Chaco…A 3-Part Review…Part III…Zong

Finally, last, but not least…the Zong by Chaco.

Chaco Zong sandal in blue

The Zong is very lightweight and easy to slip on and off. The missing heel strap gives it a very loose and relaxed look and feel. Don’t get me wrong, you can still tighten them down to give you that perfect fit. Let’s face it, some days you don’t want to Chac Up, look nice, and hit the town or trail. Some days it’s a “long hair, don’t care”kind of day. When you want comfort, but are in that chill mood, slide these on and relax. They’re the perfect sandal for walking around town, going to the store, or the beach.

I personally prefer the added security of the toe strap since it’s lacking the heel strap. Chaco’s got you covered with the Mrap if you’re not a fan of the toe strap like I am.
Chaco Zong sandal in blue

They provide great arch support and are very comfortable. I personally wear mine the most when I’m going to the beach or am in a quick rush to get somewhere and don’t have time to Chac Up.

Chaco is always coming out with different webbing color options, so check their site often to see what they’ve come up with next.

What’s your favorite Chaco style?

Chaco…A 3-Part Review…Part II Z1

As promised a while ago, here are some of my thoughts about the Z1’s by Chaco. These sandals are at the top of my footwear list for a few reasons.

They have a heel strap

They lock your feet in tight with very little slippage. They work great for light trail hikes as well.

Chaco Z1 Unaweep is great for backpacking

They don’t have a toe strap

I like to have a full range of motion for all of my toes. When I’m going to be on my feet for a long time, these are my preference for the security and free range of motion for all my toes.

Chaco USA Z1 Unaweep is great for backpacking and hiking

They’re light

Unlike the Z2’s, the sole is slimmer, so they won’t weight you down.

The one disadvantage to these bad boys is the lack of a toe strap. Now, I know I said earlier that to me it’s an advantage. However, if you’re looking to go on some steeper and tougher terrain, these won’t be the best. The toe strap does help give more added security and reduces the risk of slipping.

I wore them to UCF’s Spirit Splash one year and they helped out a bunch. I got to protect my feet and keep my sandals on at the same time…not to mention they got a much needed cleaning.

I’d suggest wearing them to music festivals like Bonaroo or the Vans Warped Tour. You’ll be outside all day in the blazing hot summer sun. You’re going to want to wear sandals. You always run the risk of losing sandals, but if you have the Z1’s, they’ll provide: comfort, foot support, sole protection, and stay on your feet all day.

Chaco…A 3-Part Review…Part I…Z2

Chaco LogoTo kick off this 3-part Chaco review, we’re going to look at the Z2 style, probably the most recognizable sandal that Chaco offers. With it’s crazy toe strap design, this style stands out among the rest.I wear this style the most when I’m going to be out-and-about for a while and don’t want to have to worry about them going flying off my feet. This style is also perfect to take to the crag. If you’ve ever been climbing in North Carolina, you know that it’s sometimes a good 15minute-45minute hike. Once you get to the crag, they’re easy to put on and take off, when you’re not climbing. With their high traction and self-cleaning tread design, this makes them a perfect sandal for easy hikes.What makes this style stand out is the toe strap, like I mentioned earlier. I find that the toe strap keeps my foot in place and stable, better than the other styles that Chaco offers. The webbing and sole design also allow you to get that perfect fit across your foot and toe so your feet don’t go sliding all over.

Justin Fricke The Weekend Warrior and his Chaco Z2's

The biggest drawback to this style is the size. They’re big, clunky, and heavy. If you’re looking for a lightweight sandal, these aren’t the ones for you. If you’re looking for durability, foot support, and stability, this style is for you.

Check back tomorrow to get my input on the smaller and lighter, Z1 style.

Chaco…A 3-Part Review

You may have seen some people wearing an “interesting” pair of sandals around the climbing gym, at the crag, or around town…maybe even at a YoungLife camp. They have fun patterns on the straps, their soles are huge, they even have a buckle. Folks, those are called Chaco’s. Chaco’s are one of my favorite pairs of footwear…I have 3 different pairs.

