Gear Review: Field Trip Jerky

Trail snacks are not my forté. I need them and I usually devour some while out on the trail. I would like to say that I make lovely lunches and snacks at home but really, I have a large Tupperware tote in my cabinet (or in my shed) full of miscellaneous bars, tuna packets, and some single serve powdered drink mixes and tablets that I can just grab and shove in my backpack. I am kind of picky about what I choose to eat though and try to allot my (few) dollars towards natural foods whenever possible.

At Winter Outdoor Retailer, I met Todd of Field Trip Jerky. Field Trip doesn’t use corn syrup as a sweetener (common in many jerky products), it’s gluten free, and delicious. The folks at Field Trip were kind enough to send me a package of their different flavors to sample and truthfully, I liked them all.

They make both beef and turkey jerky. I loved the flavor of the Crushed Chiles Turkey Jerky (ummm…and I would love it in beef, hinthint) and enjoyed the Cracked Pepper as well.

The beef flavors were my favorite, however with Roasted Sesame and Teriyaki leading the way with Original and Honey Spice just barely behind.

The packages are resealable which I really appreciate when I just want a little something to chew on but don’t want to eat the whole package. (If you open one with a friend around though, don’t expect to have any to put away.)

As I mentioned before, the folks at Field Trip do it right. Check out their ingredients in their scrumptious Roasted Sesame:

I totally recommend Field Trip for your next hike, roadtrip, or couch snacking. Many Starbucks location carry Field Trip and you can buy it on their website or on Amazon.


Field Trip Jerky provided me with jerky for sampling but all opinions are my own. Some links in this post are affiliate links that help support 3Up Adventures.

Gear Review: Mountain Hardware Chockstone Alpine Pant

Last fall when I headed to the Sangre de Cristos to climb Mt. Blanca and Little Bear via the traverse I realized that I should probably find something a little heavier duty than my usual leggings or shorts to wear. I ordered a pair of Mountain Hardware’s Chockstone Alpine pants ($125).* Even before I had them in my hot little hands, I was excited because they came in lengths! Most women’s outdoor pants are only one length while the men’s version will come in short-regular-long.

Once they arrived, the next thing I noticed was that they fit and that they weren’t ugly. While I know that the look of a pair of outdoor pants shouldn’t be a huge factor but it’s really nice to not feel like you’re wearing a burlap sack, you know? The pants are roomy enough to comfortably wear a baselayer underneath and not feel at all restricted but yet they do have some curves so you still look like a woman. I do live in Western Colorado and clothing choices that would not fly elsewhere work here but I’ve never thought twice about going out to dinner wearing them.

Photo Kami, Follow The Bear Tracks
Photo: Kami, Follow The Bear Tracks[/caption]

More importantly, they’re functional. I think the highest praise I can give them is that when I’m wearing the Chockstone pant, I don’t think about them. They move with me which is most important. I’ve never been a “hiking pant” fan preferring instead to hike in shorts or leggings but I really needed to add this option (and level of protection) to my wardrobe. Although it isn’t advertised, they seem to be somewhat water resistant, at least in dry Colorado and Utah snow conditions. The softshell material seems to breath well in high activity situations which is fantastic. Furthermore, the stout fabric isn’t just great for rocky situations but for bushwacking.

I’ll probably purchase another pair of these (when my size comes back on the Mountain Hardware website; I hope, hope, hope these aren’t being discontinued but instead just waiting for new colors or such for spring?!) soon since I often find myself wearing these Friday-Saturday-Sunday on adventures.

While the pants might be overkill for many casual hikers, if you enjoy active snowsports (cross country skiing, snowshoeing) or more than a few times a year find yourself scrambling around on rocky slopes or pushing your way through scrub oak (aka Rocky Mountain Shoulder Season Shit) these might be worth the price to you, they certainly have been to me.

*Note: These are not the “Chockstone Midweight Pant.” I haven’t tried these but I believe they’re lighter weight than the Alpine.

Gear Review: Merrick Backcounty Treats

A few months ago, I came home from work to find a package on the front porch. I excitedly tore into it and discovered that it wasn’t for me, it was for Sprocket!

He’d received Wild Prairie Real Chicken Jerky,  Wild Prairie Real Chicken Sausage Cuts, and Great Plains Real Steak Patties. The lucky dog was drooling immediately after I opened the first bag.

While all of the treats were enjoyed by Sprocket I think his favorite were the chicken jerky strips. I can’t say that I blame him, they smelled like meat and the ingredient list is impressive (“mixed tocopherols” are often found in human nutritional supplements; Vitamin E is a tocopherol). They’re grain-free which I appreciate since his food (also Merrick Backcountry) is as well.

