Bike Radar – CamelBak MULE LR 15 Hydration Pack Review

The following is a review from BikeRadar.com

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CamelBak MULE LR 15

Aptly named pack loaded with features

BikeRadar score: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5/5

BikeRadar verdict:

“The MULE LR is supremely comfortable, uses a top-notch reservoir and makes organizing any amount of gear easy”

Highs: 100oz low-ride reservoir, very comfortable, pockets everywhere, detachable hose, bite valve lock, useful gear storage

Lows: Not much; upper strap buckles are hard to close, still warm on the back

Buy if: Your riding needs demand loads of gear and plenty of water and you want one of the best hydration packs on the market

Back in the early 2000s, I spent a lot of time riding with a core group of 10-12 guys who rode hard, explored every valley and mountainside, and spent huge days on their bikes. While each individual varied with their set ups and riding style, there was one constant throughout the crew, we all had CamelBak HAWG hydration packs. It gained our trust through thousands of hours of riding, bushwhacking and hanging out in the forest — and CamelBak’s current MULE LR 15 pack reminds me of those legendary HAWG packs.

It is however lighter, more streamlined, easier to wear and better in every way. I’ve been abusing this one for close to a year now and while not as pretty as when new, it shows no signs of giving up.

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CamelBak MULE LR features

  • 100oz Crux LR reservoir (3L)
  • 12 liters of gear storage
  • 800 gram weight
  • Airfoil back panel
  • Magnetic Tube Trap
  • Stabilizing load-bearing hip belts with cargo
  • Dual reservoir compression straps
  • Rain cover
  • Built-in helmet carry hooks
  • Separate zippered compartment with gear organizer and tool roll
  • Additional top zippered pocket with microfleece lining
  • Overflow storage via two sets of compression straps
  • Reflective accents

CamelBak MULE LR riding

If you have a hydration pack you’re probably keenly aware of the log-on-your-back feeling that most packs filled with water have. For years the standard shape of a reservoir was a tall rectangle, which put the liquid’s weight vertically on your back.

CamelBak’s Crux lumber reservoir does away with that. It’s aptly named simply because having the weight up high can be a deal breaker for some riders. The Crux reservoir lowers the center of gravity to around your hips, which makes every type of riding better in my opinion.

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Gear Patrol Editors Pick – Dr Tray

From Gear Patrol

The Best Bike Rack for Any Adventure

Sweet Rides for Your Ride

Whether you’re headed on a weekend trip, to the local trail system for a lunch ride or the top of your favorite descent, a good bike rack is key. It’s no fun to have to throw your bike in the back of your car, finagling it by twisting the handlebars, taking off the front wheel, lowering the seat, and so on. Not to mention muddy bikes, which can make quick work of your plush alcantara interior. (What?! You don’t have an alcantara interior??) Also, a bike rack allows you to bring tons of other stuff with you, like your buddies, your dog, a refrigerator, or whatever else tickles your fancy.

 

Editor’s Pick: The Dr. Tray is, hands down, one of the most stable hitch-mount bike racks I’ve ever used. The mechanism that attaches the rack to your receiver utilizes a wedge that eliminates virtually all movement and sway. The trays are also infinitely adjustable, allowing you to position both bikes exactly where you want them and eliminate any chance of them rubbing against each other.

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Timeless Outdoor Fun: Outside Inside Gifts

From MRV The Buzz

OUTSIDE INSIDE

A Company That Provides Outdoor Games For Those Who Love To Get Out And Hike, Paddle, Climb, Camp, Ski, Bike, Hunt, And Fish

“We are outdoor people and when you start to have children, you want them to be able to experience that with you,” explains Dave Smrtka, co-owner and co-founder of Outside Inside Gifts.  Outside Inside is a company, as it says on the website, that provides gifts “for those among us who love to get out and hike, paddle, climb, camp, ski, bike, hunt, and fish”.

Beyond the products it offers, the company’s goal is to provide games for the whole family.  “When you start playing games, you are instant friends with others playing and it gives everyone something to connect with,” explains Smrtka.  It is with this idea that the company continues to grow and the seed was planted in Smrtka’s own family.  “My wife and I both worked in retail – we owned several outdoor stores,” he explains.  When his three daughters started to get older, they both decided to get out of retail and get involved with things they love – the outdoors and their family.  Originally making gifts, they transitioned more into mobile games – not for a smartphone, but games like checkers and backgammon to pick up and take outdoors.  “We take timeless games and modify them to be lighter and more compact,” Smrtka says.  Other examples of these games are mancala, table tennis, barrel toss, and more.

They realized they struck a nook and grew their products into three tiers of mobility. There are the Backpack games that are super mobile and fit in a bag. The Freestyle games are a little bigger, ideal for moderate to light camping/outdoor excursions. Last there are the Basecamp games, which are good for backyard family time or to keep in the RV. All products are made with “good materials and good quality as they have to withstand the constant abuse of the outdoors,” Smrtka says.

