Gear Review: Scarpa Origin

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Yo. Forget everything I said before about my shoes before (just kidding, the mythos are rad) But, I’ve found my new favorites. These Scarpa’s are the jaaaaaam. Seriously, they fit my feet like a glove and the velcro is my new favorite. They also warm up quick, and are totally breathe-able. I’m not sure what the material inside is, but it feels suuuuper soft and smooth every time.

When I bought them I opted for the larger size (my left foot is half a size bigger than my right) to keep my left foot from going numb, and oddly enough the shoe feels great on both feet. Another thing I noticed, and loved, was that the back of the shoe comes up around my hell but doesn’t pinch like some of the other shoes.

Edit: I’m not on my second pair of these and the only issue I’ve found is that the loops in the heel (which help you pull your shoe on) are pretty irritating after a while. The stitching was giving me blisters, but it was a quick fix. I stuck some tape over it and Viola! No more issues. And it made my shoes easier to identify when I forget them at the gym. “yea, teal scarpa’s with tape in the heel!” Ha.

All that to say, if you’re looking for a great all around shoe check out the Scarpa Origin shoe.

I mostly wear a 7.5 in shoes and I bought 38 1/2 for my Scarpa’s. They’re a bit tight when you first get them, but they broke in super nice.

@Tony Lima

@Tony Lima

Basic Bare-Bones Climbing Gear Review

© Brook Anderson

Alright. Let’s be clear, right out the gate. I started climbing in January. Thus, I don’t have a ton of knowledge/experience when it comes to gear, but I figured if there are any newbs out there like me, you’ll be happy to have somewhere to start. And so, MY FIRST CLIMBING GEAR REVIEW!

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SHOES

My first pair of shoes were La Sportiva Mythos Eco. Dude, these shoes are the shit. They are so comfortable. You can go miles in them! I did a couple multi-pitch in them (which is where I think they shine— you can wear them all day and your feet feel great) and they were ace for my grade at the time (5.9-10a). I was climbing a ton over the summer and eventually blew through a toe and decided I wanted to up my edge a bit.

Enter La Sportiva Oxygym’s. Unfortunately, my experience up front with these sucked. My first two pairs de-lamed (the plastic sole began to peel off leaving a hole) within the first couple climbs and so I returned them. My third pair began to de-laminate by my third climb as well, but I was too pissed at the idea of breaking in a fourth pair.. so I kept them. The toe is pretty rough at this point, but once I broke the shoe in, well, I fell in love. Maybe it’s all in my head but I feel like this shoe gave me the extra edge I needed to push my grade (I just broke into the 12’s).

The only downside I’ve found from this shoe is in crack climbing (which I’ve only just started tinkering with) and cold days. There isn’t a ton of coverage on the top side and so doesn’t provide much protection when cranking on those feetsies. And on cold days the shoe feels like it shrinks a bit making it a bit uncomfortable. I already have wicked poor circulation when I’m cold so that extra bit of wiggle room is crucial.

So, there you have it. Big fan, aside from the de-lam.

img @brookbriana

img @brookbriana

BLACK DIAMOND PRIMROSE HARNESS

The first harness I ordered was another brand that didn’t have the adjustable leg loops, which, well, wouldn’t work. I have a small waist and big thighs. That extra inch in the legs is super crucial for me. So, I went with the classic Black Diamond Primrose. Some of my friends scoff at it because “everyone has it.” Yeah, everyone has it for a reason! The price is on point, the harness is comfortable and adjustable and so far it’s been durable as heck! It’s my first and only harness, but It’s done me good on multiple multi-pitch climbs, climbing indoor and long days outdoor. All in all I say hell yes to this harness.

PATAGONIA HAUL BAG

This. Backpack IS THE BEES KNEES. I purchased this pack after a terrible experience climbing multi-pitch with an off brand bag. I found myself at the base of a chimney about to shimmy my way up and y bag wouldn’t sit properly on my back. It didn’t have waist straps or handles and it definitely wouldn’t has sustained more than one of those scrambles. and so, THIS BAG. Patagonia literally markets it with “built with our burliest fabrics to withstand abuse from short hauls and getting stuffed in chimneys.” I was sold. And not just that, I’ve tested this bad boy’s durability and it totally lives up to it’s expectations. Plus, this colors are rad.


STATIC WAXED CANVAS CHALK BAG

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Okay. I had my eye on this bad boy for ages. I’d go to REI and then leave without it.. over and over and over. A month or so ago I finally pulled the trigger and.. whomp whomp. I was pretty let down. I mean, the bag is fine. It works, and it’s durable.. but something about the waxed canvas makes it so that every bit of dirt, ever, sticks to the bag. What once was this beautiful slate grey, canvas bag now looks like a dirty mess. Like I said, I still use it and it’s functional. Just sucks that it looks and feels gross. I’m hoping long term this bag shines with durability!

 

And, well. That’s it. That’s my basic set up for most climbs. Chalk bag, shoes, backpack, harness. Keepin’ it bare bones over here, just the way I like it.

Brand Love: Nalgene

It's exactly one month until the first day of summer, but of course, it's 95 degrees in Los Angeles. Y'all, I am so not ready for this. I'd honestly be cool if we just skipped summer this year and went straight to fall. Actually, wait. Let's pit stop at 4th of July—because #fireworks, obviously—and then fast forward straight through to Halloween. Who is with me? Great. I'm glad I'm not alone. It's too bad none of us are time travelers. 