Lest I give all the credit to the jerky, the sausage cuts and the steak patties were hits as well! I think I’d say the steak patties were his second favorite but the sausage cuts get him running to the kitchen for a treat all the same.

I don’t give SP treats very often but when I do, I try to choose things that fit in with his grain free diet and these Merrick treats fit the bill! While I putting together this review I found out that there is also a Wild Catch Salmon Jerky variety that I bet Sprocket is dying to try.

Merrick Backcountry treats were provided to 3Up Adventures by Merrick Pet Care. All opinions are my interpretation of Sprocket’s thoughts.

#Wild4Backcountry: Dog Tested, Mom Approved

If you’ve spent much time around this blog or perhaps had the good fortune to hang out with Sprocket and I in person, you know that he and I are a team. My dog is not just a canine to me but is really a member of my family. Sprocket can be counted on to join me on roadtrips, on hikes, on lazy days in bed, for indulging in a beer, or in going out to meet new people.

It’s really important to me that I feed Sprocket the best food I can afford to try and keep him in top health. When Merrick Pet Care approached me about an ambassadorship, I was very skeptical. I wasn’t about to feed Sprocket something that wasn’t up to our standards just for a partnership. As I researched Merrick, I became really excited about the chance to test out their new Backcountry products.

What made the difference for me?

Made in America: I’m leery of pet food that is either made overseas or comes from overseas ingredients. Americans highly value their pets and Merrick recognizes this and sources their ingredients in the USA not in China. Just as importantly, they do not use preservatives, additives, or colors.

Backcountry is grain-free: When Sprocket was younger, we had him on a grain-free diet feeling that it was healthiest for him and slowly drifted away from it because the food we were feeding him didn’t seem to be working for his digestive system. (Truth: he had horriblesulfur-y farts.) Rather than experimenting with other grain-free foods we transitioned him to a fairly premium food that did include grains. Last fall, however, when I found Sprocket in my sole care, I transitioned him back on to grain free foods and have been really happy with how his coat looks and how much he seems to enjoy his food.

Glucosamine & Condroitin: Labs are prone to hip dysplasia and I’m doing what I can to help Sprocket maintain his mobility for as long as possible. While the jury is still out on their efficacy in dogs, most things I’ve read have called them low risk with a potential reward so I’m opting to make sure Sprocket gets it in his diet. Backcountry promises 1200 mg/kg of both nutrients which 200% increase over his previous food.

And on his end, Sprocket seems to be really pleased with Backcountry. He chows down on the dry food with gusto. If he likes the dry food, I don’t even know what to tell you about the wet food. Wet food has always been an “in case of emergency” (aka “Mom decided we were not going home tonight and are sleeping at this sweet lake on the way home”) food that I’d pick up at the grocery store randomly. I’d also never bought anything for him as awesome as Alpine Rabbit Stew or 96% Real Beef. Although he loved that, our go to is Great Plains Red Meat dry food.

This post was sponsored by Merrick Pet Care. While Sprocket and I were compensated for this post and Sprocket’s samples of Backcountry were provided free of charge, all opinions are my own plus my subjective interpretation of Sprocket’s thoughts.

Gear Review: Columbia PFG Armadale Ankle Pant

This spring, I’d been looking for a way to bring some spring color to my wardrobe and decided to order a pair of Columbia Sportswear PFG Armadale ankle pants. I had a sneaking suspicion that the pants would be more like capris on my long legs than ankle pants (and they are) but I really like them!

These pants are made of a great nylon blend that Columbia calls “Summiteer Lite.” They’re Omni-Shield (water and stain repellent) and Omni-Shade (UV protection). Most importantly, they’re incredibly comfortable and look awesomely stylish.

I wore these to school several times and got compliments from teachers and students alike. They’re probably a bit too casual for many work places but they really do seem to dress up well! In addition to looking great, they’re very functional. Yesterday, my mom and I went kayaking and I was really easily able to get in and out of the kayak, move around easily in the boat, and they dried super quickly once I got out of the kayak. (And in the places that didn’t get soaked you can see how the water beaded up in the photo below!)

I currently have these in harbor blue and realllllly think I need to order them in navy and foxglove because they’re super awesome.

Also pictured by Columbia Sportswear: Lighten The Mood tunic in Sunnyside and Vulc N Vent Lace canvas shoe in Corange and Flint Grey. I am a member of Columbia’s #omniten program but all opinions are my own.

