New Abbey Shop Tools For Your Shop, or Home.

Abbey Bike Tools started when founder Jason Quade made a lightweight, one-piece cassette locking tool for a race mechanic friend in 2010. Ten years later, the Bend, Oregon firm has expanded quite a bit since the introduction of what is now better known as the Crombie tool. This tool has been copied and produced by others since then.

While there was a focus on making tools for traveling mechanics, Abbey has been adding more shop tools such as the Harbor dishing gauge that’s machined from a giant aluminum billet. Two additional shop-focused tools are now being added: The $120 Shop Pedal Wrench and the $100 Shop Hammer

At 18 inches long, the Shop Pedal Wrench is six inches longer than the Team Issue and seven inches longer than their original BBQ pedal wrench for better leverage against stubborn pedals. It is made with chromoly steel (versus stainless) coated in black Cerakote, and there is a cutout on the wrench side that can be used to hang the tool on the tool board. We’re certain the cutout also saves a few grams too, though probably not as much as the more dramatically lightened Team Issue. The swivel six and eight mm hex bit, 15mm wrench flat and white oak handle remain the same, however. 

The new stainless Shop Hammer retains the same 12 inch overall length of the titanium-bodied Team Issue brethren. It even shares the same custom ESI grip on its handle, but the shop hammer is about 300 grams heavier, with most of its mass concentrated on its strike head which is about a half inch larger than the one inch head found on the Team Issue. The shop hammer comes standard with a green soft face, but a brass tip is also available. 

Both the Shop Pedal Wrenches and the Shop Hammer are scheduled to be available on May 15th.

Hillsound Armadillo LT: Perfect For Mushrooms

Hillsound Equipment Armadillo LT Gaiter
Photo: Daria Gneckow

Whether you are crashing through the brush in search of delicious chanterelle mushrooms, hiking long miles to your next camp or bounding through the snow like a goofball, the Hillsound Equipment Armadillo LT gaiters are an excellent option for a waterproof barrier that can take a pounding with panache.

Coming high up on the calf, the LT features a sculpted shape that fits close to the leg while leaving room for necessary layering in cold weather. This well-considered fit, which I consider half the battle in gaiters, is effective at keeping pesky dirt, water and snow out of the hiking shoes.  The design maintains freedom of movement when rock scrambling or bushwhacking.

The quality of the hardware is clear from the first time you zip these up. A burly waterproof zipper closes off the gaiter, featuring an oversized pull that is friendly to bulky gloves. A sturdy front retention hook slips easily under laces for a secure fit. The buckle, the strap that goes under the shoe, the cuff strap – all feels great, and inspires confidence that the model can hold up to serious use.

Hillsound Equipment Armadillo LT Gaiter
Out hiking and foraging mushrooms in Oregon. Photo: Daria Gneckow

I had no issues with water soaking through the fabric of the Armadillo LT despite hours of tromping through rain-soaked woods and six-inch-deep snow in the Pacific Northwest, and the gaiters seemed to live up to Hillsounds promise of breathability. The Flexia fabric also handled the abuse of spiny bushes and rock abrasion with hardly a scratch — the lower part of the gaiter is a tougher fabric, with a lighter and more flexible material up top.

Hillsound Equipment Armadillo LT Gaiter
Got ’em. Photo: Daria Genckow

At 315 grams for this tester’s large, the Armadillo LT is the lightest in Vancouver, Canada-based Hillsound’s lineup. It is also the least expensive, at around $49. Two models profess to offer greater durability and breathability, but at a greater penalty in weight and cost – the highest-end Super Armadillo Nano gaiter comes in at $79, and a weight of 380 grams in size large.

I believe these gaiters are a great fit for through-hikers putting in long miles and anyone looking for a well-fitting, quality piece. Mountaineers might lean toward the other models, yet I would confidently take the Armadillo LT on my next alpine adventure.