Chaco Logo

You might be wondering why I have 3 different pairs of Chaco’s. Well, when you’re a climber and a surfer, you’re in different terrain and its great to have that arch support with the sandal that fits the occasion.

That brings me to my favorite part about the Chaco brand. What sets them apart, aside from their customer service, is their LUVSEAT. If you’ve ever walked barefoot on any type of loose sand or dirt, you probably felt some pressure on the arch of your foot, good pressure I might add. That’s your feet and body in alignment. Chaco has the LUVSEAT design to mimic just that.

Justin Fricke The Weekend Warrior and all of his Chaco's

It takes a little while of breaking in your first pair of Chaco’s for a couple reasons. They do have a rigid sole for added stability and need to get broken-in. You’re also not used to having something supporting your arch, creating slight discomfort for the first week or so…stick with it. Once you break-in your Chaco’s you’ll be glad you did.

Now, owning numerous pairs of Chaco’s can get a little pricey, but Chaco has great ways to help you save some pennies. When you buy a pair of Chaco’s, you virtually don’t ever have to buy another pair again. If the strap breaks, the sole wears out, buckle cracks, etc. All you have to do is mail your Chaco’s back and specify what service you want performed and they’ll hook you up…for a small fee. Still, it’s a lot cheaper than buying a brand new pair.

Check back tomorrow to see what I think about the big, clunky, and my favorite style, the Z2.

ENO Doublenest and SlapStrap Pro Review

I never really knew about Eagles Nest Outfitters (ENO) until I started getting into climbing. I heard a bunch of climbers talking about what they take on climbing trips, one of their “necessities” being their ENO. I found out that it’s a really simple hammock that can:

  • pack down real tight
  • is lightweight
  • easy to setup and take down

ENO logoI decided I had to get one

My ENO of choice is the Doublenest. While the Singlenest is still a great design, it’s only meant for one person. When you’re 6’2’ and like to sprawl all over the place, the Doublenest hammock wins, hands down. Now, it is a little more expensive, but trust me, it’s definitely worth it. Plus, if you get the Doublenest, it’s a lot roomier, especially when your girlfriend wants to cozy up next to you in the winter.

When you’re looking to buy your first ENO, I highly recommend getting the SlapStrap Pro at the same time. It’s a suspension system that’s longer than the SlapStrap, which allows you to be able to set up your ENO in more places, especially when trees/posts are few and far between, like at the beach.

You might be thinking that you could only then, setup in places where two trees, for instance, are further apart. Oh contraire. All you have to do is set up your SlapStrap Pro like normal, and then maybe give them an extra wrap or two to shorten the distance and BAM, you’re good to go.Justin Fricke The Weekend Warrior hanging in his doublenest hammock by ENO

These things are also very durable. Like I said earlier, they’re packable so I’ve taken mine with me on three surf trips so far, twice to Nicaragua and once to El Salvador. I still own my first ENO, which is going on three years old, and it’s held up very well. It’s worked out great because when the power goes out and it’s between sleeping in a sweltering bedroom with two other dudes or sleeping in your ENO on the patio with the cool ocean breeze, you tend to choose the latter.

ENO has a wide variety of accessories to offer, to make your hammocking experience even more relaxing, such as their Bug Net, Pillows, Travel Bags, and much more. I personally haven’t been able to get my hands on all of these accessories, there’s a LOT, but I’m working on it.

I’d say if you don’t have an ENO yet, you don’t know what you’re missing. They’re the perfect way to set up a comfortable camp when you’re backpacking, fun to set up in the back yard, heck my friends and I even have ENO parties on Sunday afternoons from time-to-time. It’s awesome when everyone can go to the park; string up their ENO’s and hangout.

To top it all off, ENO has some of the best customer service. Their website provides enough information to pretty much answer any question you have. If you can’t find your answer on their website, shoot them an email or give them a call and they’ll be sure to take care of your, like they’ve taken care of me.

Happy Hangin’!