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COROS VERTIX 2 – Full Review

When COROS debuted several years ago, it was a disrupter in the field of GPS watch categories. It’s impressive out-of-the-box features and battery life threatened to push Garmin and Suunto off their pedestals.

Three years ago, when I was researching the best GPS running watch I stumbled upon COROS on Instagram and decided to purchase their Apex watch.

This was after using the Apple Watch for a majority of my training. My biggest frustration with the Apple Watch was that I would have to charge it every night and for longer GPS excursions, it would die halfway through.

What made COROS stand out more than anything else was their battery life. And the Apex delivered. Even on heavy training weeks for ultramarathons, I could still go 15 days before I needed to recharge it.

And while it lacked some features that I missed with the Apple Watch (like being able to track non-GPS workouts), COROS’ team of developers started to deliver on those features with firmware updates.

COROS VERTIX 2
COROS VERTIX 2

The new VERTIX 2 landed last summer with a ton of new features, including music playback, dual GNSS functionality, full-color topographic mapping, ECG functionality, WIFI connectivity for updates, amazing battery life, and Insta360action cam controls. Externally it boasts a larger screen and titanium alloy bezels and case to survive any adventure.

I’ve been using the watch all day, every day for the past three months. It has been with me on trail runs, bike rides, ice climbs, gym rock climbing, road runs, backcountry skiing, indoor cardio workouts and indoor bike rides.

So, let’s dive in on why this watch is the best gps watch on the market.

VERTIX 2 Overview

The VERTIX 2 is a massive watch. I have skinny wrists and was a bit uncertain wearing this monstrosity 24/7 over the course of our testing period. And it did take some getting used to: both size and weight. But after the first week, it was as comfortable as the APEX.

On the right side of the watch (if you’re wearing it on your left wrist) there are two buttons and a separate digital crown (which rotates and can be pressed in).

The top button is used to turn the backlight on or off.

The bottom button has a number of functionalities. On the main screen, outside of a tracked activity, it can be tapped to cycle through metrics on the home screen or held to jump to the settings folder.

COROS VERTIX 2
COROS VERTIX 2

With the digital crown, if you press and hold, it will unlock the screen. This is much better than the unlocking function on the APEX. With the APEX, I had to turn the dial to unlock which was especially frustrating when in the middle of an activity, especially in the wintertime when I was wearing gloves.

With the VERTIX 2, I found the crown easy to use, even when wearing gloves. When I was skiing in the backcountry, it was easy to shift between uphill and downhill tracking, as well as pausing for a snack break.

While in the middle of an activity, the digital crown can be used to cycle through your activity metrics. This is great for some activities (like indoor cycling or GPS cardio) when I am focused on duration and heart rate (trying to keep it in the fat burning zone).

While the touchscreen isn’t a new feature for COROS or GPS watches in general, it is still worth highlighting. It is primarily used outside of workout mode. You can click into widgets to slide through your metrics. Or pull up a map and move around easily.

I haven’t found myself using the touchscreen too much outside of the widgets. It is a much easier tool that the dial to cycle through and look at a particular time frame of data.

The watch bands connect using a quick release system. Again, this is a step up from the APEX. The tabs to pull and release are much easier to use, allowing you to swap out bands or remove them all together to connect to the COROS Carabiner so you can climb without the watch attached to your wrist.

On the back of the watch is the charging port and optical heart rate sensor. The heart rate sensor is the set of LED’s and optical sensors (bright and vibrant red and green lights) that measure your heart rate, but also blood oxygen levels and ECG data.

ECG / HRV Feature

To access the ECG feature, navigate to the settings menu and click HRV test. It’ll ask you to place your hand on the bezel.

And it’ll start the ECG, lasting for 60 seconds. Throughout you’ll feel a vibration, similar to a heartbeat. At the end you’re given a HRV value, not an ECG value. Which is confusing.

I’m unsure if this is a feature that will continue being developed.

The HRV value does show up in the app and you can watch the trend over time. The value is scaled from 0-100.

  • 81-100: Superior, relaxed

  • 51-80: High, under minor physical or mental pressure

  • 21-50: Medium, under medium physical or mental pressure

  • 1-20: Low, under significant physical or mental pressure

Widgets for Days

When you’re on the home screen, you can move into the widget menu by unlocking the screen and moving the dial.

