At GearJunkie, we test, use, and rely on all manner of gear — for all seasons and conditions. Take a peek at the products we love this month!
Favorite Gear We Tested in April
Tested by: Jennifer Hansen, Marketing Manager
The weather is finally starting to warm up again, so you can find me starting to hit the hiking trails on a weekly basis. It’s peak waterfall season where I live, which also means lots of rain and slippery rocks. When I’m deciding what to wear on my feet, I’ve been grabbing my Vasque Breeze LTs on repeat.
These lightweight shoes are great for chasing waterfalls, as they are waterproof and made with Vasque’s Megagrip technology — no slipping over here! The best part is that they are also light on the planet. Vasque’s Nature-Tex waterproof tech is made with 50% recycled material, and the breathable mesh upper is 70% post-consumer recycled material. I love a sustainable shoe.
Though I love the shoes now, I must admit, they took a long time to break in. So long that I almost gave up on them. But I am glad I didn’t because once I got through the stiffness and blisters, they now fit me like a glove, and I can wear them on a day-long hike with no issues. And seriously, I have not once slipped on a wet rock once!
Tested: Zach Burton, Marketing Projects Director
The V3X is Mathews’ flagship bow, boasting a long riser to axel-to-axel ratio and the brand’s most advanced innovations yet. The V3X offers a new geometry, low-profile integrated sights, new cams, and an in-the-field repair system, setting a new bar for innovation. On top of that, the Mathews team developed an updated line of quivers to work with the new bow shape and improve on weight and felt vibration.
The V3X has been my bow of choice now for whitetail hunting and turkey hunting in the Midwest. I’ve hunted from ground blinds, treestands, and while on the move. Mathews built the V3X with a holistic mindset beyond just the bow — and it shows.
The bow is extremely smooth on the draw and balanced in the hand. I added the LowPro detached quiver and the Bridge-Lock 5-pin sight that was made specifically for the V3X. The result is a streamlined system that I felt like I could hunt right out of the box. Smooth, balanced, and consistent.
And while I haven’t had to use the Stay-Afield-System (S.A.S), it brings peace of mind should things ever go haywire on a long hunting trip.
Tested by: Katie Jedlicka Sieve, Project Manager
YETI is known for rugged and well-engineered products. Its burly and durable dog bed is no exception.
The YETI Trailhead Dog Bed has a home base and a removable travel pad. The base has a pillow booster encircling the bed, which is perfect for chin resting. My black lab mix loves the flexibility of the small travel bed or the luxurious full bed. The bed is easy to clean thanks to the machine washable cover and waterproof base.
The YETI Trailhead Dog Bed has been everywhere from our home office, the tent, to the back of the Tacoma. Our four-legged family members deserve a cozy and comfortable spot on and off the trail.
Tested: Zach Burton, Marketing Projects Director
Sweet Protection recently brought the “Memento” glasses to the market, representing a progressive and casual styling. The glasses are defined by their large frame that goes all around the cylindrical lens, which is slightly thinner and lighter than other models.
The brand says the Memento has a stable and rigid frame and temples, and the wider application creates more space between the lens and eyes for comfort.
I’ve been a fan of Sweet Protection since I first grabbed its Falconer II road bike helmet a few seasons ago. Since then, I’ve followed the brand and kept up with its launches.
This winter, I had a chance to get my hands on the Memento and use these glasses nearly every day on winter bike commutes and nordic ski sessions. This time of year, almost every commute or ski session is done in the dark.
So, the lens RIG technology, which is developed by Sweet Protection to “provide superior contrast, minimum color distortion, and reduced eye fatigue” really makes a difference.
In addition, the frames provide plenty of coverage to keep winter cold, snow, and grit out of my eyes.
Tested by: Katie Eichelberger, Content Producer
LuminAid Solar Lanterns don’t just shine light on your outdoor adventures, they also provide light for areas where disaster has struck or in countries where electricity isn’t accessible.
I have used a LuminAid lantern for years, and it’s accompanied me on every camping trip. Because it folds flat, I just throw it on the dash as I drive to the campsite. By the time I arrive, it’s fully charged and ready to go.
I recently upgraded my LuminAid lineup to include the Titan 2-1 Power Lantern, which is both lantern and power bank. I was super excited to leave my bulky power bank at home and be able to rely on Mother Nature to charge my phone.
