Andre Shoumatoff

Andre Shoumatoff

Utah primarily, some Colorado and Wyoming

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Andre's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking
Skiing

Andre's Bio

Tele skier, lots of time camping in the Utah desert and Utah & Colorado mountains. Ride dirtbikes and mountain bike heavily. Camp off dirtbikes. andreshoumatoff.smugmug.com

Andre Shoumatoff

Andre Shoumatoff wrote a review of on April 25, 2013

5 5

Subject says it all. I waited about a year before writing this review and have probably about 2 weeks of nights in it now. I bought this after a couple miserable years with another 20 degree bag that lost its insulation and was over-rated from the get go. It was really a 30 or 40 degree bag claiming to be a 20 bag. This bag was a very pleasant surprise after this experience, a lot of value from Kelty, it has a lot of insulation and is warm. It hasn't let me down once in any fashion. there are a couple small feature items near the upper part (like an adjustable wind collar, this one isn't adjustable) but it's pretty damn good and I'm very happy with it. Extremely high quality and value. Including after washing.

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Andre Shoumatoff

Andre Shoumatoff wrote a review of on September 24, 2012

4 5

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

This is only after a couple nights use. I removed it from its stuff sack and I put the bivy portion in a small stuff sac that is smaller than a nalgene, and then the poles seperately. It only needs two (correct -- TWO) stakes to stay up including in the wind. You don't need the other stakes and the guy wires unless you really want them.

The big thing is that like all bivyies is that it collects moisture. I'm tall (6'5) and it had plenty of room for me and my gear. It was the least clustraphobic bivy I've every used and about as good as they get. The issue is the bivy itself versus a 1 man tent and how you want to proceed. When raining, you have to close the door and you get in trouble with breath-caused moisture.

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Andre Shoumatoff

Andre Shoumatoff wrote a review of on November 28, 2008

5 5

I'm reading the other reviews and my jaw is on the floor because the bindings rule. I have owned a lot of pairs of Tele Bindings including the Targa G9s (which I had mixed feelings on), the old school Rainey Superloops (a couple pairs since 1997) and then the Hammerheads, and I love these so much I bought two pair. I am also really hard on my gear, I have blown several bindings and probably snapped three skis in the last 8 years or so. These are super laterally stiff and these are my go-to universal bindings. I ride them on everything including touring and back country (but I also use big boots always) and I think they're great. My only complaint, ever, was on steep ascents where the bindings with the touring release (new technology anyway) would beat these out. My first pair I probably had 100+ days on. The cartridges still felt great but all of that tele-style chafing (boot rubbing boot) finally wore them through and one cartridge exploded. I sent to BCA in Colorado, three days later I had new cartridge/cables, no questions asked, I didn't even send a receipt! Over the G3, I would take these any day of the week because of the lateral stiffness that the hardwire adds. Otherwise they are a very similar binding. These are also "active" in that you hit a certain spot in the binding and they help out in the tele turn, sort of a "sweet spot." As a result I get real low and absolutely crank on these things, long arching turns (as desired) that more than keep up with the downhillers, or they rip in the bumps too...

Anyway I would recommend and recommend again.

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Andre Shoumatoff

Andre Shoumatoff wrote a review of on November 18, 2008

2 5

Good summer bag but that is about it. I started with a 40 degree Lafuma that when it showed up it was paper thin and was literally a good tropical bag, possibly. The stuff size was about the size of a football or smaller. So I returned for this bag and though 35 degrees on this bag would actually be tolerable. Wrong. I've had it about two years now, frankly, great summer bag but that is about it. Any time I have taken it out in mildly questionable spring weather I have full-on frozen my nuts off. I'm not someone who is normally "cold" or anything of the sort.

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Andre Shoumatoff

Andre Shoumatoff wrote a review of on April 29, 2008

4 5

I just wrote the review for the previous model, which is the polarguard model that is currently on sale, but it looks like nothing had particularly changed with the Dark Star other than the brand of filler. It is a very large, slightly heavy, but particularly bulky bag. Even with the compression stuff sac it still comes in at about 2.5" long by about 12-14" wide... So it takes up a lot of space... Stuffing doesn't quite take 15 minutes, but it is a little tough to get it in the sac and sinched up. It is a great basecamp or living quarters bag for expeditioning, but there are better bags to get. But with anything, you get what you pay for and the Dark Star is a particularly good deal IMO. I use it for all sorts of camping, anytime my 20 bag won't cut it including fall/spring and southern Utah in the winter, times where it rarely gets below 10F or 0 so the bag is complete overkill. It manages this very well of course, I manage the excess heat by simply venting the bag (aka having the zipper open in places) which works great. The bag (even though made in China or whatever) is still North Face quality, excellent design, good neck collars, etc...

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Andre Shoumatoff

Andre Shoumatoff wrote a review of on April 28, 2008

4 5

I've had the Dark Star for a couple years now. It is an absolutely massive and heavy sleeping bag. I asked my old man for a good winter -20 or -30 bag for the birthday and what showed up was --The Dark Star -- LOL. My personal experience is that it is awesome. It is big and heavy but very warm and comfortable. If it is too hot you learn to manage the heat by simply not zipping it all the way up, which I do quite often. If you are fully zipped up it is capable of the rating that it claims. I use it for a huge assortment of camping, basically any time it will be particularly cold and my small 20 bag won't cut it, but even in fall and spring and in southern Utah in winter, times where it rarely gets below 10 F. It works very well for me, I am 6'5, fit in it perfectly. Again, I manage any excess heat by venting the bag. It would be a great base camp bag though particularly bulky. If size is not a big deal then use it. If you are a winter expedition on foot or limited space there are better bags to get. As with anything though, you always get what you pay for and it is a decent deal as well.

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Andre Shoumatoff

Andre Shoumatoff wrote a review of on May 7, 2007

4 5

Great little unit.. Incredibly smart and durable, literally the best headlamp I have ever owned in 15+ years of regular headlamp use... My only gripe is that the "diverse" beam setting only comes in white, while for $10 more the TacTikka XP Adapt comes with 4 different lenses (my favorite is green - much brighter but does not affect your night vision) and I like the 3 band setting of the TakTikka versus the 2 band loop of the Tikka XP. They are basically the same headlamp but the TakTikka comes with three "clips" that it can be mounted to, one that goes on a helmet, one that goes on a belt loop, and one that goes on a traditional head loop. And the TakTikka (single-handedly the reason I bought it) comes with those different color lenses. If you had a friend with a TakTicca and you bought the Tikka you could poach a lens or two off him, then you would be fine IMO. Not killing night vision and slightly --duller-- beam for extended night hikes and use goes a long way...

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Andre Shoumatoff

Andre Shoumatoff wrote a review of on May 7, 2007

5 5

In general high quality of manufacturing in my opinion. Good and warm. Doesn't have some of the features of the more expensive bags, but packs small and I have a feeling it will last a long time. Good and warm, it got into the low 40s several times and I was beyond comfortable. Great little bag. My only little grip is I don't like the square bottom sowing pattern and the hanging hooks are a little chincy. After I bought it, I did a close assessment of several other bags in the same temp range and there are certainly nicer/better, but I think probably hands-down the best bang for the buck...

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Andre Shoumatoff

Andre Shoumatoff wrote a review of on April 25, 2007

5 5

The construction and quality of it are awesome. But just be sure you know what you are getting, a 40 degree bag, which means summer time only in places that get cold. Even at 50-55 you start to get a little chilly in it. Perfect for the tropics or places that are generally warm (I'd say 60 or higher) on average. It packs very very small, about the size of a football, which is great. Thickness wise, in general the bag is quite thin.

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