Widgets include everything from steps, KCAL burned, workout duration, recovery data, to sleep.

With each widget, you can click into with the dial and scroll through the data with the dial or your finger on the screen.

I have found that most of these widgets are pretty accurate. With the exception of sleep. I think it’s because of the size of the watch, but I have found that if the watch isn’t centered on my wrist that I will miss out on sleep data; viewable as large gaps of “awake” time during the night. Additionally, if I get up in the middle of the night for a bathroom break or to help an awake child, it will register that as the moment I awoke—not counting when I went back to sleep a few minutes later.

I slept like a rock, but COROS is registering a lot of awake time. More than likely because of the way the watch was positioned.

Notifications and Settings

One of the reasons I hated using the Apple Watch as a primary fitness watch was all the notifications I would get. Anything my iPhone received, so did my watch. Ping, ping, ping, ping, ping.

With Coros, I have the ability to be in the same predicament. But I am very conscious about the impact all those notifications have on my mental health, so I have a majority turned off. Right now, phone calls is the only notification I receive. Anything else can wait till I’m at my phone.

But it is fully customizable when you first setup the watch on the COROS app.

If you hold the bottom button, you can also access the settings menu. Here you can access the above mentioned ECG function. But you’re also able to connect to Bluetooth devices, WIFI, Insta360 action cam control, alarms, the compass, and music.

Music and Insta360 Cam Controls

The VERTIX 2 is COROS’s first watch to feature music. Bluetooth headphones are paired through the headphones menu in Settings. You can pair multiple Bluetooth headphones, which is a great feature for ultramarathons when you might burn through a pair or two.

Pairing is easy and once setup, they are easily accessible. When powered on, the watch will connect to them. When tested, it would take over the connection from my iPhone easily.

For music, the VERTIX 2 supports loading MP3 files to the device using a USB cable from your computer. Drag and drop the files you want to the “music folder” and you’re ready to start jamming by selecting the music menu from the settings menu.

You can use the touchscreen to play, pause, skip tracks, etc.

It should be noted though that you can only load MP3 tracks. Services like Spotify or Apple Music isn’t compatible and probably won’t ever be.

Now, at the time of testing, we couldn’t test the Insta360 controls. But to give an overview, if you have the Insta360 Go 2, One X2 and One R), you can control the camera with the VERTIX 2.

Using the dial, you can alternate between photo and video mode, then press the dial to take a photo or start recording a video.

Battery Life

COROS VERTIX 2
COROS VERTIX 2

The VERTIX 2 lasts up to 140 hours of standard full GPS tracking and 60 days of normal use. With light GPS usage, daily workouts tracked, and with wearing the watch 24/7, I have gone 35-40 days between charges. During heavy usage periods, using GPS daily, I have gone 25 days between charges.

COROS VERTIX 2
COROS VERTIX 2

Some features, like the ECG/HRV test, music, and Insta360 camera control will drain your battery faster.

It should be noted that the VERTIX 2 uses a proprietary charger, so don’t lose it!

GPS Activity Tracking and Maps

During our testing period we took the VERTIX 2 everywhere: hiking, trail running, road running, road biking, trail biking, back country skiing, ice climbing, and most recently, paddle boarding (yay! spring has sprung!).

GPS accuracy can make or break a watch.

One of the biggest challenges I had with the APEX was that when I was doing trail races with a lot of vertical gains, the watch would think that I wasn’t moving and stop tracking.

COROS VERTIX 2
COROS VERTIX 2

The VERTIX 2 has improved on this by offering Dual Frequency GNSS. This allows the watch to locate the best GPS frequency available from all five of the major satellite systems at the same time.

Additionally, navigation features include topographic, landscape, and hybrid global mapping. You can load a route by transferring it to the COROS app and loading it directly to the watch from the app. I used this feature in the backcountry and part of the challenge is that on the map there aren’t any labels or turn-by-turn directions. So it was challenging navigating back when I got off course and lost the trail.

COROS VERTIX 2
COROS VERTIX 2

When I looked at the routes tracked, I did find the VERTIX 2 to be pretty darn accurate, including in heavily wooded areas or terrain that had more vertical climbs.

I highlighted a few examples to showcase the accuracy of the GPS data.

