Brian Miller

Brian Miller

Gore Range, San Juans, Rocky Mountain NP, IPW, Wasatch, Moab, Tetons, etc.

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Brian Miller

Brian Miller wrote a review of on February 27, 2012

5 5

Like other reviews, this doesn't have very many bells and whistles. Just a light softshell with a nice, soft lining. Very versatile, can be used in spring or summer, not quite warm enough alone in winter, but athletic fitting enough to use a layer (better off using synthetic or down sweater). Great for skinning in the backcountry or hiking peaks on a colder day in the summer. So breathable and yet slightly waterproof, seems to keep you at just the right body temp throughout the day.

Fit : advertised as "slim". I'm 5'11 185, 36" waist and the Large fit me perfectly. Not a ton of room to layer underneath, but I couldn't ask for a better fit, perfect mix between slim and regular.

Color : I was forced to get an obnoxiously orange color, since thats all REI had in my size at the time (used my REI dividend). I really liked the neutrality of the Alpha Green, just didn't work out with my budget at the time. I've grown to get used to the Orange (clementine) and at the very least, you don't have to worry about getting shot in hunting season. Truly, a multi-functional piece of gear.

Price : great deal for the price. There is a less expensive Light Guide, but that is good for nothing more than laps at the local park in the morning, too light. If this had an Arctery'x logo on it, it'd probably run you 2 hundo, if it were North Face, like the Apex Shell they offer, it'd be less, but it'd be much heavier and not as good of an overall deal for what you get.

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Brian Miller

Brian Miller wrote a review of on February 27, 2012

5 5

Great, versatile down jacket. Great use for Colorado, being a relatively dry state and all. I've used it for summit lounging, for days you don't plan on skiing thick trees (at it will probably rip) and for the morning walk to work whens its below freezing. If you want something even warmer, look at the Frost Smoke parka from Montbell, not gonna get much better for the price (neither will this one).

Fit : I'm 5'11 185 with a 36" waist and somewhat broad shoulders and the Large fit me perfect. Enough room for a light fleece and shirt underneath and maybe compressible enough for a roomy shell over it.

Color : I went with the "Terra Cotta" which is a true orange, almost rust orange, darker than the pic on bc.com, but fairly similar to the pic from Montbell's website.

Material : Its advertised as a 30-denier nylon shell, which seems accurate, specially when compared to other 15-20 denier down sweaters across the board. It could probably survive a branch or two in the woods, but nothing more. Just seems like a well thought out, well constructed apparel. For ounce counters, this would be a solid piece of gear to have in a stuff sack in the bottom of your pack for emergency situations.

Price : If you look at hooded down jackets (with even less down loft) industry wide, this price at retail is an absolute steal. I'd go as far to compare this to Patagonia's Fitz Roy, Marmot's Ama Dablam or OR's Maestro for literally over 100$ less.

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Brian Miller

Brian Miller wrote a review of on August 19, 2011

5 5

Really comfortable shoe. Made more for leisure activity and some light days on the trail (that don't require a ton of boulder hopping). I managed to forget my rock shoes on a 4-pitch route in Clear Creek Canyon, used these. Got down and the toe was falling apart. Called NB, and they shipped me a new pair before I even sent back the worn pair. No waterproof whatsoever, but the breathability is the focus and is much appreciated on hot summer days. Classic overall NB product.

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Brian Miller

Brian Miller wrote a review of on December 28, 2010

Beast
5 5

Big fan of the Gregory lines, this is no exception. Wanted to downsize to Baltoro, but ended up going with Osprey. Gregory's are still burlier though, IMO. Figured that 80 liters is too much for most trips in Colorado, can fit up to 10-15 days worth of stuff in a 70 liter, and favorted the Aether 70 when compared to Baltoro, plus got a screamin deal. If I ever pony up for Denali, this will be my pack and its on clearance now. This outdoor gear is like electronics, you blink and cutting edge stuff will be in outlets within a couple months.

(This pic is from Cimarron Valley, San Juans Colorado 3-day, fully stocked pack, we feasted well that weekend).

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Brian Miller

Brian Miller wrote a review of on December 19, 2010

Warm as.....
5 5

After a few seasons with the North Face Plasma Thermal, I didn't think it'd get much better, but have quickly been proven wrong. Ths BA Puffy fits me perfectly (I'm 5'11 185) and is unbelievably warm. On cold days, I wear a long sleeve underneath and use pit zips when heating up. On the coldest days, I wear a shirt and fleece layer, and there is plenty of room, not constricting whatsoever. Also, the folks at Flylow provide the best servide in the industry, that I've seen atleast. The hood strap[ broke, not only did they fix it, they threw in an extra pair of "tough guy" insulated gloves for the inconvenience.

