Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

The Post-Marathon Recovery

Since I posted about my the days leading up to the marathon, I thought it’d be fitting to also post about my recovery following the marathon.

Immediately after the marathon, my body was in complete shock. My legs hurt and I never wanted to run a marathon ever again. LOL. Despite those feelings, I knew that I had to keep moving after crossing the finish line or else my legs would stiffen up so I pushed on. I got to gear check and within seconds, I changed out of my running shoes and into my OOFOS sandals.

Disclaimer: I received a pair of OOFOS sandals to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own. 

These sandals are AMAZING for post-marathon recovery! AHHHHH-MAZING! I don’t rave about things all too often, but I can’t stop raving about how great these are for recovery. Just the other day, I was walking around and some woman stopped to talk to me about how great they are for her feet. LOL. True story.

The traditional running shoe is designed to be responsive. They’re supposed to take the energy you force down and propel you forward. The OOfoam that these OOFOS sandals are made out of do the opposite. They absorb (they say 37%) more of the impact and this ultimately reduces the stress on your feet and body helping you recover faster.

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Damn right my feet earned this. 🙂

After I ran my first marathon last year, walking around hurt A LOT. I didn’t change out of my running shoes and ended up hobbling around because my joints hurt so much. This time around, I made sure to bring my OOFOS sandals with me to gear check and after putting them on, my legs felt an immediate relief. Honestly, I was skeptical when I first wore them pre-marathon. I didn’t think it’d make that much of a difference. I was so wrong. The OOFOS sandals have made my recovery a lot smoother. I was able to walk up and down stairs a lot easier (which was great because the Chicago public transportation system requires you to walk up and down a lot of stairs) and later that night, I was able to walk around downtown and meet up with more people to celebrate. I would say that by that night, I was walking at about an 80%, which I thought was amazing.

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So how have these sandals helped me in terms of running? My first run after the marathon, which was also a 5k race (LOL) took place 5 days later. That race? It took place on a hill. Yep. My time wasn’t amazing, but it was still pretty impressive to me especially since I had practically torn all of my leg muscles 5 days prior. Since the 5k, I’ve run 6 more times and each run is getting easier. Thank goodness too because I have a Rock N Roll LA next weekend. I know. I’m crazy, but it’s okay, I got this.

I feel like I’m a broken record, but I cannot emphasize how great these are. I’m not at a 100% with running yet (I’m maybe at 80%), but I feel like these really helped me move around more normally. Check out my Instagram. I have proof. I was bouncing up and down without pain and it was the greatest thing ever. I like them so much I’m going to end up buying a pair for my mom. 🙂 Luckily, they have a variety of OOFOs shoes because my mom is picky about what she wears.

If you do end up buying a pair online this month, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, OOFOS is donating $10 for every pair of Project Pink shoes sold to breast cancer research. 🙂

If you have any questions regarding the shoes, please feel free to ask me or any of the Bibrave Pros below. I tested the women’s OOAHH Sport Project Pink Sandal, whereas the others may have tested the other types of shoes.

Christi – Kim – MeridethJenna – Gisgie – Vanessa – Paula – Aubrene – Kolbe – Heather -Amanda – Bradford – AngieLaura –  Emily – Jennifer – Stephanie – Melissa – Mark

 

 

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Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

#SkinsOrNothing Compression Shorts Review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Skins’ Compression A400 shorts to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own. 

There has been a debate about whether compression wear works and for some, it does. Luckily I fall into that category. 🙂

For those of you unfamiliar with it, compression wear is designed to boost a person’s natural performance by providing more oxygen to their active muscles. The most common type of compression wear is probably socks. People who spend hours on their feet (like nurses) will often wear medical compression socks to prevent blood from pooling in the lower leg. This reduces the swelling in their legs and some even say it prevents varicose veins. Athletes will wear compression gear to improve their athletic performance and recovery. Compression socks, arm sleeves, calf sleeves, shorts, tops…if you can wear it, there’s probably compression gear for it.

