Optic Nerve

3 #ShopSmall Companies We Love

Looking to support some of the smaller guys this holiday season? Here are 3 companies that we love. We know and have met the owners of each, who all rock, and they make great products.

1. All Good, by Elemental Herbs
Personally I can't live without their lip balms and Goop! They have an amazing line of all natural sunscreens, lotions and skin care products that are worth checking out.

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2. Optic Nerve
I have been wearing their sunglasses for years after switching from one of the big industry giants. Their motto is "Nobody Owns Us" and they make top quality sunglasses and ski goggles at totally affordable prices! They make sunglasses meant for all athletic pursuits and fashion forward styles for around town.

3. TurboPUP
If Betty and Norman could talk they would tell you to stuff Fido's stocking with TurboPUP bars this year. They make the perfect meal replacement bar for long days out with your 4-legged partner or work as a savory snack. Feel great about supporting this veteran-woman-owned business and know your dogs will LOVE you!

The Ultimate 10 Essentials from Outdoor Retailer Winter 2013

The "10 Essentials" are an established list of items that, in an emergency situation in the wilderness, you would be glad you had. This list is based on feedback from numerous people who had been in life threatening situations. One should always have these items in your pack whenever you step on or off the trail. There are MANY options for each of the categories and there is often not a right or wrong item. That being said, we here at the AdventurUs offices decided to keep our eyes peeled at Outdoor Retailer to find the best and coolest items to complete your "10 Essential Systems" list, with some style. 1) Navigation - We know there are many fancy new options out there, but we believe having solid map and compass navigation skills is important and therefore feel a manual compass is important. Our choice the SuuntoMC-2 global compass.


2) Illumination- The Goal Zero Solo, solar powered, compact flashlight, no need for concern over spare batteries. Just hook this guy to the back of your pack and charge as your go.


3) Sun Protection - Sun Bum Pro sunblock, 30 or 50 SPF. This all natural sun care product is non-greasy, non-migrating and recommended by The Skin Cancer Foundation that caught our eye because of their great packaging. They also have chapstick in great flavors with SPF to protect your lips. Just as important as protecting your skin is protecting your eyes. We love Optic Nerve and chose their "Roger That" sunglasses to protect our eyes. They are ideal for snow travel having removable side shields and polarized lenses and have a price point that won't break the bank!


4) Nutrition - The hardest part of having these bars as an emergency product is that they are so yummy you will want to eat them! NOW energy bars are gluten free, all natural and loaded with Chia Seeds! All of the flavors were great, but the energy bars are top choice for calories and protein.

5) Hydration - We love the Vapur anti-bottle because it becomes super compact when empty, has an easy open lid when you wearing gloves and a drinking spout that won't spill all over you. At the show they unveiled their newest line which is a Vapur bottle with a slim filter built-in allowing you to collect and drink water safely from any source!


6) Insulation - The new Patagonia Nano Puff Hybrid is awesome, puffy and fleece, why choose when you can have the best of both worlds.


7) Fire - ReadyFuel Utility Flame and a Bic lighter, done! The cool fire starter gel lights easily, burns hot enough to boil water and leaves only sand residue behind. Stay tuned for a video with more about this cool product.


8) Emergency Shelter - Introducing the NEW Sol 2 person Emergency Bivy, for you and a friend or your gear, allows you to cuddle and keep warm, and is the size of a Red Bull can. TINY! Is this too big? :) Then you can get even smaller with the 1 person Sol Emergency Bivy.


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9) Repair Kit and Tools - We wanted to highlight the ultimate multi-tool that we found. We talked to the rep at the Wenger booth and after telling him what we were looking for he did not hesitate when recommending the Wenger EvoGrip S18 in Yellow. This knife had all the tools you need, great grip and the yellow make it hard to lose! The scissors are self sharpening and the S-version has a safety mechanism on the blade making it hard to chop your finger off when opening and closing it... very helpful.


10) First Aid - This may not be the smallest and lightest option, but the Day Tripper Mountain Series Medical Kit is well-organized and a complete package. Adventure Medical Kits has a full line of products ensuring that you will find a solution that works for you.


Top 3 Ironman 2012 Items

Training for an Ironman is no joke. During our training and on race day there are 3 things that I loved and could not have lived without.  My Optic Nerve sunglasses, my CamelBak running belt and Endurox Excel.

1. Sunglasses. These are a must....running, riding, driving, I always wear sunglasses and have been wearing the same pair, literally, for 10 years. I loved them, yup past tense. At Outdoor Retailer last summer I won a pair of Optic Nerve sunglasses. After talking to the owner Bill Cotton about my lifestyle and athletic adventures he gave me a pair of the NeuroToxin PM's (MSRP $79). I immediately fell in love with them. I feel a little bad about the other ones. I mean a decade is a long time to be in a relationship with an accessory and now they are gathering dust as my back up pair.  The NeuroToxins are super comfortable, as in I forget that I am wearing them as I look for them before I head out the door kind of comfortable. The photochromatic lenses get lighter or darker automatically depending on the light conditions. This is especially helpful when on the bike or running out on the trails and you often go in and out of sunny and shady conditions. So you aren't taking them on and off.  I'm looking forward to this new long term relationship. The other great thing about these glasses is they are affordable. Great quality product at a reasonable price. Brilliant.

2. Hydration - When going out for long runs hydration is critical especially in the summer. Everyone has a personal preference as to how they carry their hydration: backpack, bottle in hand, run belt and for each of these options their are numerous companies offering a variety of products. CamelBak is synonymous with hydration. They are the leader in backpacks with bladders and drinking tubes for all kinds of sports and activities and have a great line of bottles too. I was lucky enough to get to test the Arc 2 Podium Run belt (MSRP $45) which will be in stores in 2013. This was hands down the most comfortable and easy to use run belt I have trained and raced with. There was no bounce, even with full 10oz bottles, and getting them in and out of the cages was as simple as click out/click in. The velcro closure on the front made it super easy to get on and off and elastic in the waist belt made it feel like a custom fit the first time you put it on. The wide mouth opening on the bottles make it super easy to put your preferred sports drink in them and the podium series cap allow you to keep the top open with no spilling or splashing. And they have a small pocket to keep your essentials. Let's just say my husband and training partner was a bit jealous. If you are a runner....keep your eye out for this product!

3. Nutrition/Recovery: We have always been good about our recovery drinks and trying to fuel properly, but this time round I decided to add in a daily training vitamin supplement from Pacific Health Labs, Endurox Excel (MSRP $17.99). My testimonial is this, I was never really sore even after race days. In the past long training workouts and races would leave me barely able to walk the next day. This time round, especially after Boulder 70.3 and IM Florida, I woke up the next morning astonished by how good I felt. Walking around, taking the stairs instead of elevators. God knows I am not getting younger, and I used the same training program as last time, so the only thing I can attribute the faster recovery to is the Endurox Excel. I am excited to keep using it as we train for our Mt. Whitney climb and to see if helps with the recovery from our long hikes and climbing adventures.