M&F Contributor Tests Hylete Gear During the Spartan Race

Mark Barroso reviews Hylete’s latest training products after conquering the Spartan Race while wearing them.

M&F Contributor Tests Hylete Gear During the Spartan Race

Spartan Race held its first Stadium Series race last weekend at Citi Field in New York and M&F Contributor Mark Barroso stepped up to the challenge. The fitness enthusiast and certified Spartan SGX Coach completed three loops of the course throughout the day and according to the Fitbit Blaze, one loop of the course was 4.5 miles. Essential to Barroso’s long day of bleacher running, rope climbing, burpees and much more was the gear he was wearing and the backpack that packed enough fuel for three laps.

Here's Barroso’s review of the training clothes that got him through 13.5 miles of the Spartan Race.

Icon XL Convertible Backpack

The backpack/duffel bag that I saw the most at Citi Field on Saturday, was Hylete’s Icon backpack. Everywhere I looked, I saw a Hylete backpack; for example, in the bag check area, I took a double take because I thought one of the bags was my Icon XL Convertible backpack, but it was actually another Spartan’s. My guess as to why this bag is popular at Spartan Races is the versatility.

SEE ALSO: Step Up to the Hylete C3 Challenge

The Icon XL has both a wet/dry compartment and an expandable shoe locker for muddy clothes/shoes (although the Citi Field race has no mud). Choose to wear the bag as a backpack (yes, there is a sternum strap) or a duffel bag using the included shoulder strap. I wore the bag as a backpack throughout the day because I knew I would be doing some walking to meet up with friends and register for multiple laps. My first start time was at 7 a.m. and my last was 5:45 p.m., so I had to pack enough food, water, and supplements to power me through the day and I did just that.

Three shaker bottles, one of which has a 45 oz. capacity, easily fit into the huge main compartment. I also packed a lunchbox, complete with ice packs and plastic containers of oranges, avocados, almonds, protein bars and packets of almond butter into this same main compartment. The one comment I received about my bag: “That’s a big bag.”

M&F Contributor Tests Hylete Gear During the Spartan Race

Icon Quad Blend Muscle Tee

The Icon Quad Blend Muscle Tee is made of four materials: 31% bamboo rayon, 32% rayon, 31% cotton, and 6% spandex. What’s rayon, the material that this shirt is primarily made of? It’s a manufactured fiber that comes from the wood pulp of trees, where during an intricate process, cellulose is extracted and spun into yarn. In the case of bamboo rayon, the cellulose comes from bamboo. I’m not aware of ever wearing rayon prior to this shirt but I definitely found it comfortable.

SEE ALSO: Hylete C3 Challenge 2 Recap

At 6’0” 200 pounds with zero running experience, my performance in these races isn’t what’s going to make me stand out. However, my muscles might, and the sleeveless Icon Quad Muscle Tee allowed for the gun show. There are no holes or tears in the shirt and I never felt super sweaty. The shirt is highly absorbent and stretchy without riding up your belly like a compression might. The Icon Quad Blend Muscle Tee is currently the only sleeveless shirt that I can rely on for wearing during an obstacle course race because “summer tanks” are usually made of 100% cotton, which is what you don’t want on the course. I’d imagine that would hold too much mud/water and be uncomfortable.

Vertex Zip Pocket Short

Made of 90% polyester and 10% spandex, the Vertex Zip Pocket Short provided me full range of motion during wall climbs, box jumps, and more. I value zippered pockets, a drawstring that you can tie, and length when picking a pair of shorts for training or obstacle racing and these shorts fit that criteria.

SEE ALSO: Hylete C3 Challenge 1 Recap

I tend not to wear shorts that are less way above my knee unless I’m wearing compression pants. A size large comes right at my knee, which is ideal for my liking. In one of my pockets, I had an energy gel just in case I needed it and a compact hydration product I was trying called Oral IV. Another overlooked use for zippered pockets is business cards-if you’re at the gym, training at a track or at a fitness competition and you meet someone who gives you a card, it’ll most likely get lost unless you have a zippered pocket. These shorts lasted three loops of the Citi Field Spartan Race without any tears or holes. They didn’t ride down at all, either.

Overall, my gear presented zero problems for me on race day, which means I’m likely to wear them again during training and at more obstacle races. Hylete’s apparel delivered in the performance category.

Follow Mark Barroso on Twitter @Mark_Barroso and for more on HYLETE'S premium training apparel, be sure to check out

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