As I previously mentioned, I received a pair of Skins’ A400 compression shorts to try out. And before I get into some of my thoughts on them, here’s a little bit more information about them from their website.

“The SKINS’ gradient compression has been engineered to provide the correct level of surface pressure to specific parts of the body. This enhances circulation and gets more vital oxygen to your active muscles – boosting your power, speed and stamina.”

Their “memory MX fabric contains a unique high stretch elastomeric yarn – which returns to its original shape no matter how much stress you put it under.” This means that regardless of whether it’s your first time or 50th time wearing them, you’ll get the same level of muscle support and controlled compression.

At low temperatures, “the unique polymer binds moisture in its structure keeping you feeling warm and dry. As your temperature increases it changes its surface properties, releasing the stored moisture to the surface where it evaporates and cools your skin.”

So for the past 4 or so weeks, I’ve been wearing these shorts on my short and long runs. SPOILER ALERT AHEAD!?!?………………..

I like them. 🙂

Fabric – There are so many things I like about the fabric. They’re really smooth, like baby smooth. If it wasn’t weird to feel my thighs all the time while wearing them, I probably would. LOL. There’s nothing bulky about these shorts. Even the seams are really flat. That’s so nice because sometimes, even the slightest bump on a pair of shorts will cause terrible chafing. I know. I’ve experienced it first hand. With these shorts, I never had a problem with chafing. Hooray!

Fit – Since these are compression shorts, it’s probably a good idea that they fit just right. When I first put these on, I felt like they were TOO tight, but after one run, they were just perfect. Due to their Elastane blend, the fabric is able to stretch according to your movements and return to its normal state when you’re not wearing them. I’ve worn these A TON OF TIMES and it doesn’t seem like they’re losing their compression.

Their website states that their shorts have a wider waistband for comfort and are lower rise allowing them to sit comfortably on hips. That was definitely not the case for me. The fit was right, but I had to pull the shorts up to maybe my belly button. That was perfect for me though. By doing so, the shorts smoothed out my muffin top. LOL.

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Note: If you order your own, try to stick to the sizing chart. If you choose too loose of a fit, you’re defeating the purpose of compression wear.

Recovery – I can’t say too much about their effect on my recovery because I haven’t had a chance to run anything super long (17+ miles). I did run a 16 miler in these and they felt fantastic to run with. My quads and hamstrings didn’t feel sore afterwards, but my calves did. Boo. LOL. Note that my calves are prone to soreness. I blame not foam rolling enough.

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Anyway, you can read my fellow BibRavePros’ reviews on the Skins’ compression wear. I tried out their shorts, but there were other options and you can read about their reviews below. If you have other questions, you can always ask me and/or join BibRave on Twitter on Tuesday, Oct 10th at 6 pm PT for #bibchat. Our sponsor Skins will be giving away a free pair of compression tights and if you participate in our chat, you’re eligible to win. 🙂

Lindsey – Jessica – Fallon – HaleyConnie – Cassie Lee – Ryan – Emily – Aubrene – Mark    Jennifer – NicoleGina – Michael – John – Casey – Amy – MatthewLisa

If you want to buy your own, you can use the code “BIBRAVE20” on your order through the end of October. This is only valid on full price items. 

 

 

 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

Luvo meals and their 3-2-None approach 

Disclaimer: I received a set of Luvo meals to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own. 

I don’t always have a lot of time to prepare my meals during marathon training season. I dedicate over 6+ hours a week to running and after running and work, I’m often just too tired to prep meals. So when BibRave asked me if I wanted to try out Luvo meals again, I of course said yes.

You can read about my previous experience with Luvo meals here. To make this review more different than the last, I made more of an effort to try out their other meals and I succeeded. Here is my review of them below:

First off, Luvo’s main goal is create wholesome, delicious meals using their 3-2-None approach. They have crafted the right balance of three types of ingredients: protein, whole grains, and veggies (3). They don’t have too much of sodium or added sugar (2) and no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners (none).

