A quick roundup of some of the bit and bats that I’ve been using over the past few months.
Icebreaker Ski + Lite Over The Calf Snowboarding Socks
I guess it’s pretty easy for sock manufacturers to claim they have ‘the best socks in the world / on the planet / in the universe / whatever’. Icebreaker are one such brand. When I recently forgot all of the riding socks for a 10 day trip (for the second time in the past couple of years, dumb ass) I went out a bought a pair of Icebreaker socks. I just looked for a pair of medium weight ones in a good colour, to be honest, and ended up with the Ski + Lite Over The Calf socks.
Man, these things are awesome. Wore them for 7 days straight and honestly, they didn’t smell at all. They are also incredibly comfortable. I prefer a sock with some padding rather than the super thin ones so these fit that bill well. I also hate it when socks work their way down beneath the cuff of my boots so you end up pulling them up all day. When fully pulled up these socks come over my knees so I just fold the tops down. They don’t fall down during the day and don’t get too hot either. Overall, I’m super impressed. Guessing that once I’ve worn them a few times they won’t remain stink free after multiple days of splitboarding but I reckon they’ll certainly be my preferred socks in the future. They should last well too having 21% Nylon content, along with the 77& Merino and 4& Lycra.
Arc’teryx Rho LT Zip Neck and Phase SL Baselayers
I’ve had one of the original Rho LT Zip Necks for ages. It’s a classic Arc’teryx product – understated and expensive initially – it’s been amazing and many years on it’s still going strong with almost no signs of wear, long after many other baselayers I own have started to pill and smell.
As ever the secret is in the fabric so when Arc moved away from the original Rentex Powerflex and onto a new fabric they call Torrent, along with a new fit, I was keen to try it.
It’s been pretty awesome so far. I went a size up and bought a large so it’s less of a tech baselayer fit and a little more suitable for stand along use or as a comfortable baselayer for lower activity stuff like the riding the lifts or hiking in cool weather. That said the slightly looser fit does make for a great simple, technical midlayer too.
It still just has the one laminated chest pocket along with a long torso that will always stay tucked. So far the Torrent fabric has been good form a wear point of view – no pilling yet – and as you would expect the whole thing is super comfortable, quick drying and overall a good option for anyone looking for a garment that works as both a technical base / midlayer but also a stand alone piece too.
The Phase line from Arc’teryx is their dedicated technical baselayer range. Unlike the Rho pieces they are definitely designed primarily as performance underlayers. I’ve tried all three weights – SL (super light), AR (all round) and SV (severe) and have for sure found my favourite in the SL weight.
Phase SL fabric is a 70% / 30% mix of polyester and polypropylene with a weight of 90gm / m2. It has a really silky feel and is immediately very comfortable. As you’d expect from such a light fabric, it wicks sweat and dries super fast but doesn’t add much warmth to a layering system. It’s such a comfortable fabric that you kinda forget you’re wearing it, yet it’s also surprisingly durable.
The Phase SL Zip Neck is just a simple long sleeve, zip neck design with a good fit. The sizing is pretty small in the Phase line and I tend to switch between my usual size medium for the garments I trail run in and large for snowboarding / splitboarding.
The Phase SL Boxers are awesome too. Fairly long in the leg, which I really like as they don’t ride up and they keep my thighs covered. They just have a simple elastic waist and no fly. There’s nothing to rub or chafe and they are just as suitable for a splitboard trip as they are for running a marathon.
Ryders Hillroy Sunglasses
Ryders are a sunglasses company from Vancouver. After trying a bunch of brands and styles on the Hillroys just felt right. They are really well priced (around $40CA), look pretty good and are really comfortable. Can’t say much more really!
GSI Commuter Java Coffee Press
This thing is rad to have on a chilly morning (or any morning) whilst camping. It’s pretty easy to make a good cup of coffee with the press – just disassemble the mug, stick some ground coffee in the outer and fill with water to about 3/4 full. Then slowly push the inner press all the way down. Screw the top on and you’re good to go. There isn’t a fill mark on the outer mug so it takes a little practice to get exactly the right amount of water so it doesn’t overflow when pressing. The whole thing feels very robust and the foam covering makes it easier to use. It’s not one for the lightweight freaks but really the weight (290g) isn’t too bad, considering it’s a press and semi insulated mug in one.