John LaGuardia

Capturing Life's Adventures

Phoozy Thermal Capsule™ Review

Mobile Accessories, Outdoor GearJohn LaGuardiaComment

A big shout out to eXclaim IP, LLC, makers of Phoozy, for allowing me to capture some photographs and write a review for this space age, mobile phone product. Is it a case or a sleeve or both? You decide.

Read on if you would like to hear what I think... 

Over the past few years, I have been continually frustrated with my iPhone batteries dying in the cold while alpine skiing, ski touring or on outdoor photography adventures. In the past, I would literally take my phone out of my pocket and it would die immediately after taking a picture or video. This would put a damper on my day because I prefer to rock out to my music playlists while charging down the mountain. The only way to get it to turn back on was to plug it into a charger - something you can't do on a chairlift or while tree skiing.

Overheating iPhone batteries have also been a problem in the summer time, especially at the neighborhood pool and on the patio at my favorite pub. 

The Phoozy has come to my rescue and if you struggle with these same issues, it will enhance your outdoor, mobile phone experience as well. 


Outdoors while exposed to extreme cold or direct sunlight and generally anytime you need to ensure that your phone battery doesn't discharge from the cold or shut down due to overheating. 

Available for iPhone, Samsung, Google, Huawei and other mainstream mobile phones. 


$29.99 Silver with other color options coming soon. Gold is now available in select retail stores and on Phoozy's Amazon page.

Online reports rumor a new XP3 series with Realtree Edge™ and Realtree Fishing™ camo colors. These are expected to become available Spring 2018. That's right around the corner!

I am sending vibes to Phoozy in hopes that they will also send a few of these new designs my way for a follow up review. If they do, I will setup some giveaway contests so that you can benefit from this product too. 🙏 


My overall experience with this product was a good one. I put it to the test in the Colorado mountains skiing and on a local outdoor photography excursion in the late afternoon sun.

The first impression that this product gave me when I opened the box was one of intrigue. I pulled it out of the box and noticed that it is extremely light. The reflective material caught my eye in a good way and their marketing material was an interesting read too. I like the clever marketing play on space suit technology and how they have adapted that into their product. However, this product isn't just for astronauts.

Build quality on this product seems to be good. Stitching is solid and burly while both the outer and inner materials are excellent. Two sewn in tabs at the top make it very easy to open and close the Phoozy, even with gloves on. The velcro just inside the opening at the top is strong and grippy as you would expect.

As far as drop protection goes, I did accidentally drop the product with a phone inside from a height of about 3 feet. However, it was difficult to tell how protective it really was because my phone already had a case on it, inside the Phoozy. There was absolutely no damage to the phone or the Phoozy when I dropped it.

I did not get a chance to float their claim of the capsule being buoyant in water. This could be a benefit if using it while boating in the summertime or while at the neighborhood pool, but I would recommend having a thin, waterproof case on the phone in addition to the Phoozy. The Phoozy is not fully waterproof, only water resistant, so be aware of that.

Overall, I would highly recommend this product for outdoor, winter activities in the cold. 

I would also like to see a larger Phoozy produced for storing up to 5 DJI Mavic Air drone batteries. This would be a huge benefit during the winter in the backcountry.  


In a pinch, when your phone is not inside the Thermal Capsule™, place your phone camera face down on top of the padded Phoozy to protect the camera lens. It can double as a comfy little bed for your mobile phone while at your desk. 


👍 Lightweight, padded design at an affordable price.

Definitely extends the life of the phone battery in extreme cold and keeps the device from overheating in direct sun. 

Thin to medium thick phone case can also be on your phone while using the Phoozy.

Tabs are great for ease of use and it has just the right amount of padding on the inside to protect your screen. 

👎 Slick finish. I didn't like the insecurity that I felt on the ski lift as I pulled it out of my pocket to change the music on my phone. The case felt like it was going to slide right out of my hand and fall out of bounds on the slope below. 


