Capt. Red Beard

Capt. Red Beard

Southern California

Capt. Red Beard's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking
Climbing

Capt. Red Beard's Bio

I love to do anything that will get me into the mountains. I like to go light when I hike, and fast when I bike.

Capt. Red Beard

Capt. Red Beard wrote a review of on March 25, 2011

5 5

This is by far the best pack I have ever used. I was concerned about the UL fabric holding up, it is very durable. There are so many thoughtful design features included. There is enough space for an easy 4-5 night trip. I took it to the top of Whitney this winter, and it exceeded all of my expectations. It is a perfect UL winter pack.

One little trick I found is that you can take some plastic netting from the grocery store(mine held oysters, shellfish bags are the most durable, but you could also try ones that hold produce), and attach it via the bottom side buckles and the "comPacktor" buckles on the bottom. The netting material is very strong, light weight, and free. I use mine as a UL crampon carry solution, spikes facing outward of course. It works great. It would also work great for other items too. I will be posting a video on YouTube soon to show how to do this.

Hope that helps.

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Capt. Red Beard

Capt. Red Beard wrote an answer about on March 25, 2011

I just got this pack, and have taken it out a few times, with great results. I was also looking at the Flash. I believe that after trying them both the Jam is far superior. It is much more versatile with every aspect of it well thought out. I have had it for light trips(about 10-14lbs) and more recently loaded up to about 30-35lbs for a winter trip to Mt. Whitney. It always feels great. I really love how the side compression straps can go across the whole pack making it easy to load a snowboard or other items to the outside of the pack. Also the roll top strap works great to strap down a bear canister if it is required.

One little trick I found is that you can take some plastic netting from the grocery store(mine held oysters, shellfish bags are the most durable, but you could also try ones that hold produce), and attach it via the bottom side buckles and the "comPacktor" buckles on the bottom. The netting material is very strong, light weight, and free. I use mine as a UL crampons carry solution, spikes facing outward of coarse. It works great. It would also work great for other items too.

If I were you I would get the Jam from REI, if you don't like it, take it back and try the Flash. But my guess is that you will love the Jam.

Hope that helps.

One little trick I found is that you can take some plastic netting from the grosery store(mine held oysters, shellfish bags are the most durrable, but you could also try ones that hold produce), and attach it via the bottom side buckles and the "comPacktor" buckles on the bottom. The netting material is very strong, light weight, and free. I use mine as a UL crampons cary solution, spikes facing outward of corse. It works great. It would also work great for other items too.

If I were you I would get the Jam from REI, if you dont like it, take it back and try the Flash. But my guess is that you will love the Jam.

Hope that helps.

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Capt. Red Beard

Capt. Red Beard wrote a review of on March 25, 2011

5 5

This is a fantastic multi-tool. It is difficult to describe, but you can feel the quality when you hold it in your hand. Those who have had nice tools will know what I mean. All the movements of parts are smooth, and lock firm.

This is a fantastic tool, that has a great "feel" to it. It is my go to tool when not in the backcountry. I'll stick with my Mora knife when on the trail.

Highly recommended

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Capt. Red Beard

Capt. Red Beard wrote a review of on March 25, 2011

4 5

I have one of these on my keys. I use it all the time. The blade holds an edge well, the file may work on your nails or other soft material. I have used it maybe only once or twice on soft wood. The tip works well as a flat head(and in a phillips if you can get it to fit). I did loose the tooth pick, and tweezers after a while.

Over all I am very happy with this product.

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Capt. Red Beard

Capt. Red Beard wrote a review of on March 25, 2011

4 5

This was my first backpacking tent. I am 5'9 190lbs, it was very roomy to me. Even with a buddy(5'10 215) still no complaints about space. It never rained/snowed on us so I can not speak of how well it held up in rain/snow. It did very well in high winds(when properly staked and guyed out). Over all a great little tent.

