Gear Review: Brooks PureGrit Trail Running Shoe – Part 2

When I got my PureGrit Trail Runners I started a 3-part review of the shoes.  In Part 1, I laid out the specs and tech on the shoes and my out-of-box impressions.  For this part, I will describe the time, distance and conditions I’ve worn and tested the shoes along with some basic reactions to the performance.  I will write a more in-depth analysis of the performance of the shoe in Part 3.

PureProject – PureGrit Trail Runner

Part 2

These shoes were purchased specifically with trail running in mind.  I really like my Brooks Cascadia trail shoes and I was using them for both hiking, trail running and occasionally street running.  I wanted something lighter and more specifically design with trail running in mind.  When Brooks came out with their PureProject line I was very excited to get my hands on the PureGrit and get more serious about trail running.

Since I got the shoe’s in late January, I have put over 30 miles of trail running on them.  I also started using them for my street runs to see if I could tell if there was a performance difference on pavement (also, I was growing to like them and wanted to wear them more).

The trails out here in Arizona are very hard on footwear.  The Sonoran Desert is littered with jagged, rough terrain and mean, prickly cacti that usually equates to a short life for shoes.  The main trails I’ve been running are the Main Loop at Thunderbird Recreation Area (3.6m loop) and the trail system behind North Mountain (Shaw Butte and Trail 100).  The terrain in both locations is a combination of loose rock, rugged exposed bedrock and sandy washes.

The PureGrit outsole has proven to be incredibly tough against these conditions.  It’s thin, so you can still feel the ground even through the padded mid-sole but I like to have a sense of what’s under me when I’m running.  The unique tread design on the PureGrit is amazingly functional.  It really grabs the trail for traction when pushing forward or climbing uphill.  The impressive part was how effective the reverse tread at the heal of the shoe allows control on the downhill.  I have never once felt as though my footing was compromised in these shoes.  The durability of the outsole is also commendable.  With over 60 miles on varying terrain, I have seen no real wear and barely any scuffing of the tread.  The open tread design also means it doesn’t pick up small pebbles and rock as you run.

The outsole design has two specific features that are part of what makes these shoes unique.  According to Brooks, the Toe Flex (a split in the outsole to isolate the movement of the big toe) and the Ideal Heel (designed to shift your stride forward) are key features of the PureGrit that allow for greater stability, control and better form.  I really have not noticed much benefit from the Toe Flex feature.  I’ve even been wearing toesocks with my PureGrit runners in the hopes that it would allow me to feel more of the intended effect of the Toe Flex feature, but I don’t notice it.  The Ideal Heel design, however, does seem to have altered the mechanics of my stride.  I do feel a difference when wearing these as compared to my other running shoes.

The midsole was one of the pieces that worried me when I initially looked at these shoes.  It’s soft, allowing for fantastic comfort, but I didn’t expect it to hold up to trail conditions all that well.  Luckily, I underestimated the durability of the material.  It’s got a couple of scratches and stains, but otherwise has held up perfectly and has yet to let me down.PureGrit upper...

The main body of the shoe is so super light-weight that I expected to have some problems with it.  I had a pair of Nike running shoes a few years ago with an ultra-light material upper and it began to fall apart after only a few runs.  The upper of the PureProject shoes is remarkably resilient.  It conforms to my foot amazingly well and yet, somehow has really done well against the elements.  The outer material is a mesh, which I feared would let dust and fine sand in to the shoe and create problems in the footbed during runs.  Even running on very dusty trails and through sandy washes, I did not have any issues with small particles finding their way in to the shoe.

The cut of the upper is very low, offering no protection or support for your ankles.  On a trail shoe, this can be a little dangerous.  However, I have never felt unstable or uncomfortable running in these.  Other than my ankles feeling sore and fatigued afterward (something I attribute to my running mechanics rather than the shoe), I really have not had any trouble due to the lack of ankle support.

PureProject PureGrit from Brooks on the trail...

Spring in to Adventure: SEA-TO-SUMMIT Week…

It’s time for another Spring in to Adventure Giveaway!  This week is SEA-TO-SUMMIT Week because almost the entire prize package is awesome gear from Sea to Summit!  You can’t go wrong!  Check out the awesome list of what’s included in the prize package below.

