Gadling gear review: Mountain Hardwear Jovian Jacket

The Mountain Hardwear Jovian JacketThe line between a once in a lifetime adventure, and a miserable trip that can’t be over fast enough, is a fine one. There is nothing worse than finally visiting your dream destination, only to have inclement weather ruin the experience. The right gear can make all the difference in those situations however, turning a potential disaster into an amazing outing. Mountain Hardwear is one company that has earned a reputation for creating equipment that performs well under the worst of conditions and their Jovian Jacket definitely lives up to that legacy.

Incorporating Mountain Hardwear’s proprietary DryQ technology, the Jovian is a super lightweight shell with a minimalist design that still manages to include all the features you should expect out of your active gear. It has been cut to be form fitting without restricting motion, and when worn while on the go, you barely notice that you have it on. The jacket includes large, zippered pockets that keep their contents well protected from the elements and are conveniently placed to allow access, even while wearing a backpack or climbing harness. Internally, the Jovian features a small zippered pocket, as well as a water bottle holder, which is much appreciated on cold days in the mountains. The large, adjustable hood fits over a helmet, but can still be drawn up snugly, even if you’re not wearing anything on your head at all, and the high quality zippers feature pull tabs that are easy to use, even while wearing bulky gloves.

The Jovian was designed for alpine adventures, but I found that it performed very well in a wide variety of settings – particularly when used with an effective layering system. In warmer weather, the jacket works great on its own, keeping moisture out, while still regulating temperatures, thanks to its outstanding ability to breathe. Adding base and fleece layers underneath extend its use into much colder temperatures, while the jacket’s included pit-zippers provide plenty of ventilation, without compromising protection from the rain or snow. This is a nice feature not found on a lot of similar jackets from other manufacturers, but it is much appreciated when you find yourself overheating despite the weather.As someone who likes to travel as light as possible, I appreciated the fact that this jacket packs so much performance into such a small package. The Jovian weighs in at just 17 ounces and packs down nicely so as to not take up much room in my backpack. I appreciate the fact that I can stuff it in a bag as a “just in case” option, and rest assured that it is there when I need it, without adding bulk or weight to my gear.

The MSRP on the Jovian is $475, which is likely to induce sticker shock for the average traveler who doesn’t need the kind of performance from their gear that this jacket provides. But Mountain Hardwear‘s core audience are hardcore adventurers and mountaineers who travel to some of the most remote places on the planet. Those men and women require that their gear performs at a high level at all times, and as such, they are willing to pay for superior equipment. The Jovian, for example, is the type of jacket that will not only perform well for years to come, but will also withstand the rigors of being used in active outdoor pursuits in some of the worst environments on the planet. In fact, the gear is so good, that Mountain Hardwear offers a lifetime warranty on all of their equipment. Consider that when your cheaper jacket falls apart on your next trip.

If you are the type of traveler who rarely has the need to battle the elements or face inclement weather, than this probably isn’t the jacket for you. But if your travels frequently carry you to remote places, where you either endure the conditions or miss out on the adventure, than Mountain Hardwear has built a shell that will serve you well for many years to come. Its ability to keep you warm and dry, while not restricting your movement, makes this jacket worth every penny to the audience for which it is designed. The Jovian gets a big thumbs up for adventure travelers, mountaineers, climbers, cross country skiers, and anyone else who takes their outdoor pursuits very seriously – rain or shine.

Gadling gear review: Polarmax AYG (All Year Gear)

Polarmax AYG performance underwearWhen packing for an active trip, we often put a lot of consideration into the clothes we bring along with us. If we’re headed to a cold weather destination for example, we bring quality base layers, fleeces, and of course a good shell. If we’re setting out for a hot climate, its lightweight, breathable apparel that we put in our bags. One piece of clothing that we don’t always put much thought into however, is what goes under all of that other stuff.

That’s right, our underwear, skivvies, bloomers – whatever you want to call them – play a big role in our enjoyment of our vacation, even if we don’t always realize it. Like any other piece of clothing we take with us however, our underwear needs to perform as well as possible, which is where the Polarmax AYG line of clothing comes in handy.

Polarmax is a company that has made high performance base layers for more than 25 years. Their clothing has been used by mountaineers, arctic explorers, and athletes, and the company has focused all of that experience into creating a line of underwear that can be worn around town as easily as on a long hike. The result is AYG, which stands for “All Year Gear.”

AYG underwear uses a blend of high-tech fabrics, including TransDRY cottons, to be soft and breathable. Those fabrics are also designed to wick moisture away from the body, helping to keep you fresh and dry, no matter what climate or activity you’re exploring. All of that marketing speak means that AYG has been created to keep us comfortable in both the heat or cold, whether we’re on the trail or relaxing in the lodge.
Polarmax AYG performance underwearI’ve had the opportunity to use AYG for the past couple of months, putting it through its paces in the extreme heat of Austin, Texas on a daily basis, as well as taking it with me when I traveled to a variety of destinations, both foreign and domestic. I’ve found that it is not only very comfortable to wear, but more than lives up to the performance promises from Polarmax. I’ve worn All Year Gear on long hikes, mountain climbing, and even mountain biking, and it has always exceeded my expectations. No matter what the activity, my AYG boxer briefs kept me dry without restricting motion in any way.

Because AYG underwear is so versatile, it is an excellent option for travelers looking to save room in their packs and travel a bit lighter too. AYG fabrics are designed to be fast-drying, as well as anti-microbial, which helps to keep them smelling fresh on extended trips. That means you only need to pack two or three pairs when heading out for your next adventure. Simply wear the underwear all day, then wash it in your hotel sink or camp stream at night, hang it up to dry, and throw it back in your pack the next day. Repeat throughout your trip, and you’ll always have a fresh pair ready for use.

