Review: Floyd’s of Leadville CBD Hemp Oil

I have a confession to make, mostly to myself. I am getting older. I know, I don’t really believe it either, but it’s true. A few weeks ago, I woke up and I was 40. It is a reality that my juvenile brain has been unwilling to accept. I continue to treat my body the same as I always have – riding bikes, running, hiking, skateboarding, really just about anything to keep me moving and outside. While my mind continues to ignore the earth’s continuous rotation around the sun, my body has started to remind me that time did not stop in 2008. I’m greeted most mornings with muscle and joint soreness from whatever activity I took on the day before, and the reality of my age is becoming very clear.

In an effort to stay as active as possible, I try to stretch on a regular basis, drink lots of water and try to limit the amount of post ride adult beverages I partake in. I also started doing a little research on my own for different ways to treat the soreness without swallowing handfuls of ibuprofen or Tylenol. In recent years, people have begun to study the healing attributes of hemp based products, more specifically the cannabinoids contained within the plant. Cannabidiol, known to most simply as CBD, is one of over 60 cannabinoids found in marijuana. Research has shown that CBD oils can reduce inflammation in the body, providing relief from muscle and joint soreness, insomnia, anxiety and host of other ailments.

After spending a few weeks reading just about everything I could find on the subject of CBD, a package of Floyd’s of Leadville soft gel tablets serendipitously showed up at our office. Floyd’s of Leadville, founded by none other than Floyd Landis, offers a range of CBD products marketed towards sports recovery. The anti-inflammation characteristics of CBD are said to speed the recovery of sore muscles and reduce dehydration post workout. The 25mg dosage of CBD is also loaded with important amino acids (Omega Fatty acids 3, 6 and 9), which are essential to a healthy mind and body. If you are one that adheres to a plant based diet like myself, this is great way to make sure you’re getting enough of the stuff your body needs without the use of fish oil products.

So before I go into what my feelings are on the Floyd’s of Leadville products, let’s make sure we know exactly what Floyd’s is not. Floyd’s is not a marijuana product. It is derived from hemp, which allows it to be sold to states outside of Colorado. CBD is also a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, which means there are exactly zero mind-altering effects from taking one of these products. So, if you are expecting to pop one of these little guys and 20 minutes later be in the cosmos, trivializing the philosophical importance of a peanut shell, you are out of luck.

In my conversations with people about CBD and their experience with it, most people responded the same way – “I didn’t really feel anything.” I feel this is a response strictly based on the product’s close relationship with marijuana. Ask yourself this question – when you take a vitamin or supplement that has health benefits, do you ‘feel’ something? Floyd’s of Leadville CBD products are just another natural way to keep the body moving, not a way to feel invincible.

I would say my experience with these Floyd’s products has been a positive one. I noticed after the first few days that my knees were less sore in the morning. Leading up to my first day of taking the 25mg dose, my knees had become increasingly sore and stiff, so the absence of those feelings was an effect that I noticed right away. In some ways, I think I may have been a perfect test subject for the effectiveness of these products. I often suffer from heartburn and indigestion, and I have been trying to solve lifelong mystery of an autoimmune response that causes swelling and hives to occur without reason. Both of these ailments are caused by inflammation in the body, and over the course of the last few weeks, I have noticed a lot less of the symptoms since taking Floyd’s.

On a morning that I spent entering data into spreadsheets for work, I had over caffeinated myself and could feel the frustration of the constant clicking and dragging setting in. I took a Floyd’s to test its ability of calming the mind and within 30 minutes or so, the urge to toss my laptop across the room subsided and I felt less distracted. This morning, my muscles were sore and tired from a weekend of cross-country skiing and lifting weights, and again, after taking one of the small gel capsules, my body felt less tight and sore.

I have to admit I am very skeptical of any product that claims to treat so many ailments all at once. I don’t believe that anything should be marketed as a wonder drug to treat any and all conditions. If you have serious medical problems, please go see your doctor. However, if you are looking for an alternative to popping fistfuls of over the counter pain meds to keep your body feeling 28 instead of it’s actual age, Floyd’s might be right for you.