In the middle image, this was a point on my run where I transitioned from trail to sidewalk. While it didn’t show me directly on the trail, throughout it caught every little turn and pivot I made, including where I ventured off the paved trail onto a single track.

For the Ski Touring tracking, when I zoom in, you can see all the switch backs I went up.

What I am most impressed by is the fact that the watch is more accurately picking up trail runs on steep inclines. No longer is the watch auto-pausing because it can’t register movement. And that in itself is a huge winner for me as I continue training for ultras this Summer.

Conclusion

Throughout the testing period of the VERTIX 2, I continue to be impressed by the leap forward COROS has taken with this watch.

There are a ton of really awesome features with the music and Insta360 features.

But more than anything, the feature that is worth shouting about is battery life. There isn’t another watch on the market that can match COROS on what they were able to accomplish with the VERTIX 2.

Sure there are some improvements I’d love to see (especially with maps), but if there’s a company I trust to get it done, it’s COROS. Their developer team is amazing and based on what they have done in the last few years, I’m fairly certain they will keep the VERTIX 2 ahead of the competition

If you’re an endurance athlete or avid explorer, I have no doubt that this is the watch for you.

The COROS VERTIX 2 is available online and at several different retailers. It retails for $699.

Connect With The Earth With Vivobarefoot

We are big fans of Vivobarefoot.

Not only are they creating some of the best minimalist shoes on the market, but they are also taking their mission to create a better planet to heart.

This Earth Day, we’re highlighting Vivobarefoot, because of their mission, but also because minimalist shoes help us connect better to the Earth and if we can listen a little bit better to the feedback we’re receiving then it’s easier to fold ourselves into this larger global work.

Vivobarefoot Primus Trail SG Gear Review
Vivobarefoot Primus Trail SG Gear Review

Recently, Vivobarefoot announced a new project called Right to Roam. It was created in partnership with another B Corp Finisterre. Their mission is enabling a more “accessible and welcoming outdoors.”

In the US, around 28% of land is freely accessible, held in public trust by the federal government. However, in England and Wales, only 8% of land is accessible.

How are they championing this Right to Roam? From their blog announcement:

Firstly, we’re celebrating and amplifying communities stepping up, stepping out and telling new stories about who the outdoors is for. You can read about two of those communities here.

Secondly, we’re curating a series of outdoor opportunities,  workshops and retreats to educate and agitate around outdoor access. We’d love for you to join our newsletter or follow us on Instagram to hear first about when these launch.

https://www.vivobarefoot.com/us/blog/championing-the-right-to-roam

Roam with the Primus Lite III

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite II Bio
Vivobarefoot Primus Lite II Bio

A few years ago, we highlighted the Primus Lite II.

Primus Lite III Mens
Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III

Well, the Primus Lite II had an offspring: the Primus Lite III.

True to the minimalist model, the Primus Lite III has a foot shaped foot bed, a wide toe box to allow for natural stability (your toes are your anchors), thin 4mm outsole so you can feel the Earth, and flexible so that your foot can bend and flex naturally.

The Primus Lite III is also made with more sustainable material than it’s predecessor, reducing it’s overall impact on the planet.

This in itself is huge. Shoes make up a ton of waste that finds it’s way to our landfills. Vivobarefoot continues it’s mission to build shoes in a sustainable way. Additionally, because these shoes are minimalist and don’t have padding, they will last forever. And, when you do wear them down and your toes start to poke through, Vivobarefoot also has a program to revive (ReVivo… get it?) your old shoes.

I’ve been wearing the Primus Lite III non-stop over the last week. And I love them.

Primus Lite III Mens
Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III

First, they look fantastic. I loved the algae green of the Primus Lite II, but I love the new colors they launched the Primus Lite III with. I have the obsidian color and they look slick. They pair well with workout shorts or dressier pants.

They are also super comfy. When I wear them, it doesn’t feel like I am wearing shoes. They are a bit lighter than the Primus Lite II.

I have been taking them out on runs, walks, working out in them, and working in them. They work so darn well.

If you’re new to the minimalist movement, don’t let the thin sole scare you off. Each shoe purchase comes with the VIVOHEALTH Barefoot fundamentals course for free. Plus, these shoes come with a 100 day trial. If your feet aren’t happy (I’m pretty sure they will be), you can return them without any hassle.

