Posts by jaimi:

    North Face – Snow Jacket, a Review

    June 16th, 2011

    I didn’t know the first thing about purchasing a snow jacket; I didn’t need to, until I enrolled for WTC.

    The Fit:
    The Insulator gets the most use. I wear it everywhere. Not only is it stylish and form fitting, its soft nylon texture and synthetic filling make it light, extremely comfortable, and able to compress into the tightest spaces. On its own, it’s surprisingly warm and also features an elastic cord around its base, allowing you to synch it closer to the body, preventing heat to escape. It’s crucial NOT to get this jacket wet while outdoors. It will be of no beneficial use if needing protection from extreme elements. However, it launders up brilliantly in your washer.

    The Outer Shell is ideal for battling below zero temperatures and is completely waterproof which makes for a perfect rain jacket and or windbreaker. It’s detachable hood, adjustable wrists and comfortable buttoned belly strap keep the elements out and body heat in. Tiny loops were added to the neck and wrists to secure both jackets together. This allows for a more efficient layer change. However, if you need to shed this outer coat, it rolls up nicely for easy storage.
    How it Worked For Me:
    I certainly wasn’t prepared to put down 3 bills for a snow jacket and yes, I had to justify it all the way home but I have to admit, after camping in below zero temperatures, it was the best investment I made. I didn’t feel like a walking marshmallow nor did I look like the kid from The Christmas Story. It’s light, comfortable, durable and provided amazing protection from cold and freezing temperatures. This is one essential I NEVER leave home without.
    Any Changes:
    I really have nothing to compare this jacket to so buying it was certainly a gamble. I will say that my biggest gripe was with the “easy to adjust” elastic cords. They are an absolute pain to manipulate—with and without gloves. I wouldn’t say that this flaw is a deal breaker. It’s a common complaint with most of our outdoor equipment. Despite the frustration, this plastic adjuster does prevent the cord from disconnecting from the jacket so you’re never left having to thread the cord back through the long and tedious tunnel. Needless to say, it’s a minor price to pay.

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    Tough Mudder, a review

    June 8th, 2011

    When you take “race” out of the equation, what you get is a bunch of extreme athletes all reaching for the same goal: survive to the finish line.

    Race Profile:
    Distance: 10 miles (approx)
    Elevation Gain: 2,811 ft.
    Elevation Loss: 2,908 ft. 
    Terrain: dirt hillside, dirt trail, obstacles, mud, ice bath, lake swimming, 12′ walls, boulders.

    Tough Challenge:

    Tough Mudder is, no joke, the toughest thing I’ve ever done! I bouldered, leapt off a 3-story plank, hiked up a mountain with a 30 pound log, crawled through tight claustrophobic-inducing tunnels, swam under 4 huge barrels, dunked under a beam in a freezing ice bath, summited Snow Valley 5 times, was shocked with 10,000 volts, used greased monkey bars to cross a mud pit, sprinted up a slippery slope, climbed over 4 12-foot walls, crossed a lake balancing in between 2 ropes, slid down a hill into yet another lake…swam to the other end and then climbed my way back out, pulled myself through soupy mud under extremely low barbed wire, all while covering 10 miles of land uphill.


    This event was a monumental achievement for me. I bled, I sweat and I literally cried!! Never had I come across my fears, in such abundance, like this before—some I never knew I had. Tough Mudder isn’t about speed or being the best athlete—it’s about personal challenge, self-discovery and camaraderie. Each obstacle was a new test of courage. I battled claustrophobia, altitude change, freezing cold waters, drowning, a sudden fear of heights and being shocked. In 3 hours and 10 minutes, I learned a whole lot more about myself.



    By eliminating the ticking race clock, camaraderie became a huge importance. As participants dealt with their own struggles, whether it be fatigue, fear or a simple slip, there was always a fellow Mudder lending out a hand (or two).

    Tough Mudder Organization:

    Bravo to the entire Tough Mudder staff and affiliates! Never have I been to an event where I wasn’t late to the starting line. Their email notifications, onsite signage and procedures never left me guessing. From the moment I earned my orange stripe, every staff member and vendor treated me as a celebrity. I even had my congratulatory email by the time I got to my car.


    Statistically Tough Mudder isn’t for everyone. Let me be frank: it’s hard as hell. This daunting adventure requires strength, endurance and unwavering determination. At some point you WILL ask yourself, “why am I here? What was I thinking?” Hopefully, you will have found the answer in yourself and made new friends along the way.


    View the Tough Mudder Photo Gallery at