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COROS VERTIX 2 – Full Review

When COROS debuted several years ago, it was a disrupter in the field of GPS watch categories. It’s impressive out-of-the-box features and battery life threatened to push Garmin and Suunto off their pedestals.

Three years ago, when I was researching the best GPS running watch I stumbled upon COROS on Instagram and decided to purchase their Apex watch.

This was after using the Apple Watch for a majority of my training. My biggest frustration with the Apple Watch was that I would have to charge it every night and for longer GPS excursions, it would die halfway through.

What made COROS stand out more than anything else was their battery life. And the Apex delivered. Even on heavy training weeks for ultramarathons, I could still go 15 days before I needed to recharge it.

And while it lacked some features that I missed with the Apple Watch (like being able to track non-GPS workouts), COROS’ team of developers started to deliver on those features with firmware updates.

COROS VERTIX 2
COROS VERTIX 2

The new VERTIX 2 landed last summer with a ton of new features, including music playback, dual GNSS functionality, full-color topographic mapping, ECG functionality, WIFI connectivity for updates, amazing battery life, and Insta360action cam controls. Externally it boasts a larger screen and titanium alloy bezels and case to survive any adventure.

I’ve been using the watch all day, every day for the past three months. It has been with me on trail runs, bike rides, ice climbs, gym rock climbing, road runs, backcountry skiing, indoor cardio workouts and indoor bike rides.

So, let’s dive in on why this watch is the best gps watch on the market.

VERTIX 2 Overview

The VERTIX 2 is a massive watch. I have skinny wrists and was a bit uncertain wearing this monstrosity 24/7 over the course of our testing period. And it did take some getting used to: both size and weight. But after the first week, it was as comfortable as the APEX.

On the right side of the watch (if you’re wearing it on your left wrist) there are two buttons and a separate digital crown (which rotates and can be pressed in).

The top button is used to turn the backlight on or off.

The bottom button has a number of functionalities. On the main screen, outside of a tracked activity, it can be tapped to cycle through metrics on the home screen or held to jump to the settings folder.

COROS VERTIX 2
COROS VERTIX 2

With the digital crown, if you press and hold, it will unlock the screen. This is much better than the unlocking function on the APEX. With the APEX, I had to turn the dial to unlock which was especially frustrating when in the middle of an activity, especially in the wintertime when I was wearing gloves.

With the VERTIX 2, I found the crown easy to use, even when wearing gloves. When I was skiing in the backcountry, it was easy to shift between uphill and downhill tracking, as well as pausing for a snack break.

While in the middle of an activity, the digital crown can be used to cycle through your activity metrics. This is great for some activities (like indoor cycling or GPS cardio) when I am focused on duration and heart rate (trying to keep it in the fat burning zone).

While the touchscreen isn’t a new feature for COROS or GPS watches in general, it is still worth highlighting. It is primarily used outside of workout mode. You can click into widgets to slide through your metrics. Or pull up a map and move around easily.

I haven’t found myself using the touchscreen too much outside of the widgets. It is a much easier tool that the dial to cycle through and look at a particular time frame of data.

The watch bands connect using a quick release system. Again, this is a step up from the APEX. The tabs to pull and release are much easier to use, allowing you to swap out bands or remove them all together to connect to the COROS Carabiner so you can climb without the watch attached to your wrist.

On the back of the watch is the charging port and optical heart rate sensor. The heart rate sensor is the set of LED’s and optical sensors (bright and vibrant red and green lights) that measure your heart rate, but also blood oxygen levels and ECG data.

ECG / HRV Feature

To access the ECG feature, navigate to the settings menu and click HRV test. It’ll ask you to place your hand on the bezel.

And it’ll start the ECG, lasting for 60 seconds. Throughout you’ll feel a vibration, similar to a heartbeat. At the end you’re given a HRV value, not an ECG value. Which is confusing.

I’m unsure if this is a feature that will continue being developed.

The HRV value does show up in the app and you can watch the trend over time. The value is scaled from 0-100.

