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:
BURNT OLIVE GREEN WOODLAND CAMO PRINT/TNF BLACK
URBAN NAVY/PICANTE RED
ZINC GREY / HIGHRISE GREY
TNF BLACK / TNF YELLOW
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (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.
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
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
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (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.
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:
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.
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.
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.