AVALON7 – Rob Kingwill And His Unmatched Passion For The Outdoors – Show Me The Facemasks!

Who would know the need for a facemask better than a former US Snowboard Team Member? No one.. Rob Kingwill is the founder of AVALON7 and as his website says he is the sole proprietor, principal artist, web designer, sticker maker, credit card max-er and late night tag sewing master running the company our of his small studio in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The guy is nothing short of a superstar!

Although Rob’s website centers a lot around the snowboarding scene I think his facemasks easily fit into everyday outdoor activities not only in the winter but also for those of us that try to keep our face and neck out of the sun while fly fishing, hiking and backpacking. Winter uses are easily seen with the need to keep our face and neck warm and out of the sun but what about during the warmer months? As we all know the excitement of getting out on the stream, river, lake or the trail can temporarily make us brain dead and we forget the sunscreen.. after a few hours with the sun beating down on us we now have a new problem and that is now having to spend the rest of the trip treating a sunburn. Yes, it’s happened to all of us.

We will check out a few of Rob’s Facemasks in a few minutes but first.. When checking out his website I ran across a couple of things I think are pretty cool and gives you an idea of what Rob is about and his mindset as an outdoors guy.

First is what Rob calls his AVALON7 Manifesto

  • AVALON7 was built to help you remember who you are; that you are capable of great things.
  • We hope to inspire and empower you to live life to the fullest.
  • To be optimistic and reach for your highest self.
  • So turn off the TV. Put down the phone. Think outside. Adventure more. Life activated.
  • We are here to help you realize you are a force of nature and you are limitless in your potential.

Tell me that isn’t awesome.. That truly tells me alot about a person as well as the mindset of the company as a whole. It all starts with the owner’s vision and Rob’s vision is cool.

Yes I am going to make you read one more thing before we get to the cool stuff AVALON7 is putting out!

We Are All Adventurers

­ Adventure is at the core of who we are at AVALON7.  It is the call of the unknown, the promise of unseen vistas and undiscovered powder stashes that push us to wake up before dawn and step out into the world in search of inspired moments and fresh perspectives.  It is a sirens call.

We Are All Adventurers.   Even if you never climb a mountain, or swim in the ocean, you can still be an adventurer in your life.  You can read a new novel, try a new style of art, or just take a different route on your way home from work.  Discover the power of the Adventure Mindset- one focused on growth and new experiences.  This is an optimistic perspective on the world, one that takes every setback as an opportunity to learn and gain experience instead of being focused on suffering and pain.  Sometimes we forget that the struggle, or the work is all part of the process.   In the end the journey is the reward.  Adventure Inspired!

We endeavor to make the best accessories possible for every outdoor adventure- sometimes it’s the little things that can make all the difference.  Take for example the versatility of our Mesh Tube facemasks.  They are small, lightweight and easily packable, but when the sun goes down and the temperature drops, you will be glad to find one in your pocket as you make your way out of the woods!

Life is meant to be lived and loved, and we are only here a short while.  Find your spark, find your inspiration, and chase it to wherever it leads.  Live Activated and Adventure More.   Your time is now.

It’s not often you run across a company that has this type of passion and takes the time to put it into writing on their website. Now I don’t know Rob outside of the emails that we have had back and forth but in my opinion it isn’t something he is using to sell products. Like I said it is a mindset and a way of life and the passion shows in what Rob is doing on a daily basis.

AND NOW TO THE GEAR!!

AVALON7 puts out some cool stuff from Facemasks to Clothing to Hats & Beanies to what they have labeled as Other Stuff! You can take some time to look over the website but today I am going to focus mainly on Rob’s Facemasks. So here we go with his seven offerings. Most of the information here is straight from the Avalon7 website. I can’t take credit for the creative ways he describes his products.

The Classic Tube Facemask – ­ AVALON7 Classic Tube Face Masks for skiing, snowboarding and flyfishing. Elevate your style with one of our unique limited edition facemasks designed by artists from around the world.  Our Classic Tube Facemasks are seamless tubular bandanas made out of an ultra-soft microfiber fabric that protects your face from sun, wind, snow and dirt, and wicks away sweat.  UPF of 25+.

