Monday, December 28, 2015

Versatile Waterproof TEKTITE Dry Bag by Supersingularity #Review

Product received at no charge in exchange for an honest review.

Many of our adventures leave our clothing and gear wet. It's always nice to have a waterproof bag to keep our extra clothes and electronics dry. The 30L five-in-one TEKTITE waterproof backpack by Supersingularity gives us the peace of mind that our camera won't get ruined if we fall hiking in the snow or get caught in a snowstorm. Best of all, we can take it on our water sport adventures, like boating and kayaking, and rest assured that if we drop the bag in the water, we won't have to worry about water damage.

I have other dry bags but none of them convert to a backpack. The Supersingularity Dry Bag has straps that make it easy to carry on our backs which is a plus when we take it hiking. However, I prefer to take my regular day pack hiking and save my dry bag for the outdoor activities it works  well for.

 This dry bag is awesome for what it was built for, to keep gear and electronic devices from getting wet. The top folds down and has a strap to keep it closed so it stays completely dry inside. The 30L size means that it can hold two compact sleeping bags. My favorite feature is the valve that allows the user to blow air into the bag so it can float. This is a huge plus for those of us who participate in water sports like boating and kayaking. I can store my camera in the bag while boating, add some air and not worry about finding it if it goes overboard.

The valve can also act as a outdoor shower spigot. Fill the bag with water, open the valve and I can have a shower while camping.

I have to be honest, the only time I would use this for hiking is if I'm expecting rain or snow. Even then, I would put my regular day pack inside. The biggest reason is that the bag doesn't have any pockets or dividers which means it's hard to find gear when it's loaded. Adding pockets or dividers would probably compromise the waterproofing so that is not that big of an issue. What would be easy to add, which the bag lacks, is a hook inside for a hydration bladder. That is the one improvement I suggest for this bag. However, it's not a big enough issue to drop the rating from a five star rating which is what the bag deserves for functionality of what it's designed for. I can't wait to take it canyoneering this next spring and summer. It will really come in handy while rappelling into water and will help keep my hiking shoes dry.

Rating ★★★★★

This bag can be purchased on Amazon.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Peppermint Oil by #SimplyEarth Review

Product received at no charge in exchange for an honest review.

I suffer from headaches that often turn into horrible three day migraines. I've always loved peppermint oil for headaches. I will be the first to admit that it doesn't cure my headaches but the smell does soothe my headaches when I first feel one coming on.

Simply Earth Peppermint Oil is pure essential oil with a nice penetrating scent. I dab a bit on both of my wrists and the aroma stays all day. It can also be dabbed on the chest. I do this when I have a cold and it helps with my sinuses. Though I won't claim that it will clear up the sinuses, the smell at least penetrates through my stuffy nose. I realize what works for me, doesn't necessarily work for anyone else and I do not claim that the product works in any way as it hasn't been evaluated by the FDA. I merely love the soothing smell of peppermint. It's one of the only essential oils I can use as I have allergic reactions to others.

One of the things that sets Simply Earth Peppermint Oil apart from other brands is that the company donates 13% of the of the profit from their products to a variety of charitable projects that help others. They work with various groups that helps eliminate human trafficking.

I love the Simply Earth Peppermint Oil and at $6.00 a bottle, it's an inexpensive way for me to have the scent I love stay with me all day.

Rating ★★★★★

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Gift That Keeps on Giving: #EatsieBox Subscription Review and Giveaway

Product received at no charge in exchange for an honest review.

I've seen subscription box services for all kinds of different products but never tried them until now. Getting my first Eatsie Box in the mail was a fun surprise. So many new snacks I've never seen before to try plus a couple of toys to give to the young ones in my life. 

I'm a chocoholic so of course the first thing I had to try was the Cadbury CurlyWurly Bar. Holy cow! All I can say is that it's a good thing my local grocery store doesn't carry this or I'd be gaining ten pounds by next month. This thing is truly divine. My two favorite sweets combined with a chewy caramel center with rich Cadbury chocolate make this a winner. I would have been happy if my whole box would have been filled with these. It's a good thing it wasn't or I would have missed out on some other fabulous things I've never tried, like the Justin's Peanut Butter Cups in milk and dark chocolate. I loved the dark chocolate and was happy to see they are made with organic ingredients

I am a popcorn lover so I was thrilled to find POPCORNERS in my EatsieBox. Again, these are another product I've never tried but liked a lot. They tasted like popcorn and felt light, not greasy like regular chips.

