I was so excited to do this review of Purple Rain Adventure Skirts! Anyone that knows me, knows how much I love this brand (so my review may be a little biased 😊). These skirts are just so comfortable, well thought out, and functional it would be hard to find anything you don’t like about them. Plus they are handmade by Mandy Bland in Oregon so there is an added bonus of supporting a woman owned small business when you purchase one. Literally these skirts are a win/win!
For me, I love how they are designed. The waistband is similar to the top of most yoga pants- stretchy, soft, and super comfortable. It is woven with moisture wicking yarn to keep you dry and cool. It does have UV Protection of 40+ and is 90% Poly 10% Spandex. The skirts have functional pockets on each side that are large and sturdy enough to really hold stuff (my iPhone fits perfect in them). The skirt itself is super lightweight and durable. The first one I purchased years ago still looks brand new. It is made from 88% Polyester and 12% Spandex blend with a DWR finish. The skirts come in sizes XS-XXL and Mandy can also create a custom skirt via the custom order option if you would like a hiking skirt made to your specific measurements. This includes extended sizing and shorter/longer skirt length. There is also a kilt version designed for men as well.
I love how they feel when you wear them- completely unrestricted with good air flow. There are no sewn in undershorts so you have the freedom to wear whatever is most comfortable to you under them. They are perfect for a warm summer hike as they do not make you hot. When it is cooler outside, they fit perfectly with your favorite pair of leggings underneath. These skirts are also a great option for travel as they fold down to almost nothing so they are super easy to pack. They are cute enough to wear on or off the trail so they are multi-functional in where you can wear them.
Mandy wants to do her part in lessening the chemicals in many synthetic materials, especially when we are most active. She is currently working on finding more sustainable fabrics and is testing a new fabric made from recycled plastic bottles. She is hoping to move this material into the standard black skirt within a year. The current purple skirt is OEKO-TEX (worldwide recognized testing certification to prove it is made without harmful chemical) certified fabric.
You can get your own skirt here: http://www.purplerainskirts.com/
Follow Purple Rain Adventures on Facebook & Instagram
We seriously LOVE Cairn’s monthly subscription boxes! I surprised Tony with a subscription for Valentine’s Day over four years ago and we look forward to them every month. We actually have an agreement that we have to wait to open it when we’re together because we have so much fun seeing what comes wrapped up in that little brown box. A huge amount of the gear we’ve received has been highly useful, and we use many pieces of it on every day hike, backpacking trip, or both.
So, what is a Cairn subscription box? Basically, it’s a monthly subscription that we pay $29.99 a month for and receive a box with hiking related gear worth up to $50 in each box. Every month it is a surprise as to what the gear will be. The products in each box are always full-size (no samples), expertly curated and tested, and never an overstock or last season item. It’s always full of super legit stuff! We’ve found so many new products and companies that we may have never found without the subscription.
While we subscribe to the monthly collection, Cairn does offer a “premium” box, their Obsidian Collection. The Obsidian Collection is $249.95 every quarter and has up to 10 curated items in each box valuing up to $300. We cannot vouch for what comes in this box, but maybe someday we will upgrade to it and see.
Another thing we love about Cairn is that they donate to the Conservation Alliance with their Gear Up and Give Back ™program. They will mail you a bag free of charge to send any of your unwanted used gear and/or clothing from high quality outdoor brands to The Gear Fix who will repair your equipment, sell it in their shop, and the net proceeds will be matched by Cairn and Gear Fix, and donated to The Conservation Alliance.
We love that this little gift we give ourselves every month inspires us to get outside and try out the new stuff we received. The Cairn box subscription also makes an amazing gift for the hiker in your life and can be easily gifted for 1-12 months. So to show you what an average box looks like, we went live and opened our July shipment while hiking. We were actually able to use the items that came in the box on our hike!
