Recently I purchased the O’Neill Re-Issue black and white bikini set; and I’m absolutely in love! Inspired by 90’s swimwear, the high waist and high fit leg made for an awesome design, and the chunky stripes are fun and funky!
This bikini top and pants (sold separately) features O’Neill’s Hyperdry, a DWR (Durable Water Repellency) coating to the fabric which speeds up dry time – hence ‘hyper-dry’, and a polyamide and elastane mix makes the fabric extra soft. The top has a snug fit which meant it was quite supportive; although the straps are quite thick – which isn’t usually the style I’d go for. I loved the snug fit of the pants.
Both the supportive top and snug fit pants made me think they would be good for wakeboarding, so I tried them out. And, yes, the top was very supportive, and comfortable, underneath my impact vest. The snug fit of the pants were great, too, because it meant that I wasn’t worried if I fell over. The neon logo at the back matched perfectly with my Glidesoul impact vest, too, sooo happy!
With the long withstanding heat wave that has hit the UK in May, and hasn’t left since, the idea of wearing a wetsuit for an after work wakeboarding sessions sounds like my idea of torture, to me!
Wearing just bikini bottoms is just a little bit too risqué for my liking, and I always find it hard to find shorts that fit me right, that’s when the ‘surf leggings’ seemed like the ideal solution.
Protest Surf Leggings
The first thing that caught my eye with these Protest surf leggings was the unmistakably loud pattern. Normally I would shy away from such a bold pattern on my lower half, as I have been cursed with stumpy legs, however because of the block of black on the thighs – it offers a flattering look.
The leggings are extremely comfortable; and thanks to the Elastane nonrestrictive.
Another added bonus, for all the fair skinned gals out there, is these leggings come with SPF 50+ protection; which is comforting to know that you will be protected from the sun’s UV rays all day on the water. It also means you won’t have to reapply/use sunscreen, which not only is annoying, but can often be harmful to the environment – especially if you are swimming in waters with coral reefs.
These leggings would be perfect for wakeboarding, SUPing, kayaking (saves getting a soggy bum!), snorkelling and any other water based activity! Plus the fast drying fabric means you can hop in and out of the water all summer long.
One such ‘All-Terrain’ item is the Brixton Transport 20 Cargo Shorts. The shorts are made from 4.5 oz ripstop nylon (98%) and elastane (2%); and have a water-repellent coating. The cut is an athletic fit with a straight leg of 20”, and adjustable waistband. There are some nice features, and additions, which make these shorts stand out. A good number of pockets, which are zipped, is very practical; and they have even included a small ‘pocket size’ dry-bag to keep your wallet dry – however I’d be tempted just to have few notes and coins rather than a bulky wallet. Another nice addition is the ‘knot book’ (a handy, roped together, collection of cards). This simple practical guide takes you back to your scouting days; and makes you hunt out a piece of rope and practice figure-of-eights, clove hitches and more!
So it seemed appropriate to review the Transporter shorts whilst rock climbing; to see how ‘all-terrain’ they are!
First impressions, when you put them on, are ‘very comfortable’; partly thanks to the elastane but also the cut. The reinforced seat reiterates you are going to be active; so once the climbing harness, helmet and other equipment was on, I was ready to ascend the gritstone crag. Still comfortable under the harness; the shorts allowed unrestricted movement. The lightweight material keeps you cool, even when things get tricky on the tense crux of the climb. What goes up must come down; and the shorts were equally comfortable during the abseil!
Comfortable and unrestrictive the Transporter 20 shorts performed well on the gritty rock face; and I believe they will perform just as well behind the wheel of a speeding wakeboard boat, or leisurely paddling a stand-up-paddleboard. So are they All-Terrain, yes they are, both on land and on water!
The few that have kept skiing, even when the lifts have stop turning to ‘earn their turns’, spring has been a quick and warm few months! The ski season is well and truly over with the last of the spring snow gone; and now the skis are serviced and the batteries are removed from our trackers it’s time to reflect. Here are my thoughts on Black Diamond’s Mission Shell Jacket and Sharp End Pant
Coming into this year’s ski season I was super keen to increase the hours I spent touring; so a nice lightweight breathable outer shell setup was going to be a must. However, moving to Vail Colorado, one of the world’s largest ski resorts, with ‘day in day out use’; protection from the elements and durability where going to be a key factor.
Being almost 6ft 4in tall I often find that technical apparel never quite fits right; having to wear larger sizes to accommodate for the extra length, but then finding it way too baggy everywhere else. With Black Diamond I settled on ‘large’ for both pant and jacket, although I could have been a medium in the pants. The large pant gave an extra 2.5cm inseam, and with the integrated belt system tightening up the waist, the large was the better fit. The large jacket was a great fit right from the start, with the under arm gussets giving a great range of movement. The super adjustable cuffs, powder skirt, and Cohaesive cord-lock technology hood all contributed to sealing up the jacket from the elements. Full Gore-Tex construction gave both the jacket and pant excellent waterproofness and breathability, needed to keep the metres of powder snow at bay and disperse all the heat from those warm spring days or sweaty mid winter ‘pushing-the-envelope’ moments!
