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Eric McCammond

Eric McCammond

Misawa City, Aomori Prefecture, Japan

Eric McCammond's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Running
Biking
Snowshoeing
Climbing

Eric McCammond's Bio

World traveler. Currently living in Northern Japan. Love climbing, hiking, backpacking, swimming, snorkeling, running...anything that gets me outside.

Eric McCammond

Eric McCammond wrote a review of on March 29, 2011

5 5

My waist is about a 32.5"-33". I bought the khakis in 34" and they fit great. They are long. I'm 6'3" and they come to just below my knee. For a quick spin around town on my bike on a cool day, I can just throw on these, some long socks, and a softshell. I'll be comfortable and won't look like a biker dork when I stop into the coffee shop. They're casual/cool-looking enough for chilling downtown, but wouldn't have to think twice before wearing them out to the crag. For me, very few clothing items can do this well.

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Eric McCammond

Eric McCammond wrote a review of on February 20, 2011

4 5

I bought this for a lightweight instulation layer. Its weight is very similar to the Patagonia R1. The biggest difference is that this jacket is a fleece which also provides pretty good wind resistance. Unlike many fleece jackets, this would make a passable stand alone jacket during the wintertime. At 6'3", 175lbs, I often have issues with sleeve lengther. I bought this in size large and it fits my slender frame well and the sleeves are long enough for me to utilyze the thumb holes. The inside has a soft, fuzzy surface which provides a very cozy feeling. The hood is obviously unconventional, but functional. In cold windy conditions, it makes a passable baclava, but does not quite cover my nose. It makes a much better neck gaiter. I had concerns the high zipper would irritate my neck when not zipped all the way up, but I've not had any issues.

I've thought about using this for a running jacket, but likely won't. I love running in a softshell as they provide good insulation while still breathing well and keeping the wind and rain off you. A good softshell also gives your skin a little room as shells aren't intended to hug your body. But, I think this jacket is still more fleece than softshell. I think the fuzzy interior surface would feel too "huggy" and "muggy" once you got heated up and sweaty.

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Eric McCammond

Eric McCammond wrote a review of on February 20, 2011

5 5

After suffering the past 2 snowshoeing seasons with cold fingers, I decided to give these a shot. I wanted a warm glove which could take some abuse. These have fit the bill. The cozy wool lining, thick liner, and gore-tex/leather shell keep your hands have kept my hands warm and dry. At 10-degrees F, they can be almost too toasty. Others have mentioned trouble getting the liners back in after removing them, but I haven't had any trouble. I have no trouble turning the liners inside out to dry them and putting them back together afterwards. The shells have great padding and the leather palms appear to be work-glove quality. These a true winter outdoorsman glove.

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Eric McCammond

Eric McCammond wrote a review of on February 20, 2011

5 5

I've been using these for winter snowshoe climbs in northern Japan. They are amazingly light and the material feels solid. They're quick drying, completely windproof, and shed snow well. With a capilene 1 baselayee, R1 fleece for insulation, and gaiters I've stayed comfortable kicking through a foot of fresh powder in -20-degree windchills. At 6'3", 175 lbs, I sometimes have issues finding clothes with legs or sleeves long enough. Arcteryx apparel in size large has always worked well on my tall, slender frame. One minor complaint are the tiny zipper grabs. I can't grip them with my thick winter gloves and have to remove a glove to get into my pockets. This can be quickly remedied by running some tiny cord through them. As with most Arcteryx stuff, it will take a few moments to get over the sticker shock, but you'll be left wearing a bomber, functional, near-flawless product.

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Eric McCammond

Eric McCammond wrote a review of on February 20, 2011

5 5

After using Atlas 1030s for several years, I decided to upgrade to these in the 25" length. I mostly climb the northern Japan volcano groups where we get loads of fluffy powder at low to mid elevations with wind-blown, icy conditions common close to the summits. My Atlas shoes always did fine in the flotation department, but often lacked adequate traction to come down off icy summits. This shoe has loads of traction. On icy slopes, its like walking on cookie cutters. They also float well. Over the past weekend, I kicked trail through about a foot of fresh Hakkoda powder carrying a 40 lb pack. My total weight was 225-230 lbs and I never had a problem. The only part I'm not a huge fan of are the pegs which keep the straps from flapping around. I have an easy time securing the bindings, but snapping the straps onto the metal pegs can be nearly impossible with gloves on. I generally have to take my gloves off to secure the straps. This can be a problem when you're suiting up in -20 degree windchills. I would think a simple plastic catch would suffice. Lastly, I'll comment on the suspension. Most snowshoes have a kind of "floating" binding which allows your snowshoe to tilt at slight angles left and right when the shoe strikes a surface which is not perfectly perpendicular to your lower leg. These shoes, however, lack this type of suspension. When these shoes strike the surface, your lower leg is forced into a perpendicular position. This can be hard on your ankles when your foot unexpectedly encounters an uneven plane. That being said, this lack of flexibility allows for solid, purposeful foot placement when trying to maneuver difficult terrain. You can actually kick solid foot holds into the snow crust. Its this solid suspension combined with the 360-degree traction frame that makes this a wicked climbing snowshoe.

