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Courtney Dean

Courtney Dean

Utah, Maine, New Hampshire, VT, Sierras

Courtney Dean's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking
Running
Yoga
Paddling
Skiing
Climbing

Courtney Dean's Bio

I like to Ski, but I can get distracted with Ice and Alpine climbing. Especially in the Northeast where scratchy snow skiing can get a little uninspired during the frost/freeze cycles. I'll do just about anything fun in the summer, but always try to find an opportunity to climb and camp. Gear is expensive and even more so when it doesn't get used.

Courtney Dean

Courtney Deanwrote a review of on January 13, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 210 lbs
Size Purchased: L

These mittens are for pretty significant endeavors, Gasherbrum IV, K12, Aconcaugua, New Hampshire. They are not for shoveling snow in downtown Boston (though they aren't that much overkill). Your hands are critical to success and survival in remote and scary places, so treat them well. I bought these not only to climb ugly, cold places like Aconcagua, but also to survive belay stations in the White Mountains. I'm currently recovering from frostbite on seven fingers. I have a fresh layer of healthy pink skin emerging from a peeling epidermis. That is not going to happen ever again. The fault was in my ice climbing gloves, for sure. But the overreaction shopping led me to these.
They're warm and very spacious. I got them in a large, which will allow me to wear a thin glove (e.g., OR Alibi II) underneath. An XL would probably let me wear a thicker glove over the top.
The thumb provides enough room to get in/out with a lot of tugging and pulling. this is important as getting the mitten on/off quickly is key to an effiicient transition at a rest stop or belay station.
I have just enough dexterity to still work two ropes (from one climber) resonably well from a guide belay setup. It's not super fun, but manageable. I consider that a tradeoff to the two weeks of akward typing and difficulties I've suffered lately. I can't say it'll be easy to belay two separate followers in guide mode, but we'll see.
I cannot set up the belay, nor would i expect to. Certain things still need to be done in gloves. But these mittens are now a part of my 3-piece system. light gloves, medium gloves, heavy gloves/mittens. It's a small weight penalty to have adaptability and survivability. Plus, these compress so well, they can be shoved into jacket pockets while i climb.
I got them in blue because they match my eyes.
My only comlaint is that the down is not hydrophobic (as far as i can tell). the shell is, which was a great first step. But Rab has been investing in hydrophobic down for some time. Seems a shame they didn't go the extra step for these mittens.

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Deanwrote a review of on December 23, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 210 lbs
Size Purchased: L

I actually own two. I own one with a hood (previous generation, XL) and wifey got me one without for an early xmas gift (L). It's super light and super warm. Perfect for shoving into the last nook in a suitcase or a backpack. I've kept might warm with this jacket under a shell (or over it) on many an outdoor activity from climbing to skiing to backpacking.
it goes everywhere with me.

The zippered pockets are great without adding too much weight. Gives you some peace of mind when putting a valuable in there. The large fits me like a glove in the sleeves, which doesn't leave too much room for layers. But around the torso, there is space for a vest, even a down vest. I can wear a thick sweater under it, but maybe not a base layer, mid layer, and a shell (due to sleeves).
The XL goes over everything with no complaints but isn't too baggy that I look ridiculous when i don't wear multiple layers.

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Deanwrote a review of on December 17, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Bright light! significantly brighter than other tail lights I've used. it's got a really nice 180* visibility ring and various settings for flashes and fixed lights. I got this for my wife to avoid death on Massachusetts Avenue downtown Boston. It's key that she have a ton of visibility so that even the most obnoxious mass**** will take notice and think twice before smashing her with his BMW.
I don't like the USB rechargable battery only because i think it allows for some complacency. The 7 hour run time is great. but my wife cannot be bothered with such things as power. A few spare batteries in her pack seems to work better to keep her illuminated.

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Deanwrote a review of on December 17, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

As long as your helmet has vents, you can rig up a helmet mounted light... or camera, or other device that has a handlebar/pole mount.
It's velcro is long enough to fit a variety of helmet vent shapes and configurations so you can get it centered, positions relatively easily.
The light mount is oblong, which i find kind of nice because it fits well with the rubber strap mounts that most lights come with. The oblong shape kind of reduces the likeliness that the light will shift on your head as you bob and weave in traffic.