To sign up for the monthly subscription box or the Obsidian Collection click here:
July Shipment- Eco Conscious Theme
Nomandix Eco Friendly Pack Towel
I actually was planning on buying a larger pack towel for my upcoming Sierra backpacking trip and then this amazing towel came in the box! It’s a bit heavy for backpacking, but our route is moderate so I am going to consider it a “luxury item” so it’s coming with me. This towel is made using certified post-consumer plastic bottles. Nomandix National Park Smokey Mountain pack towel is a top of the line yoga towel, beach towel, pool towel, and pack towel when you go camping or travel. They designed it to be versatile without sacrificing performance, so you can own less and do more.
Product specs are:
You can purchase the towel on its own for $39.95 here:
Ecovessel Stainless Steel Set of 4 Reusable Straws with Silicone Tips and Cleaning Brush
According to Ecovessel, did you know that Americans use 500 million drinking straws every day? To understand just how many straws 500 million really is, this would fill over 125 school buses with straws every day. We know the small size of the straws makes them harmful to the environment – they’re too small to go through most recycling equipment, so most end up in the oceans which can poison or injure fish and marine animals. Tiny pieces, called microplastics, become food for fish which end up on our dinner plates. The EcoVessel stainless steel 4 pack reusable straw set with soft silicone tips are a great alternative to wasteful single-use plastic straws. The straws are wide enough for smoothies and thicker beverages while being narrow enough to fit all of their tumbler lids. The included straw cleaner will ensure your straws stay clean and the silicone tips are soft and colorful. Product Specs are:
You can purchase the straw set on its own for $9.95 here:
All Good SPF 50+ Tinted Zinc Sunscreen Butter
I was so excited when I pulled this tin out of the box! All Good is one of my all-time favorite brands ever! They’re products are organic, high quality, smell delicious, and this sunscreen is reef friendly (oxybenzone free) so it won’t damage reefs when you wear it in the water like most sunscreens. I also adore that this company is woman founded (Caroline started it in her kitchen) and mostly women run. They care deeply about the environment, and run their production facility on solar power, use organic, high quality, cruelty free and reef friendly ingredients, oppose the use of GMO’s, use recycled and recyclable packaging, shipping and printed material, and give back 1% of sales to the planet. Plus they are super high vibe and you can tell they love what they do.
The Tinted Sunscreen Butter SPF 50 formula is a compact, reef friendly sunscreen tin that provides maximum UVA/UVB protection and it’s smooth, creamy texture applies effortlessly on the skin with a neutral tint coverage for most skin tones. Product specs are:
You can purchase your tin on its own for $10.99 here:
As you can see this shipment had some amazing products worth $60.89 and we will use very single one of them!
To sign up for the monthly subscription box or the Obsidian Collection click here: https://www.getcairn.com/collections/subscribe
Follow Cairn on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/getcairn
& IG https://www.instagram.com/getcairn/
A seed was planted in 1986 while paddling the Boundary Waters between Minnesota and Ontario in founders Jeff Knight and Dan Cruikshank minds. They realized there was a need for better outdoor gear. After that trip, Jeff and Dan set out to make the best gear possible. For the past 30 years, Granite Gear’s team of product designers and engineers have done just that, built gear that has gained a following of dedicated fans and proven their product’s durability in some of the toughest environments, including Mount Everest, the North and South Poles, and thousands of miles of everyday wear and tear. Today, Granite Gear is going strong and expanding their products from stuff sacks, to ultralight packs, to ultra-durable packs that meet the demands of soldiers. Just like their name, Granite Gear is truly tougher than granite.
Granite Gear’s Unisex Crown2 38 Liter pack is the skinnier version of their thru hiker favorite, the Crown2 60. The pack is ultra light, and as we found out after many trail miles, ultra comfortable.
V.C. (Vapor Current) Mark 2 Frame with 35 lb (15 kg) load rating
Dual density shoulder harness with load-lifter straps and removable sternum strap
Re-Fit fully adjustable dual density hip belt (from 26" - 42")
Dual large hip belt pockets with DWR treated zippers
Roll-top main compartment opening with centered dual strap and singular buckle for quick access and easy compression.
