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Review: DryRobe

From: Hannah R Hawley

Review: It’s like a HUGE jacket! It’s warm. It’s waterproof. It has a hood. I can wear a ruck or backpack under it. I can carry my keys, phone, and more in the pockets. It’s awesome for ice fishing, supporting/volunteering/crewing a race, hanging out, watching kids play in the snow, changing after a race, changing before a race, not letting my body going into shock when I stop in the cold and am hot and sweaty!

(Editors note: these are available on a pre-order basis once or twice a year only)

Do you own this product? Leave a review below!

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Review: DGearOG – Full Fingered

dgearfull
From: Hannah Hawley

Review: I bought these gloves at Dirty Girl Mud Run for Polar Bear. I had zero intentions of wearing them until winter. Well, after running Shale Hill on a hot sunny day, I realized when the heat got high for Shale Hell, I wanted something to protect my hands from burns on the metal. These worked awesome for that. They also helped protect me from the ropes that I find hurt my hands. Overall, I want to get a fingerless pair for summer events and highly recommend the full finger for winter events to avoid frost burns from the metal when the temperatures dip scary close to 0F.

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Review: Under Armour F4 Receiver Gloves

From: Ann Priestman
Product: Under Armour F4 Receiver Gloves

Review: I’ve been wearing these for dry, cooler weather races for a while now, but wanted to wait until I wore them through some mud/water to write a review. I’ve now worn them to Warrior Dash, Bonefrog, Barre Spartan Sprint, and Samurai Sprint, and couldn’t be happier with their performance.

I tried on a few pairs at Sports Authority (R.I.P) and got a medium, then went back after a few races to get a small (the extra room was uncomfortable on hanging obstacles because my hand would feel like it was falling out of the glove). The small fits me perfectly, and I usually don’t even notice I have them on during races. There are small holes in the palms that help with drainage and make them a bit more breathable. They are also easy to clean – after rinsing I put them in a mesh bag and throw them in the washer (watch out for the velcro – it can ruin other clothes). The gloves start with a tacky layer on the palms which eventually wears off, but the grip is still fine.

For me, the performance of the gloves during races has been fantastic. At Samurai Sprint, with its oddly placed rope climb immediately after the slip and slide, I had no problem gripping the rope while my companions found it too slippery. Same with the thin, mud-covered ropes at Barre. The one downside is that they can actually a bit too grippy for widely spaced monkey bars since they don’t let your hand rotate around the bar at all. But I’m happy to have them on for the majority of obstacles.

It should be clear by now that I’m very happy with these gloves. The price is high (~$30) but for me it’s been worth it.

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Review: Amphipod Trans4m Thermal Plus Run Gloves

From: Danielle Carrier
Product: Amphipod Trans4m Thermal Plus Run Gloves

This winter I knew I was going to need a new pair of running gloves that would work better for Winter OCR and still be comfortable for cold weather running. I went into my local running store and the owner recommended Amphipod Trans4m Thermal Plus Run Gloves.

These gloves have 4 levels of functionality. First there is the full coverage glove and mitten for total coverage. Level 2 would be just thumbs exposed to take a picture, send a text or to give a nice thumbs up for the camera. Level 3 is a fingerless glove. The mitten portion folds back snuggly to the hand and just fingers and thumbs are exposed. Level 4 is full hand exposure, a great feature for obstacle course racing. You can pull the whole glove off your hand and push it down on your wrist. This allows the runner to keep your gloves on but still be able to do the obstacles that require a full hand grip.

These gloves are very warm. They are fleeced lined, wick moisture very well, and are both windproof and water resistance. I used them for Blizzard Blast, Polar Bear Challenge and Winter Dash and never had a problem with cold hands. The Thermal Plus gloves run 45 dollars a pair and there is a slightly less warm version that retails for 40 dollars. These have been a great investment.

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Review: Mad Grip F100 Pro Palm Gloves

From: Ed Mangini
Category: Clothing

Product: Mad Grip F100 Pro Palm

Review: DISCLAIMER: I am notorious for being a ‘tweener w/ respect to clothes. My feet, hands, and everything else always sits between two standard sizes.

When I ordered these, I bought the large and found them slightly too big, but the medium was far too small. After some serious swaptronics over USPS, I ended up holding on to the large.

How they fit:

Despite my disclaimer, these are really awkward fitting. The rubber is very stiff, which keeps your hands in an unnatural position while running. I ended up pulling them off and tucking them into my socks while I was running.

Do they work when dry?

Not really. I found the fit and feel of the gloves very awkward. I was slipping and struggling with my grip even when dry. To be honest, the rubber is somewhat sleek, so I don’t think it is getting the friction it needs on metal/plastic when dry.

Do they work when wet?

Not at all.

This was my second and last attempt at using gloves for grip assistance. I have a pair of fingerless mechanix that worked ok at BoneFrog, but I think I’m going to stick to gloves as “weather protection” only for those late-fall OCRs.

