Is the arc’teryx beta ar really worth the price?

The price tag on consumer items like rain jackets are at an all time high. I want to chat about why that is and determine if a $750+ rain jacket is really worth it for you.

The outdoor industry grosses 887 billion dollars annually. It’s one of the fastest and largest growing business sectors in the world. The price tag on consumer items like rain jackets are at an all time high. I want to chat about why that is and determine if a $750+ rain jacket is really worth it for you. Or if it’s just a clever rouse to take your money.

First of all, if you simply want a badass jacket to wear around the city because you like the look and feel of it, that’s cool! This article is to help you navigate the features and benefits of the Beta AR and whether or not it’s really worth the price. After all, you could can travel or experience a lot of cool things with $750 dollars.

Inspired by

I recently had a good friend join me on a backpacking trip through a remote region of the Canadian Rockies. He had just about everything he needed for the trip with the exception of a rain jacket. I lent him mine as I had an extra. a few hours into the first day of the trip he explained to me that he never new the difference a quality rain jacket could make.

By the end of the trip, my friend vowed to invest in his own Arc’teryx Beta AR rain jacket. You see, with most trips or adventures, there is a cost associated to the thing you want to do. Why spend money on some costs like travel, and accommodations, but then cheap out on equipment that will keep you safe, dry, warm, and enjoying your adventure to the fullest?

The Proton FL Is Arc’teryx Most Versatile Layering Piece Yet

Beta AR Features

The “AR” stands for all around. And the series – Beta – belongs to Arc’eryx’ “all purpose” family. The alpha series is fine tuned specifically for alpine settings for example.

The hood

Not many people know this; Arc’teryx spends nearly 80% of their manufacturing time on the hood. The hood can make a break the jacket and getting it right takes a lot of time. The hood features a brim. Features an adjustable draw strings that are easy to use with gloves. It also features helmet compatibility.

The collar is probably my favourite feature that sets this jacket apart from the others in the Arc’teryx lineup. It sits comfortable against your chin when the zipper is done all the way up. I often wear the jacket with the zipper done up, but keep the hood down.

The GORE-TEX

Gore-tex is pretty transparent about their love affair with Arc’teryx. The company usually launches all their new products with Arc’teryx first. Because GORE-TEX is so great at what they do, and Arc’teryx is best at what they do as well, it’s a good partnership.

The Beta AR features a 3l GORE-TEX membrane. That means there’s an extra layer of protection on the inside of the jacket and not just the outside. This is important if you’re wearing a waterproof rain jacket for extended use. Especially in rough environments like the mountains.

The GORE-TEX “PRO” is not just more durable, it’s also noticeable more breathable. This is a great feature to have if you’re laying. It’s also great for summer objectives where you might need rain protection but it isn’t very cold outside.

The newest revision of the Beta AR includes GORE-TEX’ brand new Most Rugged Technology. This new technology makes the jacket – you guessed it – the Most Rugged.

This Camera Bag Is A Chameleon Adapting To All My Adventures

The fit

The way a jacket fits is most critical part in determining whether or not I’m going to love a jacket or not. That’s probably a pretty universal sentiment. You have to consider that you might be spending a lot of time in the rain jacket. I’ve been on a handful of trips where I hardly took the jacket of more than once or twice over the span of a week.

Make sure that when you try on this jacket, you’re trying it on with all your layers on underneath. Test out how it feels with your fleece, your insulation piece, and just a t-shirt. Make sure it’s going to work for you in every setting and circumstance. This is the Beta AR after all. Not the Beta “sometimes”.

The Cost Per Use Theory

Ultimately, if you’re exploring the mountains, or traveling to cold and wet environments where “shelter” means putting on a rain jacket… Then you absolutely need a rain jacket. Now you can buy a $200 rain jacket. You’ll save the steep up front cost. However, you will end up replacing it again and again if you use it frequently.

If you treat your Beta AR right, you can easily get 5-15 years of performance out of it. You’ll end up spending less money per use of the jacket than if you were to cheap out and get the bargain deal.

