Category Archives: Apparel

Why you should wash your down gear

Did you know that washing that grimy down jacket is easier than you think? Washing your down gear extends the life of the product, and its ability to keep you warm. Here’s an article from Outdoor Research we wanted to share with you about how to wash down gear (also applies to sleeping bags).

Don’t forget: All of our stores carry Nikwax products, like Down wash and Down proof, to help you get your precious pieces clean.

We look forward to seeing you!

Huge Joshua Tree Clearance Sale- Memorial Day weekend only!

The upcoming Memorial Day weekend will be awesome for climbing at Joshua Tree- with highs in the 70s and clear skies in the forecast, this may be your last chance to get to JT before things heat up for the summer.  Oh, one other thing- we’re having our first annual Memorial Day clearance sale!

The following deals are good at the Joshua Tree store only from Friday, May 25-Monday, May 28:

Climbing Gear:

All Ropes 10-20% off

All Harnesses 20% -40% off

Camping Gear:

All Mountain Hardwear Sleeping Bags 20% off

All Tents 20% off

All Backpacks 20%-40% off


Insulated Outerwear 15-40% off

All Patagonia and Mountain Hardwear down insulated jackets 40% off

Patagonia Capilene mid and heavy weight long sleeves and bottoms 40% off

Winter Hats 40% off

Icebreaker Merino Wool mid and heavy weight Long sleeves and bottoms 40% off

All Socks 30% off

Vibram Fivefingers as low as $49.95

Evolve Maximus approach shoe- $83.95 (40% off)

Sale rack all items an additional 15% off

These promotions may not be combined with other coupons or discounts and are limited to quantities of product on hand.  All sales of rock climbing equipment are final.

Icebreaker merino wool garments: baselayer or magic?

We at Nomad Ventures have great enthusiasm for Icebreaker baselayer garments- we’ve worn it in every environment; hot, cold, casual, technical, etc.- and it has performed wonderfully.  So, it was no surprise when the fine folks over at Icebreaker received the following letter from Kevin Newton, a customer who recounted his experience with his Icebreaker SKIN200 top.

Dear Icebreaker person,

I wanted to share with you my recent thorough and wholly scientific review of your SKIN200 merino top.

I live in Scotland, so my Icebreaker gear is commonly used at the ‘stop me dying because it’s bloody freezing’ end of the performance envelope. A couple of weeks ago I left snowy Scotland for a week in Egypt in the hope of defrosting at least my extremities. On the way to the airport I wore my SKIN200 as the bottom layer in a typical multi layer, survive long enough to vacate Scotland, ensemble.

Thanks to the magic of merino I made it out of Scotland with minimal frostbite. Six hours later when the airplane doors opened in Egypt and the heat rushed in, all was well with the world. As I walked down the airplane steps and the heat started to thaw my toes, all was still well with the world. As I waited at the luggage carousel whilst everyone else went on their merry way, all was not so well with the world.

Situation check; one SKIN200 top, one goose-down jacket, gloves, Icebreaker skull cap and jeans. Perfect, pyramids here I come! I should also mention that I am considerably tighter than a duck’s arse and the only country more rip-off than the UK is Egypt. So… kicking and screaming, I remortgaged to rent some shorts. However, my mind cavorted back to the Icebreaker ads about the magic of merino and I declined the offer to swap my wife for a T-shirt.

Day 1. I’m somewhat bemused that no matter how much suntan lotion I apply, if I need to slip the SKIN200 on it doesn’t stick to me. I’m also confused about temperatures; if I get too hot and put it on I get cooler; if I’m too cold in the evening and put it on I get warmer. Weird.

Day 2. Similar to day one but as we enter the SKIN 200′s 48hr usage envelope I spill beer down the front. I can’t understand why there’s no stale beer smell. I spill more beer; still no smell. I fall asleep.

Days 3 to 6. Much the same as above, except the accumulated bouquet should by rights now include sweat, wine (red and white, I’m equally inept), ice cream, sun block, grease from an allegedly beef like substance and various camel secretions. Still no smell.

Day 7. Homeward bound. I’m not normally nervous of flying but I’ve never sat next to a drunken Glaswegian after I’ve been wearing the same top for 7 days before. All went well. Indeed, I even acquired some new deposits, ironically administered by Jock as he lurched forward to examine the garment I’d just been explaining was Egypt proof.


Back home, no matter how much I argued that the self cleaning merino should be be kept unadulterated for scientific research my good lady wife could not escape her social conditioning and snook it into the wash. Although I was disappointed I understood the logic; female though it was. What I didn’t understand was the need to drape it over the garden chair to dry when gales were forecast…

That was two weeks ago. My boyish optimism still keeps my spirits high as I arrive home from work each day hoping that a kind neighbour will have responded to the ‘missing’ posters and I will be reunited with my SKIN200. Realistically though hopes are starting to fade and I fear the grieving process is setting in.

What have I learnt? Advertising hype, isn’t alway hype. Icebreaker merino is weird sh!t. I need to start a fund for a new top as unfortunately weird sh!t does not come cheap.

Best regards

P.S. As we no longer make the SKIN200 we replaced it with the BF200 Oasis Crewe which is ultimately very similar to his original top. After such a great email, how could we not!