  • Dimensions:  7" x 4"

  • Materials:  Chromium shell™. This shell provides military grade protection from heat, cold and solar radiation. The Impactor Core Layer™ provides military grade drop protection and buoyancy in water. A Space Penetration Layer™ gives the shell durability and the Softtouch Protective Liner™ keeps your touch screen from getting scratched inside the capsule.

  • Protection:  Reflects more than 90% of the sun's energy with military grade (810G 516.6) protection from solar radiation. Rated from 200°F to -32°F.

  • Note: This is not a phone cooler or heater. It prevents overheating in the sun and extends battery life in cold temperatures.

The Phoozy. I recommend you take one on your next outdoor adventure so that you get the optimal battery life out of your mobile phone.

➳ Phoozy provided products and associated materials for this review. All photos are a courtesy of LaGuardia Adventure Photography.

How To Layer Clothing For Your Next Outdoor Adventure

Outdoor GearJohn LaGuardiaComment
 📸 ©johnlaguardia - Patagonia Nine Trails LS shirt. 100% Polyester spun jersey with Polygiene® permanent odor control.

📸 ©johnlaguardia - Patagonia Nine Trails LS shirt. 100% Polyester spun jersey with Polygiene® permanent odor control.

Over the years, I have experimented with various fabrics on my adventures and have learned a lot along the way. I am no expert on this subject and I have to admit that it wasn't until recently that this all started coming together for me. I thought I would write a quick article about how to layer clothing in hopes that it adds value to your life. 

I have worn everything from Merino wool to cotton T-shirts to heavy fleece, in search of the ultimate comfort while running, hiking, biking and skiing. The fact is that in each of these situations, layering clothing and the weather's elements may vary. However, the concept that I am sharing with you today can be applied to any sport in any climate. Here goes...

The Concept

If you think about it, this topic has a lot in common with the true originators of layering. How did we as humans originally learn about layering? It was by observing things in our natural world. Observing Marino sheep has been one way. I really like the following picture taken from the website because it really gets the point across on what an effective layering system consists of. In short, it is a base layer next to your skin, a mid-layer for warmth and an outer layer for breaking the elements (wind, rain, snow).

 📸 - Merino sheep, Austrailia

📸 - Merino sheep, Austrailia

Layer #1 - Base Layer

This next-to-your-skin layer is normally where most people go wrong. We are all very accustomed to wearing cotton T-shirts in most, daily situations. However, the cardinal sin in layering clothes is using a cotton T-shirt as your base layer. Don't do it!

Cotton tends to get soaked with sweat and takes a long time to dry. Therefore, if you use cotton as your base layer, once it gets wet with sweat, you are in for a long, cold day in winter or a wet and clammy day in  the summer.

Your base layer needs to be made out of a fabric that wicks sweat from your body as you perspire and disperses that sweat to the outer layers so it can evaporate. This will keep your body dry so that you stay cool in the summer months and avoid hyperthermia during outside activities in the winter.

Some examples of excellent base layer fabric are merino wool or synthetic fabrics such as polyester. There are some great brands on the market today such as Icebreaker, SmartWool, Polartec PowerDry® and Patagonia Capiline®.

Layer #2 - Mid Layer

The mid layer acts as your insulation and traps heat in the air molecules close to your body. It is best to use  goose down, wool or fleece for this layer and it is worn over the base layer.

So which one do you choose for your mid layer? It depends. If you know you will be in a dry, cold climate, your best bet would be goose down like a down pullover sweater or full zip jacket. However, goose down doesn't like damp, wet climates. In that type of climate, it would be best to go with Merino wool or fleece which are both reliably warm and even when damp or wet. 

Fleece is a common option and is what you will find in just about every outdoor enthusiast's closet. Fleece comes in 3 different weights - Light-weight, Mid-weight and Expedition-weight. One disadvantage to fleece is that the wind tends to go right through it. However, it is an excellent choice as a mid-layer if your outer layer can combat any wind that Mother Nature throws at it.

