Eric B.

Eric B.

Eric B.'s Passions

Hiking & Camping
Skiing
Climbing

Eric B.

Eric B. wrote a review of on July 21, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I love these crampons. I've had them up to the top of Whitney, Rainier, Shasta, and a bunch of smaller peaks, and they've been awesome every time. I got the anti snowball gizmos for the bottom, and they work great, but I'm pretty sure you could make your own for about $5 (it's a cheap yet effective piece of nylon reinforced plastic/rubber that prevents snow from sticking to the bottom). They're fast to put on and take off, and I think that because they have less severe teeth, they tend to pull less harshly on my feet, making me less likely to catch a tooth and trip and also rubbing less and causing less blisters. I've used them in plenty of conditions where other people had the most aggressive crampons, and I had no difficulty. I don't think you would need front pointed crampons until you got into like 60 or more degree slopes and they'd have to be solidly icy (I went up some steep steep stuff on Whitney and Rainier and the crampons were not the problem). Frankly, I'll always carry my Kahtoolas rather than a more aggressive crampon. I have the steel, and I highly recommend it for the odd patches of rock and scree you will inevitably come across. I never clean mine and they are not appreciably rusting (a spray of wd40 will help if you're paranoid), and so I will never clean them because they will already outlast me. I recommend the steel just so you don't have to worry about them... they're already a light crampon. I have no slipping issues like others have mentioned, in fact, they're so solidly affixed to the boot that if you're boot is not laced tightly, it (or any crampon I've used) will yank your boot around so much you'll get blisters. Buy this if you tend to be the person who prefers agility to redundancy. If you're typically the only one with regular boots when everyone else has hard shells, these are for you. If you're climbing an ice waterfall or taking an expedition to the south pole, look elsewhere. Buy these!

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Eric B.

Eric B. wrote a review of on March 6, 2013

5 5

So, after reading the reviews with so many people having problems, I felt the need to defend these boots. First let me say that these were purchased as a gift, and without trying them on before. I agree that they tend to seem like a narrow boot, and they are, but its necessary to fit them correctly to take advantage of the blister free "guarantee." Now, I've made some major summits wearing these, sometimes they worked great, other times I got horrible blisters. Through this though, I figured out what I (emphasize on I) needed to do to adjust the shoes to my feet. First, dialing in the insole thickness is key. With too thick a insole, my achilles heel grinds on the heel cup and rubs them raw. I took out all but the thinnest yellow insole (which seems ludicrous because its so thin) and my heel sinks into the heel cup never to move until I unlace (awesome for hiking and climbing). Second, I found that the toe box just seemed so tight and narrow for me. To solve this, I lace the toe of the boot really loose. Then when I get to the lace hooks that are attached to the heel cup (see thin metal wires that run backwards from the lace hook), I lock in the laces and pull tight (the lace hooks lock the laces if you cinch down tight). Last, despite the gore tex, they don't breath as well as some other boots I've used (Lowa, Ogg Boz, Merrel, Garmont) but they've stayed waterproof over a bunch of hikes. The best bet is to dry them out at night, and as someone else mentioned, they dry faster than anything else I've had. The neoprene cuff at the top of the boot it the best, most comfortable thing I've ever used and works wonders for keeping rocks and other debris out (anyone who has grimy socks after a dusty hike can appreciate this). The kevlar rand is great (anything else would get torn up even faster) and the soles are perfectly sticky (sure they can grind off, that's the trade off for sticky soles). I hope lots of people don't buy these so I keep looking cool :)

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Eric B.

Eric B. wrote a review of on March 2, 2013

5 5

On sale, it's worth it. Full price, put you're own together from scratch. I have a larger more comprehensive kit I built myself with stuff I bought on amazon. This kit has some really useful bits, is compact, and I now bring it with me every time I go on any road trip. As someone else mentioned, the little survival book is probably the best part and definitely will occupy you in your tent... just try not to think about all the injuries it covers on your climb the next day!

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Eric B.

Eric B. wrote a review of on March 2, 2013

4 5

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

I have a pair of Leki Khumbus, which I love, and I got these to have a lighter and more compact alternative. I was finding that even though my Lekis have adjustment, I really wasn't adjusting them. The wrist straps have velcro, which I can see annoying me on a long trek (Lekis have awesome straps). These are super light and compact, easy to setup and break down,and seem as durable as any other thin aluminum trekking pole brought up a mountain might be. I think these will probably end up being my go-to poles. Comes with a little storage bag that actually seems pretty useful. 4 stars until they prove themselves. I'm 6'2" and the extra lg./51in./130cm is perfect (why is the sizing so inconsistently measured?)

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Eric B.

Eric B. wrote a review of on March 2, 2013

4 5

I use these for my Hennessy Hammock. They have a smaller width than the straps provided with my hammock, which causes me some concern about damaging trees (Hammocks are illegal at a bunch of CA National parks I visit because they damage trees). These straps do provide flexibility when hanging, are lightweight, and don't stretch when under tension. Excellent product, but a unnecessary luxury item for the lightweight backpacker.

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Eric B.

Eric B. wrote a review of on March 2, 2013

5 5

This mat has it all, and it should for its category leading price. The size, weight, comfort, and included repair kit are the main selling points and aren't equalled by any other mat I've seen. My backpacking buddy uses a Thermarest that's larger, warmer, and thicker, and I always look at it with a little envy when setting up camp, but when packing my bag or wearing my backpack, I'm always thankful I bought this. I've used it in sub-zero conditions, on multi-night backpacking trips, car trips, and even for guests at my house and my hips and shoulders never touch the ground while using it (even sleeping on my side). Proper inflation level is key, so figure out what's best. No rips or leaks, easy and quick to fill and deflate, and doesn't make as much noise as a Thermarest.

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Eric B.

Eric B. wrote a review of on March 2, 2013

5 5

This is another comfortable, lightweight, and well designed Osprey pack. The snowshed back panel really does shed snow, so when I set my pack down for lunch or whatever, it brushes right off. The variety of gear specific pockets are great for backcountry skiing/boarding, but I routinely repurpose the pack for airplane or gym travel. Seems as bombproof as any other Osprey pack I have, which means it should last through years of abuse. The internal wire frame is a little stiff, and I notice that it hits my helmet when I tuck down real tight and have my head craned all the way back. As someone else mentioned, the unclipping of the shoulder straps to access the back panel is an extra step, but it seems a necessary part of having all the other awesome features the pack has. Overall, really functional and wearable pack and I plan on using it for all my medium size backpack needs.

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Eric B.

Eric B. wrote a review of on February 3, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

As others have stated, they can be very difficult to get out. But isn't that the idea? I have a nut tool, and I say they can be a bit difficult, but mostly because I'm at altitude and don't have a lot of patience for seemingly mundane things getting in my way. Although if you take a long fall on one, it might get wedged permanently, but who would really care at that point. Realistically, I've never spent more than 30 seconds removing one and I can always find a place to wedge one. I use them passively and actively and they work great. I heard you can get shrink tape to wrap the sling part. I haven't done it, and mine are fraying a little from use. Nothing I'm concerned about, looks normal. Lightweight and borderline failproof. The smaller ones are easier to find a placement for, but I use all of mine as I string out my line.

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