Archive for the ‘Gear Reviews’ Category

Black Diamond ReVolt Headlamp

November 24th, 2013 Comments off


With the change of the clocks and virtually everyone happy with the extra hour of sleep, darkness has taken over the north woods.  Late fall has arrived and with it has brought- headlamp season!  Dark before work and dark when you get out means either stop playing or lighting up with a headlamp.  New this season in our Light Section is the Black Diamond ReVolt.  Take your Black Diamond ReVolt Headlamp on an extended early morning run, get home and plug it into your laptop, and recharge your light via USB. Powerful and efficient LED bulbs sip battery power and provide a distance mode for moving fast down the south trails, a proximity mode for looking under the hood of the Chevy, and red night-vision mode that minimizes eye fatigue for reading or cooking. In classic Black Diamond style, this light is built with attention to detail and steadfast durability.  And dare we say…this is a sexy headlamp!

The Black Diamond ReVolt marks a paradigm shift for versatility in a rechargeable headlamp, capable of being powered by rechargeable batteries, as well as standard alkaline batteries. The 110-lumen ReVolt runs off three Black Diamond NiMH AAA rechargeable batteries and recharges via a USB cable that can be plugged into anything from a computer to a solar charger. When recharging is not an option, the ReVolt accepts standard alkaline AAA batteries. Distance mode is powered by one TriplePower LED, two SinglePower LEDs power proximity mode and two SinglePower red LEDs power night vision mode. With a full feature set, including dimming, and a weather-resistant housing, the ReVolt is ready for nearly any mission.


  • 1 TriplePower LED, 2 SinglePower white LEDs and 2 SinglePower red LEDs emit up to 110 lumens (max setting using alkaline batteries)
  • Settings include full strength in proximity and distance modes, dimming, strobe, red night vision and lockout
  • Sleek, low profile design uses 3 Black Diamond NiMH AAA Rechargeable Batteries or standard alkaline or lithium batteries (rechargeable and alkaline included as well as USB charging cable)
  • Red night vision mode has proximity and strobe settings, and activates without cycling through the white mode
  • Three-level power meter shows remaining battery life for 3 seconds after switching on headlamp
  • Protected against splashing or sprayed water from any angle (IPX 4)


Patagonia One Piece Long Underwear

October 10th, 2013 Comments off


Whether it was during a deep powder backcountry ski in the Keweenaw or ascending and ice pillar in Munising, getting spindrift down the backside is downright dreadful.  Fear no more as Patagonia has re introduced a one piece long underwear union suit just like grandpa use to wear!  From the light weight hood/helmet liner all the way down to the drop seat, this technical piece of gear has been well thought out.


After numerous requests from our ambassadors, we designed this one-piece suit for ice climbers, alpinists and skiers who pull on their baselayers and don’t take them off until the action ends. The one-piece design eliminates the extra seams and potential cold spots of a traditional top and bottom layering system.
Made from the warmest and most breathable baselayer in the Capilene® family, this suit has a soft, stretchy feel and a smooth face that glides beneath layers. The brushed fleece interior insulates, wicks moisture and rests smoothly against your skin. Details include a high collar and self-fabric hood with anatomical shaping to hold in heat, a long center-front zipper, thumb loops to keep sleeves in place, a fully functional fly and a side-zip drop-bottom. Made of 3.8-oz Polartec® Power Dry® High Efficiency™ fabric with Polygiene® permanent odor control.


With the Patagonia One Piece Long Underwear, this winter when dropping into a deep powder tele turn you can be assured that old man winter won’t be chillin’ your backside.  Shed the outer layers when your back at the yurt and you will be relaxing in style.  I guess grandpa always knew best.

