Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Quick Update on the bags...

Well I tried the 3 bags that came in (5.11 All Hazards Nitro, 5.11 Rush 24, Camelbak HAWG mil spec). Unfortunately 2 of the 3 didn't work me.

I really, really, really was hoping the 5.11 bags would cut it but they didn't. They have some of the best organization I've seen in a bag. And I really liked the concept of the Nitro especially. But both bags were really tight on my shoulders, they rubbed uncomfortably and the adjustment straps didn't move well. It's possible they needed a break-in period. But I doubt that would have solved the discomfort in my shoulders.

The Camelbak however... that fit very well and was comfortable from the get go. I used it on a light hike with the kids and I've been carrying it to work. I love it. It has some extra room, not as much as my everki, but enough to be comfortable. It is on the small side, which I wanted, so it will take some getting used to with my loadout. As it stands now I have it pretty full with edc modular bags, my surface 3 w/ UAG armor case, my ipad, and some paperwork. I can get more in it but it's getting close to the limit.

Result - It's still comfortable. I can use it as an edc bag for work and activities. I'm still going to look at some work-specific bags though. I'd prefer a different way of carrying my devices and having quick access to them. But I can take some time for that. I do have a couple of Osprey bags coming in to try out. I've heard good things about them with regards to clydeosaur compatibility.

So very happy with the Camelbak. It's definitely my go to bag for general use, hiking, theme parks, cub scouts, and such. I'll also use it for my work edc which will add in my electronic modular bag, my surface modular bag, and my tablets.

I'll be updating soon with a more detailed post going over the stuff I'm carrying. Also I'll post some reviews on the bags (received as well as incoming).

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

And so it begins...

Well I'm getting back into the swing of things. By that I mean more gear is coming in today.

I need to revitalize myself and get outside more. Three kids, lots of travel, and some physical issues have led to me being to sedentary. My number of X's in clothing size have increased by one. Time to get active and lose some X's.

So I'm buying stuff to play with. Hey, it works.

As mentioned previously I've always been a bag junkie. And I love gear & gadgets. In the past few years some of my bags have worn out. I've been using free bags from various conferences I attend (and I attend a fair amount of them). Some of them are surprisingly clydeosaur friendly. Others... not so much. I need better organization and long term quality bags. So I ordered some from Amazon.

Amazon you say? What about supporting the local stores? Well I still like to do that. But the reality is that most brick & mortar shops don't carry clydeosaur-friendly stuff. It's tough being a big guy in a small word. Amazon helps bridge that gap. Plus we love Prime and I don't have to deal with crowds. So bonus.

Incoming this week:

Camelbak HAWG Military Spec (2013 version) - yes, another Camelbak! I still have my bike version. This version is bigger and more of a daypack.

5.11 Tactical Rush 24 - Yup, I've gone for "tacticool" for my EDC (everyday carry). I have no illusions about being an "operator". I just like quality gear with good organization. And the tactical bags have that.

5.11 Tactical All Hazards Nitro - This could be my new laptop bag. I currently have an Everki Titan, which is great, but it's big, I'd like different organization, and I've never been happy with how it handles water bottles. So I'm trying this one out.

A bunch of other small bags, organizers, and gadgets.

As these come in I'll try them out and post some reviews. I'll even take pics! The reviews will be from my perspective as a big guy who carries a bunch of stuff. Initial reviews will be just that - initial. The stuff I keep I'll post follow ups and updates on how it's performing.

So stay tuned! Stuff will be here soon!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Tap Tap Tap... Is this thing on?

Wow, it's been awhile. Fell out of biking, life got in the way. Some good. Some bad. I think it's time to get back to it.

Still going to focus on getting on my bike (have an update there). Also general organization and life on the bigger side of the human spectrum. I'm a bag & gear junkie and that poses challenges when trying to find new toys to play with at my size.

There are parts of my size I can work on controlling (stomach, I'm looking at you). There are parts of my size that are out of my control (hello shoulders). Regardless, being a big guy in a world made for smaller people is interesting.

More updates coming soon.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Big Review: Camelbak HAWG

Well here's my first Big Review!

I chose the Camelbak HAWG for the first test subject for a couple of reasons:

  • All of my stuff goes in here when I ride
  • I'm a bag junkie. Love bags. My wife on the other hand hates bags because I have too many.
  • I use it every time I ride
So here we go.

First things first. I tend to research the hell out of things before I buy them. In most cases if I bought it I spent hours online researching reviews, descriptions, photos, and user feedback. Along the way I research where the best place (hopefully) to buy something is. That isn't always the place with the lowest price. I go for a combo of lowest price, reliable shipping, reasonably priced shipping, local presence, local price, and great customer service.

I am a BIG fan of buying from a local bike/specialty shop when possible. Don't get me wrong - I'm an avid e-consumer. But isn't going to help me out with an emergency repair when I run into a problem on the trail. Although can if you have internet access.The local brick & mortar shops need our business and (usually) deserve our business. That being said if something is twice the price locally (and they're not flexible on pricing) then the online retailers are a very viable option.

So, back to the review.

