Lifestyle Review- Monkii Bars 2: Adventure Kit

Reviewed By: Darwin & Snuggles

Adventure Kit Includes The Following When Purchased:

  • Hand Holds
  • Straps
  • Foot Straps
  • Phone Holder
  • Mobile App Information
  • A few other fun examples of the companies humor

Introduction:

Although we (Darwin & Snuggles) have often discussed hiking as the best form of training for a hike of any kind, we do enjoy other types of workouts. Yoga, running, cycling, and weight lifting are also ways we enjoy exercising and find them great ways to cross train. It is, however, difficult to justify the extra weight and space a set of weights takes up when traveling full-time in a trailer or van. This, however, was a problem that we suspected would be resolved with using Monkii Bars 2.

First Impressions:

When the Adventure Kit was first shipped we did encounter a few issues due to weather and a tight schedule solely on our own behalf. Monkii Bars 2 was more than accommodating and very understanding of our lifestyle. When the equipment actually arrived we were surprised by the packaging for such a simple thing. It was packaged in a box close to the size of an average shoebox. The box had die-cut designs and many examples of the company’s good sense of humor were found inside along with the actual bars (we will leave the specifics as a surprise). The company though small delivers a big personality, which we found very likable.

At first setting up the Adventure Kit in any setting proved to be slightly challenging. This may, however, be due to our fear of not setting it up correctly and falling on our face. It took us several times watching the setup videos to finally feel confident enough to actually try the equipment out. We were also slightly confused noticing the bars shown in setup videos are sometimes another version of the bars. Upon further research, we found the Monkii Bars 2 had been redesigned making them smaller, lighter and more compactable. We do however still have issues packing up the bars exactly as they came. We can only hope continued practice will make perfect!

The system itself uses an individual’s own bodyweight instead of actual weights; a suspension system. This along with the lines provided in the kit, allows the intensity of the workout to be adjusted as needed for every individual’s level of fitness. We found the workouts provided by the Monkii Bars App a great aid and motivator. The follow-along workout videos are presented in a very relatable and relaxed way. Often workout equipment is introduced by somewhat intimidating model-like figures. Monkii Bars provides informative videos by the people who have actually had a hand in creating the product and still use it.

The specific workouts provided by the Monkii are yet another example of the companies humor and approachability. With workouts named “Quarter-life Crisis”, “Legs Like A Sequoia”, and “Core of Destiny” to only name a few, you will no doubt stay interested in the workouts. The workouts involve the entire body making it in our opinion, a great way to cross train or simply allow a rest day from our typical workouts.

Quality & Durability:

The Adventure Kit is named such for its ability to be taken and used almost anywhere. It is easily packable taking up a small amount of space for a piece of equipment that provides multitudes of ways to work out. We have used our kit indoors and outdoors via front doors, van doors, and trees.

The Adventure Kit (along with all versions of Monkii Bars) is able to convert to the “Ultralight Kit”. Allowing the system to be used anywhere and put it into use just about everywhere using just the basic equipment (i.e. no extra straps, case, phone holder, etc.). This has allowed us to use the bars among the trees and is a big part of why we have found the Monkii Bars 2 so fun and convenient to use.

Monkii Bars 2 Kits are made from within the USA and are advertised as using the highest quality materials possible, including Spectra Line. Monkii Bars 2 is incredibly strong but as most exercise equipment does have a weight limit of 250 pounds. Although there have been reports of people using the bars successfully beyond this limit, the company does not recommend doing so.

Price:

Compared to some similar workout equipment, Monkii Bars 2 is actually cheaper than others. The Adventure Kit can be purchased for $195.00 and will be shipped for free within the USA when using a free promo code currently being offered on Monkii.co.

Because of the cost, Monkii is very understanding that this may not be reasonable for everyone. They, however, want everyone to enjoy their product and benefit health wise by using it and so offer information on making a DIY version of the bars. You can find this information on their website HERE.