Spring in to Adventure Giveaway Logo - Cold Week

As you know, for the last couple months Wilderness Dave along with: My Life OutdoorsThe Outdoor AdventureA Little CampyHiking the Trail and Trail Sherpa have been working together with a whole bunch of popular outdoor companies to bring you guys more than a month of giveaways.

Just like last week we are offering you tons of ways to earn extra entries and if you entered last week you know how easy it is!

As a reminder, here’s what’s up for grabs:

Grand Prize:

Sea To Summit Ultra-Mesh Stuff Sack
Sea To Summit Ultra-Sil View Dry Sack
Sea To Summit Ultra-Sil Sink
Sea To Summit Ultra-Sil Bucket
Beyond Coastal Travel Kit
Buff USA Merino Wool Buff
Alpine Aire Food Kit

Second Place Prize:

Sea To Summit Ultra Nano Dry Sack

[Read more...]

Spring in to Adventure: SURVIVAL Week…

**SURVIVAL Week winners have been posted**

The Spring in to Adventure Giveaway is still going!  This week is SURVIVAL Week and we have included a whole pile of stuff to keep you save and alive in the outdoors.  Adventure Medical Kits is setting you up with one of their Medical Kits, a Survival Kit and an Emergency Bivy!  Beyond Coastal is supplying another one of their awesome Travel Kits so you can survive the brutal sun. Alpine Aire has a pile of backpacking meals.  And if the threat goes beyond that we’ve got a Gerber “Bear Grills” Survival Parang!  If you can’t survive in the wild with this stuff, maybe you should just stay home!

Spring in to Adventure Giveaway Logo - Cold Week

As you know, for the last couple months Wilderness Dave along with: My Life OutdoorsThe Outdoor AdventureA Little CampyHiking the Trail and Trail Sherpa have been working together with a whole bunch of popular outdoor companies to bring you guys more than a month of giveaways.

This week is SURVIVAL Week and two lucky People will proudly walk away with some seriously EPIC Outdoor gear.  Just ask our two lucky winners last week, they’ll tell ya!  So get your entries in early!  Just like last week we are offering you tons of ways to earn extra entries and if you entered last week you know how easy it is!

As a reminder, here’s what’s up for grabs:

Grand Prize:

Adventure Medical Kit Ultralight Watertight 0.7 oz Med Kit
Adventure Medical Kit Origin Survival Kit
Adventure Medical Kit Escape Bivy
Gerber BG Survival Parang
Beyond Coastal Travel Kit
Buff USA Merino Wool Buff
Innate Storage Sack

Second Place Prize:

Survival Strap

[Read more...]

Beach Camping in Galveston: A Happy Disaster…

 

“…But, it’s so small.”

I had barely pulled it out.  We hadn’t even had a chance to get it up yet.

“Is it supposed to be this small?  It doesn’t look like it’s going to be big enough.”

Talk about a bad way to start what is supposed to be a fun, romantic Valentine’s Weekend trip.  Merelyn had to work on Valentine’s Day so we had planned to go camping on the beach near Galveston the weekend before Valentine’s Day.  I had grabbed a few things from home and brought them to Texas for the trip.  She’s moved around so much the last few years that she didn’t really know where any of her camping gear actually was.

Preparing for the trip back in Phoenix, I had gone through my shelves of gear and looked for stuff I could take to Texas and, potentially, leave there for future use.  I knew we needed a stove, so I grabbed my spare JetBoil and packed it.  I also grabbed a small, unused tent from the bottom shelf and tossed it in the box with some other assorted items (including her new backpack and hydration system).

This is where the problems started (entirely MY fault).  I don’t know where this tent came from.  It has been sitting on the bottom shelf of my gear storage for years.  I’m not even exactly sure how long it’s been there.  I figured this made it the perfect candidate for a take-and-leave tent for a simple beach camping trip.  Also, for some reason, I never opened up my JetBoil before packing it.  I’m not sure what I was thinking.