After six months of clattering through tree runs, being stuffed in a bag, ploughed through countless feet of snow, and some rain, this setup has proven its worth many times over. And still now, all be it not smelling quite as fresh, it looks as good as it did when it came out of the packaging.
So if you’re looking to progress into the off-piste and earn your turns, ski groomers all day, or go get buried waist deep and send powder shots overhead this Black Diamond Mission Shell jacket and Sharpe End pant combo will keep you dry and warm on the way down; and well vented and breathable on the way up. From freezing chair lift rides, to climbing across cornices, it’s great to have 100% belief in the kit you’re using – and Black Diamond didn’t disappoint. And not having the extra worry of being too cold or too warm; you can just focus on the objective in front of you.
The petunia colour and slim fit make these a favourite for my winter wardrobe, and the stretch material made them extremely flexible while still being snug. Not only are they breathable but also waterproof which made for a perfect piece of ski gear.
There are multiple pockets which I could use for my sun cream and lift pass, with a Velcro adjustable waistband which came in handy after a big lunch on the mountainside! The knees and heels are made with reinforced material which made sure they were durable and the material, although unusual, I really liked as opposed to the usual waterproof material.
Skiing around for a week made me fall in love with these trousers and I would definitely recommend them to anyone who loves to look stylish while being sporty!
I work outdoors at a Watersports Centre, and I am an avid hill walker in my spare time, so I was interested to see if the Salomon Drifter mid-layer jacket would be a welcome addition to my assortment of gear.
The Drifter mid-layer is really light weight, weighing in at just 500g, and packs down really small, thanks to the Primaloft 60g insulation, consequently you can carry it anywhere.
The mid layer has a pretty cool reversible function which allows you to wear it inside out. This particular colour reverses from an Acid Green to a Purple. The two sides have very different uses: one is more windproof, whilst the other is more breathable, so you can regulate your temperature to the conditions. Or treat it as two jackets!
This mid layer jacket is also snow/water proof with Salomon’s AdvancedSkin Shield technology, and Pertex water repellent finish, which means you can wear it as an outer layer. I have found the jacket does not fare well to harsh rain conditions as the water does eventually seep through, but in light drizzle there are no problems.
The jacket was ideal for hill walking, and nipping down some caverns, in the peaks; because it is light and thanks to its breathability I did not overheat! It fits well and is consistent with all other Salomon clothing sizes.
Ladies if you are thinking of a hoody or fleece, for when it gets a bit nippy this summer, why not have a look at a few Charlie has been trying on – it might help !
Patagonia Re-Tool Snap-T Fleece
The Patagonia Re-Tool Snap-T fleece is ideal in a variety of ways. Firstly this fleece provides a thermal heat with it being 100% recycled polyester which creates a snugly feeling throughout the day, especially if the day is quite chilly! The fleece is also excellent for comfort, thanks to a soft short fur layer lining the inside and high neck. The large all in one pocket not only keeps your hands warm but can hold objects securely. There is also a small pocket on the chest of the fleece and branded badge.
From personal experience trying on this fleece I found it had a slim fit but not tight on the arms. I tried a size up than usual which I found more comfortable because of the larger fit; especially wearing a shirt underneath.
Picture Organic Clothing Nesla Hoody
The women’s Picture Nesla is another groovy styled hoody. This has a large ‘Picture Organic Clothing’ print in the centre surrounded by a summer pattern; which stands out from the navy blue colour. The hoody has pink and white striped band around the bottom, which can be tightened. A large front pouch pocket which is ideal for keeping everyday items, or your hands warm. Extremely comfortable thanks to the 70% organic cotton. Thick hood which was well wrapped around the neck with a unique twist.
This had a slim fit and it fit me perfectly in the correct size ; so no need to go an extra size up for a comfier fit.
Roxy Cruiser Night’s Hoody
The Roxy Cruiser Night’s hoody is a popular fashion item. This is ideal for wearing in the summer season as a form of casual wear for evenings or daytime due to the thin lining made of 60% cotton which is perfect for the summer weather and chilly evenings. The inner layer has a soft layer of fur which maintains a bearable amount of heat. This also features a simple but potent design which gives off a summer feel and represents the Roxy brand on the centre of the hoody. A front pouch which I found was ideal for keeping everyday items in or useful for just heating up my hands.
