August 6, 2012

  • ToughMudder Gear!

    Never pay retail for outdoor adventure gear. That's my new motto. The past couple of months I have shopped around and gradually accumulated some good stuff to add to the good stuff I already have.  At this point, my Tough Mudder gear looks like this:

    • generic-brand quick-dry synthetic runner's shirt and shorts (on sale at Target: they feel just like the good ones at REI)

    • Vasque trail-runner shoes (already had these)

    • Dahlgren trail-running socks, so amazing you can watch them wick and shed water while you rinse them out under the faucet! Comfy too. They blend synthetic fibers and merino wool, but not all in one uniform fabric: different parts of the sock are made of different things, strategically connected so as to pull moisture out of your shoe and let it evaporate from around your ankle. No kidding. (clearance sale on

    • UnderArmor underwear (clearance sale on

    • UnderArmor long-sleeve compression shirt made of some alien fabric that actually does make you feel cooler than wearing nothing at all (clearance sale on

    • SwissGear slimline hydration pack and reservoir (on sale at Target: fully $110 LESS than the price I almost paid for very similar pack at REI, although I admit the REI pack was better quality and had some cool added features and was about 2 ounces lighter... but I'm good with it)

    • IronClad Box Handler Gloves, the grippiest ones I could find (purchased online, direct from manufacturer, found via Google)

    • Helly Hanson full-length baselayer bottoms: they wick and evaporate fast, to keep you cool and dry if you are sweating, and they also keep in warmth if you are cold. Like the UnderArmor compression shirt, I don't know how it works, but it really seems to work well (clearance sale on

    • "FJELDHEIM" headband to keep the sweat out of my eyes (free: I cut up an old T-shirt and used a Sharpie to write "FJELDHEIM" across the front of it. Also stitched a "Tahoe Rim Trail" patch on it, and added "Florence Nelson: 1931-2009" in fabric paint. Saved $15 to $20 that way)

    Since four out of seven of the products I purchased all came from the same source, I ought to say something about it. The Clymb is a members-only online liquidation store for lots of name-brand stuff that for one reason or another just has got to go. Most stuff is about 50% off retail. Some things, usually in unusual sizes or limited quantities, are 70% off. Some brands, though, seem to use The Clymb as just another sale outlet, and only discount by 20%, but that's better than full retail price, at least. Although I suggest you refuse to buy anything that's not discounted to at least half its normal price, just to keep the sellers hungry.

    The sales don't last long (a countdown timer on each sale page will keep you updated), the selection can be a bit random-seeming, and sometimes size ranges are limited, but it's a great chance to buy top quality gear at otherwise-impossible prices.

    I am also a fan of thrift stores. But they rarely carry adventure gear.  So if you're looking for tents or sleeping bags or slacklines or esbit stoves or climbing harnesses or crampons or cook kits or negative-30-degree parkas or river-rafting shoes-- or an entire raft-- you might want to sign up for The Clymb and just see what wanders across the radar screen over the next year or so.  I think you'll be surprised. I was.


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