  • 81-100: Superior, relaxed

  • 51-80: High, under minor physical or mental pressure

  • 21-50: Medium, under medium physical or mental pressure

  • 1-20: Low, under significant physical or mental pressure

Widgets for Days

When you’re on the home screen, you can move into the widget menu by unlocking the screen and moving the dial.

Widgets include everything from steps, KCAL burned, workout duration, recovery data, to sleep.

With each widget, you can click into with the dial and scroll through the data with the dial or your finger on the screen.

I have found that most of these widgets are pretty accurate. With the exception of sleep. I think it’s because of the size of the watch, but I have found that if the watch isn’t centered on my wrist that I will miss out on sleep data; viewable as large gaps of “awake” time during the night. Additionally, if I get up in the middle of the night for a bathroom break or to help an awake child, it will register that as the moment I awoke—not counting when I went back to sleep a few minutes later.

I slept like a rock, but COROS is registering a lot of awake time. More than likely because of the way the watch was positioned.

Notifications and Settings

One of the reasons I hated using the Apple Watch as a primary fitness watch was all the notifications I would get. Anything my iPhone received, so did my watch. Ping, ping, ping, ping, ping.

With Coros, I have the ability to be in the same predicament. But I am very conscious about the impact all those notifications have on my mental health, so I have a majority turned off. Right now, phone calls is the only notification I receive. Anything else can wait till I’m at my phone.

But it is fully customizable when you first setup the watch on the COROS app.

If you hold the bottom button, you can also access the settings menu. Here you can access the above mentioned ECG function. But you’re also able to connect to Bluetooth devices, WIFI, Insta360 action cam control, alarms, the compass, and music.

Music and Insta360 Cam Controls

The VERTIX 2 is COROS’s first watch to feature music. Bluetooth headphones are paired through the headphones menu in Settings. You can pair multiple Bluetooth headphones, which is a great feature for ultramarathons when you might burn through a pair or two.

Pairing is easy and once setup, they are easily accessible. When powered on, the watch will connect to them. When tested, it would take over the connection from my iPhone easily.

For music, the VERTIX 2 supports loading MP3 files to the device using a USB cable from your computer. Drag and drop the files you want to the “music folder” and you’re ready to start jamming by selecting the music menu from the settings menu.

You can use the touchscreen to play, pause, skip tracks, etc.

It should be noted though that you can only load MP3 tracks. Services like Spotify or Apple Music isn’t compatible and probably won’t ever be.

Now, at the time of testing, we couldn’t test the Insta360 controls. But to give an overview, if you have the Insta360 Go 2, One X2 and One R), you can control the camera with the VERTIX 2.

Using the dial, you can alternate between photo and video mode, then press the dial to take a photo or start recording a video.

Battery Life

COROS VERTIX 2
COROS VERTIX 2

The VERTIX 2 lasts up to 140 hours of standard full GPS tracking and 60 days of normal use. With light GPS usage, daily workouts tracked, and with wearing the watch 24/7, I have gone 35-40 days between charges. During heavy usage periods, using GPS daily, I have gone 25 days between charges.

COROS VERTIX 2
COROS VERTIX 2

Some features, like the ECG/HRV test, music, and Insta360 camera control will drain your battery faster.

It should be noted that the VERTIX 2 uses a proprietary charger, so don’t lose it!

GPS Activity Tracking and Maps

During our testing period we took the VERTIX 2 everywhere: hiking, trail running, road running, road biking, trail biking, back country skiing, ice climbing, and most recently, paddle boarding (yay! spring has sprung!).

GPS accuracy can make or break a watch.

One of the biggest challenges I had with the APEX was that when I was doing trail races with a lot of vertical gains, the watch would think that I wasn’t moving and stop tracking.

COROS VERTIX 2
COROS VERTIX 2

The VERTIX 2 has improved on this by offering Dual Frequency GNSS. This allows the watch to locate the best GPS frequency available from all five of the major satellite systems at the same time.

Additionally, navigation features include topographic, landscape, and hybrid global mapping. You can load a route by transferring it to the COROS app and loading it directly to the watch from the app. I used this feature in the backcountry and part of the challenge is that on the map there aren’t any labels or turn-by-turn directions. So it was challenging navigating back when I got off course and lost the trail.

