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Adventure Snowshoeing & Winter Hiking Gear Recommendations

 

    

                                                                                             Winter:                                                                 Late Fall:  XWick Expedition Series Gear                              Winter:  Prairie Snowstorm Series Gear
                
                                                          XWick Straight Neck Gaiter - Shown                              Drop Pad Neck Gaiter                                                               Stocking Hat & Mittens - Shown


Everyone marches to the beat of a different drummer and just as some are drawn to the crowds at the ski resort, others are drawn to the solitude of shoeshoeing or hiking in the woods, or on a quiet mountain top to get away from the noise of the rat race for awhile.  Some of our customers have full backpack in tow as they head out on their mountain top adventures on a Friday afternoon, usually only to be seen around the same time on Sunday afternoon when its time to head back to the noise of the big city.  Their weekend adventures are filled with strenuous exercise as they hike or snowshoe through the deep, fresh virgin powder and the workout is similiar to a polar cap trek, except the temperatures are usually more moderate and the distance covered and length of time for the adventure are much shorter.  However it offers peace and serenity nonetheless for whatever period of time that the adventure lasts.

Due to the high physical exertion ratio of Winter hiking/snowshoeing/camping, the participant is going to want gear that is going to actually work in changing conditions, especially when you are above the clouds at 10000 feet on a mountain top.  You need to have outdoor gear that is going to keep you warm and dry, has some regulation of body temperature and all of the time you should be demanding superior mositure vapor transfer from the gear items that you wear.  The reality in the market place is that most mittens fail the extended warmth and mositure wicking test irregardless of price point and moisture wicking and transfer amoungst the other "wearables" you have on, usually rates from poor to not quite satisfied.  Not so with our gear range.

The other unfortunate philosophy with many things that we purchase, is the assumption that the more we pay the better quality and performance standard the item is going to give us.  Particularly in Winter Gear, this is not true with a lot of brands of gear out on the market, however we will assure you that you will be pleasantly surprised with "all of the gear that we make and sell", as we build it and test it to make sure it works in the toughest of conditions before you ever see it!  But you must also understand that similar gear items within our product range vary in price and that's because they are built for different adventure applications with substantially different weather conditions.  So in a nut shell, you can be assured that even though you're not buying the most expensive gear item within a particular gear category because its more then what you need, you can feel 100% confident that the lower price point item is going to exceed your performance expectations and in most cases is going to be better then a competitors item selling for twice the price.  The safest way to get started with Technical Advantage Gear is to start with the purchase of just one item.  Buy it - Play with it - Punish it - Test it for yourself and we know that you "will come back for more".  As it is said....action(or actual performance) speaks louder then words.  Trust our gear because it will take care of you!

We have multiple configurations for hats, neck gaiters and mittens and certainly the final purchasing decision comes down to what you think is going to work best for you based on the information that we provide.  To get your thought process started however, we are going to recommend the three or four best gear items that we know are best suited for extreme adventure snowshoeing/hiking/Winter camping as follows:


..Prairie Snowstorm G2 Hardfaced Mitts - Recommended User Range to -30F (-34C)below zero - Thermal R-Value of Insulation R-6.55


New Product Release - Winter 2009-2010

 

We equalize the amount of total insulation on both the top and on the bottom sides of our mittens as pictured above, which insures that you are buying and using one of the only brands of mittens in the World that are built "correctly" & are actually built to work in keeping your hands warmer - longer!

 

The second generation ("G2")of our Prairie Snowstorm Mitts builds on the great successes that we had with the original version release and with some well defined re-engineering now sets a new standard in the global market place for cold weather mittens.  The "New" G2 Prairie Snowstorm Mitts are built with technically advanced abrasion resistant thermal windblocking, DWR water repellent, breathable outer shells - a modified 5 layer top & bottom total layering system that also provides a further enhancement for conductive heat loss, about another 8% to 10% additional benefit - an approximate 10% enhancement to the bend flexibility and an increase of approximately 14% to the total length of the mitt allowing it to ride higher up your jacket sleeve.  Of course you also gain some extra length in the fingertips and length of the thumb, which further accomodates more uses with different finger & thumb lengths.  The overall thermal R-value for insulation rating on the G2 mitts is an approximate R-6.55 which is down ever so slightly from the original Prairie Mitts we introduced a couple of years ago.  However, we feel the further enhancement made through a technical material change to one of the internal layers, for even better conductive heat loss protection still provides an exceptional overall warmth package for the end user and we've yet to find a competitive mitt at any price point that comes even close to our standards.