Floyd’s CBD products are also available in tinctures and creams. You can find more info here


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Your Answer to Offsetting Winter Weight Gain May Be More Sunlight

As if there weren’t enough factors conspiring to pad us with fat during the winter, we can now add lack of sunshine right behind cookies and eggnog. Groundbreaking research from the University of Alberta has found that certain light from the sun’s rays might reduce fat and regulate metabolism, while too little bodily exposure to these rays can make our fat cells plump.

It all comes down to scWAT, or subcutaneous white adipose tissue. It’s the major form of fat in humans that sits beneath our skin’s surface and helps regulate our metabolism, including how much fat we store. These cells shrink when exposed to blue light waves from the sun, according to the study.

RELATED: How to Get More Sunlight During the Day

"When the sun’s blue light wavelengths—the light we can see with our eye—penetrate our skin and reach the fat cells just beneath, lipid droplets reduce in size and are released out of the cell," study author Peter Light, professor of pharmacology and the director of UAlberta’s Alberta Diabetes Institute, said in a press release. "In other words, our cells don’t store as much fat."

Theoretically, the reverse is also true: Insufficient sunlight exposure could increase fat storage and help add extra pounds to our bodies. So people in northern climates, who deal with shorter days in the colder months, may have the relative lack of sunlight to blame for their wintertime weight gains.

Look good riding in the sun with these Oakley shades: 

RELATED: How Much Vitamin D Boosts Your Immune System?

This is all extremely preliminary and not an excuse to eschew sunscreen or ride your base miles in your birthday suit. But Light, a cyclist himself, is keen to determine just how much sun exposure it takes to have an effect.

“We are actively following up with more research to determine if just the fat exposed to sunlight is affected, or can this effect be transferred to other fat cells that are covered up,” he says. “So short sleeves and shorts may be all that’s required, especially if you like the tanline look.”

In the meantime, you have an excuse to test his theory somewhere sunny and warm. See you in Sedona!

Check out Bike Your Butt Off! for more weight loss tips for cyclists.

Biking in Sunlight - Winter

Biking in Sunlight - Winter

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Here’s What Happens When Cyclists Don’t Protect Themselves from Sunburn

South African racer Louis Meintjes got a painful lesson in skin care this weekend, if a photo he tweeted on Saturday is any indication. The grisly image showed his back, which had turned beet-red aside from glaring white stripes left from his heart rate monitor and bib straps.

What happened? Well, the Dimension Data rider had neglected to slather on sunscreen beneath his mesh jersey and got badly sunburned.

“Rookie mistake,” Meintjes wrote, adding a few emojis for effect.

His followers, though largely sympathetic, offered an amusing array of color commentary, so to speak. Some noted the pattern resembled the flag of Denmark:

Others felt his pain and/or expressed gratitude for the public sun-safety announcement:

RELATED: The UPF Gear You Need to Avoid Sunburns While Riding

And of course, this being Twitter, more than a few offered unsolicited advice on what he should do next:

Hopefully it worked and Meintjes is back in the saddle without seeing red.

Louis Meintjes Sunburn

Louis Meintjes Sunburn

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The Surprising Reason Why Drivers Don’t ‘See’ Cyclists

It’s bad enough that we have to worry about distracted drivers looking down at their phones, but new research has found an even more vexing trend: Drivers can look straight at cyclists and still not “see” them, leading to dangerous or deadly encounters on the roads.

A recent study out of Australian National University asked 56 adults to examine a series of photographs depicting common roadway scenarios from the driver’s point of view. Some photos were manipulated to include either a motorcycle or a taxi. Overall, the volunteers were more than twice as likely to notice the appearance of the taxi as they were to spot the motorcycle. In fact, a full 65 percent indicated that they didn’t see the motorcycle at all.

This phenomenon—a person’s failure to notice an unexpected object in plain sight—is known as “inattentional blindness.” It’s the reason why a driver might look right at you, but cut you off anyway. Their eyes see you and your bike, but they don’t register your presence (as they would if you were in a car). And, sometimes, they hit you. That also has a name: looked-but-failed-to-see (LBFTS) crashes.

RELATED: 5 Tips for Driving Alongside Cyclists

“When we are driving, there is a huge amount of sensory information that our brain must deal with. We can’t attend to everything, because this would consume enormous cognitive resources and take too much time," study author Kristen Pammer, a professor of psychology and the associate dean of science at Australian National University, said in a press release. "So our brain has to decide what information is most important. The frequency of LBFTS crashes suggests to us a connection with how the brain filters out information.”