The Primus Lite III are available for purchase online. They come in a variety of styles for men, women, and kids.

Tifosi Optics Launches New Rimless Eyeshield

When I first started running, I slowly began to build my running gear closet. And Tifosi were the first running sunglasses I bought.

So I was really excited when Tifosi reached out for us to test out their new rimless eyeshields: The Rail.

Tifosi Optics New Rimless Eyeshield
Tifosi Optics New Rimless Eyeshield

Typical shields can offer superior coverage, but can ultimately be heavy and restrict airflow to the face. This can make shields uncomfortable to wear over long periods of time and cause fogging.

“As an avid cyclist I enjoy the coverage of a large shield like the Rail,” commented Joe Earley, Tifosi Optics CEO. “However, the drawbacks that come with larger shields – increased weight and restricted airflow – were the impetus behind creating our next rimless shield. The Rail provides Tifosi’s community with another great option to add to their collection,” Earley continued. 

Tifosi Optics New Rimless Eyeshield
Tifosi Optics New Rimless Eyeshield

When designing The Rail, Tifosi removed the rim from around the polycarbonate lens; shaving down significant weight. But this design choice also breaks the restrictive seal that the rim could create around the face. This allows for greater breathability and comfort on long rides or runs, but I also found in testing that these glasses don’t fog.

That right: no fog.

Even when I took them into the backcountry for snowshoeing, I didn’t have any issues.

The Rail weighs only 32g. And total lens coverage is 131mm x 59.5mm with scratch-resistant polycarbonate lenses. It also has adjustable nose and ear pieces for customized fit, hydrophilic rubber nose and ear pieces that improve grip as you sweat.

Tifosi Optics New Rimless Eyeshield
Tifosi Optics New Rimless Eyeshield

You can choose between two separate lens combinations: an interchangeable model that includes lenses for bright, low, and no light scenarios, as well as their Fototec lens that adapts to changes in ambient light, making it perfect for mountain bikers or trail runners.

During our tests, I grew to love these sunglasses. They were light and comfortable and they looked great!

Tifosi Optics New Rimless Eyeshield
Tifosi Optics New Rimless Eyeshield

One of the core reasons I chose Tifosi as my first pair of running sunglasses was because of it’s affordability. And that brand promise still remains true, even with The Rail. No matter which lens or color combination riders choose – including the stylish Midnight Navy – the Rail costs a highly affordable $79.95. The Rail will launch online and through retailers on March 15, 2022. For more information, please visit: http://www.Tifosioptics.com 

Swiftwick FLITE XT® TRAIL Sock Review

Swiftwick recently launched their new FLITE XT® TRAIL line of socks and sent our team of product testers a couple pairs to test.

Swiftwick® FLITE XT® TRAIL
Swiftwick® FLITE XT® TRAIL

Previously we had highlighted the Swiftwick VIBE™ and Swiftwick PURSUIT™, but this new sock line was built for the trail and built for speed.

The FLITE XT® TRAIL combines Merino wool and Swiftwick’s proprietary GripDry™ Fiber that is incorporated into the heel and forefoot of the sock to provide traction and grip inside the shoe. When tearing down the steep terrain of Mount Sanitas, the sock stayed in place, not sliding or bunching as my foot shifted in my shoe.

Around the ankle, Swiftwick uses their AnkleLock™ Technology with strong elastic to make sure that the sock stays in place, but also provides a sense of stability on rocky terrain.

Over the course of our testing, we wore them in a variety of conditions, including trail-running and snowshoeing. During these colder activities, we found that the Merino wool performed as expected. During these activities, we never felt like our foot was overheated or too cold.

“After the release of our original FLITE XT® socks, designed with advanced stability technology, we heard growing feedback from our hike and trail running customers on their love for the line’s performance features,” said Joanna Mariani, Chief Marketing Officer of Swiftwick. 

“Using that feedback, we set out to combine the FLITE XT’s signature stability features with the natural wonders of Merino wool to provide the best-performing outdoor sock on the market. FLITE XT TRAIL was inspired by our customers and ardently crafted by our team– we’re excited to see what adventures our customers take these socks on.” 

Swiftwick® FLITE XT® TRAIL
Swiftwick® FLITE XT® TRAIL

These socks are a welcome addition to our gear closets. We’re looking forward to ultra season and being able to put more miles on these.

