Grams 2012 Holiday Gift Guide

by Brian Mullin on December 17, 2012

This is my first attempt at doing a gift guide for the holiday season. I choose some affordable items that I have been using and testing the latter part of this year. Enjoy!

Metolius Lisi Dog Collar

you regularly take your dog out on rides or hikes with you, there are
occasionally times that you need to leash them up. For whatever reason,
perhaps you’re on a busy street or you’re taking a run down to the
coffee shop for an espresso, and you need to safely take care of your
companion. Or maybe you’re having an interaction with a cranky hiker/
horse or aggressive dog.  I have resorted to wrapping the leash around
my waist, or stuffing into a pack or my jacket to carry the thing along
with me. The leash is sort of a pain to deal with since it’s a bulky and
long unwieldy piece of webbing with a clip at one end. So what the best
solution to carry it?

Enter Metolius
the rock climbing sports company to sort out the fix with a trick item,
the Lisi Dog Collar. It’s a dog collar that has a small zippered pouch
or pocket that contains a 5′ leach which is already permanently attached
to the collar. It reminds me very much of my old kayak waist throw bag,
but instead of a long rescue rope it’s a dog leach. It’s simple to use,
you adjust the collar to your dogs neck size, clip it on, and then
whenever you need the leash, you unzip the pouch and pull out the leash.
It’s a nice and simple operation using the Lisi Dog Collar, with the
dog carrying the leash themselves. So it’s a pouch for your pooch, and
there is even enough room if you wanted to toss a small item into it.
Lisi Dog Collar is available in two sizes, small/medium and
medium/large, and comes in assorted colors, and retails for $22.50. A
great awesome little piece of gear, that allows you to follow the “leach
laws” when required, and to keep you and your dog safer.

Lisi Dog Collar  Specs:

  • Visit the Metolius Lisi dog collar website
  • Collar with a zipper compartment that contains a hidden leash and scoop-bag pocket
  • Not for climbing
  • Length: 5′ (1.5 m)
  • Sizes: small/medium, medium/large
  • Color: assorted
  • Price: $22.50

RoadID Wrist ID

tend to ride and hike by myself almost all of the time, and with age I
have worried more about my own fragility and I started to wonder “what
happens if I get hurt?” If I get injured for whatever reason, and I
needed care, whoever finds me and the first responders and hospital
staff needs to know something about me. Who should they contact, what
healthcare insurance do I have, do I have any allergies or special
medical conditions, etc. Yes, I sometimes tell my Wife where I might be
riding, but my specific whereabouts are unknown, and if I am laying on
the ground out cold or severely injured , there isn’t much I can
personally do about the situation, except maybe use the cellphone or my
Spot to get assistance.

is one of the handful of company that has created a wrist wearable dog
tag, which has imprinted personal information about you and a  phone
number that can be called to ascertain additional details. I tried out
each of their Wrist ID models, which are the Sport, Elite and Slim. Each
of the versions has an attached metal placard that has 5-6 lines of
emergency information laser etched on it. The placard itself comes in
two different version versions, the Original and the Interactive.  With
the Original you get 5-6 lines of text, and you add your name, an
emergency phone contact information (name and numbers), and perhaps
insurance data, or whatever you consider would be helpful for the
emergency responders. The Interactive version contains less personal
data, maybe only your name and one contact, but it then gives a RoadId
website and phone number to contact which would give the emergency
responders a vast array of more detailed data which is accessible via a
pin and serial number on the back of the placard. I ended up choosing
the Interactive version for my tests. The Interactive requires a yearly
$9.99 membership for the service (first year is free), but multiple
Wrist ID’s can share the same membership, so an entire family can
utilize it.

Wrist ID Sport
The Wrist ID Sport is their original model that uses a web band with a
Velcro closure. It is available in three sizes, small, medium-large and
extra-large, and comes in six colors and retails for $19.99. It also has
two 3M reflective stripes so you can be seen in the dark. This was a
comfortable wrist band to wear, and was easy to take on and off.
Although it’s waterproof, I always took it off before showering. The
placard was nice and large and easy to read, but I found  it a pain to
take the placard off, which is required to read the pin and serial
numbers on the back for the Interactive version.

