Jake Douglas

Jake Douglas

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Jake Douglas

Jake Douglas wrote a review of on July 10, 2014

Excellent pack for nearly all day trips
4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I am a sucker for backpacks and this one has proven itself to be my likely favorite over and over. I have used this pack for every activity I do, from spring volcano touring to cragging to winter alpine climbing. It has the features for every activity without being too specialized.

The ice tool attachment is simple and quick and fits traditional mountain axes as well as modern ice tools. The daisy chains could be criss-cross threaded with an elastic draw cord for carrying crampons, but I always just throw them under the lid because the material is durable enough to handle it.

This pack has the best A-frame ski carry of any pack I have used. The straps are bomber and thoughtfully designed to carry skis, instead of a few pieces of webbing sewn on as an afterthought. The result is that there is minimal forward/backward flopping around (like banging the back of your head), sturdy enough that I often don't bother joining the ski tips with a ski strap for further stabilization. Unlike most packs, it also carries the skis fairly well when the pack is not full.

When carrying avalanche gear I put the shovel blade into the bladder sleeve to keep it from snagging on my puffy. Fits nicely.

There are only a few things I don't like about the pack. The padding on the back panel seems to absorb sweat just as much as it vents it. I do not find my back less sweaty than with other packs, possibly more. It is definitely cold and damp to put back on after taking it off for a break.

The fabric is also not waterproof at all (nor does it claim to be). It will get wetted through after setting it down in the snow a few times. If it rains your gear will be soaked. It is very durable though.

I am surprised to find a lack of reviews for this pack, because I see it frequently in the mountains. We just picked up the women's Guide Lite 28 SL for my wife as well.

If I could only use one pack, this would be it.

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Jake Douglas

Jake Douglas wrote a review of on July 10, 2014

2 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

I am a big fan of vest packs and I use one for both trail running and skimo races. I am also a fan of cleanly designed climbing packs, where the main storage area is simply a tube to be stuffed with your gear. I was very excited about the concept of a tube-style climbing pack with vest features on the front, to save time with eating and drinking but still having a nice storage capacity to carry climbing gear.

They got the tube part right on this one, but not the vest. The pockets are too small to carry enough stuff to save you much time. The two upper pockets are too small to fit even a single gel, so I'm not sure what is supposed to go there. The lower zipper pocket can fit a Canon S100 camera or iPhone, but it's tight and presses the contents inward on your body instead of bellowing out. The bottle pocket can actually fit a bottle and stretches outward, definitely the most comfortable pocket on the vest.

Most vests locate pockets both on the front of chest and on the sides, under the arms. The pockets on this vest end up somewhere in between (at least on my body) and the result is that flat objects press uncomfortably against the rounded sides of my chest and ribs.

The lack of vest storage capacity combined with the discomfort of the pocket locations prompted me to return this pack without even taking it outside. It otherwise seems like a decent pack, although the ice tool attachments were a little fiddly.

I know the idea is to be light, but it would also be nice for this pack to have a minimal bladder sleeve. I suspect that once the gear is taken out of the pack to begin climbing, a bladder simply hanging by the velcro strap would flop around quite a bit inside the pack, even with the compression straps tightened.

I truly hope to see this product refined in the future and I would order a new version without a second thought if it looked like these things were fixed.

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Jake Douglas

Jake Douglas wrote a review of on May 26, 2014

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This jacket is very light and warm but has poor breathability. Even while standing around belaying and not sweaty, I frequently have to unzip the jacket to vent moisture or it quickly builds up, especially in the armpits. Unfortunately I lose my heat at the same time. Wouldn't even consider doing something active in this even if it was very cold, or I would sweat it out in 5 minutes.

Good piece but if I could do it again I would get the Atom LT.

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Jake Douglas

Jake Douglas wrote a review of on March 12, 2014

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

It doesn't say it here on the backcountry.com page, but Julbo advertises these Zebra lenses as having a darkness range from category 2-4.

I already owned the Julbo Colorado glasses with the Spectron category 4 lens and I liked the idea of a pair of glasses that could get that dark but didn't have to be that dark all the time. I bought these and found that even in direct sunlight they do not get anywhere near as dark as my other category 4 lenses.

I emailed Julbo and was told that these only darken to the "lighter side of category 4". I don't know how they figure out the categories, but saying these darken to category 4 feels misleading. They are not dark enough for glacier travel or even rock climbing on a sunny day without squinting constantly.

Aside from the lens issue, they are comfortable glasses. Good for cloudy winter days skiing or climbing. I have a pretty big head and the glasses do not stay on very securely in an activity like running. If I'm sweating hard, I find myself pushing them back up my nose every 30 seconds.

I ordered another pair with the normal Spectron 4 lenses for glacier travel.

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Jake Douglas

Jake Douglas wrote a review of on February 26, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

GPS is always very accurate for me even in thick trees. The HRM on the other hand always reports an unrealistically high HR for the first 10-15 minutes of a workout until the strap is sufficiently sweaty. I put electrode gel on the contacts before every workout and it helps a little bit but does not fix it. I used a different HRM with my iPhone before buying this watch and it did not have this problem at all.

Otherwise it's a great watch. Like others have said, the Movescount software and website sucks, but it's easy enough to export everything to Strava.

I use it for running and backcountry skiing.