Other products I received.

  • Kinder Happy Hippo Biscuits
  • Honeybell Buds - Orange blossom hard candy
  • Riley's Holiday Mix - Hard candy
  • Charms Boutique Premium Lollipops
  • 3LEAF Coconut Hot Chocolate
  • Pure Honey - Artisan small batch
  • Two toy surprises
I have to admit, I'm not a fan of hard candy. However, it was put a smile on my face to find the Riley's Holiday Mix. The candies are just like the ones I used to eat as a little girl so it brought back some fond memories of Christmas' past. I brought the Honeybell Buds to work and my coworkers enjoyed them. 

It would be awesome to get an EatsieBox every month. The six month subscription would make the perfect gift for a college student. My college aged children would love this as a care package. What a fun way to give a gift that keeps on giving.

Want to try an Eatsie Box?

Head over the their WEBSITE
Use code EATSIEGALS for 50% off the first month of a full-size EatsieBox.

Giveaway Details
EatsieBox has generously offered to give one of my lucky readers a free EatsieBox. Just use the entry form or the link at the end of the post. Contest ends 1/6/2016.

Outdoor Adventure Gals EatsieBox Giveaway

Saturday, December 5, 2015

REM-Fit for a Healthier You! REVIEW

Disclosure: Products received at no charge in exchange for an honest review.

Rem-fit Active Lifestyle Bedding 400 Series

I can't even think about starting my day without
having had a good night's rest. Honestly, it's not easy at this point in my life. Hormonal changes during peri-menopause have wrecked havoc on my sleep as I'm always waking up in the middle of the night feeling hot and sweaty. I've always been a warm sleeper. I'm one of the few whose body temperatures rise at night instead of going down. Through the years, this has made sleeping harder in both summer and the colder months.

Never have I considered that a pillow would solve my problem of night sweating. I've tried a lot of pillows and have two memory foam pillows on my bed. I didn't think I would find one that I liked more than either of the ones I already owned. The REM-Fit Active Lifestyle Bedding Pillow has literally given me the best two weeks worth of sleep I've had in the last several years. It is by far the best pillow I've ever tried. While the pillow is plenty comfortable, it's the cooling gel pad that has kept me from tossing and turning at night. In the few weeks I've been using the REM-Fit 400 Series pillow I have not awaken once from sweating. The gel pad disperses the heat from my upper body which helps keep me asleep.

As for the comfort, the pillow contains a Polyfil Fiber that can be removed in clusters if needed. The fabric is really soft though I keep my pillow covered with a pillowcase.

I have to be honest, I'm not sure I would have spent the money on this pillow not knowing if it would work or not. However, now that I've tried it, I think it's worth every penny and will buy another one when mine wears out. I review a lot of products on my blog and on Amazon. This pillow definitely sits in the top spot of all of the products I've reviewed and that is saying a lot.
 Rating ★★★★★

I've  used several different activity trackers and I like all of them as a reminder to stay active. The rem-fit ACTIVE 100 Sleep and Activity Tracker has some great advantages over some of the other trackers I've used. My favorite feature of the rem-fit tracker is the addition of activity points. All of my the other trackers track steps but don't differentiate whether those steps were part of regular day movement or actual sustained activity. The Rem-fit tracker does offer the ability to distinguish how active I am during the day with the addition of activity points. Activity points are awarded for sustained activity over a shorter period of time. Higher points are awarded based on how hard you work out. Therefore, a twenty minute run at a fast pace would earn more activity points that a forty minute walk. Not only can I see how many steps I take in a day, I can also see how many active points I earn.

I also like the way the tracker keeps track of sleep and the way it awards sleep points based upon how restless I am during the night. One thing I don't like about the sleep tracker is that it doesn't automatically detect when I fall asleep. Instead, I have to turn it on from the app. This is  hard since I don't like to sleep next to my electronic devices.

When I wonder where I'm at for the day, I tap the tracker once for each screen I would like to see. Not all trackers have the ability show the stats on the tracker without downloading the information first to the app so I'm excited that the Rem-fit tracker will.

One of the things I've found with all activity trackers is that they're not very accurate with the mileage. I paired the Rem-fit with a GPS tracking watch to check for accuracy and though it wasn't completely accurate, it was more accurate than my other tracking device. I was pleasantly surprised that it was as close as it was. It was .20 miles off a 1.5 mile walk. My other tracker was .40 miles off. I consider the rem-fit a significant improvement.