Removable lid has a compartment with DWR treated zipper
Hydration port & internal hydration sleeve
Large size stretch woven pockets
Stretch mesh front pocket
Side and front compression straps
Robic High-tenacity nylon (100D and 210D)
Torso Size = Regular 18" - 21" / 46 cm - 54 cm
Volume = 38 liters / 2320 cu in
The pack weighs in at just around 3lbs with the removable pack lid and removable frame sheet. It weighs 2.1 lbs without the lid, and 1.6 without the lid and frame sheet. The pack has a maximum comfort load of 35lbs, making it a great option for long day hikes, winter hikes when you need to carry extra gear, and multi day hikes.
The comfort comes from the patent-pending fully adjustable Re-Fit hip belt, Vapor Current Mark 2 compression molded PP frame sheet with molded foam back panel, and dual density shoulder harness with load-lifter straps and removable sternum strap. The pack is designed to be unisex, and fit both both of us just as well as any of our other packs specifically designed just for men or women.
Granite Gear is known for the durability of their packs and the Crown2 38 lives up to that reputation. Although it is rated as an UL pack, the sturdy construction and design of the pack will ensure a long lifetime of use. Granite Gear’s packs include a limited lifetime warranty where packs are warranted to the original owner for the lifetime of the product against defects in materials or workmanship under normal recreational use. If your granite gear product fails due to material or manufacturing defect, they will repair or replace it at their option.
Get your Crown2 38 here:
A company that cares.
After being inspired by the Packing it out Team, they met at the Appalachian Trail Days in 2015, Granite Gear founded the Grounds Keepers Program. Through the program, Granite Gear and other sponsors are able to support hikers who want to “Leave it Better” and pack out trash as they hike long trails and parks and paddle waterways and lakes around the country.
The Grounds Keepers are individuals who previously completed or are currently completing a thru-hike or various section hikes, (such as the PCT, AT, AZT, PNT, SHT) and have a passion for Leave No Trace ethics, are strong in mind and body, and are committed to doing their very best to pick up as much trash as possible while outdoors. Since the first team in 2017, Grounds Keepers have picked up more than 6,630lbs of trash, mostly micro trash, like bar wrappers, bottle lids and toilet paper.
Grounds Keepers are fitted with the following gear for their hike:
1 multi-day backpack or 1 portage pack, 1 Dump Trunk (Tactical Line), 1 Stuffsack of their choice, 1 Toughsack, 1 pair of gloves and 1 scale
Each Grounds Keeper is given two pairs of Altra Running shoes of their choice, plus gaiters if needed
Five meal packets from Backpacker's Bistro
1 reusable water bottle from Klean Kanteen
T-shirts from Recover Brands
1 Kula Cloth
The goal of Grounds Keepers is to inspire as many hikers to value our outdoors areas and pack out trash. They believe, and we support them, that trash in our outdoor spaces is everyone’s responsibility. You can follow along to also be inspired by the pounds of trash picked up on Instagram.
Join in and use #TheGroundsKeepers for a chance to be featured for doing your part of keeping our outdoor spaces litter free.
Meet the 2019 team here:
Overall, we loved this pack and would recommend it for many uses. A huge thank you to Granite Gear for making a wonderful pack and caring about our outdoor spaces.
Cheers to the Gear!
As a 5'9" tall woman with a super long torso and "junk in the trunk" finding hiking clothing that fits well has always been a challenge. Pants are usually too short and bottoms are too tight in the rear and saggy at the waist. So I can empathize with all the women who just can't seem to find anything that fits, especially if the brand doesn't even carry your size.
One of our criteria for our gear reviews includes whether or not that brand carries plus sized gear and clothing. It is so important for women of all shapes to be included in the outdoors and good gear and clothing for us is a must. So I put a list of my top 5 favorite brands that also carry plus sized clothing and/or gear that is legit.
