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Category Archives: Gear Reviews

Every climber worth their chalk knows you can never have enough gear! Pros and cons of gear I’ve used, loved, and hated!

Greatest Hits 2013 (and Taking Requests 2014)

Greatest Hits 2013 (and Taking Requests 2014)

The past couple of years on this blog I’ve designated the week of New Year’s as “Highlight Week.”  In addition to reflecting on last year’s goals and next year’s goals (that post will be up on Thursday…), it’s a chance to revisit posts that were particularly popular (that’s this post!)  For those of you that are relatively new Cragmama readers, here’s some goodies that you may have missed throughout the year.  And for those of you that have been reading for a while, it’ll be a stroll down memory lane!  Posts were selected based on initial visitors, long-term traffic, and…Read the rest of this entry →

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Boba 4G Review (Toddler Version…)

Boba 4G Review (Toddler Version…)

Even though our little guy is not quite so little anymore (birthday number 4 coming up this spring!!!), I still regularly get questions about the best gear for infants.  And while we certainly had our go-to gear favorites when it came to adventuring with the crag-kiddo, the gear junkie in me is thrilled to try out the latest and greatest in infant outdoor gear!  (And as a side note, I’m shocked at all the stuff that is on the market NOW as opposed to just a few short years ago…) That being said, I’m very excited about the opportunity to…Read the rest of this entry →

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Rainy Day Green Hours Need Rainy Day Gear!

Rainy Day Green Hours Need Rainy Day Gear!

What do you get after 2 solid days of torrential rains and frosty wind gusts?  A stir-crazy toddler and mama-to-be with a horrible case of cabin fever!  I sure am thankful for companies like STONZ and Ducksday that believe in providing top quality outerwear for kids, otherwise C would have been a cold, wet mess once the storms died down to a steady drizzle and we ventured out!   I was excited because we really did have the perfect conditions for testing all of our new gear – the wind and rain had died down enough to make it less…Read the rest of this entry →

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An All-Weather Gift Guide for All-Year Adventures!

An All-Weather Gift Guide for All-Year Adventures!

It might not even be Thanksgiving yet, but I’d be willing to bet that a lot of you have already started your holiday shopping.  You can really never start too early, as many times finding the perfect gift for someone you love can be quite difficult.  My husband’s family tries to make this easier on every one via a “Christmas List.”  Not just for kiddos around here, we all jot down a few items in varying price ranges and share them with each other.  While going rogue and purchasing something NOT on the list is certainly acceptable, the list is…Read the rest of this entry →

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Mountain Mama Review Collage!

Mountain Mama Review Collage!

Well, now that I’m at 24 weeks and well into maternity wear at this point, it seemed fitting to review the clothing I’ve received from one of the most innovative and outside-the-box thinking companies I’ve had the privilege to work with.  Mountain Mama was born after founder Teresa Delfin realized very quickly during her first pregnancy how inadequate regular maternity clothes are for adventuring mamas-to-be.  While maternity leggings, full-paneled cotton trousers, and knit cotton tees are plentiful across every department store in America, a quick google search for wicking, technical apparel will land you at one website – Mountain Mama.…Read the rest of this entry →

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Greener Packaging Options for Food Storage (and GIVEAWAY!)

Greener Packaging Options for Food Storage (and GIVEAWAY!)

Back in mid-August, I wrote a post entitled “8 Tips for Greener, Healthier School Lunches,” with the hopes that it would provide families with a few fresh ideas for maximizing nutrition and minimizing empty calories during the school day.  Most of the ideas also happened to be more eco-friendly as well – but why stop at just the foods you eat when it comes to having a greener lifestyle?  The way those foods are stored can be just as important to the environment (as well as for your health!)  So here’s a few tips for “greening up” your food when…Read the rest of this entry →

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My Stonewear Designs “Preggo Picks” (and a GIVEAWAY!)

My Stonewear Designs “Preggo Picks” (and a GIVEAWAY!)

