Product Review: uCool Towel – More Than Just A Wet Rag!

Sean Kiffe is a Runner’s Edge Ambassador for the 2018/19 season. He is very visible around town as he runs just about every Runner’s Edge race and Run Wild Missoula event each year. We asked him to review the uCool Towel, and you can find his thoughts below. You can also follow Sean’s adventures on instagram@seankiffe.

When I was asked to review the uCool Ultra Cooling Towel I was initially a little doubtful. The concept seemed a like a gimmick marketed to the zealous gearhead who had to have everything in their arsenal. A little research revealed that the technology has been around for a while and that there are multiple brand options out there. So there must be something to it, right? Ever the skeptic I had to see for myself. As they say, the proof’s in the pudding.

The Science
The science of the uCool Ultra Cooling Towel and other similar brands is pretty simple. The concept is called adiabatic cooling, or evaporative cooling. In a nutshell, water takes energy to evaporate. Cold water takes more energy than hot water does. Putting a cold wet towel on your head or your neck uses the heat energy from your exercising body to help the water evaporate from the towel and thus drawing the heat away from your body. The concept is nothing new and does work. The question that remains is does the towel hold up to its claim of achieving this effect longer than a standard towel and achieving a 30 degree fahrenheit cooler surface temp.

Field Test
I used this towel on two separate runs. The first run that I did was a 14 mile run from Missoula up into the Rattlesnake Recreation Area. While it wasn’t a crazy hot day, the temperature was in the high 80’s by mid-run. At mile 8 I stopped near the creek and soaked it for a minute, wrung it
out and snapped it (per the instructions). Wrapped around my neck the towels cooling effect was noticeable right away. The towel was comfortable and I barely noticed that I was wearing it. I checked back on it by hand about every 10 minutes to evaluate its coolness. The towel held up to it’s cooling promise for a good 30 minutes but after that I could no longer feel the coolness of the towel. However, the overall impact of cooling my body temperature was noticeable, and the last couple miles of the run felt great. While I lacked the technology to see if my body surface temp was 30 degrees cooler where the towel was applied, it was without a doubt cooler. *the small silver tag allows you to lace the opposite end through and securely fasten the towel. Makes a great ascot if that’s your thing!

The second test run was conducted in Wisconsin while visiting family. On a 20 mile run on a very humid day I pulled the towel out at mile 13 when I passed a city park. I soaked the towel in the sink and applied it in the same fashion. Of course, the towel felt cold to the touch initially, which felt nice. However, there was one significant difference. The cooling effect didn’t seem to be there. The towel warmed up but failed to move the heat from my body. This made sense to me. The humid day limited the evaporative potential for the towel to move heat away from the body due to the high amount of water vapor already in the air. So while the cold felt good the towel was not wicking the heat from my body as fast as before.
*could be worn as a dew rag if that’s how you roll…good for hot headed people!
Pros
❖ The uCool Ultra Cooling Towel is well constructed. The fabric is durable and super
lightweight and far less bulky than a standard towel. It was easy to fit in may waist pack,
vest or the side pocket of my shorts.
❖ On a hot day and a long run a cold towel is a welcomed asset and the cooling effects
might be the difference between quitting early or pushing a few extra miles.
❖ At $14.99 this towel is not going to break the bank.
Con
❖ The cooling effect, in my opinion, does not last as long as I would have liked it to.
❖ Does not perform well in humid conditions.
Summary
The uCool Ultra Cooling Towel is an affordable and useful tool for managing heat on long runs in dry conditions. The technology works as promised just not for as long as one would like it to. While a damp dish rag might achieve the same cooling affect, the uCool Ultra Cooling Towel’s packable size, durable fabric and anti-odor technology make it a much better choice. I could see using this towel in a variety of situations from distance running, backpacking or even hot yoga.

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Product Review: Petzl Actik Headlamp

Angie Partain is very involved in the Missoula Running Community as both a runner and frequent volunteer despite being a busy mom. You can follow her adventures at @jnapartain. As a RErun Ambassador, and with more dark than light these days, we asked her to review Petzl Actik Headlamp and share her thoughts.

November is here and with it, darkness. I don’t know about you guys, but it can be hard for me to stay motivated this time of year. I can come up with a million reasons to stay in my warm comfy bed in the morning as well as why my afternoon should be spent sipping hot apple cider. But nothing keeps me from running like the dark–it’s my winter running nemesis. I tend to be a bit afraid (or as my 5 year old would say: “ascared”) of running alone in the dark and have been known to rack up to 5 miles looping though lit parking lots while waiting for the sun. Maybe the dark doesn’t bother you, but seeing and being seen is key to running safely in the dark. Alright, enough about me and my fears…let’s talk headlamps!

In the past I’ve used the PETZL TIKKA 2, which I purchased a few years ago and will use to compare with the ACTIK.  

