Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Outdoor Retailer Innovations- Keeping it Clean After the Run: Orange Mud Transition and Seat Wrap, Scrubba Wash Bag Reviews

With thousands of exhibitors and maybe millions of products it is sometimes hard to find the truly innovative products that are useful, simple, and unique. New exhibitors are assigned to 3 huge air conditioned tents across the street from the Salt Palace. Often they are displaying a single or a very few products. Thanks to some good pre show emails I sought out 2 really neat companies: Orange Mud and Scrubba. It turns out that both had very useful simple products for athletes used after the run, ride or workout. Orange Mud is focused on changing on the go after a workout and using the same product to keep your car seats clean. Scrubba has come up with an incredible "Washbag", the world's smallest washing machine that also doubles as a dry bag.

Scrubba Wash Bag $64.95

This crowd funded (indiegogo) Aussie company has come up with a simple way to get washing machine clean clothes on the road. More than just a washing machine the Scrubba can be used as a totally waterproof dry bag, a travel pillow, and even a foot massager.

Here is how the Scrubba Wash Bag works:

The dry bag has a plastic lamination of firm scrubbing fingers on the inside (seen below from the outside).

  • You put your clothes inside the dry bag: at least a couple pairs of shorts, t-shirts, socks, etc...
  • Add a bit of laundry soap. I use Bronner's when I travel.
  • Cover the clothes more or less with water.
    Scrubba Wash Bag- Machine is loaded!

  • Make sure the air valve is open, squeeze out the air and seal.
  • Massage the clothes against the washboard for about 3 minutes
  • Drain and fill with clean water
  • Scrubba Wash Bag- Rinse Cycle
  • Plug the air valve so air is kept inside. Shake a while and drain.

I have used it twice including all my super dusty, dirty clothes from the 16 mile trail Jupiter Peak Steeplechase last weekend and everything was immaculately cleaned.
Scrubba Wash Bag medium load- 3 pairs of socks, T-shirt, shorts

Remarkable invention. A great solution for backpacking, business travel, workout clothes left at the gym, and quick washes of your workout,  running or cycling clothes.

The Orange Mud Transition  and Seat Wrap $39.95
Brilliantly simple. The product's motto is "It's application is limitless, basically if you are dirty, and you know you often are....this will keep your car purdy! "Think of a nice large super soft beach towel with a secure hook system to wrap around your waist. Great for quick changes in parking lots after a workout. But there is more... one corner zips into a sort of hoodie. Slip the hood over your car head rest and you have a great seat cover for the drive home. And of course you can wear it as wrap around hoodie to stay warm. I have tried it and it absolutely works as advertised.

Orange Mud-wrap to change

Orange Mud-zip corner and slip over car seat
Update: Runner's World picks the Transition Wrap as one of its 2013 Gear of the Year, several months after this post.

There is more from  innovative Orange Mud. I will review separately but Orange Mud's original product is a very tiny hydration pack, the HyrdraQuiver. Instead of placing a water bottle around your waist or in a chest pocket they place it between your shoulder blades. Have run once in the pack and there is absolutely no bounce and complete freedom of arm motion. The bottle is very easy to remove and replace on the run. Brilliant, if a bit goofy looking. Also available in a 2 bottle version. Made in the USA!
Orange Mud HyrdaQuiver

Orange Mud-HyrdraQuiver

Disclosure: Products were provided at no charge for evaluation and review.

Friday, August 02, 2013

WmGault Leather IPhone 5 Sleeve and Wallet: Classy, Protective, Well Designed.

My friend Craig Miller and his wife Rita are industrious, creative, active participants in multi day Mountain Man Rendezvous where everything worn and used has to be period 1820-1840's yet they are also very tech savvy. Craig, whose business is real estate, was the first person (other than me!) I saw actively using the iPad day to day, as soon as it launched.

Craig and Rita are incredible crafts people. Rita knitting and weaving;  Craig doing fine leather work, hand forging of knives, and now pack basket weaving. Oh and they have multiple horses out on their spread East of Park City.
Wm Gault Classic Wallet and iPhone 5 Sleeve

Craig has brilliantly combined his classic, western leather working and tech savvy to launch a new company Wm Gault. The first two products, and he makes these by hand in his workshop in UT,  are a leather iPhone 5 Sleeve $65 and a super streamlined Classic Wallet, $55. They can be purchased separately or as a Duo, $110.

Outdoor Retailer Summer 13 Coverage: Trail and Road Running. Summary of my posts. Other links

I will be posting multiple articles and will be updating this page regularly over the next week or so.
So much to see at OR!

The two big trends I focused on:

  1. highly cushioned lightweight shoes
  2. GPS and smart watches going to new levels of innovation in size and interaction with the ever popular fitness apps on smart phones. (posts to come) 

Show Preview post

Hoka One One Conquest: The lightweight, super cushioned innovator launches a more responsive midsole tech.
Salomon Sense 3, Sense Ultra and new Sense Pro post: Salomon minimal trail runner line improved and with a new more affordable model the Sense Pro
New Balance Fresh Foam post: New Balance joins the low drop, cushioned category.