COROS VERTIX 2
COROS VERTIX 2

When I looked at the routes tracked, I did find the VERTIX 2 to be pretty darn accurate, including in heavily wooded areas or terrain that had more vertical climbs.

I highlighted a few examples to showcase the accuracy of the GPS data.

In the middle image, this was a point on my run where I transitioned from trail to sidewalk. While it didn’t show me directly on the trail, throughout it caught every little turn and pivot I made, including where I ventured off the paved trail onto a single track.

For the Ski Touring tracking, when I zoom in, you can see all the switch backs I went up.

What I am most impressed by is the fact that the watch is more accurately picking up trail runs on steep inclines. No longer is the watch auto-pausing because it can’t register movement. And that in itself is a huge winner for me as I continue training for ultras this Summer.

Conclusion

Throughout the testing period of the VERTIX 2, I continue to be impressed by the leap forward COROS has taken with this watch.

There are a ton of really awesome features with the music and Insta360 features.

But more than anything, the feature that is worth shouting about is battery life. There isn’t another watch on the market that can match COROS on what they were able to accomplish with the VERTIX 2.

Sure there are some improvements I’d love to see (especially with maps), but if there’s a company I trust to get it done, it’s COROS. Their developer team is amazing and based on what they have done in the last few years, I’m fairly certain they will keep the VERTIX 2 ahead of the competition

If you’re an endurance athlete or avid explorer, I have no doubt that this is the watch for you.

The COROS VERTIX 2 is available online and at several different retailers. It retails for $699.

Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie Review

We’ve covered Ibex in the past, including why Merino Wool rocks when it comes to outdoor adventuring.

Ibex recently sent us their Wool Aire Hoodie to review. And it came at the perfect time, just as a cold snap was descending on the Front Range.

Men's Wool Aire Hoodie
Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie

I was surprised opening the package. I knew they were sending me a jacket, but what was this mysterious package and why was it so light? Certainly this wasn’t the jacket! But it was.

The Wool Aire Hoodie is surprisingly light. A women’s medium is only 10 ounces. Mine, a men’s large, weighed in at 12.7 ounces. When wearing it, it is so lightweight that I often forget that I’m wearing a jacket. If feels similar to a windbreaker, but offers a lot more protection from the cold.

Men's Wool Aire Hoodie
Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie

For testing, I wore it for cold morning walks with the dog and on a few hikes. Even on brutally windy red flag days, the Wool Aire Hoodie helped keep my body temperature just right (part of the magic of Merino Wool) and was breathable and moisture-wicking.

During a long hike, I especially appreciated the temperature control of Merino Wool. I was comfortable throughout without experience any sweaty discomfort or chilliness. When it got too warm for the jacket, it was also compact enough to tuck into my pack without taking up much space.

It also fits well. I’m 5’11” and 180 pounds. A large fit true to size and the athletic fit was perfect for my lean and somewhat muscular frame. While it offers great insulation, the jacket doesn’t look like a puffy jacket. It looks really good and sharp!

Men's Wool Aire Hoodie
Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie

It features two hand pockets and a stash pocket on the left breast.

The scuba style hood was great, as well. Not a ton of excess fabric, but it moved well with my head as I leaned from side to side or bent down.

Since we’re publishing this close to Earth Day, it’s worth noting that the Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie is sustainable, as well.

The Wool Aire Hoodie is made from polyester, Merino Wool, and virgin nylon. All Ibex Merino Wool is sustainably sourced and the virgin nylon is made with Bluesign certified nylon, meaning that it using as few chemical inputs as possible. And with it’s wind- and water-resistance, it was made free of poly- and perfluorinated chemicals.

Men's Wool Aire Hoodie
Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie

If you’re in the market for a new jacket, I highly recommend the Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie. It’s the perfect lightweight performance jacket for the backcountry, but stylish enough for listening to live music at the beer garden. It looks great and performs well. It’s overall quality is insanely good and I can imagine it lasting for years.

