We all have that little twang of dread when the weather turns and the road beckoning our feet to pound the pavement is taken over by that voice saying “it is cold, this bed is warm”. Yet, the fate of the “fair-weather runner” is not something I want to experience, thus finding ways to tamper those winter weather woes is particularly important. Most of the time the recipe for motivation in spite of the chill is the right gear.
BlackStrap is a company that lives true to the “made in the USA” label. Since their inception in Bend, in 2008, BlackStrap strives to be an industry leader in innovation and quality for sport accessories. The company uses their products to promote the programs in which they believe. The Parks Project supplies outdoor clothing accessories to those who work in outdoor recreation and public parks. The accessories this company creates and distributes are the perfect addition for enjoying the outdoors by producing quality products to keep you warm or protect you from the sun. Here at Run Oregon, Robyn had the fortune of testing BlackStrap’s Dual Layer Facemask and Nikki tested the Range Cap Performance Beanie and Helmet Liner.
Robyn’s Thoughts: Finding the right winter gear can be really difficult as your own body temperature changes throughout the run. This fluctuation means that you need to get a little creative to find that happy medium. Winter running is all about being warm enough to want to go but not so warm that after mile one, you have created your own personal, mobile sauna. For some, this means sheddable layers. For others, the perfect tech blend that wind-breaks but also breathes. For me, it’s all in my neck. Gloves are good, hats are fine, but a cowl neck tech fabric scarf has always been my secret weapon when it comes to combating the cold without feeling weighed down by warm gear. I have found the perfect mix of warmth and light breathability in the BlackStrap “tube”, the Dual Layer Facemask.
The Dual Layer Tube/Facemask has two layers that, when paired, help hit that perfect balance between warmth and breatheability. Since the inner layer is mesh, there is still a bit of air that does get through. This helps cut the harsh cold without increasing the sweat factor. The Facemask can also be placed over the nose when the temperatures warrant a bit more protection. Being helmet compatible is also a big plus when ski season gets me off the road and trails and into the snow.
Nikki’s Thoughts: You just can’t be a fair-weather runner when you live in the Pacific Northwest, and like Robyn mentioned, there’s constantly an internal battle going on when you push yourself to go outside this time of year. Though I will sometimes opt for something that goes around my neck or face, my go-to is usually a hat that will cover my ears. The main objective is that it’s comfortable enough for me to forget I’m wearing it while also keeping my head and ears warm.
The Range Cap has more than met my needs. The material is lightweight and breathable, but it’s still warm enough even in the biting wind. The 4-way stretch fabric easily covers my mess of hair in a ponytail and everything stays tucked away neatly inside. It’s not too loose or too tight and it really does feel like it’s not even there once I get it on. Even better is that it wicks away moisture, so it never gets all gross and sweaty like some of my beanies do after a long run.
An extra bonus of the range cap is that it’s UPF 50+ (UV) rated, so it’ll protect you from the sun. This would be a great option for a day skiing or snowboarding in the mountains where you’re closer to the sun, and it also fits easily under a helmet, as it’s a helmet liner as well as a beanie.
Due to the versatility, the breatheability and the commitment of the company to creating American made, quality products that support stewardship and enjoyment of the outdoors, you can’t go wrong with BlackStrap and their products.
Facebook Page: BlackStrap Industries Inc.
Specs (from website):
- One Size Fits Most (Available in Kids size)
- Helmet Friendly/ Ergonomic Fit
- Synthetic, moisture wicking & lens safe fabric
- 360 Protection/ Comfort fit
- Antimicrobial & Machine Washable
More about BlackStrap:
Since 2008, BlackStrap has set the industry standards for quality, technology & innovation. Each of these is achieved through the development & manufacturing of products in the USA “Made in the USA” is a term that is widely used. Through sourcing domestic textiles, cut & sew, QC, packaging and distribution BlackStrap proudly manufactures true products of the USA.
Thank you to BlackStrap for providing us with a sample pack. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.