Showing posts with label Water. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Water. Show all posts

Gear Closet: Hydrapak Stash Water Bottle

As a frequent traveler, I'm always looking for ways that I can shed weight from my pack without sacrificing functionality. Often that comes from packing more wisely, leaving behind nonessential items, and choosing the proper gear for any given trip. But sometimes those gains can come from discovering an item that is designed for those who like to travel fast and light, but don't want to have to make compromises along the way. The Stash water bottle from Hydrapak is just such a product.

Made from durable and flexible materials, the Stash is a collapsible water bottle designed to shrink down to a highly packable size when not in use. This makes it super easy to stow in your pack until you're ready to use it, at which time it expands back to its full size in a manner of seconds.

I carry the 1-liter version (it is also available in a 750 ml size) of the Stash with me when I hit the road, and I've found it to an excellent traveling companion. It is lightweight (3.1 oz/88 g when empty), and yet still plenty durable enough to survive plenty of use and abuse in the backcountry. My Stash bottle is capable of holding up to 32 oz of water when full, but can reduce down to just 1/5 its normal size when you're ready to tuck it away.

As if that wasn't enough, the bottle can be used to store both hot and cold beverages. It is rated for use at temperatures as high as 140ºF (60ºC) or it can withstand its contents being frozen too. That versatility makes it a great option for the trail or campsite, allowing you to take it anywhere you want to go, and still stay hydrated along the way.

The 1-liter version comes with a wide-mouth (63 mm) cap that makes it extremely easy to drink from. That cap has also been designed to fit most backcountry water filters too, allowing the Stash to be refilled directly from a stream or lake. That same opening comes in handy when you're pouring water out as well, for instance when you're filling a pot to boil water for dinner.


Made from 100% BPA and PVC free materials, the Stash is perfectly safe to drink from. It also doesn't absorb the flavor of liquids other than water either. On occasion, I like to fill the bottle up with water and add a couple of nuun tablets, but after rinsing the bottle out the taste from those tablets usually disappears. You will have to occasionally wash the bottle out however, which is another time when the wide-mouth opening comes in handy.

I have been carrying this bottle with me on numerous trips over the past year, and have come to truly rely on it. I love that it weighs less than half that of a hardshell bottle, and that it compresses down to such a small size. It also draws a lot of attention from fellow travelers and guides, all of whom comment on what a clever and useful product it is. Most want to add it to their own gear collection once they head home.

If I have a criticism of the Stash it is that it often takes two hands to drink from it properly. Because it is a flexible bottle, it will start to bend out from the weight of the liquid inside as you start to empty it.  Other bottles will allow you to drink with one hand, as their hard shells prevent this from happening. For me, it is a small price to pay for the other conveniences it brings however, but it is worth pointing out nonetheless.

Speaking of small prices to pay, the Stash bottle is incredibly affordable too. Priced at just $22.99 for the 1-liter version, and $17.99 for the 750 ml model, this is an inexpensive option for adventure travelers, backpackers, and campers alike. It also makes a great stocking stuffer gift for the holidays too, as just about any outdoor enthusiast would love to receive this bottle. It's even available in five different colors.

Versatile, durable, affordable, and just downright cool. The Hydrapak Stash is one of my favorite pieces of gear that I've used in a long, long time.

Buy it at REI.com, CampSaver, or Backwoods.

Gear Closet: Five Ten Eddy Water Shoes

One of my favorite pairs of shoes that I've tested this year has been the Five Ten Access approach shoe, which I loved for their light weight, comfort, and durability. Since I reviewed them a month back, those shoes have become a staple in my wardrobe, accompanying me on many outdoor excursions. Because of this, I had high expectation of the new Eddy water shoe from Five Ten as well. The latest edition to the company's catalog brings Five Ten's years of experience to footwear designed to be worn in and around wet environments, delivering a fantastic option for paddlers, boaters, or just about anyone else who spends time out on the water.

Designed to be thin and lightweight, the Eddy was created to provide good protection for your feet, without becoming big and cumbersome. This allows them to fit nicely inside the cockpit of a kayak, including smaller play boats. I came to appreciate this design choice not because I needed the extra room, but because some of my larger water shoes often make it difficult to find the pedals that control the rudder on a sea kayak for instance. With these thin shoes, that wasn't a problem, and as a result I felt more connected with the boat in general.

Of course, that's just one element that I came to appreciate with these shoes. As you would expect, they offer quick-drying synthetic materials on the upper that allow water to pass through without retaining excess moisture, and thereby adding any amount of significant weight. The Eddy is also outfitted with plenty of drainage holes that help with this process too. The results are a shoe that is meant to be used on the water, but can be completely dry in about 15 minutes, allowing you to transition seamlessly back to land as well.


The sole of the shoe is made from Five Ten's Stealth S1 rubber, which was initially designed for use on the company's climbing shoes. This helps to give the Eddy a surprisingly great grip on slick, wet surfaces, making it easier to cross tough portages or to scramble in and out of your boat in rocky environments. That same Stealth S1 rubber extends up and around the toe, allowing the wearer to use it to maintain a grip while climbing in and out of the water. Those materials also provide an added protective barrier that isn't always common in this type of footwear.

