My brother and I ran a portion of the Trans-Zion Trek – from the West Rim Trailhead to the East entrance – a distance of about 29 miles. Video below:
My brother and I ran a portion of the Trans-Zion Trek – from the West Rim Trailhead to the East entrance – a distance of about 29 miles. Video below:
Everyone says they want to run a marathon, right? I said that a time or two. It’s tough to actually get out there and do it, right? Not really. Just leave and go do it. I ran a pointless marathon the other day. It was mildly entertaining.
I’ve always found organized races to be too much. Organized races cost too much money, involve too many people, too many rules. It starts at sign up when they hit you for the exorbitant fees. Then you go pick up your number and that bag of junk they give you. It’s literally a bag of garbage. Nobody needs another T-shirt. Nobody needs a sticker and packet of lotion from a company they never heard of. Then you go to the staging area and there are too many people. Then the bus ride is too long. Then the line at the port-a-potty is too long, Then you’re too cold. Then the start is too crowded… See my point? It’s easier to just wake up one morning and hit the trail. Just go run.
Here’s a short video I shot while running. Enjoy.
I’ve got a few new designs up in my Strayfoto Redbubble Store – some new Moab designs that are relatively new – check them out if you get a chance.
I’ve been thinking about getting a hydration pack for some time now. I have an REI Flash 22 that holds a hydration bladder, but it’s more of a daypack that can carry water and for running it’s not ideal. I looked at the Osprey models and some Ultimate Direction ones, but in the end I went with the CamelBak Ultra 10. I found a good deal on the 2016 CamelBak Ultra 10 at Amazon, but after trying the CamelBak Ultra 10 2017 version on locally, I opted for it. Text below, and a video review below that.
2016 on the left in blue and the 2017 CamelBak Ultra 10 Hydration Vest on the right.
The 2017 (black) Ultra 10 Vest is much lighter, weighing in at just 18 oz and the 2016 model weighs over 25 oz. Keep in mind that’s (obviously, right?) with no water in the bladder. If you add 70 oz of water they’re both going to be much heavier.
I like the fit of the 2017 (black/right) better. It’s lighter, sure, but the material is thinner and seems less bulky all around. There’s a lot less padding between the hydration baldder and the back panel, which is mesh, on the 2017 version.
The CamelBak website claims there’s about 200 cubic inches difference between the sizes of the packs, with the new (2017) version being a little smaller. To me, it appears to be completely in the bottom three inches of the large, main compartment. In day to day use and with a reasonable load for a long run, I can’t imagine ever noticing a difference.
The chest straps on the 2017 version (again, black, right) are thinner and the buckles are smaller. I find the buckles small enough to be difficult to manipulate and much harder to buckle than the 2016 version. Both models have the stretchy lower strap and static upper strap. Straps on both models can be moved up and down to accommodate different users. I found the ones on the older model to be easier to move, but I think once users have them set to personal preference they’ll probably not move them much – I don’t think I will anyway.
The shoulder straps on the 2016 model have an adjustment strap and side-release buckle. Also, the straps on the 2016 version aren’t as breathable as the mesh straps on the 2017 version. The 2016 version requires the straps to be undone when accessing the water bladder in the back (at least it much easier if you undo them) but the water is easier to get to on the 2017 (black) version.
The zippers on the 2017 version seem to be a bit smaller, although from the photo it’s not obvious. In reality they’re close enough that nobody will probably notice. The zipper pulls are different, but I’m not sure that matters.
This is the crux of my decision process right here. My phone (Samsung Galaxy S5) fits in the chest pocket on the black 2017 version, where it simply won’t fit in last years’ model. That was the clincher for me. I want to haul my phone with me occasionally, and this is the perfect spot for it. I fact that it fit a little better in the newer model sealed the deal for my.
Thanks for looking! Good luck.
Road ID Replacement Tag Hack
Keep reading for more in-depth… or watch the video below.
I have one of the Road ID Sport armbands and I really like it. I got it as a Christmas gift several years ago it’s become a standard part of my running gear. I’m wouldn’t call myself superstitious, but I like routine. I run in pretty much the same thing every day. It’s comfortable and I’m familiar with every piece. I know exactly what I need to wear depending on temperature and weather. The Road ID sport goes on one wrist and my Garmin watch on the other, I like the Road ID and the piece of mind it offers when I’m running in an unfamiliar city or far out in the country. Mine’s out of date though, and most of the information is incorrect now. Without updating the emergency contact information on the Road ID wristband it’s become more of a fashion statement than a safety measure.
At first I was hesitant to order a Road ID replacement, then I realized users could remove the little ID / information tag with the emergency contact info on it and simply order that piece, not the entire bracelet. That seemed like a great idea until I looked it up on the Road ID website and realized the Road ID replacement tag was $17.99 – only two dollars less than the whole bracelet.
