Gear Review: Pacsafe Venturesafe X30

Pacsafe Venturesafe X30

*Full Disclosure – This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. 

After traveling through Europe with my Venturesafe 150 GII and an old Oakley backpack. I decided to combine the two and pick up a Pacsafe backpack. Pick pocketing is a prevalent crime in large cities and I wanted a more secure backpack for an upcoming trip to Manila and Japan. The Pacsafe Venturesafe X30 looks good and doesn’t scream “anti-theft”.

Backpack Specs

Main Material: 210D Nylon Double Ripstop
Weight: 2.7 lb
Volume: 30L
* Specs taken from Pacsafe Website.

Backpack Features

The appeal of any Pacsafe bag is their anti-theft features and this bag has a lot of them. The bag has four outside pockets with two side pockets to hold other items like water bottles.

Zippers

This bag comes with two types of zippers designed to prevent theft, the zip clip and the secured zip tab. Both zipper types make it harder to pickpocket which is a plus when you’re on a crowded area. The zip tabs are easy to use but the zip clip is a bit harder. Trying to get both zippers to clip is a bit difficult and takes a minute. It’s a great system that could be improved upon in the next version of this bag. The main compartment zipper has holes for a travel lock as well for extra security.

Slash Guard and Straps



Another anti-theft feature is the eXomesh slash guard. The slash guard is a metal net that is between bag fabrics. The net doesn’t cover the whole bag, just the bottom half of the bag. This stops thieves from cutting your bag open and running off with what’s inside. The bag straps also have metal wires which prevent cut and run theft. The strap also comes with a turn and lock security hook which can be attached to a fixture. This helps prevent snatch and grabs.

RFID


The bag comes with an RFIDsafe pocket for credit cards and passports. This pocket prevents RFID skimming. Most passports have RFID chips as well as some credit cards. My cards do not have an RFID chip so my passport was the only one that needed to be safe.

Rain Cover

This is very convenient and would have come in handy in recent trips. My camera bags have rain covers but I haven’t seen many regular back packs with them. I had to use this once while in the Philippines and it was easy to pull out and cover my bag.

Bag Support

This bag comes with an aluminum support which helps with load transport as well as a hip belt. The hip belt can be stowed away when not in use. Their is also an adjustable sternum strap. If you load up your bag with some heavy stuff this support can take the load from your shoulders and transfer to your hip, making long walks not too bad.

Other Features

Like most bags on the market, this one comes with a organizer pocket, a laptop sleeve and side pockets for drink bottles. The laptop sleeve also doubles as a hydration pouch.  Side compression straps are also available for when your pack is not full and you need to slim your bag a bit. The bag will work with the Travelsafe X15 Anti-Theft Portable Safe if you want another level of securtiy.

Final Impressions

I love this bag. It’s a bit pricey with a MSRP around $170 but the peace of mind is worth it. Nothing beats being aware of your surroundings but this bag surely helps. The durability is great as well. I’ve used it on two trips and it’s holding up very well and looks brand new. I had a minor complaint when it came to the zippers but it’s not a huge issue. It’s also comfortable for long trips with a full pack. If the X30 is too big, they make a smaller model Venturesafe X22 (22 L). Overall, I would recommend this bag for people who want extra security when they travel.

Check out the Pacsafe Venturesafe X30 on Amazon if you’re interested.

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Review: Inov-8 Trailroc 245

The only pair of running shoes that I own are a pair of Kayano 21’s and my other shoes are for CrossFit. Since I don’t have an old pair of shoes that I would be okay with ruining, I decided to buy a pair of trail shoes for the Konqer OCR. I read a lot of good things about Inov-8’s trail running/mud shoes and I found a good deal online for the Trailroc 245’s.

 

Looks and Fit

The shoe looks like has the usual Inov-8 design, which is not a bad thing. The shoe is made up of a soft mesh which feels durable and breathable. The toe area is also reinforced with a fuse material design. The sole looks like it will maintain grip on the muddy trails.I thought this shoe was true to size. I ordered my regular size and it fit well. The toe box is a little wide which is great for people with wider feet. After lacing up and walking around a bit, I couldn’t wait to hit the course!

 

Performance

Konquer was my first OCR, and I don’t normally do trail runs. My running experience is all on pavement so I didn’t know what to expect out of this shoe. The first leg of the run was done on loose gravel and mud. The traction was great. I didn’t slip or slide on the steep inclines. My fellow teammates wore normal running shoes and they were having some traction issues. 

