Home » Product Reviews

Category: Product Reviews

Review: Revy’s Wallet

After making the transition to veganism, I’ve distinctly tried to not only keep animals out of my body; but also off of my body. I am aware and conscious of products made with wool, leather, fur, etc and stay away from them; obviously! One thing in particular that I had a hard time finding a decent replacement for was a wallet. I’ve tried all sorts of material, synthetics and whatever — none of them lived up to what I was looking for.

Until now that is.

It was either this past Christmas or the year before but I received a wallet that totally fit my needs. I’m a simple guy and just need a bi-fold wallet. It has to be able to carry my ID, credit and debit cards, as well as a couple other business cards or friends cards. Oh and of course it has to be able to carry cash, although I honestly never have dollar bills in it; I use my debit card all the time and couldn’t tell you the last time their was money in my wallet.

It’s a Revy wallet and if you don’t know what that is, I’m going to explain. Revy is a company based in El Salvador that makes products from recycled material. A good amount of what they do is make products that are made from recycled bike tires, like my wallet. I thought for sure after a good amount of time it would stretch out and my cards would be falling out all over the place. That is so far from the truth; it’s remained tight and firm. The workmanship is phenomenal and you can tell these are all hand-made.

Revy works with a variety of coops throughout El Salvador and believe in Fair Trade practices. From their site here’s is what their company stands for:

“All workers have the right of association to form their own coop, receive a living wage, and work without fear of abuse or their own safety. Economic justice and social justice cannot be separated.”

  • A fair price with cash advances and prompt payments
  • Collaboration on designs and production methods
  • Transparency by sharing costs and pricing
  • Long term relationships with job security

Have a guy or gal in your life that needs a practical and amazingly well crafted wallet? I can’t recommend these guys more than I already have here. I’m in the market for a new belt and will be ordering theirs soon, it looks just as amazing!

Website: http://www.revydirect.com/

Review: Sam’s Naturals Campn Stick

Just a few short weeks ago, my boys and I went on a camping journey to Lake George (in upstate NY) with some of my friends/ teammates from Strong Hearts Vegan Power. We spent the weekend eating glorious vegan food on the campfire. We swam in Lake George. Some of the group ran, while others hiked Mt Algonquin. My boys and I spent some time at Fort Ticonderoga and Ausable Chasm. And, in our “downtime”, we tossed some games of washer toss with Andy. It was an amazing weekend for sure.

I could create a long post about the timeline and exact details of the weekend but that’s not why I’m writing this. I had brought just about everything I could think of on this trip; except bug spray. Luckily, one of my friends/ teammates is Jess Ryle from Vegan Outdoor Adventures.  If you don’t know Jess, check out this chat I had with her a while back and get to know her. Anyway, she had brought some bug stuff and offered me a container of Sam’s Naturals Campn Stick.

My boys and I were getting eaten alive as darkness settled in and I applied some of the stick to us all. It’s reminiscent of a deodorant stick, which is pretty appropriate since they have a whole line of deodorants I guess (I have yet to try those). It went on smoothly, a little tacky at first but as it warmed up on the skin it was more fluid and spread very evenly & easily. The smell was nice as it’s DEET free and doesn’t have that nasty chemical scent to it. Being vegan and all natural, it of course had ingredients like citronella which are known deterrents, especially for mosquitoes. The smell of citronella and eucalyptus was certainly pervasive, but subtle enough that it wasn’t bothersome.

It seemed to work really well as the bugs started staying away as soon as it was on. I certainly felt good about using it not only for ethical reasons, but I hate putting chemicals and other protectants on my kids that does more harm to them then good. Sure, those other products work but the negatives surely outweigh the positives when it comes to DEET and chemicals like that.

It is surely satisfying knowing that a product that can be effective and still not cause harm to animals in any way yet do what it’s asked to do. I’m going to start looking around locally and see if I can’t find some more products by Sam’s Naturals. I even saw on their site that this offer this in a lotion now, that would be amazing!

I recommend this for you and your family!

 

Freakin’ Out Friday 10.7.16

justranchToday was a “two-fer” so I haven’t had too much time to settle in and get this post done. It was super gorgeous outside and I’ve been dying to get out on the trails again. With all the training leading up to Ragnar, it’s been quite a bit of time since I’ve been in the woods. So I did that and then a few hours later got in a decent workout in my ever-expanding home gym.