High Camp Flask Firelight 750ml Review

With summertime camping approaching, I have been on the lookout for how I can bring my love of cocktails with me to the campsite. Sure, I could bring bottles and utensils and cocktail shakers, but that is a lot to bring with me. Alternatively, I could buy and bring pre-made cocktails, but where is the fun in that?

High Camp Firelight 750 Flask
High Camp Firelight 750 Flask

High Camp Flasks sent me their Firelight 750ml Flask to test and I think I might have found the perfect solution.

The Firelight 750ml Flask is big enough to hold a bottle of wine or my favorite whiskey, but what I found myself drawn to was making pre-made cocktails to store and serve.

Portable Ranch Water

14 oz. Tequila Blanco

7 oz. Fresh Lime Juice (or 7 limes)

1.5 oz. Agave Nectar

Topo Chico Sparkling Water or your favorite sparkling water

Mix together the Tequila, lime juice, and agave nectar and pour in your Firelight 750ml Flask. When serving pour roughly 3 oz. of the mixture into your drinking vessel with ice and top with Topo Chico Sparkling Water.

Alternatively, this ratio works well with your favorite whiskey. You could also swap it out for rum and swap out the Topo Chico for Spindrift Pineapple Sparkling Water.

Flask Features

What makes the Firelight 750ml Flask so cool is its features.

It stores in a slick fabric bag and comes with two 6-Shooter Tumblers that secure to the top and bottom of the flask using a magnetic locking system. The Tumblers are double-walled, so they keep drinks cold.

High Camp Firelight 750 Flask
High Camp Firelight 750 Flask

Additionally, the flask itself is vacuum insulation, keeping that Ranch Water perfectly chilled or your wine at room temperature even outdoors.

It weighs only 29 oz. empty, so if you’re backpacking, it doesn’t add much additional weight. Essentially it weighs only a little more than your typical vacuum sealed water bottle.

It retails for $125 and can be purchased along with other cocktail accessories at https://highcampflasks.com/.

DKOTA Grizzly’s New Boone Shirt Review

During Outdoor Retailer, I had the chance to visit with the St. Louis based clothing manufacturer, DKOTA Grizzly.

Over the past several years, I’ve been visiting their booths and seeing their products at our local Scheel’s and have always been impressed with their attention to detail when it came to creating functional and stylish clothing.

DKOTA Grizzly specializes in men’s rugged-casual clothing.

Their team walked me through their Spring ’22 line and I could immediately see how their product design had evolved from heavier fabrics to performance fabrics, making DKOTA Grizzly a “crossover brand” that can allow wearers to transition from the gym to work.

A majority of their new products, including the Boone shirt, that we’ll dive into more detail on, were created with active stretch a movement fabrics; making it the perfect spring or summer companion.

DKOTA Grizzly Boone Long-Sleeve Shirt
DKOTA Grizzly Boone Long-Sleeve Shirt

DKOTA Grizzly sent us their new Boone shirt to test out.

This shirt is made from a Nylon / Spandex blend. It is light and breathable. During testing, I wore it on a hike during a fairly warm spring day and found it to be very comfortable. The fabric itself was very cool, which I think would be a great pairing in summer when it is a bit warmer. Or, at the least, pairing it with a jacket on cooler days.

The Boone also has two hidden zippered chest pockets. Now, when it comes to button-up shirts, I don’t really ever use my chest pockets. But I liked the style of the zippers. Typically when buttons or snaps, it was always a pain to undo the button. The zippers made it a heckuvalot easier to access.

DKOTA Grizzly also designed this shirt so that there’s a sunglass wipe on the lower hem and a loop inside to hang your sunglasses from.

It’s little things like this that made their product design standout and I found myself constantly surprised.

I’m a big fan of this shirt.

It’s still warming up in Colorado, but as Spring starts to settle in, this shirt will join me on many adventures. Whether I am fishing, paddle boarding, or boating.

The Boone can be found at many of DKOTA Grizzly’s retail partners. If you visit their Find Retailer page, you can locate a retailer near you.

DKOTA Grizzly New Boone Shirt

They also created another shirt called the Barkley, which is a short-sleeved variation for what we tested.