Outdoor Retailer- A Final Look

August 13th, 2013 Comments off

bd clothing

A final look at a few of the new products to hit the market next summer including the new line of Black Diamond clothing!  We will have the fall release of the BD line in the store very soon.  Bd has also been busy revamping their headlamp line increasing the lumens on most of their lamps and also adding a unique feature that increase the brightness of the lamp without scrolling through all of the lamps settings.  The button is located on the side of the lamp and with a quick touch….BAM your at the highest setting.

bd lamp


cascade towel

Now this is camping in style!  Cascade Designs takes camp towels to the next level by adding a robe to the popular pack towel line up.  We can see Todd rocking this at next years kayak symposiums!

owl 2

We were super impressed by the new PFD offerings at Astral Designs but what really caught our eye was this beautiful owl that was perched outside their booth!  We are now busy writing orders to get some of this exciting equipment and clothing to the store next spring!


Outdoor Retailer-On Water Demo

July 31st, 2013 Comments off


Twice a year staff from Down Wind Sports attends Outdoor Retailer, which  is a buying show located in Utah.  All of the leading outdoor manufacturers gather to show off their latest gear and clothing at the Salt Palace in downtown Salt Lake City.  There is also a unique opportunity to test paddle the new 2014 boats and stand up boards and that is just what we did.

It is a unique opportunity because it allows us to test the gear so that we are able to select what we think would be the best equipment for our customers for the 2014 summer season.


It was a sunny and hot day for test paddling on the water with loads of sunscreen being applied.  After arriving at the demo and catching up with friends we haven’t seen in a while,  we headed straight for the demo beach to check out the new stand up boards!   Each year we are seeing more and more numbers of folks out on the water stand up paddling and at OR it’s no exception.  We tested boards and boats from Lakeshore Paddleboards, KM Boards , Boardworks and Wilderness Systems Kayaks.



We were also stoked to to see that Boardworks has produced a women’s version of their ever popular Raven.  The Sirena 12’6″ is a slimed down version of the Raven, lighter and sleek designed for lighter paddlers.

Tomorrow we hit the show to see what is new in clothing, camping and climbing!


New Gear- Carve Designs Women’s Swim Wear

June 24th, 2013 Comments off


The Upper Peninsula experienced an incredibly long winter this year and it seems like we jumped right into summer.  It’s time to hop on the beach cruisers and head on down to McCarty’s Cove to enjoy a cool dip into the big lake!  As much as we love winter- we really LOVE summer!  This year we have expanded our women’s swimwear line gambling on a warm summer and plenty of evenings to play volleyball down on the beach.  Stop in to see the beautiful designs and colors we are offering from Carve Designs.


Catalina Tankini

The Carve Designs Catalina Tankini is a functional tankini with a touch of feminine charm, the Catalina features a T-strap back. Long torso. Shelf bra. Removable chest pads.

All of the Carve Designs suits are machine washable, but we highly recommend washing them by hand as this will help maintain the shape and color fastness of the garment.
Rodeo Reversible Top and Rodeo Bottom
Check this out- two suits in one! A reversible top that ties at neck and behind the back. Carve Designs Rodeo Reversible Bikini top is a 2 in 1 top that is great for vacations, pack one suit with two different choices.  Carve Designs knows you do more in your bikini than just lay out on the beach. This suit is not only fashionable but functional with its heavy-gauge rubber on the binding to keep the Rodeo in place when you surf. The durable, four-way stretch, UPF 50-rated fabric fights sun and chlorine fade.
Women’s Breakers Board Short
With this board short you will look great in or out of the water!  Throw on  your swim top and pull the Carve Designs Women’s Breakers Board Short on for a day on the stand up board. This breathable, quick-drying boardie has a relaxed fit, medium rise, and contrast banded waist so you stay comfortable while you surf or paddle.
Sunblocker Rash Guard
Whether you are snorkeling at Wetmore landing, catching a wave at the “zoo” or stand up paddling around Presque Isle,  the Carve Designs Women’s Sunblocker Rashguard can do it all!  Equipped with UPF-50 rated fabric, the Sunblocker shields your body from the sun’s harmful UV rays so you’re not burned to a crisp after playing on the water all day.

New Gear- Halo II Headband

May 31st, 2013 Comments off


Mark this down as “you can’t build a better headband”…..but Halo did!  With temperatures and the humidity rising the Halo Headbands are the perfect tool for keeping the sweat out of your eyes as you are pedaling up the Benson Grade!

