Product Reviews – February 2012
Skew and Splay Beanies
There are probably more outerwear companies based in Utah than there are LDS church buildings, so finding a company that makes decent gear can sometimes be overwhelming. If you need help wading through the crap, just look to Discrete. Their men’s Skew beanie is a bank-robber-style fold-up. It’s 100% acrylic and is the only beanie I own that doesn’t make my head itch all day. It’s plain black and has a small, metal tag of their pyramid logo on the fold. The Splay is a women’s beanie, which is also 100% acrylic, but has an interesting cabled pattern and a ball on the top. I would highly suggest either of these beanies for both style and warmth. –Chris Proctor
Wailer 112RP Hybrid Skis
Stemming from a background in creating unique ski designs, DPS has delivered what they are calling “the game changer.” The Wailer 112RP is a freeride powder ski that chews up the mountain and puts a smile on your face. A rockered tip and tail coupled with an aggressive side cut makes this ski a delight to ride in a variety of conditions. DPS is also playing it smart and developing a Hybrid model that is composed of fiberglass, carbon and bamboo. This trifecta of materials allows the Wailer to be super light-weight, yet beautifully responsive and stiff. It excels in soft snow, but can be railed on hard pack like the finest GS ski. If you were to couple this with a Dynafit A/T binding, you would have one of the smoothest touring set-ups on the block. DPS has found its diamond in the rough with the Wailer, and it is sure to turn some heads with its flashy, yellow top sheet. DPS has recently moved to SLC and you can fondle their works of art at their ski salon on 1549 S. 1100 E. –Sean Zimmerman-Wall
Coffee Messenger Bag
The Glitch Wear Coffee Bag brings two of my favorite things together into one¬—coffee and bags. Each bag is made of a coffee burlap sack, and then lined with a fabric that adds its own bit of character to make it pop.
This particular 15 inch messenger bag is made of a Sumatra Rare coffee burlap sack (now I am craving a cup). Both the strap and pockets are lined with royal blue fabric that tie in with the hot pink print of an elephant on the outside flap. However, each bag is one of a kind. The lining is different and some of the graphics are extremely rare, so you don’t ever have to worry about running into someone with the same bag as you.
One thing I love about this bag is there are pockets everywhere. Sometimes, I end up carrying some random things and need as many pockets as I can get to keep those things all organized. There is a big zipper pocket on the outside of the flap that unzips to reveal smaller pockets within the big pocket. When you lift the flap, there are three more pockets on the outside of the main pocket, and within the main pocket of the bag are a few smaller pockets. Follow me? There are a lot of pockets. If they aren’t holding anything yet, they will be. Even though these bags are handmade, they are durable, which is a plus for every bag owner. When I carry a bag, I don’t just carry a bag. I carry my entire life in that bag. You never know when you might need something. Floss? I got it. An extra book to read, no problem. This messenger bag is built for the mover, the maker, the street walker, and the traveler. The Coffee Bag comes in three different sizes: 10 inch, 13 inch, and 15 inch. The smaller sizes are great for everyday use and the plethora of pockets show up in every bag. So, no matter the size, there’s always room for the little things.
One issue is that the strap is not adjustable, but that depends on your height and comfort zone. I am shorter and it’s nice to be able to adjust messenger bags so they don’t hit you while you walk, but the bag falls to a comfortable place that is still easy enough to carry on one shoulder or across my back. But it seems to be the perfect length for a few of my tall friends who have Glitch Wear Coffee Bags. So, for the majority of normal height humans, no complaints.
Overall, this bag is great. It’s handmade, one of a kind and built to last. Glitch Wear is a local company. You can pick up their bags at Sugarhouse Coffee in SLC, at Atticus in Park City or online at glitchwear.com. –Karamea Puriri
Eau de Parfum
This unisex fragrance isn’t something you’re likely to smell me sporting every day, but it’s a solid addition to my scent arsenal—which is usually just Dr. Bronner’s Tea Tree soap. I forego all other fragrance because, frankly, they smell like artificial bullshit. At least this is something I can wear and people won’t think I’d just walked out of Abercrombie & Fitch. Some of the SLUG staff didn’t like it as much as I initially did. In fact, SLUG sales rep Jemie Sprankle compared it to an “eighth grade dance.” Regardless, I dig it. It kinda reminds me of bud, which is what it’s supposed to do. Kush comes in 1 ounce bottles and is made locally, which is a plus. Be grateful when you smell me wearing this because it means I haven’t taken a shower recently and would smell even worse without the musky overtones that Kush carries. –JP
Ultimate Ears Custom In-Ear Monitors
If you’re as obsessed with getting the best audio from your MP3 player as I am, then you’re probably just as pissed off at companies like Sony and Apple with their “one size fits all” earbuds that do nothing for quality control—if they even fit and stay in your ear to begin with. The best way to go is with a custom-fit bud like you see musicians and singers wearing on stage. Logitech has developed their own brand of custom-cast designs called Ultimate Ears. Getting fitted isn’t the greatest feeling, as you’ll have to get a mold of your ear canal for a proper fit, but you can’t really argue with the results once you try them on for the first time. These buds block out most sound from the outside world and directly feed whatever you’re listening to right to the eardrum. The upside: it’s the clearest audio you’ll ever get on any device. The downside: it’s a snug and sometimes aching fit with no volume control on the wiring. Despite the price (which will set you back between $449 and $1,350 for the custom-cast) they’re well worth it. Logitech also offers quality everyday earphones starting at $19.99. –Gavin Sheehan