The Mesh Tube Facemasks – ­ AVALON7 breathable mesh sun facemasks for snowboarding, skiing, fly fishing and hiking. AVALON7 mesh tube facemasks are the next level in facemask comfort and functionality.  They work great for protecting your face all day without fogging your glasses or goggles, and allow you to breathe freely no matter how hard you get after it.  Transformable to be warm in the winter and cool in the summer!  UPF of 25+ There are four series of mesh tube facemasks – Artist Series, Connect Series, National Park Series and the Flag Series. Below is one example from each series. Check out the website for a full line.

The Stormfleece Facemasks – Snowboarding and Skiing Facemasks. The AVALON7 StormFleece Facemasks are built for the coldest days where you need extra protection from the cold and wind.  These are our warmest facemasks, built from our FX7 bonded fleece fabric, which is smooth on the outside and soft and fuzzy on the inside.  UPF of 50+.

The Fleece Neck Gaiters – AVALON7 Standard Fleece Neck Gaiters are warm and comfy, and area a great universally loved style. Our classic fleece pile neck gaiter will keep you warm and cozy this winter with an extra soft inner layer of fur fleece.

The Tie-On Mesh Bandanas – AVALON7 Bandarils are the most breathable mesh bandanas on the planet- perfect for snowboarding, skiing, fly fishing, biking and hiking! They are made out of our innovative X7 MeshTek polyester mesh fabric, which is warm, breathable and fast drying.  This tie in the back style bandana is extra big and is great for touring.

The Balaclavas – AVALON7 balaclavas are a team rider favorite.  They are made from our super comfortable Stretchsoft fabric, and are perfect for keeping your whole head warm and dry on deep powder days.  The face hole is intentionally left without stitching so that it is ultra comfortable under your goggles, and allows for extra stretch if you want to wear the balaclava upside-down as a regular tube. Layer one underneath one of our Mesh Tubes, and you have the A7 Powerslayer System, which optimizes breathability and comfort, allowing you to freely rotate the Mesh Tube when it gets wet while keeping your balaclava underlayer nice and dry.

The Powerslayer Facemask Combo System – The AVALON7 PowSlayer Facemask System is a revolution in facemask technology.  By combining our innovative Mesh Tube facemasks with our lightweight Balaclavas, you have a versatile, transformable system of layered face protection that you can adapt to any condition.  With the combo you get a standard balaclava and a standard mesh facemask.

So there you have a brief list of the Facemasks that Rob and AVALON7 offer. Check out their website for far more color and pattern options as well as all the other products they offer outside of Facemasks.

Oh…. and lastly.. This is a really cool thing that needs to be added . Not only does Rob have a cool vision, mindset and passion for what he is doing.. He is also giving back. Check out what he has going on with the giving side of the business.

A portion of proceeds from the sale of this product goes to our non-profit partner The FUTUREPOSITIV Project 501c3 to help kids activate in the outdoors through snowboarding.   www.futurepositiv.org

1% is also donated to 1% for the Tetons,  to help fund sustainable projects in Jackson Hole. www.onepercentforthetetons.com

Check out AVALON7 and Rob’s website at https://avalon7.com/

When You Just Don’t Need Full Chest Waders You Reach For Your Trusty Wading Pants – The Scoop On 11 Good Options

There are times when you are out on the river or stream and it’s either too warm outside, shallow water (but still cold), slow moving water or a multitude of other conditions that don’t require you to wear full chest waders. At this point you can either decide to wet wade but if the water is too cold just reach for your trusty waist high wading pants instead. In my experience wading pants are more comfortable than chest waders and far easier to get in and out of especially when nature calls but they have a very specific time they are needed. Today we are going to look at eleven pair of wading pants or as some call them waist high waders. So.. here we go.

Patagonia Gunnison Gorge Wading Pants – $299.00

If you haven’t heard of Patagonia and you fly fish there’s something wrong. Patagonia produces some of the finest quality gear known to man and does it in an environmentally conscious way. As they state on their website – “We promote fair labor practices, safe working conditions and environmental responsibility throughout the Patagonia supply chain.” For some this means a lot and why Patagonia is a fan favorite in the outdoor and fly fishing arena.