  • Three Sizes: Small, Medium-Large and Extra-Large
  • Original or Interactive Version
  • 6 colors
  • MSRP: $19.99

Wrist ID Elite
The Wrist ID Elite uses a wide silicone band and watch-style buckle.
One size fits all, and it comes in eight colors and retails for $29.99.
This one really feels like I was wearing a normal watch, and it weighed a
bit more than the other models and felt very solid if a bit clunky in
direct comparison. The Elite comes as one long silicone band that you
need to cut to length, so make sure you don’t cut too much at one time,
since there is no going backwards once the scissors have done their
damage.  Getting the cut band back under the holding clamp was somewhat
difficult, but once it was in it was very secure. I found it tricky to
open the watch-style buckle, and more than a few times found it darn
annoying. I do have to give it points for looking somewhat dressier and a
bit more upscale than the Sport webbing version.

  • Size: One Size Fits All – It’s fully adjustable
  • Original or Interactive Version
  • 8 colors
  • MSRP: $29.99

Wrist ID Slim
The Wrist ID Slim is their latest model, and it’s a simple narrow
silicone band, just like any of the sundry wrist bands out there. It’s
available in four sizes  x-small, small, medium and large, and comes in
eight colors and retails for $15.99. Due to its slimmer build, the
placard can only fit 5 lines on it, so you need to be a bit more
judicious in what you have laser etched. I found this to be very
comfortable, light, easy to wear, shower in, etc., and I rarely ever
took it off. The font size of the lettering on the placard is a bit
smaller than the other Wrist ID’s, but it’s not bad. Most of the time I
forgot I was wearing the Slim model, and it felt near invisible, and I
only noticed it if the metal placard pinged on something. The
replacement bands are pretty cheap at $4.99, so I bought a bunch of
extras to change them out as desired, giving me a fun assortment of

  • Four Sizes: X-Small, Small, Medium and Large
  • Original or Interactive Version
  • 8 colors
  • MSRP: $15.99

Pearly’s Possum Socks

Possum Socks are one of the most comfortable socks I have worn of any
sort, and they feel like a pair super of comfy bedroom slippers. The
socks compress nicely against the foot, and are incredibly soft, thick
and tough. These suckers cuddle the feet, and they combine the warmth ,
durability and water repellency of Merino Wool and luxuriousness and
plushness of Possum Fur. Possums are quadrupedal diprotodont marsupials
with long thick tails, and this particular case they use fur from the
Common Brushtail Possum. Sorry, I am not going to touch the ethics of
Possum fur. The socks come in three sizes, small, medium and large, and
one color and style, and retail for $58.

They are a bit on the
thick side of things, so they might not fit in a tighter fitting shoe,
but they are about perfect in shoes worn for the winter or off seasons. I
not only wore them for cold bike rides and hikes, but they became my
favorite sock to wear around the house, sometimes in sandals.  While out
riding my feet felt very comfortable in the shoes, and the socks
providing lots of cushioning and a great deal of warmth, at least down
into the low 20’s on a couple of test rides. I felt like my feet were
well encased in my shoes, and they offered both comfort and stability.
They also kept my feet warm when they got wet from snow or water, and
made what would usually be a miserable experience into something
tolerable or hardly noticeable. The socks have great temperature control
and wickability, as I never noticed or felt any issues with
perspiration when my feet got warmer, which is very valuable since you
don’t want clammy feet in the cold. They never got stinky and were
simple to wash, which greatly added to their benefits.

They are
pretty expensive at $58 a pair, but they are very durable and long
lived, and can be used for multiple activities, such as running, biking,
hiking, and wearing around the house. These have outlasted many other
pair of so called winter socks, and outside of some mild pilling, they
have never given me any issues.

The reinforced heel and toe help with
the durability, which are both areas of high wear. As I stated earlier,
they’re one of the most comfortable socks I have ever worn, period. The
Pearly’s Possum Socks give you warmth, comfort, softness, durability and
water-repellant qualities in an excellent long lived and tough sock,
well worth the steep price.