Our mittens will have a firmer feel to them due to the technical fabric and insulation system that they are built with on both the top & bottom sides, therefore they are not going to have the same level of  bend flexibility and compression mush characteristic as do most other brands of mitts.  If you understand the fact that there are twice as many sweat gland pores on the bottom side of your hand versus the top side, then you also understand that your hand is dissipating most of the heat and sweat on the bottom side and not on the top side, thus the reason why it is impairative to not only have the right amount of insulating properties, but to equalize the amount as well.  So take a look at your current favorite mittens that you own that are not doing the trick in keeping your hands warm when out hiking or backpacking and then try to figure out why they are built with 65% to 70% of the insulation thickness on the top side and 30% to 35% of the insulating thickness on the bottom side?  The answer is that they do it this way for the purpose of bend flexibility and not for the purpose of keeping your hands warm.  Below are a couple examples of compression styled mittens reflecting both the price point spectrum, as well as the composite design spectrum:

 Example A:  Made in China     Price Point:  $30.00 price range     Style:  Compression     Composition:  Nylon outer shell - Foam Rubber, White Plastic Sheeting, 40 gram wgt 3M thinsulate insulation, other filler, Thin Black inner liner layer     Thickness Ratio:  70% on the top side & 30% of the total thickness on the bottom side.

 

 Example B:  Made in China     Price Point:  $150.00     Style:  Compression     Composition:  Nylon Gore Dryloft(tm) outer shell - Goose Down micro feather filler inside of nylon compartments and a thin polyester inner liner layer.     Thickness Ratio:  When cross-section was cut, (not shown) the fill ratio approximated 52% on the top side & 48% of the total thickness on the bottom side. (As picture above) with slight internal hand pressure, ratio changes to approximately 70% top side & 30% of the thickness on the bottom side and when you "actually wear" these goose down mitts outside the ratio feels more like 90% on the top side and 10% of the total thickness on the bottom side.  The solution that was incorporated to allow these $150.00 goose down compression style mitts to stay warm at temperatures up to -15F below zero, is pictured below:

 The "solution" that the person who owned these mitts used was the addition of a $50.00 pair of lined soft leather dress mitts inside of the goose down mitts.

The mittens designed and manufactured by Technical Advantage are all built using layering systems of technical insulating fabric materials, therefore excess air space has been minimized, because we do not believe that your hand has the heating capacity through intense blood flow to not only warm the inner hand compartment up, but to keep the excess air space of the inner layers warm as well.  It just "ain't" going to happen, especially in extreme cold air "minus" below zero temperatures.  With a solid layering structure, like the one that we use in our mittens, you also generate excellence in preventing "conductive" and "convective" heat loss, which is also supported through our equalized system of top & bottom side thickness and other assets that we incorporate.  

When you have our Prairie Snowstorm Mitts on your hands, with the wrist shock cords pulled tight  sealing in the heat, you can crush them tightly together and then let them come back to natural form and you'll discover "no new" cold air has penetrated into the inner layering system of our mittens!  Now lets look at the goose down compression style mitts once again, for example purposes:

 The goose down compression mitt shown in a compressed state or form.

 

 The goose down compression mitt returning back to form.

 

So the question that presents itself from the above 2 pictures is, where does the new air come from that re-fills the available compartment space around the hand after it has been first compressed out of the compression style mitt?  Hint:  When it's well below zero outside, the replacement air "isn't" coming from a magical heat source?

Anyway, if the other mitten manufcturers were proud of the total warmth and insulating properties of their mittens, then they would also share with you the technical thermal R-values of insulation and a cut away slice of what their mitts look like on the inside like we do, however they don't because they don't care or don't want you to know so that you can draw any benchmark conclusions?  So why spend up to $180.00 on a pair of their's, when you can spend less then $70.00 on a pair of our Prairie Snowstorm Mittens, which will save you money and finally give you the warmth and superior excellence in moisture wicking and transfer, in a pair of mitts that were actually built to work.  We have other mitts that are built even warmer under our Extreme Element Series then the Prairie Series Mitts, but for most users these will exceed their requirements.