See how to safely pass a cyclist in your car:

Though the study focused on motorcycles, it doesn’t take a giant leap of logic to discern how well cyclists would fare in the same scenarios.

RELATED: Distracted Driving Can Kill Cyclists, Yet Some States Only Charge a $20 Fine

“I imagine the issue might be even worse for bicycles that operate in traffic differently from cars or motorcycles,” inattention blindness expert Daniel J. Simons, co-author of the New York Times bestseller The Invisible Gorilla, told Bicycling. “We tend to see what we’re looking for, and we often miss unexpected things, especially when they differ from the focus of our attention. So if drivers are always looking for cars and bicycles are rare, they can look right at the cyclist and not see them.”

The study concluded that more driver awareness programs should instruct on how to watch out for non-car road users. In the meantime, Simons said, “assume drivers won’t see you and ride defensively.” Employing some of the same strategies as motorcycles, such as daytime running lights, may help cyclists catch the attention of drivers.

Keep up with the latest cycling news by subscribing to our newsletter

Cyclist Looking Out for Cars

Cyclist Looking Out for Cars

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In Honor of Eddy Merckx, the 2019 Tour de France Will Start in Brussels

The 2019 Tour de France will start with two stages in and around the Belgian capital of Brussels in a tribute to Eddy Merckx, race organizer Christian Prudhomme confirmed on Tuesday.

The first, 119-mile stage will set off from the city’s Royal Museums of Fine Arts and take in the Lion’s Mound on the battlefield of Waterloo and the Mur de Grammont, a steep climb used in the Tour of Flanders.

The following day, a 17-mile team time trial will run from the Royal Palace to the Atomium, one of the city’s most famous landmarks.

RELATED: 7 Reasons Why We Can’t Wait for the 2018 Pro Cycling Season

The 2019 Tour will mark 50 years since Belgian great Merckx first took the overall race leader’s yellow jersey on home soil at Woluwe-Saint-Pierre near Brussels, where his parents ran a grocery shop. It will also mark 100 years since the introduction of the yellow jersey.

Now 72, Merckx, nicknamed the Cannibal, won the 1969 Tour de France and went on to win it a record-equalling five times overall, the last being in 1974. (Pick up this incredible Eddy Merckx Alphabet poster.)

RELATED: The 5 Must-See Stages in the 2018 Giro d’Italia

"It was important to start in the home city of the champion who has worn the yellow jersey more times than anyone else," Prudhomme said.

Brussels previously hosted the "Grand Depart" of the Tour de France in 1958.

Eddy Merckx 1971

Eddy Merckx 1971

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Today SRAM introduced DUB a bottom bracket/crank product line that promises better bottom bracket durability and compatibility with virtually all major manufacturer’s MTB frames.

As SRAM tends to do, their tech is wrapped in lots of marketing, trademarks, and acronyms. So what you need to know is DUB is similar to Rotor, BB386, and other standards that use a wide stance oversize alloy BB spindle, but they shrunk the spindle from 30mm to 28.99mm (no, seriously).

The Goldilocks quirkiness of 28.99mm is where you should expect to see long comment threads from bike mechanics, and not without good reason.

SRAM shrunk DUB’s spindle diameter to increase the room for better bottom bracket seals (DUB is being marketed for MTB after all). Coincidentally, it’s also *just* small enough that you can’t shim the spindle into a BB30-sized bearing, so you will definitely be using SRAM bottom brackets with DUB cranks. Minor plus: existing installation tools that work with GXP cups will work with DUB cups.

SRAM claims stiffer and lighter—as you expect—than previous cranksets, but when they give actual weight comparisons a cynical observer would notice that SRAM quotes the DUB crank weights s against the existing GXP versions (i.e. steel 24mm spindle) rather than the BB30 versions of the cranksets. One might imagine they do this because there’s only a marginal weight difference if anything. SRAM explains the fixing bolt and pre-load hardware have been refined slightly, but it’s certainly nothing revolutionary.