Layer #3 - Outer Layer

The outer layer is sometimes referred to as the "shell". This is the layer that will be exposed to the elements such as wind, rain or snow on the outside and the layer that is breathable from the inside to let any sweat moisture escape. Make sure you purchase an outer layer that is big enough to allow room for your base and mid-layers. 

There are many types of outer layers to choose from. Some are completely waterproof, making water bead up and run off the fabric. Others can be semi-waterproof or "soft", meaning highly breathable and stretchy. Insulated shells can have fleece sewn into the inside of the jacket for added warmth. 

When choosing an outer layer for your layering system, take a look at your base and mid layers then consider the type of climate you will be in along with the activity you will be participating in. For some instances, you may want a lightweight, packable layer just for rainy climates while hiking in the Summer and Fall. On the other hand, you might require a more durable, waterproof and breathable outer shell for mountaineering use in extreme environments.


This layering concept is not new for most, but a lot of people get it wrong and regret it when they get outdoors. At the end of the trail, be sure to have worn a combination of layers that is just right for your body's comfort, the climate and the activity.

Experiment with your layers to find what works best for you while doing the activities you enjoy. I would also encourage you to purchase from reputable outdoor companies that engage in practices that minimize their impact on the environment. I'll have to follow this article up with something about that in the future, but until then, live adventurously!

You might also like my base layer review which you can find here.

iPhone Photography Tips For The Holidays

Outdoor GearJohn LaGuardiaComment
Holiday iPhone

Try these 5 tips for great iPhone photos this holiday season. 

Tip #1 change your perspective

If you are taking a picture of the Christmas tree or a subject that you want to emphasize, kneel down and flip your phone upside down. This will give the appearance of your subject being bigger than it actually is and will be taken from a perspective that is different from all the other Christmas tree pictures you see this time of year.

Try this unique way of capturing a holiday photo. You'll love it!

Tip #2 Capture outdoor lights

If there's a Griswold Family Christmas style house you definitely want to snap a photo of this year, try photographing it just before it gets dark outside. Their lights are likely to be lit and you will capture a beautiful blue color in the sky behind their home. This will really make the lights pop in the picture and make the home more aesthetically pleasing in the photograph.

Hold the phone in a landscape orientation and steady it close to your body with two hands for the best results.

Tip #3 Get Close Ups

Snap some close ups of your favorite details about the holidays. Do you have a fond memory of Christmas from your childhood? Think about the details and then go photograph them. Some examples might be a close up of your Christmas stocking, holiday cookies or an ornament on the tree. 

Position your iPhone camera about 2 inches away from your subject, tap the screen on the subject to focus and take your photograph.

tip #4 Include some bokeh

Have you ever wanted to know how to make the background blurry behind your subject and make the lights of the tree circular and dreamy? Normally one would use a DSLR camera with a large aperture lens, but you can get a similar effect with your iPhone too! 

Place your subject 6-8 feet away from the tree lights. Tap on the screen to focus on your foreground subject and make sure the background lights appear blurry. If your background is still in focus, simply move your subject further away from the lights to achieve that dreamy, bokeh effect.

tip #5 get more advanced

Instead of using the native iPhone camera app, download Adobe's FREE Lightroom CC for iPhone and experience the power it lends to your creativity. Try a few photos on the automatic setting. Then once you get the hang of the app, switch it over to professional mode.

Play around with Adobe Lightroom CC's settings for exposure, shutter speed, ISO and white balance as you capture your subject. This will open up a whole new world of possibilities for you.  

Have fun experimenting and telling your story this holiday season!

Steamboat Pilot & Today Shout Out!

Get OutsideJohn LaGuardiaComment

5 Lessons I Am Thankful I Learned This Year

Get OutsideJohn LaGuardiaComment

I would like to take a time-out and reflect on some things that I learned this past year. As I sit back in my comfy chair and look out the back porch at Mount Werner in Steamboat Springs, I realize that I have a lot to be thankful for. As you read this, take a step back too and think of the things you have been blessed with this year. Here are 5 lessons I am thankful I learned this year...