When looking at the Patagonia Gunnison Gorge wading Pants it doesn’t take long to see that the attention to detail and quality are one of the best in the business. They are just a solid and well made pair of wading pants. Below are the features listed on the Patagonia page.

Features

  • H2No® Performance Standard polyester microfiber shell with proprietary waterproof/breathable barrier and a DWR (durable water repellent) finish
  • Innovative SSC (single-seam construction) seaming eliminates seams from highest-wear points on inside of legs
  • Self-fabric belt loops; full elastic belt; interior center-back hanger loop for easy drying
  • Side gusset for easy on/off and a clean, tailored fit at the waist
  • Articulated legs
  • Anatomical left and right booties have lower volume and a more sock-like fit; resilient 4mm neoprene resists compaction for greater durability
  • Streamlined flat-panel gravel guards drain water faster and are more resistant to abrasion and wear
  • 887 g (31.3 oz)

The Gunnison come in a multitude of sizes so they should have something that should fit every body shape known to man.

Regular comes in XS / S / M / LM / L / XL / XXL / XLM

Short comes in XS / S / M / LM / XL / XLM

Color is Feather Grey and if you don’t like Feather Grey you are out of luck! This is a solid choice for a pair of wading pants. At $300 they are a little pricey but with Patagonia you know what you are getting and that’s amazing quality and manufactured in an environmentally responsible way. You can’t go wrong with Patagonia.

SIMMS G3 Guide Wading Pants – $499.95 & Freestone Wading Pants – $249.95

Next up is another top name in the business, SIMMS. Once again if you are a fly fisherman or fisherwoman and you haven’t heard of SIMMS please put your hands in front of you, push the rock out of the way and climb out from under it. Yes you are living under a rock. SIMMS is one of the most respected names in fly fishing and rightfully so. SIMMS produces amazing products and their quality is right up there with the likes of Patagonia and other high end manufacturers. Some would say they are at the top in the business.

Just like the Patagonia Gunnison the SIMMS G3 Guide Wading Pants are remarkably built to say the least and should be with a price tag that far exceeds any other wading pants we are going to look at today – $500. OUCH!! But you get what you pay for. Now are the G3 $200 better than the Gunnison put out by Patagonia? Maybe but you will have to take a look at both and decide. I have talked to a lot of people that swear by the G3 line put out by SIMMS and they describe both the wading pants and chest waders as fantastic, best ever, remarkable, durable and highly recommended. So I guess they are doing something right and they can demand the $500 price tag for these. Below are a few of the points SIMMS lists about their G3 Guide Pants.

  • Durable, breathable, & comfortable 4-layer GORE-TEX® Pro Shell upper & lower
  • Double snap closure with TIZIP® waterproof fly zipper
  • Built-in low-profile belt loops with 2 in. stretch wading belt included
  • Patented front & back leg seams deliver articulated fit, improved mobility & increased durability
  • Patented abrasion-resistant built-in Gravel Guards with boot hooks
  • Anatomically engineered neoprene stockingfeet with anti-microbial finish

Multiple sizes are available with in the G3

Regular – Small / S King / Medium / M King / Large / L King / XL / XL King / XXL

Short – Medium / Large

Long – Medium / LG 9-11 / XL

SIMMS also has a huge sizing chart on their website to make sure you get the exact size you need.

And for those that don’t have $500 to throw at a pair of wading pants SIMMS was nice enough to offer the rest of us another less expensive option. The SIMMS Freestone Wading Pants. The Freestone option is priced at $249.95 which is half of the G3 model but the quality and attention to detail is still outstanding. The size offering is much smaller than the G3 as well.

Sizes available – Small / Medium / Large 9-11 Foot / XL / 2XL

But.. when coming in at half of their other wading pant offering you probably can’t expect a huge range of sizes. You get what you get. Once again these are still SIMMS wading pants and are also better quality than most of the wading pants in this review so feel confident if purchasing these that you are getting a great quality wading pant from one of the top names in the business.