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Deanwrote a review of on November 25, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 210 lbs
Size Purchased: one size

They keep my toes warm on cold rides with ordinary athletic socks.
THey keep my feet dry in wet, sub downpour conditions.
The neoprene is just thick enough to provide insulation and water resistance . They don't cover your ankles though, so lots of rain do require full covers.
They're super cheap. At $20, you can afford to grab a pair and not worry too much about them getting beat up.
They're super easy to put on and take off. Love that. Love it WAY more than my full booties.
They won't last too many seasons. The sticky, rubber bottoms aren't super durable. But I'm willing to take that in exchange for the ease of use. Plus, a little duct tape will probably help the situation out.

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Deanwrote a review of on November 25, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

The 500 lumens are awesome. I get a super safe feeling operating with such a high beam on my ride home from wok. That is, when the light works... it's died on me twice on my ride home. THe first time, after three rides (approx 35mins each). So I felt confident it had a 100 minute burn time. The second time it died was after one ride home. That has me concerned.
My wife has been using it for shorter rides and hasn't complained of failure yet. I've swapped hers and mine to make sure she keeps a good charge so I don't think we have a lemon. It could've just been operator error on my part. I may not have charged it as long as needed.

Will keep using it, but just need to be more diligent about keeping a good charge. Excellent light with wide field of view and powerful.

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Deanwrote a review of on November 25, 2015

2 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I got to demo these and was super impressed. But since, I've purchased two boxes and have found them largely unpalatable. Even on a backpacking trip where dirt tastes good, I avoided them on days 1 and 2. They almost always have a pice of unchewable grissle hiding every 1/3 bar or so.
They're dry and mealy. The flavor is good at first, but becomes kind of gross after the 27th chew, yet the bar still isn't ground enough to be swallowed. Probably not going to keep these in my pantry.

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Deanwrote a review of on November 25, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

The padded should and the plastic tubing make this a great sling. The tubing adds stucture that helps keep cams distributed a litttle better across the lenght of the sling. The padding is just enough to not dig into your neck, while still allowing mobility.
Holds a full rack. Simple enough for this hack.

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Deanwrote a review of on November 10, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have an awesome non-carbonated bike. but i love it.
I sprung for some titanium skewers to give it just a bit of ultralight. Grabbed them on sale and they're cool. Zipp makes them aerodynamic so you can point them and go fast.
They're skewers. They are crazy light, but you're not going to podium just becuase you slipped them on. But they look cool.
And now I have one piece of bling on my workhorse.

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Deanwrote a review of on November 10, 2015

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

It's primary advantage is the security of the groves. Bike stays in place. But a couple of pieces of wood work to set the right height too. I bought it, now i have to find a space to store it when not in use. Probably sits between the legs of the Kinetic. Still a lot of money for a piece of plastic that is only marginally better than a DIY solution.

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Deanwrote a review of on November 10, 2015

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 210 lbs
Size Purchased: XL

They are designed to fit like medical gloves, only they don't stretch at the seems. Like others, I expect these to last but one season. I've worn them a dozen times and the seam has split at the base of my thumb. They don't stretch enough to go on without tearing this thread. Once on, they're awesome. Fit "like a glove." But will only be good for one season, i fear.

On the plus side, they aren't advertised as sensor (e.g., touch screen compatible) but they do work. I can use my phone to turn on strava (can't bike without broadcasting to the world, right?) with them on.
The palm has a nice, grippy suede that may degrade over time, but won't matter since the seam will fail long before. THey're reinforced as the photo shows around the thumb and forefinger. this is forward thinking. Just need to make these velcro closure, or something to extend their usefulness.