Just Start. 

This concept revolutionized the way I think about things, especially in my photography business. For so long I had been putzing around taking some pictures and never sharing them with the world. I had some ideas about how I could sell prints and share images on social media, but I just never got around to getting them posted. I also had a desire to fly drones and create some cool videos, but I had stories in my head where I told myself that I didn’t have enough experience or training to produce good content.

This all changed when I decided to put myself out there and do it. I started being more intentional about getting outside and taking photographs. I learned that the more I would get out and shoot, the better I got. I started posting my images on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I took on a couple of photography jobs that were totally outside of my comfort zone and I nailed them. I made enough money from those jobs that I was able to purchase a drone and then I learned how to fly. Once I learned how to fly, I looked into ways that I could make money with my drone. I learned that I needed an FAA Part 107 certificate in order to do that, so what did I do? I studied, sat for the exam and aced it. Now I do drone work for all kinds of businesses.

The key was that I never thought twice about all of these things. I just started, took baby steps, celebrated the successes, learned from mistakes and kept moving toward goals throughout the process. 

If you have something that you have been wanting to do, but keep putting it off, just start and see what happens. You will never get anywhere with it unless you put in the effort to get moving. 

Be Kind.

I have had people tell me that to get anywhere in life, you do anything it takes to get there, including stomping on others along the way. That is complete B.S. and the worst advice anyone could give.  

Pay it forward. Be nice to others and give back. You will get so much more satisfaction in life.  

Take the time to care for others around you and I don’t just mean family and friends you already know. Help someone on the street corner. Hold the door open for another. Be kind and strike up a conversation with the person bagging your groceries at the grocery store. Buy a beer for the ski tech that tunes your skis this season. Give your mail person and your milk delivery person a gift card for Christmas. Do you get the idea?

Go out of your way to be nice to someone, even when you are having a bad day. That brings me to the next one...

Have Fun.

Quit telling yourself that Mondays suck and make them better.

It’s up to you and it is a choice. The way we act and the attitude we have is a personal choice. We can choose to be grumpy and synical or we can choose to be happy and have fun with the situations we experience in life. I’m not saying everything is peachy keen all the time. Rather, it is up to you to choose joy in the things that life throws at you.

Stop looking at the dark side. Stop bringing others around you down because of your negitivity. Just plain stop.

I learned this concept In San Diego at High 5 Leadership and it has completely changed my life. If you are looking to better yourself next year, I highly recommend you invest in this course. It will change your life in many ways and bring you immense value. I will link to their website in the comments below, but for now, keep on reading. We are almost to the end of this article.

Be Yourself.

As I look back on my life, I see times when I tried to do things that I really didn’t enjoy because I thought those things would make me successful. It turns out that those things were just a waste of time and I could have been using that time for other life fulfilling activities.

The best version of yourself is you.

Don’t try and impress others by being something you are not. People see right through that.

Be you. Do you. Share what you are passionate about. Go all out! 

Get Outdoors.

Last, but definitely not least, is that I have learned to get outside more. I have found that the more I do this simple thing, the better I feel.  

Getting outside forces our bodies to move and with movement comes better health.

Here are a few more benefits that scientists say we realize when we get out into the great outdoors:

  • Reduced stress
  • Increased weight loss
  • Stronger immune system
  • Improved quality of sleep
  • Increase in Vitamin D intake
  • Better memory and attention span
  • Improved self-esteem

When you embark on an outdoor activity, you automatically embrace adventure. You don't have to be on a multi-day trip in the wilderness or on a mountaineering trip to Mount Everest.

Getting outside can be as simple as walking in the park, visiting a waterfall or doing some light trail running. 

