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Dennis R.

Dennis R.

Dennis R.'s Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking
Climbing

Dennis R.

Dennis R.wrote a review of on June 15, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 200 lbs
Size Purchased: 36

These are some of the most comfortable kicking-around pants I've had in a while. Fit is close while leaving room to move. My wife makes nummy sounds when I put them on, which I'm taking as a vote of approval.Also, she asked if I would like a second pair for Fathers Day, so yeah..

Front pockets are a little shallow, but workable. Rear patch pockets have lots of room. I especially like the right thigh sleeve pocket, which is more than big enough for an iPhone SE. Interestingly, though the pocket isn't tight and has no zipper or velcro closure, the phone stays put, Nice.

Fabric is reasonably light canvas like cotton/nylon stuff. Comfortable like jeans, but cut for movement, and don't bag out - or do so very slowly. Waist size is true. I typically wear 32" or 33" leg length; these are listed as 32" and seem about right.

All in all, I like 'em. Hope I do get another pair this weekend..

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Dennis R.

Dennis R.wrote a review of on April 9, 2016

Should be great once you get them fitted
4 5

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

I bought these at the end of season because I've been unable to get a solid fit on my Phantom 6000s with either of my BD crampons. I tried both the wide and the low-profile bails on the BDs; neither gave a solid fit. At the suggestion of a friend I ordered the Lynx. This preliminary review only covers fitting.

I plan to use these for ice and mixed climbing, so had no interest in the plastic/steel front bail. Unfortunately those are the bails that come installed on the crampons. I thought getting bails on and off BD crampons was a pain, but these are actually worse. The wire bails are a bit better, though I did give myself a nice puncture wound moving one of them (SHARP points!). The length adjustment uses the standard pin on a spring tab; pretty straightforward. The rear clamps are easy to adjust, but seem to stick out from the rear of the boot more than BD rear clamps. I'll need some climbing to know if that's a problem.

The good news is that with the addition of the long connector bars (size 47 Phantom 6000s), I got a solid fit to the boots with the Lynx - good front point length showing and no side-to-side movement. The front bail also fits my Nepal Extremes, so with a length and front bail adjustment I can run those boots as well.

Have to wait for some ice to see how these climb. The pics shows one of my buds on Minnesota North Shore ice. If Lynxes work for me the way they work for this guy I'll be a happy camper.

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Dennis R.

Dennis R.wrote a review of on February 16, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs small
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 200 lbs
Size Purchased: 47

These are astonishing boots. They feel no heavier than my Nepal Extremes, and only a little bulkier. I spent a day out in serious cold (-8F to -12F, depending on whose thermometer you believed), and my toes were never cold. Stable walking, stable front pointing on steep waterfall ice. Sort of. More on that below.

Fit. These run really small. I have 45.5 Nepal Extremes; a 46 would be more comfortable. I wear 46 in two different Scarpa hiking boots. To get the Phantom 6000 to fit I had to go to size 47. These are relatively narrow boots; good for my narrow feet, but if you're running wide ones you could have trouble. I personally like a higher gaiter than the ones built into these boots, but the fit at the top of the built-ins is snug. I wear a pair of OR Crocodiles over them, for the height and for protection from errant crampon points.

The liners are surprisingly thin, given the warmth, but they seem to work. I fitted the boots with my orthotics, and wearing fairly heavy socks (the narrow, low-volume feet thing). Liners are also not easy to get into, but that improves - some - with practice. The lacing gizmo for the outer boots is clever and quick; once tightened my feet feel held in place, no heel lift, no slippage. But after some hours in action I invariably notice that my laces have loosened some. Easy enough to redo, but annoying that it's necessary. The front zippers need their lube; without it they're stiff. I've tried both the supplied lubricant (great!) and Vaseline (not as good, but worked), and with lubrication the zippers run fine.

