Outdoor ResearchA representative for Outdoor Research, makers of outdoor gear since as long as I can remember [they officially started in 1981] recently contacted me via Twitter asking me for my email.

I gave it to him and it turns out I was chosen to be part of the inaugural Outdoor Research Insight Lab team! This team is a group of outdoor folks who will receive OR gear and we’ll write reviews and give feedback to OR designers about the things we receive.

I was asked what categories I would be interested in: active sports, a new women’s line, or their climbing apparel. Of course climbing was my top pick but I also expressed an interest in women’s apparel too. Also, I was asked what other sports I do, and though this site and my Twitter handle are named “rockgrrl” if you’ve followed either one you’ve probably noticed that I do a variety of outdoor sports (and in fact used to fence competitively which is mainly an indoor sport). I don’t know if I’ll get varied things because of my answers, but we’ll see!

At any rate, I’m happy to be part of the crew and OR has already sent me some goodies.

Belaying with the OR Women's Belay Gloves and wearing a Whirlwind Hoody
Belaying with the OR Women's Belay Gloves and wearing a Whirlwind Hoody

I received: the Enchanted tank top, the Women’s Voodoo pants, the Women’s Whirlwind Hoody, and Women’s Belay Gloves.

My initial impression was, “I didn’t know OR made this kind of stuff!” and then, “Hey neat!” as I noticed little things about each of the items that showed nice attention to detail. I haven’t tested the gear enough to make a review just yet, but here’s a picture of me wearing the Women’s Whirlwind Hoody and the Women’s Belay Gloves from their climbing line of gear. You might notice that I’m smiling.

A note about this program and my reviews in general, as you’ve probably noticed I disclose how I get the items I review. While initially my reviews were on things I already owned, eventually I started getting things for free. However, there has never been a requirement that I had to write positive things about the product and in fact I believe that is now against FTC guidelines [Edit: FTC only requires disclosure]. In any case, I think reviews are only helpful if they are truthful so I’ll continue to share as I do in real life, I’ll give my opinion on something, whether good or bad, and if it helps my readers and/or designers of gear, all the better!