For more tips on this topic, check out my article, 5 Excuses That Keep You From Getting Outdoors

You can also get more great outdoor advice, tips on how to get better photos and reviews on stylin' outdoor gear by signing up to receive my monthly email called LaGuardia's Outdoor Dispatch

Are there things that you learned this past year? What are you thankful for? Share your comments with us below. It will help us all grow together!


5 Excuses That Keep You From Getting Outdoors

Get OutsideJohn LaGuardiaComment

Today's focus is on those negative stories you are telling yourself. They are keeping you from getting outdoors!

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This first roadblock is a biggie!

One of the biggest myths keeping people from getting outside is the statement, "I don't have time." It is the belief that there is not enough time in the day when one works a full time job, has family relationships and other commitments.

However, the truth is that there will be time if we consistently make it a priority in our lives.

So how do we do this? Here are some tips:

  • Start small

    • Head outside for a 15-20 minute walk during your lunch hour.

    • If you live within 10 miles of the office, do some research on routes and ride your bike to work 2 days per week.

    • Before your evening comes to an end, take a quick walk around the block or sit out on your patio.

  • Plan ahead

    • Visualize how you will get outside tomorrow and where you can fit it in with your schedule.

    • Block it out on your calendar so that you are reminded to get outside and so that nobody else stomps on that replenishment time.


This story is just flat out baloney.

There is nature all around us. It resides in our backyards, down the block, around the corner and within a short drive. Of course there are other natural wonders, national parks and state parks around that you could make a day or weekend trip out of too.

If you feel that your area is limited, do a quick search over at the Outdoor Project . There you will find a wealth of information on quick micro adventures, camping and longer hikes if you feel so inclined. 


This one normally traps me.

As we get older, the aches and pains from exercise become more prevalent.  We get the occasional head cold or flu bug that bogs us down. It's okay to let the body rest and recuperate. However, these things shouldn't set us back weeks at a time.

After a couple of days of recuperation, make a habit to get back out for a walk. Gradually increase your activity until you reach your targets again.

Do you often complain about the aches and pains? Do you put off getting outside because you are not feeling well?

These are warning signs that we should be aware of. Ask a friend to help you recognize when you complain and to keep you accountable on those days you miss your meet up with them at the trail head.


Starting small and getting past stories 1, 2 and 3, will encourage us to shun thoughts about how the weather looks outside. 

We can tell ourselves that it is too cold or too hot outside and that we will get to our exercise outdoors once things calm down or are more comfortable. 

I hear a lot from people on this subject and it goes something like this:

It is just too hot this afternoon to go for a bike ride. I will get to it later in the week when the temperature cools off.

It is too cold this morning to go for a long walk with the dog. Maybe we should go this afternoon instead?

How do we overcome this trap? Here are some tips:

  • Deal with the heat
    • Go outside early in the morning or late in the evening when the sun is not at its peak. 

    • Wear light clothes that breathe and wick the sweat from your body. This will keep you cool and dry.

  • Deal with the cold

    • Dress appropriately and layer your clothing for the best results. Layering can actually be fun and look cool too. It will give you that extra motivation you need to get outside when it is cold.

For help with choosing a good layering system, check out my review on one of the Patagonia base layers that I recommend.


We are almost there, but the last mile of the journey always seems the longest. We can do this!

Don't let "not knowing where to begin" paralyze you and keep you indoors. 

My biggest piece of advice that will help you get outdoors is...wait for it...JUST START. It sounds so simple, doesn't it?


"Just Start"

A few years ago, I was paralyzed with my photography. I had numerous people telling me that my photographs were good, but I didn't have a clue what to do about it. I thought that it would be so cool to see some of my work real big on other people's walls. I also was intrigued by those in the industry that make a living solely on photography. 

I kept telling myself stories that I wasn't as good as others around me and that I had to do certain things to be successful. Quite frankly, I was completely overwhelmed by other photographers that told me it wasn't worth it this day and age because of mobile devices and the Internet. I was convinced that I couldn't do social media, blogging and everything else that came along with being a photographer, all by myself. That wasn't the case at all, but those negative stories that I was telling myself were holding me back from even trying it. 