Second, Luvo has meals in three different formats – burritos, pouches, and bowls. All meals can be easily microwaved and only the pouches require a plate for the meal to be put on. I was able to try out both pouches and bowls and have listed them below from least favorite to absolute favorite.

My Top 5 Luvo Meals 

5. Roasted Cauliflower Mac and Cheese (with brown rice noodles in a creamy with panko style topping) – This vegetarian dish let me down a bit. I had heard so many good things about this one that I actually drove way out of the way to find this meal. When I eat mac and cheese, I expect cheesy goodness. I didn’t really get that in this meal. Maybe it was too healthy for me. LOL.IMG_2583

4. Orange Mango Chicken (with brown jasmine rice, white chicken, kale, and broccoli) – Since the orange mango chicken was my favorite the last time around, I had to try it again this time. The meal didn’t disappoint, but it has since been replaced with a new favorite.

3. Turkey Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes (with collard greens, butternut squash, and cranberries) – I actually tried a slightly different version of this 6 months ago. The brussel sprouts were replaced with collard greens and I actually love this version way more. Again, the meatloaf wasn’t dried out after heating and I would never have been able to tell that the gravy was previously frozen. Delicious.

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Nom nom nom
2. Chicken and Corn Chowder (with white chicken, kale, sweet potato and white beans in a savory Dijon-herb base) – This dish came was also VERY CLOSE to being my favorite. I am a big fan of chowder and the Dijon sauce went very well with the corn.

1. Thai-style Green Curry Chicken aka my FAVORITE (with white chicken, brown rice noodles, carrots, red bell peppers, and yellow squash) – I was super surprised by this meal. I will note that this dish is not at all reminiscent of anything I tried in Thailand, but the curry sauce was still rather tasty. I admit that I actually licked the bowl. LOL. Don’t judge me. 😛 The chicken wasn’t dry and was still really moist after microwaving too. Yay!

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Tastes way better than it looks
Final thoughts: I really enjoy the healthy meals that they have and I will continue to try out more as they come out when I’m in need of a quick healthy alternative. My only concern with these meals is that for someone training for a marathon, one of these meals will not be enough. I ate two meals in one sitting after a 10 mile run. LOL.

If you questions, feel free to ask me about them. In addition, we’ll be having a #bibchat on Twitter Tuesday, September 26th at 6 pm PST where you can ask Luvo and other runners what they thought about the meals.

Question for you: Have you tried these meals? What’s your favorite healthy frozen meals? 

 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

Hello 5kcrate! What presents have you brought me?

 Disclaimer: I received a 5kcrate subscription box to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own. 

I have always been intrigued by subscription boxes. I’ve tried Trytheworld for food and StitchFix for clothes and this month, I got to try 5kcrate for running related items.

5kcrate is a subscription box that ships quarterly (Winter – January, Spring – April, Summer – July, and Fall – October) and is tailored towards whether you’re a woman or a man. The box consists of 5 to 7 items that range from running apparel to accessories and these items come from both more well known brands and upcoming emerging brands. Each box costs $59.99 (includes shipping), but its contents are guaranteed to cost over $100 in retail value.

Without further ado, the contents of my box:

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All of the 5kcrate contents for Fall

Mission Athlete Cooling Towel (Retail value: $19.99) – This towel is meant to provide a cooling effect for up to 2 hours. After you wet, wring, and snap it, the towel activates and cools down to 30 degrees below the average body temperature. I have not used this one yet, but anything to cool me down after a run sounds awesome.

Mission Athlete VaporActive Alpha Running shirt (Retail value: $35.95) – The shirt attracts and evaporates sweat much quicker than other shirts so if you sweat a lot, this shirt is perfect for you.

