Plenty of people know I’ve entered the Teva Mountain Games Costa Del Mar 2 Fly X-treme fly fishing competition. Only one person knows I don’t stand a chance of making it past the first round. This is a good thing. From now until the games commence I can continue photoshopping fly gear and fish into various pictures of myself, slap those onto background layers depicting some idyllic nature setting, and folks will keep on thinking I can actually use a fly rod for something other than just picking my nose. And…they’ll send me stuff I can use at the Games. Cool!
John d′Arbeloff sent me a pair of his Extreme Adventure Pants and a Hydro-T. They were kindly offered, but I was a little skeptical at the start. RailRiders clothing is billed as ‘The Toughest Clothes On The Planet’, which usually means the most uncomfortable on the planet as well. But nothing could be further from the truth.
The first thing I noticed about the pants was the design – simple, but with some well thought out features. Side pockets have zippers tucked neatly beneath a double layer of stitched material, and the ankles have both elastic and velcro strapping so you can fit them nicely over wading (or hiking) boots. The best parts are the belt loops, which are traditional narrow material on the sides but a solid loop across roughly eight inches of the rear and front (no worries about tearing belt loops off here), and the front of the pants from the knees down to the ankles where heavier material is used for durability (kind of like premium waders). They fit perfectly, and were very comfortable right out of the box.
As for the Hydro-T, the material is slightly heavier than what you’d find in a traditional (i.e. cheap) wicking shirt, but quite soft to the touch. This sucker ain’t no cheap – it’s the best I’ve ever seen. The XL also fit nice – loose but not so baggy that I’d have to tuck it in to control excess material. Additionally, RailRiders did something I really love, they went easy on the logos. I’m not a big fan of logos emblazoned on premium outerwear – I just spent good money on your product, and I’m not inclined to do free advertising for you too. RailRiders logos are discrete. Good job fellas!
As previously mentioned, I’ll be using those pants for wet wading this summer, and will report back after I try to bust them up. I’ve been told I can’t, so I’m going to give these garments extra hell. After taking a good close look at the way they are built, I know I have my work cut out for me.
Flies And Fins
Jeremy Cameron of Flies and Fins hinted that I looked like a real goof in that felt hat I’m always wearing on the river, and suggested something a little more stylish. That would be a kick ass comfy cotton cap, one I’ve been eyeing ever since I realized the Fishing Jones commemorative visor wasn’t going to protect my spit n’ polished dome. Yes, I look better in it than the crushable Bailey, and believe you me I can always use improvement in the fashion department. Of course, Jeremy didn’t realize when he made the hat offer that I’d been pilfering the music from his website and dubbing cowbell into it with GarageBand. He knows that now, but he’s not getting his hat back until I hit the front cover of Fly Fisherman (i.e. never).
Even if you’re inclined to tell nobody but your dog about that favorite fly fishing spot or that secret fly you used to kill ’em, Flies and Fins is still definitely worth logging into. The crew over there has plenty of stories of their own to tell, and much of the really good stuff is behind the free wall. And if you don’t fly fish at all you should still sign up – Jeremy and Company produce some great original music, and tracks are available for download within. My favorite is Rat Race, and I’m taking it upon myself to designate that tune as the official song of my pending decimation at the TMG.
These folks are my brothers and sisters. Big brothers and big sisters – you know, the kind that only let you hang out with them so they have someone to punch in the face whenever they feel the urge. I still have all my teeth, but I think that’s mostly because I complimented their cooking. Even though I don’t catch as many carp as that bunch, I can validly claim those rejects from the koi pond are just scared of me. See…I wade like a twelve-footed Shrek – the trout can’t hear me coming because the water’s too noisy in the riffles, and I when I hit the salt in a skiff the footwear is non-existent and the guides usually Super Glue my feet to the casting deck. Carp must think they’re two seconds away from getting run over by a freight train when I’m a half mile away. Still, it’s all good.
What did Primal Fly provide? A lousy t-shirt! Those cheap bastards also plastered their logo right across the chest, and the URL for their crummy website down the sleeves. Just because they provided mezzanine financing (read: loan sharking) for the rod and line I’ll be casting and comp-ed me a sweet reel (actually paid for in blood) doesn’t mean they are entitled to skimp on the outerwear. I must look good, because in the grand scheme that’s all that matters (at least for the photo ops). And lest they forget, their graphite and aluminum bribes were handed to me more than a month ago! Dirty rotten scoundrels…I’m going to hack their blog, again.
Love is in the air
Even the folks at the Teva Mountain Games sent me something – their official logo…
Thanks to everyone for their support!
MG signing off (to continue my Tequila-laden practice sessions)