Tomorrow marks the official halfway point of my pregnancy – 20 weeks down, 20 more (or less…) to go!  And what better way to commemorate making it this far than by reviewing some of my favorite “non-maternity” preggo threads from Stonewear Designs!  Even more fun, my fellow Stonewear Ambassador Amelia Mayer is ALSO pregnant (3 weeks ahead of me) and is ALSO blogging about her preggo faves today!  And between our 2 posts, our readers will have a chance to score some sweet Stonewear threads!  Amelia and I are built differently and are carrying differently, so it’s no wonder that…Read the rest of this entry →

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Trango Junior Harness – A Great Option for Kid Crushers!

Trango Junior Harness – A Great Option for Kid Crushers!

Got a kiddo chomping at the bit to climb like Mommy and Daddy?  One of the first purchases you’ll need to make is a harness.  Once a child climbs higher than an adult can reach, a parent is forced to trust that child’s safety equipment over a set of protective, high-reaching arms!  Armed with that daunting thought, harness shopping can be overwhelming if you don’t know what to look for!  Hopefully this post will clear things up a bit… For the preschool and elementary-aged set, a full-body harness is the only way to go for safety reasons.  With shorter legs…Read the rest of this entry →

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The NEW Tenaya Oasi: Comfort + Performance = Climbing Shoe Perfection!

The NEW Tenaya Oasi: Comfort + Performance = Climbing Shoe Perfection!

It’s been almost a year to the date that I traded in my La Sportiva Miuras for a whole fleet of Tenayas – Tatanka for overhanging terrain, Masai for technical edging, and Ra for everything in between.  To be honest, I’ve never looked back.  My experience with the product as well as the company has been nothing but top-notch, so I’m thrilled that Tenaya is adding yet another great shoe to their line-up!   At this point I’ve done a wide variety of demo’s – at the New, at the Red, and at various climbing gyms across the Southeast.  And…Read the rest of this entry →

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5 Essentials for Eas(ier) Family Road-Trippin’

5 Essentials for Eas(ier) Family Road-Trippin’

The following piece was adapted from a piece I wrote for another site several weeks ago, but with those last fleeting weeks of summer on the horizon, it seemed relevant to post here for families looking to do one more trip before school starts!  Not to mention, Diono has offered to sponsor a giveaway of not one, but TWO of the items featured on the gear list!  So get comfortable and read on… Ah, the family road trip.  There’s nothing like an 8 hour car ride to get your family vacation started on the right (or wrong) foot!  If your adventuring…Read the rest of this entry →

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Soft Star: Minimalist Shoes for Toddlers (and GIVEAWAY!)

Soft Star: Minimalist Shoes for Toddlers (and GIVEAWAY!)

A while back I wrote a post on why you should let your kids run around barefoot.  Basically it boils down to the fact that bare feet is what nature intended, and that allowing your child some “sans shoes” time is a key component to healthy foot development.  However, unless you spend all your days living in a warm-weathered hippie commune, there will be plenty of situations where appropriate footwear is not only recommended, but required.  But just because your toddlers preschool enforces a shoe policy doesn’t mean that his/her tootsies have to feel cramped and restricted all day long.…Read the rest of this entry →

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Piggyback Rider: Why Our Family Likes to Ride the Bar

Piggyback Rider: Why Our Family Likes to Ride the Bar

For the past 3 years, our household has relied heavily on two different carriers to see us through from point A to point B on our various family adventures – the Kelty KidCarrier (when we’re loaded down with climbing gear), and the Ergo Baby carrier (for day hikes).  But over the past 6 months or so we’ve found ourselves that “in-between” stage, where the 3 year old crag-kiddo is transitioning from full-time rider to full-time hiker.  Some days he is very adamant about hiking all by himself.  Other days he just wants to ride.  Most days he prefers to do…Read the rest of this entry →

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Keeping Elbow Tendonitis at Bay with Armaid (plus a GIVEAWAY!)

Keeping Elbow Tendonitis at Bay with Armaid (plus a GIVEAWAY!)