The plan was to bring some basics out to the beach, build a fire and cook a nice dinner.  We were looking forward to enjoying a beautiful quiet sunset together and an evening under a big Texas night sky.  We would spend our Valentine’s Trip comfortably curled up together near the fire enjoying a quiet night alone.

The plan began unraveling early when I realized the JetBoil I brought was just the container…no stove.  And, apparently, you can’t buy  “just the stove” part of a JetBoil from retailers.  So our pre-trip trip to REI ended with us buying the Pocket Stove and a Kettle so we could actually have hot water.  Further complicating things is that neither one of us had a sleeping bag.  I didn’t bring one because I had expected she would have one we could share as a blanket.  Instead, we had to pack a bunch of blankets in hopes that it wouldn’t get too cold.  We still pushed forward with our plan, we made some food, brought some basic supplies and packed the car for an overnight trip.  Even with these stumbling blocks, we were still excited.

Merelyn on the beach...We got a late start the morning we left.  REI took longer than expected which pushed us even later.  Then traffic was stalled on the freeway due to a semi-truck getting itself wedged into the overpass (seriously, he was pinned between the upper and lower decks of the interchange!).  By the time we got to Galveston we were starving.  It was the weekend before Mardi-Gras and Galveston was buzzing with festivities.  Finding lunch and getting through Galveston took longer than expected and by the time we got to a piece of beach we could camp on it was almost sunset.

Not only was darkness approaching fast but it was windy…..damn windy.  Stupid windy.  Let’s-go-home-because-this-is-going-to-suck windy.

Pushing headlong into disaster, we found a place to park (you can drive and park on the beaches in Texas….weird), unpacked our stuff and as Merelyn bundled up and set off to capture some last minute pictures of the sunset I set to work building a fire.  Then we set up the tent…

“Why is it so small?  Are we both supposed to fit in that?”

WTF is this??  What the hell kind of second-rate, miniature, child-sized tent did I bring?  This was supposed to be a 3-person tent!  But unless your names were Grumpy, Dopey and Doc there was no way you’re squeezing 3 people into that tiny bubble of a tent!

“Is the air mattress even going to fit in that?”

Nope.  There’s no way in HELL the queen sized, inflatable mattress we brought is going to fit in that.  But I guess that won’t matter much since we also never charged the pump to blow up the air mattress!  So even when we crammed it into the tent, it got about half-full before the pump gave out.

We did our best with it though.  As I worked on building a solid fire, dug into the sand with a high wind-break around it, Merelyn built us a nest in the tiny little Hobbit-tent.  We folded the air mattress over on itself so even half-full it still gave us some cushion.  We piled sheets, blankets and extra clothing on top to give us as much insulation as we could muster.  Then we unpacked our food and cooked dinner as we sat in front of the fire.

Even with all our challenges, we were still in pretty good spirits and taking it all in good humor.  We had a fantastic dinner of fire-roasted vegetables and grilled-cheese sandwiches (see the post about the cooking iron).  Even as the wind picked up we ate, drank, laughed and had a great time together.

That night turned out to be a record mid-February low for Galveston.  Winds gusted up to 50 MPH.  Even using the car as a wind-break we still felt our miniscule shelter being buffeted about by the howling winds.  We slept off-and-on finding it difficult to get any real sleep in the wind and the cold.

But all of it – the record cold, the lack of blankets, the under-filled mattress, the ridiculously inadequate square-footage of the tent – in the end, added up to this: I got to spend my Valentine’s Trip outdoors, with my Dream Girl curled up in my arms next to me.  That (and some fantastic grilled-cheese) made this an amazing trip I will always remember.

Sunset at Galveston Beach Texas...

Spring in to Adventure Giveaway: COLD Week…

**COLD Week winners have been posted**

I don’t know about you guys but it’s getting WARM around here!  For those of you are still trying to thaw out, the first week of the Spring in to Adventure Giveaway is COLD Week!  From Sole Spikes, to Merino Wool base layers, to Sun Screen we have all you need to battle the Spring sun in those ice-covered mountains!