Product Guarantees:

Monkii offers a 100% guarantee and a full refund all within 30-days of delivery. After the 30-day guarantee repairs and replacements will be issued if the equipment was used as it was intended causing the need for repair or replacement.

Monkii also offers free Spectra Line replacement if the line is breaking down in some way due to normal use. For a full list of product guarantees and replacements, please review the information on Monkii’s website HERE.

Conclusion:

Although similar to other products known on the market, Monkii Bars 2 has the ability to work within your current lifestyle and the company itself is very personable. These were the characteristics that caught our attention at first without even trying anything out. Now having used The Adventure Kit for over two months we have no plans of stopping. Although the results of any workout equipment depend on the individual using it, along with their workout goals, we (Darwin and Snuggles) feel we have only benefited from having introduced Monkii Bar workouts into our personal routines (hence this review!).

If you are interested in trying out Monkii Bars 2 for yourself, you can find them and their variety of kits HERE.

UPDATE 5/1/18: Monkii just put out a KickStarter! Check it out HERE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER:
MONKII BARS 2  DID PROVIDE US A SAMPLE OF THEIR PRODUCT. WE HAVE NO CONTRACTUAL AGREEMENT WITH THIS COMPANY AND ONLY GIVE REVIEWS ON GEAR WE USE OR FEEL WOULD BENEFIT OUR VIEWERS/READERS TO KNOW MORE ABOUT. WE ARE SELF-EMPLOYED AND DO NOT RECEIVE FURTHER COMPENSATION FROM MONKII BARS 2  FOR THIS GEAR REVIEW.

 

Lifestyle Review: Lumi Outdoors, Foot & Shoe Odor Eliminating Powder & Spray

Reviewed By: Darwin & Snuggles

***Updated Product Review As Of 6/29/18 at Bottom

Lumi Outdoors Products:

Natural Foot & Shoe Odor Eliminating Powder (3.5 fl. oz. (100g))

Natural Extra Strength, Odor Eliminator Spray (4 fl. oz. (120 ml))

Introduction:

A hiker depends on their feet. They put their feet through hell trudging over extreme terrain usually in extreme weather. The feet withstand a lot of abuse and how does the hiker repay them? By getting up and doing it all over again the next day. At the end of a backpacking trip the feet are usually used and abused; sweaty, dirty, swollen and sometimes blistered. In an effect to take better care of the body part that keeps us going, we tried out Lumi Outdoors Foot and Shoe Powder along with their Odor Eliminator Spray.

First Impressions:

Lumi Outdoors first caught our eye by selling products that are made with natural ingredients. We are constantly exposed to chemicals in our daily life and just like we seek out the wilderness to detoxify naturally, we want to find the same quality in products we use close to or on our skin. The few ingredients that we were unfamiliar with we researched and found were in most cases forgotten natural remedies and often even edible in some forms (we do NOT advice you ingest either Lumi Outdoors product).

Lumi Outdoors as a company is small and family run and does not test their products on animals which we felt were both great qualities for both the product and the company. We always look for gear and products that can serve multiple purposes and found this same quality with Lumi Outdoors.

Quality & Durability:

Powder:

Over the course of two months of testing, we have used the powder in our trail runners along with other shoes we wear off the trail. Specifically, with our hiking wear, we have found that applying the powder inside the shoes immediately provides a refreshing smell and eliminates almost immediately the funk that can develop over the course of even a day hike. When applied specifically in a sock before a run, hike, or even during an average day, foot sweat was noticeably minimal or even non-existent. Snuggles specifically used the powder directly on her feet (with and without socks) in order to help prevent sweating that can lead to odors, hot spots, and overall discomfort. As of date the foot powder has developed no ill effects after direct application to the skin and has only proved to be beneficial for these issues.

Although we both prefer to use anti-chafing balms as to powders, Lumi Outdoors powder can be used to prevent chafing. It is our personal experience that powders are harder to apply to specific areas of the body and tend to wear off easier than that of a balm. We have tested out the powder for chafing and it does seem to work as most typical anti-chafing powders do. We did, however, feel better about applying it to more sensitive areas as Lumi does not use Menthol in their powder and uses all natural ingredients.