While there are any number of items you might expect to see passed around a campfire on a chilly spring evening in the middle of the Red River Gorge, a wacky-looking contraption designed to massage one’s forearms is probably not first on the list.  But that’s just what happened at our campsite on our most recent trip to the Red.  Why?  If you assumed it was due to overindulging in one of the many other items that are more commonly passed around a campfire, you’d be wrong again.   Let me back up.  Steve and I first discovered the Armaid…Read the rest of this entry →

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Urban Adventures with the Chariot Chinook

Urban Adventures with the Chariot Chinook

Our family has long since been fans of products from Chariot.  Their commitment to family adventure is unprecedented, as for years this company has been providing families with ways to get everyone from here to there in just about any way imaginable – bike, run, walk, ski, etc.  Our first experience with Chariot was with the Cabriolet.  It’s a durable two-seater that has been on many a family escapade over the past 3 years.  I even did a review on it way back when we first got it (found here).  It wasn’t until we rented some bike trailers for C and his cousin…Read the rest of this entry →

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448 Great Things To Do in Nature Before You Grow Up

448 Great Things To Do in Nature Before You Grow Up

It’s no secret that we love being outdoors around here.  Spring, summer, winter, fall…we’re out enjoying whatever Mother Nature has to offer throughout the year.  So when authors Stacy Tornio and Ken Keffer asked me to review their newest book in the Falcon Guides series – “The Kids’ Outdoor Adventure Book: 448 Great Things To Do in Nature Before You Grow Up” – I was delighted.  And as soon as I started flipping through the first few pages, I knew that this was a book that would be on our shelves as a reference for many years to come! Divided…Read the rest of this entry →

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V5.12 Hangboard from DRCC (aka the Best From Motor City Since Motown…)

V5.12 Hangboard from DRCC (aka the Best From Motor City Since Motown…)

If there were just as many rock climbers as there are automobile drivers, the city of Detroit would be back on the map thanks to DRCC (Detroit Rock Climbing Company).  On the other hand, that many rock climbers would surely create an access issue nightmare, so it’s probably just as well that climbers stay in the minority…I had actually never heard of this company until just recently, when my hubby and I decided that we needed a hangboard in our rec room.  After lots of comparison research with boards we had already used, boards friends had used, and the good ole…Read the rest of this entry →

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The Best of the Best from Trango (and GIVEAWAY!)

The Best of the Best from Trango (and GIVEAWAY!)

This week marks one year that I’ve been signed on as an athlete for Trango Extraordinary Climbing Gear, and I must say it’s been a delightful ride!  I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to represent Trango and their affiliates (such as Stonewear Designs and Tenaya) at numerous festivals and demos, provide feedback on products still in the testing phase, as well as meet some really great people.  Oh yeah, and I also got loads of free gear along the way too!  And though I’ve enjoyed pretty much all of the gear I’ve received from Trango, a few products in particular have found their way into…Read the rest of this entry →

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A SQUOOSHI Review – and a GIVEAWAY!

A SQUOOSHI Review – and a GIVEAWAY!

  My kid will eat his body weight in fruit, but there are very few vegetables that he will tolerate, so those pouches of pureed fruit/veggie mixes (known as “squeezies” at our house) are a staple for C.  What I like about them is that they are a fast, mess-free way to get some good nutrition into a wiggly body that’s constantly on the go.  What I dislike about them is that they are really expensive and generate a lot of trash.  It was especially frustrating back in C’s younger days when I was making batches upon batches of fresh, homemade baby food – it seemed…Read the rest of this entry →

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Keeping Hot (and Cool!) with Hydro Flask – plus a GIVEAWAY!

Keeping Hot (and Cool!) with Hydro Flask – plus a GIVEAWAY!

A few weeks ago I did a Toddlers at the Crag post about keeping your kiddos warm in winter climbing weather.  The post got a pretty good response, including one from Hydro Flask, a company I’d never heard of, but now I probably won’t forget!  They were convinced that their products were a must-have on a cold day at the crag, so much so that they offered to send a Hydro Flask to me as well as Cragbaby to prove it!  We couldn’t say no, and while we waited anxiously for our Hydro Flasks to arrive, I did a little background digging. …Read the rest of this entry →

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Ducksday Kids Outerwear: A Perfect Combo for Rain and Snow (and GIVEAWAY!)

Ducksday Kids Outerwear: A Perfect Combo for Rain and Snow (and GIVEAWAY!)

