Outdoor ‘treasure hunt’ puts $40k worth of gear up for grabs

Nationally syndicated columnist Stephen Regenold, best know by his pseudonym, The Gear Junkie, is hosting a scavenger hunt this July, and 300 lucky participants are going to get the chance to win some very cool outdoor gear in the process.

The first ever Gear Junkie Treasure Hunt is scheduled to take place on July 11th in Roanoke, Virginia, and will mix outdoor fun and adventure with the opportunity to go home with new gear from the likes of Sierra Designs, Deuter Packs, Brooks Range, and many more. But in order to earn that gear, participants will first have to compete in an open wilderness orienteering competition that will see them navigating their way through Explore Park, a wooded playground not far from Roanoke.

The rules of the competition are simple. At the start of the event, competitors will be given a map that will be marked with the location of flags that have been planted around the park. They’ll then have two hours to find as many of those flags as possible, earning one point for every flag they discover. At the end of the competition, they’ll be able to redeem those points for gear.

With more than $40,000 worth of swag up for grabs, the Treasure Hunt is sure to offer fun and fierce competition for all involved. Entry is limited to the first 300 who apply, and pay the $25 registration fee, so you may want to sign up as soon as possible to ensure your chance to compete. The registration page can be found by clicking here, and if you would like more information about the event, click here.

Gadling gear review: Arc’teryx Gamma MX Hoody

Many people turn to a single jacket when winter weather rolls in. They have a go-to parka that keeps them warm and dry. If your winter activities are limited to commuting to work and running errands, then one such warm coat probably is all you need from November through February. But if you are as active in the winter as you are in the summer, then you know that aerobic activity can often keep you warmer than any amount of down filler can. As such, you need a coat that is breathable, water-resistant and allows for an active lifestyle.

That’s why I was excited to test out the Arc’teryx Gamma MX Hoody. Arc’teryx is known for making outdoor gear with sleek lines and durable construction. The Gamma MVX Hoody is made for alpine conditions, and, as such, provides flexibility and warmth while remaining breathable. I brought the Gamma MX Hoody to Newfoundland, Canada for some adventure activities to see if it lived up to the Arc’teryx reputation.First, the nitty gritty. The Arc’teryx MX Hoody has the stretch necessary to allow for a full range of motion. With two chest pockets, two hand pockets and one sleeve pocket, there is ample storage space. It does, however, lack an interior pocket. It is well-sealed, water-resistant and immaculately constructed. You get the impression that you could fall off of a mountain, hit every rock on the way down and the jacket would be in perfect condition (even if your body wasn’t).

The fleece lining in the Gamma MX Hoody provides ample warmth provided it is supplemented with aerobic activity to generate additional heat in your core. It is not meant to replace a solid winter coat for when you’re walking the dog or waiting in line for a movie in sub-freezing temperatures. But, if you’re snowshoeing, mountain climbing or hiking, you’ll be more than comfortable in the jacket.

The warmth and resistance to the elements come from the Polartec Power Shield softshell fabric that makes the jacket both durable and breathable. It also allows for that full-range of motion that an outdoor athlete needs.

Like almost all other Arc’teryx gear, the Gamma MX Hoody features a very slim cut. I wear a medium in virtually every other coat that I’ve worn (ranging in manufacturers from Cloudveil to Patagonia to Mountain Hardwear). Arc’teryx gear is taut and constrictive on me in anything less than a large. However, in the proper size – in this case, a large – the Gamma MX Hoody fit snugly while still allowing for several base layers to be worn comfortably.

The snug fit did pose a problem in the cuffs. Many winter coats provide Velcro straps on the cuffs to allow for adjustment in the tightness around gloves. The Gamma MX Hoody lacks these tabs. As such, the cuffs on the Gamma MX Hoody are tight, which makes taking the jacket on and off more challenging than it should be. Adjustable straps would solve this problem simply.

As you can imagine from the name, the Gamma MX Hoody comes with an attached hood. It does not retract into a pocket, so, regardless of the conditions, the hood will be hanging off of your collar. Since I much prefer a coat that allows for rolling the hood into a zipped pocket in the collar, it took some getting used to when I would find my hood uncomfortably wedged beneath my backpack. The hood is made to fit over a helmet, which is necessary considering that the jacket is intended for alpine use. However, despite being able to tighten the hood, I still found it comically large when I wasn’t wearing a helmet. Despite attempts to tighten it fully, the hood often billowed over my head and would fall off as I walked. This would expose my neck and face to snow and rain.