Ultimately DUB’s main marketing point is the BB seals’ durability because DUB otherwise doesn’t do anything that the BB386-type standards didn’t already do: lighter yet stiffer oversize alloy spindles and compatibility with most major BB shell standards. Ten years ago this might have been big news, but today it’s like “um….ok”. It takes a lot market spin to make 1.01mm of a difference sound revolutionary.

Still, this is MTB, so the demographic may very well be chuffed….I mean, MTB manufacturers can’t get enough rear spacing/chainline standards so why would new BB sku#s give them a moment of pause. MTB consumers constantly do complain about BB durability though, so if the more elaborate DUB seals do the job then the standard will do well, especially if they can grab a good portion of the OEM market at the front end.

There is one nagging question: if DUB uses a 28.99mm spindle to give more space for better seals while still having big enough bearings on pressfit BB shell standards like BB92 and BB386, there really isn’t a reason why external bearing standards like BSA30 couldn’t just use bigger bearings with better seals since the bearings aren’t spatially constrained since they sit outboard of the frame’s shell. Perhaps the pragmatic answer is that DUB represents the best compromise for the widest variety of frames on the market. Ultimately SRAM might reduce their crank sku#s by eliminating both GXP and 30mm spindle cranks in favor of a sole focus on DUB.

There’s no reason DUB couldn’t be adapted to road crank designs (and by extension gravel & CX), but I don’t see OEM or even the aftermarket getting that excited about an incremental change requiring a new standard. Yet DUB doesn’t require frame manufacturers to change anything, so if SRAM did a hot update to Red (their flagship road group) that included a DUB crank, DUB could gain a foothold in the road market that way. One might guess that DUB could debut with the expected 1×12 “Eagle” for road group. But I wager the weight reduction is virtually nothing over existing BB30/BB386.

The SRAM Eagle DUB crankset is listed at $485 – $495 and is shipping now.


The SRAM Eagle DUB crankset is listed at  $485 – $495 and is shipping now.

Specifications for X01 Eagle™ DUB™ Crankset

  • ARM MATERIAL: Carbon composite, foam core
  • WEIGHT: 471g (175mm, 32t)
  • AVAILABLE ARM LENGTHS: 170mm, 175mm
  • COMPATIBILITY: All levels of Eagle drivetrain systems, All major bottom bracket standards.
  • COLORS: Black, Red
  • BOLTS: Direct Mount
  • RECOMMENDED CHAIN: Eagle chain only

The post SRAM DUB appeared first on Bike Hugger.


How To: Make your own DIY handlebar hardness

Words and photos by Gabriel Amadeus

The market is awash with a huge assortment of very well-made bikepacking bags to fit in every nook and cranny of your bike. One of the simplest, and often over-complicated methods of transport is strapping a load to your bicycle’s handlebars. If it’s a small, light load you can get away with very little: I’ve secured a tent to the front of my drop bars with nothing more than stretchy ski straps.

But if you’re looking to carry a larger load, you’ll want something more rigid and secure, while also eliminating brake lever interference. When I ran across the basics of this design on a bikepacking forum, I started experimenting. Now in its fifth iteration, this design has gotten stronger, lighter and much more secure.

In my experience, it holds loads more stable than commercially available harnesses. It adds rigidity and locks the load weight against the bars and head tube, preventing bounce and chatter. As an additional bonus, the straps around the circumference provide a perfect attachment point for small bags, knife sheaths, bear spray, feathers, skulls, flowers and other talismans. It’s a cheap and easy project requiring very basic tools that anyone should be able to do in an afternoon.

What You Need

This starts with the Limberlost Handlebar Roll Harness Template, or make your own. You can download the Limberlost template for just $5. Print it full size at Kinkos or tile the pages on your home printer.

  • A stuff sack approximately 22 by 7 inches, or my preference: an 8 by 8 foot sheet of Tyvek that doubles as a shelter or ground cloth. Should cost you about $8.
  • 2 by 3 foot sheet of 0.035-inch polyethylene plastic. We’ll be laminating two plies of polyethylene together for our harness, but if you fi nd a heavier plastic a single layer may suffice. About $4.
  • 9 feet of three-quarter-inch nylon webbing straps (you might find pre-sewn buckle straps at your gear store, but sewing your own is cheaper). About $3.
  • 3 buckles, three-quarter-inch width. About $1.50 or dirtbag tip: cut buckles and webbing off old backpacks before discarding.
  • 6 inches of half-inch PVC tubing. About $0.50.
  • 6 inches of paracord. About $0.50.
  • Utility or X-Acto knife and new blade
  • Saw
  • 1/8 – inch hole punch or drill bit
  • Half round rasp
  • Spray adhesive
  • 60 grit sandpaper


Using the template, cut the plastic to shape. Easy-Tack makes the tracing and cutting much easier. Use a pin to mark where the keyholes of the strap slits will be but don’t cut yet. Feel free to experiment with the template — this is designed for wide mountain bike handlebars and a suspension fork, but if you will be using the harness with drop bars you’ll need to make it narrower.

