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J.W.

J.W.

Anywhere I can get to...

J.W.'s Passions

Hiking & Camping
Snowboarding
Paddling
Climbing

J.W.'s Bio

I love the outdoors and adventure sports. What can I say?

J.W.

J.W. wrote a review of on February 24, 2014

2 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I bought a Pantin a number of years ago. The idea seemed great on paper and the marketing spiel sure sounded good. Unfortunately, in my experience, it doesn't live up to expectations.

On a positive note, it's light for what it is and fits well on a boot. The problem is that it doesn't want to stay on rope at all. Maybe my technique wasn't as perfect as required, but it was quite common for it to disengage, leading to frustrating climbing.

At the end of the day, I much prefer using the dual loops of my homegrown frog rig. I should have put the money towards beer instead.

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J.W.

J.W. wrote a review of on May 24, 2011

3 5

These stakes are high quality and very strong, but I feel there are better options out there such as the MSR Groundhog. One of my primary gripes with this stake is that the "gripping" ability is primarily a function of its length. This makes for a very tough time if the ground is rocky or full of roots. Unless you get deep penetration into the ground, you're not getting a very positive hold. For my money, I'm going for something else, but these will do the job and are pretty tough. I've never bent one.

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J.W.

J.W. wrote a review of on May 24, 2011

5 5

These anchors are absolutely fantastic. The materials used for the "pocket" and the webbing loops are absolutely bombproof. Not only are they great for snow, sand, or other loose substrates (e.g. a gravel bank alongside a river); they work fantastically on hard surfaces (e.g. rock) where there is no way to penetrate the surface. Just fill them up with large rocks and optionally stack more rocks on top of them. You'll have a shelter that won't budge. Peace of mind is invaluable and certainly worth more than the little scratch these will set you back. I haven't tried other brands, but why bother? These are built to last and it's a certainty that your shelter will collapse before these fail. Beach camping will never be the same...

Some specs:

Quantity: 4 Per Pack
Fabric: Polyester Pack Cloth 900D
Weight: 9.5oz

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J.W.

J.W. wrote a review of on May 24, 2011

5 5

These stakes are tough. In fact, I have yet to break one and I've broken many a stake in tough, rocky ground. If they work with your tent, you really can't go wrong. If I were to fault them for anything, they work too well. Don't be surprised if they're difficult to pull out when you're breaking camp. Then again, that's probably a good thing considering what you buy a tent stake for.

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J.W.

J.W. wrote a review of on May 20, 2011

5 5

If you need a handled ascender, in my opinion, these are the best. I've used mine for years as an integral component of my frog rig for SRT (e.g. vertical caving.) Over time, I've made the decision to switch to a Petzl Basic, but not due to any failures or perceived shortcomings of the Ascension. I wanted to shave off some weight and bulk from my rig. If the form factor works, there will be no drawbacks with this device. Highly recommended.

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J.W.

J.W. wrote a review of on May 20, 2011

5 5

The Croll is an integral component of my frog rig. If you need an ascender to use with your chest harness, this is the standard. The design of its housing allows it to sit flat and comfortably against your chest, and the "trigger" to operate the cam is easy to use. Highly recommended.

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J.W.

J.W. wrote a review of on May 20, 2011

2 5

I bought a Pantin a number of years ago. The idea seemed great on paper and the marketing spiel sure sounded good. Unfortunately, in my experience, it doesn't live up to expectations.

On a positive note, it's light for what it is and fits well on a boot. The problem is that it doesn't want to stay on rope at all. Maybe my technique wasn't as perfect as required, but it was quite common for it to disengage, leading to frustrating climbing.

At the end of the day, I much prefer using the dual loops of my homegrown frog rig. I should have put the money towards beer instead.

(1)

 

0 Comments

J.W.

J.W. wrote a review of on May 19, 2011

5 5

I have the Downmat 9 and I can say without question that it will be the warmest and most comfortable sleeping pad that you have used. If you're planning to spend time in extremely cold conditions, you won't be able to find a more luxurious solution unless you drop the cash for a complete Stephenson Warmlite sleeping bag with integral down mattress. Highly recommended.

