Great Gear Review: Aktiv

The not-so-baggy baggies and the perfectly placed wind protection

Great Gear Review: Aktiv

Sweet Protection Hunter Shorts

High Performance, Breathable, and Flattering Mountain Bike Shorts…Finally.

Kristin Weber, cyclist and Aktiv gear reviewer

I have spent a lot of time on a bike, years racing and riding Cyclocross as my primary cycling love affair, but truth be told, it is the mountain bike that has always been my first great love. I worked for years at Schwinn Cycling & Fitness as a graphic designer where I spent most of my free time riding and getting to know the trails around the Front Range of Colorado and then expanding my trail riding into the Rockies, Utah and Wyoming.

The bikes have come a long way over the years with amazing technological innovations from the suspension to the braking; gearing ranges to dropper posts, but one thing that has always stayed the same is a distinct mountain bike fashion. A lot of casual, looser fitting clothes (than on the road side of the cycling world) have been the predominant style. For me, it was just not working.

Baggy cycling shorts were just that, baggy. The baggies I tried were catching on the nose of my saddle, falling off my waist, distracting and uncomfortable. Until finally, Sweet Protection transformed the world of mountain bike shorts and created a not-so-baggy pair of baggies that are as high performance, tailored and innovative as everything else they produce. The baggy gods delivered the Hunter Short, a sleek, nearly seamless mountain biking short, that never fall down, and never get caught in my saddle.

The fit of these shorts is my favorite part. They maintain the non-lycra look of a good mountain bike short without looking frumpy and overly loose. The band at the top of the shorts has a stretchy Velcro tab you can pull to cinch the shorts so you don’t have a gap in the back as your shorts wrap around your “wattage cottage”. The shorts are narrow, slimming and without bulging seams and pockets. All of the zippers on the shorts are integrated below the material of the shorts making a really smooth look.

close up of waistband and internal zippers

Typically, the other issue I had with baggy shorts, was breathability. The thicker material was hot and with the addition of adding a pair of chamois underneath the short, it was pretty stifling. The Hunter Short uses a Dupont Sorona stretch material that bends and moves with my body as I ride and move dynamically over my bike. Within the front and side seams are two 8” zippers with easy string toggle pulls that open up and vent the short for the long hot climbs. These vents create a lot of airflow through the short.

The length is the only thing that I didn’t love about the Hunter short. Although they are astutely cut at a diagonal angle (a little longer in the front, and shorter in the back, can we call that the “Mullet cut”) I found them to be slightly too long for my liking. In the most bent position on the bike, the top of the leg cuff was too close to my knee cap and I simply think showing a little knee in the standing position is a better length for me. I did like how the cut of the short narrows and follows the natural shape of my body. I just would have preferred an inch shorter.

Super fun to hang up the lycra when I hit the dirt now and buy into the real culture and aesthetics of mountain biking again. Well done Sweet Protection, time to hit the trails!

LIM Hybrid Hood Jacket

When form follows function on an incredibly light and breathable midweight jacket.

Close up of material on LIM Hybrid Hood Jacket

The Scandinavians got it right. The fit and function of the LIM Hybrid Hood jacket by Haglöfs is the innovative design I have been craving for my outdoor adventures in Colorado.

I have been hiking, running and cycling my way around Colorado for over two and half decades and there is a saying here that if you don’t like the weather just wait a minute. Finding clothes to accommodate this temperamental climate is challenging. On any given training run temperatures can swing dramatically, or you can crest the top of a mountain into a face full of wind, so having
a jacket that is breathable with good wind protection where you need it most, is such a welcome discovery.

The L.I.M Hybrid jacket is exactly that. A merging of the best parts of two types of jackets. The warmth from a hood and wind protection tactfully placed on the chest and upper torso areas meet form-fitting breathable grided fabric that acts as the perfect light to mid-weight layer for a slighter cooler morning run, hike or ride.

Kristin in LIM Hybrid Hood Jacket

I love the hood. Somebody told me you lose 30% of your body heat out of your head. I can believe this as I descend on a chilly Colorado morning down the mountain I just ran up. I can’t think of another jacket that I own that has a wind-protected hood that is a midweight layer. This hood is a simple and very welcome addition to what I want to call the perfect layer.

The length of the jacket and the sleeves is spot on, I love the thumb holes especially when I don’t quite think it’s cold enough to hike with gloves. The cut and torso seams on the jacket are flattering, form-fitting and have a pocket in the mid-chest area. Not sure what I would use that pocket for while training, but when I rode to the local watering hole and I put my ID and credit card in the jacket pocket for safekeeping.

Thumbholes on sleeves

One omission for this beautiful combination of material and function is the addition of a back pocket. I have taken to wearing a lot of my cycling jackets to run in because of the ability to throw my phone, a hat or a pair of gloves into a back pocket. If the L.I.M. Hybrid Hood jacket had that I would never go out without it.

Lastly, the fit over the hips is a bit too loose for me, with somewhat narrower hips, but because of the cut and stretch of the fabric, it can be easily pull down to wrap around my body better.

What a great layer, thoughtfully produced by people who really know how Mother Nature can change her mind on a dime. See you on the trails. Click here to learn more about Aktiv Styles hiking collection and biking collections.

Internal zippers for cleaner look

Editor's note: This review is the honest opinion of the writer. Standard Process is a sponsor of Great Gear Reviews and Giveaways and has paid a sponsorship fee for program promotion and provided products for review and giveaway.