Category Archives: Gear Review

Reviews on the gear I have, had or want :)

New Balance Review: Foam and No numbers?

Love my New Balance.. Noel does a great review on the new ones to look for.

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Osprey Rev 6 Review

Osprey Rev 6 Review

 

Who doesn’t like moving fast? I mean, it’s kind of the point of running! Osprey has decided to target us runners and hikers who are out to move quickly by creating a pack that is built for speed, but with enough capacity to sustain us for the long haul. The Osprey Rev 6 ($99.95) is obviously a pack built for just that. Osprey also tried to incorporate some new innovations with the pack. I’ve listed the positives and negatives below.

Osprey Rev 6 back viewThe Osprey Rev 6.

Osprey Rev 6 Pros

Fit: Grade A+

One of the most important attributes for a running pack is its fit, and the Rev 6 fits magnificently. When I first got the pack, I was suspicious of how well it would fit because it lacks a waist belt. But, once I got the pack on and snapped the two Biostretch BodyWraps (a fancy term for chest straps) into place, I was very happy to find that the pack fit close to my body and moved with me exceptionally well. I’ve completed a number of three-plus-hour trail runs with this pack without any chafing at all. The Hydraulics LT Reservoir has baffles inside the bladder that are excellently designed and greatly reduce water sloshing while running. One of the best innovations in this pack is a plastic support that crosses the reservoir pocket and allows the water bladder to securely slide into place.

The Osprey Rev 6’s storage capacity.

Capacity: Grade A-

The Rev 6 features a 1.5-liter bladder, six liters worth of internal storage, and four mesh pockets. The main zippered chamber is large Osprey Rev 6 storage capacityenough to hold some extra base layers, some extra food, and a small survival pack. There is a second zippered area that is supplemental to the main area and is large enough for a small first-aid kit and a wallet. There are two mesh pockets on each side of the pack which are large enough for two to three energy bars. The shoulder-strap mesh pockets have some interesting designs, but the bottom line is that they are only big enough for a couple of GU packets and are shaped awkwardly. Overall, this pack has plenty of space for a long trail run or day hike, which is exactly what this pack is designed for.

Hydration System: Grade B

The Osprey Rev 6 has a 1.5-liter Hydraulics LT Reservoir. This design is very well made and lives up to the hype. The reservoir material and hose is tasteless and flexible and will not rupture if it freezes. The QuickDisconnect system works as advertised; a simple push of the red button disconnects the hose, and it can easily be reconnected by pushing it back into the attachment. I only have two concerns with the hydration system: the fill cap and the magnetic bite valve. The fill cap is large and easy to fill, but it can be difficult to screw in correctly. I’ve had a few instances of accidental cross threading that ended with water leaking everywhere. The bite valve works well, but the magnetic clip has a bad habit of falling off the chest strap regularly.

Osprey Rev 6 hydration systemThe Osprey Rev 6 hydration system.

Design: Grade A

Overall the pack is designed to be very durable. The back panel has a soft mesh that is comfortably lifted off of the main structural support of the pack. This design makes the back panel very breathable and provides a bit of a shock-absorption system. This pack seems to be built to last. Unless you went at it with an ice tool, I have a hard time seeing how you could damage the Osprey Rev 6. In the very unlikely event that you somehow managed to damage the pack, Osprey will give you a brand-new one with their lifetime guarantee.

Osprey Rev 6 Cons

Accessibility: Grade C

Unfortunately, accessibility is where the Rev 6 misses the mark. The shoulder straps on the pack are innovative, but not very practical. Osprey Rev 6 Digiflip Media PocketThe left strap has what Osprey calls the Digiflip Media Pocket. The idea of the Digiflip is that you can un-clip the pocket and it will flip down and allow you to look at your phone inside of a plastic case. While this sounds like an appealing idea, the actuality of it leaves much to be desired. The size was designed with a smaller phone in mind, despite the current trend of larger-screened phones. My Samsung Galaxy S5 doesn’t fit inside the Digiflip, making this interesting innovation an unfortunate waste of valuable space.