Spring in to Adventure Giveaway Logo - Cold Week

As you know, for the last couple months Wilderness Dave along with: My Life Outdoors, The Outdoor Adventure, A Little Campy, Hiking the Trail and Trail Sherpa have been working together with a whole bunch of popular outdoor companies to bring you guys more than a month of giveaways.

This week is COLD Week and two lucky People will proudly walk away with some EPIC Outdoor gear.  And the rest of you?  Well, you’ll just be more excited to win the next week’s Gear Giveaway!

As a reminder, here’s what’s up for grabs:

Grand Prize:

 Second Place Prize:

[Read more...]

Sunrise at Lake Pleasant…

image of sunrise at Lake Pleasant

South Lake Tahoe: Wedding Planning…

“We’re getting married here.”

These are the words my beautiful fiancé whispered in my ear as I held her in my arms on the grassy hill overlooking Regan Beach.  We have researched for months trying to find a location for our wedding ceremony.  Tahoe is a beautiful place, but finding just the right location for our wedding had proved difficult.  We had originally settled on a beach location just outside our reception venue, but once we physically visited the beach we were concerned about too many problems and the search continued.

Other decisions were easier and our trip last week was mainly to see if we had made the right decisions.  I think we did well.  We had found 968 Park Hotel online.  The hotel is a renovation of an older establishment.  The new owners had a vision of creating the first Eco-Hotel in South Lake Tahoe.  The new “Green” Hotel was created with the environment in mind.

“Since day one of the renovation every effort was made to reduce, re-use and recycle as much of the existing materials as possible.  Any materials and furnishings that could not be reused were either donated or recycled for other purposes and the new materials used in the renovation were specifically chosen for their sustainability.”

Lobby of the 968 Park Hotel

Lobby and Bar at 968 Park Hotel

We both fell in love with the concept of the hotel immediately.  But concept and practice are two different things.  We made reservations to stay at 968 Park Hotel on this trip to make sure the hotel would fit our needs to house our guests for the wedding.  There were a few minor issues, not much different than you’d find in any busy hotel (it was the weekend after the biggest snow of the year and they were packed).  We had rooms for us and our parents, and the general consensus was that the hotel would fit our needs nicely.  We had a great stay and we highly recommend them if you are in the area.  Even if you don’t stay there, stop in to the little bar for Happy Hour and just check the place out.

The other easy decision was the venue for the Rehearsal Dinner.  Almost every time we visited Lake Tahoe we would be in Tahoe City on the north side of the lake.  Our favorite spot on the north side is Rosie’s Cafe.  Rosie’s is fantastic and a perfect little local restaurant.  When we got engaged, they worked with me to set up a special dinner for Merelyn and they even brought us Champagne, on the house, and insisted on serving us cake for Merelyn’s birthday.  It’s a great little place with TONS of personality and we wanted to share it with our friends and family.  So we had breakfast at Rosie’s and met with the manager, Deanne, who cheerfully talked to us about how easy and fun it would be to have our rehearsal dinner there.  It’s the only part of our wedding that will not be in South Lake, but it’s well worth the drive.

We were also in town for the important business of settling on our reception venue.  More than anything else, this had us worried because these places book up FAST in Tahoe and we had chosen our venue without ever having visited them.  We were worried about the decor, the space, the food…

interior of Riva Room at Riva Grill

Interior at Riva Grill Event Room...

Riva Grill sits at Ski Run Marina right on the beach in South Lake Tahoe just behind the dock for the famous Tahoe Queen paddle boat.  We loved the beach front location and it’s only about a mile away from the hotel, an easy walk.  Sunday afternoon we stopped in with our parents in tow to have lunch and meet with the event coordinator there.  We all made sure to order something different off the menu so we could get a good picture of the quality of the food.  The food was amazing!  Their Conchiglie Pasta was fantastic and you can have it with grilled vegetables instead of chicken (for the vegetarians!)  They will also do a vegetarian Risotto (rich, creamy and delicious).  The food turned out to be incredibly good and once we got a look upstairs at the room reserved for our event, we were sold.  It’s a beautiful space, and there is tons of room.  The entire wall facing the lake is glass and the glass doors open to a narrow balcony overlooking the beach.  Their event coordinator, Amanda, was very friendly and helpful.