Final Thoughts

There’s tons of ways to save money and cut costs when it comes to your outdoor lifestyle. However, protection from the elements and having quality equipment you can rely on is worth the extra dollars.

I look at my rain jacket as an expensive safety item, not a fashion piece or “nice to have” item. Most weeks I’m in the mountains more than the city, and I never leave without packing my Beta AR.

This Camera Bag is a Chameleon Adapting to All My Adventures

This shapeshifting camera backpack can adapt to almost every adventure, no matter what I’m shooting or where.

I’m not much of a gear head. Some people love talking about gear. That’s totally fine it’s just not usually a huge talking point for me. Here’s why.

If I’m fixated on the gear I’m using and the equipment I do or don’t have with me, I’m probably not as focussed as I should be on creating. Thats why, for me, the perfect piece of gear is something you don’t have to think about at all. Something that adapts to you, your adventures, and your environment.

I’ve had the F-Stop Ajna 40L Camera Bag for about 7 months now. In the Rockies, that’s all 4 seasons ha! I’ve used it as my primary camera bag in a variety of settings. From glaciers in the dead of winter, to valleys in the middle of summer. I’ve used the Ajna camera bag on photo commissions, and video commissions.

My loadout is always changing from shoot to shoot. Depending on the primary goal, the trip type, the weather, the season, etc. I can think of almost no scenario where the Ajna wouldn’t thrive.

What’s in the Bag?

Camera Equipment

On a typical photo/video shoot I usually have two full frame camera bodies, a 35mm 2.8 prime. A 24-70 f2.8, a wide angle f4. Mavic 2 Pro. Ten spare batteries. A spare mavic battery. Two GoPros. a Rode shotgun mic. A Rode LAV set, and miscellaneous camera accessories like tape, cleaning supplies, microfibre cloths.

Outdoor Equiptment

On any given shoot, I will always carry a lightweight Gore-tex rain shell, and a down puffy. Weather is unpredictable and a rain jacket and insulation might be the only thing keeping you alive in an emergency.

I also always have lightweight gloves, two buffs, and a light wool touque. This might vary depending on the location or season. However I always include this when I’m home in the Rockies. It can be 30 degrees in the valley and 0 degrees on the mountain.

10 Tips For Shooting Into The Sun For Dramatic Images

In addition to that, I also have a first aid kit with essentials. Emergency gear repair kit. A small foam seat-pad (luxury among mountain people). Snacks or meals depending on my expected time out. 2-4L of water. As well as a map, compass, and emergency communications device.

Variations

Variations to this, or add-ons might include helmets, rope, a tent, hiking poles etc. This all really depends on the specific kind of shoot, and what I’m shooting.

What’s great about the Ajna camera bag is that I don’t have to have one bag just for climbing, another bag for snowshoeing, another one for backpacking, I can just change the way I load the straps gear straps and the bag just adapts to whatever it is I’m doing.

Limitations

The only limitations I can imagine for the Ajna – yet haven’t personally experienced – is the load capacity for multi-day winter objectives like ski-mountaineering, winter backpacking trips, or anything involving the need to carry winter camping equipment and winter layers.

In my experience, I wouldn’t ever be able to have all of my camera equipment and all of the extra insulation and camping gear fit into 40L. I would probably need something closer to 80L (mind you, I would only use about 70L of 80L – I prefer to have extra room for ease of access).

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Photos and words by Ryan Richardson.

All-Mountain Trail Running Shoe: Norvan VT 2 Review

Arc’teryx recently launched the ultimate trail running/ scrambling shoe. The Norvan VT 2 shoes are thought to be the best trail shoes on the market. I brought them to multiple ranges in the Canadian Rockies to field test them and see what all the hype is about.

Rocky Mountain Approved

I had the opportunity to put Arc’teryx’ new Norvan VT 2 trail shoe to the test in a couple of different Canadian playgrounds. I first tried the Norvan VT 2 shoes during a 3-day helicopter assisted trail running trip in the Purcell Range of British Columbia. I then wore them on the rugged terrain of the Opal Range in Alberta a week later.

