Austin Shopbell

Austin Shopbell

Colorado/Utah/Mostly the West

Austin's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking
Skiing
Climbing

Austin's Bio

I'm lucky to have the best of two awesome states: I live in Colorado but go to school in Utah. So I ski resort mainly at Brighton, backcountry mainly around Big Cottonwood, and do some hiking/packing around the area (Zion/Moab/Wasatch front, etc) in the fall and spring. During the summer, I get the real mountains to mountain bike, backpack, camp, and have a good time. I guess you could call me a guru-I'm all about gear, and hope I help you out with reviews/etc!

Austin Shopbell

Austin Shopbell wrote a review of on July 12, 2012

5 5

These are real good boots. I've had them for several months now and put quite a few miles into them, though just recently gave them their first baptism by fire at altitude. After getting turned around in fog a couple times and hiding from some lightning, I turned the fifteen mile 14er hike Colombia/Harvard into a 15 hour/20 mile slog fest through skree, mud, talus, streams, boulders and grass. They withstood a solid pounding and kept my feet dry throughout the whole hike. The vibram soles grip extremely well, even on loose/wet talus, Towards the end of the hike, the narrow toe cage had screwed my feet up; I attribute this to having yet to fully break in the boot (I'd put at least 30 miles into them but not on that type of terrain). Excited to get it back on and hit some more dirt.

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Austin Shopbell

Austin Shopbell wrote a review of on March 18, 2012

5 5

I've used this pot for about 2 years now and love it. I usually just bring the large pot and use it as to store the rest of my cooking equipment while backpacking. While I have to balance it on small stoves carefully, the pot works like a pot...at 6000 feet elevation I can boil 32 oz of water (with my MSR Pocket Rocket) in about 5 minutes. It is very light, very durable, and I use it to organize when not actually boiling. I recommend it for any endeavor.

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Austin Shopbell

Austin Shopbell wrote a question about on April 22, 2011

Backcountry have you lost it? Skiing and mountain biking are already WAY too elitist (over $1000 for a bottom line backcountry ski set up and $2000 for a lower-end dual suspension all mountain bike)! Why cater to the people who think they need a $550 sleeping bag as that will soon become the norm? It's too late for some sports; lets try to keep backpacking one of the few outdoor activities that everyone can enjoy. I've got a $150 Switch 20. It's not as light, as new, water-resistant or down, but it works fine for me. Why does anyone need a 12 degree bag for $550?

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Austin Shopbell

Austin Shopbell wrote a review of on April 10, 2011

4 5

I've had this jacket for a while now, and it's pretty good. I don't know why someone would give it one star for an incorrectly-labeled description, but whatever. I used it about a month ago in Zion during a rainy backpacking trip. While it doesn't shed water like a duck, it worked OK. It rained constantly (and pretty hard) for about 4-5 hours. By the time we had reached our campsite, the fabric had soaked through and my shirt and skin was damp, but it was much, much better than no jacket. I like this jacket, and it will keep you pretty dry in backcountry excursions and completely dry in quick urban adventures, but I will soon trade up to Gore-Tex.

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Austin Shopbell

Austin Shopbell wrote a review of on March 17, 2011

5 5

I've had these gloves for about 4 winters now, and I've used them hard. While this is my first season of 100+ ski days, I've used them shoveling, snowballing, and skiing quite a few times, but they still look and work like they did right out of the box. They take a couple weeks to truly break in, but once you have broken them in, you'll never want to take them off. I've used them this winter up at Brighton in -10° temperatures and my hands didn't get cold AT ALL. This weekend, I used them in 45° temps on a backcountry trip and my hands didn't sweat AT ALL. These gloves are literally unbeatable; if they ever wear out (which I don't think will happen anytime soon), I will not hesitate to buy another pair.

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Austin Shopbell

Austin Shopbell wrote a review of on March 16, 2011

F*&#@ng Great
4 5

If you couldn't tell from the title, I love my Micks. I literally wore these sandals every day of the year-snow, rain, shine, pre climb/ski/bike, or party. They don't take long to break in, but once they've molded to your feet (which takes a little longer), these are literally the most comfortable shoes you'll ever own-they feel like gloves. The leather not only looks cool, but it feels great and the exterior/interior holds up pretty decently. While it gets dirty, the bottle opener is helpful at times and a great conversation starter all the time. My one gripe is the craftsmanship. While I won't call them poor made or shoddy, I was hoping they would last a little longer than they did. I probably got about 375 complete days out of them before the toe "thong" started to come up, a common Reef problem (I've detailed it in the picture). I would totally buy another pair (but only when I can afford two pairs of sandals)-when Reef fixes their toe problem (I've experienced it with 3 other types of reef sandals), I'll come straight back and be a customer for life. But for now, I'm paying more for Chacos so I don't need to buy new pairs yearly.

