Fool4Gear

Fool4Gear

Pacific Northwest

Fool4Gear's Passions

Biking
Climbing

Fool4Gear

Fool4Gear wrote a review of on August 25, 2011

5 5

I've owned mine for a bit over a year now and have had it out in all conditions, from camping on snow to high-winds in the mountains to sunny and clear- it's a pretty fantastic tent system.
Since the weight is nest + poles/stakes + fly + footprint, you can split the weight out in your party such that each will be carrying minimal weight- and you can leave behind the nest or the footprint, depending on how you intend to use it.

Typically, the "3-man tent" is so often a term of fiction that we mostly understand it to mean "two close friends and possibly a chihuahua could fit", but the CR3 is an honest-to-goodness 3-man tent you can actually sleep 3 full-sized adults + gear in, without everybody being elbows and ankles in each others' space. When it comes to sleeping, spooning is an option, not a requirement- unless you try to stuff 4 people in there, which would be doable if you're willing to be as friendly as some tent makers seem to think we all are. My wife, 2 kids, and I can fit comfortably, with room for a lot of extra stuff.

Most of the floor space is usable up to a sitting adult's height. Each corner in the nest features a stow pocket for glasses, headlamps, or what-have you. There are also eyelets from which to hang sundries on the inside of the nest.

Space in the vestibules is generous, and each vestibule is accessible from both inside and outside. I can fit two large packs in a single vestibule and still have room for my stove, fuel canisters, and a couple pairs of boots. Vestibule doors can be rolled up out of the way (to be secured with a simple button/hook thingy), and nest doors roll up and to the side for similar stowing). There are guy points at all corners of the fly, plus velcro loops on the inside of the fly to secure the tent poles in place. (pro tip: without these secured, the tent is flexible indeed- so be sure to do these up even when the weather 'looks like it'll be fine'.)

Ventilation in this tent is glorious. Condensation is just not a problem at all.

Properly staked/guyed out, this tent stands up well to wind and weather- it flexes, but has stood through some significant storms (50+knot gusts) on my watch. I am routinely surprised at the conditions it withstands, actually- It doesn't make sense that such a light, flexible set of poles and fabric should be so strong and resilient.

With 3 poles, pitching is a simple one-man job, takes 3 minutes- a few more than that to properly guy out and secure all points. Taking it down is similarly simple- and unlike most tents I've owned, I am able to get everything back into the stuff sack without any extraordinary effort.

Basically, it's a bigger, lighter, roomier, more comfortable tent than anything your friends have.
The only downsides: it's pretty expensive, and you need a big enough spot to pitch the thing. Oh, and your friends will insist on using your tent, instead of theirs.

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Fool4Gear

Fool4Gear wrote a review of on February 4, 2011

5 5

This is my first beacon, and the only basis I have for comparing it to others has been using it and comparing my experience with that of other beginners during avy training. The short of it is that it is easy to use.

The Pulse units would consistently pick up signals from longer range than any others in the group- this included Trackers, DSPs, a few others- at 70m both of the pulses in our line lit up, with the rest of the units ranging anywhere from 20-50m before acquiring a signal.

On occasion this unit will become confused and order you to stop waving it about while it understands its environment. This seems to happen more in situations where there are many sending beacons, one or more of them are moving, or where you're rotating the beacon about excessively (or possibly if you haven't calibrated the device- the Pulse uses an internal compass to help it understand its spatial relationship to the the signals it's getting) Used deliberately, rather than rushingly, searches went efficiently.

While practicing large-group multiple-burial scenarios, I found that I could quickly obtain and use information with this unit to direct team members whose beacons didn't tell them these things. For example, knowing that there were 4 close-together burials (in a drill where we didn't know the total number of victims) helped individual rescuers better understand the confusing signals they were getting during their grid searches, and it allowed us to organize the team to search, probe, and dig pretty much in parallel.

I certainly expected that as a beginner I would be able to use this device to do an effective individual search- what surprised me was that as a beginner I was also able to use the information it provided to switch roles and organize a team of rescuers.

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Fool4Gear

Fool4Gear wrote a review of on December 14, 2010

4 5

I'm 6'1" 195lbs, with arms and shoulders proportionate to someone 6'3", and I found that the XL was tight in the shoulders and armpits, yet loose enough in the torso that going to XXL wouldn't have made sense. For those of you with normal proportions, this will make a good layering piece with flexibility to have a lot under and over.
Other than the unfortunate fit, this piece has a lot of good things going for it:
Helmet-compatible hood, super-breathable material, zip vents for when you *really* want to dump heat, high pockets (accessible when wearing a harness or pack), a generous and comfy high collar/hood, articulated arms, clever gather/closure cord arrangements.