Sure, fine. That’s their business plan, making the bulk of the profit on the replacement tag. I get it. It’s a good idea. But I’m not paying that. I’m simply not shelling out that much dough for a replacement ICE tag when I already own the bracelet. I’ve thought about this a lot over the last year. I’d pay $7-8.00 no problem. Under $10.00 shipped and I’d have ordered one already. But not for $18.00.
Lots of running and cycling forums advocate the adoption of simple, military-style dog tags, and dog tags are dirt cheap. I could get 2 sets for the same price as a Road ID replacement tag. I don’t like the idea of it clanging and jingling as I run, and I wear a Fitbit tracker around my neck already. I just don’t dig the dog tag idea.
I measured the tag and on the computer created a rectangular box I could type some text in. Then I typed some text in. I added all the crap that’s on the Road ID tag to begin with. I had to resize it a bit, and shift it around, but it was easy. Users of almost any computer can do this in almost any image editing software. Even MS Paint will work. If you have access to a Windows machine, you can make your own Road ID replacement tag in a matter of minutes.
I’ve even put a copy of the image I made up on Flickr so users can download it and fill it out. Go for it. Use it, share it, etc. Leave a comment if it worked for you.
It’s a 3×5 in rectangular image that will print white with a black box. Download the full size image from Flickr (click here) and open it in any image editor. Fill appropriate text in the box provided, and trim the box on the inside of the border. Yeah, it’s small. The inside dimensions of the box are about 24mm long by 19 mm tall. The total image should measure 3×5 inches and 300 dpi. You may have to play around with your print settings to get it to work – my Windows default print dialog messes it up every single time by trying to scale it to fit to the page – but Photoshop prints it just fine.
Now, if you did it correctly, the piece of paper with your updated information on it will fit onto the Road ID Sport size tag with a little space at the edges. That space is important. We have to tape the paper onto the tag, and that little space at the top, bottom, and sides is how the tape will stick to the original metal tag. It’s the tape that’s going to make this paper somewhat weather proof… it’s never going to be as weather-proof as the original laser engraved $20.00 metal tag, but hey, it was free.
I used packing tape. It’s more heavy duty that scotch tape, and it should last quite a bit longer. If I ever have to change it again, I can just scrape it off and print another one out.
Have fun. Run far. Save $17.00 dollars. Like my Facebook page – I usually try to post a photo a day. Thanks.
REI FLash 22 Lightweight Backpack Review
Check out the video review or keep reading for the old fashioned way… Thanks.
I’ve got daypacks, klettesacks, backpacks, knapsacks, shoulder bags, messenger bags, laptop bags and camera bags, but I never, for some reason, seem to have the perfect bag for any one thing. A few years ago Leah and I bought a couple REI Flash 18 backpacks for some light trail running. They’re good little bags, they hold a water bladder plus a little food and some light clothing. Perfect, right? No. Because I lost mine. Sure, maybe I loaned it someone or someone borrowed it without asking and never returned it… I don’t know. It’s gone. That much I do know. As much as I love Topo Deisgns bags, none of them are really lightweight and none of them are set up to accommodate a water bladder. I’m usually fine with a water bottle on a hike, but if I’m running I like to have a bladder. It’s easier to access and easier to carry and often it’s lighter once it’s empty – it certainly takes up less room once it’s empty than a water bottle does.
At any rate I started shopping around. Bad idea. Now I’m pretty sure in the not too distant future I’ll have a Nathan’s Vest and an Ultimate Direction Fastpack 20 in addition to the REI Flash 22 I ordered. I settled on the REI Flash 22 mainly because of price. It’s cheap. Not necessarily cheaply made, but it’s certainly an affordable bag. I ordered it from REI as a year end closeout and got it for about $38.00. Much cheaper than anything Ultimate Direction is offering.
I waffled back and forth between the REI Flash 18 and the Flash 22 for a little while – the 18 was even cheaper than the 22, but I’d had it (and secretly I hoped (still hope?) that I’d find it again) and decided I wanted a little more room in the pack department. The 18 is (I believe) so named because its capacity is ~18 liters, and the 22 is ~22 liters, so it’s a little larger. Also I was hoping for something that’d do double duty as stuffable, but full-featured daypack for travel. I wanted something that I could put a bladder in and go for a run, but that I could roll up and stuff in a larger bag to travel with – kind of a destination backpack that wouldn’t take up as much room or weigh as much as the 1000 Denier Cordura Topo Deisgns Pack that I usually take with me.