But we still needed a place for the ceremony.  Our contact at 968 Park Hotel, Cristina, listened to our dilemma one afternoon and recommended we look at Regan Beach.  We separated from our parents after lunch the next day and decided to swing by and take a look.  The beach looked ok, parking was sufficient, it wasn’t ideal…but better than the beach in front of Riva.  Then as we started to drive away we saw a small posting about a wedding.  The small hill above the beach, lined with trees and overlooking the lake, must be the spot.  We kicked below the icy snow and discovered grass and a small brick patio in the middle of the space.  With our imagination we shook off the cold of winter and could see the space as it would look in Ooctober…the trees full and green, maybe just starting to turn color…the grass and shrubs green and full and the beautiful blue lake in the background of it all.

view of Lake Tahoe from Regan Beach

We brought our parents back to show them and get their opinions. But as we stood there in the middle of the snow-covered knoll, we knew this was the place.  Merelyn reached out and grabbed my hands, and whispered, “We’re getting married here…” and I knew by the smile on her face that she was right.

We fell in love in Tahoe…we fell in love with Tahoe…and we can’t wait to start our lives together in Tahoe.

GEAR: Spring in to Adventure Giveaway…

Hiking and backpacking season is pretty much year-round down here in Arizona.  For the rest of the world, however, Spring kicks-off hiking season.  The groggy outdoor-enthusiasts wake from their Winter hibernation, put the skis and snowboards away, shed the layers and head out into the sun!  We are here to help get you outside in style!  Wilderness Dave wants to see you guys enjoying the outdoors with some awesome new gear, so we’ve teamed up with five other outdoor blogs to bring you one epic giveaway!

Spring in to Adventure logo

MyLifeOutdoors.com, HikingtheTrail.com, TrailSherpa.com, WildernessDave.com, TheOutdoorAdventure.net, and ALittleCampy.com have teamed up to give you the Spring into Adventure Gear Giveaway!

Starting March 15th we will begin five weeks of giveaways with 10 individual winners, and over 35 pieces gear from companies like Yaktrax, Beyond Coastal, Alpine Aire, Sole Spikes, Gerber and many more!  During the week we will introduce you to the gear being given away through a series of gear reviews and brand highlights featuring our event sponsors.  At the end of each week we will draw a First Place winner, as well as a Second Place winner.

Each week, you will have a full seven days to enter in multiple ways for your chance to win some of this epic gear.

The giveaways…

March 15: COLD Week

First Place Prize Pack: (Winner posted)

  • Polarmax Baselayers
  • Minus 33 Balaclava
  • Yaktraks
  • Beyond Coastal Travel Kit
  • Alpine Aire Food Kit

Second Place Prize: (Winner Posted)

  • Sole Spikes

 

March 22: SURVIVAL Week

First Place Prize Pack:

  • Adventure Medical Kit Ultralight Watertight 0.7 oz Med Kit
  • Adventure Medical Kit Origin Survival Kit
  • Adventure Medical Kit Escape Bivy
  • Gerber BG Survival Parang
  • Beyond Coastal Travel Kit
  • Buff USA Merino Wool Buff
  • Innate Storage Sack

Second Place Prize:

  • Survival Strap

March 29: Sea To Summit Week:

First Place Prize Pack:

  • Sea To Summit Ultra-Mesh Stuff Sack
  • Sea To Summit Ultra-Sil View Dry Sack
  • Sea To Summit Ultra-Sil Sink
  • Sea To Summit Ultra-Sil Bucket
  • Beyond Coastal Travel Kit
  • Buff USA Merino Wool Buff
  • Alpine Aire Food Kit

Second Place Prize:

  • Sea To Summit Ultra Nano Dry Sack

April 5th: DIGITAL Week

First Place Prize Pack:

  • Sherpa Site
  • Yodel App
  • Stick Pic
  • Buff USA Merino Wool Buff

Second Place Prize:

  • Survival Strap

April 11th: BACKCOUNTRY Week

First Place Prize Pack:

Second Place Prize:

  • Alpine Aire Food Kit

 

This Epic Giveaway starts in SEVEN DAYS!!  So get ready to win some gear!