The FLITE XT TRAIL sock line launches in a Two and Five cuff height. Learn more about the FLITE XT TRAIL line at : https://swiftwick.com/pages/flite-xt-trail

COROS VERTIX 2 Unboxing, Setup, and Interface/Menu Walk-Through Video

Today we are doing an unboxing and initial setup and thoughts on the COROS VERTIX 2

I am a big fan of COROS. When I was looking for an outdoor adventure watch three years ago, I did a ton of research; looking at the top brands, trying to decide which would be the perfect watch for me.

COROS was new to this category in 2018, but was already shaking things up in an industry that was dominated by Garmin and Suunto. In 2019, I purchased their Apex 46mm watch. What won me over was their unmatched battery life and their developers. They were churning out multiple firmware updates a year—building on an already impressive design—and really engaged with their community; listening constantly to feedback from users.

And three years into it, the Apex is still a solid watch. I can still go between 10-14 days between charges and the firmware has only gotten better with their major releases.

COROS sent me their latest watch, the VERTIX 2, to put through our testing protocols. Their goal with this watch was to make the ultimate adventure watch. Check out our video and let us know your thoughts.

Did they succeed?

We’ll dive in further in a later video.

Showers Pass Men’s Basecamp Merino Hoodie Review

Showers Pass sent us their Men’s Basecamp Merino Hoodie to test and it couldn’t have hit at a better time.

Showers Pass Basecamp Merino Hoodie
Showers Pass Basecamp Merino Hoodie

In between days of snowfall, we had 30ºF+ days that were perfect for taking this out on the trail for some runs and bike rides.

The Showers Pass Basecamp Merino Hoodie has been a great addition to my collection of baselayers. While it was nice to wear on a cool run and bike ride, it also paired really well under a fleece on colder days on the slopes, making this one of the most versatile pieces I have in my gear closet.

This hoodie is made with all-season 230 gsm fabric that is 95% merino wool and has UPF 40 sun protection.

Sliding it on, it is light and cozy, but highly functional.

Merino Wool, by its nature, is perfect for the outdoors. It keeps you warm, but when things start to heat up, keeps your core temperature regulated so you aren’t constantly shedding layers with its moisture wicking capability.

What makes the Basecamp Merino Hoodie stand out from it’s competition is the thoughtfulness and intentionality of its product design.

Showers Pass Basecamp Merino Hoodie
Showers Pass Basecamp Merino Hoodie

It has zippered kangaroo pockets that are easily accessible in the front, but, did I mention: they are zippered. I have hoodies that don’t have zippered pockets and they aren’t good at holding much; they are just a convenient place to put my hands. But with Showers Pass’s design, I can stash anything into these pockets, zip them shut, and not have to worry about bouncing my keys, wallet or phone out of them.

Basecamp Merino Hoodie
Basecamp Merino Hoodie

I love the hood, as well. There’s a few hoodies in my closet with hoods that just don’t fit right. They are too small or sit to far back on my head. I love how spacious the hood is on the Basecamp Merino Hoodie. It provides adequate coverage, but because of how light the fabric is, it doesn’t weigh me down.

Basecamp Merino Hoodie
Basecamp Merino Hoodie

The final feature I’ll highlight is the fit in the back. Showers Pass designs their shirts and jackets so that there’s a little swoop going past your waist. This is a great feature for cycling so that your shirt doesn’t ride up.

Overall, I love the Basecamp Merino Hoodie. It’s another great product from Showers Pass. The overall fit is great. It’s one of the most comfortable hoodies and baselayers in my gear closet. I am looking forward to taking this piece out on more advetures.

The Basecamp Merino Hoodie is available online. I am 5’11” and 185 lbs and I wear a large.

Crosspoint Waterproof Knit Wool Gloves Review

It’s no secret, our team at Huck Adventures loves Showers Pass. They are a go-to for many of our adventures; big or small.

Crosspoint Waterproof Knit Wool Gloves
Crosspoint Waterproof Knit Wool Gloves

They recently sent us a pair of their Crosspoint Waterproof Knit Wool Gloves to try out.

The Crosspoint Waterproof Knit Wool Gloves are fully waterproof. It is constructed with three bonded layers, including a wear resistant exterior, a waterproof / breathable Artex membrane, and a lovely merino wool lining. This merino wool lining is something special. It is soft and cozy, but even with the heart rate pumping, offers great temperature regulation while providing anti-microbial properties to keep it smelling fresh.

