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Tamagear is a relatively new company out of Denver who specializes in mid layers for sports in chilly or cold weather. The Saddleback, made for women and men, comes in a variety of attractive colors, and combines functionality with style.

If you have a little bit more to spend on a mid layer that could easily be worn as a jacket in milder temperatures, the Tamagear warranty seems to stand by the product and the features are good for an all-around layer.

The moisture wicking and breathable materials are an added bonus to this extremely soft layer! Water repellency and a SPF of 30, this is going to be a good thing to have on when you find yourself out in the elements.

Longer cuffs and ruching (women’s) help make this layer fit well. It also has some reflective detailing so you will be seen when you get caught out after the sun goes down.

It’s hard to justify spending a lot of money on a layer that only gets worn one season a year but I believe this will be your go-to layer all year round.


The Saddleback

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Ever since trying out some of their sunglasses almost a year ago, Tyson and I have become huge fans of Optic Nerve.  The Colorado born and bred company already had a few high marks in our book because of the style, affordability, and quality.

This year, they are introducing a new line called ONE or Optic Nerve for Everyone which makes us love the brand even more (and you will too, trust me).  The idea behind ONE is to make the Optic Nerve name, quality, and style available to those with not such deep pockets.  The Throwbacks are a part of this line and I have already found it hard to put on a different pair of sunglasses.

I love the look of these glasses; they are fun, eye-catching, and super comfortable.  I would say I have a medium sized face and the fit is absolutely perfect.  The brown lens, Demi Glaze frame color, and gold detailing add some pizzaz to any outfit or look.

The Throwbacks retail for $30.00 and are a polarized lens.  Like I said in the video, Optic Nerve keeps the polarized protection while offering a lower price point because instead of infusing the lens with the polarization, it is simply a coating.  If you continue to drop your sunglasses on rock surfaces, the coating could potentially come off.

Whether you need a pair of adventure sunglasses or are just looking for something stylish to wear to and from work, these are a great option.  The ONE line by Optic Nerve is not available yet, however be sure to check regularly as these sunglasses at these prices are going to have you heading back for seconds!

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Optic Nerve

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Don’t let the cold keep you indoors this winter. Outdoor Research’s Stormbound mittens insulate your hands in 800+ fill down to keep them cozy all day long while touring in the backcountry.

A few years ago, while suffering from freezing fingers, I bit the bullet and slipped a pair of mittens on my hands. Unless it’s above 20 degrees Fahrenheit  or slightly cooler on the uphill, you’ll almost always find me in mittens. The cold almost kept me from talking coherently in the video above, but my hands stayed warm.

When they built the Stormbound mittens, Outdoor Research sandwiched 800+ fill down between two layers of PrimaLoft® One synthetic insulation to keep your hands warm in wet weather and wick perspiration away from the skin. The Pertex® Shield outer shell is waterproof to further protects your hands.

If you suffer from cold hands, especially in the backcountry, give the Stormbound mittens a shot. I normally wear size large in gloves and mittens and I’ve found the sizing to be right on.

Outdoor Research Stormbound Mittens


Outdoor Research’s Stormbound mittens

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The Hottotties Cloud Nine 2.0 by Terramar are the perfect all around, all season, and ultimate comfort base layer bottoms. These pants are by far the softest base layers I’ve had and combined with the Kashmir V-Neck top, it will feel like you’re wearing clouds.

While Terramar classifies the Cloud Nines as a midweight layer, I would categorize them more as a lightweight baselayer.  I don’t wear them downhill skiing at the resort unless it’s really warm because my outer layer bottoms are not insulated.  For backcountry skiing, however, they are wonderful! The moisture wicking and quick-drying features are a must for high exertion activities and the Cloud Nines will not let you down with these features!

I love the design and fit of these base layers.  They have a wide waistband and are nice and tight up against your skin.  I am generally a size 8 in pants and went with the medium from Terramar.  They are the perfect fit.  They do allow for some stretch so if you’re in between sizes I would go down.

I have the bright pink color and love it but let me tell you, if you’re looking for a casual, everyday legging, I would get the black and wear them everyday with your classiest work attire.  Trust me, you wont want to wear anything else.  Check out Terramar for all your base layer and mid-layer needs.


