Canyon Companions Roundup: ContourROAM HD Camera, Ibex Arc Print Merino T-Shirt and Triple Aught Design Amphib Cargo Shorts
“These canyons eat gear,” said Rich Rudow, a renowned canyoneer with scores of first ascents into previously unknown Grand Canyon slots. He wasn’t kidding. With low overhangs, jagged rock on all sides, and foliage clawing up at you from the ground, there are few testing grounds like the Grand Canyon. Last week, I took about 50 pounds of gear through some of the most grueling testing that any of my equipment has ever endured: the Grand Canyon’s stunningly beautiful 150 Mile and Matkatamiba slot canyons.
Among that gear was the ContourROAM HD camera, Ibex’s Arc Print Merino wool t-shirt and Triple Aught Design’s Amphibious cargo shorts. I wore the apparel nonstop for four days of hiking in 90-degree heat, sliding down rock faces, rappelling into the canyons, sleeping on ledges and wading through chest deep pools of water. The only time I took them off was when to change into my wetsuit when we packrafted the Colorado River. The camera was either banging against rocks on my helmet or dragging along the side of my pack when not in use. I was not careful.
Lets take a look at how they fared:
ContourROAM HD Camera $199.99, contour.com
Contour’s ROAM HD camera sports the basic necessities. A max 1080p at 30fps recording mode and a photo mode that takes 5 megapixel pictures every 1, 3, 5, 10, 30, or 60 seconds gives you some choices when it comes to how you want to remember your trip. It’s not bad, but those are pretty much the industry standard these days. Three things make the ContourROAM really stand out: it’s affordable, it’s idiot simple to use, and it’s tough as hell.
The camera’s slider button functions as both the “power” and “record” button. On flick and you’re recording, another flick and the camera’s off. It’s extremely handy when you’re surprised by a rattlesnake and you want to get it on film before it slithers off.
The thing’s tough, too. The slot canyons gave me opportunity to test each of the camera’s claims.
Dust resistant: Every time I took the camera off, I dropped it in the canyon’s dust. The lens makes a grinding sound when you rotate it, but nothing made it inside the camera itself.
Waterproof: It’s rated IXP7, meaning it can go 1 meter deep for up to 30 minutes. Crossing the Colorado River on packrafts led to a few splashes and dunks, with no consequences.
Shock-proof: I repeatedly stepped up headfirst into rock ledges with the ROAM strapped to the top of my head, and even though the aluminum casing got scratched up, the camera’s guts walked away unscathed.
Ibex Arc Print Merino t-shirt $80, ibex.com
Superfine 18.5 micron merino wool made Ibex’s Arc Print t-shirt ridiculously comfortable during hot-weather hiking. When I soaked it, whether with sweat or while wading through canyon pools, it was dry within minutes. When we strode into camp, I took it off and let it air dry, and it was ready to sleep in by the time I crawled into my sleeping bag. It never even smelled bad – merino’s reputation for repelling body odor held true.
While the comfort and quick-dry ability was no surprise, it’s durability was. Considering how the shirt’s material is, I expected the straps from my 50-pound pack to eradicate it, but the shoulders were fine. . At the end of the week, the only holes were in the back of the shirt (from sliding down a boulder on my butt), and a hole poked in the sleeve by an errant branch that I failed to dodge.
The Arc Print isn’t cheap. In fact, at $80, it’s dang pricey, but you’re not going to find a more versatile t-shirt anywhere. I’m getting more use out of one Arc tee than I would from four $20 cotton shirts.
Triple Aught Design Amphibious Cargo Shorts, $75, Tripleaughtdesign.com
The tactically-minded company’s shorts are made for utility: eight pockets keep everything you need readily available, even when you’ve got a harness on, while the nylon material is lightweight, quick-drying and flexible, while comes in handy when you’re scrambling up a rock face.
The one thing that really made the Amphibs stand out was their durability. The shorts are made up of one layer of lightweight nylon material. Since I spent just about as much time scooting down steep grades on my butt as I did hiking, I figured that my butt would be hanging out of my shorts by the end of the first day. It turns out, the Amphibs have a reinforced seat for just those situations. Unfortunately, all that scooting wore away at the triple stitching holding onto the reinforcement, but the material itself held up, and more importantly, no one behind me was subjected to a view of my boxers.
Ever more interesting was the fact that all of the buttons were still on the back pockets. I would have sworn that they’d be gone, but the bar-tacked buttons were still there when I got home. They didn’t come away flawless, but considering what I put them through, the Amphibious Shorts have a heck of a breaking point. For hiking, climbing, walking around, pretty much anything else but sliding down the Grand Canyon on your butt, the Amphib shorts are a solid choice.
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Tags: amphibious shorts, arc print, backpacking, base layer, camping, canyoneering, cargo shorts, contour, contourROAM, grand canyon, hd camera, helmet camera, hiking, ibex, tee shirt, travel, triple aught design
Author: Billy Brown