Initial thoughts: The Norvan VT 2 can definitely take a beating while allowing you to feel agile and supported.

When I first learned that the shoe is designed for both trail running and scrambling, I almost didn’t believe it. Holding the shoes for the first time, they felt too light to be durable enough for a solid Rocky Mountain scramble. Weighing in at 10.1 oz per shoe, these trail runners are super lightweight, however, I was pleasantly surprised by how robust they are.

Purcell Range, BC

During our heli-trail running excursion, I was seriously gliding in the Norvan VT 2 shoes. I was transitioning from the new Salomon Speed Cross 5’s and my feet instantly felt at ease when I first started running. There was something that felt so right about the shoes, perhaps it was the grip or how breathable they are. It was important for me to be able to keep up with my trail running group (I’m generally a slow poke) so I could photograph them as well. We were there to do a job that required being on our feet all day, so I found that the shoes provided outstanding comfort. I was able to continue running for hours on end.

I could not stop raving about the shoes throughout the trip. I felt like a lightning bolt as I ran the narrow ridges of the Purcell Range. I loved how agile I could be while I was both running and filming.

I continuously thought to myself that these were the best shoes I had ever worn.

Opal Range, AB

A 6 hour jaunt up and down Gap Mountain in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park helped me truly determine my stance on the shoe.

Our ascent was an incredibly steep 713 m elevation gain with sheer exposure and gullies to be mindful of. There were a few sections that required conscious footing in order to pass safely. I was always confident in my foot placement and appreciated just how grippy the VT 2’s were against the loose scree.

When we were up, the narrow ridgeline made for a super fun traverse to the summit and I again felt sturdy as I glided across the rocks. When I was ridge running on Gap, there was never a moment where my feet couldn’t keep up with the ground beneath me. This is something I have found to be common in other runners that have made me feel completely defeated by the terrain.

Though the shoe is thoughtfully designed with scramblers in mind, there are a few issues that I discovered during this second adventure. For scrambling specifically, the shale and loose rock do pose a problem with such a low ankle cut. I found that there were numerous times I was taking the shoe off and dumping out handfuls of sharp pebbles. Gators could be a fix, but I also found that my ankles were getting completely bruised and badly cut up this time around by the sharp rocks. On both the ascent and descent, we had to bushwhack some of the way and in these instances my exposed ankles did not stand a chance against fallen trees and shrubs.

I have decided that the Norvan VT 2 shoes are a ‘time and a place’ kind of shoe. If you are looking for a higher ankle cut with the same capabilities, I highly recommend checking out the Aerios FL Mid GTX instead. The Aerios has similarities to the Norvan VT 2 shoes but instead is built with a collar above the ankle to seal out debris. Additionally, I felt great using the Norvan VT 2 shoes for ridge running and well mapped out trails. On the contrary, I would be wary using them for tougher alpine running objectives.

Why I Love the Norvan VT 2 Shoe

  • You can’t feel sharp rocks/roots/ or other ground objects below you thanks to the mid-forefoot TPU film which provides underfoot protection
  • The shoe has an 8 mm heel drop
  • The shoe is breathable and keeps your feet cool
  • It’s grippy as hell

Concerns

  • Low ankle cut
  • Abrasion resistance could improve

To put a bow on it: for general trail running, the Norvan VT 2 Shoe is hands down the best trail shoe I’ve ever worn. For scrambling, I personally will go with a shoe that has that higher cut next time.

I’m stoked to continue using the Norvan VT 2 shoe for some smaller mountain objectives coming up in August!

Happy trails!

The Proton FL is Arc’teryx Most Versatile Layering Piece Yet

The Proton FL is unlike any other insulation piece in Arx’teryx lineup. I’ve had the opportunity to put my jacket to the test this year. Here’s what I think.

The Proton FL is unlike any other insulation piece in Arx’teryx lineup. I’ve had the opportunity to put my jacket to the test this year from crossing Iceland, to climbing mountains in the rockies, to trekking along the east coast trail. Here’s what I think about it.