Borealis Winter Full-Finger Cycling Gloves
Having recently moved from the dry, snowy winters of Salt Lake City to the moldy bike mecca that is Portland, Ore., I quickly discovered that the winter-riding gloves that I was utilizing in Salt Lake were not going to cut it here. I began what became somewhat of a daunting task to find a pair of gloves that could be windproof (a vital need as an all-weather cyclist) and keep my hands DRY in Portland’s rainy climate. Padding and warmth were also important factors, as well as a good fit (i.e. not bulky/puffy). The Borealis truly fits the bill, as there are a myriad of possibilities with these gloves. They come with fleece liners, keeping my hands snug and toasty on the inside, protected with the outer shell layer, which is a synthetic windproof and water-resistant material, with long neoprene cuffs that you can arrange with your jacket to keep water out and heat in. Depending on the range of temperatures, I can ride with liners-sans-shell, or vice-versa. All are easy to dry, and to take on and off, and best of all, THEY AREN’T PUFFY. The two-finger lobster design is nice for keeping those little digits warm, but the first two fingers are still independent, and give you the range of motion and dexterity to brake quickly or flip the bird to that dude who cut you off. I do wish there was a little more padding on the palms of the shells, but as everything else exceeded my expectations at a price that’s pretty much unbeatable, I am not going to complain about it. Because of these gloves, I am actually looking forward to bombing the hills in the freezing-cold downpours with total confidence. –Mary Houdini
Batarang Controller for Xbox 360
I am of the opinion that Microsoft’s Xbox 360 controller is one of the best video game controllers ever—the buttons are laid out logically and the controller’s size accommodates both those with freakishly small hands and monstrously large hands. The one problem I’ve always had, though, is that the standard Xbox 360 controller is not shaped like a Batarang. Finally, Power A has heard my prayers and answered them with the release of their Batarang controller to coincide with the excellent Batman: Arkham City video game. The controller looks pretty goddamn slick, and there’s even a button that lights up several LEDs within the body, illuminating the controller in a variety of colors. Also, if you throw the Batarang controller at your dastardly roommate’s face, it will fucking hurt—I know from experience. The only drawback of the Xbox 360 version is that it is not wireless (though the Playstation 3 Batarang controller is). There is a silver lining, however, as you can plug this bad boy into a USB port and use it on your PC (or your Mac, if you are a hipster/supervillain). Plus, I look pretty awesome playing with the Batarang controller while wearing nothing but my Batman underwear. –Ricky Vigil
Riders, Artists, Musicians Project (RAMP) is a new company based in Park City that is making some exciting products for snow sliders. Driven by a mission to deliver skis and boards to the masses at factory-direct pricing, RAMP is the everyman’s ski company. The Peacepipe is a big mountain ski that is capable of slaying any slope and fits the bill for powder lovers across the globe. Its rockered tip and flat tail make it extremely versatile and predictable at high speed. I enjoyed taking these sticks out to the Peruvian Cirque at Snowbird for some figure 11s. It is nice to feel so solid while pointing ‘em straight, and the burly construction keeps the vibrations out. As the season moves on and we start to get more snow, be on the lookout for these rad machines to be blazing up the powder and leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. For more info, check out rampsports.com. –Sean Zimmerman-Wall
The first thing I noticed about the Trevor goggles, aside from their awesome blue-purple color, was how comfortable they are. I don’t like stuff on my face or head—that’s why I wear contacts instead of glasses, would rather listen to music on speakers than headphones and wear only as much makeup as will hide my acne—but I didn’t mind wearing these goggles for a day on the slopes. They’re super light and flexible, and on top of that, never fogged up, due to the “polycarbonate cylindrical lens,” which sounds super technical, but I think it refers to the vents on the top of the lens covered in a soft mesh material. The foam that lines the goggles and rests on your face has moisture repelling “Dri-Force” fleece, which kept the sweat on my face to a minimum, unlike the last pair of goggles I had that left me with super unattractive sweat rings around my face. If you’re looking for a solid pair of goggles that look good and do the job for a reasonable price ($79.95), look no further than Spy’s Trevor goggles. –Esther Meroño
Versa Wind Mitt
Let me be perfectly frank with you: I am not a regular runner, but I am actively outdoors throughout much of the fall and winter seasons, and I am a huge supporter of warm hands, so I jumped on the opportunity to review some good gloves. These sleek gloves are lightweight, comfortable and breathe easily. Much like my trusted long-johns, the gloves also effectively manage any moisture my hands might produce. These are convertible mitts, so they function normally as fingered gloves, but they have a wind shell that you can pull out of the top of the glove to cover your fingers and provide a little bonus protection against the elements by providing additional insulation and reducing wind chill. The wind shell is fluorescent to give you a little peace of mind while running, biking or walking your pooch in the dark. I am a big fan of the rubber grips on the fingers, which are helpful for driving or picking up change in the street. These gloves are surprisingly warm for how thin they are—I was pretty comfortable down to about 25 degrees for a prolonged period of time (2-3 hours) without using the wind shell. The fact that they fit easily in my back pocket or the pocket of a jacket has made them my go-to gloves. –Ben Trentelman