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Sweating in my Mission Athlete Vaporactive running shirt

SpiGen Wireless Headphones (Retail value – $49.99) – Headphones that are wireless and allow you to listen to music while running and make calls. I didn’t particularly have very good luck keeping them in my ears while on my runs, but if I was walking, these headphones were easy to use.

LA fresh travel lite Sunscreen wipes (For a pack of 50 wipes, retail value – $24.99; I received 3 wipes) – It’s sunscreen in the form of wipes, which makes it really easy for travel and application. Seriously. I hate having to squeeze sunscreen into those 3 oz bottles for traveling. These wipes were super easy to apply onto my face and skin and I was done in a minute.

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Using LAfresh’s sunscreen wipe

Zensah no show compression socks (Retail value – $19.99) – Compression socks are a must in the world of running and I just loved the feel of these socks.

Epic Wipes (Retail value – $2.50; I received 2) – These wipes are aptly named. They’re 16x larger than your average wet wipe and so after a crazy trek up a mountain or running say a Ragnar, these would be perfect to use. I’m already planning on buying more of these for my first Ragnar relay in April. Check out my instagram for a video of me using one. Seriously. They’re huge.

Verdict? With any subscription box, you take a risk because you just don’t know what will be included in your box. You will most likely not love everything, but there might also be things you’ll never want to part with. For instance, I wasn’t a HUGE fan of using the Spigen headphones for running, but everything else proved to be quite useful to me.

I’m amazed at how many things are items are designed for runners and by trying out this subscription box, I was able to try out some of these things. Note that 5kcrate doesn’t include nutritional items, which I think differentiates itself from the other running subscription boxes. Finding some fuel that agrees with everyone would be quite tough. It instead prides itself on providing running items that can be used again and again and aside from the wipes, that’s very true. Unless you’re very particular about the items you use on your runs, I think this box would be great to try out. In conclusion, this box gets two thumbs up! 🙂

For more reviews on the 5kcrate box, check out my fellow BRPs reviews’

Jenna – Sara – Angie – TedrickVanessa – Paula – Heather

Question for you: Have you tried a subscription box before? Did you like its contents or was it not for you?

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running

Be Brilliant (Reflective) – Product Review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Brilliant Reflective strips to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own. 

For the past few weeks, I’ve been fortunate enough to get my hands on another set of Brilliant Reflective strips. Thank goodness too. It’s been so hot lately that I’ve been trying to run at night when it’s much cooler. I tested these strips back in April, but there are a few other things I’d like to emphasize in this review.

Multi-purpose – I have found multiple uses for these strips. In addition to putting them on my running clothes and FlipBelt, I’ve also found that they work very well on backpacks. 🙂 I have a backpack that I typically travel with and after traversing new cities at night, I realized that I’d be a lot safer if drivers could see me when the neighborhoods are not as well lit. I put these stick-on strips on both the straps of my backpack and on the front so cars could see me from both sides. (You can never be too careful.)

This would be also be a great application for families with children. Reflective strips on the little ones’ clothes as well as their backpacks could make them more visible on their walk home from school. You can also put them on helmets and bikes if you’re a cyclist or on your dog’s collar when walking your dog. 🙂

 

 

Visibility – I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how visible these strips are. I was filming videos (seen on my Instagram) of me and my backpack and even without a super bright flashlight shining on them, the strips still reflected back.

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Durability – The stick-on strips stay on clothes for a few washes. The iron-on strips stay on a lot longer. In April, I tried their iron-on ones and they’re still on my clothes. Note that I did have one incident where the stick-on strip fell off about an hour into my run. I think it was because I had touched the adhesive too many times with my hands before applying it to the shirt and so the bond with the fabric wasn’t very strong.