As always, I like to boil things down to the basics:


  • Outstanding construction and incredible durability
  • Flexibility allows for full range of motion
  • Plenty of pockets
  • Water-resistant and well-sealed
  • Fleece lining provides warmth to supplement aerobic heat


  • Slim cut may create a tighter fit than expected
  • Tight cuffs with no adjustable straps
  • Hood is large and does not retract into the collar

Overall, this is a fantastic coat if you maintain an active lifestyle in cold weather. While it is not a replacement for a heavy parka, it is an excellent addition to the gear collection of any winter adventurer. The jacket provides ample warmth once you start your activities and is built to last. However, I strongly recommend that you try it on in person, as Arc’teryx products are cut much slimmer than other outdoor gear brands.

You can purchase the Gamma MX Hoody directly from the Arc’tery website for $379.00. The durability of the coat will surely ensure that it pays for itself over years of aggressive use.

Gadling Gear Review: Patagonia R3 Regulator Fleece Jacket

With winter upon us, it’s time to start bundling up. And if you have any cold weather vacations planned for the holiday season, you’ll want to be sure that you have the proper gear before you get to your destination. Keeping your core warm is not just about comfort; It’s a matter of safety. At the heart of any layering system is a solid, insulated and wind-proof fleece coat. I decided to put the Patagonia R3 Regulator Fleece Jacket to the test on a recent trip to the Yukon.

There are tons of fleece jackets on the market these days. Many are less about performance and more about fashion. With the temperatures in Whitehorse ranging from -25C (-13F) to -4C (24F), I needed a fleece that could actually keep me warm, and thus, healthy. I wore the R3 while splitting wood, hiking and dog sledding in some of the coldest temperatures I have ever experienced. Let’s break down how the R3 handled the conditions.The problem with many of fleece jackets is their inability to deter the wind. No matter how warm the jacket may be, if cold winds pierce the surface, the end result is a chilly core. The R3 is made of a microfleece that did a stellar job of keeping the wind out during my tests. The jacket is made partially from recycled Polartec Wind Pro fabric that claims to block “four times more wind than regular fleece.” I won’t attempt to quantify its wind-blocking abilities, but I can say that, unlike other fleeces I have worn, the R3 prevented me from feeling the wind chills will still remaining quite breathable.

The interior of the jacket is quite plush, which generated a fair amount of warmth against my base layer. The R3 managed to wick away most of the moisture generated when I was sweating during aerobic activities. It is certainly warmer and more insulated than your average fleece, so at times I did feel quite warm when indoors while others were still comfortably wearing their coats.

The R3 looks and feels like a durable product. The seams and pockets are sturdily stitched and the pockets are are glued-in to provide extra dependability. And while it’s solid and warm, it never felt heavy when I was wearing it. At $200, this is not your entry-level fleece and it is clearly made to last.

The fit of the jacket is snug but not tight. I have rather broad shoulders and a long torso, so the R3 did feel somewhat fitted around my shoulders and at times seemed somewhat short. However, it still comfortably fit when worn above a base layer (or two). I would certainly recommend that you try the jacket on at a store before purchasing to ensure that you find the appropriate size.

The purpose of a fleece of this quality is to keep you warm first and foremost, but you don’t want to own an ugly coat. The R3 is quite handsome and the snug fit, while worrisome if you are exceptionally broad, does cut some attractive lines.

While a fleece jacket is not suitable as your sole winter coat due to it’s penchant for absorbing water when it’s raining/snowing, the R3 was pretty impressive in frigid weather on dry days. On a hike up Grey Mountain outside of Whitehorse, I quickly shed my down coat and wore only the R3. It deterred the wind, kept my core quite warm and never felt heavy or damp as I began to sweat. It handled the blustery conditions in Carcross, YT, as well, despite the chill coming off of Bennett Lake.