  While Ducksday might be a household name to outdoorsy families overseas, this kid’s outerwear company has just recently started offering their products stateside, through the family-owned Ollie and Stella Children’s Outfitters, operating out of Ann Arbor, Michigan.  What first caught my eye about Ducksday gear was that it offers a solution to the annoying part of outdoor play in the wet and cold – so much bulk your kid can’t move!  Not only do all those layers take up tons of valuable packing space, but countless times I have taken more than 20 minutes to get my little guy geared up enough for an F4 tornado only to have him…Read the rest of this entry →

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Stonewear Designs Winter Review (and GIVEAWAY!)

Stonewear Designs Winter Review (and GIVEAWAY!)

I am lucky enough to have access to Stonewear Designs apparel as part of my contract with Trango, and those of you that have been reading for a while may recall the “Review Collage” I did on this company this past summer.  But now that tank top weather is long gone, it made sense to do an updated review of my favorite threads from Stonewear’s Winter Collection.  AERY TOP:  This cute little number transitions seamlessly from Crag to Date Night.  In fact, I wore it at the hubby’s company Christmas party, which was dubbed as “Holiday Casual.”  I’m still not sure what…Read the rest of this entry →

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Jetflow Hydration System: Hydration Evolved

Jetflow Hydration System: Hydration Evolved

There’s a lot of different types of hands-free hydration systems out on the market now - with the grandfather of them all being the well-known CamelBak.  Of course there are plenty of companies that design special backpacks with the purpose of hydration in mind, and they can come in a wide variety of forms (over-the-shoulder pack, “fanny pack,” under-the-bike-seat pack, etc).  But the common theme of these specialty hydration “vehicles” is that the method by which they deliver water is always the same.  A soft, polyurethane bladder is connected to a tube that is secured somewhere close to your mouth, usually via a shoulder strap…Read the rest of this entry →

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Wanna Keep Track of Your Kids? Try CALL ME CUFFS! (and GIVEAWAY!)

Wanna Keep Track of Your Kids?  Try CALL ME CUFFS!  (and GIVEAWAY!)

A lot of people think I’m crazy when I say that I worry more about my toddler at the mall than I do at the crag.  True, on a typical climbing day there are rocks, thorns, and sometimes creepy-crawlies to be on the lookout for.  But we’re usually contained in a somewhat small area and there are several adults around making sure C stays out of trouble.  Contrast that with a typical shopping day at the mall – where C and I are on our own with throngs of shoppers – most of whom couldn’t care less about the possibility…Read the rest of this entry →

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Bearded Brothers Bars are Bangin’! (and GIVEAWAY!)

Bearded Brothers Bars are Bangin’! (and GIVEAWAY!)

How’s that for alliteration?!?  And it’s the truth too!  Recently bearded brother Caleb offered to send me a few bars to try out for free in exchange for an honest review.  I (inaccurately) assumed they would be more or less like any other energy bar I’ve tried, but would come with a heftier price tag being that they are handmade and 100% organic.  (How’s that for honesty…)  But as you may have guessed from the title of this post, these bars are anything but ordinary!   Here’s some background on the “Beardies”:Bearded Brothers is an organic snack food company out…Read the rest of this entry →

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An “Experience Gift”…and the Need for Speed

An “Experience Gift”…and the Need for Speed

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been the type of person that values a meaningful experience more than tangible luxuries.  I’d rather have a giant birthday bash with friends than open a ton of presents.  Family vacations rank higher on the to-do list than replacing kitchen countertops.  And gift cards are always more enjoyable to spend on a shopping date with the giver.  That being said, when Cloud 9 Living introduced themselves to me as a company that offered “experiences rather than stuff,” I knew this was my kind of company.   Founded in 2005 in Boulder Colorado,…Read the rest of this entry →

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Two Thumbs Up for Wizbang! (and a GIVEAWAY!)

Two Thumbs Up for Wizbang! (and a GIVEAWAY!)