Product: Camelbak HAWG (NOTE: Link is to the HAWG NV, the model I purchased is not exactly the linked model - my guess is this was a closeout purchase by the retailer as Camelbak does not have the model I purchased listed).

Purchase Price: $60

Purchase Location: Bass Pro Shops - local store

Rating: *****

Value: *****

Clydeosaur Fit: ****

My Stats for the Fit: Height 6'2"; Shirt Size: 4X; Pant Size: 4X

Pros: Lightweight, durable, good organization, all my stuff fits
Cons: Waist belt didn't fit (big surprise there), some fraying on elastic tube holder, shoulder straps could be longer. But nothing major.

Would I buy it again? Yes
Would I recommend it to people? Yes

Other Products Considered: Camelbak MULE; various other hydration packs


I knew I wanted a hydration pack and I had used small camelbaks previously. I was comfortable with the brand and I knew they made quality products. More importantly I knew they usually fit my shoulders.

After a bunch of research I was pretty sure I wanted a MULE. The HAWG was appealing but I thought I'd go with the lower price of the MULE and it would still hold my stuff. In the clydesdale range it's important to try it on before purchasing or shop with an online store with good customer service. I tried the MULE on at Bass Pro since my local shop didn't have any in stock. It fit, I liked the layout and I was set. Unless research indicated that BPS was way overpriced I'd get it there. I did find some good deals on ebay (half the price) so I was taking my time.

One day the mail came and I was flipping through my local bass pro sales flyer and I spotted the Camelbak HAWG on sale. Advertised price was $60. Wow. That was good for the HAWG. That was about the range used ones were going for on ebay. Unfortunately the sale hadn't started yet.

So I waited. The day the sale started I went to my local BPS and picked one up. Very happy with my purchase!


So how does the HAWG fit a Clydeosaur?

Pretty darn good.

As with most backpacks and my shoulders the straps ride high. The backpacks I use day in and day out are the ones that have long straps in place to accomodate people of my size. There are a few brands that accomplish this: Kelty, Spireusa, Camelbak and a few others are on the shortlist.

The HAWG is close on the shoulder fit and the tube attachment rides a little high. But once it's on and adjusted I find I can even tighten the straps a bit. On a good day I can even attach the sternum strap. :) One feature I thought was nice was the addition of velcro at the bottom of the strap so that those of lesser stature can control excess strap lenght. That way they won't have to complain about the extra clyde-worthy strap material. And camelbak can keep making products that fit. Well done.

The only downside from a fit standpoint is the waist belt. Now I really didn't expect it to fit so from that standpoint it met my expctations. It comes close though. And the waist straps are removable so I don't have to worry about them flapping around. They're currently residing in my drawer for "one day".

Build Quality:

Good build quality. The materials seem durable. I do have some minor concern about the interior organization pocket. The divider seems to be lightly attached but no problems yet. And the elastic on the shoulder strap seems a little stretched out and frayed from the first use. But it's holding up. I'll keep this updated as time goes by.


For a backpack features mean organziation. I like the way the HAWG is laid out. Starting from the back you have a well padded section that rests against your back. This holds the main water bladder compartment. Some will complain that there isn't an external fill for this pack. I haven't found it to be a problem as this compartment is easy to get to and there's a nice little fabric tab to hold the bladder in place so it's easy to tke the bladder out.

Moving forward from the bladder compartment we go to the main cargo compartment. A nice feature here is another tab to hold another bladder for those really long rides. Or use it for storage. I've put my rainjacket in here, a first aid kit, spare tubes, and stuff. And there's room to spare.

On top of/in between these compartments is a pocket for an mp3 player. One very nice feature is that the zipper for this compartment seals so it's waterproof/water resistant. Well done. I find this pocket is perfect for my blackberry bold. I've been taking this on every ride and logging my rides with Sanoodi. A cool, free app that tracks route basics and overlays them on a map.

Next up we have the smaller front compartment with a couple of divided sections for small stuff. This is where my lip balm, keys, small SKA (Swiss Army Knife), mini pump, a couple of tools, and whatever else I have on me goes. It works well. It's a little snug to dig deep with my hands and one of the dividers seems a little flimsy but so far no problems.

In front of that we have the external mesh pouch that clips shut. This is where a bandana (one of the original Dirt Rag magazine bandanas), my trail tag (required for county park mt. bike trails), and stuff goes.

Moving to the sides we have zippered pouches on either side with elastic mesh inside to keep things straight. These pockets hold my trail tools & related items (multi tool, tire lever, zip ties, presta valve adapter, etc).

Wrapping it all up are side compression straps so that you can keep the pack's load from shifting around.

So overall the layout is easy to use and holds everything I need. I actually still have room to spare. Well done camelbak, well done!


This pack is a winner for me. It fits. It holds my stuff and has room to spare. I got it at a good price. It serves it's function very well.

Would I buy it again? Yes. When it wears out I will look for it (or its equivalent).

Would I recommend it? Yes. I can wholeheartedly recommend it to other clydes and to anybody who wants to carry the kitchen sink with them like I do.

I will be monitoring how well the pack wears over time and how does when I get back to doing rougher stuff. But for now it's comfortable and I'm happy with it. 5 stars overall.

