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Amicus

Amicus

Stowe, VT; RI shore; MT, Connecticut backyards

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James's Bio

Road biking, snow skiing, training to get younger every year.

Amicus

Amicus wrote a review of on March 17, 2014

5 5

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

I found one on a close-out rack at a price that mandated purchase. After using it, I think it would have been a good deal at full retail ($139).

It is nice around town, so my TNF Apex will be handed down. This is far better at wind resistance than the Apex. I also have an Arc'teryx Venta MX and I prefer the softer feel of the Polartec in the Adze to the Gore Windstopper in the Venta. I am tempted to say that the Polartec is better, but Patagonia has added a very thin grid pattern fleece lining, so it is probably unfair to compare fabric to fabric as the Venta is not insulated at all.

I have skied in it in strong winds and have an appreciation for the design of the tall collar. It retains heat very well. You do not need a neck gaiter, unless you need to protect your face.

The Adze also breathes well. I have used it as a mid-layer under a shell and stayed dry while working hard.

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Amicus

Amicus wrote a review of on January 3, 2014

5 5

I raced in the 70s and haven't liked a ski as much as the Mantra in a few decades. I know that ski design has made carving available to the masses, but I tend to fight other skis until I get tired and then, make turns the way the skis are designed to be used which is much less work.

I found these on a weekend in Stowe when there were 3 days of snow. I paid the demo fee because there was too much fresh for my AC50s. I tried lots of nice skis, but these felt much better than the rest. Given NE, the snow was light an fluffy early, and later was skied out and damp. So, there were changing conditions to sample.

Ideally, I'd like a pair of Gotamas for the accumulated snow in the morning, but by 11 AM I was on the Mantras for the duration.

The Mantra reminds me of a GS ski from the late 70s in that you can initiate a turn so many different ways. It is very stable at speed, holds a strong edge on all but blue ice and has some float, even for the offensive lineman's body I have developed. I have 177s at 6'2", 260. These have me feeling good on bumps and better in glades. I wish they were 184 or 191 on boot top pow days and I might have chosen the longer sizes if I was going to run gates with them, but the AC 50s come out for beer league.

They are stiff, but are responsive if you are heavy +/or strong. My 6'4" 225 - former college rower - son is looking at 191s.

I think they are best overall ski for bigger, advanced skiers living in NE.

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Amicus

Amicus wrote an answer about on June 3, 2013

Small is 20x12x12, medium is 24x15x15 and large is 28x16x16. All can be compressed with straps attached. I am shopping for the large, thinking medium loads will fit in the large and be compressed, but the reserve capacity is there. Volume wise, the medium is a 1.681 times the size of the small and the large is 2.12 times the size of the small.

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Amicus

Amicus wrote a review of on April 28, 2013

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I have a beloved Cloudveil Koven shell and wanted a soft shell for everyday skiing to preserve the Koven.

I like the jacket very much. It feels bomb proof. My one day in it was Stowe's 2012-13 closing day. 20s in the AM on the scratchy top with hard wind. Mid-40s at the bottom in the PM on wet mashed potatoes and corn. Started with an Arc'teryx Atom LT hoody underneath and over a long sleeve wicking shirt. At mid-day I switched the hoody for a Patagonia Nano Puff vest.

Less windproof than the Koven, but acceptable. Breathability was great as the temperature rose.

As an every day winter jacket, I would prefer my TNF Apex Bionic jacket or the Arc'tyrex Atom LT Hoody. The primary reasons for this is that there are no slash pockets on the shell. I don't find this an issue for skiing because I would always have something underneath. My layers, OR down jacket, Atom Hoody and Nano vest all have slash zippers. The inside slash pockets can be reached via the pit zips for storage access. It does leave a nice clean looking front, but I would add pockets if designers asked me. The other limitation for everyday use is the sleeve. I leave it as loose as the velcro closure permits, because I cannot get my hands through otherwise. Fiddling with the velcro would be a pain just to go outside for wood or similar simple errand.