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Deanwrote a review of on October 26, 2015

2 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs small
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 210 lbs
Size Purchased: XL

Look good. Function poorly
The fundamental problem is you have to put them on via the leg. It zips down on the achilles tendon top open up wide just above the back f the shoe. This makes for a pretty small opening at a relatively poor stretch area. Leads to a bunch of popped threads at the seam where the top and bottom portions of the material connect. So far, I've only blown an inch worth of seam - on both booties. But I have only used them once.
The rear zipper is terrible. It cuts into my achilles heel right above the shoe's top whenever I drop my footanywhere past 90 degrees. Also, the little velcro flapt that covers the zipper pull sticks out to catch wind, completely negating any drag value of putting the zipper in the back.
Finally, you can't adjust the fit of your shoe once these are on. I wear a velcro closure. It's set once the bootie goes on because getting to the velcro requires taking the bootie off past the heel.
On the plus side, they do keep your feet warmer. They have a nice rubbery toe box that lets a little less air in and provides some abrasion resistance.

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Deanwrote a review of on October 6, 2015

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 210 lbs
Size Purchased: L

I can't quite figure out what these are for. The chamios is super thin, almost a supplement. I'd call them underwear in that case. Maybe you double up these with a padded short? Or, they're concealed under your street wear and not designed for a century ride?
My main concern is the light fabric feels delicate. I recently tore through a pair purchased from Amazon while donning them (you get what you pay for) and perhaps I'm judging these against that failure. These haven't failed, but I worry a bit that they won't hold up to abuse.
Maybe I use them for their intended purpose (short commute or ride to a friend's in street clothes).
The loops on the waist are great for getting them on and keeping them on. That's a cool addition.
I just wish the chamois was a bit thicker.

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Deanwrote a review of on October 6, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 210 lbs
Size Purchased: XL

I'm new to biking, so there's probably ten things wrong with this jersey from another's perspective. But from what I can tell, it's perfect.
The sleeve length is awesome. I have a +2 or +3" reach, so everything comes up short. Not on this. I can stretch and my wrists stay covered. It's also form fitting so no drag. I think that's a given for bike wear though.
The torso cut is generous in the back so your lower back doesn't get drafty.
The three pockets are deep and cavernous without being loose and sloppy. Good fit for a tube, pump, food, phone, etc.
The inner fabric is soft and smooth. No friction.
The zipper is consistent. Grabs every time. Full lenght zip gives you fine tuned temperature control.
The red is vivid and striking. I like that. Will give the cars something to see when they aren't looking for a biker chugging along and gasping for breath.
The fit is perfect. I am a solid 44" jacket size with long arms. The XL is a solid 44" (with just enough room for a thin base layer underneath if needed) with extra long sleeves.

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Deanwrote a review of on September 24, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 210 lbs
Size Purchased: XL

Active wear technology applied to business/evening wear is a welcome trend for someone like me. I work in an office environment in a job that sometimes requires travel and office atire. Travel through airports at zero dark thirty, drive for an hour and step into a meeting leaves little time to freshen up. Thus I need a shirt that isn't going to look like i slept in it while i slept on the plane.
These shirts are cut to flatter an athletic build, but move with you.
Most importantly, the sleeves are long enough to fit my ape wings.
They need more color options. Maybe even some patterns. Just make the same awesome shirt and I'll buy it.

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Deanwrote a review of on September 22, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 210 lbs
Size Purchased: 34

So this is office, evening, dinner wear. Business casaul atire. But this is Backcountry.com so no product is going to be too delicate to actually wear. And that's where this review is going. I had the pleasure of seeing these slacks in action on Cannon mountain, NH in December. Why, you may ask? Because a good product needs to stand up to more than just the occasional coffee spill or an overstuffed leather wallet. The pants held up magnificently. Paired with an insulated underwear, they were quite warm (we were actively hiking so we didn't need that much insulation) and really moved with you.

But that's kind of what the manufacturers are going for with these products. These are business casual pants made of activewear fabrics. The cuts are stylish, but the flexibility and elasticity let's you move with ease. They won't tear or wrinkle and they won't chafe.
This is an excellent pant for a bike commuter. Slap a band around the right cuff and off you go. Get to the office, little cologne/deoderant, run a comb through your hair and step into that planning meeting in stride.
That's what they're meant for. That's what they're good for.

They fiit like a stylish pair of chinos should fit. That means there isn't a 10" zipper and pleats to give you a front butt, fat old man look. They're cut appropriately in the groin to give you space and air, but not sag to your knees. You needn't wear these at your belly button to suck up all the extra fabric. The cuffs will get over the tops of your shoes and many boots, especially with the fabric stretch.

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