Spray:

Lumi Outdoors’ Extra Strength Odor Eliminator not only has a refreshing scent but also has ingredients that kill off the bacteria that cause odors in the first place. The spray is made of various natural antibacterial, fungal and microbial agents such as Peppermint Oil, Witch Hazel, and Apple Cider Vinegar to name just a few. When used specifically with our shoes/boots odors are covered immediately when sprayed and eventually disappear after a few treatments. We can only assume that this is due to the natural bacterial fighting ingredients used.

Not only have we used the spray in shoes/boots but we have also found the spray beneficial when used on clothing, bags, and as a simple room/van spray as an odor killer and refresher. The spray leaves behind a clean and fresh Lemongrass scent and we have experienced no ill effects when used on materials that come in direct contact with skin.

Using Powder & Spray Together:

Over the course of two months, we have utilized Lumi Outdoors’ Odor Eliminator Spray in addition to the Foot & Shoe Odor Eliminating Powder. When using the products together we have found that odors stay away longer. However, both products are still very beneficial when used separately.

Price:

Natural, Foot & Shoe Odor Eliminating Powder (3.5 fl. oz. (100g)) – $14.95

Natural, Extra Strength, Odor Eliminator Spray (4 fl. oz. (120 ml)) – $14.95

Compared to other options available currently on the market, Lumi Outdoors’ products can be more on the more expensive side. However, we find it worth the cost to support a cottage company along with knowing we are not exposing ourselves to unnecessary chemicals.

Lumi Outdoors’ products are not as easily found in stores as other products on the market however they can be ordered via Amazon or via Lumi Outdoors’ website. When ordered via their website Lumi does offer discounts when ordering larger quantities along with free shipping on select orders. You can find links to both Amazon and Lumi Outdoors Website via the links below.

Product Guarantees:

Lumi Outdoors does not offer any replacement or guarantees with their powder or spray. However, after using both the spray and powder for two months we have not had any issues. Because Lumi Outdoors products can be applied directly to the skin and on materials that can be in direct contact with skin, both products have warnings to stop usage if redness, rash, or itching occurs. This seems to be a standard warning on all similar products found on the market today.

Conclusion:

We will continue to use Lumi Outdoors products in the future as we have found both the Odor Eliminating Powder and Spray very beneficial in our current lifestyle. Not only do we think a hiker and traveler can benefit from using Lumi Outdoors products, anyone who wears shoes or at times feels a little less than fresh would benefit from using Lumi products.

Although their products can be pricier than similar products (in regards to both the spray and powder) we feel its worth the cost to help support a smaller company and using a more natural alternative to what we have used before.

You can find Lumi Outdoors products on Amazon via this link http://amzn.to/2FStTQs or http://amzn.to/2IFbZyC

You can also learn more about Lumi Outdoors on their website found HERE.

 

***Product Update As Of 6/28/18***

When meeting up with Darwin on the Pacific Crest Trail and with hauling hikers in the Clydesdale (our van) Lumi Outdoors has been a great help. Darwin’s shoes are typically disgusting and always damp from sweat. Lumi’s Powder always is helpful with eating up the smell and moisture giving Darwin’s foot a comfortable and somewhat pleasant environment to be in.

I found the spray helpful in the van after loading and unloading hikers as Hiker Stink usually lingers. I don’t always mind this however it is nice to freshen up the Clydesdale with just a few sprays of Lumi. I don’t worry about breathing any toxic fumes thanks to their all natural ingredients. As of date, Darwin and I both prefer and will continue to use Lumi Outdoors, products.