Big Reviews!

I'm going to add a new feature to the blog. It's something nobody's ever done in the blogosphere before! Product Reviews!

Well, okay, maybe one or two people have done it but here's my take.

Many products on the market (not just related to cycling) are geared towards the "average" person. I don't know about you but I haven't fit some of these "average" measurements since I was in the 5th grade. Even when I wasn't as overweight as I currently am I was always "big boned". Not big boned as a euphemism for fat. Seriously big boned. In high school I was shopping at the big & tall stores for b&t athletic cut clothing. If I remember correctly I had 52" shoulders and a 38 inch waist (close to that anyway). Now I still shop at the big & tall but we'll just say the shoulders and the waist don't require that much of a taper.

My point is this - whether or not you're naturally big, you got big through the joy of beer and fried food, or some combo there is a bunch of stuff in the marketplace that just doesn't fit.

So I'll be taking a look at products I've bought, borrowed, or some kind vendor gave to me to test (HINT). To start off I'll be using products I've purchased with my own hard earned $$ since that's all I have at the moment (vendors: HINT AGAIN).

My goal in this is to provide some real world insight for other big mt. bikers. I'll only be reviewing stuff that I've used and I'll go over pros & cons. Most all of it will be related to mt. biking but there could be some stuff from other hobbies and everyday use jumping in.

Expect to see reviews on some (or all) of the following:

  • Camelbak HAWG
  • Aerotech Designs clothing
  • Merrell Shoes
  • Ergon Grips
  • WTB Seat
  • Redline d440
  • Park MTB-3 Rescue Tool
  • And other stuff I found to be good (or not so good) for your average clydeosaur
So stay tuned. The first reviews will be appearing soon.



Monday, June 22, 2009

Vacation can really throw off the schedule

Back from vacation over a week and still working on getting back into a routine.

Before vacation I was getting a nice little routine going and riding frequently. Since vacation not so much. I rode a little bit on vacation but not much. I did get some good fishing and kayaking in. Managed to land a nice redfish from my kayak. That was nice.

Since being back I've had a lot of catch up at work, we're reorganizing stuff at home, and I've been making sure to spend lots of time with my wife & kids. Being on vacation reminded me how great it is to have highly focused time with them. So trying to manage work and not get wrapped up in that.

But my bike routine has suffered. And along with it our eating habits have slid to convenient rather than healthy. So today I'm "back on the wagon" and focusing on sensible meals that don't come from a fast food/pizza place. Started off the day with peanut butter on whole wheat toatst, a yogurt, and a granola bar spread throughout the morning. Lunch was turkey on whole wheat with carrots. Hoping to maintain through dinner. :) Planning on hitting a bike ride (pavement in the neighborhood) after work. If all goes well I'll follow up with a mt bike ride before work tomorrow.

I did install a new seat so that knocked me out of commission for a few days. Okay, so it was really maybe 5 minutes of install time but it's they psychological impact of adjusting it. :)

Speaking of new seats I picked up a WTB Speed V Sport from ebay. I've only done a couple of short rides with it (to be honest all of my rides are short rides right now) but it feels pretty nice. I was getting used to the stock Redline saddle but felt that a little more padding would be in order. Not too much though. The WTB saddle seems to be right in there. Need to get it into the dirt and see how it does there.

So now with new saddle, new stem, and new grips I'm really starting to feel at home on my d440. I'm finding that as I ride more I'm adjusting more as I get my body used to that exercise thing.

And there you have it. Time to stop being lazy and get out and ride! I need to remember I live in Paradise and EVERY day is like being on vacation. Yeah...that's it. :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Cryin' oh the dreadful wind and rain...

That was my thought this morning when the alarm went off. No riding for me.

Keeping with the Grateful Dead theme this lyric would have worked as well

Lazy lightning
That sleepy fire in your eyes
Is that desire in disguise
I keep on trying but I
I can't get through

No desire to ride in a thunderstorm. But by the time I was ready to go to work the skies were blue. Still, I was a good worker bee and went in rather than ride.

But the bike, helmet, gloves, and camelbak are in the car. Riding shorts and a t-shirt are in my gym bag here in the office. I'm wearing my riding shoes (going casual today).

No, my riding shoes aren't clipless yet. I'm still on platform pedals w/o toe straps at the moment. Never rode clipless - thus the dinosaur half of "clydeosaur". Back when I was actively riding the first time they were still fairly new for mt. biking (at least in our riding group) and there wasn't any feedback on how they worked for those of us with larger physiques.

So I'm wearing my trusty Merrell hiking shoes. I used to ride in them "back in the day" when there was pretty much one choice in Merrell hiking shoes. My wife lovingly referred to them as my "ugly" shoes. Eventually she owned some Merrells as well. But they were still the "ugly" shoes. I don't care, I love them. They've consistently been some of the most comfortable shoes I've owned. They do alright for biking. Probably could have a stiffer sole but I'll worry about that as my fitness level increases.

Well, if I want to hit the trails before they close that means I need to leave work on time. And that means I should probably stop screwing around on teh interwebz.

Happy trails!