DRYFT Session Wading Pants – $239.00 & Session Lite Wading Pants – $199.00

In walks DRYFT.. A company that has an edge and doesn’t have your grandfather’s stuffy fly fishing type of feel. These people are putting out some great gear and clothing but with a little attitude. I love their stuff and so do a lot of other people and it doesn’t take long to see why. They are truly making a big splash in the fly fishing world – no pun intended. If you look at the pics of the DRYFT Session Wading Pants they just look different. And for that matter look at any of their gear… it’s just got a different look and feel. It’s just fun stuff. They are hip, have a splash of color unlike the others we have talked about and seem to be targeting a different type of audience. For me, I love it and these pants look absolutely great. I have seen them up close and they are made just as well as the high end names with a price tag below anything they are putting out. Now… Have I tried them on – No / Do I want a pair? – HECK YES.. Check out their website and just watch the video about the pants and you will see what I’m talking about.. A totally different feel to this company. I love it!

Up first is the Session Wading Pants

Features

– Quality 100% waterproof high-grade breathable 5 layer DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coated fabric technology.

– Durable full five-layer fabric construction including legs, knees and seat.

– Single vertical seam design on the outside of the legs eliminates abrasion from walking.

– Includes a black adjustable semi-stretch Comfortflex™ Wading belt with a Duraflex® buckle for safe and secure wading.

– Multiple belt loops

– Inside flip-out zippered pocket.

– Outer pocket with Hyper Green YKK® water resistant zipper.

– Rubber DRYFT tread on soles.

– NoLeak™ taped seams for ultimate protection against leaks.

– DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating.

– High density 4.0MM ergonomically shaped neoprene sock feet.

– YKK® Water Resistant Zippers.

– Gravel guards with boot lace hook and outer gravel guard cover for extra durability and aesthetics.

– Mesh carrying bag.

– Imported.

– Backed by the DRYFT warranty.

Sizes – Small / Medium / Medium-Long / Large-Short / Large / Large-Long / XL-Short / X-Large / 2XL

Next up – Session Lite Wading Pants

Grabbed this from the DRYFT website – Based on the popular Session wading pants the new lightweight Session Lite wading pants are your new go-to option for your next quick and dirty fishing mission. The DRYFT Session Lite wading pant features lightweight breathable three-layer 100% waterproof and DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coated nylon fabric, a minimalist design and the style to take you a notch above the rest.

From what I can tell the difference between the Session and the Session Lite is the Lite is a 3 season (Spring, Summer and Fall) wading pant and is made from 100% waterproof high-grade breathable 3 layer nylon DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coated fabric technology while the Session Wading Pants are made from 5 layer fabric making them more of a 4 season wading pant. Either way you go you win.. it just depends on what kind of temperatures you will be wading.

If you want a wading pant from a company that has a little edge to them, look no further than DRYFT. Great pant and great quality. BOOM!

I have spent an extensive amount of time on the DRYFT website and these folk are just plain different than what you have seen before. It’s just little things like a video of someone fishing in a werewolf mask to a wader pic and you can see a can of Coors Light stuffed in a pocket.. and what really sums it up for me is this line describing a jacket – “If Chuck Norris was a fishing jacket, this would be it.” – Get you some DRYFT…….. Mic Drop….

We now start our trek down the wading pant path of the less expensive pants but still good quality. Let’s be honest.. the amount of time you use wading pants is dependant on if you fish small water most of the time or in a warmer climate. If that’s the case grab a pair of the high end pants… but if you are only going to use them a small amount of the time you may not be able to justify the cost of some of the high end offerings. If you are in that boat these next few options might be for you.

Redington Escape Wading Pants – $169.99

I have seen these wading pants in person just like all the others in the review but I haven’t worn them. They are a good pant but definitely not at the level of the others listed previously. Redington is a good name in the fly fishing world and they put out good quality products but they tend to steer more toward the average person and not try to go after the high end stuff like other brands. Once again these are good quality pants and will serve you well.