My main complaint with these boots is that it's been a major pain getting crampons to fit. I've been climbing ice for about 3 decades, and I've never had this kind of trouble getting crampons to match a pair of boots. Standard BD front bails are sloppy; I can move the crampon front section back and forth with my hands (I"ve tried Cyborgs and Sabertooths). The small front bail improves the fit, but leaves too little front point showing if fitted to the first slot, and too much if fitted to the second slot. The loop in Grivel front bails bump against the sides of the boot toes, pushing the bail out of the toe groove. Scary. I haven't tried Petzl yet. I didn't want to have to buy new crampons to work with the boots, but it's looking like I'll have to.

So that's it. Warm, pretty light, you can dance in 'em, assuming you could dance before. Just check your crampon fit when you buy them. You could be in for an expensive surprise..

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Dennis R.

Dennis R.wrote a review of on October 26, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 200 lbs
Size Purchased: XL

I purchased the Gamma LT to replace 2 aging softshell jackets - an ancient Gamma SV and a Patagonia Super Guide. I've now used the LT a few times and have some initial impressions.

Fit. I'm a solid Large in Patagonia tops, but thanks to the Arc'teryx size break (Large ends at 43" chest) jacket fit is always questionable - Large tends to be a snug fit, but I swim in XL. My Gamma SV is a Large and is a snug fit, not really allowing even a second layer beneath it. A nice athletic cut though, and great sleeve length. Based on my Arc'teryx experience I ordered an XL Gamma LT, and it too is oversized. Unlike the Gamma SV, the new jacket has a squarer cut and room for layering (good), but is also rather baggy (not so good). The body is way long and so are the sleeves. I plan to use the jacket for traveling and around-town use, so body length isn't that bothersome. The sleeve length IS, and I'll have to figure out what to do about that. In an ironic twist, even these excessively long sleeves leave my wrists exposed when I reach overhead because the fit isn't snug to the wrist and there's no way to adjust the fit.

Features. The LT has two large chest pockets and a pocket at the left bicep, all exterior. The old SV has two large exterior chest pockets and an internal pocket. The SV chest pockets are especially high and rotated forward. These actually work with a harness or pack hip belt, where the LT's pockets are more likely to get caught underneath. That is also the problem with the pockets on the Patagonia jacket. However, I still like the Patagonia jacket's pocket arrangement - two exterior side pockets and an exterior vertical pocket at the left breast, plus an internal chest pocket. The Gamma LT doesn't seem to have enough pockets for my purpose, thought the chest pockets are HUGE. They're also made of a mesh, so partly open pockets can serve as vents.

Otherwise, the bottom hem drawcord on the LT is probably the easiest to adjust of the 3 jackets. The LT has a dropped tail, more so then either of the other jackets. The LT's collar, when zipped up is a good height and fit, and it's lined with a soft micro fleece for comfort. The main zipper for the Gamma LT is a sturdy toothed zipper. Runs well, doesn't snag. The characteristic Arc'teryx rubbery draft flap is a bit smaller than that on my Gamma SV, and so doesn't get in the way as much.

Fabric. I like stretch-woven softshell jackets for travel and around-town use because stretch-woven fabrics are so versatile: sturdy, breathable, wind- and water-resistant, food-resistant, and stretchy. I dislike softshell jackets for actual outdoors use because they tend to be both heavy and bulky; unless I'm sure I'll be wearing the jacket all the time I don't want it along. That's certainly true for the Gamma SV's Powershield fabric, and mostly true for the stretch-woven used in the Super Guide. The Gamma LT's fabric, called Burly Double Weave, is a bit different: smooth on the outside, subtly barred on the inside, and lighter than the fabric on either of the other jackets. Also softer. Unlike the other two jackets, which never got used for climbing, skiing, etc. I WOULD use the Gamma LT for those things - if the fit was better. Wind resistance is on par with the other jackets. Breathability seems good. Haven't had enough moisture to say anything about water resistance.