To learn more about their manufacturing practices, you can visit their website: dakotagrizzly.com.

Ibex Woolies Tech Boxer Brief Review

Having a solid pair of undies is important for any outdoor activity. Because when you’re out and about, there’s nothing like a bad chafe that can cause you discomfort for days.

Ibex’s Woolies Tech Boxer Briefs have become a new go-to favorite in my underwear drawer.

Men's Woolies Tech Boxer Brief
Woolies Tech Boxer Briefs

These boxer briefs are a Merino Wool blend (81% Wool, 12% Nylon, 7% Elastane). It makes for an extremely light (only 0.25 lb) and flexible fit.

As we’ve shared before, Merino Wool is great for odor resistant, making this a perfect pair for a weekend of backpacking and camping without the need to bring an extra pair.

For testing, I took this on several multi-hour hikes and snowshoeing and it’s moisture-wicking properties allowed for everything to remain comfy and cool.

With it’s elastic band, I also found that these didn’t ride up or down in my activities.

The bottom line: these boxer briefs are great. Really happy that Ibex sent me a pair to test. Excited for more adventures in them.

Swiftwick FLITE XT® TRAIL Sock Review

Swiftwick recently launched their new FLITE XT® TRAIL line of socks and sent our team of product testers a couple pairs to test.

Swiftwick® FLITE XT® TRAIL
Swiftwick® FLITE XT® TRAIL

Previously we had highlighted the Swiftwick VIBE™ and Swiftwick PURSUIT™, but this new sock line was built for the trail and built for speed.

The FLITE XT® TRAIL combines Merino wool and Swiftwick’s proprietary GripDry™ Fiber that is incorporated into the heel and forefoot of the sock to provide traction and grip inside the shoe. When tearing down the steep terrain of Mount Sanitas, the sock stayed in place, not sliding or bunching as my foot shifted in my shoe.

Around the ankle, Swiftwick uses their AnkleLock™ Technology with strong elastic to make sure that the sock stays in place, but also provides a sense of stability on rocky terrain.

Over the course of our testing, we wore them in a variety of conditions, including trail-running and snowshoeing. During these colder activities, we found that the Merino wool performed as expected. During these activities, we never felt like our foot was overheated or too cold.

“After the release of our original FLITE XT® socks, designed with advanced stability technology, we heard growing feedback from our hike and trail running customers on their love for the line’s performance features,” said Joanna Mariani, Chief Marketing Officer of Swiftwick. 

“Using that feedback, we set out to combine the FLITE XT’s signature stability features with the natural wonders of Merino wool to provide the best-performing outdoor sock on the market. FLITE XT TRAIL was inspired by our customers and ardently crafted by our team– we’re excited to see what adventures our customers take these socks on.” 

Swiftwick® FLITE XT® TRAIL
Swiftwick® FLITE XT® TRAIL

These socks are a welcome addition to our gear closets. We’re looking forward to ultra season and being able to put more miles on these.

The FLITE XT TRAIL sock line launches in a Two and Five cuff height. Learn more about the FLITE XT TRAIL line at : https://swiftwick.com/pages/flite-xt-trail

Ibex Woolies 2 Base Layers Review

We recently covered Ibex’s Woolies Tech Crew and Bottoms.

Since that review, Ibex launched their new Woolies 2 Base Layers and sent us a pair to test in the snow.

Ibex Woolies 2 Crew
Ibex Woolies 2 Crew

Ibex’s Woolies 2 Base Layers differ from the Woolies Tech in that they are 100% merino. They are a bit heavier, and more insulating as well at 240gsm. If you’re heading out for long hours in colder weather, the Woolies 2 is going to be your best option.

Ibex Woolies 2 Bottoms
Ibex Woolies 2 Bottoms

For testing, I took them out in a variety of conditions: trail-running, snowshoeing, and back country skiing. I found that during low-impact activities (showshoeing or skiing downhill) that these were the perfect match. I wasn’t too hot or too cold. But during heavier activities (trail-running and the ski ascent) they were too much.

