Midweek Mini Reviews – Goods from Muscle Milk, AeroPress, Chrome Apparel, Hydrapak & Pearl Izumi
The Aerobie AeroPress, which is available through Kinetic Koffee’s website, is a simple hand powered espresso and coffee press. It’s perfect for a quick cup or two when you don’t want to brew a full pot, or when power’s not available. We’ve used ours camping this summer and at the BURN 24 Hour Challenge by boiling water on the camp stove. Not only is it really easy, but it’s pretty quick and the coffee it produces it quite tasty.
See what’s in the box, plus several other mini reviews of Muscle Milk, Swiftwick socks, and more after the break…
Aerobie says the design brews coffee with less acidity and bitterness, and our palates agree. It comes with the brewing chamber, plunger, filters and cap, stirrer stick, funnel and filter holder. All parts are available separately, too, making it very easy to rebuild if necessary. We found very few grounds in our coffee when brewing, and even then usually only when trying to milk three or four presses from a single filter. Another great use? Put room temp water in and stick it in the fridge to cold brew some coffee. It’s about $10 cheaper than the Toddy and other cold-brew systems, making it an even better bargain since it’ll brew hot, too.
It’s just $29.99 and makes a great gift for the cyclist that seems to have everything. Order up a bag of Kinetic Koffee with it (or try their gift pack!) and you’ve got one stop shopping.
Muscle Milk Egg Nog Holiday Flavor
Quick review: Delicious.
Less quick review: If you’re a fan of Muscle Milk’s creamy texture and delicious flavors, their limited edition Egg Nog flavor won’t disappoint. Each scoop has 16g of protein from a blend of whey and milk proteins designed to imitate what’s found in mother’s milk. Their theory, in a nutshell, is that baby’s are growing so rapidly while being supplied with nutrition from breast milk that those same growth factors can help with muscle recovery and growth. It also has plenty of good fats that burn primarily as energy rather than being stored, which likely helps with the pleasant consistency. More info here.
Chrome Cobra Merino Wool Cycling Hoodie
Chrome’s Cobra merino wool urban cycling hoodie has been in their lineup for quite some time, and for good reason. It’s soft, warm and comfortable, and it’s got the base features a cyclist wants. First of all, it fits well and is long enough even for tall cyclists. I’m 6’2″ and went with the XL based on length. Their sizing chart put me with mixed dimensions between L and XL, with the chest measurement seeming particularly robust for the XL. In reality, it fits slim and sleek like most cyclists want, so I’d say err on the size of being too big. It’s wool, after all, so it wouldn’t take much to shrink it.
Front hand pockets zip up to keep things safe, and a pass through rear zip pocket runs across the lower back with zip openings on either side. Leave them open to vent if you get too hot. The front has a full length zip, too. On it’s own, it hides you from a light breeze. If it’s really windy throw on a windbreaker or shell. Super cold? I layered a long sleeve base, the Cobra and a down jacket and was sweating on an easy ride to pick up my son from school.
The arms are longer than normal with a thumb loop. Standing casually, it’s perfect. Stretched to reach the bars it’s pulled taut, but not so much as to be uncomfortable. Keep in mind I’m on the taller side of things, so anyone under 6’1″ might not even notice. The right hand sleeve has a zipper key pocket with internal loop. With nothing in it, the pocket is virtually invisible.
Overall, the Cobra hoodie is an excellent piece and I’ve worn it more days than not since it came in. For $160, it’s a smart addition to a winter wardrobe, particularly if you commute. Construction is solid. The hood is roomy and snugs with draw strings. The collar comes up pretty high, but not too high.
My only nitpick is it’d be nice if the front zipper had a small neck saver panel to cover the top. It can feel a bit cold against the skin and I’ve almost nicked my chin skin a couple times zipping it up. Otherwise, it’s pretty awesome.
Hydrapak Morro Hydration Pack
Rather than introducing a completely new pack, for 2012, the Hydrapak Morro instead receives some key updates to keep it current and a solid choice for a new hydration pack. Probably the most important upgrade is the new corrugated and ventilated foam harness system. While the pack sits fairly high on the back, the new harness keeps everything nicely in place regardless of how much gear you’re packing. It also prevents the bladder from “sausaging” the pack, keeping it flat on your back even at maximum volume. This probably has something to do with the new Shapeshift reservoir though, as the ziplock baffle down the center of the bladder helps to keep the pack flat.
In addition, the lower pocket has been enlarged and thanks to the layout of pockets and zippers, the 800 cubic inch capacity seems absolutely cavernous. The pack is big enough to swallow my Lowepro Toploader 55 Zoom AW camera bag with a full bladder, pump, tools, etc. Though, if you aren’t carrying that much, the side mounted cinch straps keep the pack small. Thanks to its mostly lightweight ripstop nylon construction, our Morrow came in at 1 lb 12 oz.
Personally, I would like to see a dedicated, truly waterproof pocket for your cell phone or camera. It hasn’t been an issue yet, but I’m not sure I trust the water resistant fabric in the case of a freak downpour. An integrated rain cover could be a solution as well. With a few exceptions here and there, the Hydrapak Morro is a very well designed pack that provides yet another option for a versatile, lightweight, high performance hydration pack.
Pearl Izumi Attack Bib Knickers
Years ago, I used to think knickers were pretty dumb. However, after years of putting up with knee warmers that wouldn’t stay put (and I never took off), the light finally clicked. Knee coverage that stays put for days that you don’t need full coverage. Perfect.
With the Pearl Izumi Attack Knickers, $100 gets you 8 panel comfort, flatlock stitching, and their Race 3D chamois. Even though the Select Transfer fabric isn’t that thick, the extra length does add quite a bit more warmth for colder rides. Also, in addition to road riding, I have used the Attack knickers to replace the liner short in many of my baggy mountain bike shorts which keeps my knees warm without moving ( a bigger problem on the mountain bike than road) and the outer baggy keeps the knickers from snagging on branches or ripping in a crash.