– Snuggles

 

DISCLAIMER:
LUMI OUTDOORS DID PROVIDE US A SAMPLE OF THEIR PRODUCTS. WE HAVE NO CONTRACTUAL AGREEMENT WITH THIS COMPANY AND ONLY GIVE REVIEWS ON GEAR WE USE OR FEEL WOULD BENEFIT OUR VIEWERS/READERS TO KNOW MORE ABOUT. WE ARE SELF-EMPLOYED AND DO NOT RECEIVE FURTHER COMPENSATION FROM LUMI OUTDOORS FOR THIS GEAR REVIEW.
 This post contains affiliate links! This means that if you click on one of the product links and buy something, I’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps supports Darwin’s YouTube Channel and allows us to continue to make content via the Snuggle Diaries! Thank you for the support!

Lifestyle Review: The ROAM Wallet

Reviewed By: Darwin

***Use the code “Darwin” when you make a purchase with ROAM and get 20% off! 

Introduction:

I was first introduced to ROAM when approached by the company specifically concerning their wallets. I was unaware of this product before however have discovered they are great way to safely carry personal information, cash and credit cards or other small needed essentials without the trouble of dealing with the full weight and bulk of the everyday wallet or small pouch.

Please be aware I am not being paid by this company for the following review.

First Impressions & Design:

At first I have to admit I was hesitant about carrying this wallet in either the Premium or Minimal versions. I was somewhat doubtful that either would actually hold anything securely with such a simple design. Each wallet is basically a wide piece of elastic with a small carabiner on one side to attach to a pack, belt loop, etc. The Premium has an additional layer of elastic creating three slots for the more organized individual (3.5 inches wide and a little over 3 inches tall). The Minimal is a simple one pocket design (3.5 inches wide and 3 inches tall).

When I first put my driver’s license and credit card in the Minimal Wallet along with a few folded bills, it occurred to me how exactly the wallet worked. The elastic material used is cut slightly smaller than the average credit card, identification card, etc. allowing each to fit snuggly and securely into the pocket. The elastic simply grips each item being stored. A very simple design that left me wondering “Why didn’t I think of that?”. Before hitting the trail I flung the wallet around like crazy. I shook it upside down tossed it around in the air and my cards and cash remained snug and unaffected.

When I did the same with the Premium Wallet with the same items, I did notice some slight movement. This however is probably due to not having a enough items to put into the wallet as it does have three slots to utilize. From my experience the Premium Wallet works better when all pockets are in use allowing the wallet to grip and stretch completely. The Premium Wallet is also designed to allow the user to carry lip balm as well or even a pen as needed.

Each wallet comes in a variety of designs to pick from. ROAM also features a few select artist designs.

Quality and Durability:

Although simple in design, both the Premium and Minimal Wallets have proven to be quality made. I have taken both out during overnight backpacking trips, numerous bike rides, a few runs and carried both wallets for normal day use over the course a month and a half. I have found that neither wallet has stretched out and both continue to perform as designed.

Personally I have found little to no use for the small carabiner attached to either wallet and eventually have removed it. This again is of personal preference as I typically store my wallet inside my pack while on trail. I have had one loop come unstitched over time. This may cause more of an issue for an individual using the carabiner or using the loop to store lip balm.

It should be noted that no matter the design (Premium or Minimal) neither are waterproof. Although I have carried a small amount of change in both I would not recommend it. Carrying change takes away from the snug fit and or grip each wallet has on the items being carried inside. Each wallet is designed with an open top which again is easy for change to fall out of.

Price:

I found each wallet to be priced reasonably with the Minimal at twelve dollars and the Premium priced at fourteen (price does not include shipping). Select artist designed wallets are at no additional cost.

Product Guarantees and Replacement:

I have found no product guarantees or replacement policies for ROAM’s wallets but thus far have not needed to use them.

Conclusion:

Overall the initial doubts that I had on using ROAM’s Wallets have been proved wrong. I have not had any issues with items falling out of either wallet design and in fact have no intention of returning to my old cloth folding wallet. It is surprising how much I carried in previous wallets because I had the space to do so. With ROAM wallets I realize now how much I carried that I never used causing additional weight and bulk in my pocket, pack, etc. ROAM’s simple design allowed me to simplify another part of my life and I recommend them for any individual regardless of lifestyle.

