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Donner Party

Donner Party

Donner Party's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Running

Donner Party

Donner Party wrote a review of on December 19, 2010

3 5

I tried a few different bivy sacks before settling on this one; I am 6' 3" and not a skinny man so my big issue with bivys in general is getting in and out of them without cramping up or destroying the sack. This sack is large enough to be "comfortable" (a loose term when discussing bivy sacks) in a good sleeping bag, and the wire works fairly well in creating some head space to alleviate the claustrophobia. Despite the factory seam taping I went ahead and sealed all outer seams with McNett SeamGrip, would recommend this for any serious wet-weather scenarios. Very light and packable, all around good piece of gear but I'm still a tent guy...

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Donner Party

Donner Party wrote a review of on December 18, 2010

5 5

As a rule I roll my eyes at the price points on most Arc'teryx gear, they make great stuff but not worth the price tag in most cases. This pack is the exception; it is simply the best pack I own (and I own a bunch), no question that it is the go-to pack for everything from shoulder season overnighter to longer hauls year-round. Structure, materials, comfort under heavier load, capacity, all are top notch. I bought my wife the lady's version as well and she retired her REI pack after using it one time, this is the real deal. Yes their jackets are absurdly overpriced and it's easy to get annoyed with Arc'teryx but their packs are absolutely first-rate, stand on me.

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Donner Party

Donner Party wrote a review of on December 18, 2010

4 5

This pack is extreme; extreme capacity for extreme duty, period. If you aren't mountaineering or doing 10+ day treks over mixed terrain and colder conditions save your money, it's overkill. I am a pack junky and have multiple packs for every possible application; the Denali Pro can do it all but you need to be doing it all or else you'll look like a complete poser wearing this thing...go kick butt on the big hill my son.

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Donner Party

Donner Party wrote a review of on February 23, 2007

3 5

First off, quality or no quality (and Arc'teryx does make top-quality stuff) paying full retail for this jacket would be a bad buy in my opinion. I found it for $170 so figured what the heck. As with most Arc'teryx stuff the characteristic quality (often subtly manifested) is there, but it can't compete with other high-end softshells, most notably Mountain Hardwear Alchemy. Sigma AR fits very close to the body and feels rather insubstantial; flimsy might be too harsh a word, but it doesn't have the beefy, tough feel of the Alchemy. As observed in other reviews the sleeve cuffs are rather wide and no closure straps or other weatherproofing means are available. The pit-zips are very nice, but they do not have internal linings and this can be uncomfortable particularly when you have only a light baselayer underneath. The hem is also on the short side, causing shirttails to stick out and easily riding up over the waist. I'm sure it's very "technical," but for the money you can do better; this just doesn't look or feel like a $300 jacket, Arc'teryx or not.

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Donner Party

Donner Party wrote a review of on February 23, 2007

3 5

Chaco Z/1s are serious sandals, without a doubt; the soles are burly, great traction, pretty comfortable, etc. However, I question the whole concept of this sandal. First and foremost they are HEAVY, surprisingly so for a pair of "sandals." My size 12s weigh 2.41 lbs, which is more than my Keen Newport sandals (2.23 lbs) and even more than my Keen Targhee II hiking shoes (2.19 lbs)! You hear about people using these on strenuous day-hikes and even backpacking trips, but I question the wisdom of having my bare feet, especially toes, exposed and vulnerable to everything a backcountry trail has to offer (rocks, roots, holes, critters, UV rays, who knows what). The straps can chafe on extended walks so these sandals haven't cornered the market on comfort, either. Thus, I can't quite get the point; they are too heavy to carry just for camp shoes and too unprotective, unsupportive, and uncomfortable for serious hiking and/or backpacking...so where do they fit in? Even if you're an ultralight fanatic why wouldn't you wear a very nice light hiking shoe (like the Keen Targhee II) that actually weighs less, covers your whole foot, has an equally high-performing sole, and offers no less (arguably more) support and comfort? Hmmmm....if I'm missing something someone please educate me.

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Donner Party

Donner Party wrote a review of on February 23, 2007

4 5

Anything with "Marmot" on it can't be bad, and this jacket is appropriately priced for what it offers. It has no special features; no pit-zips, no slick cuffs, no neck draw-cord, no fancy tailoring. It does look and feel very nice, perfectly functional in terms of wind- and water-resistance, and is zip-in compatible with Marmot hardshells (which is the main reason I got it). If you have a Marmot zip-in compatible shell (i.e., Tamarack, Typhoon, etc.) and you want a thinner, more versatile zip-in layer than a fleece piece, this is the perfect option.