The important thing is that you have rigidity against the standoffs. Sand one surface of each shape, then apply spray adhesive and roll into a cylinder around a filled stuff sack. Use straps to hold its shape while the adhesive dries. After glue has set, use a drill or hole punch where you marked the slit ends to prevent cracking and then cut the webbing slits.

Cut lengths of 1/2″ PVC tubing to length.


Cut three, 33 inch straps, melt the ends and sew the buckles. (Once you’re all done feel free to trim them shorter if needed.) Measure, cut and sand PVC standoffs to a length that will clear your brake levers. Here I went with 3 inches to accommodate a variety of bike setups, but if it’s for the bike pictured I’d shorten to about 2.25 inches. I like to contour the end that rests against the handlebars with the rasp and sand down all the sharp edges.

The straps are a continuous loop around the roll, through the PVC, and around the handlebars.

You’ve done the lion’s share at this point, but the threading of the webbing can be complicated. On the left and right route the webbing through the front double slits, into the standoff, around the handlebar, back through the standoff, and through the rear set of slits. Make sure the standoffs are aligned with each other and the harness will rest against the bike’s headtube without kinking any brake or shifter housing. The rear center edge of the harness should end up just in front of the fork crown. This is the trickiest part and each bike is different.

Use a piece of paracord to secure roll against headtube.

In order to prevent the weighted harness from bouncing we’re going to anchor it against the headtube. If there is enough tubing above the lower headset race just a simple loop of paracord will do the trick. If there is none, you’ll have to tie a harness as shown.

The final product!

Route the third strap through the slits and around the paracord. The most abrasion will come from your headtube, but the template is designed to place the plastic (not webbing) against this hot spot. Cover your headtube with Gorilla Tape if you’re worried about the paint job.

Fill your stuff sack or roll up your Tyvek tarp and strap into place. It’ll take some adjusting the first few times you do it, but once cinched down tightly this harness system holds a load more securely than most commercially available systems. A fter riding for a while, notice how it shi fts and interferes with cable housing and make adjustments as needed.


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Stem Measurements

by Clint

Finding the right size stem is important to dial in the fit of your bike. This article is going to focus on defining dimensions of a stem, and not the fit.

Most of the important dimensions can be identified on a threadless stem, so let’s start with those! Here’s a neat infographic:

Length and angle are dimensions that affect fit, while steerer diameter, clamp diameter, and stack height are going to affect compatibility. Different combinations of length, angle, and position on the fork steerer can yield the same bar position, so do some trigonometry or trial and error to find the best fit for you!

Dimensions are mostly going to be the same for a quill stem. Height above minimum insertion is an important one specific to quill stems. That looks like this:

Our Cigne Stem is really what sparked this article. Due to its unusual look and function, dimensions are a little funky.  Here’s a drawing that should clear things up:

Hopefully this answers a few questions about what to look for when deciding which stem will work for your needs. Source:

What Wood Jesus Do?

Remember the Renovo Aerowood?