The next oddity is the right shoulder strap. This bizarre compartment is a large mesh pocket with zipper access. The internal mesh pocket is useable after you unzip it, but it’s awkward to use while running, especially if you’re wearing gloves.

My final complaint I have is that the side panel mesh pockets are awkwardly placed. They’re just far enough back to where you can reach the pocket while running, but you have to strain your shoulders to reach them. Because of their placement, I am able to take things out of these pockets, but I can’t put things back in unless I stop and take off my pack.

Osprey Rev 6 front straps viewThe Osprey Rev 6 front view.

Overall Impressions


Overall Impressions: Grade A-

Overall this is a great pack for long-distance runs that fits exceptionally well. While I have complaints about some of the mesh pockets, I can still put a sufficient amount of bars and/or GUs to sustain me for a four-plus-hour run. The Osprey Rev 6 has become my favorite pack to run with. It’s perfect for my daily training runs, and I plan to use it in my upcoming 50-mile race.

 [Editor’s Note: This review was composed by Alaskan trail runner and guest reviewer Kyle Emery.]

via Osprey Rev 6 Review.

Three Cool Fitness Trends at CES 2015

Three Cool Fitness Trends at CES 2015

The future of your running is getting some help from the latest technology.

Fitbit Surge

Image byCourtesy of Fitbit Published

The newly released Fitbit Surge plans to monitor every part of your active life, including GPS tracking and heart rate monitoring.

No need to wait for the future to arrive. It’s already five strides ahead of us. Having just returned from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada—the largest show of its type in the world—my mind has been sufficiently blown. Here are the hottest fitness trends that created the most buzz on the show floor.

1. WEARABLE TECH

Whether it’s on your wrist, integrated into your clothing, or placed within your shoe as you walk or run, specialized sensors, monitors, and trackers are able to record your activity levels and physiology like never before. Here are some ways they’re doing it:

On Your Wrist: Using sophisticated optical and pressure sensors, GPS, and accelerometers, the next generation of wristbands can provide nearly continuous and complete body management. I’ve been testing the new Fitbit Surge, and it tracks mileage, pace, elevation, steps taken, route, heart rate, number of calories burned, and sleep quality. It also displays incoming calls and texts, feels almost weightless, and has a battery life for up to seven days on a single charge. (Full disclosure: I work with Fitbit and that’s how I was able to test the new Surge before its release date.)

Other wrist straps can now monitor hydration status, lactic acid accumulation, blood-glucose levels, body-fat percentage, blood pressure, stress levels, and automatically compute the number of calories eaten. That’s right, no need to keep a food log for counting calories—the wristband computes it all for you!

On Your Body: Adaptive “smart fabrics” can now measure vital signs, movement, and core body temperature. For instance, Cambridge Consultants unveiled its XelfleX smart fabric that uses fiber-optic threads embedded directly into the clothing to measure motion—like your posture as you run or angle of your arms—and vital signs.Fitlinxx AmpStrip

If you’d rather go the minimalist route, FitLinxx introduced AmpStrip (seen above), a waterproof adhesive fitness activity monitor that’s about the size of a Band-Aid. The gadget iss looking to start production this summer and could be good for a sweaty summer run. And if wearing a patch is too unsightly, several companies showcased implantable technology that will do all of this monitoring while being conveniently hidden beneath the skin.

In Your Shoe: When it comes to your running technique, there are now sensors for your feet that not only detect pronation or supination, but also tell you if your form is falling apart and whether you should adjust your pace, gait, or cadence to prevent injury.

Sensoria SocksFor example, the Lechal insole provides this feedback using active vibrations along pressure points. If you’d rather have the monitor directly on your foot, Sensoria introduced a smart sock (seen above) that measures excess stress on the wearer’s foot while running and offers real-time input on how best to adjust via Bluetooth.

2. BIG DATA

Now that you can collect all this data, what should you actually do with it? There are companies that are turning this information into knowledge and knowhow. An example would be FitStar.

