Monday, February 6, 2017

Big Guy Gear Review: Garmin Fitness Products (Fenix 3, Index Scale, Vivofit)

2016 wasn't an ideal step-goal year

Big Guy Gear Reviews are what the sound like--gear reviews focused on the usability for big guys. If you're a proportional six-footer, congrats: you can use literally every piece of gear on the market. If you're a big guy, however, you know it's a frustrating marketplace. I'm here to help.

For reference, here are my basic dimensions: 6'5", 226 pounds*, dress shirt is 17"x37".  I wear XL-tall shirts and 38x34 pants—as long as they’re not straight legged, boot cut, or whatever else skinny hipsters have pushed the market toward. I'm built with more of a weak-man's barrel chest than a fat-man's beer belly. I have what Lululemon calls "hockey butt." If you're tall and not broad, or broad and not tall, these reviews should still help you find usable gear.

This time we're talking about Garmin Fitness products (including activity trackers and their smart scale), which have literally changed my lifestyle for the better.  This is probably more of a testimonial to the power of activity tracking than an actual gear review, but I hope you'll enjoy the read regardless.


As with all Big Guy Gear Reviews, the products reviewed were purchased by me based on my own decisions and without any compensation from the manufacturer.  [that said, Garmin, I wouldn't turn away a Fenix 5x...]


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Big Guy Gear Review: Under Armour Ridge Reaper

Photo copyright - Matt Bonham/http://www.mattbonham.com
Big Guy Gear Reviews are what the sound like--gear reviews focused on the usability for big guys. If you're a proportional six-footer, congrats: you can use literally every piece of gear on the market. If you're a big guy, however, you know it's a frustrating marketplace. I'm here to help.

For reference, here are my basic dimensions: 6'5", 235 pounds, dress shirt is 17"x37".  I wear XL-tall shirts and 38x34 pants—as long as they’re not straight legged, boot cut, or whatever else skinny hipsters have pushed the market toward. I'm built with more of a weak-man's barrel chest than a fat-man's beer belly. I have what Lululemon calls "hockey butt." If you're tall and not broad, or broad and not tall, these reviews should still help you find usable gear.

Each year I return to the Blue Ridge Mountain area of Virginia to hunt white-tailed deer.  Each year I am confounded by hunting clothing cut to fit gnomes and Santas.  If I want a shirt or jacket to fit in the arms, I have to buy a double- or triple-XL; but then the coat is too large to fit into my pack and often catches the butt of my rifle as I raise it to aim.  If I want a shirt or jacket to fit in the body, I have to settle for sleeves so short it looks like I’m copying Bill Belichick.  For that reason, my strategy over most of the last decade has been to wear whatever coat I have handy that fits.   

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Fall Foliage in Flagstaff!



If you've lived your entire Phoenix life without knowing the fall wonderland that lies 2 hours to the north, then you've been missing one of the greatest highlights of Arizona.  The trees of Northern Arizona create some of the most beautiful fall colors I've ever seen. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

My Saturday Hike, a Cautionary Tale

On Saturday I hiked to the top of the highest mountain in Arizona--the 12,633' Mt. Humphreys.  It's the second time I've done the hike, the first being about 6 years and multiple hiking and backpacking trips ago.  I treated it not much different from any other hike I've done and since I hiked the Inca Trail last year didn't think of it as much of a challenge.

I'm going to be in trouble if my Mom reads this, but I've never had a hike where I was more genuinely terrified that I wouldn't make it off the mountain. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Havasupai Falls re-do: Beaver Falls and beyond

Last year I took my first trip to Havasupai Falls in northern Arizona.  It was a whirlwind 2-day, 1-night trip that included just enough time to see Supai and Mooney Falls, relax in the water, and hike out.  This year I revisited Havasupai, but extended the trip to 4-days, 3-nights, which gave plenty of time to explore further down the canyon to Beaver Falls and almost to the Colorado River.  Read all about it!







Saturday, August 8, 2015

First Course: Prescott - Barley Hound

First Course posts are my thoughts after my first time dining somewhere. While some may think it harsh to judge a restaurant  after one visit, my first impressions play a large role in determining if I will return.  Restaurants have to realize that about their customers and always bring their A game.
Verdict: might as well stop by. Patio is amazing, good beer list, and tasty cocktails make it worthwhile.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Big Guy Gear Review: Sleeping Bags

Big Guy Gear Reviews are what the sound like--gear reviews focused on the usability for big guys. If you're a proportional six-footer, congrats: you can use literally every piece of gear on the market. If you're a big guy, however, you know it's a frustrating marketplace. I'm here to help.

For reference, here are my basic dimensions: 6'5", 260 pounds, dress shirt is 17"x37".  I wear XL shirts and 38x34 pants. I'm built with more of a weak-man's barrel chest than a fat-man's beer belly. I have what Lululemon calls "hockey butt." If you're tall and not broad, or broad and not tall, these reviews will still help you find usable gear.

Being a big guy and finding a sleeping bag mix like oil and vinegar, with no option to emulsify. At this point I've tried and returned so many bags that I'm keeping my current bag out of embarrassment more than complete satisfaction (though it is pretty comfortable comparatively). 

Read through to find the winner and see recommendations and precautions along the way. And for basic tips, check out the Gearing Up article on sleeping bags. Also, thanks REI, www.rei.com--your return policy made it possible for me to get a bag I could sleep in. I honestly feel bad about the returns, but I think the goodwill earned makes up for it.