Summer is here with relentless intensity and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon [shhhh, don’t tell winter!]. As the weather moves us through the summer months we’ve gathered some of our favorite warm-weather gear and now we want to share these pieces with you! Below you’ll find a roundup of great summery gear for all of y’all who are sweating through your adventures these days!
Each item has been through the early summer wringer of high alpine runs in the Rocky Mountains. We’ve had a pretty dry summer [we always do…] so the weather-specific reviews are focused around the temperature range of 35-80F degrees with very limited rain showers. Keep reading and add to your gear stash!
The Cool-Lite Rush Windbreaker is a versatile jacket that will protect you against light rain and winds. It is layered with a “weather resistant” exterior polyester and a thin eyelet inner made of a Merino Wool/TENCEL blend. There is a panel down each side that is also made of the Merino Wool/TENCEL blend. This combination of materials allows the jacket to shed light rain, protect against moderate wind and provide sweat-wicking features all at the same time. It is a comfortable and breathable jacket with the added perk of packing into a side pocket.
What We Loved: Thumb holes! It has thumb holes! It is also a comfortable fit and the inner eyelet layer is very soft against the skin [ie: great option for jacket against skin if you’re wearing a tank top].
- We We Would Change: Is it wrong to want a hood on every single one of my layers? Probably, but I think a hood would be a great addition as the windy rain often ends up going down your neck! It would also be nice to see the outer shell having longer sleeves. The inner eyelet layer has longer sleeves and thumb holes, but this leads to the problem of absorbent material being exposed to the weather.
- Fit, Feel + Function: The jacket fits true to size and allows for a fair bit of movement thanks to the vent across the upper back. It does protect against light weather and is an easy go-to for those morning jaunts when you’re just waiting for the sun to wake up.
The Black Diamond Sprint shorts are finally available in women’s and oh my! It may have been worth the wait as they are great shorts. They are designed to act as a pair of running shorts as well as your running belt [especially when paired with a handheld water bottle]. There are a total of five pockets around the waistband — two with zippers, three with elastic tops. The pockets are designed as part of a system. In other words, they were specifically designed to hold gear such as the BD Wind Shell or a BD headlamp. There is also a drawstring through the waistband to help you secure the shorts in place once you get the pockets full.
What We Loved: The overall fit of these shorts is great. The inner brief liner fits comfortably and the shorts do not ride up. There is plenty of room in the legs for movement without feeling restrained…and stretching without feeling exposed.
- What We Would Change: This is going to sound petty as I know the shorts were designed by mountain athletes…but a standard phone does not fit in any of the pockets. I saw this more for travel to/from the trails as I have become accustomed to slipping my phone in the pockets along the leg of various other shorts/tights I wear.
- Fit, Feel + Function: The Sprint shorts fit true to size and you do not need to size up to accommodate the rigid drawstring. I opted for the shorter 2.5” inseam which was a great choice for someone who prefers shorter shorts. Overall these shorts are very comfortable and functional.
The Title Nine Vibe tank top is a great option if you’re looking to get away from the spandex-y look and feel of the standard racerback tank tops during your workouts. The cut of the tank is comfortable and flattering with a longer waist to compliment tights when worn under other layers. It is made with Vibe material which is a polyester/cotton/spandex blend that allows it to be a bit thicker while still providing breathability and wicking features.
What We Loved: The overall fit and feel of this tank top is great. The best part is the material. The thicker fabric allows for more coverage and an overall more comfortable feel.
- What We Would Change: The only tweak I would personally like to see is a bit more of a scoop neck but this is definitely just a personal preference. As someone used to racer back tank tops the “muscle tee” fit is great across my shoulders but gets to be a bit much around the neck.
- Fit, Feel + Function: The fit is true to size with other Title Nine tops. For me this means I need to size down as I fall between small and medium [go with small for Title Nine tops]. As for the feel and function, this is a very comfortable tank top that does seem to dry very quickly.
Brooks Running recently launched their Dare Run Bra line of sports bras, which includes the Strappy, Crossback, High-Neck and more. The first thing you’ll notice is that some are available in combined sizing [A/B or C/D] while others are individually sized [32B, 34D, 36A, etc]. This will help you determine which sports bra is best for you. The Dare Strappy sports bra is one available in combined sizes which makes it a bit tricky to size if you fall between sizes. It is a lined sports bra with a very secure fit. The Strappy is created with no seams [except where the straps connect at the nape of your neck] so there are no bulky stitches to cause chafing or discomfort.