During the mud section, the bottom of the shoe was covered in mud. I felt like I was running in cement shoes. After jogging on dry dirt/gravel, the mud would fall off and my shoes would feel light again. The water also drained quickly leaving only my socks feeling full of water. The shoe also handles rocks and other sharp obstacles well. I could still feel the ground but I wasn’t worried about injuring my feet.

Final Thoughts

This is a great overall trail shoe and I’m happy with the performance. I was nervous during the race and the last thing I wanted to worry about was my shoe. The durability might be an issue since the material is soft. Sharp limestone rocks are all around trails on Guam but I believe they will hold up. After I put some miles in, I’ll update this post. I’m excited to do more runs in these. 

*This model may have been discontinued which is why it was on sale for a low price. 

 

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Review: Nike Metcon 2

Colorway (Cool Grey/Wolf Grey/Black/Metallic Gold)

Nike Metcon 2: Electric Boogaloo

The Nike hype hasn’t died down with the release of the new Nike Metcon 2. I had a difficult time trying to pick up a pair at launch but they were sold out. My fiance was able to get them from Footlocker.com but they were back ordered. I waited until late February and I’ve been wearing them ever since. If you liked the previous version of the Metcon, you’re going to love the Metcon 2. I will be comparing these shoes to the previous versions which I have reviewed on this site. Check out my previous reviews on the Metcon 1’s for more info.

Looks, Fit and Construction

Over the past few weeks I’ve used these shoes for everything. They were my go to CrossFit and casual shoe. This was my favorite colorway from the launch selection. The gold on black and grey looks fantastic. If you take a closer look, the shoe looks very similar to the Metcon 1. The shoe is divided into four sections that can have different colors. The area around the laces are different but it’s not a huge change. The shoe fits like the Metcon 1, true to size. It took a week or two to break in, but that’s like most shoes. The mesh on the toe box is the same as the second wave of Metcon 1’s but has a different construction.

The sole doesn’t look too different from the previous version and that’s not a bad thing.

Changed the heel by adding more padding. Heel should slip less.

Added a plastic plate to the heel which reduces friction on the handstand pushups.

Performance

I put these shoes through its paces. CrossFit to casual wear, these shoes have held up great. The sole is a bit more rigid in the heel area; I didn’t feel as much compression during squats. The sole is still flexible and do not make a squeaking noise (yet). I still wouldn’t want to run long distances in them. A mile max, but I don’t think any shoe would help me at that point. My heels felt more locked in during running and jumps. The extra padding around the heel and a new heel design is probably the reason for the improvement. I haven’t done a lot of rope climbs yet but that’s on my list of things to test. The gym just built a rig that has a rope climb section. 

The plastic heel works and I do feel less resistance. I’m not sure how much of a difference it’s going to be but it will take some stress off the sole. The wall has to be flat and smooth since that plastic piece will be able to grab onto cracks. I haven’t encountered that problem yet but it might be something to look at.

Final Thoughts

If you’re a fan of the first Metcon, you will definitely love this one. Nike took all the feedback and improved the shoe for the better. My only complaint from my first pair was the mesh on the top of the shoe but that looks like it has been fixed. I need to do more rope climbs and bang it up a bit to talk about the durability. I’m having a great time working out in these shoes and I’m sure you will too.
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Review: Nike Metcon 1 Varsity Red "Banned"

After the CrossFit games controversy, the Nike Metcon 1 Varsity Red became the most sought after colorway. I must admit, they look slick. I’m a huge fan of the red and black, paying homage to the Air Jordan 1. The only thing I would change would be the sole color. I would have preferred a black sole or even a red sole.

Their are some differences between this version of the Metcon 1 and the original version that I reviewed here. The mesh on the top of the toebox is a lot thicker and feels like a different material all together. I haven’t used my Metcons to do many rope climbs but I have heard about shoes falling apart from repeated abuse. My Metcons are also starting to fray at certain spots but are still usable. I hope this material change brings more longevity to this shoe. Other than that, I haven’t noticed any more changes. Check out some of the other pictures below.

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Book Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I received my copy of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline in the February Loot Crate. I didn’t know much about the book or the author. I read the sales copy but I wasn’t excited to read it. I read an article about Steven Spielberg being tapped to direct a movie adaptation, so I decided to give it a read.

