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5 Gear Thoughts For Spring

March always brings me a flood of emotions. Not crying then laughing emotions, but deep elation knowing warmth and light are returning, only to be fought by my longing for deep powder days and long, stormy nights. Fortunately I am not in charge of the weather, I just have to pull out different pieces of gear to enjoy the various weather and terrain changes. With the foothills starting to melt and low elevation trails drying out, it is time to put some thought into what gear you'll be needing and how to prepare for the next seasons.

Camelbak Antidote Replacement Reservoir

Camelbak Antidote Replacement Reservoir - It's a little embarrassing to admit how infrequently I clean the reservoirs in my Camelbaks. Having been using them since I was a young teenager with few hygienic efforts, the habit of leaving the pack hanging up without care for the next outing is still ingrained. No I have not been using the same reservoir for over 15 years, I have upgraded packs here and there with their included new reservoirs, but I do have one pack in particular that I am fond of, yet was neglected for a few years until recently. Rather than looking for another $120+ style pack, I opted to freshen it up with a new reservoir, the 3.0 liter Antidote from Camelbak, retailing at $35. The new reservoir had some nice upgraded features; a locking bite valve and quick-snap cap rate highest. If you like your pack, but are a little worried about how gross that old reservoir might be, consider grabbing a new reservoir and saving some bucks for that new bike or gas money for your next trip.

Justin Gore-Tex Original Workboot

Justin Gore-Tex Original Workboot - You probably wouldn't expect to find a review for this type of boot on our website, which we are quickly finding out would be a disservice to our readers. If you are any type of mountain biker or hiker, you know very well the work your trails require come spring time. Downed trees and branches, poorly drained sections, and newly forming overgrowth are quite commonplace on any trail that had a winter hibernation. The best way to get spinning your wheels on these beautiful trails is to volunteer some time and clean them up using an array of saws, shovels and other hand tools. Having a solid boot like the Justin Gore-Tex Original Workboot is the best place to start getting your equipment together, including what you wear. 10” uppers, full-leather Gore-Tex, a lugged, polyurethane outsole and orthotic insoles will make sure you're comfortable and dry all day. A retail price of $250 is a direct result of being individually hand-crafted right here in the USA, ensuring these boots will last for more spring trail-cleanups than most of your other gear.

Columbia Cool Creak Long Sleeve Shirt

Columbia Cool Creek Long Sleeve Shirt- I don't know about you, but one of my favorite things about the changing seasons is what layers of clothes you get to wear or not wear. I love looking through my warm layers to wear when the weather gets cold, then putting them away when the sun starts working again in the spring. My timing is usually premature in the spring, needing something warmer than the short sleeve shirt I have on when the clouds cover up the sun. In steps Columbia's Cool Creek long sleeve plaid shirt. It's mid-weight brushed polyester twill fabric is soft against your skin and packs just enough warmth to fend of cool breezes and shady trail sections. Add Omni-Wick technology for keeping you dry when you're sweating and Omni-Shade for sun protection and you've got a layer that can stand on it's own for many spring conditions. With seven color-patterns to choose from, you're likely to find something up your alley. Retail $65.

Seal Line Boundary Portage Pack- Maybe I am jumping the gun here putting a dry bag on a spring gear review, but most boaters have thought about their summer floats already with permits, gear purchases, vacation time etc. If you've done any overnight trips on a river, you will understand the convenience of having shoulder straps on your drybag. If you haven't, pay attention here. Having shoulder straps on your drybag is really convenient. Climbing steep banks off the river to camp, wandering around camp trying to find your tent spot, or making the long trek to fetch the shuttle rig are all times you may want to just sling the thing on your back, not muscle it around with your arms. The boundary pack comes in 35, 70, and 115 Liter sizes. I have found the 70L to fit everything you will need for one person (clothes, tent, sleeping bag, pillow, books/journals, camera, personal items etc) on an extended river trip. Features include: Dry Seal roll-top closure, 30 oz. scrim-reinforced vinyl bottom and 19 oz. sides, lightweight suspension system with ventilated shoulder straps and waist strap on all sizes and side cinch straps to secure it all. Retail $100.

Yepp Mini

Yepp Mini - It has been several years since I have had the gusto to ride my bicycle regularly through the winter months. Even when I did, it was never the care-free riding of warm weather when you break out the sandals and take the kids for a spin around the block. While I don't feel nearly as awesome as when I did ride year-round, I do have a new, kid-like excitement for getting on a bike again with warmer temperatures. And now that I have kids, I take it one step further and take them and their actual-kid excitement out for rides. So, without further ado, I'd like to tell you about the Yepp Mini. Everyone has seen the kid bike seats that go on the back of a bicycle. Many people think they are dangerous as you can't do much in a crash to protect them and the kid plain can't see the good stuff on the path up ahead. There are a few variations to the front-mounted kid seat, but I think the Yepp Mini is the best offering. Highlights include: upright sitting position, quick attach/detach, child “handlebars,” easy assembly, comfortable, yet rigid foam construction, and 5-point harness. With a weight limit of 33 pounds, the Yepp mini will give you a few years to get them cruising on their own two wheels. Downsides: it does not fit every bike. There are mounts to fit threaded and threadless stems, but the geometry of some bikes simply does not allow the seat to be mounted and the bike ridden at the same time. Your average upright, cruiser/townie bike will probably be fine. Average road or mountain bike? Probably not. Check back for the full review where we will break down some measurements to ensure the seat will fit your bike. $160 retail.

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