Cost effective – These strips are now $14.95 for a pack (with free shipping) and they come in a variety of colors (black, purple, blue, and red). They’re a much cheaper alternative to reflective wear, which can cost a lot more. You can also buy a multi-pack, which includes one of each color if you want to color coordinate with your gear, for $49.95 (with free shipping). If you choose to buy their multi-packs, you can use the code “BRPmulti” to get 20% off.

Final verdict – These strips really do allow me to be visible to oncoming traffic and I will definitely be using more of them on my clothes especially for the Ragnar Relay that I’ll be doing next April. Eek!

Note: If you’re part of a running group, club, or even a non-profit that may want to educate its members on staying safe in dark and low-light conditions when they’re outside, Brilliant Reflective is having a 500k giveaway where they’re giving sample packs for free (you only have to pay for shipping) for your members to try out. More details can be found here.

If you have any questions for me, please feel free to ask me and I’ll also link other BibRave Pros’ reviews of the product below (when they’re posted). We’ll also be having #Bibchat on Tuesday, Sept 12th at 6 pm PST on Twitter where we’ll discuss running related things and Brilliant Reflective will be giving away a set of reflective strips. Just follow @BibRave on Twitter and tune in at that time. 🙂

BibRave Pro reviews: Paula – Gina – Samantha

Question for you: Have you ever had an incident where someone didn’t see you walking/running/cycling at night? 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

Shine Bright – Knuckle lights Product Review (Discount code included)

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Knuckle Lights to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own. 

With the summer days being so hot and humid lately, I’ve had to resort to night running more and more often. Getting up in the morning is a possibility, but honestly, I’m a terrible morning person. LOL.

With night running, there are two main concerns –

  1. Being aware of your surroundings
  2. Being seen

I love running with music so to address the first concern, I wear my Trekz Titanium Aftershokz headphones. They have an open ear design, which allows me to hear my surroundings. I reviewed them here.

To address the second concern of being seen, I wear reflective tape and I now also use these Knuckle Lights. They are extremely useful and without further ado, my review.

Weight – I don’t like carrying anything with my hands. That’s why I use a hydration vest instead of carrying a handheld water bottle. Something about the extra weight bothers me. I’ve used these lights on several long runs already (10+) and I’ve had no problems with their weight. If anything, they help me remember to pump my arms when I run.

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Presenting my knuckle lights

Brightness – This is probably the biggest factor of why you’d get lights for your night run. The Knuckle Lights come with 2 lights per set and you get 120 total lumens given off. I did a comparison of my street with very little light at night versus with my street with the lights on. There’s a very big difference. Hopefully my pictures will give you a better idea as to the brightness. 🙂

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Without and with the Knuckle lights
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Using my lights on my soon to be night run
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My lights in my unlit room

Grip – If I’m going to run with something in my hand for a very long time, I need it to be secure. I’ve been known to fling things out of my hand because my grip isn’t that great. LOL. The Knuckle lights have soft silicone straps on it that can be adjusted to the size of your hand and it fits quite well. It also doesn’t chafe my hands, which is good.

Wear and tear – Only having used these for about a month, I can’t comment too much on the wear and tear portion, but I can say that these units are waterproof and can be run in the rain. Since it’s summer and it hasn’t rained, I sprinkled some water onto the lights (LOL) and have had no issues. Hooray. Also, these particular lights are powered by AA batteries. They also have a pair of rechargeable ones if those are more your style.

Price and variety – This pair will cost you $39.99, but if you order before 9/1/17, you can use the code “BRKL2017” to get 15% off your order. Plus, standard shipping is free for all U.S. orders. Yay. That code can be applied to any product. The non-rechargeable ones come in pink, black, and blue. The rechargeable ones come in black.

So there you have it, my review of my knuckle lights. If you have any questions pertaining to the product, please don’t hesitate to ask. You can also read what my fellow BibRavePros thought below.

Allison – Amy – Lindsey – Tedrick

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Discount Codes, Running

Staying hydrated – Orange Mud P.F.V product review & a discount code

Disclaimer: I received an OrangeMud Phone.Flask.Vest..to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own. 