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Austin Shopbell

Austin Shopbell wrote a review of on March 13, 2011

5 5

I took this on a weekend trip to Zion...I knew it was going to be wet so I wanted to get something to keep my bag dry. We were backpacking in the rain for a solid 12 hours, and my bag (and clothes I managed to squeeze in there) came out ddrryyy. Granted, my pack was covered with a trash bag and stuff outside the sack only got damp, but it served it's purpose. Also, all my buddies who were pulling out their gear stuffed in plastic bags were jealous-it looks badass. I'd recommend it.

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Austin Shopbell

Austin Shopbell wrote an answer about on March 13, 2011

Obviously it's too late in this instance, but for the next question about shipping or other technicalities, it would probably be easier to select the "Chat Now" box in the upper right-hand corner of the page, and talk to a backcountry.com employed order specialist directly. They are always very helpful and easy to talk to, and you'll get an answer much quicker than posting on the page! Hope this helps!

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Austin Shopbell

Austin Shopbell wrote a question about on March 13, 2011

I want to get a pair of Chacos for hiking...specifically the narrows in Zion (and similar trails/creeks). Would I be alright with saving the $30 and getting the Z1's, or would the performance on the Z/2's be worth the extra money? Also, is there any difference in the life of the shoe? Does the Z/2 outlast the Z/1 for several years, or are they made about the same?

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Austin Shopbell

Austin Shopbell wrote an answer about on February 21, 2011

I just used the stove in 15 degree (f) weather this weekend and it worked fine. It took longer to boil water, but it did work. If the temperature isn't dropping below 32f while you're in Nepal and you want an inexpensive, lightweight (essentially unbeatable) stove, this is the perfect stove for you.

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Austin Shopbell

Austin Shopbell wrote a review of on January 19, 2011

5 5

Aight I give it 5 stars. This knife is SOLID...I've owned Kershaw, Gerber and Kabar and this knife is my go to knife for anything outside, inside or urban. The assisted opening is damn fast and smoother than Cosmo Kramer, and I think I read that the lock mechanism can withstand about 1000 lbs of pressure. Regardless, its strong. The blade is real sharp and holds an edge well...it's the sharpest, out of the box, out of any of my knives. At first I was a little angry about the clip-it bends easy and looked hard to fix. However, I didn't take enough time to actually see that the clip can be removed by loosening one screw using a 1mm hex wrench. It's very easy to take the clip off and hammer it back to being straight, but easier if the clip doesn't bend at all. So try not to let the clip catch on things.

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Austin Shopbell

Austin Shopbell wrote an answer about on December 20, 2010

Backcountry has an industry leading return policy (at least for the consumer). I've never had a problem with returning anything-even mildly used gear-and I don't think I ever had a receipt. In the upper right hand corner of backcountry.com, click "Chat Now," select "returns or exchanges," and you get a direct line to a guru who will tell you the definite answer to your question as well as tell you how to return/exchange them.
Also, don't be surprised if your next pair of MK's has a completely different size than either of your other pairs. Their quality control/sizing is all over place (some 32x32 I can't fit in and some are too big even with a belt), but it's totally worth it. Aren't their pants sweet?

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Austin Shopbell

Austin Shopbell wrote a review of on April 7, 2010

5 5

While I can't attest to how this jacket does in the rain, I can address several concerns with this jacket. There are quite a few reviews that say "this jacket will rip if if brushes against a twig," or "not very tough at all." I don't know what these people are talking about. First time I wore the jacket out, I wore it as a windbreaker for a ride. I stumbled on a jump trail, and hit it too hard. The third jump, I didn't get my front wheel high enough, so I endo'ed into the landing zone. I landed on my right shoulder and rolled about 3 times down the jump. While my shoulder is tore up pretty good, there isn't even a nick on my jacket. And it definitely should have torn. So while I can't address how the Epic does in the rain, I can tell you that this is one tough jacket...I love it.

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