Hiking in the Canadian Rockies during late fall. -10 degrees Celsius .

Synthetic Insulation

Many years ago the military demanded a more robust insulation. Something that could effectively replace the natural insulator, down. They needed something that stays warm when wet, dries out fast, and keep its’ warming properties over prolonged abuse. That’s how synthetic insulation was born.

Every year there’s marginal improvements for synthetic fibre insulation. Making small adjustments and creating a more effective warmth to wait ratio. A ratio that down insulation still rules over.

Arc’teryx’ newest fast & light jacket in the Proton series closes that gap. The new Octa insulation was used in my favourite running jacket, the argus for men and gaea for women. I know the insulation is crazy breathable and super warm in the endorphin jackets. I knew I could expect the same performance from the comparable Proton FL jacket.

The Proton FL is the answer to 4 season layering. The jacket weighs only 320 grams, making it just slightly heavier than the comparable Atom SL jacket. The Proton FL has a few new features making it a little bit warmer and and even more versatile than the Atom SL.

Is The Arc’teryx Beta AR Really Worth The Price?

Multi-day backpacking trek in Newfoundland on the ECT. +5 degrees Celsius.

Features

Octa Insulation

The octa insulation is distributed evenly throughout the jacket, including side pannels unlike the fleece side panels found in the Atom series of jackets. This makes the jacket a little bit warmer overall. The octa insulation breathes better than the CoreLoft insulation used in the Atom series too. Making it warmer, yet more breathable.

Elastic Cuffs

The elastic cuffs feel much more robust than the Atom SL cuffs. They’re also more comfortable pulled up your forearm. The arms are also a little longer and make it more suitable for climbing. The shoulders also have a little more room in them, giving you great freedom of movement when you have your hands overhead.

Chest Pockets

The two chest pockets are great placement. They’re placed high so you can access them easily with a harness or backpack on. The pockets are also big enough to fit a large cell phone with a rugged case. I often have my phone in one pocket and a map in the other.

Tailored Fit

The athletic fit is really comfortable. When backpacking or camping I wear the jacket all evening under my down jacket and I usually sleep with both my down jacket and the proton FL on.

Versatility for All Kinds of Mountain Activities

Climbing at a crag in Ontario. +10 Degrees Celsius.

The Proton FL is categorized as a rock climbing and alpinism layering piece on Arc’teryx website. However, I think that classification is underselling its’ versatility in a much wider array of dynamic use. This would be my first choice jacket for all things mountain. Trail running, hiking, scrambling, climbing, ski touring, and backpacking.

The benefit of the hydrophobic octa insulation is that it can be totally soaked yet still retain its’ warmth. If the jacket does get totally soaked, you can wear it while it’s drying during your activity. It will completely dry while being worn within two hours. When you’re in the backcountry and weather takes a turn for the worse, this is the jacket you want to rely on for warmth.

Gear Review: Arc’teryx Gaea Jacket

I mentioned I still often pair the Proton FL with a down jacket. Down is still the warmest fibre available per its’ weight. Down’s performance in active pursuits is easily compromised however. I pair the two jackets together because the Proton FL is my “do it all” active layering piece. My down jacket is my “keep me as warm as possible” at camp piece.

Crossing Iceland in the Proton FL

Trekking across Iceland. +8 degrees Celsius.

Because of the nature of our expedition, we didn’t pack anything that wasn’t absolutely crucial. No luxury items and only equipment that we had already stress tested and could fully rely on to keep us safe and dry.

Iceland’s weather is absolutely crazy. This is coming from a Canadian. It can go from 20 degrees and sunny and within minutes of a wet fog rolling in, it can drop to nearly freezing. The cool thing about the Proton FL, I never needed to take the layer off. In 14 days of trekking, I almost never overheated, and I was never hiking cold.