I love the design of the rem-fit wrist band. I've nearly lost activity trackers from falling off simply because they don't have a strap that keeps the end from coming off. The Rem-fit band has two safety bands that keep it from falling off and I've never had a problem with this. Good thing since I hike in the snow a lot and would never find my band if it fell off.

The biggest issue of the activity tracker was getting the app downloaded and learning to use it. I don't think the app is as user friendly as other apps I've used. Once I finally got everything figured out, it seemed simple but it took me some time getting to that point. This is the main reason for a four instead of five star review.

Overall, the rem-fit tracker is one of the better ones I've used at the price point. Mine came with two bands plus a waist clip. I tried to use the waist clip but kept leaving it on my pants and forgetting about it so I had to switch to using the wristband exclusively.

Rating ★★★★☆

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Ultralight Camping Hammock by #Rallt: Product Review

My husband and sons love hammock camping. They finally convinced me to try it about two years ago and it only took a few days to convince me that it's more comfortable than tent camping. They key is to have a sturdy hammock with straps or rope that won't break. 

We have several hammocks and all are different brands. They range from rope hammocks to brand name hammocks. While the rope hammocks are great fun around the house, only the nylon hammocks are comfortable enough to camp in. This Ultralight Hammock by Rallt holds up well to our more expensive name brand hammocks but at less than half the price.

What I like about the Rallt hammock.

  • Sturdy nylon fabric that holds my weight easily
  • Enough fabric to wrap around the front of me.
  • Easy to set up.
  • Lightweight for backpacking.
  • Aluminum carabiners for less weight.
  • Pack sack is sewn onto hammock and packs inside tight.
  • Straps included on pack sack help cinch pack smaller to fit inside a backpack.
What I don't love.
  • The include polypropylene ropes are strong with no stretch so they aren't bad. I just prefer hammock straps.

I really can't find anything I don't like about the hammock. I recently reviewed the Rallt hammock straps HERE  and if I hadn't tried them first, I wouldn't think anything of the ropes included in the hammock. The straps are easier to set up and make me feel more secure. This hammock paired with the hammock straps are an awesome combination. I would definitely recommend this Ultralight Rallt hammock for both camping and backpacking. It is lighter than my backpacking tent and takes up less space in my backpack which is a real plus. Of course, if you're worried about getting wet, then maybe a tent would still be preferable. However, I'm able to pull the fabric of this hammock around the front of me to keep myself covered well.

Product Rating ★★★★★

I did not receive this product free nor did I receive any monetary exchange for this review. Posts on this blog may contain affiliate links.

This product can be purchased on Amazon at a great price.

Product Review: Zzero Portable Solar Panel Charger #solarcharger

Product received at no charge in exchange for an honest review.

I've been looking for a reliable portable solar charger for quite some time. With all of the time I spend by myself on the trails, I need an emergency backup to charge my phone in case it dies. I have enough experience with solar charges to know that they take a long time to charge in the sun, especially those with small panels. Therefore, my hope is that a solar charger would be able to charge just enough during a day of hiking to charge my cell phone in case of an emergency. The Zzero Portable Panel Charger  meets my expectation.

While it takes several days with direct sunlight to fully charge this charger, I was able to get it to two bars in one day sitting in my windowsill. This is a spot that doesn't get a lot of direct sunlight so I was surprised I got any charge. The two bars was enough to charge my iPhone 5 from 30% to 100%. The charger works best when it's completely charged by electrical power first. The solar charging should only be used as a backup to keep it charged after the fully electrical charge.

The most important thing for me was the ability to use the charger while hiking. I love how it attaches to my backpack so I don't have to worry about losing it. The rubber "bumpers" keep water out as long as you keep them closed tight. The only complaint I had was with the rubber around the outlets. Sometimes it's a bit hard to close them and they must be closed to keep water out. It's not really a big enough complaint to lower the rating as I haven't found a solar charger this small that can perform the way I want it to while hiking or traveling. Also, the charger is only meant to be waterproof in the rain or snow, not when submerged.

I like that there are two outputs for charging two smaller devices at a time. The right side is the quick charge and my phone does charge quicker with the 2.1A USB port than the other. When the charger was fully charged, I was able to charge my iPad from 35% to 100%. I was pleasantly surprised it was able to handle the bigger device at all. With the 8000 Amh power, it is more powerful than the other portable chargers I own. I also like that it comes with a light. While it's not super bright, it does give off good light to be useful in an emergency.