All of these nice design elements don't mean much however if the shoe isn't comfortable to wear. Fortunately, Five Ten has us well covered there, as the Eddys feel great on your feet both in and out of the water. Better yet, they don't happen to look like a water shoe at first glance, which means you'll feel at home wearing them hiking to the put-in, during your waterborne adventures, and afterwards when you're grabbing lunch and a beer at the local pub.

As a frequent traveler, I always try to limit the number of pairs of shoes I take with me on my trips to no more than two. But, depending on the type of excursion I'm setting out on, I may need to add another pair or two to my bag. The Eddy is a versatile enough water shoe that I wouldn't hesitate to bring it along on any trip that involves spending time on the water. It is not only lightweight and comfortable, but it is also highly packable too. That means it can slip into your duffle bag or backpack without taking up too much room or adding undue bulk – something that endears me to just about any piece of gear.

Competitively priced at $100, Five Ten brings a lot to the table with the Eddy. While there are plenty of other options for good water shoes that cost less than that – including the 3T Barefoot Warrior from Body Glove that I reviewed back in August – few of those other shoes offer as many technical advantages as Five Ten's offering. While the Barefoot Warrior is a better option for stand-up paddleboarders, I'd recommend the Eddy to anyone who finds themselves scrambling through rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water where the footing isn't always certain. This is a much more substantial shoe, that is only slightly bigger and heavier.

If you're in the market for some new water shoes, the Five Ten Eddy is a great choice. This is particularly true if you find yourself hiking over slick surfaces on your way to and from the water. I think you'll be extremely pleased with what this shoe has to offer, and the grippy rubber outsole will be a welcome option for those who need a little extra security along the way.

Gear Closet: Body Glove 3T Barefoot Warrior Water Shoes

We live in a great time for the outdoor industry. Not only is our gear getting better all the time, it is getting more technical and specialized too. Case in point, over the past few years I've gone from a guy who had just a few pairs of shoes in his closet to someone who now owns the perfect shoe for whatever outdoor activity I'm heading out to take part in. But recently, I added a new pair of footwear to my growing collection in the form of the 3T Barefoot Warrior water shoe from Body Glove, which have delivered lightweight versatility for all of my favorite waterborne adventures.

If you read my article yesterday about whitewater rafting in Quebec you know that my recent trip to that part of Canada was all about spending time on the water. In fact, while I was there I not only went rating, but canoeing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding too. All of those activities were an opportunity to test the 3T Barefoot Warrior in a variety of different aquatic settings, and I can honestly say after using them for a week on the water, I came away very impressed.

These shoes feature a unique design that somewhat resembles Vibram's popular Five Fingers line. But where those shoes require you to jam all of your toes into individual slots, Body Glove has taken the wise step of using a three-toed design instead. As a result, I found it much easier to get the 3T Barefoot Warrior on than I ever did using the Five Fingers. That's because by big toe and second toe can easily slide into place, while the remaining three fit nicely into a larger compartment. On Vibram's offerings I always had to force those last three toes into their proper slots, which felt a bit unnatural to me.

Once the 3T Barefoot Warriors are on my feet, they feel far more natural and comfortable too, providing plenty of protection while still maintaining a good sense of balance too. In fact, up until I had these shoes I had always gone stand-up paddling barefoot as it helped to create the surest connection between my feet and the board I was using. But with Body Glove's shoes I was able to still keep my balance, even on a board that was not amongst the most stable that I have ever used.

As with any water shoe, drainage is of the utmost importance. Fortunately, Body Glove did a great job designing this shoe to allow water to move in and out quickly and easily. That same drainage system also serves to create ventilation for the foot when you're not in the water too, helping it to stay cooler while on land. As a result, you can easily transition in and out of the water without missing a beat.

Made from lightweight, quick-drying materials the 3T Barefoot Warrior are durable and comfortable enough that you can wear them all day without fear. Other water shoes have tended to chafe my feet at times when I wasn't in the water, but I didn't experience that at all here. And while you may get some strange looks wearing them around town, if you do have to wear them in that environment, you're feet won't complain one bit.

If you're in the market for a lightweight and versatile pair of water shoes that you can use in a wide variety of activities, the 3T Barefoot Warrior is an excellent option. I personally really like how they fit on my feet and how well they hold their grip, even on slick surfaces. The fact that they are also highly comfortable is a nice bonus, while the three-toed design makes them easy to get on and off and aids balance too. At $59.99 I think these shoes are a steal, and I believe anyone who takes part in water sports with any regularity will agree. Whether you kayak, SUP, swim, snorkel, or raft, this is a shoe that you'll want in your closet too.

Find out more at BodyGlove.com.

Video: Earth Porn - Volume 2: Alberta Water

Awhile back we had a beautiful video with the title of Earth Porn. It took us into the amazing wilderness settings of British Columbia, Canada, giving us some exceptionally beautiful shots of the landscapes there. Now, we're back with Volume 2 of the series, this time with a focus on the rivers, lakes, and waterfalls that can be found near Alberta. This short film is just as lovely as the first, with striking images that will leave you longing to visit these places for yourself.

EARTH PORN // VOL 2 // ALBERTA WATER from Christiaan Welzel on Vimeo.