Read about Crossing Iceland and North of Boundaries Film

I really believe that if we were wearing a lesser jacket and had to layer up and down more often, the trek would have taken longer to complete. Knowing the kind of pain we were in from walking nearly 50km a day with a heavy pack, the effort of stopping to take layers on and off, adjusting our pack multiple times a day, it would have been a time and moral killer.

The Proton FL is a valuable piece of equipment that just works. It allows your to forget about what you’re wearing and focus on your objective. This piece paired with my Beta AR rain jacket is my “go to” for almost every adventure, or any job.

Photos and words by Ryan Richardson

Checkout my gallery to shop prints from adventures around the world.

The Pelican Go Case an Adventurer’s Essential

If you’re outside and braving the elements more often than you’re braving the shopping districts, chances are you might need a better way to organize and protect your everyday essentials. Meet the Pelican Go Case.

I’m a gear junkie no doubt. I like how gear assists in making life easier, or your job more enjoyable. I never really got caught up in the “everyday carry” (EDC) fad. However, we all have some kind of EDC. Like me, you probably never leave home without your keys, ID/credit card, your phone and a few miscellanies items. Now I keep them all safely organized in my Pelican Go Case.

The thing is, if you’re outside and braving the elements more often than you’re braving the shopping districts, chances are you might need a better way to organize and protect your everyday essentials.

Since Pelican’s newest addition to their “personal utility cases” this year, I’ve had the opportunity to put these new Go Cases to the ultimate test. If the Pelican GO Cases can survive my rigorous lifestyle of seemingly endless travel, and adventures outside big and small… they can survive anything.

Pelican Go Case on rock outside.
Samsung S8+ With Pelican Protector Case organized with my EDC essentials protected by the G40 Go Case.

Go Case Features.

The Pelican Go Cases are totally water-proof, dust-proof, crush-proof, outdoor photographer-proof. You would expect nothing less from Pelican. There’s a small rubber bumper around the cases that helps take hard falls. A loop to clip a ‘biner through which you can then attach to a harness, backpack, or hang up on your key holder at home.

Here’s some more features listed on Pelican’s website.

  • Lifetime Guarantee
  • Rubberized protective bumpers, protects against drops
  • Built in pressure Valve – Keeps water and dust out while balancing air pressure
  • IP67 rated protection from water, dirt, snow & dust
  • Integrated single hinge latch
  • Abrasion and impact proof ABS outer shell
  • Handle for easy carry
  • IP67 rating = Waterproof to a depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes
Backpacker wearing Pelican GO Case on pack.
Scoping out some potential climbing routes with the G40 Go Case clipped to my pack through the case loop.

Go Case In the field.

I’ve taken had the Pelican G40 personal utility Go Case protecting my EDC and valuables all over the place. Earlier this year I camped out with it while documenting a 7-day ultra stage race in the mountains of New Zealand. I used it to keep my personal items organized and protected from the harsh weather that New Zealand is famously known for.

On small adventures closer to home I’ve clipped the Go Case to my backpack and hiked all around our province without having to worry about the welfare of my belongings on my pack or at camp. Rain or shine, I know my personals are safe from whatever weather or mini disaster I might run into.

The true test has been taking it to the rocky and treacherous crag where we spend our days rock climbing. My G40 Go Case has taken a few falls at the crag from poorly executed tosses, and unexpected tumbles with my valuables inside… no worse for ware.

Pelican Go Case on rock next to rock climbing shoes.
G40 Go Case beside size 42 or US 10 climbing shoes for scale.

Applications are limitless.

I can definitely see the Pelican Go Cases largely benefiting anyone who works or plays on the water. I haven’t had a chance to spend much time out on the many lakes near home yet this year (It’s still early spring here in Ontario), but I’m sure the Go Case will also be an essential on any portaging, or canoe/kayak access camping.

The applications are as limitless as the contents you’ll want to store inside it. My EDC typically includes my phone, license, keys, credit card, charging cable, and spare batteries and SD cards.

Do you have your EDC sussed out? If so, what does it include and how do you protect it on your adventures?

Photos by Hailey Playfair and Ryan Richardson at Life Outside Sudio.

