Thursday, July 8, 2010

How A Blogging Mom Stays Active - REI Product Review

by Janis Brett Elspas

Pictured at left is me, MommyBlogExpert, on a bike trip, wearing the Women's Airflyte Jacket in Blue Clay/Ice Blue from REI reviewed in this post

Like most busy mommy bloggers, I tend to spend many hours indoors either working on the computer or caring for my family.  Despite the fact that I do get a lot of work done this way, sitting at a desk inside has its downside.  Most notably, it stifles my creative side and in the long run hurts productivity in just about all facets of my usually hectic life.  So every day year-round I make it a point to get outside for some physical activity, ideally with my kids.  After all, I tell the children, a family that exercises together, not only has fun but also stays together, too.

For sure, riding bicycles with the family is currently among my favorite pastimes.  Now that the triplets are 13 and big brother is 14, I feel particularly fortunate that my kids still enjoy cycling together with their parents.  Since all four are currently enrolled in the local public school's independent study program, they're usually home all day.  This gives them luxuries that many of their friends envy, especially the freedom to have less-structured schedules and to do things like bicycle around the neighborhood in the middle of a weekday just about whenever they'd like to.

My middle triplet, also known as Mini MommyBlogExpert because she sometimes writes for this blog, and I have a weekly ritual that just the two of us do together.  That's because Friday mornings, rain or shine, we ride our bikes to the neighborhood Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf to talk and laugh while we each enjoy a coffee or tea drink together on the open air patio and play with friendly dogs sitting under other guests' tables.

It can be a bit nippy on those early morning cycle jaunts, though, even in July in coastal California where we live.  So I was more than happy to have the opportunity to test and write about the Women's OXT Airflyte Running Jacket pictured here that is available exclusively from REI.  This passionate outdoor adventure retailer, if you didn't already know, is the nation's largest consumer co-op with more than 3 million members and 100 stores.

Even though REI markets this particular item as a running jacket, I decided to experiment with it to see if it would also hold up for other sports such as recreational cycling.  From the minute I tried this on, it felt functional, comfortable, tailored and sporty, wrapped all in one.  REI sent me a women's size large since I have long arms -- the only problem with that was it fit me a bit more loosely around the waist than I would have liked.

Among the cooler details of this jacket -- both my teen daughters quickly pointed out -- were the zippered front pocket with headphone portal to manage music from my iPhone while exercising.  Pictured here from the inside is a close-up shot of that feature.  What's more is that I feel safe wearing this because the jacket's sleek reflective trim helps drivers avoid colliding with anyone who wears this.

Yet, by actually wearing this waterproof coat (which according to the tag is also windproof to 60 MPH except for the sides) while vigorously pedaling up steep inclines, I have to say what amazed me most about it was that it actually "breathes."  That's because it's constructed with high tech eVent Fabrics which keep you completely dry since the fibers allow sweat to quickly evaporate to the outside.  Before this, I would have never imagined physically pushing myself this hard, without paying for it with wet workout wear afterward (such as a soaked sweat shirt or wind breaker).  Since that first experience, I've continued to wear the Airflyte whenever I'm cycling and the weather calls for a jacket.  

I've also been pleasantly surprised to discover other uses for it, too.  For example, the jacket is very light weight.  In fact, it packs unbelievably compactly, as you can see here by the tiny box that REI shipped this to me in.  That package, believe it or not, measured just about 9" x 6" x 4".  

This inspired me to bring the Airflyte with me on our family trip to Europe last month.  It was an absolute dream for all the kilometers of sightseeing we did on foot, especially on those rainy days we spent in London shopping and visiting museums with our kids.  Best of all, with this jacket, I didn't end up breaking out into a sweat like I typically do when traveling with my very active family.

At left is my eldest daughter next to one of the colorful elephants in a park near Buckingham Palace in London with the stormy clouds behind her.   Right after I took this photo of her in June, she informed me that she was jealous of the jacket I was wearing (the one from REI that is featured in this review) and wanted it for herself.  When your teen actually threatens to steal your clothes, as a Mom, I take that as a compliment.

Purchase the Women's OXT Airflyte Running Jacket at in Blue Clay/Ice Blue.  Also available in a similar men's style in Black, North Sea/Carbon, or Red Rock/Carbon.  Compared at $169, REI's price is $99.83.

How do you stay fit as a Mommy Blogger? Please share your comments below this post.

FTC Disclosure: MommyBlogExpert received the Women's OXT Airflyte Running Jacket from REI for this product review but did not receive any payment or other compensation associated with this post.  See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.

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