For product development, Smrtka and his wife use experiences, as well as their knowledge of the outdoors in personal and professional life. He gives the example of their backpack bocce ball product. “First we start with the idea. Anyone can play bocce ball and any number of people can play,” Smrtka explains, “which makes it an ideal product for us.” He says the problem is the weight for the balls, so they developed Backpack bocce at 1/16 of the original size. “The problem with this, though, is that the balls are so small that they bounce too much when they are thrown,” Smrtka states, “so we needed to find a material that would react similarly to full-size bocce.” They ended up using a special kind of rubber that works well and Backpack bocce has become one of their best selling products.

What makes their products special beyond their size is their adherence to the name of company – Outside Inside. “These games can be played outdoors in the middle of nowhere or in college dorms,” Smrtka explains. In fact, his daughters, who are all around college age are great supporters of their products and bring them to school with them and play with their friends. “Our 21 year old always uses the games at parties and events,” he says. With experiences like these, Smrtka and his wife are able to get real feedback from others and also adjust their marketing accordingly.

Though originally motivated by providing entertainment for children, the focus has never really been, “Just on children, but on the family.”  As the years progress, they realized the market can be for families as well as college students who like to play games with their classmates.  “Although we primarily appeal to the active market, we also have our products in college bookstores,” Smrtka says. Smrtka and his wife are based in Canada, but the focus of Outside Inside is the United States and their distribution center and warehouse is in Spokane, Washington.  They also have retail stores in Japan and a select few in Europe.  “In Japan there is more and more interest, as they like compact things there,” he explains.

The geographic region also plays a role in product popularity.  “Obviously the north is colder, so there is a greater interest in indoor games and the south is warmer so traditionally outdoor games are popular,” Smrtka says.  He also says the flatlands of the Midwest, for example, popularize the Basecamp games as the RV culture is really strong.

As the years go by, people are increasingly becoming dependent on digital technology.  Even camping, an activity devoted to the outdoors, one observes many adults and children glued to phones and tablets.  This is the present world.  The challenge for families is to balance these digital tendencies with activities that provide time to connect and develop relationships.  The outdoors provides opportunities for this to happen and Outside Inside Gifts provides compact, convenient means to achieve it.

By: Andrew Malo

A graduate of Northeastern Illinois University in Education, Andrew has taught for the past decade in Chicago, New Mexico, and Japan.  He  enjoys tinkering with trucks and motorcycles, woodworking, reading and computer programming.

More on Outside Inside:

Outside Inside Gifts, a gift collection designed by outdoor enthusiasts for the hikers, paddlers and sportsmen of the world. Available at specialty outdoor and gift retailers all over the world.

 

Review: Hilly Running Socks – Run Oregon

From Run Oregon

What Run Oregon is Wearing: Hilly Running Socks

 

Brian’s Impressions:

Socks are probably the second most important piece of a runners gear (have you ever tried to run with unhappy feet), but it seems that it is an aspect that most people don’t talk about and didn’t get much attention until recent years. I’ve always preferred my socks snug and usually low cut so these were right up my alley. The fitment is so good that I even enjoyed the higher cut than the ankle socks that I generally pick.

The Lumen was my favorite by virtue of it’s highlighter yellow color alone, but I definitely noticed that I could wear them all day at work without dealing with some sweaty appendages after 10 hours and they were still comfortable to run in after. There was no sliding or bunching issues at all regardless of pace. The Marathon Fresh model was just as comfortable and it was in these that the extra cushioning built into the sock was a little more noticeable. They weren’t bulky, I like to keep my shoes fairly snug when I run and it wasn’t necessary to loosen them. The TwinSkin anti blister sock is a dual layer design to prevent friction as well as be more durable in the areas that tend to wear out (heel and toes). It did a great job, felt comfortable and never made me feel overly warm.

 


Geli’s Impressions:

I like socks, and especially, of course, those that make my feet happy. Hilly Socks have many features that help my feet feel very happy. Two different kinds of Hilly socks I have tried are mono-skin and twin-skin varieties. The mono-skin socks are constructed from one layer of fabric, like all my other socks, while the twin-skin socks have two layers of fabric. The twin-skin construction helps avoid blisters, since any friction will be happening between the two layers of the sock, not between the sock and your foot. They feel a little bit thicker than the mono-skin socks, but they stayed in place, worked well, and didn’t cause me any trouble all day.

The third kind of Hilly sock in my drawer is the Classic Lumen. The socks are bright yellow with added reflective striping for nighttime visibility. They fit just as well as the other colors, and the bright colors will be fun to wear at races and during low light running times.


