I really dig specialty stores.
They can get brands and selections that major retailers cannot.
We have a specialty store in Hawaii that sells outdoor gear called SoulTrex.
There’s stuff here that you cannot find anywhere else on the island.
SoulTrex, a specialty retailer of outdoor gear for Hawaii. Kaneohe, Oahu, Hawaii.
I usually come to SoulTrex to buy hiking shoes. But on this day, I came by to talk to Linda (pictured above) and drop off some Hawaii Bouldering tank tops. SoulTrex has agreed to stock them at the store for a limited time. If you live on the Windward side of Oahu, be sure to cruise by.
Linda is the store manager. She probably doesn’t remember this but she sold me two pairs of hiking boots last year. She was super knowledgeable about the brands (one was a pair of Merrells, the other Keens) and was totally stoked to hear that I was buying shoes for a backpacking trip. I remember her being really helpful.
I also remember being appreciative of the fact that SoulTrex even existed. It’s pretty risky to open up a store like this with such a niche customer base. I haven’t met Jacinda (the owner) yet but I definitely appreciate her efforts in bringing this type of store to Hawaii. Without SoulTrex we would have to buy everything online. And that doesn’t work so well when you want to try something on first or need something at the last minute.
After I dropped off the shirts, I was interested in learning more about the products at the store so I asked if Linda could show me around and tell me about the special items they carry. And then I ended up buying a bunch of stuff.
SoulTrex is located on the second floor at Windward Mall in Kaneohe. When you walk in, spend sometime looking around at all the goodies. There are a lot of interesting items in there.
Linda was telling me that this sleeping bag is one of their more popular items. It’s called a Snugpack Jungle Bag. It’s a 45 degree sleeping bag so don’t bring it to Yosemite. But if you’re backpacking to say Kalalau, this compact bag would work nicely.
SoulTrex carries a slough of survival gear. Read the box and you’ll see that this is more than just a knife.
Stroke the knife across the flint and you’ve get some major sparks.
Fenix is a brand I had never heard of. This a one high powered headlamp. I own a 200 lumen headlamp and we call it “The Sun.” 230 lumens must be awesome. And this thing is waterproof.
This little flashlight puts out 800 lumens. That’s bright.
These smaller ones would probably make great gifts. Linda was telling me that the store was slammed the week before Father’s Day.
Esbit is a camping cooking system that uses solid fuel. Each fuel tablet is about the size of a matchbox and is much lighter and more compact than gas fuel. SoulTrex is currently the only store on the island where you can get it.
But if you’ve got a gas stove, SoulTrex has a full selection of MSR products.
They have JetBoil camping stoves as well.
In this system, the stove and pot are connected. It’s supposed to heat water super fast. I’ve never used one myself though.
SoulTrex has pretty much everything you need to set up your camp.
Linda was telling me that their most popular item is the Vibram Five Fingers shoe.
They also carry the New Balance and Merrell versions.
I’m more of a boot/shoe kind of guy myself.
What I like about coming to SoulTrex is that they have a better variety than any other store.
And they stock Keens. This is what I hike in, the Targhee II mid. It’s nice and wide and it’s fairly lightweight for how sturdy it is.
The other great thing about buying shoes at SoulTrex is that they keep a lot of sizes in stock. It seems like most of the inventory they hold on site is shoes. There are rows and rows of shoe boxes in the back of the store.
Don’t underestimate the benefits of hiking socks. I held off on buying them for a while, but now that I own some, I always wear them while hiking.
Want to try out a pack that’s not made by The North Face? Again, SoulTrex is the only place you’ll find other brands. Kelty is one such brand. They’ve been making backpacking packs for ages.
They also have a wide variety of hydration packs.
And SoulTrex even has the military grade stuff.
While I was here, I picked up one of these Mountainsmith cases for my DSLR. It was nice to be able to make sure my camera fit first before buying.
This display is the widest assortment of Cliff bars and other energy bars I’ve ever seen. I guess Whole Foods has a good selection but here at SoulTrex the energy bars aren’t mixed in with all those organic-hemp-ultra-fiber-make-you-poop bars.
I won’t hike without these Bloks anymore. These are electrolyte blocks. It’s like Gatorade in gummy candy form. I typically get them at 7-11 but it wasn’t until this trip to SoulTrex that I realized they came in all these different flavors. I grabbed a bunch on this day.
Here’s something you’ll probably need if you’re going on a backpacking trip. Dehydrated meals. Sports Authority has these but they don’t have nearly the selection that SoulTrex offers. And when you’re picking meals, selection is a big deal.
SoulTrex has a small selection of books. These are pretty much the main ones any hiker or backpacker in Hawaii would need. The one on the right is the newest book from Stuart Ball.
SoulTrex supports the rock climbing community as well. Climb Aloha is a store located up on St. Louis Heights in Town. If you live closer to Kaneohe, you can get your climbing supplies here.
And speaking of climbing, this store has a climbing wall built into it. For just a few bucks you can jump on the overhanging wall and climb some boulder problems.
This is the keiki wall. Linda was showing me that they have the holds set up so that even toddlers can have fun climbing.
Then Linda showed me a more advanced route on the main wall.
Come check out the store next time your around Windward Mall. You might not know what all the different products are for so be sure to ask for help.
And if you haven’t picked up a shirt, they’ll be available to try on.