Outdoor Photographer’s Review of Pelican Air 1535 Hard Case

I’ve taken my Pelican Air 1535 hard case everywhere with me these past few months. How ever, No job has ever been so demanding and so hard on my equipment.

I’ve taken my Pelican Air 1535 hard case everywhere with me these past few months. From swimming with orcas in the high arctic in Norway, to ice climbing shoots on frozen lakes in Ontario, to the white sand beaches of southern Australia. How ever, No job has ever been so demanding and so hard on my equipment as was this ultra stage race in New Zealand. I finally feel as though I’ve abused my Pelican Air 1535 hard case enough to give an honest review of it.

Alps 2 Ocean 323 km Ultra.

The Alps 2 Ocean Ultra Stage Race begins at the foot of New Zealand’s tallest mountain, Mount Cook. The race then descends and ascends mountain ridges, winds and turns around foothills, skirting alpine lakes and traversing gravel beachheads until finally reaching the coast of the Pacific ocean. Hence its’ name, “Alps 2 Ocean Ultra”. The race is a 7 stage (7 day) event, covering a mere 323 kilometres.

You can imagine how difficult it might be to film a particular athlete at an event like this. Access is nearly impossible, set up is almost always completely remote, weather is constantly a liability. Working out of a vehicle doubling as a mobile production studio would also mean a ton of wear and tear on my equipment.

Simply getting to the base of Mount Cook with all of my film equipment is a true expedition in itself. Flying across the country to the west coast, then west coast to Aukland in the north island, another flight to Christchurch in the south, then finally a bus to Oamaru. After Oamaru, you guessed it, another bus. All in, we’re talking about 3 days of non-stop travel.

Pelican Air 1535 Hard Case.

The Pelican Air 1535 is light and also has a really low profile. That means I can be one person, traveling with everything I need to shoot a remote, small production film on location, anywhere in the world with just one hard case, and one camera bag. Both fly with me as a carry-on item, and a personal item, for every single flight. Bonus if there’s budget for an additional shooter. I’ll bring an additional 1535 case full of more film essentials (mostly lighting and audio and some novelty lenses).

I couldn’t travel with all of this equipment if the 1535 didn’t have wheels. I can’t stress enough how critical is is that this is a rolling hard case. When you haven’t slept for three days, the last thing you want to do is muscle around heavy film gear.

The ability to easily lock the case shut, and run a cable lock through the handle also makes for peace of mind. I don’t often get stuck sleeping in airports, but if happens, it’s nice to know my livelihood isn’t at risk of being stolen right out from under me.

Pelican Air 1535 Trekpak Inserts.

The nature of being an outdoor photographer is that no two jobs are exactly the same. In fact, I don’t feel as though I have ever had a shoot repeat itself. And that means that my set up is constantly changing. My essentials one day may not be my essentials the next. Having the Trekpak inserts grant me the flexibility to modify my load out, as many time as I need.

Example, some jobs may call for a small drone and two lightweight mirrorless cameras and compact lenses. The next might call for a bigger drone, full size cameras and faster lenses. The Trekpak inserts allow me to use two Pelican Air 1535 hard cases in an infinite amount of ways.

Conclusion.

I’ve used the Pelican Air 1535 Hard Case and Trekpak inserts for tons of the toughest film and photography gigs on the planet. I can confidently say that this set-up is without a doubt a staple for me, and should be a staple for any other professional that requires protecting their equipment from some of the toughest jobs around.

GoPro Hero 7 Review PLUS My Worst Nightmare

I recently had a film project in Northern Norway. The project involved a lot of under water footage. I wasn’t thrilled about shelling out nearly $12000 in underwater housing for my mirrorless camera. So I chose to pull the trigger on the new GoPro Hero 7.