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Fool4Gear

Fool4Gear wrote a review of on December 9, 2010

4 5

The feature set for this pack is very nice- avalung, hydration system, accessible back pocket for your shovel/probe/wet stuff, generous main compartment, twin axe/tool loops, compression straps/ski straps... this is a very flexible mission pack- anything from just your avy gear to an overnight bivy will fit in there.
Standout detail: In addition to the standard top-access to the main pack, you can access the main compartment from the packframe side: thus, you can leave the waistbelt clipped, rotate it around your body to the front, and get at your dry gear without having to put the pack down in the snow.
Only downside to date: I've found that when the brain/top compartment is pulled down snug over the top of the framesheet, the front edge covers the buckles for the load lifter straps, which makes adjusting them with gloves awkward. Given the overall quality and utility of this piece, this is a minor detail.

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Fool4Gear

Fool4Gear wrote a review of on November 30, 2010

5 5

The Zenoxide is a light, fully cambered, fairly wide, medium-flex ski- floats well in powder, carves happily and swings well in the tight spots, and amiably transitions between floaty powder and crud.
Very nice do-it-all ski.

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Fool4Gear

Fool4Gear wrote a review of on August 18, 2010

4 5

this thing cuts webbing, rope, whatever you want, and quickly- and as the description says, you can do so without much chance of perforating yourself or your buddy. The grip is secure and comfortable. Loved it.

HOWEVER
Take the assurances about the security of the sheath with a grain of salt. Rig something up to secure the knife in its sheath. I lost mine because I didn't do that- mine is somewhere at the bottom of a river.

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Fool4Gear

Fool4Gear wrote a review of on August 18, 2010

5 5

My 25-year-old pack finally gave up the ghost this summer, and while replacing it (and mourning, lotta good memories with that pack) I spent a bunch of time (in stores, and in the backcountry) with a bunch of new packs, all loaded with ~70lbs of stuff. My typical usage is for multi-day climbing trips, so a load for me is usually a bag, tent, fuel, stove, 5 days' food, my rack, a rope, clothes, ice axe, water + purifier, cookpot+cup, etc.

Of all the bags I tried, the Bora did the best job of carrying the load without causing hot spots or point-pain on my shoulders or hips. It is a pound or two heavier than most multi-day bags, but to be frank I can't tell the difference between 5 and 7 pounds, but I can feel the difference in comfort between this bag and the other bags I tried- especially when hauling around heavy loads.

One thing that shines particularly well for me about this bag is the belt- my preferred gait moves my hips a lot, and this belt pivots with your hips, without shifting the load on your back or isolating the whole load on the high hip bone. Whatever geeks came up with this (and it's clear that some very serious geeking went into the design of this) you guys are my heroes. The harness and frame are at once fantastic and invisible- burly and unobtrusive.

The pack has a nice balance of features without feeling cluttered. There are side, top, and bottom accesses to the main compartment. Nine distinct compression straps (3 per side on the main compartment, 2 under the bottom, and one over the top) make load management work really well. Two axe loops and twin daisy chains mean you can hang more gear on the back if you're not already overloaded. The brain pack has a zip-access pouch to hold your water bag, and detaches to make a small hip-pack. Exterior zippers are waterproof, the textiles used feel burly and shed water. The large back pocket offers convenient zipper-access, perfect for stowing extra layers or a shell.

Overall, the finish and attention to detail is astonishing. This is certainly my favorite pack in its class.

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Fool4Gear

Fool4Gear wrote a review of on July 29, 2010

5 5

This pack, with all of its organizational features, is pretty much OCD heaven- everything can have a place, everything is easily accessible- clearly, some very good thought went into making this piece of gear. The material is burly and keeps stuff dry, and the pack is just big enough to carry my trad rack, a 60m rope, shoes, harness, chalk bag, a bit of food, sunscreen, a couple bottles, a shell, and a guidebook.
It is heavy and bulky for a pack of its size- I'd think twice about hauling it into the backcountry as a summit pack on that basis. The framesheet is plenty stiff, but the internal racking loops aren't attached to it- they're attached in front of the hydration sleeve (so hanging unsupported gear from the racking loops will sag), but this can be mitigated by making sure to cinch the internal compression panel or the exterior compression straps on whatever you have in there.
This is a very usable piece of gear. Durability-wise, it's sort of ridiculous. As a straight-up crag pack, it's very tough to beat.