Product Features

  • 4-layer waterproof breathable material for mobility and durability
  • Ergonomic 3mm neoprene booties for comfort and increased puncture resistance
  • Hip Pockets for storing smaller items
  • Adjustable hook and loop waist belt for a comfortable, fine-tuned fit
  • Integrated gravel guards with lace hook

Sizes – Medium / Large / X-Large / 2 X-Large

Compass360 Point Guide Waist High Wader – $169.95 & Deadfall Breathable Stft Guide Pant – $99.95

Up first is the Point Guide Waist High Wader. These are once again a lower price point than the higher end brands we have shown earlier but not a bad option like the Redington for those that first don’t want to spend $500 on wading pants or will be using them a limited amount of time.

From the Compass360 wesbite – The Point Guide 2 Waist High pant wader by Compass 360 is the top of the line waist high offered by Compass 360. Built with a tough 4-ply nylon upper and a 6-ply reinforced full wrap lower legs the Point Guide 2 is unstoppable. The 6-ply nylon reinforced lower offers a butt pad along with a single seam crotch to eliminate seam chafe. This Stockingfoot Breathable waist high competes with other pant waders at twice the price. Guaranteed 100% waterproof, made in South Korea, the Point Guide 2 Waist High is a must have for any angler who doesn’t need a full chest wader. The Compass 360 warranty and repair program gives you the peace of mind that you are covered.

Features

  • Guaranteed 100% Waterproof and Breathable
  • Dual zippered waist high pockets
  • 6-Ply nylon lower leg and butt reinforcement
  • Full wrap legs with single seam crotch
  • Durable webbing wader belt with wide belt loops
  • Attached Duraspan nylon gravel guards w/ no rust lace hook
  • Foot fit ergonomic double taped, 4mm neoprene booties
  • Comes with Compass 360, 1 year warranty and repair program

Sizes – Small / Medium / Large / X-Large / XX-Large

Second option from Compass360 is the $99.95 option – Deadfall Breathable Stft Guide Pant . I haven’t seen these in person but the reviews are mixed. Some like them and some don’t. But at $100 you probably get what you pay for. They aren’t going to be incredible quality but as long as they don’t leak they are a good option for some.

From their website – The DEADFALL Breathable Guide Pant is one of the most tried and true, classically functional pant waders in the market today. Constructed with tough, durable 4-ply nylon, The DEADFALL offers outstanding performance at a terrific Value.

  • Attached 4ply nylon Gravel guards
  • Foot Fit, double taped, 4mm, 100% Chloroprene booties
  • Fully adjustable & durable web wading belt w/quick release buckle
  • Comfort fitting Elastic back

Sizes – Not sure exactly what the full size offering is but their website shows Small and X-Large. I’m sure those are the only sizes available as that wouldn’t hit a large number of people. But.. I’m not sure at this point.

Adamsbuilt Green River Waist Wader – $289.95

I have to be honest.. I have never heard of this wading pant but ran across it when I was looking at different wading pant options. So.. I decided to add it. It’s a fairly expensive option coming in just under $300 but the reviews are all 5 star not only on the Adamsbuilt website but everywhere I looked. They must be built pretty well so here you go for another higher end model. But being that I haven’t actually seen these in person I can’t say much about them outside of what is on the website. I would urge you to consider this wading pant strictly from all the reviews I have read. They are outstanding to say the least.

From the Adamsbuilt website

Ultra-Premium Micro fiber Material
• Pore-Techtm Mil-Spec. Breathable
  Membrane
• Dupont Teflon DWR And Ultra-fresh
  Anti-Microbial Treatment
• Inside Stitching For Added Strength
  And Durability
• Five Layer Reinforced Lower Section
  with ergonomic front seam for
  increased durability
• Front pockets with water resistant
  zippers (not waterproof)
• Quick-Release Belt
• Attached 3.5mm Neoprene Gravel
  Guards with Lace Hook
• 4mm Neoprene Booties with
  Ergonomic Right and Left Feet
• Available In Standard Sizes XS
  Through XL

Frogg Toggs Pilot II Stockingfoot Breathable Guide Pants – $179.99 & Hellbender Stockingfoot Breathable Guide Pant – $139.99

And last but not least.. The two options put out by the popular Frogg Toggs brand.