For skiing, I had paired up the base layers with a mid-layer, shedding the mid-layer about halfway up to regulate my body temperature. When I had taken the Woolies Tech out into the backcountry, they were light enough so that when paired with a mid-layer, I felt perfectly comfortable.

Ibex Woolies 2 Bottoms
Ibex Woolies 2 Bottoms

One thing I’ll note with the Woolies 2 Bottoms was that no matter how heavy or light the activity was, I didn’t experience any chafing in the nether region.

There’s a lot to be said about why the Woolies 2 perform so well and it’s in part due to the magic of Merino wool. As mentioned in the previous review, Merino is a natural, high-performance fabric, in part because of the conditions these sheep live in. Winters can be below zero and summers as warm as 95ºF. The sheep’ coats have evolved so that the fibers react to the changes in body temperature. And this natural technology is passed along to its human wearers.

During a cold spell in Colorado, with temperatures dipping to -12ºF, I started to wear these base layers everyday. Even when I wasn’t playing outside, I wore them throughout the day for work, typically paired with a pair of jeans and flannel.

Ibex Woolies 2 Crew
Ibex Woolies 2 Crew

And they were extremely comfortable. If you’re in the camp of “Oh no, wool is so itchy!” you have to try Merino. It doesn’t itch and is so comfy and cozy.

Given that they regulate my body temperature so well, I also found these to perfect base layers to transition from the slopes to the ski lodge in. They weren’t wet from sweat and the natural odor control Merino has kept them from being stinky.

For the test, I wore a size large in Men’s. I am 5’11” and 180 pounds and it fit really well.

For information, you can head over to ibex.com. The Woolies 2 come in Men’s and Women’s sizes.

Atlas Helium-MTN Snowshoes Review

One of my resolutions this winter was to get out and explore more. I’ve been making good on that resolution; hiking, running and cycling as weather permits. But I was missing out on one of my favorite winter activities, snowshoeing, until recently.

Atlas was kind enough to sponsor that activity by providing us a pair of their 2021 Helium-MTN Showshoes to test out and review.

Atlas Helium-MTN Snowshoes
Atlas Helium-MTN Snowshoes

Over the last month, I have gotten out a handful of times, logging in around 20 hours and 25 miles in them.

One of my favorite places to take them locally was the Switzerland Trail that’s west of Boulder near the Sugarloaf Mountain peak. There’s a handful of trails in that area. Everything from hard-packed snow to fluffy hip-deep drifts.

What makes the Helium-MTN Snowshoes great is their construction.

“Helium” is named after the snowshoe deck, which Atlas claims to be the  lightest composite snowshoes available. The deck is designed to shed snow, which during our tests I found to be accurate. Even when my snowshoes kicked up a lot of snow, as I lifted my foot up, it was able to shed the loose snow piled onto the deck. This allowed me to move very quickly across the terrain, not having the weight of snow slow me down.

Binding

Atlas Helium-MTN Snowshoes
Atlas Helium-MTN Snowshoes

The first time I had gone snowshoeing, I had borrowed a friend’s pair. They were around 15 years old and not that great. But the thing I remember most from that experience was the bindings. So many times, in -5ºF weather, my boot would come loose and I’d shed gloves to try and tighten it back up. I didn’t have any of those issues with the binding on the Helium-MTN Snowshoes.

The binding at the back of my boot, once in place, stayed in place. In the front, to help secure the toe-box, Atlas introduced the BOA Fit System. This addition of the BOA Fit System helped secure my foot for several hours of comfortable snowshoeing.

Atlas Helium-MTN Snowshoes
Atlas Helium-MTN Snowshoes

Additionally, these bindings on my first use were very easy to figure out.

But speaking of the secure fitting, I should mention that the boots I wore weren’t mountaineering or stiff hiking boots, but minimalist zero-drop boots. Even with a lighter construction, I didn’t feel that the snowshoe was putting too much pressure with it’s binding of Boa system.

Traction

The traction rails worked really well on both snow and ice, even on steep terrain. The serrated teeth of the aluminum rails were able to provide enough grip that I didn’t experience any slippage. Additionally, my foot was able to move freely enough so that I could lean into or back depending on the terrain to have the best balance.