Gear Review: Columbia Back Beauty Capris

I have a ton of awesome summer clothing that needs to be shared! Unfortunately, my philosophy is that I want to put in some serious time with a piece of clothing or gear so sometimes it’s almost out of season (or worse, out of stock!) before I feel like I can offer a real opinion on things. As spring arrives in most of the country, I’m working through some warm season gear I tried out last year that is still available. Hope you enjoy!

Columbia’s Back Beauty Capris have become a staple in my outdoor wardrobe because they just fit. The Back Beauty comes not only in capri length, but in a long (knee length) short, a boot cut pant, a skinny pant, and a straight leg pant (which is on sale so it might not last long!). I’m thinking by the end of summer I’ll have added one of the pants to my closet so I can keep wearing them into fall!

The absolute best thing about these capris is the waist. They just fit. With a mid-rise and a really flattering cut they don’t dig into my waist, show my butt crack, or ride up where they don’t need to be (you know what I mean…).

The material is thicker than most tight, legging like pants and so far seems pretty robust. I think mine might have a snag or two in them but I’ve also worn them in some pretty atrocious cat’s claw and scrub oak (and my lower legs have gotten the scratches to match). They’re Omni-Shield which means that they’re water and stain repellent; this is awesome since I constantly am spilling things on myself… As I mentioned, I wear these all the time and they’re not stained! (Although my grey ones have a little bit of caulk on them because I didn’t think to change before starting a little #damselNOTindistress project…)

I’ve worn them hiking, traveling, eating, relaxing, and even to a serious set-up wedding day/wedding rehearsal:

Now that I’m looking at photos of myself in them, I also really like the length. They’re short enough on my long legs that they don’t just look like really long shorts!

If you’re looking for a comfortable pant or capri to adventure in this summer, check out the Back Beauty line. I think it’s a real winner.

These capris were provided to 3Up Adventures for review and use by Columbia Sportswear. All opinions, however are my own.

Gear Review: Columbia Endless Trail Short

Last year, when I was getting ready to go to Jordan with Columbia Sportswear’s #omniten, there were two pairs of Endless Trail shorts in my travel wardrobe. Aside from a couple minor issues, they’ve become an absolute staple in my wardrobe and I was really excited to receive another pair in red hibiscus this spring.

The absolute best thing about these shorts is the material. They dry SO QUICKLY. I’ve always been a little bit jealous of guys swim trunks because they’re dry in minutes while girls walk around with wet butts and chests under our shorts and t-shirts because swimming suits take forever to dry. When we were in Jordan, we spent a decent amount of time in the water and I fell in love with not staying soaked forever.

I think Caleb even enjoyed them a bit during our Red Sea cruise.  😉

Photo courtesy Seth Yates

They do tend to ride up a bit when I’m being really active. They’re fine for most hikes but I don’t tend to wear them running since they want to end up around my waist and up in places they don’t belong… I also think a slightly higher side slit would be nice for hiking when stepping over logs or scrambling is involved. It would allow for a little more more maneuverability. That being said, I wore them on some fantastic hikes in Jordan and had no real issues so it’s just a wish list sort of thing. (Columbia did just come out with these running style shorts that I’m super anxious to try.)

Photo Courtesy Justin Lukasavige
Photo Courtesy Justin Lukasavige[/caption]

They’re also a great length–I like my shorts to be short enough to show off my legs (sorry not sorry) and these are perfect. Sometimes I wear the waistband rolled over sorority girl style and sometimes I don’t. They look great both ways.

As far as an active pair of shorts goes, you won’t go long in the summer without seeing me in these!

These shorts were provided to me for use and review as part of Columbia’s #omniten program. All opinions are my own!

Gear Review: Stonewear Designs Kaia Halter & Lyra Top

I’ve been wearing some awesome clothing this spring in my role as Stonewear Designs Ambassador! I’m really exited to share with you two more pieces from a company comitted to making a high quality, lasting product here in the States! These two support tops, the Kaia and the Lyra, from Stonewear Designs are a great complement to the outdoor woman’s wardrobe. Both are totally functional as yoga or running tops but yet fashionable enough to wear around town.

The  Kaia halter top is a good length and the back slit is designed to allow the tank to lay flat over a variety of hip widths (the slit is also a really cute feature). The tendency to ride up can be a real issues with tops like this but I haven’t had any issues thanks to the smart design. Stonewear recently added 2″ to the length of the Lyra top. I didn’t try it before but I can say that the new version is also a tug-free option!