Ready Player One is a science fiction novel written by Ernest Cline, set in the year 2044. The world is overpopulated, going through an energy crisis and dealing with wide spread poverty. The population escapes this reality by going into a virtual one called “OASIS” (Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation). The OASIS is a hyper realistic open world game where people can go on quests, work, and even attend school. At the beginning of the book one of the creators of OASIS,billionaire James Halliday, dies and leaves his estate to the first person to find the virtual easter egg he has hidden somewhere in OASIS. In his announcement video, Halliday uses many 80’s pop culture references which people interpret as clues. This leads to a resurgence in everything 80’s, from video games to music and movies.

 The narrator of the book is Wade Watts, a high school student and full time egg hunter (gunter). He dreams of finding Halliday’s egg and escaping his life of poverty. He is well versed in 80’s movies, music and video games. He meets a few people along the way, his best friend “Aech” and “Art3mis”. They usually discuss 80’s trivia trying to outdo each other with a “who knows more” contest. The main antagonist of this story is Nolan Sorrento the head of the Oology Department at Innovative Online Industries (IOI). IOI is the typical greedy corporation. They want to destroy the open and free version of the OASIS and turn it into a “pay to play” world. Wade and his friends must find the egg before IOI or else the OASIS as they know it will cease to exist.

Ready Player One is one of my favorite books. It’s a great story about gamers and how gamers can change the world. I loved the pop culture references in this book. It brings back memories of my childhood especially the gaming references. Cline does an excellent job building the world especially OASIS. However, the book primarily appeals to people who enjoy copious amounts of pop culture references. The writing is okay at best with the exposition spanning more than a few chapters. The book also feels like a young adult novel but the target demographic would be 80’s and 90’s kids. Even with the books shortcomings, I would still recommend this book to friends. I might re-read the book before the movie comes out. This is a book any nerd will enjoy.

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Review: Nike MetCon 1

When you think Nike, you think sport and with CrossFit becoming more mainstream, it would make sense for Nike to enter the market. I think it is safe to say the Nike MetCon 1 is one of the most sought after CrossFit shoes. The marketing hype combined with the limited number of shoes available at launch made them that much more desirable. I felt like I was trying to buy a pair of new Kobe’s or Jordans rather than a pair of CrossFit shoes. If you didn’t get a pair within the first hour of launch, you were out of luck. Thankfully, my fiance manged to order a pair online and they have been my go to CrossFit shoe for a few weeks.

Looks, Fit and Construction

The Anthracite/Black/Cool Grey colorway are my favorite colors from the launch. The shoe has a unique color pattern with the shoe divided up in four sections. The divisions are more noticeable with the other colorways. Ordering shoes online is risky especially when it comes to new shoe models. Thankfully the shoe felt true to size. The shoe fits snug but after you break them in, they feel great. The toe box has enough room to spread your toes which is great for lifts. The shoe is also wider which allows for a stable base.

Since this is a Nike shoe, you’re bound to see some of their tech. The shoe features Flywire, which helps to lock your feet down and gives support to certain areas of the foot.  A Hyperfuse upper and a rubber midsole is more for rope climbs. The newer Flyknit material would probably rip after a few rope climbs making the Hyperfuse upper ideal. After a few weeks of use, the shoes almost look brand new. The excellent shoe quality is what I expect from Nike.

Performance

My first workout in the Metcon 1 was great for a performance test. It was a FGB style workout with wall balls, thrusters, rowing, double unders, burpees and box jumps. Throughout the workout the shoes held up great. I felt stable during all movements. I had no problem jumping during box jumps, it also had a slight spring. The shoes perform well during heavy oly lifts and heavy squats. I felt stable in the bottom position of the lift and the shoe didn’t give as much as I was expecting. The insole is a little thick but the heel area felt solid during lifts. The shoes have great grip and the sticky rubber soles are indeed sticky. I didn’t feel my feet slide around during split jerks or lunges. The midsole grip felt great during rope climbs and the upper held up. Checking the shoes after, it didn’t have any scratches or tears.

During a run however, I noticed most of the flaws of this shoe. My feet felt heavier during runs and the rigidness of the sole is not comfortable. If I know running will be programmed for the day I will use different shoes.

Final Thoughts

The Metcon 1 is a great shoe and is now my favorite shoe to use during CrossFit. It covers almost all workouts except for running. They are holding up well and if I wipe them down with a damp cloth, they will look good as new. I’ve read that the newer versions of the Metcon 1 have some changes to material and construction. I plan to get another pair in another color, and I will update this post if I think the changes will make a difference. My next shoe review will be on the Fastlift 335. Hopefully it will be done in a few weeks. If you have any questions or comments, enter them below.