Mid-day I was reminded of something I’ve been freakin’ on for a couple of weeks now. I filled a bowl full of carrots and poured out a little ranch. You see, that’s the sh*t; the ranch! VEGAN ranch!

I’ve tried some other companies ranch dressings and no one has hit it yet; NO ONE! One company was a little too thick and was more like cream cheese than ranch. Another was like water and it was like dipping a salad into soup. Neither of those had a flavor that resembled ranch at all. One of them, a leading brand in vegan dairy items, tasted super synthetic and I honestly tossed the bottle after trying it one time. It was nasty!

During one of our breaks at Ragnar ADK we stopped at a Target in hopes of finding Hampton Creek’s Just Cookie Dough. We had a major success on that front and most of us bought a jar. Since I do not have a Target close to my house, I figured it was an opportunity to see what other Hampton Creek products they had. They had a few of the salad dressings, including ranch!

When I got home after the weekend and was unpacking all of my stuff I cracked open the ranch and tried it.

It was delectable!

It was heavenly!

It was absolutely, marvelously, extraordinary!

It was ranch!

The texture was there. The flavor was there. The thickness was spot on.

Blessed be, ranch is back in my life!! Thank you yet again Hampton Creek for absolutely hitting a product on the mark. I can’t wait to try more!

ps. I also grabbed the Just Thousand Island and it was glorious too!!!

Actions Wipes!

action-wipes-logoI have A LOT of stuff to go over that I tried for the first time at Ragnar ADK, but those are from sponsors of the team and I want to give them all one GIGANTIC write up all together. I did have the opportunity to try out one product that was sent to test specifically at Ragnar. Let’s get to it.

Have you done a Ragnar?

No?

Well let me fill you in on a few things that are extremely important to know. First and foremost, it’s a 24-30 hour event! You are in a van with 6 people for those 24-30 hours and you run three separate times.

You get sweaty.

You get smelly.

You get dirty.

During a Ragnar there are locations that allow runners to sleep and rest. If you are lucky, some of the major exchanges even have showers; that’s a luxury for sure. But what do you do if you don’t have that capability, or if you are a little prideful and not into taking public showers with people you don’t know? In the past I’ve packed baby wipes and they did alright for quickly “sprucing up,” but I never quite felt clean and refreshed. There was residue and it just felt like I was moving the filth around. I apologize for the visual, but you see where I’m coming from right? You never really get clean. Baby wipes don’t do much for sweat odor either, so there’s that as well.

BOOM, here comes Action Wipes! What is an Action Wipe?

Inventor Martha Van Inwegen saw the need for a natural wet wipe to clean and refresh the body after a ride, run, hike or a long plane ride. She wanted a wipe she could use on her entire body, good for her whole family and safe for the environment. It was important that it remove dirt, sweat and odor REALLY WELL without chemicals that could be absorbed into her system. Martha mixed potions in her kitchen before hitting on just the right combination of essential oils that could do everything she envisioned. And that “potion” became the secret sauce behind Action Wipes. (https://actionwipes.com/pages/about-us)

After my first leg of the relay, a 6.5ish miles run, I wasn’t feeling that bad but I still needed to wipe away the sweat. Test number one was successful and I felt refreshed. I wasn’t that sweaty or gross just yet, so it was simple test to pass. My next leg though was 8.7 miles and at that point it’d be nearly 18 hours in a van with other stinky runners.

img_1676After that run we were at one of the major exchanges with showers, but again, I’m not into showering with a bunch of strangers. So I brought a couple wipes into the bathroom stall with me and got down to business. I have to say, Action Wipes worked a ton better than a baby wipe. I felt clean. I smelt clean. Most importantly, there was no funky residue. The Action Wipes actually cleaned my body not just wiped the filth around.

I know the rest of the van smelt ripe, but I felt like a champ and smelt like a rose!

You can check out the Action Wipes website for more info but there are tons of reasons you should support them besides the fact that their product works exactly as they claim it to! The ingredients are all 100% verified vegan. Plus, “one Action Wipes can equal up to 25 gallons of water, which is the average amount used in a 10 minute shower.” Considering the droughts we’ve been dealing with in various parts of the country, that’s a good thing!