The back straps to the Lyra are really cute and make wearing the top super comfortable. They’re integrated into the body of the tank so they distribute pull rather than laying it all on the shoulders. The Kaia’s halter strap is also super comfortable, as a good halter should be, most of the support is provided by the internal bra cups and shelf bra rather than tugging at the back of the neck. Both tops have internal bra cups (although I’ve removed mine as personal preference). The tops are just low cut enough to be a bit sexy and feminine without being too much. The Lyra Top and the Kaia Halter each retail for $56.

Gear Review: J.R. Ligget Old Fashioned Shampoo

Last summer I read Green Housekeeping and started to re-evaluate the sheer amount of chemical cleaners and personal care products that I was using. One of the first things I decided to experiment with was shampoo. I dabbled with Dr. Bronner’s but didn’t really like how it left my hair feeling dry and tangled but yet somehow still not clean. (It was better when I used Dr. Bronner’s Citrus Hair Conditioning Rinse but the whole point was to eliminate products not just replace my shampoo and conditioner…) I still really like the Dr. Bronner’s (especially the Citrus Orange) soap as body wash: just a dab on a washcloth does my whole body! Still, I figured there had to be a better green shampoo alternative out there.

I used it off and on until January when I was packing for the #omnigames trip in Park City. On the way up, I was traveling with a carry-on only and hate having to pull out my little bag of liquids going through security. As I was packing, I remembered a little bar of shampoo I’d picked up at OR Show last summer and tossed it in to my bag.

Luxuriating in the nice hot shower at the Hyatt Escala Lodge in Park City, I used my J.R. Liggett shampoo bar for the first time. I was pleased to find that it formed a nice lather. As my hair dried, I was even more pleased to find that my hair was soft and looked pretty darn good without using any conditioner.

Before I got too excited about it, I figured it needed a little more testing than three days with a mini-bar in a hotel where I was showering everyday so I contacted J.R. Liggett and explained to them that I was interested in further testing their product. They sent me three different formulas plus a bar of their Fergie Dog Shampoo for Sprocket!

All of the formulas, including the dog shampoo, are free of petroleum based detergents and instead are made with natural oils and sodium hydroxide (the saponification agent for turning the oils into soap). Some of the bars, like the Tea Tree & Hemp Oil, have other oils added for additional benefits. All scents are achieved with essential oils and not artificial fragrances. Since they only use natural oils, the shampoo is 100% biodegradable which makes it ideal for use in our outdoor shower (be sure to check out tomorrow’s post for more info!).

So far, I’ve tried the Original (the mini-bar I used in Park City), Herbal Formula, and am currently using the Tea Tree & Hemp Oil formula. I still have a bar of Virgin Coconut & Argan Oil to try out but I’ve loved the first three so much I couldn’t wait to share with you. I think my favorite so far was the Herbal Formula: I really like the cedarwood scent! (Although it doesn’t really leave your hair smelling anything but “clean.”) I don’t fuss too much over having everything in my life be natural but since I use it so often, a natural shampoo seemed like a good place to start.

Sprocket and I have also tested the dog shampoo several times. I love the solid bar for washing the dog, liquid shampoo is sometimes hard to distribute all over; I always feel like I get a lot in some places and none in others. It is just a no-fragrance version of the human shampoo bars and leaves him shiny but doesn’t exacerbate his dandruff. Plus, I like that the shampoo rises out so easily!

Shampoo bars were provided by JR Liggett to 3Up Adventures for review. All opinions Beth’s.

Gear Review: Columbia Omniheat Baselayers

While I was in Park City with Columbia Sportswear and the #omniten, I was pretty much always wearing one of the Omniheat baselayers. After leaving Park City, I was too far south to need the warmth of Omniheat (although sometimes I wore the tops on chilly mornings for running).

When we moved north of Phoenix, I started wearing the tops over camisoles because it seemed like the right weight for the cool high Arizona spring weather. One afternoon, I set out for a hike wearing my 1/2 Zip Midweight long sleeve top. When the hike unexpectedly turned in to a bushwack I initially freaked out, I was going to shred this top. After a minute I realized I could give up, or I could decide that I’d been given this top in the spirit of #tryingstuff and I could continue. I decided to continue and put the shirt through some abuse. It came out totally unscathed.

Since then, we’ve found ourselves in the colder temperatures of high elevation New Mexico and I’ve relied in them more as baselayers. They’ve worked awesome. I actually #omniOVERheated snowshoing in just the baselayer at 45 here in Colorado last week.

Both the tops and the bottoms are really comfortable. I have a long torso and often have issues with baselayers like UnderArmor riding up around my waist rather than staying down over my hips. I haven’t had any of those issues with the Columbia Omniheat. I have also been caught wearing the tights as pants. Sorry, not sorry.

Photo Courtesy Anne Carney Photography