Barry Blalock

Barry Blalock

Colorado.

Barry Blalock's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking
Running
Climbing

Barry Blalock

Barry Blalock wrote a review of on October 11, 2010

5 5

This is the best jacket I have ever owned. Seriously.

It breathes harder than Carl Lewis sprinting the 100M dash and the cut looks as sexy as Marissa Miller rolling around in a two piece on the beach. Marmot got nasty with this thing. Put it this way, if Arc'Teryx had this jacket, it'd be priced at around $374 instead of $174. Don't think, just add it to your cart and put it on when it gets to your house. Then run around for a long time. You won't need to take it off, ever. The introduction went like this. New Skin, this is Body. Body, New Skin.

(3)

 

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Barry Blalock

Barry Blalock wrote a review of on October 11, 2010

5 5

So this thing is light. It packs down not much smaller than the stuff sack it comes with, but if you're using a 50L+ backpack, it fits nicely at the bottom of your pack, laying horizontally. Now on to the warmth factor: It's very. I sleep cold and was almost sweating in 15 degree cold and wind. I had to sleep with this thing unzipped. When zipped all the way up, you can cinch everything down to where only your mouth is exposed so this thing could withstand cold well below 0 if needed. The Euro Rating System has ranked this bag at -27 to keep you alive, so a 0 rating is ultra conservative.

The baffling, workmanship, and down are all top quality. I've used the Grizzly GWS 0 degree Western Mountaineering bag and I prefer the Phantom bc it's just as warm and has a much better hood. The WM hoods are bush.

Get this bag! It will keep you hot when it is Sub Zero and will last you at least 7 seasons with very regular usage. Lastly, it doesn't leak down like everyone says. Mine has been awesome! And YES, there is a zipper pull inside the bag for you to open and close with ease. This is the best 0 Degree bag out there.

(1)

 

Barry Blalock

Barry Blalock wrote a review of on April 2, 2010

5 5

Firstly, the price of this piece is just right if you understand the sweat equity Arc'teryx invests in every piece of their gear line. This piece is no different; a perfect mixture of Gore-Tex Pro Shell reinforced in the high abrasion areas of the garment, the neck, the shoulders, and the arms and the ultra lightweight and durable Gore-Tex Paclite throughout the body. The stitch count is easily 25 per inch and the jacket is completely seam sealed. Most times, having a zip away hood, this one is helmet compatible by the way, makes you look like you're wearing a neck brace. Not so with this one, very reasonably sized stowed away and very easy to unzip and throw over your head.

The concept is great between Pro Shell and Paclite and here is why; heat rises, and while Pro Shell is a more durable fabric, it breathes better than the Paclite, so as you are pushing yourself the heat is rising up through your shoulders, neck, and arms and is able to breathe easier because the Pro Shell is in all of those places.

This is a very bombproof jacket, best of it's kind for how light it is (13.1 oz in Medium!) and the nice part is it covers your bum for the nastiest of storms, but it isn't cut as long as it's cousin the Theta AR. It has one handed pull drawcords around the waist, velcro tapered cuffs for your wrists, and a fully adjustable and stowable hood that can cinch down tight and block out the windiest snow/rainstorms.

The best part about this jacket for me is that it is only 2 ounces heavier than their Beta SL but can withstand FAR more abuse in the mountains. It packs down to 1/2 the size of a 1L Nalgene, basically a softball in size Large which is what I wear. I am 5'10" 205 and it fits snugly over my Montbell Permafrost Light Down Jacket if the mercury really drops. Ideally, a baselayer and midlayer will be perfect and you'll have just enough room.

I have several Arc'teryx jackets and I can truly say that they are the best jackets out there for their specific activities. Few come close, but if you want the best, Arc'teryx is the answer.

(3)

 

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Barry Blalock

Barry Blalock wrote a review of on November 30, 2009

5 5

For the money, this is the one you need. I've done winter rappelling and felt like I was sitting in a La-Z-Boy recliner. Seriously, the worst part of climbing for me now is getting back on the wall from the comfortable sitting position. It's tough, adjustable, tough, comfortable, tough, well-made, and tough!

I really like this harness.


It's tough.

(4)

 

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Barry Blalock

Barry Blalock wrote a review of on November 30, 2009

5 5

This thing is a beast. It gives me too much friction on the high friction mode. I could lead belay a fat, fat, nasty with this thing and not even feel them come off for a world class whipper. I think I just need to take off the first layer of finish so my 10.2mm rope slides easier through it. At any rate, this thing is world class and will last me a long, long time with very regular usage.

Muchas gracias, BD.

(0)

 

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Barry Blalock

Barry Blalock wrote a review of on November 30, 2009

5 5

I've chewed this thing up climbing on granite and it's proven itself to me time and time again. Does a very decent job blocking wind, sheds hours of moisture very well, but the thing I'm taken aback by is the toughness. I grind this thing against sharp rocks that rip my paws to shreds, bushwack through brambles, and play backyard tackle football with it on. Breathes well and stands the test of time. For the value, this might be the best cheap jacket on the market.