They give back to the general community. For example, they provided cases of wipes to those people in Nashville who were affected by the floods a few years back. Many people didn’t have running water, so Action Wipes were their only form of cleansing.

We’ll wrap this up by saying this product is as legit as they come. Today it was announced that the team (Strong Hearts Vegan Power) will be taking on the Ragnar in PA (2017) for our next race. Guess who’s ordering a bunch of Action Wipes for the team?

Website: https://actionwipes.com

Review: MudGear

mudgear logo

ColdSSSide_largeAs the sport grows, so does the variety of gear that is available. We’ve seen a few companies pop up and make waves such as OCR Gear and Xracewear for their bib pouch shorts and shirts.  MudGear enter the fray and are handily holding their own as far as I’m concerned.

When I reached out to them to test some stuff out they graciously sent over a few different products.

First, let’s get into their fitted race jersey.

This is not a compression top, but is definitely snug. Not snug like a woman’s bustier or anything, but just enough so that when you’re doing work, the sweat can catch and wick away. It’s extremely comfortable and very lightweight.

While I haven’t used it in an OCR, and likely will not because I gotta rep my Spahtens, I do use this every time I am out running or doing an outdoor workout. One of my favorite shirts I own is one made by Asics and this one is exactly the same material. Superb quality!

TrailSockQuartCrew1_1024x1024Secondly, let’s go over some sock options.These guys not only offer a long sock, which we will go over in a minute, but they offer an ankle sock that is superior to anything I have tried so far.

These 1/4 ankle socks have a cushioned foot-bed which is nice for those that strike more toward the front of the foot as you run. I’ve done the minimal thing, and it was fun while it lasted, but I need a bit more up front. Heck, I need a shoe with more cushion all around. There is also some cushioning on the front top of the sock. Depending on how I tie my sneakers, I get quite a bit of rubbing and friction. Sometimes it can get rubbed raw. These socks though offer a ton more cushion and I can tie these as tight as I want with no issues.

Speaking of the top of the sock… These were made for those that prefer a lower sock but still want to race in the mud with them. The collar of the sock is nice and tight. Not elastic tight as in it’s not comfortable, but super snug and, wait for it, keep rocks out and dirt out! I’ve yet to wear these particular socks in an OCR but use them on the trails often, even in wet conditions. My feet always feel nice and dry, from the wicking and drainage, but they also feel great without being demolished by gravel and pebbles.

MudGearCompressionRaceSockboth_largeLastly, the high compression sock…

I have tried multiple socks in this range and so far I have yet to find one I can fully stand behind. I may even have reviewed a couple in the past maybe a little on the hasty side. After a few uses of the others I found things I did not like. One of them for instance was way to sheer and was super tight. The other, while I loved the fit and the feel of it, they split rather quickly in the toe-box after an OCR or two.

I put these Mudgear one’s through the Tri-State Super this weekend though and they came out on top of any of the others. Not only are they made for OCR’s, which the others were not, but they are awesome quality. I spoke about cushioning in the 1/4 ankle socks, these have it too. Ever get ropeburn from a rope climb or rope traverse? Yeah, that isn’t happening anymore. Along the backside, the calf, of these socks is some extra cushioning. While there wasn’t a traverse rope at the Super, there was a rope climb and I intentionally put a little extra pressure back in the calf to see how they felt and there were great.

The material was great for wicking away water, I didn’t feel like they were super heavy or weighing me down at all.

One thing I really liked was taking them off. Not because they were uncomfortable or anything but because they actually came off with minimal effort. The others were not easy to get off, especially the sheer one’s. These rolled on down the calf and my feet were free.

All in all, if I were to rate the quality of Mudgear it would get the highest of marks. I really think these guys are on to something and think you’ll agree.

Product info: http://mudgear.com/

ps. Loved the bonus beer coozies they sent!! Now I can rep my favorite OCR gear company while sipping on a cold one!!

Review: Playout!

Playout2You’ve all heard of them by now, and if not let me introduce you to one of the funnest and fittest games on the planet; Playout!

