Ben

Ben

Shenandoah VA, Western NC

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Benjamin's Passions

Camping
Backpacking
Snowboarding
Road Cycling
Sport Climbing

Benjamin's Bio

Ben

Ben wrote a review of on September 8, 2012

5 5

I bought this bag after using the 0 degree synthetic bag this winter. The bag is so comfortable, water resistant, and packs down pretty small. I have spent ~70 nights in this bag over the course of this summer, and I don't want to sleep in anything else. The stuff sack is about as long as my fore-arm and as big around as a football, without any compression, and at just over two pounds its light enough for me. I would recommend this to absolutely anyone.

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Ben

Ben wrote a review of on September 8, 2012

4 5

This headlamp is like having a car on your forehead....WITH THE HIGH BEAMS ON! I get though about a week of backpacking with it, doing a little reading in the evening on a daily basis. My first one died on me, but i am 99% sure it is because a battery burst in it at leaked acid all over the inside. You can't beat the price.

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Ben

Ben wrote a review of on September 8, 2012

3 5

I got this pack and used if for about two weeks and ultimately returned it. It is really easy to adjust the shoulder straps to match your torso length and after you get over the weirdness of how the shoulders feel it works really well. The waist belt is super beefy for the size of the pack and makes the load feel really secure. I ended up returning it because it was not sturdy enough for my taste. I noticed that the straps to hold down the lid were stretching at the stitching where the webbing meets the lid (it seems to be some sort of synthetic leather). Additionally I was tightening one of the side straps and the clasp snapped. The only way to fix it would be to cut it off and sew on a new one.
I ended up getting the Osprey Exos 46 which is lighter and seems more durable even with smaller straps.

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Ben

Ben wrote a review of on April 20, 2012

4 5

I wear these boots for 7 day stretches of backpacking every other week. Coming from a pair of Hi-Tec's the quality and craftsmanship is immediately evident. The boots have a very sturdy sole and the leather uppers can take abuse. Trust in the waterproofing, I walked through a creek and not a drop of water reached my feet, worn in apocalyptic rain and my toes are warm and dry.
My only qualms are the insoles have almost zero cushioning so they probably want to be replaced, and the toes get scuffed up almost instantly, I imagine it is mostly the looks but it may wear down the waterproofing ability over time.

Really great boots if you are gonna wear them enough to justify the price tag.

They certainly need breaking in, take it easy for the first couple hikes with these.

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Ben

Ben wrote a review of on April 20, 2012

5 5

I have spent ~25 happy nights in this bag, it is super comfortable, warm, and the stretch system is fantastic. Not to mention the outside of the bag is fairly waterproof. A fair amount of rain built up on my bag and formed a bowl shape that had about 2 cups of water in it, i simply rolled the bag and the water drained off. Even when the bag does get moist on the outside the inside remains warm and dry. I love this bag so much i bought the 40 degree version for the spring/summer/fall. There are cheaper bags out there, but the sleep I get in this bag makes it totally worth it.

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Ben

Ben wrote a review of on March 23, 2012

5 5

I have had the Aether 70 for about three years and have used it on multiple week-10 day trips. It is large enough to fit my winter gear/bag as well as 10 days worth of food. After several hundred miles the only way you can tell it is old is because it is dirty, no rips, cracks, or any defects. I have carried up to 60lbs and it has held it without trouble. I am getting ready to buy my 3rd Osprey pack and would never go with another company (Talon 33 and Stratos 24). The top "brain" of the pack comes off and can be combined with the waist belt to act as a fanny-pack. Big enough to hold two nalgenes as well as a clif bar or other snack.
I would highly recommend this pack to anyone and everyone.

Tip: the nalgene holders on the side are kind of tight, but if you put them in horizontal as opposed to vertical (through the side of the pocket) you can access them while you walk.

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Ben

Ben wrote a review of on January 26, 2012

4 5

I bought the Drystein to use as a winter shell, for cold wet weather, thus far it has performed above expectations.
I have worn the jacket for 3 days backpacking in Pisgah Nat. Forest, 40's and raining, and I was as snug as a bug in a rug. Sweat was wicked out so when we stopped I didn't get cold, dry and warm the whole time. I also wore it doing a 2hr jaunt in about 60 degree dry weather to see how it would handle sweat and it was great.
Pros:
Athletic fit, no extra fabric.
As waterproof as you would expect given the price tag (read: completely)
Zippers are nice and tight, no leakage there.
Chest area on the inside has an additional layer of soft material so it feels nice, plus a soft inner pocket for phone/mp3/ect
Hood tightens via two bands, so it almost holds on to your head, does not simply pull back and let in cold air/rain
Control for sides of hood can be operated with jacket fully zipped up.
Long enough back that it doesn't expose your lower back when arms are lifted.
Hand pockets are soft on the inside.

Cons:
Material does not feel like it would hold up forever against a lot of abrasions, or snags too well.

I am 5'11 170lbs and got the medium. I tend to wear a fleece shirt and Stoic Luft Insulated Sweater underneath comfortably. If you want thicker layers go a size up, as it would be a bit snug beyond that.

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