Overall, this is a nice jacket. My main problem with it is really about where I fit in the Arc'teryx sizing scheme. The product fit is true to that described in the bird's sizing charts; I just don't fit well into that sizing. Materials and features seem to work pretty well.

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Dennis R.

Dennis R.wrote a review of on May 19, 2013

4 5

Just back from a week backpacking in the Black Range (southern NM), used the 75. I'm usually wary of packs with this much suspension adjustment; usually the carry gets sacrificed. The Volt adjusts in minutes w/o tools - not just back length but also HIPBELT pad length - and once adjusted the pack carried up to 48 lb pretty comfortably. I was impressed, especially for a pack that weighs less than 4 lb on my scale.
Some features are less than optimized. Compression doesn't work very well, and I'd like more strap length so I can stow my foam pad behind them. And the pack never got that "glued to my back" feeling; too much random movement for use on technical terrain. The hipbelt pockets are useful stash for food, sunblock, compass, altimeter, etc, but once the pack is on it's really hard to close the pocket zips one-handed. Top lid can't be easily removed, but it does float and it is HUGE. Lots of stash there. Mesh pockets on back and sides are handy for need-quick gear. Oh, and the hipbelt straps are too long - I mean like FEET too long. Who needs this much hipbelt?

Bottom line: a lot of little things could have been done better, and that's unfortunate. For a 4 lb pack designed to fit a wide range of people in a single size (and <<$200) this pack has remarkable carry. It doesn't dig, slip, or drag; it's just kind of there on your back. The little things bug me because the main pack function - hauling your stuff - is almost unnoticeable. For a trail pack it's definitely worth a look.

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Dennis R.

Dennis R.wrote a review of on March 24, 2013

4 5

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

Confession: the pack never made it out the door. Just loaded it up, walked it around a bit in the house, and discovered the fatal flaw.

I actually like the design. The packbag cut is carefully designed to keep the load close to the back. The adjustment system is clever and seems to work. I can't tell yet whether the velcro will hold against a 40 lb load, but I'm betting it will. The "wire" frame looks flimsy, but my wife has the Viva 50 and says it floats 35 lb just fine. There's a large mesh pocket on the back and a pocket on each side. Very usable and very nice. Straps are well-cut, nicely padded, and the hipbelt has a pocket each side. Nice for snacks, compass, camera, etc.There's also a clever system for temp stowing of trekking poles. I used similar system on my Talon 33, and can be quite useful for stretches where you need your hands but don't want to fully stow the poles. Overall, nicely done.

Little annoyances. I don't think a pack this size needs a sleeping bag compartment or opening. Osprey might argue the shelf adds structural support inside the packbag - a fair point. but the opening is too small for me to load my 20 deg down bag, so seems too small to me. Top lid floats for overloading (good) but doesn't detach from the pack (bad). And there are too many (my opinion) strap snubbers and other widgets on the pack, but that's just me. Fact is the pack is pretty light for its volume (< 4 lb), and if you're annoyed by the features there's always the razor blade and butane lighter approach...

OK, the fatal flaw: I thought it was the hipbelt length - too short for my hips. However, the Osprey guys have come up with a clever way to adjust the length of the hipbelt pads, so no worries. No, the fatal flaw is that the pack is just too small for my planned loads. If it fits you and your loads the Volt 60 is a very nice pack. I'm trying the Volt 75 next...

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Dennis R.

Dennis R.wrote a review of on March 24, 2013

4 5

What's not to like? Fit is good - close but not confining. This is an improvement over the R1 I bought a few years ago, which fit like a condom. I'm 6'1", 200 lb, wearing a Large. Thickness is near optimal for a midlayer. Fleece manages to pack away pretty nicely. Dries quickly. Sleeve length is good for someone like me with ape-ish arms. Useful chest pocket. Good torso length. Excellent collar fit; very comfortable.

Nice layer over a light base for winter climbing, snowshoeing. Nice to have in the pack as an extra layer in case I didn't guess the temperatures correctly.

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