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Fool4Gear

Fool4Gear wrote a review of on June 8, 2009

5 5

This is a confidence-inspiring locker- perfect to match with an ATC, as a master-point on a crowded anchor, or to run your top-rope through after you've created an anchor you'd hang your car on.
The thing the description and picture don't adequately convey is that this carabiner is *stout*- so stout, in fact, that it will not fit in the eye of a Gri-gri, and some chains/hangars you'll find up on the wall will not be large enough to accommodate it- or if they are, sometimes they won't accommodate anything else. This is the piece you reserve for times where overkill is exactly what you want.

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Fool4Gear

Fool4Gear wrote a review of on June 6, 2009

5 5

This isn't just a bag, it's an organizer, with compartments and pockets for everything. Comes with a tarp, and has a clip point inside for it. The gear loops have plenty of racking space for a stout sport rack (it gets crowded if you've got a lot of gear), and the internal compression panel allows you to put the heavy stuff against your back, instead of in the bottom of the pack.

As a pack, the harness is comfy and adjustable, no surprises await you here.

Once you're at the crag, it opens all the way up, making everything easy to see and sort- a definite luxury that my buddies comment on. If you're an organization fetishist with firm opinions about everything having its place, this pack has a spot for pretty much everything. The material is plain burly, perhaps over-engineered, but waterproof and confidence-inspiring.

I find that if I put my rack + shoes + harness + a full water bag that getting a rope in there is an iffy thing- even though this is big for a 'day pack', it's not quite big enough for everything- I keep my rope in a separate bag- but it's waay convenient to just grab this and a rope on the way out of the garage!

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Fool4Gear

Fool4Gear wrote a review of on June 5, 2009

5 5

This is a superior belay carabiner, in that it keeps your belay loop locked in one end even when you get slack in your system, pretty much guaranteeing that when it loads up, it does so on its major axis every time. It does require that you actually put your belay loop inside the internal gate, of course- I haven't seen what would happen if I didn't, but I expect that the worst-case scenario would be that the internal gate would bend or break. The internal gate does make this a fairly specialized piece of gear (perhaps not ideal as, say, a master-point with multiple cordolette strands to stuff inside the minor gate) but for belaying or your personal anchor, it's a superior piece of gear.

It's my locker of choice to mate up with my gri-gri for this reason: it stays put, while similar lockers (ones without a retention gate) rotate a bit as you give and take slack- occasionally resulting in gate-loading the belay locker with your buddy (or in my case, my wife) on the other end of that rope.

The locking gate has a 3-way release- you slide the collar down, then rotate the collar, then open the gate- this sounds cumbersome, but it becomes a quick one-handed motion very easily.

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Fool4Gear

Fool4Gear wrote a review of on May 19, 2009

5 5

I am a fan of these draws, but must say that I started with them and did not experience any of the frustration others report- I just learned with them and find them very usable- clipping is always smooth and precise, and they are a pleasure to rack up with- the hooded latch does not hook on gear or hangars, you can fit 10+ on a gear loop, the gates do not chatter, and they're plain burly in spite of being so light- if you look at the specs, these carabiners are rated stronger than many lockers.

Another thing that sets these draws apart is the ropeside end of the dogbone- it's got a little elastomer thingy that secures the anodized carabiner in the draw such that it loads on the long axis of the rope-side 'biner every time.

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Fool4Gear

Fool4Gear wrote a review of on May 15, 2009

4 5

These pants are super-comfy, flexible, and have become my favorite pants for climbing- they stretch, breathe, keep you cool, protect your skin, and seem (so far) to shed dirt and wear nicely. For climbing, I can't figure out a single fault.

I wish they came, like most all other pants, in specific inseam lengths- they seem to say 'take it or leave it', and the sizing chart doesn't say just how long they are- basically, you get them how you get them. Since my inseam is shorter than the 36" or so that come in a large, I'm gonna have to hem them if I don't want to wear them rolled-up all the time. That is really my only complaint about these pants. In all other respects, they're sweet enough that I now own 3 pair.

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