If anyone has any recommendations, I’d love to hear them!

Rating: 2 star (poor)

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Review: MudGear Obstacle Race Compression Socks

From: Ed Mangini

Category: Clothing

Product: MudGear Obstacle Race Compression Socks

Review: I love these. I bought these based on a recommendation from another OCR/Mud Run site.

They fit outstanding, they keep you nice and dry,they don’t over heat, they drain very well and they are a great place to tuck gels/salt stick if you aren’t a fanny pack fan.

I’ve used these for several races.

Rating: 5 star (amazing)

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Review: dGearOG fingerless OCR gloves

I love finding local companies in our space. These guys are based in Vermont.

dGearOG make gloves for OCR. They’re a spin off of Damascus Protective Gear, and have been making protective equipment for military, police and corrective use since the 50s – think gloves, knee/elbow pads, riot suits – during last years Baltimore riots, they were shipping gear in for the officers. They also make archery gloves too. These guys know what they’re doing!

For OCR gloves can be controversial, of course.

Should you wear them? Do you need them? Do they hinder, or help?

dGearOG Gloves
dGearOG Gloves

I’ve never really bothered, to be honest, unless it’s purely for warmth in a winter event – so when I heard about dGearOG and their OCR specific glove, I was interested in learning more.

I stumbled across them in a weird way. They were posting photos on Twitter of the small team they sent to the VT Beast in 2015 – and lots of photos of gloves in different patterns being used on obstacles. I messaged them through Facebook and they offered to ship me a couple of pairs of gloves to check out. They weren’t quite ready for production yet, and didn’t have them for sale in stores or through their website – so I jumped on the chance to check out a pre-production set.

They shipped me an XL and M in their fingerless style – both with slightly different patterns, but the same features – fingerless gloves with super grippy palms, pull loops, velcro closures.

The first race I tried them at was Shale Hill – and if you know Shale Hill, you know grip and grip strength are key to many of their obstacles. I wore the XL and offered the M up to Chris “Flux” Hoey, who also isn’t typically a glove guy – we wore for the whole course, and tried them out on everything from traverse pipes, walls, ropes and more.

What we found:

The grippy palm was excellent – in dry conditions it was glued to pipes and ropes. In wet conditions, it was less useful, but the quick pull tabs meant you could get it off quickly, and it would stay right side out, so its easy to pull back on again after a wet rope obstacle.

“They definitely help protect your hands from extensive wear and tear on a long course. The grip surface is great until it gets wet. It would be no extra benefit in a rope water climb though.” – Flux

The velcro held tight, and is of a type that won’t get gunged up mid-race – contructed of a plastic, more than a fabric, this isn’t going to be a point of failure.

We both found that the gloves moved around on our hands more than we’d like – it has so much grip, that when hanging from the Zig Zag of Awesomeness at Shale Hill, the glove held tight and our hands slid inside – a testament to proper fitting (remember, neither of us picked our sizes!). In fact, dGearOG have said they reduced the overall sizing of the gloves as a result of that feedback, so they should be fitting snugger from the vendor than before – which will be perfect.

“You never know what race day conditions bring, these gloves are a must have in your Arsenal to be ready for whatever may be thrown at you. Built to perform and last there are no seams in the grips to get caught on and provides protection for race torn hands!” – Flux

Those quick pull tabs are WAY more useful and functional than I initially gave them credit for. How often have you dug through your bag after a race and found socks or gloves or sleeves inside out and gunky – and had the unpleasant experience of turning them back around? The pull tabs keep the gloves right way out, and mid-race? Perfect.

Ultimately, gloves will always be a personal preference. Maybe you want to protect your hands, maybe you have rough and tough skin already and don’t want to lose “feel” mid-race – but if you DO want to protect your hands, these are a fantastic way to go, not too expensive, and the brand is local, and focused on OCR. The have new styles coming, including a full finger, and a pink option for the ladies – so keep your eye on them!

Twitter – https://twitter.com/dgearog
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/dgearog/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/dgearog/

Have you tried dGearOG Gloves? What do you think? Leave your feedback in the comments below!

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Review: SealSkinz Thin Ankle Length Sock

ed. note: Wow, Jess! Thank you for this awesome and detailed review! 

If you know me, you know I have a teensy fascination with socks.  My current favorites are Injinji (athletic toe socks), DarnTough, and SmartWool (although, my preference between these last 2 is DT, as it is a New England based company).  I wear these brands on a day to day basis as well as for athletic activies such as Crossfit and Obstacle Course Racing (OCR).

