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How to be comfortable before, during, and after your next race, relay, or outdoor adventure

Treo Chair

I don't know about you, but when I hear "Therm-a-Rest", all I picture are inflatable mattresses - the kind that I vowed to forget ever since the bulky inflatables (NOT Therm-a-Rest) were my only sleeping arrangements throughout college. I know that this was pretty much a fallacy (Therm-a-Rest actually invented the self-inflating sleeping pad back in 1972), but it's one of those connections my brain had made over the years. In fact, Therm-A-Rest is one of a few brands that Cascade Designs, a staple in the outdoors community, now has in their line (a few of the others being SealLine, Platypus, and MSR). When we got in contact with Cascade Designs and I started looking through their items - I was SHOCKED to see how I had been sorely mistaken. In addition to some great camping pads and mattresses, Therm-A-Rest also features sleeping bags, cots, chairs, hammocks, and blankets - all great options for those who love the great outdoors. Man, did I feel dumb. Run Oregon selected a few items to try out that would be great not only for all you hikers and campers out there, but also would be perfect pre-and post-race - as well as to take on your next relay.

Company: Cascade Designs (featuring Therm-a-Rest)

In 1971, a fortuitous mix of unemployed engineers, a leaky foam gardening pad, and the dream of a better way to sleep under the stars came together to change how we experience the outdoors forever. As climbers, Jim Lea, Neil Anderson and John Burroughs knew firsthand that long days in the hills were only made longer by a horrible night’s rest, and a better sleeping pad was key to changing that equation. This blend of science and a desire to make the most of every day outdoors created the world’s first self-inflating air mattress, and it continues to be the fuel that drives us today.

Today, Therm-a-Rest remains at the forefront of comfort innovation and quality, with a commitment to building what we make, with our own hands, whenever possible.

We are a focused and passionate team with an insatiable desire to be out exploring the world. We share your understanding that being outdoors is a more than a way to define your location – it’s an essential part of life. Whether it’s your path to personal enlightenment and inner peace, or the place you go for the adrenaline fix of the next big adventure, it’s where you’d be now if you could, and that’s what bonds us all.

Products & Price:


Impressions:

Treo Chair:

Specs:

  • 300D Polyester Rip-Stop fabric
  • 2 lbs, 4 oz.
  • 13 inch seat height
  • 16×14 seat dimension
  • 250 pound capacity
  • Colors
    • Sea Green
    • Smoked Pearl
    • Swedish Blue
    • Lemon Curry

It’s all in there.

Runners, hikers, and campers are always looking to save a little space and lighten the load. Whether you are loading up a pack for a weekend trip or packing up a van with 5 other people for a relay – the more space the better. The Treo chair is a pretty amazing little seat that does just that.

This little guy sets up and down within a minute once you get the hang of it, and despite its relatively light weight (seasoned campers can probably find some a bit lighter), it really feels sturdy and well constructed. That’s probably due to the strong and comfortable fabric used and some pretty solid aluminum poles. The comfort and construction are added luxuries to the space-saving quality of the entire chair folding up inside its own tripod base.

  1. Simply open the pod by pulling apart the pod into the three legs and removing the fabric from within.
  2. Aluminum poles – basically small versions of the foldable tent poles we are all familiar with – are also inside the pod. These are unfolded and inserted into holes on the tripod legs.
  3. Finally, the ripstop fabric is pulled over top and the poles are inserted into pockets located on the corners.

Even though this may be visualized for the backcountry, it’s a great all-around chair. In addition to relays, I completely envision myself lacing up my shoes in it pre-race, and sipping a post-race beer in it post-race. It is small and light enough to place in my bag for bag check, without having to return to my car after. I also see it getting use at the Coast and even in my backyard while the kids are pulling weeds…or jumping on the trampoline. And take-down is quick and easy, so even if you doze off and your team is yelling at you to get in the van for the next drop point, you can tear this down in short order.



Slacker Hammock:

Specs:

  • Polyester Rip-Stop fabric
  • 1 lbs, 4 oz.
  • 116 x 63 dimensions
  • 400 pound capacity
  • Colors
    • Cayenne
    • Curry
    • Mint
    • Spring
    • Burnt Orange
    • Graphite
    • Lake Blue
    • Spruce

Backyard nap zone

I, like many Pacific Northwesteners, have a hammock. However, in my case, it is a pretty basic and rudimentary version. It was a cheap investment that gets the “job” done, but really isn’t made for any significant usage. It’s kind of a pain to set up, with its rope loops and cheap carabiners. It’s not terribly comfortable and when it rains it’s pretty near impossible to use effectively. I take it on our camping excursions, and every time I return I curse myself and vow to invest in something better. The Slacker Hammock is that “something better”.

While I haven’t been on any camping trips since receiving the hammock, it has seen plenty of set up and take down (and napping in my backyard). It is available in both single and double sizes, but even for me at 6’1 and 190 lbs, a single seemed plenty roomy.

I don’t know the technology behind it, but this hammock was SOOO much more comfortable than my old one. It just feels different – like it’s conforming more to my body instead of finding all the wrong places. It was also so much easier to set up and take down.  Though it’s probably a no-brainer for many hammock owners, I appreciated their quick tutorial on set-up.

I will say that I am noticing some ripping in one of the nylon suspenders. I am pretty certain this is due to some initial operator error (i.e. excessive tugging for no reason), but additional suspenders are only $30 if I have indeed done irreparable damage.

Instead of sleeping and relaxing in the van at my last relay, I really would have loved to find a few nearby trees at Tent City (or really at any spot along the way) and quickly set-up and doze for a bit. It also packs away nicely (suspenders included), into a 9″ x 12″ pocket – making it a space saver in your bag. But at the 2015 HTC, I feel a hammock alone wouldn’t have done the trick – with its rain storms and bug-magnet standing water areas. Which is why utilizing the Slacker Hammock Rain Fly or Warmer would have been great, as well as the…

Slacker Hammock Bug Shelter:

Specs:

  • NoSeeUm Nylon netting
  • 1 lbs, 1.3 oz.
  • 125 x 55 dimensions
  • PU-coated nylon bottom for durability

Now this is what I’m talking about. Aside from the aforementioned HTC, I can vividly recall at least 2 camping trips that were cut short due to bug insanity. This is something that I believe is super vital to any hammock owner, and I was surprised how quick and easy the set-up was, even for me (after a few tries at least).

As a bigger guy, I appreciated the large zippered entryway, and the addition of some webbing on the ridgeline to attach lights was sweet. I appreciated using the guy points to stretch the webbing out for more space as well.

Overall, Therm-a-Rest and Cascade Designs make some backcountry items that are easily transferable to your running, racing, and relay routines. I mean, you spend all week / month / year running and training – you might as well be comfortable before, during, and after your runs.

Thank you to Cascade Designs for sending us some sample items for testing. Our opinions are always independent and unbiased reviews of the products we receive.
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About Matt Rasmussen (886 Articles)
Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching the Olympics, sampling craft beers, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010. Matt joined the Run Oregon team in October 2011, and since then he has spearheaded the blog’s efforts to cover product reviews, news about businesses related to running, and running events in the Willamette Valley.

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