PrAna makes my favorite hiking pants ever, the Halle Pant. They are durable, super comfortable, water resistant, breathable, have a 50 UPF sun protection and plenty of give. They just fit super well and look cute too. They offer them in sizes 00-22W and have short, regular, and tall inseams. The Halle Pant comes in multiple colors and has pockets! They are cross functional and can be used as climbing, hiking, office, travel, and hang out pants. Here's a video of me wearing them in action on a 4-day backpacking trip through Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite NP.
P.S. Ignore the terrified look on my face ( I hate log crossings).
2. Purple Rain Adventure Skirts
We love Purple Rain skirts and their Founder Mandy Bland. She is such an inspiration as an entrepreneur and Mom. Her innovative design for the skirts make them practical for the trail and so comfortable. They are lightweight, durable and dry in a flash with 88% Polyester/12% Spandex blend and DWR finish. They are super cute with leggings for added warmth and modesty. Waistbands are woven with moisture wicking yarn to keep you dry and cool and they have UV Protection 40+. They are sized XS-XXL and she also can custom make any size needed with a special order.
3. REI Co-Op
REI is doing an awesome job of adding more and more plus sized clothing and gear in their own brand and carrying more from other brands as well. I adore the Sahara shirt and literally live in them (hiking or not). It fits me way better than Columbia's version of a hiking shirt in the chest and is longer in the torso. They also have a more modern cut to them and work off trail too. The Sahara shirt has:
I love hiking in yoga/tights especially ones with side pockets for my phone. Athleta makes an awesome pair of 7/8 tights that have a side pocket hat my phone fits perfectly in. They are high quality and mid-waisted and come in sizes XS-2X with regular, tall, and petite inseams.
Pant details are:
Although I am not a fan of their sun shirts, Columbia makes some great jackets for the cost that come in sizes 00-3X. I have used my Columbia rain jacket for three seasons and it is still holding up and waterproof and I got it for less than $60 on sale!
Over Labor Day weekend we headed up to the Sierra for a 4 day/3 night backpacking trip hiking the Thousand Islands Lake Loop in the Ansel Adams Wilderness. I was lucky enough to receive a prototype Kula Cloth™ from Kula Cloth Founder and Musical Mountaineer, Anastasia Allison, to try out on this trip. Considering how much I practice Leave No Trace Principles (click here to if you don’t know what they are) and believe they are vital to keeping our trails and back country clean, I was super excited to try out the Kula Cloth™ and hopefully use much less toilet paper and have a safe antimicrobial p-cloth option. Plus I love supporting small women owned hiking businesses so the whole concept was a win/win for me.
If you haven’t noticed, toilet paper litter on trails is a major issue. On every hike I go, whether it’s just a day hike or multi-day backpacking trip, there is toilet paper all over the trail. It is so frustrating to see, especially because it’s so simple to dispose of properly. But there is a side of it I get, it’s gross to pack it out and not everyone carries a shovel to bury it properly- hence the TP strewn trails. Anastasia has created a re-useable and affordable product that addresses this and is a simple and easy way not to contribute litter the trail.
So how did it work?
Amazing! I give the Kula Cloth™ 10 bright and shiny stars. It is a great product and will become a staple piece of gear for my backpack. I can say I saved a bunch of TP and my trash bag was much lighter hiking out on day four. I highly recommend one for all women hikers, whether you’re a day hiker or backpacker. It really is an innovative and useful product that is easy to use. Anastasia hopes to see a Kula Cloth™ on every backpack and dreams of a day it will be used for more than just backpacking and outdoor related activities. She hopes it will become a piece of gear for all women military personal while in the field and an option for women in underdeveloped countries with lack of feminine hygiene resources.
So what are the benefits of using one besides using less TP on a hike?
Visit https://kulacloth.com/ to get more information or purchase yours. You can also follow on Facebook here and Instagram here. While you’re at it, check out https://www.facebook.com/themusicalmountaineers/ too!