Brightness:

The ACTIK has 3 unique lamps with 5 different modes. I’ve affectionately named them: ‘Glimmer Glow’ (5 lumens–single beam), ‘Holy Buckets’ (100 lumens–2 beams–bright and wide), ‘Pearly Gates’ (300 lumens–2 beams–brighter and wider–seriously find your eclipse glasses to look at this beam), ‘RED-y Steady’ (2 lumens–Fun fact: do you know what the red lamp is for? It retains your night vision! Eyes adjust rapidly to red light in the dark. In addition, it won’t blind your running buddy or attract bugs. Plus, it’s just fun and Christmassy!)  and ‘RED Strobe’ (for visibility–visible up to 700 meters). This is literally a night and day difference from my old lamp, which only ranged up to 40 lumens. I was impressed with how amazingly the light cut through thick fog and made a dark trail feel like daytime. Casting a wide beam up to 90 meters rather than a single focal point, rocks and roots were clearly visible instead of shadowed. I loved it for roads as well, and felt so much safer being highly visible to those around me as well as having more time to be prepared for what was ahead or in my peripheral. On a side note, I wore the ACTIK to the Runner’s Edge Brooks Levitate party (You can find me in the upper left corner of the “L” in the photo taken that night), set on ‘Pearly Gates’ it lit the trail for my whole family on our hike down.  

Features:

Lightweight design, coming it at 92 grams, it’s just a few grams more than my old lamp. The head band is reflective with a safety whistle built into the adjusting hardware.  What about burn time?  An impressive 240 hours on ‘Glimmer Glow’, 60 hours on ‘Holy Buckets’, ‘Pearly Gates’ and ‘RED-y Steady’ and 400 hours on strobe. It’s powered by 3 AAA’s, which are included or the CORE rechargeable battery pack can be purchased separately.

Comfort and Style:

The head band fits snugly and comfortably without bounce. Tightness and lamp angle can easily be adjusted while running. As far as color selection goes, I love all things white and chose the Blue/White version. It’s also available in Black/Black and Lime/Black. Here’s my practical plug for the white one: It’s prettier!  Haha, but seriously I worked the headlamp return table at the RUT. The headlamps were nicely sorted by color and the sea of black headlamps was ridiculous.  Finding one’s took forever!  (Also, have you ever tried to sharpie your name onto a black on black item–it’s impossible! My hubby ended up packing his black headlamp on the 50k for this reason alone!) But then there was a sweet little pile of blue and white head lamps–like 5 of them, those 5 RUT-ers were reunited with their bright buddy in a jiffy, instead of wasting valuable hot tub time looking for a headlamp!

Maybe one day I’ll get comfortable with dark, but until then the PETZL ACTIK will get me through and help bring day to my night. It comes with a 5 year Guarantee and you can pick one up at the Runner’s Edge for $45. Seriously, you’ll love it–consider buying 2 of them! That way when your husband commandeers yours (ahem) you’ll still have yours!

-Angie

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Garden Frittata

This recipe is inspired by an evening of entertaining a friend who has many food allergies, luckily eggs and GetAttachment-6vegetables are not on her allergen list.  I have a beautiful cast iron skillet that does not get enough use and loads of kale, tomatoes and basil in my garden so this made for a perfect occasion!  You could think of this as an end of summer frittata as farmers markets seem to be boasting with these ingredients this time of year as well.  This recipe is perfect for a brunch occasion or as my intention, a nourishing dinner.

Ingredients:

6 whole eggs
3 tbsp almond milk (unsweetened, plain)
3 kale stalks, stems removed and chopped
1 red or white onion, chopped
3 roma tomatoes, sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
6-10 whole basil leaves
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
shredded parmesan cheese (optional)
sea salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions:

Pre-heat oven to 450.  Place cast iron skillet on stove over medium heat adding olive oil.  Saute onions and garlic until soft.  Add kale and saute 2-3 more minutes.  Meanwhile, crack eggs into bowl and whisk in almond milk until mixed well.  Pour egg mixture over vegetables in skillet so they are evenly coated and season with sea salt and black pepper to taste.  Let this mixture cook for about 4-5 minutes.  Place skillet in oven and bake until eggs are cooked through (this time will vary depending on how well you like your frittata and your oven).  I prefer well done frittatas so I baked mine for about 10 minutes.  Remove skillet from oven and top with sliced tomatoes, basil and parmesan cheese if desired.  Slice and enjoy!

Bridget Baxter
bridgetbaxter.com

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11 Miles to Paradise VIDEO

Did you do the “11 Miles to Paradise” trail race this year? Whether you answered yes or no, check out this video.  It’s pretty awesome and will probably inspire you to drop everything and go for a trail run. 😉

Thanks to local filmmaker Bobby Jahrig of Jahrig Media for putting this together! 

 

 

 

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Confirmed Light The Way 5k Registrations

Confirmed List as of December 2, 2013, 5pm

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Unbreakable The Film

The Runner’s Edge is bringing World Class Ultrarunners to Missoula for the Screening of Unbreakable, a film about the Western States 100 Mile Endurance race!

Three of the four athletes profiled in the Movie (Geoff Roes, Hal Koerner, and Anton Krupicka) will be attending the screening and will be participaing in a Q and A following the film.This event is going to be a great kick off to another great year of trail running and we will be donating all profits to Five Valleys Land Trust, an organization that is dedicated to protecting our open spaces.

Sunday, April 29th, 6:30 P.M.

The Wilma Theatre in downtown Missoula.

Buy tickets online (Click Here)

Tickets: $10 in Advance and $13 at the door.

See Film Trailer (Click Here)

This event is a Five Valleys Land Trust Fundraiser