Pearly’s Possum Socks Specs:

  • MSRP: $58
  • Specs: 45% Fine Merino Wool, 40% Pure Possum Fur, 10% Nylon/Lycra, 5% Isofil
  • Durable Heel
  • Arch Support
  • Compression Fit


are drying inserts that combat moisture and kill odor in personal
wearable gear, including helmets,  gloves,  footwear, gear bags and
packs. The form fitting inserts are soft, lightweight and re-usable, and
are meant to be used in gear overnight to facilitate drying and
deodorizing.  They contain a filling which is comprised of a specially
processed, eco-friendly Eastern Red Cedar, which is a natural drying
material with antimicrobial and antifungal properties.  The filling last
around a year or so if used daily, but they’ll likely last longer than
that, until they’ll need replacement. The outer cloth of the insert uses
the Microban antimicrobial protection to help prevent the growth of
odor causing bacteria. These inserts will not only reduce odor and
absorb wetness and control bacteria, but they will increase the
longevity of shoes and gloves, because moisture and bacteria wrecks
havoc on the materials and construction of them.

For Shoes – Pro
Price $24.95
Stuffitts Sport Pro is their flagship model of their shoe lineup, in
what they call a complete portable drying system. It utilizes a shaped
foam forefoot which fits nicely into the toe-box of a shoe, and it has a
carry strap, and comes in four sizes, small, medium, large and x-large,
and comes in Red or Black, and retails for $24.95. The inserts filling
is a specially processed, eco-friendly Eastern Red Cedar, which is a
natural drying material with antimicrobial and antifungal properties. It
uses the Microban antimicrobial protection on the micro-poly wicking
fabric of the insert to combat odor causing bacteria. The insert has an
innovative foot-shaped form, so it not only easily slides into the shoe,
but it conforms and fills all the nooks and crannies.  It uses a firmly
compacted Cedar fill, so that it works fine even when compressed or
jammed into a shoe. Perspiration and general wetness can cause damage to
the shoe, accelerating wear and tear. In addition, bacteria wrecks
havoc on a pair of shoes, and they quickly become unbearable stink
monsters. The Stuffitts work excellently with shoes, and the insert
dries things quicker, and drastically controls odor. It’s rare to say
that your shoes smell pleasant? The additional conformability of the Pro
model means it does a more effective job of drying and removing odor.

Stuffitts For Shoes– Sport
Price $14.95
Stuffitts Sport is the basic plain Jane model of their shoes inserts,
and it comes in four sizes, small, medium, large and x-large, and comes
in Red or Black, and retails for $14.95. The Sport has a tapered shape
so it works well with tighter and narrower shoes.  It uses a firmly
compacted Cedar fill, so that it works fine when compressed or jammed
into a shoe. It uses the Microban protection on the fabric of the insert
to combat odor causing bacteria. Perspiration and general wetness can
cause damage to the shoe, accelerating wear and tear. In addition,
bacteria wrecks havoc on a pair of shoes, and they quickly become
unbearable stink monsters. The Stuffitts work excellently with shoes,
and the insert dries things quicker, and drastically controls odor. It’s
rare to say that your shoes smell pleasant?

Stuffitts For Helmets-Half-Cut
Price $19.95
Stuffitts For Helmets comes in two versions, one for full faced or ear
coverage helmets and one for vented AM/XC helmets, which are named the
Full-Cut and Half-Cut respectively, and they come in Red or Black, and
retail for $19.95 each. The re-usable inserts helps control the damage
that moisture can cause in the interior of a helmet and keeps the odor
in check. The insert for each version comes in one size, and it’s easy
to squish down into the helmet, where it sits nice and snug. The insert
has a sea shell shape with pleads that offer a three dimensional fit to
conform to the interior of the helmet, and it contours properly to give
the same uniform thickness, so that the Cedar fillings moisture and odor
controlling properties works effectively. It uses the Microban
protection on the fabric of the insert to combat odor causing bacteria. I
have noticed that a helmet’s padding wears and breaks down quicker
because the bacteria and moisture cause damage to it. The insert dries
things quicker, and certainly removes the odor, though it was odd to 
get a faint whiff of Cedar while out riding, and you’d swear someone was
cutting fresh Cedar.