Flotation

One of the key features I wanted to test in these snowshoes was flotation. I went off-trail a few times to find the deepest, most fluffiest snow possible to see if I would sink in to my hip. I would try certain spots, first without snowshoes, to test how deep I would sink. Then with snowshoes. In the spots I tested, I found that the Helium-MTN Snowshoes had adequate flotation. I would sink 25-50% of the total depth. And granted this was off-trail, so I was really pushing what this snowshoe was capable of.

Conclusion

Overall, these snowshoes were great. I really enjoyed my time on the trails with them and look forward for more adventures with them during the winter months.

These shoes are available at REI, but could also be purchased off Atlas’s website for $220.

COROS VERTIX 2 Unboxing, Setup, and Interface/Menu Walk-Through Video

Today we are doing an unboxing and initial setup and thoughts on the COROS VERTIX 2

I am a big fan of COROS. When I was looking for an outdoor adventure watch three years ago, I did a ton of research; looking at the top brands, trying to decide which would be the perfect watch for me.

COROS was new to this category in 2018, but was already shaking things up in an industry that was dominated by Garmin and Suunto. In 2019, I purchased their Apex 46mm watch. What won me over was their unmatched battery life and their developers. They were churning out multiple firmware updates a year—building on an already impressive design—and really engaged with their community; listening constantly to feedback from users.

And three years into it, the Apex is still a solid watch. I can still go between 10-14 days between charges and the firmware has only gotten better with their major releases.

COROS sent me their latest watch, the VERTIX 2, to put through our testing protocols. Their goal with this watch was to make the ultimate adventure watch. Check out our video and let us know your thoughts.

Did they succeed?

We’ll dive in further in a later video.

California Cowboy’s Western High Sierra Shirt Review

A couple weeks ago at Outdoor Retailer, I had the opportunity to chat with California Cowboy’s product designer, which cemented them (in my mind, at least) as one of the coolest new brands in the outdoor space.

Why?

Because they have infused a sense of fun into their product design. California Cowboy is all about products that help their customers embrace their inner cowboy. I grew up in rural Missouri, and a big part of my childhood experience was spent on my grandparent’s farm playing in the fields amongst their herd of cows.

This inner cowboy style was evident in our recently reviewed El Garibaldi Robe and all the more present in another product they sent us: their Western High Sierra Shirt.

Western High Sierra Shirt
Western High Sierra Shirt

It’s winter, so whether I am outdoors hiking or taking client calls in my chilly office, I do a lot of layering. And the Western High Sierra Shirt provides a comfortable and functional outer layer to any outfit.

This shirt was designed for Après Ski or “After Ski.” That time after you hit the slopes where you’re socializing in the lodge; sharing stories and beers as you warm up.

Western High Sierra Shirt
Western High Sierra Shirt

The Western High Sierra Shirt comes with California Cowboy’s signature beverage pocket. It’s perfect to stash your beer or a spare sandwich. It’s going to be my go-to for Super Bowl weekend, allowing me to stash an extra beer or free up my hands so I can fit as many wings as possible in my food hole.

Western High Sierra Shirt
Western High Sierra Shirt

But that is only one pocket of many. There’s a smaller side pocket that is perfect to stash a wallet or business cards in; a zippered dry pocket to keep your iPhone away from the snow or sloshing beers; and an inside pocket for a pen and notebook. Not to mention the two breast pockets to stash anything else.

Western High Sierra Shirt
Western High Sierra Shirt

The shirt also comes with a handy sunglass loop, so you don’t have to worry about losing your precious pair as you’re chilling or partying. I can’t tell you how many times I have lost my sunglasses that were perched on my head, so this is a lifesaver.

So, yes, I am a big fan of this shirt. Thanks to California Cowboy for sending me one to try out. From their booth at Outdoor Retailer, they are continue to innovate their product line and I am excited for what’s to come in 2022.

The shirt I tested was a Large. It fit great, even with layers. For reference, I am 5’11” and 185 lbs.