You can check out the various styles of ROAM’s Wallets by visiting their website just click HERE!

 

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HydroBlu Versa Flow

 

Full Review

Reviewed By: Darwin

Package Includes:

Water Filter & Bucket Set Up Kit (Tubing, Hose Clamp & Bucket Connector)

           The HydroBlu Versa Flow to be a great option when choosing a water filtering system for any type of adventure from car camping to backpacking. The initial cost of the filter is low at only $19.95 for the full package. The filter body itself is small measuring 1.6″ by 5.25″. This small size allows for easy storage in a backpack, car, bag, or possibly even a deep pocket. The Versa Flow is a true light weight option with the body weighing in at 1.4oz dry (before first filtering).

I used the Versa Flow for this review in a bottle filter and in-line (hydration reservoir) set up which are common for backpacking. The Versa Flow does have the capability to be used with a bucket (or other water container) setup and is primarily advertised as being used this way.

The Versa Flow uses medical grade ultrafiltration membranes to remove particles as small as 0.1 micron. It uses a hollow fiber design that allows a faster flow rate (around 20oz per minute) compared to competitor filters. HydroBlu also advertises this filter as being 99.99% effective against bacteria, protozoa, and cysts such as e-coli, staph, salmonella, giardia, cryptosporidium and other harmful contaminants. It however does not remove chemicals or viruses. The filter cartridge has a 10,000 gallon filtering life which unfortunately is a significantly shorter life span when compared to other filters similar in size, weight, and function.

I found the bottle filter set-up to be the easiest and most efficient method for use. The filter features a 28mm female connector that easily threads onto most water bottles such a “Smart Water” bottle or plastic soda bottle. When connected to a bottle of dirty water and or dirty bag, I was able to simply squeeze the bottle and easily recieved clean water or utilized the clean end of the filter like straw for the same outcome.

During each use I considered the silicon cap/cover on filter body to be useless. The cover would constantly curl and move around during use. Although I understand the thought behind this piece (to keep clean water end free of outside debris) I found this feature an unnecessary annoyance and I removed it after only a few uses.

If using the Versa Flow primarily as a bottle filter or in-line set up, you will be at a disadvantage. Similar filters on the market include at least one small dirty water bag and the Versa Flow does not. I personally prefer to have a dirty bag to store more dirty water when in the field. While testing in the field, I simply utilized a dirty bag from a competitors filter which worked sufficiently. It however should be mentioned that the Versa Flow is marketed as a filter used for a bucket setup and HydroBlu does provide the necessary attachments to use the filter in this manner.

Cleaning and maintenance on the Versa Flow I found pretty standard for a filter of this design. Back-flushing is the recommended cleaning process for this filter and directions are given on this with filtering kit. Similar filters on the market include a back flushing syringe with kit, HydroBlu does not. This would not neccassarily sway me from purchasing this filter as backflashing can be easly done without a syringe.

As with most filters, the Versa Flow will work best when filtering water with minimal sediment and when sediment has been allowed to settle. The more debris in dirty water the slower the flow rate.  An abundance of sediment in the dirty water will most likely clog the filter regardless of set up. Try your best to keep large floaties out!

Overall I feel the HydraBlue Versa Flow is very useful and a light weight option to filtering water. The filter is small and easy to maintain and store. It’s design allows for multiple filtering set ups for a minimal initial cost compared to other filters on the market.

Check it out on Amazon! –  http://amzn.to/2ruLcjc


 

Check out the Video Review Here!

Outdoorsman Lab’s UL Sleeping Pad

Full Review

Reviewed By: Darwin

Outdoorsman Lab’s UL Sleeping Pad is a noticeably light pad weighing in at 15oz and is very packable for being 21 inches wide and 6ft long (standard size). It comes with its own drawstring stuff sack and once removed is easily unrolled with out any static build up. The material the pad is made of is smooth and relatively soft to the touch.