Keepin' it Clean Innovations post: Scrubba Wash Bag and Orange Mud Transitions and Seat Wrap.

iRunFar's 2014  best trail shoes preview: very complete

Competitor Running's short overviews of 21 new shoes: I missed some.... Clear innovation and trend towards more cushion.

Runblogger post on max cushion in a lightweight package: Altra Olympus, Hoka One One Conquest, and Brooks Transcend.

More to come...

Outdoor Retailer Summer13: New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Launch

I was tickled that New Balance invited me to the launch party for the Fresh Foam 980 road runner.
The Fresh Foam is a 8.8 oz (men 9.5), 7.3 oz (women 7) $110 retail model that will launch in February 2014. 4mm drop.
New Balance Fresh Foam 890 Men
 The Fresh Foam is New Balance's entry into the rapidly growing cushioned low drop light weight category. Quite frankly low drop and cushioned is what I like to run in for daily traiining. Shoes in this category I have run in include the Altra Torin and my new favorite the Hoka One Rapa Nui.

I was told heel forefoot stack height was 16/12 without insole so about 21/17 with insole which is  a touch on the more "minimal" side of this new category when say compared to Hokas.  I spoke to one of the design engineers and what New Balance had done is engineer the distribution of forces into the midsole and outsole via computer modeling of the structure.  They told me this is only the first step as next they will engineer the structure of the single foam internally using the same prinicples.
Note the differences in the midsole between lateral and medial sides in the pictures below.
New Balance Fresh Foam 890
New Balance Fresh Foam 890

New Balance Fresh Foam 890

New Balance Fresh Foam 890

New Balance Fresh Foam 890 Women's

Outdoor Retailer Summer13: Salomon Sense Family grows with Sense Pro

Salomon Sense Pro-Center
Update 11/13/13: Running Warehouse now has the Salomon  Sense Pro in stock. 17/22mm heel toe drop, 9.2 oz Men's 9. MSRP $130.

The Salomon Sense, the minimal light weight trail runner used by Kilian Jornet the last few years, while a fabulous shoe for this exceptional athlete is now logically extended for mere mortal serious athletes and different terrains with the Sense 3, the Sense Ultra, and the new Sense Pro.  The Sense Mantra remains in the line as a "recreational" door to trail model as does the new Salomon X-Scream models designed for all surfaces found in urban environments-dirt, pavement, gravel (right and left in picture)
Salomon Sense Pro
The key similarities between all Sense models:

  • the stretchy yet supportive Endofit with the Sensifit overlays
  • OS Tendon for heel to toe transition.
  • Salomon's QuickLace system
  • light weight: Sense 3 7.7oz, Ultra 8.6oz, Pro 9.5 oz
  • low drop, 4mm for Sense 3 and Ultra, 6mm for Pro
  • low stack heights( heel/toe in mm): Sense 14/10, Ultra 14/10, 16/10
Along with a welcome difference in price between the new Pro $130  and the Ultra $160 and Sense 3 at $200,and to my eye not quite the super fine carefully crafted materials of the Sense 3 and Ultra in the Pro and thus a bit heavier, the key differences between models are in the outsole and extent of use of ProFeel Film, a fabric like protective rock layer.
Left to Right- Salomon Sense Pro, Sense Ultra, Sense 3
The Sense Pro (left) has ProFeel Fim , the gray seen through the outsole extending all the way back through the midfoot. The outsole is similar to the Mantra's a "City to Trail" design, comfortable on the road and suitable for most trails.  A midfoot and heel striker would feel comfortable in this shoe. 
Left Salomon Sense Pro Right Salomon Sense Ultra

The Ultra has less ProFeel than the Pro and deep lugs, deeper than the model currently on the market. Ultra is now for soft ground and thus great in mud and snow.  I would use these daily for snow running.  All soft ground Salomon performance shoes will be distinguished by black and red colors.

The Sense 3 has lugs in the heel, the original had none to speak of. The ProFeel film is also extended from the original. Kilian is a pure forefoot striker and this design makes the shoe more accessible but nonetheless this is a racing machine. Salomon also expects runners to get 2X the mileage out of the Sense 3 when compared to the original versions. 

Given the low stack and drop heights all the Sense shoes should be considered fairly minimal. Probably not an every day trail trainer for most of us but great go fast shoes.  I like how Salomon has rationalized and organized the models and provided a performance Sense model at a more "reasonable" price point.  I believe the availabilities for the Sense 3 and Pro are Spring 14.

While at Salomon I also saw a new hydration belt the Agile. Made of a stretchy soft material with a wide simple velcro belt in front it features 2 deep stretch pockets with a deep center zip pocket. The 16 oz SoftFlasks will fit with far less flopping than in the fussy overly complex S-Lab Advanced Skin 2 belt.

Salomon Agile Run Belt