Volcom In A Dayz Hoody
The Volcom In A Dayz hoody is a simple but trendsetting product however, different in a variety of ways compared to the previous hoodies. This has a zip which is perfect for matching with a shirt beneath which may contrast of the heather grey colour. I found this is easy to match with any day outfits as well as being a comfortable and thermal ideal for breezy weather, featuring two pockets ideal for warmth with the thick lining.
The sizing was perfect as this wasn’t too tight or too baggy but had a stretched fit which was cosy to lounge in.
As people back home have probably heard Europe has had a slow start to the season with unseasonably high temperatures throughout December. However when it has snowed this year it has been falling intensely with two 50 cm plus snow falls in 24 hour time periods. This has provided us with a wide variety of condition to test the Dakine Prospect Bib Snow Pants!
Dakine Prospect Bib Snow Pants
The first impression you get from the Prospects is how incredibly light they are compared to other winter pants. This lightness provides a fantastic feel when skiing and touring as you aren’t restricted by any heavy materials. They are built from 3 layer Gore-tex which provides the trousers with a formidable shell against all conditions. Despite being out on a few torrential ski days this year I am yet to see the trouser soak through even when sat on wet chairlifts. The bib design is a great feature for any powder lovers as it ensures protection of your base layers even on the deepest of days and the occasional tumble!
However it is not just in miserable conditions that the Prospect shines. I have been touring in them in +15 and there lightweight breathability means that they control your temperature very well. With multiple vents featured on the trouser you are able to make quick adjustments whilst on the route up as well as insulating your warmth at the top.
We have been skiing for eight weeks now and as stated the condition have been tricky with plenty of grass and rock on show. This has highlighted one of best features of the Prospect.The reinforced cuffs at the bottom of the legs have made them considerable more durable than other snow pants. Despite being scraped between rocks and ski boot on numerous occasion they are yet to show any sign of wear and the strong boot gators stay firmly attached to the boot.
Firstly we are keen to provide our customers with products that are fit for purpose; products we know will perform in the extreme environments we call our playground. Whether skiing or snowboarding; we have a selection of Patagonia clothing that will enable you to remain comfortable on the mountain. By layering a mixture of the breathable, insulating and waterproofing garments you can regulate your body temperature to the surrounding weather conditions; ensuring you can perform to your best.
The ladies and men’s specific fit are both made to the highest standards, and should last you for years. However if it doesn’t Patagonia are keen to repair it for you; check out their ‘Ironclad Guarantee’.
Secondly, like us and our customers, Patagonia care about the environment. We all love the ‘great outdoors’, so it’s important we take care of it. Patagonia, and many of the other brands we stock, is looking at ways to produce products of an environmentally friendly nature. They have gone to great length to ensure the sourcing and production of the garments has the least impact on the environment. And because Patagonia products are built to last, the impact is reduced further!
Whether you are a skier or snowboarder, you know a full day in boots has the potential to get sore, and really ruin your holiday. Falke want you to enjoy skiing every day – all day, and their socks really show this. The Falke SK2 ski socks feature a medium level of padding in stress zones like your shins and instep for protection and comfort, along with an asymmetric right and left toe box.
I’ve worn my SK2 socks while both skiing and snowboarding on our own dry slope here at Tallington Lakes, and at two different indoor slopes, and I think they are fantastic! All the padded zones aren’t just for looks; I really felt the difference. The padded zones on the shins are really effective for reducing that pressure you can sometimes feel when pushing forward into your boots. With some socks, the padding can cause a bit of rubbing due to how they are knitted, but with Falke’s socks that’s reduced due to the thin terry style knit giving it a softer, less abrasive feel against the skin.
I had my ankle reconstructed when I was younger which makes it a lot less flexible than it should be, and some days my ankle feels particularly stiff which mean I really have to force my foot into the boot which can really hurt. Now, I’m not saying these socks removed the issue but I did notice the reinforced instep helped to ease the pain which is really nice!
Once my feet get cold, there’s not really much I can do to save them. I’ve got quite a few different brands of ski/snowboard socks and considering these Falke socks are a merino wool blend, rather than 100% merino like some of my socks, I was pleasantly surprised as to how warm they kept my feet, and how breathable they actually felt! Not only do these ski socks feature the usual merino properties of heat retention, and moisture wicking properties they have merino’s natural odour control, which is ideal if you need to wear them more than once… ‘Cause honestly, whoever says they don’t try get multiple days out of a ski sock is probably lying to you…
Another cool thing about Falke socks is that they also do socks that are designed for snowboarding, with snowboard boots and bindings in mind. So, whether you are a skier or a snowboarder they have designed socks that’ll keep your piggies warm while protecting your shins, ankles and toes from pressure bruising, leaving you to enjoy the day from your morning on piste all the way through to après ski in the evening!