Wait, sorry, wrong picture.
You may recall that the bike was creaking on climbs, which is something that shouldn’t happen, even beneath a rider as powerful as myself.  It sounded to my expert ear like the creaking was coming from the rear hub, so I changed wheels, which did wonders for the braking but took a devastating toll on the aesthetics:
(Thick, swoopy frame just can’t pull off low-profile rims.)
Alas, the creaking continued.
At that point I figured the source of the offending sound could be pretty much anything, and with my time in even shorter supply than my patience we agreed that I’d send the bike back to Renovo who would get it all sorted out for me.  Lazy?  Sure.  However, I’m supposed to be evaluating the bike, and would the sort of person who buys a $10,000 wooden bicycle deign to figure out why his or her bike is creaking?  I think not.
Nevertheless, I’m so deeply and profoundly lazy that I never even got around to packing the bike so someone else could fix it for me, and instead it just sat there.
Then came the new year, and my resolution to ride only one bike…this one:
Cunningly I’d included in my resolution a test bike loophole, because obviously as a semi-professional bike blogger I’ve got to be able to evaluate bicycles, right?  Hey, without me it’s just the sphincter-tightening reviews over at VeloNews or Bicycling or CyclingTips or whatever the Freds are reading these days, or else the douchechill-inducing himbo bro-fest over at the Radavist.  I consider it my mission to provide you with the sort of edifying and substantial fare that on a good day hits at least freshman English major levels of pretentiousness and word bloat masquerading as erudition.  
Anyway, as you can imagine, after riding the monstrosity above multiple times my thought began to drift to the test bike in the basement.  Drop bars…  electronic shifting…  crabon wheels…  It all sounded so dreamy!
Hey, I am a recovering Fred after all.
So on Friday evening I headed down to the basement and, determined to eliminate the creaking, went to work on the Renovo.  (I also threw in a couple loads of laundry because that’s where the machines are.)  The wash cycle was just enough time to swap cassettes and brake pads and restore the wooden bike to its original crabon-wheeled state, and as the clothes tumble-dried I pulled the cranks, tightened the bottom bracket, and put on some of those quick fenders.  Then the next morning I went for a ride:
Not only was the bike now blissfully creak-free, but it was also an absolute joy to ride.  Is at least some of that joy attributable to the fact that for the last few week’s I’ve been riding a 30-pound mountain bike almost exclusively?  Almost certainly.  In fact, while I’d always been a bit uncomfortable with the sheer lavishness of the Renovo, I was now positively reveling in it, so starved had I been of my Fredly vices.  So between the juxtaposition factor and the resolute silence I have to admit that I am currently in love with this bicycle.
Speaking of the fenders, not only do I think the bike looks much better with them than it does with bare wheels:
But they also work almost as well as proper full fenders thanks to that rear wheel cutout:
At this point you’re no doubt thinking I’m a massive hypocrite, and of course you’d be right.  Isn’t committing to bicycle austerity and then hopping on a sumptuous Fred sled when the mood strikes you no different than declaring veganism but saying it’s fine to eat cheeseburgers just as long as you don’t pay for them?  Of course it is, which is why I put the loophole in there in the first place.  
Hey, I’m not as stupid as I look–and I look pretty stupid:
(Photo by Grant Petersen)
Nevertheless, I maintain that my resolution is no less valuable for it.  In fact it may be even more valuable, since sticking to Ol’ Piney means when I do hop on another bike I’m more able to appreciate it and discern its best features, thus making me a better bike reviewer.  Then again, a vegan sneaking a cheeseburger after two weeks of chia seeds will probably declare even a mediocre one the best burger they’ve ever had, so in that sense I suppose it’s possible the resolution will make me a worse bike reviewer.  
All of this is very troubling to me for about fourteen seconds, after which I decide I don’t give a fuck.  Plus, the Renovo is not at all suited to riding in dirt, so you can be sure I’ll continue to spend much of my time on Ol’ Piney.
Nevertheless, I will continue long-term testing of the Renovo for the benefit of cycledom in general and people interested in purchasing high-end wooden bicycles in particular, and I will also allow myself to revel in its decadence.
Someone’s gotta do it.


Review: REI 1-person tent, sleeping bag and pad

Start dreaming of spring and camping season with this long-term review of a 1-person tent, sleeping bag and pad from REI. 

REI Co-op Quarter Dome 1 Tent
Price: $279

The REI Co-op Quarter Dome 1 is a 1-person, 3-season tent. If you are in the market for a tent or know someone who is, this tent should be on your short list to consider. After a long-term review period and multiple nights in the 2017 model REI Quarter Dome 1 tent, here is my assessment.

The packed weight on the entire tent is 2lbs 14oz, with a packed size of 6 x 18.5 inches in its bag. You can drop that weight down if you individually pack just the tent body, rainfly and poles taking it to a trail weight of 2lbs 7oz.