If I slow down long enough, I sense a challenge in the approach of summer. I feel the pull to get outside, to make memories. Every year it rolls around, bringing with it a sweet nostalgia of long, warm evenings at the lake, laughing unrestrained to the backdrop of a bonfire and all things horses. Oh, to be carefree again! To toss our backpacks, water bottles and keys to the wayside; to climb high and confidently to the tallest parts of the tallest bridges and plunge fearlessly into the deep cool waters below. Ya...I guess summer isn't all that bad. 

I love these memories. It's neat to be able to look back on the things we thought were cool then, and see how some of them have carried over into today. And to know that there are brands that I still gravitate toward, even amidst the changing landscape of my life. Like Nalgene. 

Growing up, Nalgene was always the go-to water bottle brand for all my outdoor friends. It was well loved at the summer camp I worked at because of it's sturdy, scratch-resistant, heat-resistant nature (commercial dishwasher safe, biaaaaatch!) You could leave lemonade in it all day, in the heat, and you wouldn't end up with any unwanted odor or taste. Plus, there was the added bonus of all that free space to cover with stickers (which I may or may not still do today...judge me.)

But, then came the BPA scare. And into the trash went my beloved Nalgene. Or did I lose it while camping? I honestly can't remember. It's irrelevant though because the company is amazing and they quickly dropped the questionable plastic and replaced it with a BPA-free alternative. Which, from what I can tell so far, is just as awesome as before. My Nalgene has been dropped, thrown, kicked and hauled all over the world and it still fails to leak, crack or find itself irreparably damaged. 

These bottles are one of those products you'd find me being like, "Yo. You need this." Without question. In fact, I own a two already. Aaaaaaaand I may or may not have my eye on another one, in another sweet color. It's summer y'all and you know you're going to be out and about. So stay prepared, and stay hydrated...with Nalgene. 

#GOTEM

Honestly, they don't pay me enough for this. Just kidding. They don't pay me at all. But seriously, no one paid me for this. I guess technically I paid them, I bought my water bottles. Really, they're just that cool. Ha. Cool. Like keeping it cool...in summer. bah dun dun CH. Okay. I'm done. 

Oh! real quick, PROTIP: Get a splash guard. We all know how hard it is to drink from a wide mouth bottle, and now you don't have to be 'that guy'. These little silicone suckers fit right into your bottle opening and keep you from looking like a fool, splashing water all over yourself in public. You can thank me later. 
 
Love you guys, stay wild xx


 

Travel Like a Champ in 2017

The New Year is upon us and what better way to gear up (literally) for your 2017 adventures than a couple of gear tips and travel tricks?

While there are a million different ways to travel, and you’ll to find your own, I wanted to share a few of the things I’ve learned over the years.

In short, I like to keep it simple: give me a backpack, gear to document, a direction and I'm gone. So, if you’re anything like me - or looking to see things in a new way - give these tips a shot!

Disclaimer: I feel pretty lucky to be able to do what I do and while this is probably going to feel like an REI sponsored post (and believe me I wish it was, haha.. ) I promise I'm just a girl.. who loves her gear, yall. And I want you to love yours too!

If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness and fears.
-Cesare Pavese

PRO-TIP: click the headers for specifics on the gear I mentioned and where to buy!

GET THE RIGHT GEAR

The Backpack

Although there are a million options for travel bags, I'm partial to backpacks. Having gone through several different hiking backpacks over the years I'd say my biggest suggestion is to find one that has a front flap that allows you to access your things easily and efficiently. I've done the top load bags twice over and I confidently say it's no bueno.

The Day-pack

A good day pack is essential. I'm also of the mind to be prepared for anything so I need to be able to fit a book, my laptop, a journal, my wallet and chapstick comfortably (my Tumbuk2 bag fit all of that and my huge Polaroid camera comfortably!) I'm also a fan of the messenger style, zippers in to keep my things from prying fingers, and able to be tightened up if I’m moving fast or on a bike!

the bathroom bag

The thing I love most about my REI Shower Kit is that it has the large pack which can go in your checked bag, is hang-able and has a plethora of pouches AND a smaller bag which I like to use for my carry on bathroom items (under 3oz!): toothbrush, toothpaste, contacts, solution, tweezers, floss, lotion and anything else one might need to stay fresh on your flight.

The Packing Cube

Packing cubes are God’s gift to mankind. For those of you who can never find what you need, these will solve your problem. And for those of you who likes things to stay neat and tidy and in their proper place.. well, you’re welcome in advance. I have one for underwear and socks, one for jeans and one for shirts! easy peasy (and remember, “roll, roll, roll” - see right)

 

pack like a pro

Just The essentials

This is my favorite way to travel. Light and straightforward. I like to be able to pick up and change cities on a whim, or run through the train station to catch my connecting just in the nick of time (just kidding, no one likes that. at least not with luggage.) The point is if you can go with little, go with little. It'll change the way you see travel, and in turn the world.
Pro-Tip: consider mix and matching your outfits for maximum use.

roll, roll, roll

This is a travelers secret..or maybe not, but I like to think it is. When you are packing instead of folding your shirts and jeans and trying to fit them all, give rolling them a go! Fold them like normal and then from side to side roll them into a sausage shape. You’ll be surprised how much extra space you’ll have!

think ahead

This is crucial, especially if you are flying. Think about the things you are going to need/want access to while you are going through security, and when in your seat: your ID and passport; your book, your gum, your sweater, phone charger, laptop etc, make sure they are in a bag that stays on you (and under the seat)! 
Pro-Tip: Buy water in the airport. You're going to want this on your flight.

 

 

If you have any tips or tricks I'd love to hear them! Just drop a comment.