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Jake Douglas

Jake Douglas wrote a review of on February 25, 2014

5 5

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

They aren't the lightest aluminum crampons, but they are solid enough to inspire confidence and are relatively durable while still dropping a ton of weight from the steel counterparts and have included ABS plates. Fits great on my ski boots. These go in my pack when I expect steep snow or glacier travel but no rock or ice.

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Jake Douglas

Jake Douglas wrote a review of on February 25, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I have a pair of these for winter alpine climbing and like them a lot. They handle smoothly and the dry treatment works perfectly. The only drawback is somewhat reduced durability due to being so thin and lightweight. Rappelling or following on a single strand when one of these ropes has a spot of sheath wear can be a little unnerving. That's an inherent tradeoff with a rope this light, though.

I would not recommend these for situations where the rope is going to be running over sharp rock all the time, but for snow and ice they are perfect.

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Jake Douglas

Jake Douglas wrote a review of on February 25, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Warm, breathable, great fit, everything you need and nothing you don't (except the chest pocket). It's too warm to wear for most approaches in the Pacific Northwest even in winter, but once I get into the high country I swap out my sweaty base layer for the R1 and it keeps me toasty and dry for the rest of the day.

The Cap 4 hoody is basically the same thing but a lighter weight material. If it's particularly warm or I'm going to be working hard I use that instead.

Just get it.

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Jake Douglas

Jake Douglas wrote a review of on February 21, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

As someone who has no chance of fitting into the Dynafit TLT boots, I was out of options and took a gamble on this unknown little brother of the Cosmos. I couldn't find any mention of anyone owning this boot, but the Cosmos had favorable reviews so I pulled the trigger on the Orbit.

Scott advertises the Orbit as being 105g lighter per boot than the Cosmos. It also looks like the Orbit has a shorter cuff, which should make it more comfortable for walking. My experience trying on both the Cosmos and the Orbit seems consistent with this theory.

I wear US size 12 but I got the Orbit in a 28.5 to make sure I didn't have a sloppy fit or heel lift once the liners packed out. This ended up being the right call and after some punching the boots fit quite snugly but comfortably.

I removed the red calf spoiler to make more room for my big legs as well as the buckle closest to the toes since my forefoot was already tight without it. The calf spoilers weigh 20g each and the buckles 53g each. After taking these off my size 28.5 weigh 1345g per boot, which coincidentally is what they advertise the 27.5 to be. That includes the liner laces which I use to help avoid blisters.

Construction-wise the only thing I don't like about the boot is the lower two buckles. I have seen several mentions of these buckles breaking on the Cosmos and I see why. They are partially made of plastic which feels very fragile. Scott advertises these as ski mountaineering boots, but I can't imagine the buckles holding up well to banging on rock or even kicking steps in firm snow. Another reason I am glad I was able to remove the front buckle.

The boot walks great although I can feel the bellows a bit when bending forward at the ankle. Skiing them can be harder than a stiffer boot in challenging conditions (power strap mandatory in breakable crust), but I think that's typical for a boot of this weight.

Overall it's a great boot and the only current option for people with wide feet who want to go light.

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Jake Douglas

Jake Douglas wrote a review of on November 4, 2013

4 5

Just a note that I got this in "Buckeye" and found the color to be substantially darker than depicted in the product photos. It is really more of a burgundy.

I was a little disappointed about this because it would not be particularly visible in storm conditions. If you want a safety color, go for the green one.

The wrist cut is also pretty slim and it is not possible for me to fit my hand through with gloves on. I have to take off my gloves in order to put on the jacket.

Otherwise a great jacket.

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Jake Douglas

Jake Douglas wrote a review of on January 29, 2013

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I like everything about these pants - the fit is great and they seem bombproof. My problem is that when I wear them with a pack, the hip belt pushes my skin down on top of where the side zipper is on the pants. It rubs there all day and when I get home the sides of my waist are chafed raw and painful.

This may not be a problem if you are skinny in the waist (I'm not quite there yet). I'm going to get bibs for climbing and save these pants for resort skiing when I don't have to carry a pack.

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Jake Douglas

Jake Douglas wrote a review of on January 28, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I did a lot of research before buying which consistently pointed me toward these skis. This was my first season learning to ski and I wanted a ski that could do a bit of everything. I like riding groomers, trees, powder, and I wanted to be able to take these on short tours until I get more touring specific skis later on.

I had rented skis 4 or 5 times before buying these, and each time I had increased the length of my skis in order to get ready for buying a pair. The result was that each time I would ski terribly for the first half of the day until I got used to the length. My last day of renting I bumped up to 170cm and had a lot of frustration getting back up to my previous level, so I was nervous about buying these ever longer.

I ended up buying these in 179cm with Fritschi Eagle bindings, and I was able to ski well immediately the very first time I took them out. They are easy to control and ski well all kinds of snow. They don't exactly keep you on top when you try to roll through a foot of powder, but they keep going just fine and don't get stuck. I'm about 6', 185lbs.

I've also taken them on a short tour at Paradise on Mt. Rainier and although the conditions were terrible the skis did fine. This isn't exactly a fast and light setup, so it felt a bit heavy on the feet, but for a short outing they were great.

I did need to use the G3 twin tip connector in order to secure the skins to the tail. They would probably not stay on very well without it.

I highly recommend these for a beginners first all-around ski. Super versatile and fun to ride.

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