The Halo II Headband is Halo’s best-selling headband. Featuring a classic elastic pullover design, the Halo II will fit any head comfortably to redirect sweat and moisture from your eyes and face. Featuring our patented SweatBlock Technology and Dryline® Fabric, these athletic sweatbands will keep up with your high performance training. The Halo II’s are great sweatbands for running, cycling, or virtually any other activity that will work up a sweat. They fit comfortably under helmets and are great headbands for men or women.  While we initally bought these for our mountain biking customers we have been told they are great headbands for doing yoga as well!

New Product- Gibbon’s Slackline- Can You Walk It?

May 5th, 2013 Comments off


So just what is this thing called slacklining?  You may have first been introduced to it during the Madona Super Bowl Half time show featuring “Sketchy Andy” Slacklining is the act of balancing along a narrow, flexible piece of webbing andywhich is low to the ground and usually anchored between two trees.  Originating in the climbing world, slacklining has evolved into a cross trainer, backyard activity and sport all of its own.

Slacklining can be traced back to climbing camps in Yosemite during the mid seventies. Climbers would stay there for weeks blazing new routes and in their time on the ground they starting rigging climbing rope to walk across.  They found that the activity improved their core strength, balance and movement for climbing – and is was FUN.

Gibbon Slacklines have fueled the next generation of slacklining by making it easy and accessible to everyone. The 2″ webbing and ratchet tensioning design make the Gibbon line friendlier to walk on and easier to set up. No additional tools or rigging are needed; just the kit and a couple of trees and you’re ready to go.



The new Red Classic offers our custom weave, perfect for beginners and flexible enough for learning tricks

  •     Available in two lengths
  •     Low mounting height for safe handling
  •     Two part kit for quick and easy set-up and take down
  •     Includes instruction manual


Children of any age love the challenge of slacklining, but it is not just for fun. The Slacklining has some physical benefits like improving your child’s balance and strengthening his core as they struggle to stay on top.  Perfect for family reunions, church retreats, homeschool groups, birthday party’s or anywhere a crowd gathers, the Gibbon Slacklines consists of only two parts, so it is super-easy to set up and can be quickly rigged between two trees or sturdy posts.  Stop by the store to check them out!

New Gear- Salomon Women’s XR Mission And The Skin Pro 3

April 17th, 2013 Comments off


If you’re going to do it….at least look good doing it!  Capture the attention of all those around you in this boldly designed Salomon Women’s XR Mission. A perennial favorite amongst the DWS staff- this shoe brings comfort and style to the trails with its well-padded midsole and eye-popping overlays. A wide, grooved forefoot offers a stable ride over uneven ground and the luggy outsole provides good grip on just about any surface.  The  XR Mission is an all-terrain, short to middle distance training shoe designed specifically for women from the ground up and perfect for the rocky trails of the Upper Peninsula.  We just love the colors!





Trail runners looking for a pack designed for longer distances will simply love the Salomon Skin Pro 14+3. Not only is it lightweight, it is also incredibly comfortable and provides plenty of storage for carrying extra gear. Most importantly it conforms to the runners body and carries water exceptionally.  This small pack could possibly the perfect pack for distance runners, trail runners or ultra light packers looking to carry plenty of water and gear with them on the trail.



What Do Our Employees Do After Work?

March 27th, 2013 Comments off

What do our employees do after work?  Go play of course!  Check out the video Nic Dobbs put together our our employees playing in the fresh powder last week!  They are ripping it up near Harlow Lake on the Marquette Backcountry Skis.  Want a pair?  We still have a few pair left at the discounted price of $129.00.  Stop by the store to pick up a pair today!



Marquette Backcountry Ski from Down Wind Sports on Vimeo.

Pyranha Fusion And Many Other Boats At The Superior Dome Next Weekend!

March 16th, 2013 Comments off

See the Pyranha Fusion and many other boats and bikes at this years Boat, and Sport Show at the Superior Dome next weekend!  Our lowest prices of the year on all of our spring/summer products!