Monthly Archives: February 2011

Down Versus Synthetic: The Great Sleeping Bag Debate

“What is the big difference in down and synthetic sleeping bags, anyways?”

This is a common question.  Make this decision determined by your trip.  Are you going to be traveling to a place where it rarely rains? Are weight  and space a huge factor?

Down Bag Breakdown:  Down bags are regarded as the lighter option for sleeping bags.  One big plus to having a down bag is compressibility.  If you are working with very little space, having a down bag can be a huge help.  Ounce per ounce, down will be the warmer of the two fills.  It will also keep its shape longer than a synthetic bag.  The biggest downside to this fill is its extreme aversion to water.  Once your down sleeping bag gets wet you are pretty much S.O.L.  You are then.  This is where a synthetic bag wins out.  Also, down tends to be significantly more expensive than synthetic bags.  For those on a budget, down may not be in the cards.

Synthetic Bag Breakdown:  Synthetic bags have several pros over the down sleeping bag.  With a lower price, and care instructions that do not include a list of do’s and don’ts, a synthetic fill bag can be a great alternative to down.  Synthetic bags dry quickly.  Synthetic fills hold their insulation, even when wet.  No need to fret when your bag gets rained on. Leave it out to dry and you will be good to go by the next night.  One downside to the synthetic bag, is that it does not compress as well as a down bag does.  If space is a factor on a backpacking trip, a down bag might make more sense, unless you are going to a place with rain.

Any questions?

Get Prepared for an Active Spring

Spring Time BikingDo you remember the days when you could go outside and it was sunny and 70 degrees?  It feels like a vague memory, but soon enough we will be experiencing those days again.  Generally, as soon as nice weather hits, there is a serious scramble to get your bikes tuned up and buy a new pair of sandals.  Now is the time to start thinking about making your Spring transition.   You should pull out your gear and assess its needs.  Maybe you need a bike tune up; maybe you need to make some comfort improvements to your boat.  Get this stuff done before the crowds begin to swarm the stores.

Get your clothes down from the attic and see if you need to make any upgrades.  The last thing you want to do on the first day of beautiful Spring weather is spend it in a store re-buying your Spring attire.

As a heads up, we will be getting in new longboards, boats, and bikes in the coming weeks.  Be on the lookout for our end of season sale, and new Spring product every week.

How to Ride Your Bike to Work and Not Repulse Your Co-Workers

When I used to work in an office downtown, I would commute in to work as often as I could.  As I would step on to the elevator, people would always strike up conversations about cycling around town.  A lot of the time I would hear people say, “I should give commuting a try,” or “I would ride my bike to work, but I hate being all sweaty and gross afterwards.”  Well, I definitely struggled with that issue myself.  I talked to other biking professionals to see what they did following a commute in to work.  After trying several different approaches and more than a few products, I found a system that worked great for me. Hopefully some of you will find it helpful.

-Ride in something breathable, and bring a full change of clothes with you.  One of the reasons you will sweat on a bike ride is wearing clothes that hold in your body heat and don’t wick the sweat away as you are working out.  The more sweat you wick from you body, the less it will be stuck to you for the rest of the day.

-DO NOT leave your helmet at home because you want to avoid helmet hair!  No need to risk brain damage, when there is actually a solution to this problem at your local drug store.  Dry shampoo is an easy way to freshen up your hair after a commute to the office.  Most brands work just fine, but probably the easiest to find is the Tresemme Fresh Start Shampoo.  It is inexpensive and does the job.

-It never hurts to carry baby wipes.  On a hot summer day, you could ride in the nude and still manage produce a gallon of sweat.  On those days where you can’t help but pour sweat, a wipe down in the bathroom with some baby wipes can make a world of difference.

-Bags can make your commute even hotter.  As another option, you can add panniers (bags attached to your bike) or a basket to your bike, allowing you to be bag free.  If you must carry a bag, we would suggest a lightweight or mesh material.

-If anyone gives you grief about freshening up in the corporate bathroom, be sure to remind him or her that not only have you knocked out your exercise for the day, but you got an amazing parking spot right at the door of the building.  No car needed.

Do you have any tips that make your bike to desk transition easier?  We would love to hear them!