DPS Phantom 2.0 Review

Backcountry Skiing on DPS PHANTOM 2.0 in Rocky Mountain National Park

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.

PRICE:

$99 MSRP

Ratings:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4/5) Application process

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4/5) Curing process

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) Performance

Overall Rating: 4.3

Summary:

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 REVIEW:

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
  • Rubber gloves
  • Rubber sponge
  • Cork & Roto brush tool
  • Instruction booklet

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.

Pro Tip:

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.

Both skis – (bottom) with the tacky finish after curing and (top) with the final finish result

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
  • environmentally friendly

Pros & Cons:

👍 Pros

  • Permanent, one-time application
  • Smooth, quick, and consistent glide performance
  • Does not present any long-term environmental risks

👎 Cons

  • 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.

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

Morsel Spork Review

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.

USE:

⛺️ 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.

PRICE:

$12.95 for mini, XL and XL spoon versions.

$25.90 for combo packs

Available in blue, red, green, midnight and grey

MY REVIEW:

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

PRO TIP:

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.

RATING:

👍 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!

SPECS:

  • 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.

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

OtterBox Soft Cooler Review – Trooper LT30

📸: John LaGuardia

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. 

USE:

⛺️ Lunch hikes, picnics at the park, quick outdoor overnights, family sporting events, fishing trips and road trips.

PRICE:

$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 REVIEW:

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

PRO TIP:

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.

RATING:

👍 Lightweight, rugged design.

👍 Reliable cold storage for 3+ days.

👎 Latch is a little tricky to close.

SPECS:

Dimensions:

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.

Outdoor Research Highcamp 3-finger Gloves

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?”

Read more of this review published on outdoorproject.com