Recently I had the opportunity to review a headband from Wizbang.  Besides having a catchy name, Wizbang is a company that fashions hats and headbands for women and children, based out of Bozeman, Montana.  Those of you that know me are probably aware of my love affair with hair paraphernalia of all types.  If a headband, hat, or all of the above is not physically on my head, you can rest assured it’s probably within an arm’s length away, especially if I’m doing something active.  Needless to say, when Wizbang Head Honcho Kim Scurry asked if I’d be willing to…Read the rest of this entry →

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Toddlers and Helmets – From Bike to Crag…

Toddlers and Helmets – From Bike to Crag…

My husband and I have always been fans of the brain bucket.  Climbing, biking, horseback riding, driving down I-77 during rush hour (one of these might be an exaggeration)…when it comes to adventures in the outdoors, many of our family photos involve a collage of hard hats.  In the climbing world, this sometimes makes us seem a little bit dorky – while there are some climbing situations where I don’t wear my helmet, 90% of the time I’ve got one on if I’m more than 15 feet off the ground (for a more detailed version of my helmet stance for…Read the rest of this entry →

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Why You Need a Pair of Tenayas in Your Climbing Shoe Quiver

Why You Need a Pair of Tenayas in Your Climbing Shoe Quiver

When I found out a few months ago that Tenaya would be joining Trango under the Great Trango Holdings, Inc umbrella, my first thought was, “YES!!!  Free shoes!”  But then my second thought was, “Geez, what if I don’t like them?!?”  I mean let’s be honest here.  Though at first glance many climbers may seem like easy gear junkies who will try anything and everything if its free, the majority of our flirtations with gimmicky swag is just temporary before we toss it aside in favor of our old stand-by gear.  And there’s probably no piece of climbing gear that…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Peachy KEEN Start to Fall with Toddler Hiking Boots

A Peachy KEEN Start to Fall with Toddler Hiking Boots

When I first showed Cragbaby the brand new box of Keen Alamosa WP Hiking Boots that had arrived on our doorstep, the first thing he said was, “Peachy Keen.”  Really, he did.  But it probably had more to do with his current infatuation with the “Veggie Tales” theme song than his knowledge of 1950′s slang.  He tore open the box and enthusiastically jumped into my lap so I could help him put on his shoes.  While I crammed his wiggly little toddler feet into them, I told them that these were his new special hiking shoes, and that they would…Read the rest of this entry →

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Stonewear Designs – A Review Collage (and GIVEAWAY!!!)

Stonewear Designs – A Review Collage (and GIVEAWAY!!!)

All right ladies.  The Stonewear Designs team has just released their Fall Collection, so I figured it would be a great time to weigh in on what I think of this awesome company.  And just who the heck is Stonewear Designs?  I was hoping you might ask…Stonewear Designs is a technical women’s apparel company that has been around since 1996.  Originally filling a much-needed market niche for women’s climbing clothing, they have expanded their product lines to include clothing appropriate for all sorts of active lifestyles – whether it be at the crag, in the gym, or even in the…Read the rest of this entry →

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TRANGO Cinch – A Belayer’s Best Friend

TRANGO Cinch – A Belayer’s Best Friend

So let’s say hypothetically that your favorite climbing partner’s birthday was coming up, and you were looking for the perfect gift to give to the person that holds your life in their hands week after week.  You could probably be successful with the token REI gift card or treat them to a post-climbing feast – climbers generally aren’t that hard to please.  But if you wanted to be a little more selfish efficient in your gift-giving, you would do well to consider the TRANGO Cinch, as odds are it’ll make you both happy.  Why your belayer will like it… -…Read the rest of this entry →

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RokRok Chalkbags Review

RokRok Chalkbags Review

Want an example of perfect timing?  I was contacted by Leilani Pierson, the beauty and the brains behind RokRok Chalkbags, just a few days before our climbing trip to Tennessee.  She asked if I’d be willing to choose any bag I wanted from her collection of gorgeous, handmade chalkbags, to review here on the site.  Begrudgingly, I said yes.  Just kidding.  Of course I jumped at the chance, especially once I saw how amazing and unique each bag was – I had a really hard time deciding on just one, so I listed a couple of favorites for Leilani to…Read the rest of this entry →

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Athleta Allotments: Summer Threads Review

Athleta Allotments:  Summer Threads Review

With the weather heating up (seriously 100+ heat index before June?!?), I figured some of my female readers might be on the lookout for some summer threads that will keep you feeling (and looking) cool!  I’ve been putting my new Athleta gear to the test over the past few weeks, which culminated in a sandstone-filled sauna in Tennessee a few weekends ago.  I’m happy to report that most of it passed with flying colors!  Here’s a quick sum-up of the clothing items I received as well as my honest and un-biased thoughts about the summer collection.  Again, my apologies to…Read the rest of this entry →