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Eric McCammond

Eric McCammond wrote a review of on January 19, 2011

3 5

As stated in the description...if you're looking for a hat for extremely wet conditions, look no further. With the bomber gore-tex and huge brim, this hat will keep your head and shoulders dry in a monsoon. But, its only a rain hat. This hat feels heavy and stuffy when its warm. I found it staying in my pack so much that it now rarely leaves my closet. There are far better sun hats and all-around hats out there than the Seattle Sombrero. My rain shell hood makes a far more economical (weight-wise and financial) insurance against unexpected rain showers. That being said, if there's a forecast for rain, I would likely pack my Seattle Sombrero.

Bottom line....if you're expecting rain, this hat will get you through the showers in style and comfort. If you're not banking on a downpour, its probably not worth packing the extra item.

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Eric McCammond

Eric McCammond wrote a review of on January 19, 2011

4 5

I'm typically a lightweight backpacker, but when I decided to take my 10-year old daughter on the week-long Daisetsuzan Traverse, I decided lightweight had to go out the window. I was between this pack and an Osprey when I found this one on sale. Overall, I have nothing negative to say about this pack. I can haul all my stuff, a 2-man tent,a week's food for 2, and a bear canister with more room to spare. I was hauling 55-60 lbs and the pack felt comfortable with the waist contraption doing most of the work. I had read bad reviews about the plastic waist contraption breaking on these packs, but I believe Gregory fixed any issues with this. In fact, I took a nice 50 yard tumble down a 45-degree ice field and the pack made out better than expected. I broke a load adjuster on one of the shoulder harnesses and trashed the rain cover. Everything else came out unscathed and I was able to get the load adjuster fixed for $10 at my local cobbler.

I've recently gotten more serious about photography which again doesn't mesh very well with my old lightweight hiking habits. So, I intend to get more mileage out of this pack.

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Eric McCammond

Eric McCammond wrote a review of on January 19, 2011

5 5

I'm typically a lightweight hiker. But, when I decided to do a weeklong Daisetsuzan thru hike with my 10-year old daughter, I invested in an 85-liter pack and went with these boots to give me support. Having never owned a pair of heavy-duty hikers, I expected them to be uncomfortable at the start. I was surprised to find that I needed no break in time with these boots aside from wearing them through the airports on the way between Afghanistan and Japan. After that, I hauled a 50-lb pack for 4 days across mud, rocks, and snowfields. I never had so much as a warm spot on my feet. With a pair of gaiters or rain pants to keep the water out of the top, these boots will hold out any amount of water.The feel of these boots is nothing short of bombproof. I really love the tab on the tongue which keeps the tongue from shifting on the boot. The only negatives are that they are heavy and take forever to dry should you let water inside. But, I don't know that one could reasonably expect anything else from a boot like this.

LATER ADDED: These boots have become my workhorse boots. I even use them for winter snowshoeing. They keep my feet dry and my toes stay cozy.

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Eric McCammond

Eric McCammond wrote a review of on May 31, 2010

5 5

I became a huge fan of the old Mountain Kilt right after they discontinued it...snagged up one of the last ones on clearance. When I bought it, I had no idea if I'd like it...always liked the idea of hiking in a kilt but didn't know how I'd feel out on the trail. My first trip out was November in Northern Japan...a little on the brisk side. I was an instant fan. Nothing can touch the comfort of hiking in the Mountain Kilt. I was smiling the entire weekend.

The new Elkommando feels the same as the Mountain Kilt, light, comfy, and functional. Folks who criticized the Mountain Kilt for being too much like a skirt will appreciate the pleats on the Elkommando. The fit changed drastically between the 2. I am 6'3", 185lbs and wore an XL in the Mountain Kilt, but a L on the Elkommando. The Mountain Kilt sizing was one size off from what I'm used to while the Elkommando is right on with my typical pants size.

I still see alot of criticism that the Elkommando is "not a real kilt." I'll have to agree that its not a real kilt, but doing a long hike in a real wool kilt would be ludicrous with the modern materials available. Others compare the Elkommando to the "Utilikilt". Anyone who considers heavy canvas superior to the Elkommando's material is not a serious hiker.