If it’s Good Enough for Hollywood

I recently had a film project in Northern Norway. The project involved a lot of under water footage. I wasn’t thrilled about shelling out nearly $12000 in underwater housing for my mirrorless camera. So I chose to pull the trigger on the new GoPro Hero 7. I was convinced I made the right choice when I heard that the popular Hollywood movie, The Hobbit, had used a GoPro Hero 7 for an underwater scene. I figured if the GoPro Hero 7 was good enough for them, it would be just fine for me.

Watch Swimming with Orcas Here

Stabilization Vs. Gimbal

I traveled with my Crane 2 Gimbal for my mirrorless camera. I intended on using most of my high action and fast moving shots with the gimbal. how ever, the GoPro Hero 7 had such buttery smooth digital stabilization. It kind of felt like a waste of time trying to set up my gimbal on our boat. Because a lot of the filming was out at sea, it was difficult to balance my camera on the gimbal for the setup. I also wasn’t super keen on getting salt water all over my gimbal, if I could avoid it. I can be pretty rough on my equipment, but salt water is nasty.

READ – Why I Treat My $5000 Camera Like Crap

The trade off wasn’t between which stabilized shot I liked more. Both the gimbal and the stabilization were basically totally a draw. The GoPro Hero 7 won out on accessibility and ease of use in a real world “run-‘n’-gun” situation over the gimbal hands down. The only reservation I have with using the GoPro Hero 7 exclusively for stabilized shots, it’s the low light, and dynamic light capabilities of the GoPro Hero 7 versus my Sony A7RII.

Ultimately I ended up using both cameras and supplemented my final film of the Orcas with footage from both cameras, and stabilization setups. I was really happy with the marriage of the two. I think the shots worked together almost seamlessly.

Woman Snorkeling.

Time-lapses and HyperSmooth

I shot a ton of time-lapses and hyper-lapses on this trip. I haven’t really used them for anything and they didn’t make it into my short film, how ever I really enjoyed them. The time-lapse and hyper-lapse footage would look really cool in longer documentary style films. Travel films, and travel recaps would also benefit from having cool HyperSmooth shots.

The HyperSmooth pretty much acted how I expected it would after seeing the digital stabilization. It only makes sense that the GoPro Hero 7 would also use the stabilization for hyper-lapse scenarios. For those of you who don’t know, the HyperSmooth mode is just a time-lapse, but it’s engaging the digital stabilization. The benefit of during time-lapses, is that you can move around with the GoPro and create really smooth hyper-lapses, right out of camera. No need for annoying post processing warp stabilization!

Everything About the GoPro Hero 7 was Great, Except for This

Swimming with orcas in Norway is by far the most unique and among the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had. On our last day of filming and swimming with orcas, and humpbacks, the Go Pro Hero 7 failed me. In an epic, extraordinary way.

Orca swimming underwater.

It was perfect, The sun was low in the sky, no other boats were in sight. Our Captain found a massive ball of millions of herring fish, which the orca hunt. There was a pod of a dozen or so orcas. I got into the water and swam with the killer whales for hours. I couldn’t believe how curious they were. For hours they would swim up to us, slowly swim by while clearly making eye contact. I couldn’t believe what was happening. It was by far the best swimming session of all from the last four days, maybe twenty sessions total.

Orca underwater.

It was all going so well. Until I reviewed the footage.

I kept checking my GoPro Hero 7. I wanted to ensure I was capturing every moment. The red light was on, the entire time. I was elated. Until I got back to our Air BNB. I reviewed the footage. The entire session was recorded in time-lapse mode. I couldn’t believe it. All of the footage right before, and right after the swimming session was all in 4k, 60fps video mode. I somehow hit the “mode” button while in the water. The footage was unusable.

I felt like I was going to throw up. But I quickly got over it. Things happen. I’m just beyond thankful to have experienced such an incredible encounter with such an amazing predator, truly one of the most beautiful wildlife experiences I’ve ever had. I’ll always wish I had the footage to share with others.

Final Thoughts.

I’m a massive fan. I’ll be investing in a few more GoPro Hero 7 cameras for a few upcoming action projects this year. Ultimately, my only bad experience was user error. I should have paid better attention and in hindsight I would have been better off reviewing the footage in the moment. It’s hard to balance filmmaking common sense, when you’re engaging in incredible, once-in-a-lifetime moments.