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The Smoo(oooooo)th Quickdraw from TRANGO

The Smoo(oooooo)th Quickdraw from TRANGO

Trango has a new quickdraw called the “Smooth Quickdraw.”  To be honest, my initial thought was that their marketing department must not have been trying very hard. I mean, when you call something “smooth,” all you’re really saying is that said object has a continuous, even surface, free of bumps or ridges, right? If that’s our working definition, then every quickdraw I’ve ever owned would be considered “smooth.” It seemed like Trango’s naming system was similar to those people that name boulder problems based on some obvious, over-used characteristic (“The Arete,” “The Egg,”, or “Big Crack.”)  Descriptive, yes.  Creative, not so…Read the rest of this entry →

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Athleta Allotments: Spring Threads Review

Athleta Allotments:  Spring Threads Review

Part of my endorsement agreement with Athleta is that I will publish feedback on their products.  That’s pretty standard, but ya wanna know the cool thing about it?  They weren’t afraid to tell me to be brutally honest – no sugar coating, no last-minute editing by desk jockey executives, just the plain, hard truth.  I definitely respect a company with that much confidence in their brand quality.  With spring well underway and summer right around the corner, I’ve been psyched at all of the beautiful clothes that have been arriving at my door step.  Many have turned into go-to workout wear, others…Read the rest of this entry →

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Local Company Spotlight: Sports Science

Local Company Spotlight:  Sports Science

A few of weeks ago I did a two-post feature on a local NC climbing company – both the man and the products behind Misty Mountain in Boone, NC.  This week I’d like to spotlight another local company – this one from South Carolina.  Sport Science is an active-wear clothing company based out of Mt. Pleasant, SC that has been around since 2005.  Their mission is to “create products that do more so yo ucan do more (or less) in style and comfort.”  The simple, no-frill design of their clothing aims to integrate performance, comfort, and versatility to result in a product…Read the rest of this entry →

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Julbo Kid’s Eyewear: I Gotta Wear Shades…

Julbo Kid’s Eyewear:  I Gotta Wear Shades…

Everybody knows that kids need lots of healthy doses of sunshine, right?  Well, yes and no.  Sunshine, yes!  Harmful UV rays, no.  Most of us in this day and age are aware of the damaging effects of the sun, (probably due to lessons learned the hard way back in our younger years…).  However, while a lot of parents are religious about lathering up the sunscreen on the kiddos before sending them outside, I’d wager that many of those same parents don’t think twice about protecting their child’s eyes from the sun. Did you know that children under the age of…Read the rest of this entry →

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Misty Mountain Threadworks: A Review

Misty Mountain Threadworks:  A Review

A couple of months ago I was contacted by Mike Grimm, owner of Misty Mountain Threadworks.  He asked if he could make me a harness, and after hemming and hawing for a while, I told him I’d have to think about it…Just kidding, of course I jumped on the offer!  Misty Mountain is a well-respected local company that has been around for quite a while.  They have a reputation for not only developing superior products, but also for a committment to sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint. After a few emails back and forth followed by some detailed instructions regarding…Read the rest of this entry →

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Cragbaby’s Big Boy Climbing Gear – Part 2 (La Sportiva Stick-It)

Cragbaby’s Big Boy Climbing Gear – Part 2 (La Sportiva Stick-It)

Since Cragbaby was an especially good boy this year, he not only scored a Mad Rock Chalkbag, but also his very own pair of rock shoes – the La Sportiva Stick-Its!  Although the chalkbag is both fun and functional, C is absolutely in love with his rock shoes.  As soon as we get to the crag, C demands to be geared up so that he can get to sending his own projects in the area. Here’s what Cragbaby likes about his new shoes… 1.  They are fun colors. 2.  He can velcro the straps off and on all by himself.…Read the rest of this entry →

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Cragbaby’s Big Boy Climbing Gear – Part 1 (Mad Rock Chalkbag)

Cragbaby’s Big Boy Climbing Gear – Part 1 (Mad Rock Chalkbag)