The Hottotties Cloud Nine 2.0

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If you want your dog with you on absolutely every adventure this winter, check out the Great White North Winter Coat by Chilly Dogs.  This jacket is designed and engineered for freezing temperatures, extreme mobility, and absolute warmth.

Hank loves being outside and adventuring with us but when it’s cold, windy, and snowing, he gets very miserable very fast. It’s pretty cute because when he wants to let us know he is not happy he sits down and squints his eyes (see below photo from when he was a pup). Our love for skiing means that we are going to be out in exactly the weather that Hank does not love.  Although he loves sleeping in front of the fire at home, we want him to enjoy the great outdoors as much as we do.


We got him a fleece by Ruffwear for mild days and for inside the camper when it’s chilly but we wanted a heavy winter jacket for the really cold and wet days.  Chilly Dogs designs and manufactures their products in Canada, and so right off I knew I was dealing with a company who understands winter.  I was really impressed just looking online at the fit of the Great White North Winter Coat.  I was even more impressed when it showed up in the mail.  The quality is incredible.

The design is unique and easy to get on your dog.  Hank is pretty mellow and careless with stuff like this so we put it right on him and he didn’t seem to mind. If you have a more rambunctious pup, the design allows for easy on and off.

The entire coat is a 12oz Canadian made, non-piling fleece that is extremely soft and machine washable (the entire jacket is machine washable). The fleece is the perfect weight and proves to be durable and breathable.  We were a little bit skeptical of how the fleece would handle in the snow.  We thought that maybe snow would just build up and stick to the fleece.  After using this jacket in deep deep snow, the snow does not build up at all which is a huge bonus.

Chilly Dogs added 3M reflective piping  around the outer seams of the jacket for visibility at night (safety and protection!!!).  With over 14 years of experience, I think it’s safe to say that Chilly Dogs knows what they are doing and are putting the safety, protection, and warmth of your dog at high standards.

The temperature rating for this jacket is 14 degrees F to -22 degrees F so the extremely cold days are covered.  Hank is probably not the average breed however, with his thin hair.  Your dog can’t talk to you though so if you’re wearing a ton of layers and are cold, chances are your pup’s going to be a bit chilly too.

Chilly Dogs makes a bunch of dog products including some lighter weight jackets so be sure to check them out to get your best friend and adventure partner outfitted properly.

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The Great White North Winter Coat

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I lived on the edge a little bit and took Montane‘s “technical mountain walking shell” skiing. The Direct Ascent eVent Jacket outperformed what I would have expected from a walking jacket. The totally waterproof fabric and YKK Aqua Guard zippers definitely gave this jacket the upper hand on the super wet and snowy day.

The Direct Ascent is a great alpine touring jacket because on the way up, I’m sweating and hot, yet I still need a waterproof layer. The eVent waterproof fabric used is a very breathable fabric. So you’re keeping the moisture out but not holding the sweat in.

My favorite feature of this jacket is the sleeves. So simple yet so very important. The sleeves fit long and narrow, but not so narrow that I have to fight the cuff to fit over my glove. They fit snug against my glove so cold wind doesn’t whip up my sleeve. There are even some adjustable cuff tabs so if you prefer the cuff really tight, you have the option.

When zipped all the way up, the jacket provides a nice sun and wind block, protecting your pretty face. Combined with a fully adjustable and wire-brimmed hood, it’s easy to keep the elements out.

There are two hand pockets and an internal pocket for valuables but keep in mind there are no pit zips.

Montane is a company out of the UK so be sure to keep this in mind when ordering. I should’ve sized up one size so I could layer underneath without looking like I gained 30 pounds. The Direct Ascent is a little tight with winter layers underneath, but I can imagine a perfect fit in the summer with minimal layering.

I love the fact that I can wear this jacket touring in the winter and hiking in the summer. It’s a multi-seasonal jacket if you’re willing to work with it and you’re layering systems. Check out Montane and all of their outdoor outfitting products!


Direct Ascent eVent Jacket

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