There was enough space for 2 packs, and boots in the vestibule also. No condinsation issues either. It was a little heavy and "luxurious" for my backpacking tastes. I have since upgraded to the MSR Twin Sisters. With about half the weight, even more room, and 4 season use, it was worth the extra cash.

Hope that helps.

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Capt. Red Beard

Capt. Red Beard wrote a review of on March 25, 2011

3 5

This is a great overall rain jacket. I use it on and off the trail. Works pretty well for rain protection. However, the seam on the brim of the hood and the edge of the cuffs are not sealed. Also I used it to sit on snow once, and got a little wet. Not a huge deal to me, but I would have liked to know that before I purchased it.

One other cool factor is that it zips up into its own pocket.

Hope that helps.

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Capt. Red Beard

Capt. Red Beard wrote a review of on March 23, 2011

5 5

I just picked up a pair of these last week, and really like them. They are by far the lightest poles I have found available from somewhere like Backcountry.com or REI.

The z-pole design is fantastic. The feel very durable. I think that it is really cool how they snap together. I used to use a pair of UL Leki poles that I was happy with, even though they bent some, and had a little trouble with the twist lock.

With my old Leki's I set them at 120cm which left my arm at the correct angle(90deg). So I was thrilled when I saw that these were available in that size. Here that is the Medium at 43in. When I got them I did find them to be a bit tall. It did not bother me on the trail though. The weight they claim is accurate on my scales here at home. 9.5oz for both poles in the Med. 120cm/43in size.

A few things I did not know until I got them:
1. They come with "Rubber" tips. They are more like really hard plastic. I was VERY skeptical about using them, and their ability to hold on dirt, rocks, etc. I was pleasantly surprised. The grip from these tips felt very similar to my warn carbon Leki tips. They do also come with nice carbon tips in a nice carrying case for the poles. For the "gram weenies" out there I could not see any change in weight from the carbon tips to the "rubber" tips. My guess is the carbon tips are 2-3g heavier.

2. The basket is permanently attached to the pole. I use poles in the snow too, so naturally I went looking for how I could attach a snowbasket. There is no place to put one. On the box BD states that they are not recommended for use in snow. That was a disappointment. I will need to find a way to rig some kinda snow basket now. Not too big a deal, but something I wish I knew before I purchased.

3. The removable tips are very small. This is nice, in that when replacing the tip you only replace the very tip. About 1/4in long. At the same time I could see how it would be easy to loose these small tips. In the carry case there is a small pocket where you can keep a pair - so they don't get lost. In the directions it says you can take them off by hand, I have what I would think of as normal hand and finger strength for a guy, and I could not get them off by hand. The directions also suggest using pliers. That did the trick. I would recommend using pliers anyhow as I would want to make sure that the tips did not come off on a trip. The tips do include a "wave design" which does naturally prevent them from coming off as well.

4. The blue stuff is really hard and seems very durable. From the pic in Backpacker mag it looks like it might be gel or something. It is a stiff but flexible protective cover for a string in the center of the pole. You straighten the pole by simply holding the top portion of the pole, and pulling the grip away from the tip. With a little finesse this can look and feel really cool. It reminds me a bit of the blind man's cain from Daredevil. Practically it works very well and is well built, and designed.

I plan on using them with my new MSR Twin Sisters shelter(still in the mail). I am not sure how this will work with the poles having zero adjustability. But I am hopeful. I will write another post here with the results. The height of the shelter, and the poles is close. If need be I can dig a small hole, or build a small mound and adjust the tie outs as needed.

Contact me if you have any other questions.

I hope that helps.

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Capt. Red Beard

Capt. Red Beard wrote an answer about on March 23, 2011

The only size they sell here is 22in. I would recomend something much closer to the 25-28in length for your size and weight.

If you will be mostly on hard pack snow, or powder that is not too deep these may work for you. I would at least take a look at the Kahtoola Step-In Snowshoes if you were looking for something similar, but a bit longer.

Depending on your use the MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoe they are a fantastic multi use shoe.

Hope that helps.

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