Performance Gear For Any Adventurer
Published on 01/07/2013
Some gear makes life a little smoother or fits in the pack (or closet) a bit easier. Other products truly turn time on the snow, trail or river into safer, more expansive experiences. So it is with these three Active Junky performance picks.
Ecco Biom Trail GTX
Ecco has nipped around the edges of outdoor excellence as a longtime lifestyle brand. Recent experiences in South America and the U.S. with the BIOM NATURAL MOTION system land the company at the center of faster, higher, and longer. BIOM TRAIL GTX, tested in black/titanium with reflective tongue accents, takes command of marginal conditions and owns off-camber broken, slushy or muddy paths. Solid fit reduces the potential for hot spots, particularly in the heel. Plenty of cushioning and a bomber heel wrap scored with runners as BIOM TRAIL GTX rewarded mid-foot strikes and forgave ill-placed strides. Lacing is standard, simple and complements the gusseted tongue. Versions for men and women get everyone out on even the nastiest days and in the junk that leaves the posers back on the couch. Note that BIOM technology comes in a wide range of footwear categories from hiking to golf to, yes, casual styles.
Selle Anatomica Titanico Bike Saddle
The sofa is the last place cyclists will want to be with the SELLE ANATOMICA TITANICO BIKE SADDLE that’s crafted in the New World to Old World standards. Laminated leather, precision cutting and an adjustable-tension frame are underneath the ride-changing performance of this saddle. Strategic cutouts relieve pressure without making Titanico a sloppy comfort saddle that restricts movement and power transfer. An “X” version gives riders between 190 and 280 lbs. an extra measure of support thanks to a second laminate. The Wisconsin-based family owners of this company are committed artisans that have built in extra-long chromoly rails for better fitting – and given cyclists fun choices in color and hardware to match their bike. Here’s where spending more will transform pain to gain as testers felt the difference even in the first 20 minutes of saddle time. Visit their site, watch them being made and then get Santa to cooperate on this one.
Sierra Designs Zissou 15 Sleeping Bag
While Ecco lets you own the trail and Selle Anatomic rules the road, Sierra Design takes back the night (more specifically, the wetter or sweatier ones) with the DRIDOWN ZISSOU 15 REGULAR SLEEPING BAG. DriDown is getting lots of attention, and testers were ready for disappointment after having success with SD’s down models going back over 30 years (don’t ask). The fit of Zissou along with reliable zipper operation, a healthy draft tube and pad tie-downs made it worth pushing the 600-fill DriDown to stand tall in damp conditions. Given that most travelers can’t take an extra day to attempt solar drying of their gear, Zissou’s ability to repel moisture – inside and outside the bag – counted. Bottom-line, Active Junky has no reason to argue with SD’s claims of superior moisture resistance, warmth and fast drying. Temperature ratings are tricky, but testers can confidently say “20 and damp” when Zissou 15 is underpinned by a full-length, premium pad.