What We Loved: The overall fit of the Strappy bra was comfortable and while the padding was new to me [managed to avoid it for 33 years!] it did its job at providing support and coverage. Also, the fun design of the straps was a perk!
- What We Would Change: The bottom band is tighter than expected. This made for a challenge when pulling the sports bra on, but once it settled in space I became used to it. The coverage/lining is also a bit noticeable as it covers a specific part of your chest and if your breasts don’t fit into that specific area it’s a bit off-kilter. This is likely why I’ve managed to avoid lined bras for so many years!
- Fit, Feel + Function: Sports bras are not easy to size as the rib/cup size does not necessarily equate support in a sports bra. I size into a 32DD “everyday bra” and wear a small/medium top. My previous sports bras were generally generic size small…support was acquired with the smash-em-down method. With Brooks Running bras I fit into the Strappy 34A/B and Crossback 34C/D. While that DD in my “everyday bra” implies there’s a lot of bounce I really don’t have a lot of chest to wrangle. That said, both the Strappy and Crossback did their job and let my chest go unnoticed throughout my runs and hikes.
Swiftwick creates socks designed specifically for the sports you use them in. The Pursuit Ultralight socks are the newest addition to their robust line of trail running socks. This sock uses a lightweight, close-knit Merino Wool to ensure quick drying and reduced hot spots or blisters. The Pursuit Ultralight is available in four heights ranging from no-show to high crew. As someone who prefers no-shows but understands the need for higher socks during epic adventures it is comforting to know I can have the same sock at different heights.
What We Loved: The socks truly feel lightweight and while our summer has been very dry there were a few mornings with enough due to wet my socks…they dried before I got my post-run coffee brewed!
- What We Would Change: When you first pull these socks on you can tell they are made of Merino Wool, and not necessarily in a good way. It takes a few washes for the socks to get that worn wool softness.
- Fit, Feel + Function: The Pursuit Ultralight socks fit true to size if you size by your dress shoe size [I wear 10.5 in running shoes, 9.5 in dress shoes…the medium Swiftwick is my jam]. Once you get a few washes in they become more comfortable and my feet are happily hotspot and blister free!
Looking for more cushion? Check out the Pursuit Hike!
The Nite Ize Radiant 250 Headlamp is a great no-nonsense headlamp to have stashed in your pack at all times. It has both red and white LED lights that can be used at one of four settings. The high beam will get you 5.5 hours of light while the low beam will last for up to 46 hours! More importantly there is a lockout option so you don’t need to worry about the headlamp turning on and draining the battery while tucked in your pack. The adjustable strap and angle also work to make this a great option to have even if you plan to be home before dark.
What We Loved: This is a straight forward headlamp and I mean that as a huge compliment. There is one button to toggle through the four lighting options. If you’re in a pickle you won’t need to learn how to use your headlamp! It offers up to 250 lumens of light and a decent battery life via AAA batteries.
- What We Would Change: The only minor issue I had with this headlamp is the adjustable strap. It needed to be tweaked from time to time [ie: every few miles-ish?] as it didn’t quite stay at the size initially adjusted to. This can be expected for all the bouncing that running causes!
- Fit, Feel + Function: It does fit comfortably and is easy enough to adjust if you move from head to hat. It is a solid headlamp that is easy to use while also providing reliable light.
The CamelBak Ultra Handheld is a great option for those days when you want to embrace the simplicity of heading out the door without a running pack. It comes with a 17 ounce Quick Stow soft flask and a “carrier” that is made primarily of mesh. This mesh material allows your hand to comfortably hold the soft flask without transferring all of your hand heat to the water. There is also a zipper pocket for snacks [or your phone if you have a smaller phone] and a pouch for trash [or more snacks…].
What We Loved: This handheld allows for water and food in one hand. The zipper pocket will hold two snack bars and the outer pouch holds your trash…a perfect combination!
- What We Would Change: Is it possible to use less material in the carrier? The only repeat issue I experienced was emptying my handheld and having no place to stash it due to the carrier bulk. It is also worth noting that you have to screw on the top *just right* to keep it from leaking!
- Fit, Feel + Function: As a one-size-fits-all the design of this carrier and overall handheld works well. The carrier’s mesh is comfortable against your skin and the elastic bands allow for a variety of holding configurations. Overall it is a functional handheld that doesn’t slosh!