So far this winter, I’ve taken these gloves running and snowshoeing.

While running, I found that the merino wool lining performed as expected. Even on longer runs, as I warmed up, I found myself keeping the gloves on longer. Typically, I would oscillate between having gloves on our off, regardless of the temperature outside. But with my body temperature better regulated, I didn’t have those issues.

While snowshoeing, these gloves paired well with another Showers Pass product: the Crosspoint Flip Mitt. I was able to open the mitt and have the dexterity of my fingers in the Crosspoint Waterproof Knit Wool Gloves.

The gloves also became my go-to this winter for walking the dog. With the fit and dexterity, I was able to pull out the poo bags, open them, and pick up the little doggie droplets with easy. That might seem like a small thing, but with my other gloves, I’d always have to pull them off in order to perform this activity.

This winter, I also picked up a new daily routine: outdoor ice baths. Every morning, I’ll sit in a horse trough full of icy water in my backyard for 3-4 minutes. I’ll wear the Crosspoint Waterproof Knit Wool Gloves during this time, resting my hands on the outside of the bath.

And I can attest to how waterproof these gloves are. My dog loves to chew on ice. Throughout this morning ritual, I’ll dip my fingers into the bath and pull out chunks of ice and throw it to him to play with.

These gloves are terrific and my go-to this winter.

I consider my fingers normal sized and wear a large comfortably.

The Rock Honors Military Veterans With UA For The Heroes Collection

Under Armour For the Heroes Collection
Under Armour For the Heroes Collection

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Under Armour have collaborated on a new collection: Project Rock “For the Heroes.” This latest apparel collection was launched to support the Travis Manion Foundation.

The Travis Manion Foundation was named after 1st Lt. Travis Manion, who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of his patrol in 2007. Under Armour and Project Rock are supporting the organization by providing funds from the For The Heroes collection.

Under Armour For the Heroes Collection
Under Armour For the Heroes Collection

This new collection features new pieces for men, women, and youth. They are branded to celebrate veterans and features distressed type, metallic golds and an eagle illustration.

Vet Day Hoodie and Jogger Review

Under Armour sent us their Vet Day Hoodie and their Vet Day Joggers to try out.

Under Armour Vet Day Hoodie
Under Armour Vet Day Hoodie

Over the last month, I’ve been doing a lot of my workouts in my garage. And with it getting colder, the Hoodie and Joggers are perfect companions. I am comfortable throughout my workout, including when I am just warming up and still and little bit cold. But it’s also able to withstand a solid flop-sweat.

The material isn’t clingy as the workout gets more intense. This allows me to squat deeper and lift cleaner while the fabric moves with me.

The Vet Day graphics add an additional layer and texture to the material. On the hoodie, the large circle feels rubbery to the touch, but doesn’t sit heavy.

Under Armour Vet Day Joggers
Under Armour Vet Day Joggers

The joggers have two side pockets and a snap pocket in the back.

Conclusion

I really appreciate what The Rock and Under Armour are doing to support this organization. You can get involved too by purchasing these products from Under Armour or visiting the website for the Travis Manion Foundation and seeing how you can get involved.

Sunglasses For Every Run

Every time I leave the house, I wear sunglasses.

It’s better than the alternative: squinting and stressing out my eyeballs.

But I am picky about what I wear, especially when I run. I don’t know about you, but I always feel that after an hour or two, my head expands and sunglasses can start feeling tight and uncomfortable.

My perfect sunglasses can’t be rigid and hard. They have to be flexible; bending and flexing to accommodate for the blood pumping into my noggin.

I was excited to hear that Nathan was launching sunglasses. They already make great packs and apparel for running, so why not sunglasses?

They have several variations of running sunglasses, but with winter coming, they sent me a pair of their Summit Polarized Sunglasses with the blue mirror lens to try out.

Nathan SUMMIT POLARIZED RUNNING SUNGLASSES
Nathan SUMMIT POLARIZED RUNNING SUNGLASSES

The choice of lens was intentional. I have plenty of sunglasses for bright, sunny days. But what about those fall / winter days when it is overcast and windy or when I am running on trails with a lot of tree coverage? I want eye protection on those days too and darker lenses are too much.

