Sunday, December 15, 2013

Review: INKnBURN tech tube

It's winter in Minnesota, and so far it's been a righteously cold December. Lots of subzero nights and single-degree days, and a memorable 10-miler in -10 degrees. I weighed my running gear recently and discovered I'm putting on 4+ pounds of clothing, not counting shoes, just to stave off hypothermia while running.

So when INKnBURN asked me to write a review of a piece of cold-weather gear, my honest first thought was, "It's too cold for INKnBURN!" This time of year, I'm usually wearing technical merino baselayers and miracle-fiber outer layers. But it occurred to me that my Drifting Petals Tech Tube (like a Buff, but from the same fabric as INKnBURN's tech shirts) might actually be an ideal cold-weather layering piece.

I tested it out this morning. It was zero degrees Fahrenheit, with 10 mph winds on the river, which made for a windchill of -16F. I had a 6 mile run on tap.
Dressed to run! Fleece-lined merino wool hat, Tech Tube as a neck gaiter.
It still hasn't gotten cold enough to need the hood. I think my face would freeze first.
I set off heading into the wind. Two layers of merino plus a wind-blocking fleece gets my core toasty warm, but on previous similar runs, my face had definitely gotten chilly. The Tech Tube kept my neck and chin plenty warm, even going straight into the wind.
Mile 3. Note the ice crystals on my face (and in my hair, sticking out).
I don't know why I have this expression. My face may have been frozen that way.
At mile 3, I crossed the Mississippi River and started heading back. Now the wind was behind me and, by the time I got to mile 4.5, I was actually getting pretty warm. When running in very cold weather, it's never a good idea to break much of a sweat -- if you get wet, then cold again, it's really cold. I unzipped my coat, then both of my baselayers. Still warm. I pulled off my hat. Whoops, too cold! 

Here's where the greatness of the Tech Tube came in -- I just folded it and pulled it up over my ears, and voila: earwarmer! Perfect for the next mile, until I headed back into the wind for the last section and needed my hat again.
Awkward profile selfie...
... and the other side.
So, the eternal question is now answered: It is never too cold for at least a little bit of INKnBURN.

Later this morning, I enlisted my seven year old assistant to help me show off some more Tech Tube tricks.
My photographer (and tech tube model)
As it turns out, his idea of photographing involved taking pictures at wacky angles. And giggling a lot.
Okay, there's a problem with this picture...
Well, at least my head is in the picture this time. Tech Tube as beanie...
... and beanie turned the other way!
Tech Tube as headband...
... and from a different angle.
Why, yes, the photographer was spinning in circles during this one.
Why do you ask?
Scarf/neck gaiter/neck warmer.
Goes great with the Sakura long sleeve, doesn't it?
In conclusion:
1. It's never too cold for INKnBURN.
2. Tech tubes are versatile, comfortable, warm, and amazingly colorful.
3. Use my discount code ("RobynToldMe") at for a one-time 15% off discount!
4. My son has a future in fashion photography. Maybe.
Thanks, everyone!

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