My ski gloves are guantlets, so I cover the lower sleeve while skiing. I am supposing it would be difficult to get the sleeve over gloves like my XXL Black Diamond Guides.

Fit is a half size small if you don't have a trim waist. I wear XL in TNF, but XXL in Arc'teryx, meaning the XL is tight around the waist and the XXL is loose. I plan to use it skiing and picked XL because it will handle layers. I am 6'2" 265 with a football player's build and about a 38" waist.

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Amicus

Amicus wrote a review of on April 28, 2013

4 5

This is a very thin and light garment. I think that it is a fine piece for summer, but I am not sure it has much utility for the fall or spring. I chose the Venta MX instead.

There is no insulation and it doesn't seem possible that it would generate more than negligible warmth. It is a little crinkly or, put another way, the fabric puckers a little. It stretches. It is very much like an old school, unlined track jacket. I can tell it is well made, but cannot justify the price even with the considerable 40% bc.com discount.
Fit is a half size small if you don't have a trim waist. I wear XL in TNF, but XXL in Arc'teryx, meaning the XL is tight around the waist and the XXL is loose. I plan to use it skiing and picked XL because it will handle layers. I am 6'2" 265 with a football player's build.

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Amicus

Amicus wrote a review of on April 2, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Between an OR down jacket for 10* and below and an R1 or TNF fleece sweater for temps over freezing, I use the Atom/LT as a layer under my Cloudviel Koven or Arcteryx Gamma SL Hoodie. I really like the side panels for wicking and the PrimaLoft 1 is warm and superior to down for repeat uses and sweaty fun. The hood would be very warming under a helmet, but I have only worn it up at the start of winter hikes.
I am a TNF XL and an XXL in the Arcteryx athletic fit. I am pretty tightly packed into my XL in this jacket, but I have free range of motion and it looks slimmer under the shells. If I was going to wear it as a stand alone, I would probably have bought an XXL. I am a 46" long for men's suits and 6'2"and 260.

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Amicus

Amicus wrote a review of on April 2, 2013

5 5

The inner pile is very warm, but a little use makes it more comfortable. At first, mine were a little to full of my hands and fingers and, then, as the pile became a compressed they actually felt warmer. Flexibility also improves with age.
I have to be critical of the design, but I am not aware of an alternative. The Gore fabric is in the liner. That means that the outer shell can get wet and your hands stay dry. If they had managed to place the Gore layer within the leather outer shell, the glove could be much more versatile. Then, you could remove the inner liner and put a thinner glove liner on with the shell over it and have a glove for a warmer day. I tried this Spring skiing and found that the outer shell got sopping wet from touching the corn snow (the leather is very absorbent) .
I hope the shell lasts several seasons because the glove is enjoyable and comfortable.

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Amicus

Amicus wrote a review of on February 14, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have 3/4 CW-X tights and have skied in them several times. I am 56 and started racing in high school. Last season I road biked 2000 miles pre-ski season. This year, work kept me fat and desk bound.
I think the compression is even more important for untrained muscles and turned the clock back a few years regarding recovery time. It also does seem to hold off fatigue. I find that leaving the pants on is helpful as to recovery and sometimes I sleep in them when I have gone on a day trip.
The 3/4 sizing is great also because it avoids the seem pinch where the long pants are compressed in the boot or the discomfort from pulling them over the boot top. TNF has insultated 3/4 pants which I wear over the compression pants on very cold days. I am looking at the insulated CW-X also.
I have huge legs and have been prone to cramping all the way back to when I started racing. This is a great product.