I originally ordered the gray Flash 22, but only because the black was out of stock. I’ve got a thing for black bags. Most of my bags are black and I wanted one that matched. No luck though, as the closeouts were only available in gray. I ordered the gray one and a couple days later I noticed the black one was back on the sale list so I ordered it as well. My original thought was that I’d just return the gray one and keep the black one. I was quite surprised a week later when the black one was going back – not the gray one.
The gray one is so much easier to look inside. One can open the top of the bag and actually see the contents. The black one is dark enough to qualify as a black hole. Anything you have in the bag will never escape the event horizon of it’s mouth – not due to gravity but simply because you won’t ever be able to find anything in the dark. After looking inside both bags (a feature that I tried to show in the above video) I opted to keep the gray one.
It’s a good bag. It’s lightweight, it’s easy to use, and it fits well. It doesn’t bounce too much when running, but it’s not as secure as an ultrarunning style race vest would be. I’ve run with my Camelbak bladder about half full and while I find the sloshing noise annoying, it’s secure enough. The main compartment holds a jacket and some camera gear – enough to keep me reasonably happy. It’s a decent lightweight daypack at an affordable price. I tend to prefer stuff that costs five times as much, comes with some pseudo-ethos and is made in the USA, but this is essentially just what I was looking for, and it was cheap.
Thanks for reading, stay safe out there.
Soft Star Moc3 Minimalist Running Shoe Review.
I hate the term “barefoot shoe”. At any rate, a couple years ago I was having a little knee pain while running. One thing led to another and, for better or worse, I now mostly run barefoot. Not “barefoot”, but real barefoot. Not Five Fingers “barefoot”, not Nike Free “barefoot”, but real barefoot. I like the feeling. I like the freedom. Some claim there might be better connection to the planet – some magical hippie-dippy fairy dust that lines the road in front of you as you run barefoot. While I can’t necessarily confirm that, I might not quite deny it either. I dream in barefoot now. Weird.
Here’s a short video review of this shoe – the reading / photo version continues below.
As much as I like being barefoot, I do live in rural Utah. It’s bitter cold in the winter (14 below zero this morning) and last summer a company did a shoddy and very rough job of chipsealing the roads around my house. While I can usually run several miles barefoot on trails, concrete, or even decent asphalt, the roads nearest my home are now rough and miserable after only a mile or two.
I needed a minimalist shoe that was easy to carry so after I’d hamburgered my feet around the neighborhood I could slip them on and make my way home. I tried the Merrell Trail Glove and found it too shoe-like. I tried some neoprene booties from a local store, but they wore out quickly and were too hot. I finally found Soft Star. I started out with the Original RunAmoc LIte, and found it to be decent but a little floppy. It was difficult to put on because it has to be tied. I kept watching the SoftStar website waiting for another option and in late summer 2011 they announced the Moc3 RunAmoc. I ordered a pair immediately.
I love these shoes. They’re light, flexible, breathable. The sole is so thin it’s as close as I’ve come to being barefoot while in a shoe. They slip on in seconds. I’ve had them 18 months and they’ve lasted me over 500 miles of trails and asphalt and they show almost no wear. I can slip them in the wasitband of my shorts or hold them in my hands for the first few miles of rough road and then slip them on quickly and keep running. While nothing can replace the comfort of being truly barefoot, these are close. They don’t get in the way of barefoot form, and they let my toes spread out and do their job.
I’ve added a little dab of shoe-goo in a spot on outside of the sole where they were beginning to show a little wear, but this was largely preventative; there was no hole at all. The inner footbed is leather and has broken-in very nice.
Although the Soft Star website claims they’re more well-suited to mild trail running, I’ve run some pretty rugged trails in them and never had a complaint. In fact they’ve held up better than I thought they would from the outset. It’s a shoe I’m glad to have purchased. On top of that they’re made in the USA.
If there’s a downside, they look like slippers. I’m pretty conservative, and while I don’t think they’re as ugly as the Five Fingers, I’m a little hesitant to wear them in public. Luckily, I have the Arrow Moccasin Lace Boot and I have the Arrow Two-Eye Tie Moc, which I love. They look a little more normal, and I’ll review them sometime soon and maybe I’ll compare them to the Soft Star Rogues I got a couple months ago…
I’ve written and illustrated two children’s books that are now available in print and digital versions; Coyote Life, and The Cat’s Glasses. If you’ve got kids, check them out. If you enjoy them, please leave a review, tell your friends, etc. Thanks.
Don’t forget to check out some of the fine art prints for sale in my Etsy shop.
My wife Leah also makes and sells some pretty cool leather stuff like minimalist wallets and camera straps. Check out her Etsy store for some cool gear.
Photography T Shirts and Stickers at Redbubble: