TomTom Adventurer GPS Watch with Bluetooth Headphones Review

TomTom Adventurer
4.3 Overall
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The TomTom Adventurer is a one stop shop for all your workout needs. Bold statement, right? It is. But if you read into what I said you see there is specific wording in there. For working out, running, and most of your every day workout needs the TomTom Adventurer has you covered. Unfortunately this is a review for an obstacle course racing website and the watch has a flaw or two that it has had since before it evolved from the TomTom Cardio to the TomTom Spark to now.

TomTom Adventurer Features

Music  – Part of what makes this watch awesome is that it has the ability to store your music and play it to bluetooth headphones. If you use the headphones that TomTom includes it is a breeze to get it paired. If you use your own it will be a little laborious but you will pair them eventually. The other thing of note for the music is that you can sync the watch to an iTunes playlist. I’m a mac user so for me that is a big surprise since Apple doesn’t play nice with most outside companies.

Wrist Based Heart Rate Monitor – This is not a new feature for GPS or exercise watches but it works and that’s great. Its part of what makes this a full featured workout watch.

Elevation Tracking – With a built in barometer you can track your elevation without needing to have your phone or see if based on your route when you sync to a computer. If you are training for many of the OCR events that take place on out of season ski slopes, elevation will mean a lot to you in training.

TomTom Adventurer Usage

On the initial unboxing my complete excitement for the features was tempered by seeing that the watch itself was the mostly the same exact design they have had for a few years now. It is a bit sad because TomTom has made their watches functionally so much better every time they update their product line but they have stayed with the same poor ergonomics. I would even hazard to say this watch took a slight step back in comfort and look.

The casing that you separate the watch body from is hard in the center and has bulky pivoting flexible arms to wrap around your wrist. They bands feel like an afterthought and the watch is generally not comfortable to wear if you aren’t working out. The looks are pretty much the same, even the black version has an orange loop around it to secure the extra part of the secured watch band – orange is out of the question for my everyday life.

Then there is the fact that you more of less need to dismantle your watch every time you want to plug it in by usb.  It isn’t hard to do but it’s the only device that I have used, reviewed, or owned that is like this. My final touch on the ergonomics is the one centered button control. TomTom – please, please, please stop using this design. When I’m running it doesn’t feel intuitive and when you are crawling in mud you will get little bits of debris stuck in there.

Let’s get positive because this is a good watch with a ton of features. I wanted this watch so bad because of what the Apple Watch 2 didn’t do. I love tech and will often kickstart things that have a huge upside for my daily life without ever having them in hand or reading the fine print. The Apple watch 2 falls into this category, it had what is basically the feature set of the TomTom Adventurer minus a few things like a barometer. I bought it because I wanted a one stop watch for working out it ended up being a nightmare to pair and unpair headphones, get music on it, use the GPS and many more gripes. This isn’t an Apple watch review but I’m saying this to point out that the TomTom Adventurer does all of the things that the Apple Watch 2 failed to do for me.

When you use the TomTom Adventurer you will notice it makes things in life easier. After you unplug your the watch from your computer just grab your headphones and hit the road/trail/ski slope. You can do additional things like add in GPX based routes for hiking but most people will use this to workout. It never fails to sync my heart rate accurately, with gps and the altimeter tracking my movement, while the bluetooth headphones play music from the watch itself. This is the watch I have been waiting for in the tech department.

TomTom Adventurer Pros and Cons

Pros

  • All in one watch – GPS, Music, HRM, Altimeter
  • Affordable for what you get at just under $300
  • Works well with iTunes

Cons

  • Watch strap is bulky
  • USB plug feels like an afterthought

TomTom Adventurer Conclusion

Here we are at the overarching question, should you buy this watch? I can’t say definitively one way or the other to buy the TomTom Adventurer, this is really a matter of what your intended use case is. If you plan on using this for ultra running and very muddy obstacle course races I would suggest looking elsewhere. If you need a watch with all the features baked into one for every day usage, buy this watch. You can’t go wrong with this watch if you plan on exercising with it every day.

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Dario is a long time distance runner and OCR athlete. When not on the roads and trails logging miles he can be found drinking coffee while reading bad science fiction books.
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Roll Recovery R8 Review

Roll Recovery R8
3.7 Overall
0 Users (0 votes)
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The Roll Recovery R8 is a product I have had my eye on for a long time before getting to review it. It really stood out to me for a few reasons, for starters it is a deep tissue massage that applies the pressure for you. This is similar to the idea of Normatec Pulse Recovery boots but on a much simpler level. The R8 doesn’t need to be plugged in and have you setup in a chair, it is a spring loaded device that you just clamp on to a body part and move around. Another reason I really like the automatic applying pressure of a hand operated tool is for basically the reason I have just stated; self massage is tiring and sometimes makes my hands and forearms feel like they need a massage afterwards. With the Roll Recovery R8 you don’t exhaust your hand muscles to get a good deep tissue massage.

Roll Recovery R8 Features

Self Adjusting Pressure  – What make the R8 special is the basic concept of the spring loaded pressure. When you place this on a part of your body the tension in the spring is based on the amount that you are opening it. The more you open it, the more pressure it will apply. This is how springs work.

Soft Rollers – The rollers that apply pressure to your body are made of a nice soft gel feeling wheel. They are basically just soft inline skate wheels but they are nice ones. If I had to guess I would say around 68a hardness based on a durometer rating.

Roll Recovery R8 Usage

As soon as I unboxed the Roll Recovery R8 deep tissue massage I stopped what I was doing and started to massage my legs. I was a bit surprised by the power of the R8’s spring and a little concerned too. I say this because when you have a base level of spring power there is no lessening it. The flip side of that is that if it’s too weak you are back to using a bunch of arm strength instead. From what I noticed the R8 was usually right for me, for most areas I wanted to massage out. When I was hitting areas that were really sore, and not as meaty like around shins, I actually had to pull outwards on the springs so that I wasn’t screaming in pain. I’ve spent a good amount of time in the ol’ pain cave and the level of pressure was too much for me at certain points.

Other than these few instances of it being too much pressure the Roll Recovery R8 was a pleasure to use. I would just slap it on my quads and hammy’s and go to town on them. The ability to spend less effort and get a deeper massage was definitely a game changer.

See the image below for the semi-scientific analysis I did of the amount of variable pressure as the spring widens.  As you can see with the amount of opening for an ‘average’ leg you end up with about 20 pounds of squeezing power.  The distance between the springs for the picture on the left is on MongoDB rubik’s cube,  scale, and console top – measuring at about 4.25″.

 

Roll Recovery R8 Durability

Durability will not be a concern with this item. I see no way in which this item could wear out within my life time of usage. I bet I could use this on a rhino every day for 10 years and it wouldn’t show much signs of wear. It is built with thick materials and a relatively simple design with few moving parts.

Roll Recovery R8 Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Deep tissue massage with little effort
  • Simple design, no batteries required

Cons

  • The price tag is a little steep for some people $100-120
  • Base pressure of the springs can be a little high for some people

Similar Products

I am a self massage fanatic (see  also –  frequently injured) and here are a few of my current tools that I have used in the past:

Liked:

MobilityWOD Gemini
Lacrosse Ball
Massage Roller Stick (I own 3 versions)
Foam Roller

Didn’t Like:

Hand Massager Glove
Orbit massager
Mobility WOD Supernova
Spikey Massage Ball
Gridded Foam Roller

Your style may vary from mine so it’s worth even checking out the ones I didn’t like. Most of them were referred to me by one person or another that also enjoys crushing out some muscles.

Roll Recovery R8 Conclusion

This product is a must have for my self massage arsenal. Besides every day usage I normally travel with a roller stick and lacrosse ball in my bag, the Roll Recovery R8 is being added to the travel bag. The ability to get a deep massage without much hassle is a big win. One thing you should take into consideration as stated above – if you don’t like deep massages this might not be the tool for you – this R8 goes really deep. If you can manage the $100 price tag ( think of skipping on a massage or two) you will have an invaluable tool added to your recovery kit.

Have you tried the R8? Got another massage tool not mentioned here? Leave a comment below.

 


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Obstacle Course Racing Holiday Buying Guide

Coming up to another years holiday season when you think, what do I buy my OCR loving friend/spouse/relative/booty call for Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa/Other Winter Holiday?

We at Obstacle Racing Media are here to help.

Check out our holiday buying guide and let us know in the comments if we missed a must buy.

Stocking Stuffers: Under $25

obstacle-course-racing-gift-guide-1

 

Under the  Tree / Menorah: $25 – $100

obstacle-course-racing-gift-guide-3

 

Video Humblebrag Moment: $100 and up

Rock concert

 

 

Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0 Preview

reebok-all-terrain-super-3-preview-4

Reebok has allowed us to preview their latest iteration of the Reebok All-Terrain Super line up that is due for release in the next 2-4 months. They have gone back to the numbering convention after the recent Reebok All-Terrain Super OR – which you can think of as 2.5. With that said we have the Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0 here for preview. We will come back with a more in-depth review after we have put a few hundred miles on them.

Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0 Updates

First up the first thing you notice is that they weigh almost an ounce more than the previous version thanks to the reinforced upper. You can see some of the changes in this photo –

reebok-all-terrain-super-3-preview-9

There is a rubber coating around the entire toe box area. The “Dura-Grip” continues to the inner arch area where it is called “Rope-Pro”. The “Rope-Pro” is supposed to help with rope climbs and provide durability on the ropes.

reebok-all-terrain-super-3-preview-8

That same rubberized coating continues up to the lace area and is actually the structure that holds the laces to the shoes. This is a little worrisome since normally laces go through the entire fabric of the shoe. By laces going through the shoes, it makes ripping out a lace hole nearly impossible. The laces here are just looped under the rubber and are shielded from the inside. The upside to this is that the this feature helps keep debris from the inside of the shoe.

More along the lines of isolating the inside of the shoe, they have made something close to a one piece upper with a completely new tongue design. The new tongue is connected on one side as you see but the other side connects near the base of the foot with a thin mesh that goes inside the shoe. This should keep more debris out as well as letting the shoe fit a larger range of feet widths. With one piece uppers if you aren’t within a certain range it can be too tight and if your feet are too small when tightening the material will bunch – this looks to solve that while still having the same effect as a completely one piece upper.

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Another change to the Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0 is the heel has an added amount of padding. This should help keep the heel more locked in to help prevent losing your shoes in the mud pits. This is speculation on it’s effectiveness but that appears to be the purpose of the added padding.

reebok-all-terrain-super-3-preview-12

Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0 Similarities

There are a two main things that are completely the same and with good reason, they work. The sole is completely unchanged and will continue to provide amazing grip while running in the mud. Water drainage ports remain on the side of the front of both foot to keep this as the fastest/best draining shoe you can use for OCR.

One thing that hasn’t changed, that some people won’t be happy about, is that the width is the same. The last for this shoe is the same as all the previous versions. It remains to be seen if they will release a wide version but we won’t hold out breath on it since they haven’t in the past 3 years of releasing this shoe.

Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0 Wrap-Up

Reebok continues to try and hit the sweet spot between performance and durability with this beefed up version of the shoe. They have completely changed the thin synthetic upper to a more durable feeling material that shouldn’t rip from normal running. The only thing that appears to have gone in potentially the wrong direction is the way the laces are attached. We will post a full usage review in the coming months with the full rundown of wether or not these will hold up under the rigors of OCR.

 

SEE THE FULL REVIEW HERE

 

What the Pros Wear – Spartan Race World Championship

After the recent Spartan Race World Championships I had the opportunity to catch up with 3 finishers and ask them a few questions. Of that I made sure to find out what gear they were wearing and how each piece was chosen and mattered to them.  Read on for what Jon Albon, Ryan Atkins, and Cody Moat wore on their way to the finishing the Spartan Race Beast (Warning, link heavy post):

Jon Albon – World Championjon-albon-running

Top: I wore the inov-8 Base Elite™ Merino LS – a long sleeve tight fitting merino wool shirt. I chose to wear the merino wool base layer because I was concerned about being cold. It didn’t hinder me too much and retains very little water whilst keeping you warm. As the race got underway I didn’t feel cold at all and the water was no where near as bad as previous races in the UK, I’m not sure if it was necessary but it didn’t hurt.

Bottom: As usual I wore my Race Elite Trail Short, a no fuss lightweight short that retains little water and has space for gels in the rear pocket.