Please note, our recommended temperature range ratings on all of our gear is based on actual use by our field testers or ourselves and therefore we are not going to contrive fictitious user ranges like they do for example on Winter Boots.  (for example the best boot ratings we've seen state "good to -150F", but we question where on Earth did they find somewhere for testing where the temperatures ever hit -150F below zero?)  Click here for more information.....

 

 


XWick 3.4TRH Expediton Windblocking Thermal Wicking Straight Neck Gaiter - Hardfaced Outer Shell Layer -  Recommended Temperature Range to -80F (-62C)+ below zero


 

The XWick 3.4TRH Expediton Series Neck Gaiters are the hottest thing on the high exertion Winter time hiking and snowshoeing gear list of things to pack with you on your next adventure.  These neck gaiters are designed for high physical exertion activities where you require windblocking protection, but you also need warmth during the rest periods and superb moisture wicking and transfer during the entire segment or cold weather activity.

We build these units with a 3 layer technical fabric system, with the outer shell layer consisting of a soft feeling Thermal Windblocking Hardfaced abrasion reducing, DWR water repellent and breathable technical fabric.  The mid-layer is a moderate mid-range synthetic polyester fabric that provides warmth without being overly hot.  The inner layer next to the face and skin is a superior thermal wicking technical fabric that helps to moderate the overall warmth, yet does a great job in transferring the breath moisture away when the unit is pulled up over the mouth and nose.

 

 

The XWick 3.4TRH Expediton Series Neck Gaiters pack a combined thermal insulation value of R-3.4, perhaps the highest thermal value for neck gaiters in existence, but the combination and function of each of the three layers together allow it better regulate the heat, especially when your day is consisting of 70% or better of physical exertion as your climbing to the summit or just chugging through the deep powder out in the woods.

With the interesting stretch of the 3 technical fabrics and the design cut, we have been able to configure this as a "one size fits most unit".  It also comes with our top edge pull tight built in shock cord and cord loc, for allowing you to lock it into any desired position on your face, while also sealing the heat in.  How many major climbs to the summit will these units be taken on, we don't know for sure, but we're guessing many from different expeditions located around the globe.  Click here for more information>>>>>

 

 


XWick 3.4TRH Expediton 1.4 Windblocking Thermal Wicking Drop Pad Neck Gaiter - Hardfaced Outer Shell Layer -  Recommended Temperature Range to -80F (-62C)+ below zero


 

We've stretched the design and innovation limits with our latest entry of neck gaiter designs.  In this case, we have further revolutionized the drop pad neck gaiter with our Expediton Series XWick 3.4 TRH Expedition 1.4 Windblocking Thermal Wicking Drop Pad Neck Gaiter, which is yet again in a class by itself.  The XWick 3.4 TRH Expedition 1.4 is designed for the user that is under physical exertion better then 70% of the time in face biting cold temperatures, where you need to stay warm and protected from frostbite, but you also need better moisture transfer from the area around your mouth.

 

 

 

The 3.4 TRH is the combined thermal insulation value of the entire gear unit, which is a Thermal R value of 3.4.  The final alpha component of H again stands for the Hardfacing abrasion resistant finish on the outer shell layer fabric that we use for this neck gaiter. Although the outer shell fabric is hardfaced, it does have a soft feel to the hand and it does help to reduce the amount of blowing snow that could stick to it.  The Expedition is the rating that we have given to this item based on how it regulates the heat, transfers moisture and protects the user from the extreme elements while under physical exertion.  Finally, the 1.4 is the Drop Pad configuration on this gear unit, which is (1) one full drop pad in the front and an approximate 40% length drop pad in the rear.

With the interesting stretch of the 3 technical fabrics and the design cut, we have been able to configure this as a "one size fits most unit".  It also comes with our top edge pull tight built in shock cord and cord loc, for allowing you to lock it into any desired position on your face, while also sealing the heat in.  How many major climbs to the summit will these units be taken on, we don't know for sure, but we're guessing many from different expeditions located around the globe.  Click here for more information>>>>>

 


We have many other options for keeping you warm out on the trail, whether you're hiking or snowshoeing in the back country, however the above mentioned ones are some of our best "starter" recommendations for getting you started on your way of buying some great gear that is actually built to keep you warm!


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