A quick look at the pros and cons of the Patagonia R3 Regulator Fleece:


  • Wind-proof
  • Incredibly warm
  • Durably crafted
  • Plush interior wicks away moisture
  • Lightweight and breathable


  • Snug fit depending on your shoulder width and torso length

Overall, I highly recommend the Patagonia R3 Regulator Fleece Jacket if you are looking for a well-crafted fleece that can handle particularly low temperatures. It may be warmer than you need if you don’t anticipate dealing with below-freezing temperatures where you live or during your travels. At $200, it’s reasonably priced for how stellar a jacket it is and would be a wise purchase for anyone who is planning a winter filled with outdoor activities.

The Patagonia R3 Regulator Fleece is available on the company’s website and at many outdoor gear suppliers.

Gadling Gear Review: Teva Riva eVent

Before I left for my trip to the Northern Territory and Western Australia, I knew I’d be doing a fair amount of hiking. In anticipation of the plethora of outdoor activities that rural Australia offers, I decided to get a fresh pair of hiking shoes to keep me safe and comfortable during long days of Outback exploration. So, for my first trip to the bush, I packed a pair of Teva’s Riva eVent.

When it comes to hiking boots, I want three things: comfort, durability and water resistance. How did the Riva eVent stack up against the harsh landscape of the Outback? I found out firsthand (or foot) after two weeks putting them to the test.

I’m no mountain climber or adventure hiker. I’m what one would call your typical casual outdoor traveler. As such, I like my gear to be reasonably priced while ensuring my safety. The Riva eVent’s sole provided excellent traction on wet and dry rocks, as well as loose gravel. It did this while maintaining a light weight, which provided beneficial both for packing and for extending hikes under a relentless Australian sun. Your legs can feel like jelly after hours in the heat, so having hiking shoes that don’t feel like cement blocks is always a plus.

In order to determine just how waterproof the Riva eVent truly is, I aimed for every creek and submerged stepping stone that I could. Not once did my socks feel wet. In fact, the shoes would appear dry seemingly minutes after being completely underwater. More importantly, they never felt waterlogged or heavy after near complete submersion.

The comfort of the shoe was compromised only by its overly snug fit. I own another pair of Teva shoes that fit almost perfectly in a men’s size 11. Yet, the Riva eVent felt small and constrictive in the same size. This resulted in some uncomfortable rubbing in the toes and at least two blisters, which is never pleasant when you have several days of activities ahead.

As for durability, I wore the Teva Riva’s virtually everyday for two weeks in Australia. I got them drenched in rivers and walked through red dirt and gravel that often stained my clothing. I’m staring at the shoes in my apartment as I write this and they look as new as the day I packed them for my trip Down Under. In other words, these shoes are not falling apart anytime soon.

Let’s break it down simply with some pros and cons:


  • Lightweight
  • Waterproof and maintained weight even after submersion
  • Incredibly durable


  • Inconsistent with the sizing of other Teva products

Overall, the Teva Riva eVent is a fantastic hiking shoe that I recommend for anyone looking to do a fair amount of outdoor activity. The tread is sturdy and the shoe is ruggedly constructed and waterproof. They are available on Teva’s website for $130, but I would recommend that you have your foot sized properly at an outdoor gear supplier and try them on before making your purchase to ensure that you have a comfortable and safe fit.

Outdoor Gear for Metrosexuals

I was browsing through Forbes.com this morning and found an article titled Multipurpose Outdoor Gear. Needles to say, it caught my eye. What can Forbes possibly say about outdoor gear?

Actually, I learned a lot. Apparently, parkas by Prada are all the rage.

It is not a shocking revelation, I suppose. Just like Jeeps are no longer seen off-road; outdoor wear is not really for the outdoors anymore. The “ruggedly handsome” look is in. Facial hair, casual clothing…you get the idea.

David Makuen, vice president of marketing for Eddie Bauer said to Forbes that “George Clooney, Matthew McConaughey, even Brad Pitt really made an impact on casual clothing, with their rough-around-the-edges looks. The unshaven, disheveled look became mass, and it inevitably had an affect on clothes.”

REI is apparently packed with guys buying outdoor gear that “looks good” yet they have little intention to ever actually take it outdoors. Is it a strange world we live in, or what.

(By the way, the Loro Piana Outdoorsman Vest from the photo is available for $1325 at Bergdorf Goodman. It will look splendid in that $15/night hostel in Uzbekistan, trust me.)