I'm happy I've found a charger reliable enough as an emergency backup while hiking. My phone is my lifeline when hiking alone and I have to know it will have power no matter how long I hike.

Rating ★★★★

Monday, November 30, 2015

Foster Farms Minions Giveaway

Disclosure: I received free product in exchange for this post.

Our family loves the Minions and I'm excited to share an awesome giveaway with my readers. Ten lucky winners will receive their own Blu-ray edition of the very cute Minions Movie AND a box of Foster Farms Corn Dogs. Sweepstakes begins November 30 and ends December 21 and is open to everyone in the U.S.

How do I win?

Head over to the Foster Farms Facebook page and leave a comment on the weekly Minions posts for a chance to win. I've already left my comment and have my fingers crossed.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Mayan Case Review

Disclosure: I received the Review opportunity via BlogsRelease to receive this item at no charge in exchange for an honest review.

One of the things I love when I travel is finding local artisans and supporting their work. I've found some beautiful items that are unique to the areas I travel. In Central America, handmade woven Mayan fabrics are one of the distinctive items worth bringing home. I've always wanted to see the artisans from these countries expand their work worldwide with the help of modern technology. I was thrilled to see the Mayan Case company using fabrics that are woven in the Guatemala highlands for their cell phone and tablet cases. What a thrill it is to be able to take part in a review that puts the work of skilled artisans in third world countries into my hands.

The fabric I chose for my case is absolutely stunning and so typical of the Mayan fabrics I've seen while traveling. The weaving on the fabric is flawless. I love the Mayan symbol used as the company logo. I'm thrilled with the magnetic strap as it won't cause damage to the case a way a snap or velcro would. I'm impressed at how well the case is made.

Most of all, I'm impressed with the beauty. I love my case and so do my coworkers. I've had several mention how much they like it and ask where I got it. I would highly recommend the Mayan Case both in a phone and tablet case. I want to add a traveling tip as my review of this item made me think of the desperately poor artisans at the sides of the street in the countries I've visited hawking their wares.

Traveling Tip
When traveling to poor countries, please do not haggle. Instead pay the full asking price of artisan made goods. It is usually much lower than comparable items in wealthier countries.This gives the artisans, who make so little money already,  a chance at sustaining themselves and their families.

Product Rating ★★★★★

Find Mayan Case Products on Amazon 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

RALLT Hammock Straps Review #TheUltralight

Product received at no charge in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

We use hammocks for camping a lot. My teenage son also loves to use them just "chilling" outside with his friends. It's not uncommon to have hammocks up in friends yards or near hiking trails. We have tried several different brands of hammock straps and have good comparisons while reviewing the RALLT Ultralight Hammock Straps. Before I start, I have to say that my teenage son already tried to swap me his hammock straps for the Rallt straps so that already tells me which are better.

RALLT Hammock Straps $13.99

First, I have to comment on the price of the RALLT Hammock Straps.We paid $10 more for our last pair of straps than the cost of the Rallt straps. The Rallt straps are much better than our other pair. The quality on the RALLT straps are surprisingly awesome for the price. I'm feeling bad I didn't find them sooner.

The price isn't even our favorite thing about the straps. What my husband and son both commented on and the first thing I noticed was how the loops go all of the way down the strap. This makes them super easy to use. No need to fiddle with adjustments. All we have to do is wrap the straps around a tree, put them through one of the loops and use our carabiner to hook into one of the other loops. Super easy yet durable too. The straps easily held our weight. None of us weigh over 150 pounds so I'm not sure how they would do with more weight but it looks like they would handle it well. The product description does say that the straps have a 500 pound capacity.

The carry bag included with the straps make it easy to pack the straps in our backpack. They weigh under a pound so they're a good option for a multi-day backpacking trip for those thinking of foregoing a tent.

I'm sure our hammock straps will get plenty of use and I feel great about recommending them to my readers with a five star rating.

Rating: ★★★★★

Vbiger Outdoor Touchscreen Gloves #Review

Disclosure: Product received at no charge in exchange for an honest review.

I'm notorious for buying cheap stretch gloves at dollar stores for running. I have way too many of those laying around my house and frankly, they're not that great for keep out the wind on a cold day. I'm happy to finally get the opportunity to try a pair of decent gloves for my active outdoor activities.

The Vbiger Outdoor Touchscreen Gloves are prefect now that the weather is getting colder. The first time I wore them running, I worried that I would get too warm and have to take them off. The wind was blowing just enough to make it feel colder than the thermostat reading. The Vbiger gloves kept the cold wind from cutting through to my hands. 

