Winter

[Review] WoolX Explorer 1/4 Zip Baselayer

Living in Minnesota, there are quite a few months out of the year where having a good base layer is a necessity.  I have always been a big fan of layering to stay warm (and to make it easier to stay comfortable walking in and out of buildings during the winter). Having a quality baselayer like this Merino Wool ¼ zip makes even easier than ever.

Quality: Although I had never heard of WoolX before testing out this baselayer, I can honestly say that it has a build quality that is just as good as the top outdoor brands. One of my favorite things about this shirt is that it is durable and warm enough to wear while hiking, hunting, camping, working outside, etc, yet it also looks professional and I can wear it to work. The logo is hidden near the right cuff, which is refreshingly different from the many outdoor companies that plaster their logo on the front of their clothing. The merino wool is great at staying cool and dry, even if you happen to get a bit sweaty under your jacket. Because of this, it also retains less body odor than other fabrics tend to.

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Fit: Well, it’s a baselayer. This is something I overlooked a bit when I ordered mine.  90% of the time, I am a Men’s small, especially in athletic clothing that often runs large. Occasionally, a medium will fit me perfectly. So this baselayer in a size small is a very athletic fit on me, which is not always a bad thing, as I will be wearing this in very cold temperatures and it will provide a very warm and cozy fit. In a perfect world, I would own this is a size small and medium to have one to wear strictly as a baselayer and one to wear as a shirt.

Other things to note: I learned very quickly that Merino Wool attracts dog fur like a magnet, so if you have a dog in the house, you might want to get a lightly colored baselayer (or just make sure you have lots of lint rollers on hand!).

All in all, this is a very versatile baselayer that I will wear regularly from October – March. Although it’s a bit expensive, it’s a piece of clothing that will make the cold months far more comfortable and, in turn, more enjoyable to spend outside! I give this five out of five stars.

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Price: The WoolX Explorer ¼ Zip baselayer is $89.00 and can be purchased directly from WoolX HERE. Their shipping is quick and their customer service is helpful and friendly!

 

[REVIEW] Yaktrax “WALK” Traction Cleats

Living in the cold midwest, sometimes we have what I like to call “Midwesterner Problems” — it’s too cold to go outside today, or the snow is too high to go anywhere, or it’s too icy to even walk outside. Well, this product is the perfect solution for a large majority of “Winter Midwesterner Problems” that we regularly deal with.

So what are Yaktrax? 

If you’ve never heard of them, seen them, or used them — Yaktrax are basically extra grips that you stretch over the bottom of your shoes. They greatly enhance your traction and make sure you (hopefully!) don’t slip on ice or other slippery surfaces in the winter. They are a ‘poly elastomer blend’ — like a strong, stretchy plastic with metal spirals around the plastic.

What’s so great about them?

Well, to start with, they are less than $20. And they can be used on all of your shoes! It’s a very practical winter solution to better equipping your footwear for ice. One of the best things about the Yaktrax, though, is that they provide traction without the need for spikes. The metal spirals on the poly elastomer dig in to the ice or snow just enough to give you a more sure footing and make sure you don’t slip. The absence of spikes means that if you need to run back in the house to grab something, you probably don’t need to worry about slipping the Yaktrax off (unless you have nice hardwood or marble flooring — then I would take the precaution).

The Yaktrax slip over your shoes — and I never had an issue with them falling off or slipping down. They securely go over the front and back of your shoe. They don’t weigh much, since they are just plastic and lightweight metal, so you don’t need to change your stride or walk any differently than you normally would.

They are so great, that I started using them for winter running a couple years ago. This particular model of Yaktrax is marketed as the “Yaktrax Walk”, but they stay on well enough and provide good enough traction that I had no issues using them while running. I like near a large lake that freezes over in the winter, and I use these to go for runs on the ice, so I don’t have to deal with cars and traffic on the road. In fact, I loved them so much, that I made a video to show them off! Check it out below:

The video is called “Fun With Yaktrax”, because they really can enhance your enjoyment of being outside in the winter. It can really be frustrating to lose your footing and slip all the time!

So, what could be improved? 

I’ve heard some people say that their “Yaktrax Walk” broke after a season or less of use. I have not had this issue with mine — and I have used them for several years. I imagine that Yaktrax is aware of this and is always working on how to make them better!

Want to buy them?

Yaktrax has a bunch of options to choose from — the RUN, the WALK, the XTR, the PRO, and SKI. Prices range from $20 for the WALK to $60 for the more extreme XTR model. I also suggest that you browse on Amazon.com — the prices may be a bit cheaper there.

I give the Yaktrax WALK Traction Cleats 5 out of 5 stars

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I have recommended them to others — they make great gifts (especially for seniors who have a hard time keeping their footing), and I will certainly use these for a long time to come!