JP

JP

JP's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking
Paddling
Skiing

JP's Bio

A Texan who loves it up north. Wisconsin, Minnesota and Montana rule! College in Wisconsin got me into Backpacking, cross country skiing, winter camping, sea kayaking, canoeing, mountain biking and hiking. Things I love: snow, my cat and sporting the flat hat at Glacier NP. Favorite camping quote: “a campfire is nature’s television”.

JP

JP wrote a review of on October 30, 2009

5 5

I LOVE this case. I have the 1010. It's the perfect thing to use when you're in a water area but your camera isn't waterproof. I have a small canon point and shoot and it fits perfectly in this case with little room for movement. I got this case when I was searching for a better, more accessible way to store my camera when I was kayaking. I tried dry bags but they were a hassle and waterproof electronics bags didn’t offer enough protection. This was the perfect solution. It's a hard case with a rubberized inside and is totally waterproof when CLOSED PROPERLY. I strap the case to the deck of my kayak and whenever I need my camera I just flip open the case, take a picture, and put it back. Quick and easy. I also used this case when I hiked the narrows at Zion. I attached it to the sternum strap on my backpack and it made taking pictures so much easier. It was great to have fast access to my camera in order to get quick pics of the canyons before people entered the shot. My camera stayed nice and dry even when it was totally submerged. I have no gripes with this case at all and if used properly, it will keep your items dry. The only thing I have to be careful of when using my camera with this case is to keep the camera strap in the case and not lying on the edge when it closes. Otherwise the case won't close properly. If you need more internal cushioning, I believe you can get these cases with foam inserts. Overall a great buy.

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JP

JP wrote a review of on October 29, 2009

4 5

I bought these poles after hurting my knee on a LONG day hike. I've had them for year now and have used them in various terrains. They give pretty good grip on anything from snow, ice and scree to river trekking in the narrows at Zion. I like the basic aluminum design of the poles which are still perfectly straight and the simple flick locks are easy to adjust. I never liked the twist locks on the Leki poles. The straps are comfy but after a lot of strenuous hiking they did start to strain my wrists. I stopped using the straps and that made it better. A little of the padding on the wrist straps have also torn and the straps can be a bit hard to adjust at times. Overall I will say that these poles have given me a lot of stability when traveling in tricky terrain and have defiantly saved me from some falls. So if you’re looking for some no frills poles that are fairly inexpensive and get the job than these may be it. However, if you have any issues with your wrists you might want to consider another set of poles with a more ergonomic design.

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JP

JP wrote a review of on October 29, 2009

5 5

What can i say, they're locks. They're easy to install and don't jam. They also come with two keys so you can keep one on you and put the other in a safe place for when you loose the one you had on you. Pricey yes but the feeling of security they provide is worth it. Also, if you have enough of them and buy the accessory lock housings, you can not only lock your rack to your car, but also your rack accessories to your rack to deter all but the most persistent thieves.

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JP

JP wrote a review of on October 29, 2009

4 5

I've had these for about two years now and they work great. I move across country usually twice a year (Texas to Montana)and take my 17 foot sea kayak and mountain bike with me each time. That equals up to about 10,000 miles of traveling with this rack system. I've driven at times up to 90 miles per hour, driven through torrential downpours, windstorms and on dirt roads so bad I’ve actually seen people crack their oil pan on it and these Q Towers have always held on tight and secure. If you buy the lock cores you can lock your rack to your car which is a relief. Since I travel so much, the clips have made a few scratches in the paint where they grip onto the car but that's probably cause the stickers started coming off allowing the metal clips to rub against the paint. Replacing the stickers solved that issue. If I had any gripe with these it has to do with the rubber feet on the towers. One, they stick pretty solidly to the finish of my car and getting them off can take a while. Two, they have left a faint outline on the finish of my car that i just cant remove. Three, I tried to clean them up a bit to get all that road grime that had built up on them off thinking that that was what marked my car and they basically turned to jelly and became unusable. I had to buy a new set. Note to others, DO NOT USE SIMPLE GREEN TO CLEAN THE Q TOWERS PADS – THEY WILL TURN TO MUSH. Other than that these have been great.

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JP

JP wrote a review of on October 29, 2009

5 5

These saddles are great. I bought two pairs of them to haul around my 17 foot sea kayak. I didn't get the hullyrollers simply because I felt the saddles would hold the boat in place better. The straps from the saddles run right under the front and back of my cockpit coaming which means the boat is very secure. I’ve had them for about two years now and have used them tons of times. I move across country usually twice a year (Texas to Montana)and take my boat with me each time. That equals up to about 10,000 miles of traveling with my boat. I've driven at times up to 90 miles per hour, driven through torrential downpours, windstorms and on dirt roads so bad I've actually seen people crack their oil pan on it and these saddles have always held my boat on tight and secure. Sure, on those really windy drives though Wyoming the boat was moving around quite a bit but the saddles held. Originally I got one of those foam and strap tie down kits to use with my kayak but I couldn’t even go 50 miles per hour with it because the straps just could not hold the boat on the roof. My kayak would just keep sliding around. That's when I decided it was time for a real roof rack solution and I couldn't be happier with the outcome. The only negatives I can think of is that the saddles do take a while to put on and off so I just keep them on the rack all the time. It’s actually faster to take the whole rack on and off then it is to put the saddles on and off. Also, after he first year, the saddles started leaving pretty significant black marks on the hull of my boat in the shape of the saddles. My boat is plastic by the way. Scrubbing my boats gets off some of the marks but not all. I may have to use something more abrasive to remove them. The marks are purely cosmetic though. They probably formed as a result of my cross country travels and the boat slightly shifting and rubbing against the saddles in the high winds. If you don't plan on traveling cross country a lot then you shouldn’t have a problem. Overall a great buy.