LuminAid also updated the design so that instead of having to use your own air to blow up in the lantern every time, you can simply unfold it and it will take shape. The Titan packs 300 lumens and can last for up to 100 hours, though I’ve never needed it for that long, thankfully. And, it has a red light mode.
Tested by: Jake Ferguson, Marketing Director
Gnarly makes nutritional supplements with “no fake stuff” for athletes and adventurers. The brand prides itself on clean, effective, and great-tasting products. I’ve tested Gnarly products in recent months for bike rides, long hikes, bouldering, and more.
Fuel2O is designed to sustain you on long days doing whatever activity you love. Mix a scoop (or two) of the powder with water every hour to keep going strong and feeling good.
Twelve ounces of the powder blend contains 100 calories, has easy-to-digest carbs, replenishes electrolytes with sodium and vitamins, and adds HMB to help you recover faster.
It doesn’t sit heavy in my stomach like some other products, nor has it given me an upset stomach. It tastes good, so it’s easy to drink during activity. And it gives enough energy to keep me out there longer.
Whey protein and Gnarly’s BCAA blend help me recover faster after intense activities and workouts. If I forget to take it, I’m noticeably more tired and sore the next day. I’m impressed by all the Gnarly products I’ve tested, and it’s become my go-to nutritional supplement brand to support my activities and recovery.
Tested by: Chris Potter, Community Manager
It’s not often that you can see who made the piece of technical apparel you’re wearing. As I put on the Paka Apparel Costa Sweater for the first time, I came across a tag that says Mery from Peru handmade this sweater.
Made of 50% alpaca wool and a 50% poly blend, the Costa is a versatile sweater that is as technical as it is comfortable. Alpaca fiber is three times lighter than sheep’s wool, as evident in this piece — it’s downright airy but still very warm for winter and shoulder season adventures.
As the warmest sweater in Paka’s line, the Costa’s warmth and look have been a welcome companion on backcountry ski tours, while running errands around town, and while out to dinner. It provides the durability I demand out of all my technical outerwear, thanks to the tensile strength of the alpaca fibers.
From one alpaca shearing, four sweaters can be produced. The Costa sweater is a winner when it comes to sustainability, comfort, and adventure-readiness.
Tested by: Katie Eichelberger, Content Producer
My first introduction to Cotopaxi was the brand’s infamous yearly Questival, a mini adventure challenge with “Doing Good” in mind (check it out). I’ve been hooked ever since! Who doesn’t love knowing that their purchase makes a difference? Not to mention, the colors are just so bright and fun.
My Cotopaxi Allpa 35L is my most reached-for pack, typically because it means I’m headed for a weekend trip to see family, a camping trip, or flying somewhere fun. When I fly, I will do everything in my power not to have to pay for a checked bag. This pack fits easily in the overhead bin space, and it also can pass as a personal item (if you pack it right).
There are multiple ways to carry this pack. On your back, or by the four handles on each side of the pack. When you’re not using the pack as a backpack, you can tuck in the shoulder straps and remove the waist strap. I have found this pack to be super durable and easy to clean. And thanks to the included rain cover, I know the inside is protected too!
The Allpa 35L opens like a suitcase and has zippered segments for optimal organization. The larger compartment is accessible through a side zipper and there is also a zippered slot for a laptop and tablet; though I tend to leave those at home when I’m on vacation! All external zippers have a security loop so you can keep calm and carry on.
Travel is picking up again, so do yourself a favor and pick up this bag to avoid bag fees, like me.
Tested by: Morgan Preston, Community Manager
Comfortable Adventure’s mission is to produce low impact, high comfort hemp goods for modern outdoors womxn in the pursuit of comfortable adventure. Intrigued by their mission, we wanted to give their Hemp Send Pants and Crop Tank a try—and they did not disappoint.
The Send Pants have become a staple for my everyday wear. They fit like sweats, but the material (hemp, the most sustainable natural fibre out there!) changes everything with its thermoregulating properties – meaning these pants work for both chilly morning bike rides and sunny crag days. Each detail of these pants is carefully crafted, from the extra large pockets to the extra padding on your knees and butt.
The Comfortable Adventures founder wanted to ensure more women had pants that could go from a day of work to a quick afternoon climbing session, and these pants achieve that goal. The waistband is harness friendly, and there’s a super convenient belt loop for clipping anything you may need! The Crop Tank is similarly impressive, and clearly made with the same impeccable attention to detail. If you think crop tanks don’t fit you, think again – this tank is built to flatter all body types, and that was made evident when tested.