTOM 2.0. I found out that it really does work – extremely well. Visit your local shop or order online before next ski season. This product is going to start being one of the most highly demanded products in the ski/snowboard industry. Head on over to their site now and check ’em out.
Morsel Spork sent me the mini and XL versions of their product and boy was I impressed!
One thing that I have learned from reviewing outdoor gear is that there are many great products on the market. However, I have also realized that there are some products that really stand out and provide enormous value to the consumer.
Meet Morsel Spork.
Morsel Spork is a satisfying eating instrument. Literally (I never thought I would be so positive and excited about a spork). I tested both the mini and XL versions with various types of foods while on a photography shoot for this review.
⛺️ Fork it. Spoon it. Scrape it. That’s the Morsel Spork tagline and it just about sums it up! Take Morsel Spork with you for any meal while camping, backpacking, picnicking or eating lunch while on the job.
$12.95 for mini, XL and XL spoon versions.
$25.90 for combo packs
Available in blue, red, green, midnight and grey
My overall experience with Morsel Spork was out of this world. As I used this product, I was reminded of how my father-in-law scrapes every last bit of sauce from his spaghetti bowl using a piece of bread. I was always impressed by this skill but could never achieve the level of cleanliness that he could. He made me feel like the bowl could go right back on the shelf for the next meal without needing a trip to the dishwasher. With Morsel Spork, I now have a fighting chance.
The first thing I noticed about Morsel Spork was the unique rubbery edge that hugs the entire outer edge of the spoon’s surface and extends most of the way down the handle. It has a grippy feel and acts like a spatula, scraping those last little bits of food from a bowl. I was impressed how well I could scrape up all of the yogurt out of a popular yogurt manufacturer’s container.
The shape of the spoon on Morsel Spork is also very unique. The designer thought of everything, incorporating every angle that you could possibly encounter when spooning or scraping food. It helps the user get into tight corners, while also enabling clean scraping on lip edges, flat edges and odd shapes.
The spoon has a feel like no other when eating from it. The rubber is soft to the touch and both the concave and convex sides of the spoon are comfortable in the mouth. The concave side holds just the right amount of food, delivering the perfect bite.
The fork side gives you a pretty standard feel that a normal fork has. However, you can use the rough edges of the fork to also cut some stubborn food items while out on the trail.
To set your mind at ease regarding cleaning, Morsel Spork is dishwasher and boiling water safe as well as BPA free.
Here’s a quick list of features listed on the Morsel Spork website:
Made in the USA
Designed to last a lifetime
For both right and left handers
Constructed of hard and polypropylene plastics with FDA food safe elastomer
Resists scratching, staining and tearing
5-in-1 design – spoon, fork, scrape, cut and stir
When eating with the spoon, you will feel a sort-of exit point on the straight edge side. If you rotate the handle toward your cheek while eating, it gives your bite the perfect finish. It seemed strange to write that but I’m that excited about getting you to try a Morsel Spork. You won’t believe how great it truly is until you give it a try.
👍 Genius design that solves an old spork problem and enhances the user experience.
👎 I have nothing constructive to add here. This is a brilliant product!
Length: 10.5 Inches or 265mm
Weight: 0.8 Ounces or about 23 Grams
The Morsel Spork. Take it on your next backpacking trip or use it over lunch at work. The choice is yours, but you just might want to incorporate this product into your everyday life! Head on over to their site now and check ’em out.
A shout out to Otter Products, makers of the OtterBox outdoor line of coolers. They sent me the Trooper LT30 for this review and I’m proud to also say that I am an #otterboxambassador and #otterboxemployee. I do my best to get past any biases I have toward Otter Products brands in these reviews and I also write reviews for other outdoor brands.
Before using this soft cooler, I had purchased the Venture 45 hard cooler and used two different hard cooler samples on my outdoor adventures. One thing that I have learned from this review is that the OtterBox soft coolers truly are the bomb! They are burly and have the quality built in that you would expect from their products while being much lighter than hard-side coolers.
Read on if you want to hear how my experience was with the Trooper LT30 soft cooler.
The Trooper is great for outdoor microadventures and can be used along the trail in all sorts of weather that mother nature can throw at you. It is a soft cooler that can be carried on your back and can be used to keep your food and drink cool while enjoying the great outdoors.
⛺️ Lunch hikes, picnics at the park, quick outdoor overnights, family sporting events, fishing trips and road trips.
$299.99 (30 quart) Available in Hazy Harbor (tested) and Alpine Ascent.
$349.99 (30 quart) Alternate colors and price point in Forest Edge (Realtree), Shoreside and Desert Oasis.
My overall experience with the Trooper LT30 was a good one. I put this cooler to the test on a picnic in the Colorado outdoors and during multiple road trips into the higher elevations of the Rocky Mountains.
The first impression that I received during unboxing was a great one. I was impressed with how light the Trooper was in comparison to the Venture hard coolers. It was also impressive to see how the shoulder and backpack straps were integrated together and fully adjustable. Some great engineering went into this design. Included on the inside of the cooler was a bottle opener attachment, information on the basic features and instructions on how to use the adjustable strap system.
Also on the inside of the cooler was a unique yellow liner with a fill line for ice. Since the soft cooler folds when opening and closing, I had to be careful not to fill ice past the fill line. Otherwise, it would not close properly.
Accessing the inside of the cooler was a bit tricky. I found the compound latch mechanism on the top of the cooler to be a bit confusing at first. The trick was to line up the notches on both sides in the closing grove before trying to snap it closed. Opening this latch proved to be a breeze, even with one hand.
The cooler’s 2″ wide shoulder straps were very comfortable even with a heavier load. I did not experience any muscle fatigue or pain with the straps. The straps have an ingenious design where they can be converted back and forth between shoulder carry and backpack carry configurations. As I was testing this product, my preference was the backpack carry configuration.
The only disappointment that I had with this cooler was that I found myself wanting additional space. An extra 5 – 10L of space would be amazing.
The front of the cooler has two zippered, waterproof pockets and a unique mounting system that can be used for carrying accessories. The pockets are just the right size for small items like a wallet or car keys.
Here’s a few highlights:
30 qt capacity with food-grade liner
Quickly convert from shoulder carry to backpack carry
Wide opening for easy access
Leakproof seal secures contents
Accessory mounting system
Water resistant exterior pockets
Premium grade thermal insulation
Keeps ice up to 3+ days
Solid, heavy-duty base
At the time of writing this article, the cooler only came with a side attached bottle opener. Currently on the OtterBox website, they are including a carabiner style, bottle opener accessory.
👍 Lightweight, rugged design.
👍 Reliable cold storage for 3+ days.
👎 Latch is a little tricky to close.
21.00” L x 17.00” W x 11.00” D
Weight: 6.69 lb / 3.04 kg
The OtterBox Trooper LT30 Soft Cooler. You may have just found your perfect adventure cooler! Head on over to their site now and check ’em out.
➳ Otter Products, LLC provided equipment and associated materials for this review. John LaGuardia is an employee of Otter Products. All photos are a courtesy of LaGuardia Adventure Photography.
The Bottom Line: As an avid skier and one who has always worn five-fingered gloves, Outdoor Research Highcamp 3-Finger Gloves keep my hands warmer than traditional leather racing gloves. With a use for every sport—alpine or backcountry skiing, winter fat biking, snowshoeing, or other cold weather activities—I came away from this review asking myself, “Why have I never tried mittens before?”