I am in full swing of marathon training and with the summer heat, a hydration pack was something I desperately needed. I had been scouring the sites in hopes of finding one that wasn’t too heavy and wouldn’t chafe in the humid temperatures. Luckily, BibRave gave us the opportunity to try Orange Mud’s Phone. Flask.Vest (P.F.V.) and I jumped at the chance.

The basics of the P.F.V.

Like the name implies, it’s a vest that can hold both your phone and a hydration flask. On the front of the vest, there are two main pockets – one for your flask and one for your phone. The flask is a soft flask that can hold up to 450 (15 oz) or 600 mL (20 oz) of fluids (it comes witht he 450 mL one) and deflates the more you drink from it. On one side of the vest, there is a shoulder pocket that you can store gels/chews/whatever nutrition you may need. There’s also a key clip that you can use to store your key while running. On the other side of the vest is a dust cover for the bite valve in case you don’t want it to get dirty while running. No one likes biting onto a valve that’s covered with dirt. Gross. On the back of the vest, there’s another pocket for a light jacket. The vest also has adjustable straps to tighten or loosen to your liking. Its cost? $99.95.

My experience

Weight – This vest is extremely lightweight. It may look like a lot to wear, but it’s actually not. Even after runs, I would just keep it on when I ran my errands.

Bounce – When I first tried this vest on, I found that it bounced a bit. After playing with it a bit, I found that if I tightened the straps enough, the bounce was very minimal and I had no problem with it. I ran a half marathon with it on and the vest didn’t bother me at all. I will note that other people that I’ve talked to have experienced more of a bounce. I am a bit more flat chested (I’m a B cup), which might be beneficial to me in this situation.

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Wearing the PFV during the Craft Classic Half marathon

Breathability – Even with the addition of the vest, my body didn’t seem to heat up. The material (mesh) that the vest is made out of makes it very breathable.

Chafe – This was such a big concern for me. With summer comes heat, humidity, and the high probability of chafing. I am super happy to report that I didn’t experience any chafing even after running a half marathon. I will note that I put bodyglide on my neck during that race because it was my first time running 13.1 miles with that vest on and I didn’t want to take any chances. I have run 6 miles in a sports bra with no bodyglide and the vest didn’t rub on me at all. Hooray! I will mention that I did wear a necklace once on a run and the vest rubbed the necklace against my collar bone. So just don’t wear necklaces while running and you’ll be good to go.

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On SportsBraSquad day!

Hydration and fuel – I do wish that the flask was a little larger so I could take it with me on longer runs. I usually finish up the water by mile 6 or 7. However, I can easily solve this issue by running by places that have water fountains. I can just refill the flask and continue on my run. On my half marathon, I stopped by 3 aid stations in addition to sipping water from my vest and that was just the perfect amount of water for me. I love using the pockets to hide my gels. This will definitely come in handy when I start running longer distances. 🙂

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Stay hydrated everyone!

Other – There was one thing I didn’t like about the vest, which was the fact that my flask initially leaks when I first use it. Although I don’t really feel the leak, it does soak part of the pocket, making it difficult to put my phone in the front pocket. (I have never put my phone in the front pocket since I have a flipbelt and use that instead; I also don’t want to overload the front of the vest). It doesn’t seem to leak at all after the initial leak and it might have to do with me adding too much water to the flask.

So there you have it, my review on the newest Orange Mud product, the Phone. Flask. Vest. You can bet that I’ll be wearing it a lot more often as the heat increases. If you are interested in any of their products, you can use the code “BRPPFV” for 10% off all their stuff. And if you have any questions, please feel free to ask me about it or check out any of the other BRPs’ reviews below. You can also join us on Tuesday, July 25th for our #bibchat on Twitter for a chance to win 1 of 2 P.F.V.s!

Fallon – Casey – Bradley – Heather – Angie