Thank you, North Face...thank you.

(5)

 

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Barry Blalock

Barry Blalock wrote a review of on November 26, 2009

5 5

This jacket is tough and completely windproof. I live along the Front Range in Colorado and the winters here are super windy, avg. wind speed is 55mph. This jacket blocks the wind and keeps you super toasty warm on single digit days. I've belayed in this jacket with great aplomb, I never felt the 25 degree morning air.

Also, it is super light, like alien light. I think MontBell has their flagship puffy with this jacket. The shell is super strong, light, and very weatherproof, almost like a softshell. The insulation is amazingly warm, even with a long sleeve capilene 1-2 on I could be stationary for a while before I felt the cold. Nice weatherproof zippers to keep out moisture.

The fit is athletic, I feel like. I am 5'10", 195 and the Large is so friggin money on me. Enough room to fit on a medium baselayer, and if it's super cold, a midweight insulation layer like polartec power stretch.

Do NOT try and hike in this thing. You'll over heat immediately and be miserable. This is a stationary jacket due to it's warmth. Use it wisely and take it with you everywhere. It stuffs down to the size of a 1L Nalgene bottle with further possible compression available. Be sure, says the tag, to deflate slowly, due to the welded baffles and WindStopper fabric air takes longer to compress outwards, go fast and you'll blow out a baffle. No bueno.

I like this more than my old favorite MHW Sub Zero Down jacket. It's just as warm but weighs literally ounces and is far more packable. Plus the Brick Red is like a salsa color, super dope.

Enjoy!

(0)

 

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Barry Blalock

Barry Blalock wrote a review of on June 1, 2009

5 5

Prep and thruhiked with this pad in 0 degF cold and kept warm throughout the night. The cut is ample enough for a broad shouldered hiker and this thing fits magically into the BA Horse Thief for your summer bag. I used the regular and I am 5'10" 190 and this thing was perfect for my frame. I blew it up and used it every night for 135 nights. I wouldn't put any Tyvek underneath while sleeping in the shelters on the AT because the material is super tough and definitely not slippery which is good for keeping your bag on top. I will never use another sleeping pad because this thing has everything right. One problem a lot of thruhikers have is not being able to readjust to sleeping in a bed for almost a month because our bodies got so used to sleeping on hard surfaces. I had no problem readjusting because this felt like I was on a bed every night I was out there. Sleep is super important for your body and mind when you are trying to recharge day after day of long 20 milers, this gave me sound and nourishing rest every night. I didn't mind the 5 minutes it took to blow up because I knew what kind of comfort I was getting ready to enjoy. A fantastic airpad that weighs nothing and gives you a great nights sleep.

(1)

 

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Barry Blalock

Barry Blalock wrote a review of on June 1, 2009

5 5

Everything about this bag is magnificent. The weight, the packability, the warmth it offers, the fact that you can slide your sleeping pad into the back of it and never roll off your pad again is amazing!! I used to wake up every time I'd roll over because I'd fall off my pad and be on the hard ground. With this bag was the first time I got a full nights sleep. It gives you enough room to roll around and even get into a semi fetus position. Big Agnes makes some sick gear and with this is just another tick on the tally of their accomplishments.

(2)

 

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Barry Blalock

Barry Blalock wrote a review of on June 1, 2009

5 5

This is a great layering piece. The Polartec material in this is super warm and cozy. The 4-way stretch that it offers is superb. I usually wear this with a light wicking baselayer underneath and my MHW WindStopper vest if it's pretty nippy outside (20's-30's) and I'm going a long way. It isn't the most packable piece, down or a synthetic like Primaloft would offer more warmth and pack down smaller, but if space isn't a worry then this is the piece I will go with.

(1)

 

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Barry Blalock

Barry Blalock wrote a review of on June 1, 2009

3 5

Not too impressed and here's why. I usually melt when it comes to MH, they make it happen, but for some reason this pant just was pretty blase. I wear a 34x30 so these were long because it seems no outdoor company wants to make a good hiking pant that gives an inseam option to the customer so the fit is better. That just irks me, and that's part of the reason for the 3 star rating. The material used is neat and super water resistant and windproof. Great. There are no stitched seams, instead everything is glued, so when the glue failed me and I had to do a field repair with some sewing floss, I immediately looked like a homeless person because of the distinct stitching pattern that is now on my pants. I lived in these pants on the AT and they would be washed every week, but for everyday I didn't wash them they continued to get baggier and baggier. By the time laundry day came around I had on M.C. Hammer pants. They wouldn't compress down into any of the pockets that adorn the sides of the legs. They were just good weather resistant pants to hike in that were too long and baggy by weeks end.

(4)

 

Barry Blalock

Barry Blalock wrote a review of on June 1, 2009

5 5

I've used this biner for years and it's held up like a champion. After 5 years, it still works like it's supposed to and it clicks closed as strong as it did the first day I bought it. I think this is one of the best all around quickdraw biners out there. There are lighter options but if you're doing a short sport route and just need a reliable biner, take about a bakers dozen with ya.

(0)

 

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