The color-coded poles and buckles made this tent very easy to set up. I had it complete in 5 minutes with no experience with last years model. The aluminum tent poles are robust and snap together easily, attaching to the grommets without a struggle. The rain fly attachment is also color-coded and has buckles making it simple to attach and adjust tension.

The main vestibule is large enough to store my bags, a little gear and there is also a small area on the non-door side of the tent that can be used to free up a little space if needed. The inside area gives enough room in the tent for sleeping pad and bag, nightly clothes, a few nighttime gadgets, plus my labrador-mixed-breed dog. With floor dimensions of 88 x 35/27 (L x W head/foot) inches, the footbox has enough room to accommodate said dog, or make things a bit more roomy if you’re sleeping solo. The peak height on the QD is 42 inches and I’ve seen a 6’3″ person sit-up completely in it.

This tent stayed dry through heavy rains and without the rain fly on, it opened the opportunity on a clear night to enjoy the sky. REI continues to work on improving their outdoor gear and the changes from last year’s model such as the increased height, color-coded poles, wider doors, more stash pockets, and rainfly buckle replacing grommets made for a nice improvement to this particular domicile.

REI Co-op Flash Insulated Air Sleeping Pad
Price: $99.00 – $119.00
Sizes: Long (reviewed), Long Wide, Regular, Regular Wide

A good sleeping pad can go a long way after a full-day biking adventure. The REI Co-op Flash Insulated Air Sleeping Pad surprised me with how comfortable it is. The pad uses multiple inflating pockets that result in the pad feeling stable and not bouncy. The down-side to this comfort is lack of rigidity – if you’re putting down clothes on uneven ground to even out your sleep area, the pad will bend around the items rather than remain horizontal like more rigid pads. But no matter the surface I slept on with this pad, the two-inches of cushion gave me a comfortable sleeping experience.

The sleeping pad weights 15 oz and has an R-value of 3.7. An R-value is a way to measure a materials thermal resistance. For example, a winter-ready sleeping pad R-value would be a 4.9. So, if you encounter snow this pad will be a little on the cold side, so pack extra clothes to put underneath. The Flash has separate inflate and deflate valves, making this pad super easy to use. About 17-20 good puffs will get this pad fully inflated. With the two valves, you can add air to this pad while you are laying on it and not have it deflate. Just make sure not to pull the deflate side.

The pad is 30 denier polyester which can be a little concerning if you’re sleeping on bare rocks or under a bivvy. I intentionally attempted to put a few holes in the pad and failed to do so. I could see over time a few holes appearing, but with good care, this pad should last a while. Know that a patch kit is NOT included with the Flash.

Overall this pad is comfortable, low weight, has good warmth retention, and excellent valves, making this a contender in three-season pad choices. Make sure to purchase that patch kit and if you find yourself sleeping on slopes a lot maybe look for a more rigid pad.

REI Co-op Magma 17 Sleeping Bag – Women’s
Price: $349.00 -$369.00
Sizes: Long, Regular (reviewed)

The new REI Magma women’s sleeping bag went on many adventures this year for a long-term review. Let’s start with the biggest draw with this bag, the price. REI’s Magma sleeping bag series costs nearly $100 less than similar bags on the market.

The Magma is 850-fill water-resistant down with a Pertex Quantum shell bringing the bag comfort rating to 17 degrees. Note that the men’s version of this bag is rated at a lower limit of 10-degrees, the women’s is rated at 3-degrees. So the women’s bag is warmer than the men’s and that is because women tend to cool down quicker than men. The hood of the bag wraps around your face like a cocoon and there is even enough room for a pillow. Along with the overall softness of the bag, there is a yoke under the chin to really ensure cold air doesn’t sneak in.

The Magma comes with a mesh storage sack and a nylon stuff bag. If you are bikepacking and need every inch of space I would recommend picking up a compression sack. The regular size bag weighs in at 2lbs 4oz and fits up to 66″. The Long size weight is 6lbs 6oz and fits up to 72″ in length. Overall impressions of the Magma are that it is comfortable, warm, and affordable. The only concern I had with the sleeping bag is the lack of a double-layer outer shell which could potentially reduce moisture protection and affect the long-term lifespan of the bag. With that said, I have been using this bag almost all of 2017 with zero complaints, just sweet dreams.



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