What is Playout! you ask? When you look at the deck it seems like some sadistic sob messed with your Uno deck and put all sorts of exercises on them. Why would they do that?

Well let me tell you a little story about a man’s trip to India, actually let Eddie Kovell tell it (he founded Playout!) and this is from his site…

“No longer relying on equipment, I was free, and the world became my gym, or better still, my playground! I was running and climbing, playing basketball with local Tibetans, doing pull-ups at playgrounds, and practicing martial arts, yoga, and classic calisthenics whenever I could.

One day, I was running up a waterfall, jumping from rock to rock, and joking with my friends, when suddenly, it hit me. “Why do I need to workout, if I can just PLAYOUT!” And that’s where the fun really started.”

colinplayoutYou may have met Eddy, he’s become an honorary Spahten as of late, showing up to local OCR’s and challenging folks to a game or two. He was gracious enough to send me a deck to check out and I’ve been addicted to them every since.

Not only do they get used at home, outside, but my two young boys and I have
taken them on hikes. We have just winged it most of the time and every few hundred feet we would stop and pull a card and bang out whatever the challenge was.

Eddie mentioned that we should play one of the All-Star games and even chose a winner right out of the gate. He was right, and the boys kicked my rear-end. I have been force feeding myself cards ever since them in order to achieve great vengeance!

alexplayoutPlayout! has endless possibilities as far as games and level of challenge go. I know the next time the boys and I play we are going to do Playout tag? How? Just like a simple game of tag, someone is it and you tag another player. You divide the cards up into the three piles by color. The tagged person goes over, grabs one and bangs it out.

How about something harder? Challenge your buddy to a Blitz and pick ten cards. Whoever completes them in the shortest time possible wins. Are you all about endurance? There are full 24 hour challenges. Again, the game, and mini-games, are endless.

nateplayoutOh, a little birdie told me yesterday that a new specialized deck is coming out… and you guys are going to love it. Yeah, it’s an OCR specific deck? Did I just blow your mind?

As summer winds down and we seemingly spend more time inside, Playout is the perfect game to warm-up and workout with in the comfort of your home. There really isn’t a time or place that you can’t get a quick game in. Check out Playouts website for more info and order your deck today!

playoutWebsite: http://playoutthegame.com/

Review: Wreck Bag

rsz_jeff_wreckoriginally posted on nespahtens.com

For those of you at FIT Challenge this past weekend you already know what a Wreck Bag is. You either love them or they were the bane of your existence on one of the most brutal carries up and down a hill on the course. I’m pretty sure most of you love them though, right? I mean, Kevin from Unleashed carried two of the 50lb Wreck Bags when I saw him out on the course, if that’s not love than?

Wreck Bags are the brain child of the folks at Lindon Fitness, a locally owned and operated company. They come in two sizes, the 25lb Wreck Bag or the 50lb bag. They were definitely more convenient as far as being able to carry them, more so than just a pancake, mainly because they have straps. Because they are long they sit comfortable on your back and shoulders, mighty convenient!

Not only were the bags there on the course but they had a tent in the vendor area. There were folks there to show you ways to incorporate them into your exercise routine. A little birdie told me that one of our own is working on some workouts for Lindon using these bags, yeah Spahten’s leading the way!!

wrecknateYesterday I crushed a short workout with my 25lb bag and today I am feeling it. I did some high intensity interval training, including squats, thrusters, military presses and a few more. I love it’s versatility. The only negative is I see the 25lb bag becoming light very quickly. I’m not a huge gym guy lately, and do most of my workouts and runs at home, so the 25lb will do the job as most of what I do is body weight stuff, but maybe a 50lb would come in handy at some point.

If you have not seen a Wreck bag, or put your digits on one, now is the time! They are priced extremely well at $30 for the 25lb bag and $50 for the 50lb one. The price per pound is hard to beat. Like I said already, they are extremely versatile and I can’t wait to see what comes out as far as routines and exercises to do with them. I mean, it’s not hard to figure out what to do with them, but it’s going to fun to do some thigns that might be outside of the box. Check out Wreck Bag at http://www.lindonfitness.com/ and support and awesome local company who is really awesome at getting in touch quick-like!!