Joe’s Impressions:

Like Geli, I like socks, and while I have plenty of running shirts and shorts, it seems like you can never have enough running socks. So it was fun to get a chance to test some socks from a company I hadn’t heard of. I received three kinds of Hilly socks to try: Two types of TwinSkin anti-blister socks (low-cut and medium height) and a pair of anti-odor socks.

The first pair I tried was the Marathon Fresh Anklet style, with built in odor fighting features. The jury’s still out on their long-term durability and resistance to stinkiness (though they seem to be holding their own in both categories so far), but they are easy to put on, very comfortable, and didn’t sag or slide down during a run. In fact, I barely noticed I had them on, always a good sign for running garb. Add the nice ergonomic design and pleasant colors, and these socks are a welcome addition to my running hosiery collection.

The TwinSkin Anklet and Socklet socks promise to reduce blisters through the use of two layers of material that slide with each other rather than against your skin.

I have had good experiences with similar socks from Wrightsocks, so I expect this design to also work well in the Hilly versions. Although it takes a little extra effort to smooth out these socks and get the two layers to align without wrinkles, the comfort and fit is worth it. While I haven’t had problems with blisters for the last few years (knock on bunion), an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so I appreciate the twin layer technology. I usually shy away from low-cut socks, but the TwinSkin Socklet version was just high enough to be comfortable. Again, neither pair sagged and once I was running, I barely noticed I was wearing them. Good fit, nice colors, and a choice of features makes Hilly a good option in the wide world of running socks.

 


Robin’s Impressions:

When looking for the perfect sock to meet your feet’s specific needs, check out Hilly Socks’ four different ranges of socks: Compression, Urban, Trail, and Night.

I field tested socks in the Urban category as well as Night. As Geli mentioned above, I too like socks and I especially like socks that are comfortable and keep my feet dry. Slipping into a pair of the Lumen and TwinSkin is like slipping into Cinderella’s glass slipper. The sock might seem a little unforgiving at first, but when you put it on, i is a perfect fit. The TwinSkin has improved their drying rate by 25% and transfers moisture from the foot to the surface of the sock. The double-layer construction also features vented upper and arch grip to keep feet feeling cool. I felt the sock was incredibly durable and especially strong on the toe seam. I have strange feet and as I run, it seems my toes require more and more room. The socks are strong and durable, but not so tight that toes are smashed into each other and crowded. (This feels like a perfect segue for a Joe’s Toes comic.)The Lumen socks also feature High Wicking Coolmax Extreme Fabric and vent panels to improve breathability for those sweaty feet. The socks are designed anatomically to be worn by the left or right foot depending on the corresponding “L” or “R” printed on the toe. I found these to be comfortable, almost molded to my foot and will be one of my favorite socks for day time or low light situations.


About Hilly Socks:

With a PhD in Textile Chemistry, [Hilly founder Dr. Ron Hill, MBE] was able to combine his expertise and running background to design and revolutionized a core range of technical socks to cater the needs of the runner.

The range was split into two categories namely: Mono Skin and Twin Skin. The Mono Skin (single layer) range included the Marathon Fresh, Off Road and Super Racer Plus (now renamed Lite) and the Twin Skin (double layer), Moisture Management. All four socks have been improved over recent years.
The company has continued to grow and is now one of the UK’s leading brands of technical running socks and accessories.

For more from Run Oregon Check them out HERE

More on Hilly Socks

Captuer Custom Hat Independence Day Collection

– JULY 4TH, 2017 –

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ART MUST BE APPROVED BY MAY 10TH TO GUARANTEE DELIVERY

ORDER UP NOW – DROP US A LINE

GoPro: Introducing El Grande

El Grande is an aluminum extension pole that takes your GoPro to new heights—literally. Its extra extension (up to 38in/97cm) allows you to capture new perspectives and gets you closer to the action. Plus, it’s collapsible down to 15in (38cm) and is compact enough for any on-the-go adventure.

  • Extends to 38in (97cm) to get you closer to the action and collapses to 15in (38cm) for on-the-go use
  • Integrated ball-and-socket design at end of pole allows you to make adjustments or swivel your GoPro 360° without stopping to un-mount your camera
  • Premium oversized grip allows you to comfortably hold El Grande with two hands
  • Twist-lock design for quick and easy use
  • Durable and waterproof
  • $59.99

Stay tuned for more news on GoPro accessories and check out your local GoPro retailer for how to get your very own El Grande.

As always, happy capturing!

GoPro KARMA Grip Comparison

Looking to step up your GoPro game? GoPro videographer Abe Kislevitz gives us a side by side comparison highlighting the stabilization gained from using the KARMA grip.

 

GoPro KARMA Grip

Here’s a side-by-side view of what the Karma Grip will do for video footage shot on a GoPro. This video compares typical headcam style footage to headcam footage using the Karma Grip.

Shot using the HERO5 Black in the Karma Grip and the HERO5 Session for the headcam.

Learn more about the KARMA Grip here

For more from Abe check out his Youtube Page