I've never had a pair of touchscreen gloves and never saw the need for them. However, the tips work really well on my cell phone and my iPod. It's super nice not to have to take off my gloves to turn up my music or to skip a song while  running. I'll definitely use these gloves while using my phone.

I've purchased running specific gloves for family members that are more expensive than these and I don't think they are any better. My husband tried these on and said they are as nice as the pair I bought for him that cost over $20. I'll definitely be buying another pair for gifting since the Vbiger gloves are cheaper.

I also like these for winter hiking and snowshoeing. I don't like wearing bulky ski gloves for winter activities when I'm moving the whole time. These gloves are perfect for winter activities where I don't need to dress as warm but still need to stay warm. They grip well with my hiking poles. I haven't tried them for biking yet but I plan to. Overall, an excellent pair of outdoor gloves for winter activities.

Rating: ★★★★★

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Reminding Us What is Important: Brilliant Marketing = Fun with REI's #OptOutside Campaign

It seems every Thanksgiving in our extended family is always under some stress mostly because of the people that have to work on Thanksgiving or the day after. Trying to plan around those who have to work has always put a damper on fun family time. What's worse is the times we have chosen to venture out on Black Friday. Those in the family who had to work retail were miserable as were those of us who thought it was a good idea to shop. 

I have to admit, when I first heard about REI's #OptOutside Campaign, my first thought was what a great thing they were doing for their employees by giving them the busiest shopping day of the season off with pay. Then I realized it what a brilliant campaign it really is for REI. 
My family loves the outdoors, but sometimes I have been guilty of going out on Black Friday for things I don't really need or want just to make my kids happy on Christmas. I learned that they are really the happiest when we spend time with them instead of giving them things. I've committed to making sure we planned something fun together outside this year. So far the consensus is taking a ski day.
Back to why REI's campaign is brilliant. We need outdoor gear to have fun outside and the first place I thought about to purchase the gear was REI. Why not support a retailer who reminds of what is important right?

Kahtoola Microspikes at REI

One of the things my family loves is hiking outdoors. I'm the only one who has a pair of Kahtoola Microspikes and they get borrowed a lot. At least two people in the family have them on their shopping list so of course I bought one pair at REI already. I didn't want to wait until after Thanksgiving as we might need them to #Optoutside if we decide to hike instead of ski.

Honestly, in the long run I don't really care if the #OptOutside campaign is a marketing ploy that worked on me. What I care about is that my family is looking at options of what we can do on Black Friday to enjoy the outdoors with each other. Whether it be snowshoeing, skiing or sledding, we'll be outside somewhere enjoying the snow.

We'll also be supporting all of the companies who support our mission to get outside. Thanks to all of the companies making a stand against the most frenetic shopping day of the year.

What will you be doing on Black Friday to #Optoutside. We want to know. Leave us a comment.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Kodachrome Basin State Park Hikes: Angel's Palace

One of the things I love about state parks is that they're not usually as busy as the national parks nor as high an entrance fee. However, that doesn't mean they're not just as beautiful. I always find some hidden treasure inside the state parks that I didn't know about. Such is the case with Kodachrome Basin State Park near the town of Cannondale, Utah. This state park is actually within the boundaries of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument but was designated a state park before the designation of the Grand Staircase.

The park boasts a total of 67 monolithic stone spires known called sedimentary pipes. Several short hikes within the park give fabulous views of these spires.

One of most popular and easiest hiking trails is the 1.5 mile Angel's palace loop. The trail is rated easy to moderately strenuous. I hiked it with my husband and teenage son and found it to be easy enough even younger children could handle it. The trail starts across the street from the parking lot and is marked with a sign at the trailhead. After passing over a footbridge, the trail is well worn and hard to miss.

The trail goes through a small canyon type landscape with a 150 elevation change. Very little shade exists on the trail and gets hot during the summer months making it better to visit in spring or fall. As the elevation changes, so do the views which get more scenic with the mountains and badlands.The path may have some loose rocks along the way but for the most part, the footing is good and can easily be hiked in regular athletic shoes or even hiking sandals. Once at the top of the climb, hoodoo formations can be seen in the background as well as two toned mountain formations. There is even a ledge to walk out on with a drop off to walk out on.

Since the hike is short and easy, be sure to make the drive to the Shakespeare Arch trailhead and do that hike as well on the same day.