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J.W.

J.W. wrote a review of on May 19, 2011

5 5

Without question, this is my favorite canister stove. It's light, disperses heat well, extremely compact, has excellent simmering capabilities, and very reasonably priced. I've also owned the MSR Pocket Rocket and in my opinion, there is no comparison. The Crux Lite would have to be the more functional and compact of the two. I expect it will be my go to backpacking stove for years to come.

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J.W.

J.W. wrote a review of on May 19, 2011

3 5

I hate to be the lone naysayer, but I'm not a fan of this stove at all. First, all of the flame is highly concentrated creating a super hot spot, so don't expect to do much more than boil water. I've had better luck with other compact stoves in that regard. Also, I don't really like the pot supports. In my experience, they're very flimsy and developed significant looseness and play over time. For the money and the weight, it will certainly do the job, but I much prefer my Optimus Crux Lite or an alcohol stove.

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J.W.

J.W. wrote a review of on May 19, 2011

5 5

This is a terrific tarp with a couple of minor annoyances. First, it's light, stable, durable, and easy to setup with no slop due to the cut of the ridgeline. I've set this up and used it in the middle of some serious downpours and I've never been disappointed. Sure you're going to get some residual splash back and the occasional spray during those conditions, but it's a tarp and that's part of it.

Inside is very roomy, but you do lose some usable space due to the design. I guess you have to factor some tradeoffs when using trekking poles as interior supports, but at least you can save weight by not having to bring along additional poles for it. Other than that, having the interior pockets is a nice touch and really helps with camp organization.

When there's no threat of bugs, this is my go to shelter for three season backpacking.

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J.W.

J.W. wrote a review of on May 19, 2011

3 5

This kayak is actually not bad for a leisurely paddle. If you're looking for a recreational boat to use on lakes and lazy rivers, you'd be hard pressed to do much better for the price. The seat is reasonably comfortable and the cockpit is about as roomy as it gets. The XTS model is smaller volume and was originally marketed for women, but it worked well when I've used it and I'm 6'1". Tracking was decent and stability is quite high. Overall, much higher performance than the lesser (e.g. lower priced) boats one can purchase from Dick's or Bass Pro Shop.

Regarding the features, the stern well is covered, but calling it even water resistant would be a stretch. The cover literally lays on top of the well and is secured with a tiny loop of bungee cord. The cup holder in the front is too far away to access without some effort and I'm pretty tall with a long reach. The "E-Pad" is essentially a bungee loop on the side of the cockpit lip where you could secure a GPS or media player, but don't expect any protection from water. Finally, speaking of water, the drain plug is in the most frustrating location possible and you will find it impossible to easily drain the water out.

If you keep your expectations in check, and better yet, find it on sale, you'll be pleased with the purchase. Add a couple of rod holders, maybe an anchor, and you're all set for kayak fishing.

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J.W.

J.W. wrote a review of on May 19, 2011

5 5

When vertical caving, I always have two of these clipped to my harness in the event my Basic or Croll decide to call it a day. It's a minimal, lightweight, emergency device that will get you up the rope safely without the hassle of fooling with knots. As mentioned below, this isn't meant to be a primary ascender under any circumstances. Would you use an emergency "space blanket" as your sleeping bag? I still have Prusik loops on hand -- you can never be too safe -- but the Tibloc is my first line of defense.

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J.W.

J.W. wrote a review of on May 19, 2011

5 5

This isn't the lightest sleeping pad out there, but you definitely get increased comfort and durability for the weight. When the weather starts getting colder, this is without question the pad to have. If it's extremely cold I prefer a down filled air mattress, but you pay for it in weight. Knowing that Cascade Designs has one of the best warranties in the business make this a no brainer for me.

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J.W.

J.W. wrote a review of on May 18, 2011

4 5

This is the reference standard as far as solo titanium pots go. I've had one for years and it's held up to plenty of use and abuse. Minor gripes would include a lid that fits a bit too tightly which is exacerbated by the fact that the handles get very hot in use. For me, this is made up for by its weight, durability, and form factor. I don't anticipate ever needing to replace it.

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