I mentioned sometime before Christmas that Cragbaby had a few key pieces of climbing gear on his list – namely a chalkbag and a pair of rock shoes!  Ever since he found all of his big boy toys under the tree, C has been dying to get out and take them for a test spin.  Luckily for him we’ve had spectacular weather for the majority of January, so he’s had ample opportunity to sport his new duds! Here’s what Cragbaby likes about his new chalkbag… 1.  It has a monkey on it. 2.  The drawstring is fun to cinch open…Read the rest of this entry →

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Gear Review: EMS Longtrail 60L Women’s Backpack

Gear Review:  EMS Longtrail 60L Women’s Backpack

I recently had the opportunity to review the latest pack from Eastern Mountain Sports – the Women’s Longtrail 60L pack.  In the interest of full disclosure, EMS provided the pack for free, but as always, everything expressed here are my honest and unbiased thoughts – in other words, my opinion can’t be bought with gear  . Anyway, this isn’t the first time I’ve reviewed a pack.  A few months ago I outlined our family’s system for schlepping gear to the crag and listed the pros and cons of the Kelty Kid Carrier that we use for toting Cragbaby to and…Read the rest of this entry →

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Sacred Earth Films: An Indoor Green Hour? (and a GIVEAWAY!)

Sacred Earth Films: An Indoor Green Hour? (and a GIVEAWAY!)

Even though our family still manages to get our Green Hours in during the cold, winter months, with only 10 hours of sunlight and often times less than beckoning conditions, we certainly spend more time indoors than during other seasons of the year.  That’s why I jumped at the chance to review “Echoes of Creation” and “Sacred Earth,” two nature films from Sacred Earth Pictures.  (And although I was provided the films for free, everything expressed here is my personal opinion, unbiased in anyway.) Originally airing on PBS and directed by Emmy Award winning director Jan Nickman, these films were…Read the rest of this entry →

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Icebreaker Gear Review (and GIVEAWAY!!!)

Icebreaker Gear Review (and GIVEAWAY!!!)

Some of you may recall the name Icebreaker  from my Holiday Gift Guide post last week, where I recommended them as our family’s favorite go-to brand when it came to baselayers.  However, that hasn’t always been the case…read on to find out why I recently turned from my Polypro ways and became a Wool-Wearing-Fanatic almost overnight!  (And don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a chance to score some new Icebreaker threads for the little crag-baby on your Christmas list!) Its no secret that merino wool reigns supreme when it comes to baselayers.  It has the unique ability to wick moisture away…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Wishlist for Cragbabies (and Cragmamas, too!)

A Wishlist for Cragbabies (and Cragmamas, too!)

I’ve said time and again that one of my main hopes for this blog is to inspire other families to get outside and teach their kids about the value of adventure.  Armed with a sense of humor, a dash of patience and some high quality gear, our family has learned to adopt the motto that “There is no bad weather, only bad clothing!”  So what are the all-weather must-haves for the average, run-of-the-mill adventuring family?  While it may be true to some extent that you get what you pay for, the budget-conscious among us will hopefully be pleasantly surprised at…Read the rest of this entry →

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Gear Review: Kelty FC 3.0 Kid Carrier

Gear Review: Kelty FC 3.0 Kid Carrier

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to the day when Cragbaby could hike his 25 pound self into the crag on his own two feet, and my husband would for sure be lying if he said he won’t be waiting to replace that weight with 25 pounds of gear from his own pack on the day that happens!  But for now, we’ve got a pretty good system – hubby hikes in ALL of the climbing related gear – rope, quickdraws, rack, harnesses, shoes, etc (thankfully our “third man” can usually take some of that burden), while I hike…Read the rest of this entry →

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To Stick or Not to Stick (Clip)…

To Stick or Not to Stick (Clip)…

What is long, collapsible, assembled from a seemingly random assortment of items from the local Home Depot, and always within arm’s reach of most bolt-clipping sport monkeys?  If you answered stick clip, you’d be mostly correct…add in the word MACK-DADDY and you’d be right on!  For my non-climber readers who think I’m talking about a strange way to interact with zoo animals, here’s a quick primer in Sport Climbing 101… A route is designated as “sport” if the line is protected by bolts every so many feet all the way to the top.  The first climber (leader) ties into the…Read the rest of this entry →

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New England Glider Series Ropes