Under my shorts I wore Compressort Compression Trail Underwear Short. These compression shorts retain very little water whilst providing compression. The shorts also have gripppy patches to aid the use of hands on thighs when powering up steep climbs.

Feet: As for most obstacle races I wore my Inov-8 x-talon 212’s these have unrivaled grip, are lightweight, retain next to no water and are very endurable- most importantly they are comfy as hell though. I put on a new pair for the race and with no breaking in whatsoever they fitted like a glove and didn’t give me one blister. I also taped my laces to stop them coming undone – a trick learnt from orienteering.

And for socks I wore the Inov-8 Race Ultra™ Mid sock. Retains no water and really comfortable even if grit gets in the shoe.

Watch:  The Garmin 920xt Garmin 920xt is a great choice for Spartan race as it is made for the rigors of triathlons which involve swimming and other harsh conditions for long periods of time.

Additional Gear: I have my Dryrobe for post race warming up and changing in. These are amazing pieces of kit and essential for any but the hottest of OCR races. However, even on summer day it allows you to change with ease without flashing anyone your modesties.

My pack was the Inov-8 Race Ultra 1. This minimalist waste pouch sits really tight to your body so you forget you are wearing it. I used one of the inov-8 ergonomic bottles allowing me to carry 500ml (16.9 oz.) of water and filled the other pouch with my energy gels.

And as part of my breakfast I had a Clif Bar and ate some of the Clif Builder’s Bars post race for recovery. The sustained energy from the Clif Bar at breakfast helped power me through the race and the protein post race went a long way for recovery.

Ryan Atkinsryan-atkins-running

Top: I wore a Salomon Men’s Start Tee. It has a zipper in the front (no longer available to purchase), to vent a bit better, and the shirt gave me a little protection from any abrasion on obstacles.

Bottom: Salomon trail shorts and the Salomon EXO Calf Sleeve. These shorts have lots of pockets, they are light, and dry fast. The calf compression feels nice on the jarring descents.

Feet: Salomon fellcross and for socks the Dissent Labs long socks. I wanted a shoe with maximum grip, and minimum weight, but good durability. I love Dissent socks.

Watch: I wore the Suunto Ambit Suunto Ambit. It is a full featured watch that shows all the data you would ever need during a spartan race.

Additional Gear: I ran with Roctane energy gels, and clif shot bloks for food. No pack or water of any sort. I knew there would be lots of water on the course. And I didn’t want a pack getting caught in any barbed wire!

Cody Moatcody-moat-running

Top: My shirt was a black compression shirt that Spartan gave all it’s elite athletes. I liked it because it kept me warm early in the morning then later in the day it stayed slightly damp, thus keeping me cool.

Bottom: My shorts were the same, compression bottoms from Spartan. I don’t really have a good reason why I wear these other than they feel good and look like a uniform. I guess they also keep me warmer than regular running shorts. Then they stay damp like the shirt keeping me cool throughout the race.

Feet: I wore the Inov-8 X-talon 190’s, I really like these shoes because they have incredible traction and are very light. I have never seen a shoes with that good of traction and still be that light.

Additional Gear: I wore an Inov-8 fanny pack, it is very similar to the Inov-8 Race Ultra 1 but it is mesh (previous model to Ultra 1). I really like using this pack because it was mesh thus retaining no water. It also holds two bottles and has a pocket for whatever else I might need. I chose to only take 1 bottle and fill the other pocket with my nutrition.

Additional Thoughts: Underwear and socks don’t really matter much to me. Half the time I throw my socks away after a race because they are so dirty.

 

Other articles that will interest you:

Best Shoes For Obstacle Course Racing

Best Gloves For Obstacle Course Racing

 

Hoka One One Clayton Review

Hoka One One Clayton
3.7 Overall
0 Users (0 votes)
Features
Durability
Grip
Water Draining
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I purchased the Hoka One One Clayton shoes prior to running A Race For The Ages (ARFTA) when I realized I would be on my feet for potentially 32 hours. In the end I only ran for about 11-12 hours before calling it quits but it was a great initial test for the Hoka One One Clayton’s.  Leading up to the race I had run about 20 mies in the Hoka One One Clayton’s to break them in and since then I have put around 200 miles on them prior to this review. These are not obstacle racing shoes, they are shoes you would run in to train for an Obstacle Course Race. 

hoka-one-one-clayton-review-2

Taking in the view prior to ARFTA

Hoka One One Clayton Features

Lightweight Breathable Upper  – The upper material on these shoes is so thin and transparent that I was very nervous about it’s durability when I started wearing them. It turns out they just got the material (No-Sew TPU Lattice) perfect.

