Gifford Nowland

Gifford Nowland

Wasatch Range, Tahoe. East Coast (Ice Coast!) bred.

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Gifford's Passions

Road Running
Backpacking
Camping
Snowboarding
Trail Running
Mountain Biking
Hiking
Paddling
Sport Climbing
Kayaking
Bouldering
Alpine Touring
Yoga
Swimming
Surfing

Gifford's Bio

I've been slangin' gear for backcountry.com since fall 2012. Hit me up at ext. 4474 to get all your burning gear questions answered!

Gifford Nowland

Gifford Nowland wrote a review of on February 7, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Bought this for my girlfriend to use while belaying me, she's new to the sport and the extra cost is well worth my piece of mind knowing that if I whiff it leading a route she won't be stuck paying my funeral bill if her reaction is off.

I still prefer to use an ATC because honestly this thing is so damn simple to use it takes all the excitement out of belaying, but then again I'm oldschool.

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Gifford Nowland

Gifford Nowland wrote a review of on February 7, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Versatile: mid-light but super strong (9 UIAA Falls is spectacular for a 9.8) so it's not painful to drag up a wall, durable bi-pattern (super important for taking guesswork out of rappelling and belaying, knowing if your rope will last the route), good dynamic stretch, and most importantly a great price (for the feature set)!

All of my climbing buddies have this rope, and we all love it.

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Gifford Nowland

Gifford Nowland wrote a review of on February 4, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

I'm a runner and have tried several brands over the years - the best fit for me has been Asics. For the past 6 - 7 years I have been buying the Asics Gel-Cumulus (about 3 pairs a year). After so many miles on my feet and legs I don't recover a fast as I used to. I decided to upgrade to the Gel-Nimbus - what a difference! In a side by side comparison at a shoe store, the Gel-Nimbus had noticeably more cushioning. I'm on my 3rd pair of Gel Nimbus - they last longer for me and I won't go back to a less cushioned shoe (even the insole is thicker). I can get in more miles, with less pain. I spent a week hiking canyons in death valley last November and alternated with hiking boots. The Gel-Nimbus held up fine. Great for walking around town on concrete too, especially on vacations.

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Gifford Nowland

Gifford Nowland wrote a review of on January 22, 2014

4 5

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

Got this for a carryon for air travel and possibly for some light (hostel to hostel) backpacking.

It's currently sitting next to me at the gate for our first adventure together, and I have some initial impressions:

Positives: Great construction, great look, great function. I would expect nothing less from Osprey, they've really dedicated R&D to creating comfortable, functional packs. The 2 handles are plushly cushioned, and the shoulder/hip straps are very durable and comfortable (and zip away neatly). The entire bag feels very substantial, I'm sure it will take a beating. I also like how it fits at the maximum dimensions for carry-on travel for all airlines, even Ryan Air with their stringent carry-on restrictions (I might have to cinch it down a little, but that's what the clips are for in the first place!). Also, the pack looks great.

Negatives:
Not enough pockets. One external pocket that's about the size of an iPad mini and one mesh pocket built into the main flap? Woof! I'd like to see some more external pockets for organizing and getting to my stuff without having to rifle through the entire main compartment to find it.

Overall: I foresee this pack being very versatile and useful, probably the best carryon-sized pack Backcontry has. After trying a couple other packs I'm glad I settled on this one!

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Gifford Nowland

Gifford Nowland wrote a review of on January 22, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

You know when you see someone on the mountain wearing this gruff buff they're going to send it big, and you can send it big too! All it takes is some guts and this gruff buff...

Just don't forget to whack your pole on the cornice and yell "DROPPING!" loud enough so the gapers from the lift can see your rad moves!

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Gifford Nowland

Gifford Nowland wrote a review of on January 15, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

First off, I absolutely love this jacket. I spent hours doing extensive research on down jackets, I bought 3 different styles (this, a patagonia, and a marmot), and this is what I found:

One of the greatest misconceptions about down jackets is that "fill power" (800-fill, for example) is the most important spec to consider-- but if you're only considering fill power you're missing half the story! A down jacket's warmth is actually derived from a variety of factors: fill power (or loft), fill weight, and wind resistance.

Fill power relates to down "loft" or "fluffiness", and has to do with feather size- larger feathers means better loft and more air an ounce of the down can trap; increasing warmth and contributing to a lighter and more compressible jacket, but not all 800 fill jackets are made equal...