Couple high five in ocean.

I would like to see a better way to switch the modes in the future. I’m sure I’m not the only person who has missed a shot or epic footage as a result. Otherwise I’m beyond stoked about all the new features. I couldn’t have come even close to creating the short film without my GoPro Hero 7. I’m super proud of how everything turned out and I would definitely recommend the new GoPro Hero 7 to anybody filming travel, adventure, and action sports.

Gear Review: Arc’teryx Gaea Jacket Women’s Review

Over the past few months, I’ve been fortunate to visit many places across North America. Having travelled from Alaska to Arizona, and being just about everywhere in between,  I definitely did not want to miss being at home in Ontario, Canada for autumn. Autumn in Ontario is honestly like nowhere else. There are millions of trees dotted along the countrysides, all changing their colours in anticipation for the heavy winter snow.

With the falling leaves though, the thermometer drops as well. A few weeks ago it was still above 30 degrees Celsius here in Ontario; today it was only a high of 5 degrees. The colder temperatures are a welcomed change.  With that change, the running doesn’t need to stop. Running in the fall is my favourite season to enjoy the trails around Ontario.

Because I had never visited the Bruce Peninsula, I was determined to spend a few days along the cliff edge trails of the Niagara escarpment, which includes the famous, Bruce Trail. Additionally, I thought it might be the perfect place to break in my new Arc’teryx Gaea jacket.

During the day, the jacket was a great stand alone with just a wool base layer underneath. Truly, the jacket is designed so well that I never overheated.   There’s a thin fleece along most of the upper and lower back of the jacket instead of insulation, which I think is really amazing because that area is a massive heat emitting zone.

 

The weather was quite unpredictable along the Georgian Bay. One minute it would be raining, the next minute there would be sun, and the all of a sudden it would snow! The dynamic weather really played to the Gaea’s strengths though. Not only did I not feel the need to ever take the jacket on or off, but the light rain and the snow didn’t penetrate the jacket’s durable water repellent (DWR). The Gaea is by no means waterproof, but it is lightly water resistant so I would definitely wear it if there’s light precipitation. 

Reasons to love the Gaea Jacket:

1. Style

The Gaea was created with a minimalist design and is offered in Black and Hard Coral. I opted for the black because most of my running accessories are bright colours so it’s nice to balance them with a neutral colour. For such a warm jacket, the Gaea offers zero bulk, is so lightweight, and looks incredibly sleek on.

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2. Intelligent Warmth

The Gaea Jacket is so warm due to the materials it’s made out of. The hydrophobic Octa Loft synthetic insulation is provided in the front of the jacket and shoulders. Arc’teryx describes Octa Loft as being extremely air permeable, allowing your body heat to dump out of the jacket instead of getting clammy and sweaty.

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3. Weather Protection

For most of us, it’s game over when you combine cold and wet conditions. There’s not a chance of going out and tolerating getting wet while in the freezing cold. Luckily, you can still get your run in even when there’s precipitation. The Gaea is completed with Lumin 100% nylon face fabric which is resistant to the wind and allows light precipitation to roll right off of the jacket.

4. Smart Features

I’m just going to put this out there… every running jacket should have thumbholes. It’s such a nice feature if you forget your gloves at home, or if it gets a little bit colder than you anticipated on a long run.

Another great feature I liked were the headphone holes running from those cozy pockets, whichever pocket you might choose.

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The pockets are also outfitted with a small smartphone pocket to keep your phone from bouncing around.  No matter where you choose to stash your personal items, you wont have any bouncing issues.

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I’ll be the first to tell you that it definitely held up its promise and made running in lower temperatures extremely enjoyable. For those of you who use the cold weather as an excuse to stay indoors and hibernate from running until spring, the Gaea will offer you no excuses and will keep you toasty during those long shoulder season runs.

Where will your cold weather runs take you this season?

Photos by Ryan Richardson of Life Outside Studio