Lightweight Everything – I could go through each element of the shoe but they made everything light. The shoe weighs in at a shocking 7.3 oz. The only area I was a little concerned with the weight cutting was the heel cup. I’m guilty of not untying my shoes between wears and when I slide my foot in I can easily crush the heel area. No problem here, just an observation for some people that may need more shoe support.

Wide Foot Base – Hoka calls this feature – Oversize Active Foot Frame – what it boils down to is the sole of the shoe has a wide footprint. I think this provides some stability that makes up for the shoes general lack of structure. It’s not an often used concept and I wouldn’t want to wear shoes with this feature on a trail run but it works here.

Hoka One One Clayton Usage

As I stated in my intro, I wore these shoes initially for two training runs of around 10 miles prior to 40 miles at ARFTA. One thing I didn’t mention in my intro was that when I ordered them I bought my normal size of 9.5 and a size 10. I did this because my last Hoka’s that I bought felt very short at 9.5 and were constantly rubbing my toes. I tried them on and ended up returning the 9.5’s, this is the first time for any shoe ever in 15 years that I have bought a size up. I was immediately nervous about buying a size up but after running in them I realized it’s the the way I need to buy Hoka’s from now on. My old Hoka Clifton’s have the outside area of both toe boxes cut out so I can wear them on occasion.

hoka-one-one-clayton-review-3

Hoka Clifton with Cutout

When it came to actually using the Hoka One One Clayton I found them to be surprisingly supportive with their stripped down weight. I mean, you are running in shoes that feel like road racing flats but they have 24mm of cushioning in the heel and 20mm in the forefoot. The break in period was not noticeable (for my body/sore muscles) and pretty much seamless going from Inov-8 Ultra 270’s to these. What I did notice was the very cushioned feel in comparison, these feel like pillows like the rest of Hoka’s shoe lineup.

I have worn them only on packed trails/ road and that is the only surfaces I would suggest because of their wide base. The base of Hoka’s used to make me nervous because it was so built up tall that you can roll your ankle easily in them since the fulcrum point it creates and these are similar but in width instead. They width does feel safer than the platform like style of the other Hoka One One’s.

The only real issue that these shoes have is that the grip is very soft and as a result not durable. They are using a new type of material called RMAT and it trades off durability for performance. After about 200 miles the heel has almost worn through to the cushioning. I’m a little annoyed here because they are such expensive shoes ($150) and it looks like I can maybe get 300-350 miles out of them which is a poor investment for running shoes. I’ll be emailing Hoka to see if this is normal and to get an official response that I will update here.

Hoka One One Clayton Durability

The durability of the Upper is, as I stated previously, perfect. Hoka managed to get a super breathable and thin upper that shows no signs of ripping. The sole is the main area of concern and I would love to hear from other people that have worn these if their soles have worn down fast. Leave Comments and Reviews!

hoka-one-one-clayton-review-4

Hoka One One Clayton Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Very Light weight 7.3 oz
  • Breathable upper
  • Great Cushioning

Cons

  • Expensive – $150
  • Not durable sole

Hoka One One Clayton Conclusion

The main question that matters – would I suggest you buy the Hoka One One Clayton? Yes – but be aware you may need to replace them sooner than you would like. If you are trying to keep you running habit to a bare minimum as far as costs are concerned, don’t buy these. What the Clayton’s bring to the table is a high performance shoe that is on the expensive end of shoes. Like many thing in life you get to pick two – Good, fast, or cheap – Hoka chose good and fast for these shoes and that’s what you get in the Hoka One One Clayton.

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Dario is a long time distance runner and OCR athlete. When not on the roads and trails logging miles he can be found drinking coffee while reading bad science fiction books.
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