Even before you try them on, if you lay two 800-fill jackets side-by-side and you can immediately tell which jacket is going to be warmer: it's the one that's thicker! It's common sense. The more insulation shoved into the jacket, the warmer it's going to be. The problem is, browsing online you can't put products side-by-side and squeeze them. You have to look at pictures, and read numerical stats. Unfortunately fill weight isn't always publicized (I had to actually look at the physical tags for some of these to get their fill weight numbers). So let's take a look:

Fill Weight (Primary Determinant of Warmth):
- MontBell UL Inner = 2 oz
- Patagonia Down Sweater = 3 oz
- Marmot Zeus = 3.5 oz
- MontBell Light Down (this jaceket) = 4.3 oz

The numbers don't lie: this jacket has the best fill weight out of all that I considered. No wonder it's by far the warmest!

As for the third factor, wind resistance, the 30 denier ballistic ripstop nylon nylon shell is the strongest, lightest, most wind resistant shell fabric made.

So there you have it! I hope my legwork helps you make a fully-informed purchase decision... to get this jacket!!

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Gifford Nowland

Gifford Nowland wrote a review of on January 2, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I gave it as a gift, but have feedback to share

Got this for my girlfriend who has had lifelong knee issues and has pretty much every type of brace made. She loves this, no other brace transfers the force from her thigh to her calf better, alleviating most of the knee pain she's had. She can finally join me on my hikes without ending in tears. Great product.

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Gifford Nowland

Gifford Nowland wrote a review of on January 2, 2014

4 5

Used this kit backpacking with Boy Scouts for 10 years, decided to get one of my own. It's the best 2-pot set I've tried. Super durable! I love that my MSR whisperlite stove fits inside the pots so everything packs up into a little package.

I used the lid as a frying pan on my Whisperlite and can confirm that this is not the best idea as the metal is too thin (the food got burned up pretty quickly)

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Gifford Nowland

Gifford Nowland wrote a review of on January 2, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I bought this WhisperLite stove based on the recommendation of five thousand mountain men... and I am not disappointed.

The only gripe I have (and it looks like other people here had too) is that it doesn't really simmer, it's settings are: hot or hotter.

What it does do amazingly well is burn with the fire of five thousand volcanoes and boil water like a champ at any altitude; and when all you're making is freeze-dried camp meals that's exactly what you need. Just don't try to cook bacon or simmer sauces, it will burn the s**t out of it. But what the hell are you doing schlepping bacon around in your stuff sack anyway, being bear-bait?!

Lighting it takes a bit of practice, just don't put your face over it or you may burn your eyebrows off.

You can use any white gas, I got Coleman brand gas from Dick's sporting goods and it works like a charm.

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Gifford Nowland

Gifford Nowland wrote a review of on December 24, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This is Frankenbinding. These bindings are the bastard child of the ceaseless advancement in binding technology of the last decade, born from the amalgamation of all the best features of the competition, fated to rise above the competition and reign king of all that is holy in the world of snowboard binding.

1) The toe cap technology pioneered by burton/technine in 2003
2) The reclining highback technology championed by Flow since 1992 combined with the N.A.S.T.Y Active Strap introduced in 2012
3) V-Strap technology invented by Ride in 2009 and integrated as the Fusion Powerstrap.

Add the fact that these are by far the best constructed, most solid bindings I've laid my hands on and you've got yourself an indestructible package. Aluminum Alloy baseplate, aluminum buckles, these bindings are super responsive, stiff and strong.

If you've been hating on Flow before, it's time you took another look. This is not your grandpa's Flow binding. Fans of traditional strap-bindings will feel right at home with the snugness of the toe cap and fusion strap... but if you've been a fan of old-school flows (like me) you're in for a slap in the face: wake up, this is the future of snow, and this binding is it.

Slip on, tune in, drop out.

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Gifford Nowland

Gifford Nowland wrote a review of on December 23, 2013

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This is a good midweight or park glove, wouldn't count on it for frigid days but it's great for the slightly cold days. Solid construction looks like it will last.

Only thing I found is that it is a little too short in the "V" and long in the fingers, which causes you to get a little bit of a pinch between the fingers but too long in the ends.

Overall good glove.

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