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JP

JP wrote a review of on January 16, 2009

5 5

This is my choice headlamp when i need a longer range light. I've used all sorts of headlamps over the years and i always come back to this one. Its got alot of great features. For starters, it’s very bright and can be used while hiking in the dark. Two, its very water resistant to waterproof. Remember, this headlamp has a waterproof level 2 rating which means waterproof for a depth of up to one meter for 30 minutes. One reviewer said they had it in the water for several hours which this device is not rated to cope with so it let water in. For other water applications though such as paddling or hiking in the rain, this is perfect. Third, the different brightness levels are very useful but i do agree with another’s comments that the low setting with strong batteries is almost too bright for reading. Fourth, even though the headlamp uses three AAA batteries, its very lightweight when resting on your head. Finally, this item comes with a lifetime warranty which is nice. I sent in a 3 year old Aurora to Princeton Tec because of a cracked piece on the case and they gave me a new one for free. Bottom line is if you need lots of light in a small and lightweight package, this is a great choice. If you'd prefer a smaller, lighter unit with similar features but not as bright of a light for use around camp and for reading, I'd highly recommend the Princeton Tec Aurora which is also waterproof. Note: It looks like PT is discontinuing the Aurora to replace it with the non waterproof Fuel so get one while you still can. As of 1-15-09, the Aurora is on the Backcountry Outlet site and its on sale for $17 which is a great deal.

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JP

JP wrote a review of on January 16, 2009

5 5

I love these shoes. I'm on my second pair and wear them almost everyday. They're very versatile for different conditions and can be used for that long hike as well for wearing all day while at work. One of the main features i like about the shoe is the sole. Its a vibram sole with good traction and lasts a very long time. Even my old pair that i wore nearly every day for two years still has lots of good grip left. Second, if it is a mildly breezy day or if you’re riding a bike, air will flow through the front of the shoe cooling off your feet and allowing for good ventilation. Good on a warm day but not so good on a cold one. Now, here’s some info on fitting. I wear a 10.5 normally and went with that size on these. I've tried on the 11's but felt they were just a bit large. Note that i also have a semi wide foot. They felt a bit snug at first but they loosened up over time and now they fit great. If you can, try to try these on somewhere to make sure you’re getting the right size. I also own the goretex version of this shoe and did have to go a half size up on those. As far as cleaning is concerned, I've washed these 3 times in front load washer and it hasn't hurt them at all. If you get these wet, drying time will vary depending on amount of saturation and sun. I walked through a creek with them on one morning while backpacking getting them totally soaked, tied them to my pack to dry while i continued on in chacos, and they were dry by the following morning. This was with 60's during day and 40's at night. Overall a fantastic shoe of for almost any occasion. You won't be disappointed.

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JP

JP wrote a review of on January 12, 2009

5 5

First off, I have the original waterpro which is basically the same shoe as this and I like it. It feels more like a regular shoe than a keen but dries just as fast because of all the mesh. Unlike keen, the mesh on this shoe also helps keep pebbles from getting in your shoe and stuck between your feet and the footbed. These shoes are also very comfortable. Now, to counter Geralds badmouth review thats below, Merrell does stand behind their product with a one year warranty. If a shoe becomes defective with a seam ripping, sole delaminating or whatever heres what you do. Call Merrell, say you have a defective shoe and get a return authorization number to send it back for credit or a replacement shoe. Its not hard. I work at a local retail store and handle all warranty claims for all our brands and have to say merrell is one of the few companies that has NEVER denied a warranty claim that Ive sent in for customers and Ive worked there for over two years. I once had a customer bring in a completely worm out pair of merrells that he had for more than a year. The front rubber on the toe was starting to peel off so I sent them in and merrell issued a credit which I thought was amazing. The truth is, even if you have had a pair of shoes for longer than a year, as long as merrell still makes the shoe you can still send it in saying its been less than a year and merrell will cover it. Second, Gerald says shoes bought with a discount for any reason are not returnable which is not true. Hes referring to his employee discount he received on this product because he works here. For regular consumers though, even if you buy merrells at a huge discount somewhere because there on sale, you can still send them in if something happens. Merrell really does make an excellent product, one that you will be happy with. And no, I dont work for merrell, I just really like their shoes.