Founded by a couple fitness buffs from Electronic Arts, the creators of FitStar looked to translate their gaming experience into a workout program that automatically adjusts to your exertion level, ability, and performance—similar to how a video game adapts to a user’s ability by making the challenge either harder or easier. They have a cardio/muscle building workout, a yoga workout ,and soon will be introducing an adaptive running app.

3. FASTER RECOVERY

Mark ProMarc Pro has a small, portable electronic muscle stimulator that can easily fit into a carry-on bag or backpack that could be your cure to help speed recovery, condition, and relieve pain and soreness.

There were plenty of other advanced pinpointing massage devices, chairs, and smart beds that automatically shape-shift to prevent pressure points while simultaneously monitoring the sleeper’s temperature to create the perfect snoozing environment.

So there you have it. Of course, all this great technology is well and good but it doesn’t replace one thing—you still need to exercise.

With that, I’m off on a run…

Yours in fitness & health,

Dean

***

Dean Karnazes is a renowned ultramarathoner and the author of several books chronicling his long-distance, international running exploits. His latest book is Run! 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss.

via 3 Cool Fitness Trends at CES 2015 | Runner’s World.

Garmin Goes Beyond the Activity Tracker

  Garmin Goes Beyond the Activity Tracker

The navigation king released three new products Monday that set a new standard for wearables.

The tech king moved beyond its fitness-navigation niche and firmly into the wearables genre Monday at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show with the debut of three new products.

The flagship device, Fenix3 ($549), looks a lot like its predecessors in the Fenix series—with a few major upgrades. At its core, it’s still a 100-percent waterproof GPS performance watch that can track your movements, provide cadence, distance, and pace data, and it comes with a built-in altimeter and barometer. Garmin has improved on the Fenix3’s tracking abilities by opening its antenna to GLONASS signals a satellite system that serves as an alternative to GPS, making the Fenix3 more precise and quicker to hold a position fix than previous iterations.

garmin-fenix-fitness-watch_in

Photo: Courtesy of Garmin

But what really sets the Fenix3 apart—and makes it a true wearable—are the new features designed to make the device an everyday companion. We’re talking an amazing six-week battery life (if you ditch the GPS function); steps and activity tracking; compatibility with other ANT+ devices; heart-rate monitoring (via an included chest strap); and ability to display texts and emails, and serve as a camera remote for Gamin’s VIRB. The Fenix3 will even be able to run third-party apps (think Strava), a first for Garmin. The watch has a ski mode, which tracks vert and speed, and bike and swim modes.

Our verdict: This seems like the ultimate merger of smartwatch and fitness device, but we’ll need to actually test one to determine all the pros and cons.

The Epix ($549) looks a lot like the Fenix3, with an emphasis on live mapping. Think of the Epix as Google Maps on your wrist—but with topography and off-the-grid, rather than StreetView, routes. It comes with a year-long subscription to satellite imagery, much like the standalone GPS units of pre-smartphone days.

garmin-epix-fitness-watch_in

Photo: Courtesy of Garmin

It’s small with a high level of mapping detail. It has most of the same capabilities as the Fenix3 (camera remote, talk and text features, heart-rate monitor, ANT+ and third-party apps compatibility). The Epix is targeted towards backpackers or climbers who needs serious GPS muscle.

Vivoactive ($250, $300 with HRM strap) merges a high-performance fitness wearable with a less athletic, plastic-y look. Out of the three, it’s the wearable we’re most interested in, and the one we’re most likely to buy as it’s less expensive and just as functional for everyday use.

garmin-vivoactive-fitness-watch_in

Photo: Courtesy of Garmin

It has many of the same features as the Fenix3, minus the latter’s exceptional waterproofing and ultra-strong GLONAS satellite capabilities. Like the Fenix3, it forwards text and emails from your phone, tracks activity by sport, and easily pairs with a heart-rate strap. It’s also thin, light, and uses a touchscreen instead of the typical button controls. It lacks the moving color map of the Epix, and it’s not as rugged as the Fenix3, but it’s thinner and more like a traditional smartwatch than the other two.

All three products will go on sale in March.

via  | Tech Talk | OutsideOnline.com.