The pad itself is made up of quilted air cells, which allows for easy airflow when inflating. The 2-way valve system used for inflation is easily located on the underside of pad. Once valve lid is pulled,any air blown into pad will not escape due to airlock design. This allows the user to inflate at a leisurely pace which is a very convenient feature. Once inflated to desired firmness, valve cap is easily pushed back in and the pad is ready for use. Deflation for the pad is simple as well having only to open valve lid and press on the trap door to start air release.

Due to the quilted design, I did not have any issues with the inner baffling becoming undone as I have had with other sleeping pads. When weight is shifted on the pad, the quilt design allows for air to fill another quilt pocket. Nothing is worse than a popped baffle leaving a large uneven lump to sleep on. While in a sitting a position on the pad I found even full inflation did not hold up to weight as I would sink to the ground surface.

The Outdoorsman Lab’s UL Sleeping Pad, unfortunately, has a low R-value of 1.3 and even though the pad is 2.2 inches thick when fully inflated I would only consider it a summer pad. It was not specifically tested in a colder environment because of this low rating. It seems that the pad would work best in environments no colder than 50 degrees.

The pad was used on a variety of different surfaces including pine needles, uneven ground, rocks, etc. and could occasionally feel ground surface. Occasionally while side sleeping the pad would sink underweight causing my hipbone to become flush with the ground surface. Although light, the Outdoorsman is very similar to other pads in durability. It can be used on bare ground but as with other inflatables, it is recommended that a ground tarp of some kind is laid down first for protection.

I found the Outdoorsman Lab’s UL Sleeping Pad to be a great option for the budget backpacker. The pad is light and well made and being priced at $47 USD is a cheaper alternative compared to other pads on the market. The only flaw I could find currently was the low R-rating again making this pad seemingly more reliable for summer use but no the less efficient.

Check it out on Amazon! –  http://amzn.to/2pKRjvk


Check out the Video Review Here!

Hoka One One TOR Summit Mid WP Review

Full Review

Reviewed By: Darwin

The Tor Summit was stiff right out of the box and takes a little bit of time to break in. Once the boot is broken in, it has a nice snug fit in the heal & plenty of room in to toe box for extra socks and/or swelling. The e-vent Sock liner has a nice seamless feel to it, yet does not breathe as well as other waterproof boots that I have tested.

Stability of the Tor Summit feels great with Hoka’s famous “Bucket Seat” fit, which hugs your heel snuggly and gives great ankle support when dealing with technical terrain. The Vibram wraped EVA sole has great traction on slippery surfaces, yet feels too squishy on harder surfaces.

The Suede Leather Upper is very well constructed and held up to multiple types of terrain. The stitched and glued seams stayed together through out testing and still look like they did the day they were new. Flat laces and metal lace hooks kept the laces tied tight during a long day hike, never coming undone.

The high toe bumper and stiff, rugged heel counter make the overall protection of the Tor Summit great when smacking into rocks and roots on the trail. A bellowed tongue keeps trail debris out and the tongue in place.

Off trail, The Hoka Tor Summit tends to be a bit squishy due to its EVA sole, making them fall short when crossing skree fields and rock hopping. However the boots over all stiffness lends well when edging up steep accents.

Altogether, I found the Hoka One One Tor Summit Mid WP to be a well constructed, comfortable fitting, full featured Mid hiking boot that is good for light weight day hiking in cool weather but seems to fall short as a breathable summer hiking boot.

 


Product Specifications

Price: Usually around $135 – $180

Weight: 2lbs 5oz for the pair

Check Them Out Here: Hoka One One Tor Summit Mid WP


How I tested them

These boots were tested over a series of long day hikes & lightweight overnight backpacking trips in the Sandia & Manzano Mountains of New Mexico. They were tested on a variety of trail conditions including muddy, rocky, sandy, and hard pack trails.