So, if you want an authentic kilt, buy a real tartan wool kilt. If you want a gimmicky man skirt, buy a Utilikilt. If you want the most comfortable, functional hiking garment on the planet, buy the Elkommando. The only negative thing about the Elkommando is that I've not figured out how to wear my rockclimbing harness without chasing my belay buddies off.

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Eric McCammond

Eric McCammond wrote a review of on April 4, 2010

5 5

I bought this watch to replace my Suunto Vector. So far, I'm in love with it. I haven't yet used it on a mountaineering trip, but have travelled with it and have used it for 3 months in Afghanistan. These are the things I love about it:

Solar power--My Suunto battery died on a trip one time and I was instantly screwed

World Time Tracker--I'm currently in Afghanistan, my wife is in Japan, and my mom lives in Kansas...knowing what time to call them has never been easier

20-bar water resistance--As my Aussie dive instructor commented about my Suunto..."You have an adventurer watch which you can't take down in the water?"

Metal Case/scratchproof face--My Suunto was plastic and the face scratched too easily...this watch is tough and looks good as well

One negative is that the alarm volume is low and it only goes off for like 5 seconds. If you're wrapped up tight in your sleeping bag, it doesn't make a very good wake-up alarm. But, my Suunto suffered from this as well.

The second negative is that the backlight doesn't stay on long enough. If you're trying to do something which requires several button pushes, you're repeatedly required to turn the light back on.

The last thing I'll add is that the Suunto came with a handy quick-reference card while this watch only came with the huge manual. I would love a quick-reference card to put in my wallet.

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Eric McCammond

Eric McCammond wrote a review of on April 4, 2010

5 5

I bought this bag on sale with the intent of using it on some winter climbs. I've only had the opportunity to use it once so far, but it worked great. I camped at the base outside underneath a picnic shelter. The temperature dropped just below freezing and I was actually a bit too warm, needing to open the zipper to vent. During the night, it started to snow with enough wind to cover me with a thin layer of wet snow by morning. Despite the outer layer getting very wet, no moisture penatrated to the down and I stayed warm. My worst fear of down bags being a wet down bag, I am pretty satisfied. When you can get a 0-degree bag that weighs in at just over 3 lbs and handles moderate moisture pretty well, you're doing alright.

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Eric McCammond

Eric McCammond wrote a review of on December 16, 2009

4 5

If you want a bomber, waterproof 2-3 day mountaineering pack, this may be just what you're looking for. You can fit enough gear to spend multiple days on an alpine climb, but the padding is rather minimum, so I'd watch the weight.

The waterproof aspect of this bag is interesting. Its actually a bit of a challenge closing the bag because the air gets trapped inside when you roll down the top. If air can't get out, you probably can't much more waterproof than this pack. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to use this pack canyoneering or packrafting. I'm that confident in the material.

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Eric McCammond

Eric McCammond wrote a review of on December 16, 2009

4 5

Its a crampon bag. My set of Sabertooths with long center bars fit in it perfectly. It has mesh on one side to allow moisture to escape and protect your crampons from corrosion. If you put your crampons in with the points AWAY from the mesh, it will protect your pack and the other items inside from the sharp points of your crampons. It works as advertised.

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Eric McCammond

Eric McCammond wrote a review of on December 16, 2009

5 5

I'm 6'3", 180lbs and I ordered the large. They fit nicely over my R1 pants and hiking pants. I love the pants. I did a winter overnighter in northern Japan and loved having these on when the sun went down. They're lightweight, pack down to the size of a nalgene big mouth, and are super cozy. If you're not sure whether you'll need it, bring it anyway. Along with a good top layer, you could forego the sleeping bag should you need to bivy.

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Eric McCammond

Eric McCammond wrote a review of on September 2, 2009

5 5

I just got mine in the mail. While it was enroute, I kept wondering if I should have spent the extra $$$ for the Alpha SV. Based on the reviews, I was worried about the length, the room for layering underneath, and the percieved durability of the material (would I be confident in it?). After receiving the LT, my initial impression is pure awe. The jacket is uber-light. While I don't have a scale, I can't tell any weight difference between it and my Patagonia Rain Shadow. But, despite the light weight, the material seems bomber. The clean construction definitely inspires confidence. The fit is perfect. Being 6'3", the back of the large jacket comes down to the center of my butt and the sleeves reach the base of my thumbs, just like a well-fitted suit jacket:) With an R2 fleece and a Patagonia Micropuff vest underneath it, I still had comfortable body and arm movement. The hood adjustments are a work of art. It just sucks down around your head perfectly.

With the bomber construction and light weight, I'm going to have a hard time justifying the use of any of my older lightweight rainshells. This could be the perfect, allaround shell. More to come as (bad) weather permits.

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