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Brian Miller

Brian Miller wrote a review of on October 20, 2010

4 5

Its great for its design. Lightweight for touring, easy to manuever in tight chutes (have the 177's) and the design is simple and classic, not too flashy. This job gets the job done, period. Mount with Freerides and you have a nice setup, mount with Dynafits and it'll make touring a breeze.

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Brian Miller

Brian Miller wrote a review of on October 20, 2010

5 5

Initially had a pair of the 08-09 design mounted with some Freerides, but decided this ski could be better utilized inbounds. Have the 168's, so length is a tad short for my size (5'11 185), but makes them more versatile in tight trees and especially the bumps. 105 in the waist has become a happy medium for me as its wide enough to enjoy in 12-18 inches of new snow and still manueverable in anything except the iciest of moguls (which suck anyway you look at it). When Colorado goes through a drought, they can still hold their own in the comical dumps down the road in Little and Big Cottonwood.

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Brian Miller

Brian Miller wrote a review of on October 20, 2010

5 5

Another quality product churned out by Ze Germans. Have taken this out on countless back and side country outings in Colorado and have yet to find such as a hint of a scratch anywhere on the pack, and its been through some grizzly adventures. Ski carry with durable side straps make attaching and detaching skis a thing of the past and can be used for 2-3 night trips during anytime of year. There is absolutely nothing about this pack I'd change (maybe a hipbelt pocket and more padding in the actual hipbelt, but those are trivial concerns) for its uses).

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Brian Miller

Brian Miller wrote a review of on October 20, 2010

5 5

Big fan of Osprey packs, other than living in Colorado and supporting a local company. Easier to compartmentalize your gear than comparable Gregory (Baltoro or Palisade), equal in comfort, but can't carry as much. Love the kangaroo pouch in the front for a number of purposes. Color is a darker shade of blue (like the guru photo) but who cares, it carries 50-60 pounds while remaining comfortable and doesn't shift around as much as other pack brands. Taken on trips in the Gores and San Juans of Colorado and desert trips in Moab/Canyonlands and plan on testing it out on the secluded 13ers of Utah's Uintas and Wyoming's Wind Rivers next summer, as well as longer ski trips this winter/spring.

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Brian Miller

Brian Miller wrote a review of on October 18, 2010

5 5

Took this guy through 5 straight rides on the Shipwreck Falls water park at Elitch Gardens (free tickets!) in Denver on a brisk Fall day. Had the hood cinched down and everything from the waste up was bone dry. While that may sound like a degenerate way to spend your day, it was a good indication of its waterproof rating. When the snow starts falling, I'll use it for its intended purposes.

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Brian Miller

Brian Miller wrote a review of on October 14, 2010

4 5

Pros :
- very warm and technical shell, specially with the quilted 700-fill insulation
- I'm 5'11 185 and could layer a long sleeve and light fleece underneath, which kept me extremely warm the other day in the Gore Range of Colorado on an overcast, 25 degree day. The Koven Plus outer shell and 700-fill insulation is a perfect combo, extremely water proof, durable and warm.

- Solid Weight : Warmth ratio. I've seen and experienced better, but this is still solid.

Cons :
- Like mentioned before, both shades of blue, as seen in the bc.com pic are darker. While that isn't really a concern of mine and doesn't affect the performance of the jacket, its just a FYI. Cloudveil is notorious for their colors on the websites being significantly different than in person. I've never really understood why thats the case more often than not?

- a little tight around the underarms, nothing major though

- Not all that great for climbing or ski touring. Its not packable by any stretch of the imagination and you'd heat up way too fast when heading uphill. This is a true ski jacket (for the resorts) and you'd appreciate it a lot more on a windblown, cold as s**t lift than the backcountry. This is kind of a no brainer.

- While not as technical and well made, I honestly thought the North Face Plasma Thermal jacket was a better fit (for me) and warmer (primaloft). I'm a fan of down for certain occassions (sleeping bag, belay jacket), but synthetic for skiing. Just my opinion.

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Brian Miller

Brian Miller wrote an answer about on April 29, 2010

Thanks Ty. Just got it in the mail today, unbelievably quick shipping by the way. Fits perfect with a light base layer and actually fits relatively well with a VERY light fleece. You are right in the sense that too much layering isn't necesary. Awsome jacket, so far. Gonna test it out this weekend in Yankee Boy Basin/San Juans w/ variable conditions.

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