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Review: Strength Wraps

Avengers ans Star Wars Strength Wraps
After a few months of CrossFit I started to feel a pain in my wrists. I approached my coaches and they recommended I work on wrist mobility and wrist strength. In the mean time, they recommended I use a pair of wrist wraps to help stabilize my wrists during overhead movements. I purchased wrist wraps with Velcro fasteners but after a few months of use, the Velcro wore out. I wanted another pair of wraps and decided to look into cloth wraps.
I’ve heard of cloth wraps from a podcast, The Wodcast Podcast. They were sponsored by Strength Wraps, a cloth wrap company. After browsing their print fabric section I saw the Avengers print and ordered it. When I first received my pair of Strength Wraps I didn’t know how to put them on. The wraps didn’t come with directions but I found a tutorial on YouTube. I was skeptical at first but after a few days lifting, I wish I started using them sooner. 
The Force is strong with this one. 

Pros of Strength Wraps

Great Support – The wraps provide great support for any overhead movement and doesn’t inhibit your range of motion.

Adjustable – These wrist wraps can be adjusted on the fly. With a quick twist they can be loosen or tighten in only a few seconds. 

Cool Prints – Strength Wraps has a wide range of fabric designs. They range from solid colors to picture prints. You can also get custom wraps for your box.

Washable – I usually wash my wraps once a week depending on use. Since they are fabric, it will fade eventually.

Cons of Strength Wraps

Price – Strength Wraps range from $25 to $30, without shipping. Depending on where you are and how many you order, it might be a few dollars more. A 12″ Rogue Wrap with Velcro starts at $12. 

Final Thoughts 

Strength Wraps are great for any overhead movement and oly lifts. The ability to adjust tightness on the fly and the awesome designs make it a great gear addition for any CrossFitter. The price is higher than most wrist wraps but quality and durability make up the price difference. I believe strength wraps will also outlast most conventional wrist wraps since they do not require Velcro to fasten. If you have any questions or comments, post them below.

Get your Strength Wraps HERE.

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Review: Inov-8 F-Lite 235

My Nano 3s and Inov-8 Bare-XF 210s will not last forever. A year of CrossFit has taken a toll on them and the wear is starting to show. I was leaning towards the new Nano 4s but the design of the new Inov-8 F-Lite 235s caught my eye. I own a few pairs of Inov-8 shoes and I’m satisfied with their quality. My fiance purchased a pair for my birthday and I’ve been using them in the majority of my workouts ever since.

Looks, Fit and Sizing
The colorway and design of the 235s are very unique. It has a “yin yang” design with half the shoe being one of the two colors. The materials and construction feel solid and the Rope-Tec blends in well with the shoe. Using my 210s as a reference my fiance ordered the shoes in my actual size. The shoe fits well and better than my 210s. The toe box doesn’t feel as wide as the Nano 3s but it has plenty of room for your toes. They feel lighter than the Nano 3s and slightly heavier than the 210s. The shoe feels flexible enough for running and stiff enough for lifting making it an ideal shoe for any WOD.

Performance
I decided to do some squats and deadlifts to test out how these shoes handle lifts. I used a moderate weight when lifting and didn’t try to max out. These shoes were great and handle lifts well. They perform just as well as my Nano 3s. I didn’t feel the soles compress during heavy lifts and the shoe felt stable throughout.

After running in the 235s for a few weeks I have nothing but good things to say. I used a couple of 400m runs to test run performance. The 235s have a zero-drop profile and with the sticky rubber sole provide a lot of grip. I was concerned that the shoes would feel like the Nano 3s, thankfully that was not the case. The shoe grips the pavement well, only felt a slight slip when running through a wet area. My box doesn’t program rope climbs regularly and a rope is not set up at the box. I will update this post with any info on how the shoe holds up to rope climbs.

After using these shoes regularly for four months, I can say they are holding up well. The construction is solid, and the wear is not that noticeable. The quality is what I’ve come to expect from an Inov-8 product. The versatility of the F-Lite 235s is its strongest selling point. It does well in lifts and its a good shoe for shot to medium distance runs. I hope they release a few more colorways, black and red would look awesome.

If you have any questions, leave a comment at the bottom. Next on the review list is the Inov-8 Fastlifts and the Nike Metcon 1s and strength wraps.