Once I started, put myself out there into the world and stopped worrying about what other people would think, I began getting clients. It was an amazing lesson and it gave me the momentum I needed to develop more skills to help others around me.

I say all of this just to get the point across, that if you JUST START, you will get yourself outside more often.

By getting outside more often, I know that you will be invigorated by nature. Some have called this the "nature effect" where you experience a type of renewal each time you set foot outdoors. This will give you renewed energy, encourage a more healthy lifestyle and will put a smile on your face 😀.

Let's overcome those negative stories that we have been telling ourselves and get out there!

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LIFEACTÍV Power Pack Review

John LaGuardiaComment

A big shout out to LifeProof for allowing me to capture some photographs and write a review for this device. I am now a LifeProof Ambassador so expect to see more reviews on LifeProof products in the future!

I have never been a fan of taking additional power packs with me on my adventures, until now. Most of them are bulky or add too much weight to my backpack. Add that to a pack full of camera gear and you have a recipe for back problems. However, I am impressed with the lightweight, waterproof and rugged design of this one and I know it will become an every day piece of equipment in my backpack. 

The LIFEACTÍV Power Pack can literally become a lifesaver in the backcountry by giving your devices an extra charge or four to keep them running on short trips. Most likely, you won't have cellular signal, but think about how this device can charge your GPS or avalanche transceiver and you will see the value right away.


Day hikes, overnight backcountry sleepovers and generally anytime you need a few additional battery charges for your mobile devices. 


$79.99 Black with options for purchasing additional cables to compliment the device


My overall experience with this product was a good one. I put it to the test in the great outdoors and in my photography studio.

The first impression that this device gave me was one of durability. The case is fully enclosed and waterproof up to 6.6 feet for one hour. It has a rugged finish and a stylish look. It also feels good in the hand and doesn't slip. 

The front of the battery pack has a single button with 4 LEDs that displays its status. Four solid LEDs means that the pack is charging a device. When not charging, press the button once to see how much battery charge is left in 25% increments. Press and hold the button down and the white LEDs on the front edge will illuminate and serve as a flashlight. Press again and it will turn on the red LEDs which are great for night camping and photography. There's also a blink mode in case you get into trouble and need to get someone's attention for help.

When charging my iPhone 6s with the device, I was able to get 4 full charges out of the battery pack. Each time took three hours to get my phone charged at 100% without using either device during that time. This seemed like a long period of time to me and my one wish is that it charge faster 🙏

Do you need to calculate how many charges you will get out of a battery pack like this? The number of charges does depend on the device you are charging and its draw, how much you use the white and red flashlights and how long it sits between charges. However, a good rule of thumb is to divide the mAh of the power bank by the number of mAh of your target device battery. This will give you a pretty good idea on how many charges you will get out of the battery pack. To find the mAh of your target device battery, head on over to the device manufacturer's website and look at the specs online. It will be listed there for you.


Turn on the red LED and set this device in your bag during night time photography preparations. It will make it very easy to find things in your bag and will not interfere with your photographs!


👍 Waterproof, lightweight for a battery pack, sleek LifeProof case design, red LEDs are a plus and charging indicators are a great value add.

👎 No integrated solar charging available. This would be a nice feature for backcountry users.


  • Dimensions:  6.72" x 2.96" x .70" / 170.8 mm x 75.1 mm x 17.74 mm

  • Weight:  8.8 oz / 250 g

  • Power:  10,000 mAh battery

  • Energy Saving:  auto-stop charge technology

  • Quick Charge: rapid recharge saves on socket time

  • Survives Depth:  6.6 feet / 2 meters underwater for 1 hour - Charge port door must be closed

  • Drop Height:  4 feet / 1.2 meters

The LIFEACTÍV Power Pack. I recommend you take one on your next outdoor adventure and extend the life of your devices on the trail!

➳ LifeProof provided equipment and associated materials for this review.