AJ Smith

AJ Smith

AJ Smith's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking
Running
Climbing

AJ Smith

AJ Smith wrote a review of on September 29, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I'm not sure that I had many expectations for a leash other than to keep my pup nearby, but the thoughtful design of the Flat Out leash has amazed me.

I'll start at my hand and work to my dog's collar, pointing out notable features:
The webbing is light, but strong and looks great after its fair share of abuse on muddy hikes. The padded hand loop isn't bulky but provides some comfort that is much appreciated on long trips. The hand loop is adjustable for use as a waist leash (something I've yet to do), but also unclasps completely to quickly wrap around a tree, post, or that railing outside the local coffee shop. I was a little skeptical of the loop staying secure, but after seeing the design and using it, I feel confident that the loop will only come undone when I want it to. Near the dog-end, the traffic loop allows me to keep my pup nearby when we're waiting to cross the street or passing a less-than-friendly dog on the trail. Finally, the clasp quickly and easily attaches and detaches from a collar or harness (not that my dog has a problem patiently sitting, but...OK, we're both incredibly impatient). Even when the collar loop is hidden from sight by fur, I find it's easy to get the leash securely fastened.

There have been a few times when a leash of a different length (longer or shorter) may have been ideal, but I find that this is a good all-around length. Many parks actually require a leash that is 6' or shorter, so this fits the bill quite well. Friends and dog sitters who have used the leash have commented on how great it was, and despite my apprehension to get too excited about a dog leash, I must agree.

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AJ Smith

AJ Smith wrote a review of on September 29, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

I've been hunting for a good pair of pants to hike and climb in for some time, and keep getting disappointed for one reason or another. Prana's Zion pants are the first worthy candidate I've found.

Too often, pants that fit me in the waist and thighs end up being quite baggy at the bottom, which isn't so great for hiking and is downright annoying when climbing. These pants are a little trimmer in the legs and also have snaps that allow you to roll up the bottom for climbing (or as the product description suggest, wading through a very, very shallow stream).

The fabric is breathable and has performed well during the final days of summer in the Southeast. The stretch of the fabric means they don't limit my range of motion and are very seldom thought about once I have them on, which is exactly what I want. I haven't taken them on a thru-hike or a multi-day push up a big wall, but they show no signs of wear after many trips over rough granite.

These seem like great pants that will span a few seasons and will even be suitable for our milder winter weather with a thin insulation layer underneath. Somewhere out there are the perfect pair of pants for me, but these will definitely do in the meantime.

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AJ Smith

AJ Smith wrote a review of on September 29, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

I've worn these shorts about every other day for the past 3 weeks for shorter training runs and, finally, for an 11-mile trail race this weekend. I can't yet comment on the durability of the shorts and how they'll hold up to months of use and washing, but I can speak to their performance during activity.

This is my first experience with a pair of Salomon Twinskin shorts, but I'm sold. These deliver light compression and pare down the amount of fabric between your legs to greatly reduce potential irritation. Despite some warm, humid conditions as summer reluctantly passes, I've experienced no chafing in these shorts. They feel as light and unobtrusive as other pairs of running shorts that only contain brief liners and do a great job of wicking moisture away from my body and not becoming a wet mess.

As other reviewers have noted, the liner provides only light compression. Compared to some other designs that sit a bit higher on the waist and provide some posture support, these hit right at my waist. Despite only light compression, I feel well-supported wearing these.

The rear pocket (the only pocket) fit a gel or two and my car key and holds everything securely while running. I did notice during my race that the zipper pull was bouncing up and down a bit--something that may be improved with a rubberized pull--but it wasn't loud or bothersome.

The appearance, with just the liner/compression shorts on the inner leg and crotch, means I probably won't be wearing these shorts for a job to the coffee shop but they look great for the trail. I appreciate the minimalist styling of these compared to some of the more flashy designs seen in the other Twinskin shorts.

I will definitely be ordering another pair! I've found myself doing laundry more often just so I can wear these again and leave my other shorts in the closet.

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AJ Smith

AJ Smith wrote a review of on June 18, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

I got a long-sleeved Wicked Lite last year and loved it, so the choice was easy when I decided to get a new short sleeve shirt as the weather started heating up. This thing is very light and does a good job of keeping me dry (even in the humid Southern US). The material is quite thin but has proven durable so far in about two weeks of time on the trail under pack straps (and for runs when I'm confined to the city). It also doesn't seem to harbor odors like many other shirts I've worn have, including some that were a good deal more expensive. I looked at a Double Wicked Lite shirt in the store last week, but I'm not sold on the side panels...the standard Wicked Lite seems to work just fine for me.

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AJ Smith

AJ Smith wrote a review of on June 18, 2013

5 5

I purchased one of these to store small camera accessories for backpacking photography. I needed something that would allow me to find things easily (sometimes in the dark), but it still needed to remain as light as possible while hopefully being durable. At about 1 oz., it's as light as I could have hoped for something that stores as much as it does. Two outer zipper pockets (one on each side) make it easy to keep the smallest items separate. It fits well in the lid of my pack, allowing me to get to it quickly when needed. Despite the very thin material, I feel like it will stand up well to use on the trail.

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AJ Smith

AJ Smith wrote a review of on June 17, 2013

4 5

I've had this hat for about a month now and it's already ridden atop my head along trails in the Grand Canyon and Virginia's Grayson Highlands. It's lightweight, provides protection from the sun, and is nice and breathable to keep my head (relatively) cool. The dark color (Collegiate Navy) I ordered probably gets a little warmer than some of the lighter colors when you're out in the sun, but overall my head stayed well-ventilated. When rain came in Virginia, the hat alone was enough protection for light rain and great under the hood of my shell when it started pouring, with the bill keeping the diagonal rain off my face.

Without a flexible tape measure, I guessed at my head size when ordering and got a Large--the Regular would've probably been fine given the hat's adjustability. It's been stuffed into packs and knocked around quite a bit in its first month of use and doesn't show any signs of wear--I look forward to wearing this hat for a long time.

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