Smith Optics: Train your Focus with Lowdown

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Life and sport are filled with chaos and distraction. Now there is a way to mentally train for better focus and concentration. Introducing Lowdown Focus Brain Sensing Eyewear™ with the Smith Focus App to help you develop a heightened sense of self-awareness and train your cognitive performance. The integrated brain-sensing technology of the Brain Sensing Eyewear™ provides real-time feedback on your brain’s activity level so you can learn how to control your focus.

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REVIEW: 5.11 Tactical Pants


Anyone who has been interested in the great outdoors, the military or law enforcement should be familiar with 5.11. The original 5.11 pant was developed in 1992. Their offerings have expanded significantly and now offer clothing options for military, law enforcement, outdoors and athletics. The technology that now goes into their garments makes them more adaptable to today’s user.
I remember my first pair of 5.11 pants bought almost 20 years ago. I bought two pairs. One in Khaki and one in Charcoal. I wore them until they frayed apart a decade later. At the time, they were cutting edge and in style, or at least for me. They had lots of pockets, an elastic waistband, heavy belt loops for my issued riggers belt and just felt good.


As I have gotten older I am still in decent shape, but having clothing that stretches and flexes with the way I move is an absolute must these days. So, keeping that in mind I decided to take a look at three of 5.11’s latest pant offerings.

For this comparison, I will be looking at the TACLITE PRO, the APEX, and the STRYKE. Each pant came to me brand new sized 34×34.


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5.11 Tactical Defender Flex Jeans Review

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The biggest technical difference between the Defender-Flex series and your dad’s old Levi’s or Wranglers is the fabric. The Defender-Flex jeans are composed of Lycra T400 Tough Max, a cotton/polyester-blend fabric. The manufacturer claims Tough Max fabric is twice as strong as regular 100% cotton denim. It’s also said to have higher tear and tensile strength than cotton, as well as high abrasion resistance. The label lists the composition as 76% cotton and 24% polyester.

Defender-Flex pants use a slightly different fabric than the jeans, resulting in a smoother finish and slightly more stretch. The label on the pants lists composition as 66% cotton, 31% polyester, and 3% elastane (also called Spandex or Lycra). Aside from this fabric and different color options, the jeans and pants are identical.

In addition to this modern fabric, 5.11 Tactical added extra-thick hems and stitching to further reinforce key wear areas, such as the button closure and edges of the front pockets. There are 8 belt loops, three on each side and a pair at the rear. These loops are slightly thinner and more pliable fabric than those found on Levi’s, but at 3/4-inch wide they’re about 30% wider than the Levi’s loops. Tough brass rivets emblazoned with “5.11” text and a brass button with the 5.11 logo serve as subtle finishing touches.


The other distinctive characteristic of the 5.11 Defender-Flex is its pockets. Each pair offers a total of 7 pockets. We’ll list them below along with the pocket dimensions, and how they compare to the pocket dimensions on a pair of Levi’s 505 jeans.



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Smith Optics Guide to Helmet Safety


Whether you're burnin' rubber on your bike or shreddin' the slopes, a helmet is a critical piece of safety equipment. Lucky for you, modern technological advancements have improved the protection properties of helmets, as well as made them lighter, more comfortable and more stylish for the active cyclist and snow sport enthusiast. 



Let statistics do the talking! 817 cyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles in 2015, the highest number since 1995. And of those killed, 54% were not wearing helmets.

Snow sports enthusiasts, the numbers are less scary, but still cause for concern. In the U.S. alone, an average of 38 people die and 49 suffer catastrophic injuries skiing or snowboarding every year. (link to PDF download).

In some areas and at some resorts, helmets are mandatory for persons of all ages. But even where it’s not required, the reason for wearing a helmet is obvious.

For cyclists, studies show, helmets decreased the risk of head injury by 69 percent, brain injury by 65 percent, and severe brain injury by 74 percent. As there are more cycling injuries in the US reported every year, it’s increasingly important to ride defensively and to wear a helmet.

For snow sport enthusiasts, studies show the risk of a ski- or snowboard-related head injury can be reduced by 35% when wearing a helmet. Studies have also shown that helmets save lives, dispelling the myth that more helmets on the slopes correlates to riskier behaviors and additional fatal accidents.

Although helmet adoption is not yet universal, it’s a growing trend. According to the National Ski Areas Association, in North America about 70% of all skiers and snowboarders currently wear helmets on the slopes (link is to PDF download).  In fact, the most experienced skiers and riders are the most likely to wear helmets. Who better to emulate on the slopes than the experts? 



The protection from helmets of the past was clunky, uncomfortable, and unfashionable. Today they are sleek pieces of equipment optimized for  protection, ventilation, and minimal volume and weight.

Check out the below innovative materials that have helped produce much more effective Smith bike and Smith Snow helmets.

Select Smith bike and snow helmets are built with Koroyd -- honeycomb-like networks of polycarbonate cylinders thermally welded together. This material absorbs impact by crushing inward in a controlled manner, decelerating the impact’s energy and reducing trauma levels. The crushing force also dissipates energy at a rate 30% better than expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam , the material most commonly used for helmet liners.

The lightweight property of this material also allows for increased airflow, and a reduction in the overall size of the helmet.

Another innovation found in Smith helmets is the “slip-plane” commonly referred to as MIPS. Multi-directional Impact Protection System, (MIPS) is a thin, low-friction liner inside the helmet that allows the outer shell to slide a few millimeters across the skull on impact, reducing rotational force and the amount of energy transferred to the head in an oblique collision (also referred to as a non head-on collision or multi-dimensional collision).


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Point 6 Merino Wool

Point6 merino wool founders Peter and Patty Duke know wool is nature's miracle fiber. They believe that life's boundaryless adventures start one step at a time, and those steps are made more enjoyable wrapped in the comfort and performance of merino wool socks. Point6 goes to great lengths to use the highest content of the perfect micron thickness of merino wool in all its hiking socks, running socks, cycling socks and everyday awesome socks, and here's why:


1. Merino wool is naturally temperature regulating.

Merino wool maintains the air's temperature in your foot's microclimate (the space between your foot and sock), thus keeping your ideal core body temperature more stable no matter the conditions outside (keeping your body cooler in warm climates and warmer in cold climates). Maintaining ideal core body temperature allows athletes to perform longer with less lactic acid build up in their muscles to slow them down.

2. Merino wool is naturally breathable.

As your body gets warmer, the wool fiber absorbs moisture and releases it to the drier environment outside the fabric. This releases heat and keeps you dry and comfortable throughout your adventure or day in the office. Dry feet are happy (and less stinky) feet!


3. Merino wool is naturally moisture wicking.

The water repelling exterior and water holding interior of merino wool move sweat and moisture away from the skin and release it as vapor better than synthetics and much better than cotton. This active moisture management lowers the humidity in the microclimate. This keeps you comfortable longer and eliminates or reduces bacteria growth that can occur if your feet stay too moist.

4. Merino wool is naturally odor resistant.

The natural properties of merino wool keep socks stink-free longer. Our ambassadors have logged some pretty long treks in only one pair of socks, and the socks stayed odor free.

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