P.P.S If you want to read more of what Kevin writes about visit his blog at

5 Awesome Products for the Summer

Although the heat of summer is upon us, that’s no reason to stay home and stay in!  With the right gear, you can stay cool, comfortable, and hydrated even when the mercury starts to rise!

1. Mountain Hardwear Canyon Shirt

Available in both Men’s and Women’s, this shirt has a number of features that make it awesome for summer; mesh side-and-back panels to keep you cool, a collar that flips up for added sun protection on your neck, a UPF 30 rating to prevent sunburn, and seams that are rotated away from the top of the shoulders to prevent hotspots when worn with a pack.  Also comes in a long-sleeve version if you want to keep the sun and bugs off your arms!

2.Montrail Mountain Masochist

There’s a reason these shoes won a 2009 “Gear of the Year” award from Outside magazine- they’re light and comfortable, but still provide good support and underfoot protection, and their breathable mesh and gusseted tongue keep debris from getting in while letting heat and moisture out.  Where most trail shoes employ a stiff plate to protect the foot from rocks and uneven terrain, Montrail has used a flexible plastic shield that makes the shoe more lightweight, sensitive, and agile.  Suitable for everything from trail running to light hiking, the Mountain Masochist is available in both Men’s and Women’s.

3. Nuun

The “sports” drinks marketed to most athletes are not an option for use on the trail, route, or mountain- they’re too heavy, are considered too sweet by some, can be expensive, and leave plastic bottles that must be packed out and recycled.  Also, most sports drinks are sweetened with sugar, which is not complex enough to be metabolized effectively in long days in the mountains and can cause bottles and hydration bladders to become contaminated as they bond to the plastics.  Nuun is sugar-free, and contains sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium, which are far more effective than sodium alone for maintaining electrolyte balance.  One reusable, recyclable tube of Nuun contains 12 tablets- each will turn 16oz of water into a sugar-free, electrolyte balanced drink with a light, refreshing flavor.

4. Deuter Streamer

Hydration bladders are not a new product, but the Deuter Streamer deserves a mention anyway.  Most bladders tend to develop a bit of “funk”, and are hard to clean due to their small fill opening.  The Streamer solves these problems with a smooth-as-glass inner coating that can store water for days and even weeks without getting funky.  And when it’s time to clean, just slide off the orange clip to access the full-width opening- you can get your whole arm in there!  The bite valve is great too- it has a water stop tap that is opened by a simple quarter turn- it stays closed to prevent leaks or remains open for easy drinking.  There’s even a plastic cover that keeps your bite valve clean when not in use.  Available in both 2 and 3 liter capacities.

5. Steripen Classic

Traditionally, we’ve made water safe for drinking through filtration or purification.  However, these methods have some drawbacks- filters have moving parts that can wear out or break, require the user to sit or squat near the water source while pumping, and must be cleaned and replaced.  Also, although filters can remove protozoa and many bacteria, viruses are so tiny (about 1/100 the size of bacteria) that they cannot be filtered.  As a result, filters alone are unsuited for travel to some destinations.  On the other hand, purifiers will kill viruses, but often use chemicals such as iodine or chlorine that leave your water tasting (and sometimes looking) a bit off.  However, the ultralight (5.7 oz) SteriPEN Classic offers another alternative- by immersing its ultraviolet (UV) lamp into a liter of water, the Steripen eliminates over 99.9% of bacteria, viruses and protozoa that cause water-borne illness.  No moving parts, no pumping, and no more chemicals in your drinking water.  If clear water is not available, SteriPEN also makes a pre-filter that removes large particles before purification.

Baa-Bye to Shrek

Content via Icebreaker, reposted with permission.

RIP Shrek – not the curmudgeonly green ogre, but the woolly colossus who made headlines around the world after evading mustering for six years.

Shrek was no ordinary merino. If anything, he looked more like a giant cauliflower than a sheep.

By the time Shrek was discovered in a cave on Bendigo sheep station near New Zealand’s Southern Alps, he had avoided the shearer’s blades for six years. His 38cm (15ins) coat of merino wool had kept him alive despite the region’s harsh, snowy winters and searingly-hot summers.

Shrek had the full Brazilian – and more – on an iceberg off the coast of Dunedin. Shrek’s fabulous ‘fro yielded 27kg (59lb) of merino wool, which is six times as much as the average sheep.

Icebreaker stepped in to keep the newly-naked Shrek cosy with a specially-made coat, which he wore for an audience with then Prime Minister Helen Clark in Wellington. He flew in planes, visited hospitals and was immortalised in best-selling books, and in the process raised money for a children’s charity.

Fame never turned Shrek’s head, and his owners said he was a sheep of exceptional personality.

Alas, Shrek’s dream run has come to an end. At 17 – almost double his life expectancy – Shrek had to be put down after suffering health problems. Station owner John Perriam described him as “a great old mate” who was ready to go to sleep.

John wants Shrek’s ashes to be scattered at the top of Aoraki/Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain, so he can look out over his old stamping ground. A service for Shrek will be held at the appropriately-named Church of the Good Shepherd.

“Layer up for warmth” is one of our favourite phrases at Icebreaker, and we’ve never met anyone who did it as well as Shrek. Farewell, old friend – we’ll miss ewe.