Stuffitts For Gloves–Thin-Layered
Price $14.95
Stuffitts For Gloves uses a form-fitted insert, which contains a firmly
compacted Cedar fill, and comes in two versions, the Thick-Padded and
Thin-Layered, and comes in Red or Black, and retails for $14.95. The
Thick-Padded is meant for ski gloves and those with thicker amounts of
insulation, while the Thin-Layered is applicable for most normal gloves
(like bike gloves). The re-usable inserts helps control the damage that
moisture can cause to a glove and keeps the odor in check. I definitely
sweat a lot in my gloves, and between the moisture, dirt, and built up
bacteria, they can get pretty rank. It uses the Microban protection on
the fabric of the insert to combat odor causing bacteria. The flat and
rectangular shape of the insert means they fit snugly when inserted, and
it offers good coverage around the palm and backhand, and the handy
nylon strap makes it easy to hang them up to dry. The insert dries
things quicker, and removes the odor, and it has kept the gloves more
pliable for a longer period of time.  I enjoyed not sticking on a stinky
pair of gloves!

Demon Knee Soft Cap Pro X D3O

The Demon Soft Cap Pro X D3O Knee
is a soft armor knee pad, with a lightweight and slim design, and low
profile fit without sacrificing protection. Made with flexible Lycra
along the front and neoprene along the back, the pads are highly
breathable. They utilize the impact technology of D3O,
which facilitates impact and shock absorption during crashes. The knee
pads come in four sizes, small, medium, large and x-large, and retail
for $64.99.

I have been using these for a very long time now, and
they are pretty darn comfortable. They have taken some decent tree
bashes, and a couple of minor fall over tumbles, and they have worked
fine. Make sure to get the sizing proper so they are nice and tight,
since they do stretch a bit with usage. They are compact and easy to
take on and off, making them simple to stow in your pack when they
aren’t needed. I wore them on a couple of extremely hot rides, and
although I sweated like crazy, they seems to wick the moisture away and
weren’t overtly uncomfortable. I was able to pedal without any
discomfort or pinching, and they rarely drooped while riding. I found
that once you yanked them up over the knee and let the bottom elastic
portion get above the calf muscle they stayed in place.  They offer
enough protection for most any riding, outside of full on free riding,
and the slight extension outwards from the knee cap offered adequate
protection. These became my go-to piece of armor since mid-summer, and
they have been through a lot of torture and many miles, and haven’t
shown any wear as yet. The Demon Knee Soft Cap Pro X D3O are an
excellent soft piece of armor, that is comfortable, soft, easy to pack
and pedal in, stays in place, and is very durable.

Product Features

  • Material: [body] synthetic; [front] dual-density foam; [armor] D30 flexible armor
  • Protection Area: knee
  • Closure System: elastic
  • Recommended Use: downhill
  • Manufacturer Warranty: 1 year

Jett Elevation Hoody

The Jett Elevation Hoody
is a high tech hoody, that utilizes a performance polyester fleece
chassis, which wicks moisture and provides warmth on cool days. It has
zippered back and pit vents, which facilitate controlling temperatures
and aids with ventilation. The main front zipper extends above neck line
to provide additional warmth and coverage, which is great un those
windy and super cold days. The hood itself is extremely large, and it
works over any helmet type, from full faced to AM and XC. It has an
internal hidden media or stash pocket, two hand pockets, and the right
hand one contains a key clip. It comes in three sizes, small, medium and
large and retails for $110.

I wear this jacket a lot just for
normal everyday activities, since it not a simple cotton hoody. The
polyester materials mean that the hoody can be used in foul weather,
from a light rain to snow, and the outer portion of the cloth has a
tight weave, so it offers good wind protection and additional warmth. I
have really enjoyed this jacket once the weather turned cooler, and I
have used it on many below freezing days as my outer jacket, and it has
always keep me warm and dry. It offers excellent breathability and great
ventilation, and you can open the front zipper to cool off or close it
way up high for more warmth. The jacket has a nice loose and long cut,
and the material was nice against the skin. It has been very durable so
far, except for some frayed threads on the arm patch. The Jett Elevation
Hoody is comfortable, warm and durable, and the use of the high tech
material means it can be used in mild inclement weather, and keep you
dry and toasty. It’s my fave jacket I have been using so far this fall,
and it’s great for riding, skiing and wearing around town

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