Don’t blame the Gear Gals for Valentine’s Day. Blame the ancient Romans and their festival of Lupercalia. For the Romans it was a celebration of fertility (<<lame). For us, it’s mostly about bloated commercialism (<<lamer).
No pressure or anything, but V-day is this Sunday. If you’re in a pickle about what to get the man in your life this year, have a looksie:
Pearl Izumi P.R.O Barrier WXB Glove ($100): I have been testing the women’s version but there is a men’s version ready for the blustery, wet and chilly spring that is coming. The secret ingredient is OutDry, which is a layer that is heat-bonded to the fabric to make it a fully-waterproof glove. I’ve had my share of rainy fall rides in these and never had a wet hand. Note on fit: Right on the money. If you go a size up you can fit a liner in for something more year-round.
Pearl Izumi ELITE Softshell Shoe Cover ($70): Think of these booties as a weather- and water-resistant softshell for cycling shoes. Great for the “tween” seasons when you need an extra layer of protection between toes and the cold. Note on fit: Not exactly right on the money. I wear a size 8 cycling shoe and the women’s size small that I tested was really snug. Like so snug I needed the Jaws of Life to get them on. So order the next size up to be safe.
StreamTrekkers ($44.95): There is nothing like slipping on wet, slimy river rocks and being flushed downstream in freezing water to ruin what should be a great day of fishing. StreamTrekkers grip rocks with steel alloy fangs and attach securely to shoes with a durable rubber outerband.
I’m not an angler but I can say these guys kick-ass for walking on icy lakes or dog-walks on icy city pavement. Note on fit: Right on the money. I wear a size 8 and tested the medium.
Ben’s Tick & Insect Repellent ($9.99): Ticks are disgusting arachnids with eight legs. By April the next generation of bloated, blood-sucking vectors of disease will hatch. They’re also a trending topic for YouTube music videos!
Let’s not forget the Zika Virus which is spread by the tick’s equally repulsive counterpart: the mosquito. A serious affliction to be sure but a DEET- and permethrin-based bug spray like Ben’s will keep ticks and mosquitoes away and reduce your chances of contraction of Zika.
I’ve been a user of Ben’s for several years and I prefer it over Off! or Backwoods Cutter because it’s just as effective against mosquitoes and ticks but doesn’t smell like a meth lab explosion.
Gobi Gear Hoboroll ($39.99): I love this this 20-liter stuff sack because it has five internal divided compartments to organize all the stuff one would stuff into a stuff sack.
Hardly relegated to just camping or backpacking, the Hoboroll organizes the unorganized for any and all travel – even travel that involves a—gasp—suitcase and airline ticket. I’ve been using this for airline travel but I have visions of using this later this spring for mountain biking to transport gloves, socks, shoes, snacks, bug spray, sunblock, tools etc. to the trailhead.
Cairn Subscription Box ($25/month): This monthly box of “Outdoor Discovery!” is worth the money. I’m on my fifth month and even though I already have a lot of gear in my gear box, I have still received useful items that I never thought about. Like an Aquamira Frontier Pro ultralight water filter and a V3-Pocket Bellow!
Cairn recently introduced Obsidian ($199/quarter), a premium quarterly collection. Potential gear includes anything from backpacks, cooking supplies, sleeping accessories, outdoor electronics and tons more. Each Obsidian collection will have a value of $300 or more and ships December, March, June and September.
Mountain Hardwear Cragger half-zip ($65): It’s up to us to make sure he’s dressed appropriately in public. This yummy half-zip top is made from organic cotton and recycled polyester. The sleeves are long and fitted so it’s a good piece for work or date night. Note on fit: Per my husband, the official gear tester: Beware the fitted sleeves, for they don’t allow much room for layering with baselayer.