Eric McCammond

Eric McCammond

Misawa City, Aomori Prefecture, Japan

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Eric's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Running
Biking
Snowshoeing
Climbing

Eric'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

4 5

Its a nice tarp...lightweight and feels bomber. It makes a good 2-man shelter, although I wouldn't want to share the space with a partner if it got to raining too much. The only complaint I have is having to apply my own seam sealant. I understand that many folks seal their own shelter seams and some manufacturers even recommend it. But, I've never had the need to go beyond factory sealing and found applying my own to be a pain in the a$$. It was really difficult to apply in a thin manner and I think I added 6 oz to the weight of the tarp in sealant alone (slight exaggeration of course).

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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 an answer about on September 5, 2010

Kaleb,

The teeth are smooth and rope wear won't be an issue at all. I suppose, theoretically, your rope is getting worn down by the friction of your gear (i.e. biners, belay device, etc), but at such a neglible rate that it would take much longer than the rated lifetime of your rope to create an issue. If you have rope wear issues, it won't be due to your biners or belay device...as long as you use them correctly, i.e. keep rope biners separate from bolt biners, etc. In other words, I wouldn't give a second thought to it.

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Eric McCammond

Eric McCammond wrote an answer about on July 7, 2010

I own an older model BD Demon and absolutely love it. You can fit everything you need for a day of sport climbing inside the bag, to include the rope. That being said, if you carry the rope separately (i.e. outside the pack or in a rope bag), you could use this bag for trad climbing with a small-medium rack. My next larger pack is a 50L and seems too big for most single-day activities.

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Eric McCammond

Eric McCammond wrote an answer about on June 20, 2010

Phil,

I agree that these big wall haul bags could be useful in a ton of situations. They look like they'd last forever and hold a ton of stuff. I've drueled over them more than once. But, until I find myself preparing for a big wall, I don't think I could justify the extra piece of gear...although I always find my mind trying to justify more gear:)

I am the one in the middle:) I don't recall the names of the two other fellows. But, I hung out with them atop Mount Iwate and they were a blast. I wish they hadn't brought so much sake though. It was painful getting off the mountain the next day;)

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Eric McCammond

Eric McCammond wrote an answer about on June 20, 2010

Sam,

This is more of a haul bag for multi-pitch/big wall climbs where you'll be sleeping on the wall and need something sturdy enough to hoist over craggy surfaces. If you want something to haul gear out for a day of single pitch trad climbing, a more conventional backpack will likely work alot better. I can fit all my sportclimbing gear, to include a 60-meter rope and a day's worth of food and water, in my 32 liter Black Diamond Demon backpack. If I was wanting to take all my trad gear as well, I think I could fit everything in a 45-50 liter pack. If you have a ton of trad gear, you may have to carry your rope on the outside of the pack. The upside of a 50-liter backpack is that it could get you through a 3-day hike or a 2-day mountaineering trip. Of course, if you don't have far to walk, you could carry all your stuff with a small daypack and a gear sling.

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Eric McCammond

Eric McCammond wrote an answer about on June 11, 2010

Nick, this is a serious mountaineering tent. It is made to withstand weather typical in high-altitude, alpine conditions such as high winds, low temperatures, and heavy snowfall. It will do these things well at any elevation. That being said, it is one of the most specialized tents out there. Depending on what you intend to use the tent for, this is very likely not the tent you're looking for. It would make a swell winter tent, but will be overkill for the other 3 seasons. The most likely issues outside of winter conditions will be overheating and condensation problems. There are some good 3-season tents out there which excel at 3-season camping, but will still hold their own in mild winter conditions.

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Eric McCammond

Eric McCammond wrote an answer about on May 31, 2010

I'm 6'3", 185lbs and use the 1030s in very powdery conditions in Northern Japan. Even with 30lbs of gear, the 30" models provide more than enough floatation. I've actually contemplated shorter snowshoes many times as the 30" shoes are a bit clumsy in some situations. I'd recommend the 30" models, or perhaps even 25" if you're sure you'll only be using a day pack.

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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 13, 2010

4 5

Let's face it. A good lightweight, button-down, long sleeve travel shirt is timeless. One shirt can get you through the airport, onto the airplane, through a month-long backcountry trek, and still get you through dinner at a respectable restaurant afterwards. Many of these shirts sport the same technology and perform equally as well. The reason I buy the Columbia ones is sizing. I'm 6'3", 185 lbs and have average length arms for my height. I swim in a typical XL and the typical L fits my body fine but the arms are too short. Columbia got the sizing right for me and you can often find great deals with them on sale.

The one thing I would change is the velcro pockets. In my experience, velcro pockets do not last as long, are noisy, and slightly less than "classy".

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