BzBrian

BzBrian

Cascades,Yosemite, Shawangunks, Adirondacks

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BzBrian's Passions

Biking
Paddling
Climbing

BzBrian's Bio

The sound of hammering pitons..

BzBrian

BzBrian wrote a review of on March 18, 2013

5 5

Let's be honest now, you don't really need a solar panel. But heck, if you think it's cool (I sure do) and would make your life a bit more fun then go ahead. The system works really well, charges fast,and has it neat little pocket to store your cords/Guide 10 battery pack. I wouldn't bother trying the other solar panels out there, lots of 'em are iffy and unreliable so I'd stick to this. It works very well, simple, and organized.

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BzBrian

BzBrian wrote a review of on March 18, 2013

4 5

If you're not a gram weenie, the non UL version by Patagonia is enough. I asked Patagonia and there is 98g of down in both versions (UL and normal). The only weight savings is in the shell. For me, I thought it would be cool to save a couple of ounces but to be honest, I never noticed anything. Plus, this thing isn't as attractive as the regular version if you're wearing it around town, but hey that's me. The jacket doesn't stuff into itself, it comes with a stuf sack that can be compressed down more, so it's still a bit big. The sizing was the deciding factor for me. It's a slim/athletic fit, which I normally like but for a down jacket like this, it wasn't really comfortable. The shell is also a bit shiny, almost like a black trash bag, though that's not a very pleasant analog. If you know what you want, and it fits your bill, then this jacket does a great job at what it was designed to do. But for the non-UL crowd, the regular down hoody is more than enough.

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BzBrian

BzBrian wrote a review of on March 18, 2013

5 5

It was made for trail running, but even Steve House uses it for ice climbing on Nanga Parbat.There's nothing you can't use this thing for. With a lot of force, it stubbornly stuffs into its zippered chest pocket that can barely fit a naked iPhone 5. The shell material is light and doesn't feel sticky and clammy if you actively unzip it once awhile for quick venting. The cuffs on the sleeves are a bit odd. The elasticity is only on half of the cuff, (to save weight?), but works just as well so I'm not complaining. The hood had a cinch which is good for the smaller headed folk; I have a scary big noggin' so it's not much use to me. Theres not much else to the jacket With the R1, I can run comfortably in the 30s. I haven't tested it for backpacking, but I can't imagine why you wouldn't since it weighs so little. To the ultralight crowd, you guys probably have this already and can attest to its versatility. Great jacket, highly recommended.

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BzBrian

BzBrian wrote a review of on March 18, 2013

5 5

It was really tricky for me to get my size, especially since I'm a size 12.5/13. But thankfully La Sportiva makes half sizes even for big foot. But you will need to size up a bit.Mine's a EU 47.5, roughly US 13.5. Besides that, these are versatile enough for trail hiking to backpacking and the approach of a mountaineering climb. If you've followed Andrew Skurka's stuff, he used something like this. I highly recommend it.

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BzBrian

BzBrian wrote a review of on March 18, 2013

5 5

The pockets are all useful, though the one in the front is a bit odd. It's comfortable, but overall I would say that this bag is overshadowed by the Patagonia Chacabuco, which I would recommend over this bag. The Chacabuco has utility shock cords on the outside which are super useful to tack gym shoes/cleats on the outside without having to put it in your bag and get everything inside muddy. Get the chacabuco! But this bag is cool too.

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BzBrian

BzBrian wrote a review of on March 18, 2013

5 5

For some reason I thought this fleece had Polartec Windpro, which it apparently doesn't. It now makes sense because this thing isn't windproof, just a hair more resistant than your average fleece--trace amounts. The jacket is nice and fuzzy people will rub up against you because of it, and is really warm as a mid layer. As an outer layer, it's good on chilly days, but don't be caught wearing this alone on windy days. Great selection of colors! Get the bright ones, don't be plain! I love this jacket and I highly recommend it.

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BzBrian

BzBrian wrote a review of on January 17, 2013

4 5

Yes, it's really windproof.
Yes, it's made of recycled materials.
But no, it's not soft. The Patagonia R3 fleece and the Mountain Hardwear Monkey Man look similar to the Retro-X but unlike the Retro-X, they are SOFT AND FUZZY. However, this jacket isn't. The jacket feels like the yellow insulation materials they put in buildings/houses. It's not soft. I'm in college and a couple of girls literally ran up to me to feel my jacket, but leave disappointed in it's roughness. Times like that I wished I chose the R3 or the Monkey Man.
But considering that the Retro-X is windproof unlike its counterparts, it's nice. But keep in mind that the jacket feels a bit stiff even after wearing it for a couple of months and I don't think it'll get any less stiff because of its construction with the inner windproof layer design.

But the jacket is very warm and cuddly looking, but beware it's not soft and fuzzy like how I was hoping.

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BzBrian

BzBrian wrote a review of on October 30, 2012

5 5

I have the REI Lite Core 1.5 pad, which sucks, but when it was my primary pad, this thing was a great accessory. I think everyone should keep a luxury item when backpacking and this is it. Something like this will weigh very little but will make you comfortable around camp, ready to head out the next morning.

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BzBrian

BzBrian wrote an answer about on October 28, 2012

It depends on how cold you're talking about. To be safe, I would suggest you invest in a pair of mountaineering boots, like the La Sportiva Trango Extreme Evo for a lightweight and insulated boot. But if you don't plan on much mountaineering, this boot should be ok for most conditions.

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