First up is the $179.99 option – The Pilot II Stockingfoot Breathable Guide Pants. A good mid-market option like some of the other offerings we have gone over already. These are in line with the Redington on quality in my opinion. I have seen these up close and they are a good pant to use out on the water. Are they a Patagonia or a SIMMS – No.. but you are also not paying the price tag of those two brands. Do they work well – absolutely. So once again confidence that these wading pants will do whatever you need and do it just fine.

Details

• Single-seam straddle design reduces wear
• 4-ply nylon upper with reinforced knees and legs
• Zippered waist pockets
• Adjustable belt with daisy-chain accessory loops
• Attached gravel guards with non-slip elastic openings and lace hooks

Sizes – Per the Frogg Toggs website – Medium / Large / X-Large / XX-Large – I’m sure there is a Small option but not listed on the available sizes.

Second option from Frogg Toggs is the Hellbender™ Stockingfoot Breathable Guide Pant. This is a decent option although I have read mixed reviews. Some say they are good and some say average at best. Do your research and make your decision. At a difference of only $40 between their two models it may not be a horrible decision to go with the Pilot II as the reviews are much better.

From the website:

• 4-ply nylon upper
• Adjustable wading belt
• Attached gravel guards with no-slip grips and integral lace hook
• 4 mm double-taped neoprene booties

Sizes listed on Frogg Toggs website – Small / Medium / X-Large / XX-Large – Once again one size is missing (Large) and there is no way they don’t produce a Large so those must be the sizes available at the time this was written.

That’s it.. Are there other options out there – Yes so do your homework and make sure you are purchasing what suits your needs best. Whether it is a $500 pair of SIMMS G3 wading pants or a more economical option like the Redington or Frogg Toggs I am sure you will get something that works great for you. Don’t overthink it and get out and do some fishing!

Hestra Gloves and Mittens – Quality Since 1936

Hestra Wakayama Gloves & Mittens – $150 (Gloves) $170 (Mittens)

Yes I know most of you haven’t worn mittens since your mother bundled you up to go play out in the snow at the ripe old age of 6 but did you know mittens are actually warmer than gloves with separated fingers?

When looking at gloves or mittens you need to take into account a few things. Do you like the feel of gloves or mittens? What activity are you going to be doing and is there a level of dexterity required? When you answer those questions now it’s just preference. Since the beginning there have been gloves folk and mittens folk arguing which are better in the way of warmth. Glove people say each finger generates heat and stays warm while mitten folk say the fingers when kept together are able to generate and retain more heat when they are kept together – the later also happens to be the conclusion of experts as well. Sorry glove people. So figure out what you like and for what activity and then go get a pair of Hestra Wakayama Gloves or Mittens.

As a person who is outside in the fall and winter a good amount I tend to like warm hands. Who doesn’t…. so when I read about Hestra gloves I started my research and decided I wanted to check them out. Sadly there isn’t a retailer in my hometown and spending $150+ on a pair of gloves or mittens isn’t something I’m doing over the internet. So I’ve waited. This week I’m in Santa Fe, NM and while shopping in the various stores in The Plaza area I walk into a store and what do I see?? A small rack of Hestra gloves and mittens. When I say small it was about 6 pair… I immediately pray that they have my size but they didn’t. Either too small or too big. But.. the one pair of Wakayama gloves they had were too big so I could at least put them on and see what they were all about.

Now let’s talk about the gloves. First they are incredibly high quality. The leather is made entirely of impregnated cowhide and it’s incredibly soft. Like smooth butter!! The lining or insulating is G-Loft polyester and it’s crazy warm. They also have a removable wool terry lining which is nice. In summary these things are Amazing and I definitely need a pair. They truly are amazing.

Now that you are interested and might want a pair – You have to ask yourself…. Are you a Glove or Mitten person??

Hestra has been producing gloves and mittens since 1936 so they probably have a decent idea what they are doing. Check out their website at the link below and also their Facebook page at Hestra Gloves.

https://hestragloves.com/