The frames themselves are really comfortable. They are made from a lightweight thermoplastic material that is durable and flexible. The flexibility allows the frames to bend and contour to your face, but they are also resilient to damage. I did a few drop tests and the glasses came away still looking brand new.

Nathan SUMMIT POLARIZED RUNNING SUNGLASSES
Nathan SUMMIT POLARIZED RUNNING SUNGLASSES

There are also rubber grips that sit flush on the frame around the nose and ears to help minimize bounce and keep the glasses securely on your face. Bouncing down trails didn’t dislodge them. Even a slip and fall on my head didn’t askew them.

As for the lens: they are great. Before when I’d run on cloudy days or in dense forests, I’d always oscillate between having my glasses on for a period, then off. On and then off. Over and over again. But with their blue mirror lens, I kept them on the entire time. And I felt that I had less eye fatigue because of that.

While I have plenty of other sunglasses for bright, sunny days, I’ll definitely be picking up another pair from Nathan. These glasses are the most comfortable out of my collection and will be a great companion for when I start ultra training this spring.

You can find these sunglasses at Nathan’s website for $50 a pair.

Nathan TrailMix 7L – Men’s Review

Nathan sent us the TrailMix 7L, a trail-running pack, to test. Over the last month, we’ve taken around the local trails, up and down several mountains, and have put on around 75 miles with the pack.

Nathan TrailMix 7L
Nathan TrailMix 7L

As the name suggest, it has a total capacity of 7 liters, including 2 liters of water storage with an included HydraPak reservoir.

The Fit

The TrailMix 7L wears like a small backpack. It’s fit is snug, yet comfortable, with contoured shoulders and multiple cinch straps to ensure a proper fit. The build is light and flexible, letting it move with you as you tear down the trail.

It features a compression system that keeps your load tight against your back for stability. With the water reservoir, I always flip it upside down and suck out any extra air prior to running with it. This helps reduce any natural bounce that may occur with the pack, but I honestly didn’t feel any excessive bounce.

One of the key features I always look for in a running pack is comfortability on long runs. During ultra season a few years ago, my go-to pack at the time always left chafe marks on my shoulders. The TrailMix 7L has a soft perimeter and I didn’t experience any chafing on my arms or shoulders.

Storage

Nathan TrailMix 7L
Nathan TrailMix 7L

The TrailMix 7L might seem light on storage, but I found it adequate for runs up to 20 miles in the changing temperature of Fall. Starting out in the morning, I had gloves, beanie, and a jacket. Once it warmed up, they easily stashed in the pack. I also always run with a small first aid kit that fits snuggly in the bottom of the pack.

On the front of the vest there are two front pockets. They are large enough for my 20 ounce soft flasks, but for the runs I did with the pack, I used them more for my iPhone 12 Pro and snacks.

Nathan TrailMix 7L
Nathan TrailMix 7L

The back of the pack also has daisy chains for attaching lighting (great for night runs) and trekking pole attachments.

When I took my poles out, I found that the attachments kept them stored adequately. I didn’t have any issues with my poles falling out. When I did pull the poles out or stashed them, I had to stop and remove the pack. Not ideal for races, but good enough for training.

Hydration Sytem

It’s worth taking a few sentences to talk about the hydration system.

As mentioned previously, the TrailMix 7L comes with a HydraPak 2L bladder.

The bladder hose snakes out of the top of the pack and down the right breast where it hooks securely. The hose is long, so when it’s hooked, I don’t have to unhook to drink. However, on longer runs, I did find the bounce of the hose slightly annoying, so I ended up tucking it into the bottom belt of the pack.

HydraPak is one of the best manufacturers of hydration systems, so it was awesome seeing that it was included.

Quick pro tip: when washing, HydraPak’s can be reversed. Just reach inside and pull out to reverse. It makes cleaning a heckuvalot easier. Plus, drying is a lot faster.

Conclusion

I’m excited to continue trail-running this winter with the Nathan TrailMix 7L. It offers ample water storage and the remaining space is large enough to pack in or out with my running necessities.

The TrailMix 7L is also the most affordable pack we’ve tested. At $100, it is $30-$100 less than it’s competitors.

If you’re looking for a new trail-running companion, look no further than the Nathan TrailMix 7L.