New England Glider Series Ropes

Your rope – as a climber, it’s the one piece of gear that you don’t back up, so it better be a good one, right?  I’ve climbed on many different ropes over the years, but my favorites above all are the New England Glider series – and specifically their 70m 9.9mm bipatterned rope.  Here’s what makes this rope stand out above the rest… Twill-Pattern-Technology - What makes all of the Gliders so smooth is the 1 over 1 sheath design – not only does it feel great in your hand but it also has noticeably less rope drag than other ropes.  The…Read the rest of this entry →

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The Quest for the Perfect Approach Shoe

The Quest for the Perfect Approach Shoe

Just when I was beginning to lose hope that the perfect approach shoe actually existed, along came the Hedgehog GRX XCR (by The North Face) – a perfect balance between comfort and performance! Let me back up.  Until recently, I’m pretty sure that not a climbing trip went by where I didn’t have some sort of complaint about my shoes.  Not my climbing shoes, mind you – I have no qualms about packing in 4 pairs of shoes for 4 different routes, because each of my shoes have a specific purpose – I’ve got my technical edgers, my aggressive down-turned…Read the rest of this entry →

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Gear Review: OakiWear Adventure Suit

Gear Review:  OakiWear Adventure Suit

  A few weekends ago our family headed to the New River Gorge for some climbing and camping fun.  With a driving rain Friday night and a passing thunder shower Saturday afternoon, our weekend was definitely wet - but we had a blast nonetheless!  (You can read a trip report from our adventure here).  My husband Steve and I have always maintained that although truly good rain gear is expensive, it only takes one or two uses per season to make it worth its weight in gold.  Nothing can squash your weekend fun quite like spending the night in a puddle-filled tent with soggy underwear and pruned skin…Read the rest of this entry →

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Green Hour Connection: Fun on Wheels!

Green Hour Connection: Fun on Wheels!

As most of you know, Cragbaby celebrated a birthday this past week!  Among his many presents were two items that we can utilize in our Green Hour playtimes.  The first was a wagon.  But this was no ordinary wagon – it was a Radio Flyer Pathfinder Wagon, complete with fold-up seats and cup holders!  I guess things have changed a bit since my wagon days, because it is definitely way more luxurious than any wagon I’ve ever had (or seen for that matter!).  Anyway, its fantastic!  The fold-up seats and seat belt system make going up and down hills a…Read the rest of this entry →

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Review: The Peekaru Fleece Baby Carrier Cover

Review: The Peekaru Fleece Baby Carrier Cover

I don’t make it a habit of “categorizing” people…I think there’s a thin line between stereotypes and prejudice.  But, that being said, I suppose if you had to categorize our family, we’d be pitching our tent in the attachment parenting camp more often than not.  We are still breastfeeding (without plans to stop any time soon), we cloth diaper, we spend our early morning hours co-sleeping, and Steve and I both are proud babywearers.  For those of you that aren’t familiar with babywearing, its just like it sounds – carrying a baby or toddler in a cloth carrier.  Babywearing allows…Read the rest of this entry →

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Review: Chariot Cabriolet Bike Trailer

Review: Chariot Cabriolet Bike Trailer

Our family recieved a Chariot Cabriolet Bike Trailer for Christmas this past year!  We’d read good reviews, researched the model that we thought would work best for us, and put it on our Christmas list – and we must have all been really good this year because we got not only the trailer but also a spare hitch attachment so that we can easily switch it back and forth between both of our bikes!  The only bad news was that we were itching to try it out, but high’s in the 30′s leave me less than motivated to hop on…Read the rest of this entry →

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Gourmet Camping (aka Ode to Jetboil)

Gourmet Camping (aka Ode to Jetboil)

If you have ever been camping with me, you have heard me sing high praise  for the Jetboil system.  For those of you unfamiliar with the term, the Jetboil is NOT a communicable skin disease transmitted on airplanes, but rather, a portable, personal cooking system.  According to their website, the Jetboil is a “complete food and beverage multitool.”  Steve and I received our Jetboils for Christmas in 2006 in anticipation of a backcountry canoe/hiking trip to the Everglades for New Year’s 07.  Since then, we have never been camping without it!  For a long time we stuck to the tried…Read the rest of this entry →

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