Recently, I was asked to test out a pair of SealSkinz socks (http://www.sealskinz.com) in an OCR, and, naturally, obliged.

sealskinzThe Race:  Spartan Sprint – Boston 2015
The Location:  Carter and Stevens Farm – Barre, MA
The Terrain:  Fairly flat with some rolling hills thrown in, and lots of technical trail.  Also, plenty of mud and water.
The Sock:  SealSkinz Thin Ankle Length Sock (http://www.sealskinz.com/US/socks/thin-ankle-length-sock)

When I got the socks I wasn’t really sure I was going to like them.  They have a neoprene-like liner inside, and they do not have a lot of stretch.  I put them on, followed by my typical racing shoe, and was pleasantly surprised that they really didn’t feel that bulky or uncomfortable at all.

I wore them for 5.5 miles of Spartan Race fun.  They were submerged.  They were caked in mud.  They were comfortable throughout.  Where my normal socks would have trapped the dirt and also caused a friction point at my heel, these did a great job of not letting the grit infultrate my shoe at all.  As I mentioned before, they were submerged – as in I was in mid-thigh to chest deep water at times.  As I emerged from the water, the socks had a little bit of squish, but any abundance of water was quickly shed and my feet actually felt cooler than normal, in a refreshing way.  I should note my feet never got overly warm, even with the 2 layers.

Once the race was over, I peeled off these muddy socks and noted my feet were not wrinkly at all.  I experienced no blisters or hotspots from them either.

With what we do it is also important to note how difficult an item is to clean. I didn’t hose off the socks, just banged off the dried on mud that would come loose and threw them in the wash.  Normally, I wash all my race items, then turn them inside-out (or outside-in), and wash again. These socks were clean after one wash, it was amazing!

If you are looking for a new sock for races, this one is something to look into.  If I don’t wear them at the VT Beast in a couple weeks, I’ll certainly keep them on my person as a spare pair.

DISCLAIMER:  I do not recommend buying and using these for the first time at a lengthy race (think SR Super or Beast, Tough Mudder, or Battlefrog Extreme), but it might be worth investigating for some of our colder races (Blizzard Blast comes to mind, as does any winter event at Shale Hill).

Rating: 4 star (good)

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Review: Akuma Drill Shirt

ed. note: Thank you Dennis for the awesome review.

olddog

Here is my disclaimer on the shirt: You don’t need a drill shirt to be a Spahten. Being a Spahten is more than just a shirt. The shirt does not make you a Spahten, it’s you who makes the shirt mean more than just being an item of clothing. This being said, these shirts are awesome. Wear it and you are recognized as a NE Spahten, by friends and soon to be friends alike.

These are a compression type shirt and as such are snug, but not uncomfortably so and they are true to size. I’m 5’9” weight 180 lbs and large works well for me. Ladies, no man alive understands women sizing, so I can’t speak as to how this translates. The sleeveless option is a little bit looser than the sleeved options.

The shirt is very durable, it’s not Kevlar, but you won’t be disappointed. I’m guessing mine has been thru maybe 15 events so far. If you take reasonable care of it post-race it will serve you well. I personally have seen no evidence of the “pilling” others have reported, but I have not worn either a hydration pack or ruck while wearing the shirt.
While wearing the shirt I try to represent all that is good about this community. Wear it proudly.

Rating: 5 star (amazing)

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Review: 5.11 Tactical Kilt

511downeyThank you, Michael, for the awesome review!!

I have waited to put this review in until I got to use this kilt for a OCR and a road run

A very popular item for Men to wear for events is the Kilt and 5.11 has one of the better more durable kilts on the markets and came highly recommended .

First thing when trying to pick the proper size I recommend going one size DOWN from your jean size, I myself currently wear a 42″ relaxed fit jeans for space and comfort in the crotch area but my first order did not take in account that I really did not need to worry about that since its a kilt and that does not come in to play WHOPS.

So for my re-order I went down a few sizes and order a 40″ waist and it fits perfectly and could almost get away without a belt but I ordered a 5.11 double duty TDU 1.5″ belt to go with it. The kilt has 4 heavy duty snaps to help get this on and off, the fabric is light and did not gain a lot of weight once it hit the water and mud. The only issue I had about the mud was you get a LOT muddier while wearing it and I got a bunch of mud and rocks in the belt line area so once we started moving again it was a minor aggravation. Also since they use such heavy duty stitching for the belt loops they can be a tiny bit irritation to start but with each wear and wash its getting less. Wearing it for the road run felt as good as wearing shorts and at times I forgot I even had a kilt on.

The kilt also comes with two tactical pockets that can be removed with 4 snaps if you don’t need them for the day. I choose to remove them for the OCR because pockets just = places for mud and water to pool up and add weight.

There are other tactical kilts on the market but from talking to others, and my own experience wearing this for a few events, 5.11 is by far the leader in tactical kilts.

Color options can be limited from time to time so if you don’t see the color you want it might be a bit. at current time all they offer is light khaki. But, they have offered, drab green, black and one or two colors .

Rating: 5 star (amazing)

Website: http://www.511tactical.com/tactical-duty-kilt.html