Polarmax AYG is available for both men and women and comes in a variety of styles and colors. You’ll find not only briefs, but shirts as well and the line will soon expand to include more colors and prints. No matter which options you go with however, you’ll be glad you have them with you on your next trip.

National Geographic to launch new clothing line

National Geographic will launch a new line of clothing National Geographic announced yesterday that it is getting into the clothing business. The famous organization says that it will produce a new line of “explorer inspired” apparel that will hit store shelves across North America later this year.

Nat Geo has partnered with apparel manufacturer Greater Clothing Company to bring two styles of clothing to market. The “Rugged Series” is designed for the urban adventurer who is looking for comfortable clothes to wear while exploring the town, while the “Storm Series,” which includes jackets and rain coats, will keep them warm and dry when the weather takes a turn for the worse.

The clothing promises to blend old school, expedition design elements with modern fashions and fabrics. The gear will be breathable and water resistant, and built for comfort while on the go. That combination should make the garments popular with travelers who expect comfort and good looks out of the gear they take with them on the road.

Exactly how much the new gear will cost, and where it will be available, has not yet been revealed. The clothing is expected to be in stores in October however, with plans to expand the offerings in early 2012, when a more technical line of gear, as well as active wear, will be added to the catalog.

SkyMall Monday: Jeans Lounge Pants

skymall monday jeans lounge pants gadlingI’ve never understood people who relax in their homes while wearing jeans. First of all, denim is not all that comfortable. Second, most people don’t wash their jeans frequently, meaning that they’re wearing filthy clothes on their couches and beds. And third, in the summer, jeans just aren’t breathable and it’s expensive to run your air conditioner all the time. That’s why I strip down to my skivvies when I walk into SkyMall Monday headquarters. I like to air out while I’m in my personal space. That, of course, makes conducting meetings quite awkward. We need to maintain an aura of edginess and danger around here. Thankfully, SkyMall has a way to let us look casual while being comfortable and maintaining our innate hipness all the while. No one does cool quite like SkyMall, so you know that you’re going to look good when you slip on a pair of Jeans Lounge Pants.Of course, you have a choice of soft-textured pants that are made to look like jeans. We understand that you can go the Pajama Jeans route. Heck, after watching the commercial, who among us hasn’t placed an order for a dozen or so? But, Pajama Jeans look so pristine and formal. What if you like to keep things more “downtown chic? Ripped jeans let people know that you’re edgy and playful rather than stuffy and dull.

Think that jeans should be jeans and not secret pajamas? Believe that you could just buy a pair of comfortable pants made of something other than denim? Well, while you get lost in your walk-in closet, we’ll be reading the product description:

These lounge pants look like a ripped-up, much-beloved pair of denim jeans–but they’re actually super-soft cotton with amazingly realistic front-and-back printing and a much more forgiving stretch.

Sure, you own sweatpants, yoga pants, gym shorts, pajama pants, leggings and several other articles of clothing with a forgiving stretch for when you pillage a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, but those pants don’t make you look like you live in Seattle circa 1994.

You deserve to be comfortable while you look dangerous. You deserve Jeans Lounge Pants.

Check out all of the previous SkyMall Monday posts HERE.

SkyMall Monday: Smittens

SkyMall is nothing if not an unabashed supporter of love. We’ve covered their romantically practical Double Umbrella in the past. But since we wrote about that that firm love device, the catalog has stopped carrying it (heresy!). How are lovers supposed to proclaim their feelings to the world through SkyMall products without a Double Umbrella? Well, SkyMall Monday is pleased to announce that there is a new product that you and your lover can use to nauseate the world. It also gives me an excuse to use the word ‘lover’ as many times as possible. I’m not talking about the Siamese Slanket, which is as inconvenient as it is dangerous. I mean, what happens when one of you farts? It’s the Dutchiest of ovens! No, I’m referring to a product far more romantic than that. Not only will lovers be able to show the world their commitment to one another, they will also be able to keep no less than one hand each warm and toasty. That’s because, from now on, when lovers hold hands and stroll through a park, they’ll be able to do so with their entangled hands ensconced in a shared hand garment. Ladies and gentlemen, friends and lovers, feast your eyes on Smittens.We’ve all held hands with someone before (right?). It’s clammy, confusing (should we interlock our fingers?) and dangerous without protection. Now, we can cover our hands while still proclaiming our purest of intentions for that special someone. Sure, it will be hard to dodge people on the sidewalk and, should you choose to go on opposite directions, there’s serious potential for dislocated shoulders, but those are mere trifles that love can surely overcome.

Don’t think that lovers should be attached at the hand? Are you more of a glove man? I bet you do that gross finger on the palm thing when you shake someone’s hand, perv. This is the future of love and only SkyMall truly understands that:

Now you can stay warmer and closer to a loved one by holding hands inside a single oversized mitten! Perfect for romantic walks or watching sports together on a cold day. One set of Smittens includes one Smitten, one larger mitten and one smaller mitten. One size fits most.

Ah yes, men love going to sporting events and showing the world how romantic they are. If only they made foam fingers for two. And, since no one loves big-handed women, there’s clearly no need to include two larger mittens. No, I’m sure only petite women will be able to convince their larger, whipped sensitive boyfriends to share a Smitten with them.

Love is a many-splendored thing (I just made that up). But it’s also a one Smittened thing. Put your gloves, mittens and cuffs away. They are soulless devices devoid of love and feeling. If you can share your heart with someone, you can share your Smitten. That’s what lovers do.

More Smitten awfulness goodness can be found on the company’s official website that was clearly built by someone with a still active GeoCities account.

Check out all of the previous SkyMall Monday posts HERE.