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JP

JP wrote a review of on January 9, 2009

5 5

I've had this stove for a year now and love it. It’s very light and compact and supports pots well with its fold out support arms. I prefer this stove over the MSR pocket rocket because this has a larger burner that distributes the flame onto a wider area under the pot. The pocket rocket just shoots a flame straight up which can cause you to burn food easily if you’re not always stirring. This one boils water faster too. The auto ignition is a nice feature but not a necessity if you carry a lighter or matches. You don’t have to use just gigapower fuel canisters. Canisters for similar stoves like the msr pocket rocket or jetboil work fine as well. I use the msr ones just because they happen to be cheaper at a store near my house. If you buy this stove, do yourself a favor and buy the windscreen that snow peak makes to go with it which is sold on this website, just search "gigapower windscreen". It’s sold on this site and is relatively inexpensive. Its designed specifically for this stove and sits on the stove right beneath the burner and above the adjuster. Please don’t use regular windscreens that encompass the entire unit, they'll trap and reflect heat back at the fuel canister causing it to heat up which is a BAD thing. Overall and excellent stove for one to two people but if you’re in a larger group or prefer not to use canisters, I’d suggest the MSR whisperlite or simmerlite.

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JP

JP wrote a review of on January 9, 2009

4 5

I've had this pack for a while now and mainly use it for overnight to 3 day trips. I find it carries weight very well and i get a good amount of ventilation on my back due to mesh back panel. I'll post a pic soon to show the open area between the mesh and backpack frame. The pockets on the hipbelt are great for storing small items you need close at hand. I use them for my camera and compact gorillapod tripod which i also love. The shoulder straps have areas to clip small items onto, i usually clip on my knife. I also find that the strap setup for securing trekking poles to the back of the pack works well. I do have two gripes with the pack design though. One, there are no easy access pockets for water bottles. I don't know about everyone else but i don't like using hydration bladders when backpacking because i drink alot of water and don’t like having to pull stuff out of the pack just to get the full bladder back into the sleeve every time i refill it. I like my nalgene so i just purchased a fabric bottle holder and attach it to the strap that connects the hipbelt to the bottom of the pack. Works great and keeps my bottle close at hand. Second, the straps on the bottom of the pack don’t have buckles, they just have slide adjusters for the webbing. I like attaching my pad to the outside of the pack and getting my z-lite in those straps was hard when the pack was full, even when the straps were fully lengthened. I solved the problem by just cutting the straps, removing the sliders, and attaching some plastic buckles to the ends. Now i just buckle the pad on. Overall a very good pack.

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JP

JP wrote a review of on December 18, 2008

4 5

I love this thing. I bought it to replace my old marmot precip jacket which was nice but i wanted a more breathable, durable jacket with goretex. This fit the bill great. I've had it for two years and take it on all my backpacking trips. It’s very light and breathes great. I also like the styling too, not plain like some of Arcteryx jackets but also not too over the top unless you get the tiger color. My one gripe with this jacket is that it has a large hood. I've tried adjusting it with the cord on the back of the hood but it always ends up coming over my head to far and blocks alot of my view. I used some velcro to hold the hood back a bit and now it works fine. The double storm flap in the front really doesn't bother me. I even prefer it over so called "waterproof" zippers because those zippers can be stiff and hard to zip up in certain situations. Plus they're not really waterproof, just water resistant. If you want an actual waterproof zipper then look at the ones on a paddling drysuit. Overall a great jacket.

PS - In my opinion, even though arcteryx is a great brand, i feel its the new north face of the outdoor world in that alot of people wear it to be seen in and don’t necessarily buy it to use mountaineering or whatever. I mean if your going be doing that kind of stuff then Arcteryx is a good choice, but if you’re using for more down to earth ventures like backpacking, camping or as an around the town rain jacket, then spend less and get the mountain hardwear which can still be used for that kind of stuff.

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JP

JP wrote a review of on December 18, 2008

5 5

This is a fantastic tent. I bought it last spring as mainly a roomy solo backpacking tent and it has been great. First off, even though it's a lightweight tent, it's still freestanding which is a huge plus for me. I don't really like the idea of one you have to stake out in order for them to stand. Second, it has four inside pockets for storage, two above you and two by the door, which is nice for keeping small things off the floor. Third, it's fairly easy to set up by running the poles through the plastic rings on the tent body. Fourth, its just tall enough inside to situp without touching the roof with my head. Fifth, it came with y shaped stakes which are stronger than v stakes and can take a beating and not bend. Sixth, I like to color because it's earthy and won't be spotted at the end of the valley by other backpackers a mile away, ahem, marmot. One thing I don't like about this tent is the footprint. It's basically made of a white thick paper like material which doesn't seem at all durable to me, already had a rock rip it, and is very noisy when unpacking and laying on the ground. Other than that, this tent is great. Also, when choosing this tent, I also looked at the Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2. I picked this one because it has a larger vestibule, 4 pockets instead of 3, is 3 inches taller inside, is longer by 2 inches and weighs 2 ounces less. This tent is narrower though so if you are using it as a 2 person, you better REALLY like that other person you're with. Overall, if you have the extra money or can find this tent on sale and really want a light one person tent without being all claustrophobic inside those mini one persons, then this is the tent for you.

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