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Amicus

Amicus wrote a review of on October 2, 2012

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I was looking for a low profile synthetic vest. I checked out TNF Red Point which I deemed too warm and the REI equivalent that I thought was nice, but with the Backcountry sale, the Nano was less expensive that the others. It was also the one I wanted. Factoring in the better Primaloft, Patagonia's reputation for quality and environmental concern, the Patagonia is probably nearly worth its full out retail price.
The Nano is not as warm as the other two. I chose it because it completes my set of under layers for winter activity. It is now 50 to 60 *F in Southern NE at night. It is a great season to have this piece. I will use it when hiking and riding this fall. It packs down very small so it would be easy to stow and it is quite light. I'll use it on the first few cold miles of a fall road bike ride and I'll have it in my pack when hiking for when the sun starts to fall. I also expect to wear this as a layer skiing and then to dinner after a day on the slopes, and, of course, around town. I never could wear the Red Point inside, even in a cold barn/tavern in northern VT.
I would have appreciated a nice strip of fleece in the the pockets and on the inside of the collar. The Nano is somewhat shorter collar to tail than the others by say an inch. I don't think it is too short, but if you want to really cover some backside, you should know.

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Amicus

Amicus wrote a review of on March 7, 2012

5 5

I rate 5* because I love the mittens. They are not 5* perfect. The problem is that the waterproofing is in the liner. If the waterproofing were in the shell, you could wear the liner over fleece gloves or mittens and have an all temperature ski glove. On a 20 degree day, these are going to make your hands sweat.

I have Guide Gloves and hoped these would cover the warmer days, but the two are very comparable because the Mercurys are mittens. I guess the search continues for a glove for those over 10 degree days.

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Amicus

Amicus wrote a review of on December 18, 2010

5 5

I used the BD Prodigy last season and have had EMS and Patagonia two piece, insulated, waterproof gloves in the past. I have extra thick hands and finding ones that fit is a challenge.

I like BD because the leather is the highest quality I have found. I plan to use snoseal on it, because the Prodigy gloves would get wet and the sumptuous leather drank in a lot of H20. These liners are a step up from the Prodigy, the insert comes out and there is a nylon feeling shell filled with Primaloft and your hand is wrapped in a pile material. The Prodigy kept me warm on a 0 degree day and I expect these can go lower.

I suspect that the liner being removable will allow the gloves to recover better if you need to dry them overnight for consecutive days on the mountain. There is a good chance that your hands will sweat they are so warm.

I plan to get some mid-weight fleece gloves to use in lieu of the liners. The gloves are very warm and the outside of the glove would be more serviceable for me above ~20 degrees with different stuffing.

Another review complained of the frustration of getting the liner back in comfortably. I had that issue with the Prodigy - part of why I handed them down to my son. His hands are smaller and he hasn't noticed the issue. I had the biggest problem with one of the pinkie fingers. I think that a weaker finger can have hard time forcing the liner into place in a tight glove.

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Amicus

Amicus wrote a review of on December 18, 2010

5 5

I had a Mountain Hardwear Goretex PRO shell that was lost in a fire. Since MH had discontinued the particular shell, which I loved, I got the Koven based on the old Outside mag review and great BC price.

The MH won my loyalty by being reliably dry and windproof on summer and winter hikes, snow shoeing and skiing on and off piste. The Koven brings more to the game. I actually like being caught in the rain, it is amazing to just watch torrents bead up and drain off while inside it am warm and dry. It is impervious to downpours.

The really amazing thing is the nanotechnology involved in the fabric. It vents amazingly well. If you control your layers correctly, there is no need to use the pit zips. The magic fabric gives the coat a broad temperature range that really surprised me.

I pay attention to the layers that work so I can approximate how to dress before a hike, bike ride or day of skiing. Inevitably conditions change and I get it slightly wrong. But, with this coat it actually seems to get a little warmer or cooler depending on the your body's temperature. If you are engaged in something aerobic and start off cool, you'll get warmer, but not uncomfortable. Similarly, if you are going at a good pace and the sun starts to set and temperatures fall, the coat just makes you feel warmer. Honest, it seems to me that I only feel the temperature change in body parts that are exposed or covered by other garments.

It is a great pleasure to have a broader comfort range. As my first time skiing in it approached, I am hoping that it will prove to be the answer to the in-bounds skiers' dilemma, do I dress to be warm on the lift and be over heated at the bottom of the run, or to be comfortable downhill and cold going up?

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