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Donner Party

Donner Party wrote a review of on February 22, 2007

2 5

Not wild about this shirt, mainly because of the color which I find too flamboyant for my taste (much brighter than it appears on the website). Also, the fabric is pretty run-of-the-mill, the zipper doesn't look too cool...not a shirt I reach for when heading to the gym or hitting the trail. But hey, I needed it to fulfill minimum order amount so as to get free shipping...in hindsight I should've paid shipping or found another item!

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Donner Party

Donner Party wrote a review of on February 21, 2007

5 5

Splendid minimalism! No zipper, no pockets, nothing that adds weight unnecessarily. This jacket exists for one reason: to provide the efficient insulation of down at an absolutely bare minimum of weight. My XL in stuff sack (which it comes with, a nice touch) weighs precisely 7.4 oz and compresses down much smaller than a Nalgene bottle. I'm aware of nothing on the market with a superior warmth to weight ratio as this jacket, period. This piece of gear goes on EVERY trip, any length, any season.

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Donner Party

Donner Party wrote a review of on February 21, 2007

5 5

Unlike some other GoLite jackets I've reviewed I can give this unequivocal praise. An amazingly light piece of clothing that does its job well. My XL weighs all of 2.75 oz, just ridiculous. Scrunches down to nothing, basically a "free" (in terms of weight and space) layer, no reason not to have it with you everywhere you go. And finally, a GoLite jacket that isn't priced far in excess of its competitors feature-for-feature; this is priced correctly for what it offers, unlike some of their other gear. It's a winner.

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Donner Party

Donner Party wrote a review of on February 21, 2007

2 5

A nice, inexpensive, helpful tool for your CamelBak arsenal IF all your packs have 1/2" webbing on the shoulder straps. Unfortunately every single pack I own with one exception, from day packs to full-on backcountry packs, have 3/4" webbing on the straps. Thus, the Tube Trap doesn't fit completely. You can still slide them on, but the clip doesn't close completely around the wider webbing, which can lead to problems in the field. Why wouldn't they make it to fit 3/4" webbing, which would also accommodate the smaller 1/2"? Makes sense...but they don't. Too bad, a good idea not taken to its logical conclusion.

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Donner Party

Donner Party wrote a review of on February 13, 2007

5 5

This jacket is superb; comfortable, supple, highly abrasion-resistant and water-resistant, breathes well, looks sweet. Technically the only feature it lacks is pit-zips; other comparable high-end softshells (Arc'teryx Sigma AR for instance) has them, and they are a nice thing to have. Barring that there is no chink it this jacket's armor. The cuffs are REALLY nice, unique design that I've never seen on another jacket, snug, soft, and weathertight. NOTE that most Mountain Hardwear softshell outerwear, pants and jackets alike, tend to have a very "athletic" (i.e., unforgiving) cut to them. I would not call my XL Alchemy tight but it's definitely snug; I'd be hard-pressed to have a substantial insulating midlayer underneath it without compromising range of motion and comfort. Bluntly, if you have a slim waist and muscular athletic build the jacket looks REALLY good; if you're a bit soft in the middle, steer clear of this jacket as it's cut will not flatter...at all.

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Donner Party

Donner Party wrote a review of on February 13, 2007

5 5

I've had a soft spot for this tent ever since a buddy and I took a late season Sierra high country trip. He was bragging on his ultralight tarp shelter and mocking my "heavy" tent all the way in. He was hatefully smug about it until that night when, at 10,000 feet, a storm hit bringing very cold temps, high winds, and SNOW! While he fumbled for nearly an hour, wet and freezing, trying to rig his pathetic tarp (so he could cower under it in his wet down bag in his wet clothes on bare WET ground...ultralight indeed), I changed into warm dry clothes, brewed a hot cup of tea, and sat it out in total comfort in my Tadpole, singing along loudly to my iPod to maximize the revenge factor. It's a perfect shoulder-season tent precisely for this type of scenario (I use a single-wall solo tent or bivy sack during the summer). It's easy to solo-pitch and the 3-pole design and multiple guy-out points make it a very strong tent indeed, as my envious and thoroughly humbled friend learned that cold wet October night. The weight is very low for such a full-featured, well-made double-wall. The vestibule is plenty big for one person's gear and cooking space. On sub-freezing nights keep a towel handy for morning condensation; the mesh ceiling does let some dripping water in from the fly but it's manageable. I concur with other reviews that this is actually a roomy 1-person tent, two people would be crammed as would their gear in the vestibule. Also, watch the length; I'm 6'3" and am absolutely maxed out in this tent, not an inch of extra head/foot room but a price I'm willing to pay for the weight. To top it all off, I got it on sale for $150 bucks. Life is good....

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