James Francis

James Francis

The wasnatch

James's Bio

Raised in PC, now I live in SLC for school and to be closer to the central wasatch. I grew up on skis, and spend as much time as I can out making turns. When the snow melts I spend my time on wheels or in a tent, thinking about when winter will start again.

James Francis

James Francis wrote a review of on December 29, 2010

4 5

These were my first foray into stoic gear, and I am very surprised with the quality of these. The fit is perfect for what I would call the endurance athlete- otherwise known as skinny people. They are extremely comfortable and breathe better than my last pair of arcteryx softshells. They stretch very well and accommodate movement better as well. They do have a few downsides though- the front pockets do not zip closed (which makes no sense in a winter oriented pant, leading to them becoming filled with snow when you crash) and they lack a ventilation zip on the thigh to bleed heat on warm days. But, for the money these kill it.

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James Francis

James Francis wrote a review of on December 29, 2010

5 5

When I first bought these I was unsure of the height of these- they are very tall, like I can pull them above my knee. But, they are just as comfortable not pulled as high, and most importantly they hold well and dont slip down into boots like others (smartwool). They fit very well, and manage moisture well without saturating or becoming bunched in boots.

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James Francis

James Francis wrote a review of on December 29, 2010

5 5

Just went through the first box, and I am very happy with these. They taste great, which is more than I can say for many other sports foods. They pack well and take a beating in your pack without turning to mush, and unlike other items such as gels provide a feeling that you just ate something, which you make like or dislike. Overall these are great

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James Francis

James Francis wrote a review of on January 25, 2010

4 5

Bought these to replace a pair of '05 ener-g's. Compared to the ener-g, these are considerbly stiffer in the cuff due to the overlap design, but have a softer and more progressive bellows flex. It took some getting used to the bellows being so soft at the initiation, but provides much better control, as the flex gets stiffer as the boot is pushed (my ener-g's start stiff then stay somewhat the same through the flex). These are also a full pound lighter than my ener-g's, and the buckles are a huge improvement for touring.

Now, I have to say the overlap cuff makes these a PITA to take off when the plastic is cold. I have never had trouble getting out of a pair of boots until these...I guess that is the price of a stiffer shell. Overall a good boot!

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James Francis

James Francis wrote a review of on January 25, 2010

5 5

These are awesome touring gloves, super warm (as long as you are moving and not sitting on a chairlift), breathe remarkably well, and the fit is superb. The leather is extremely supple, like wearing a pair of liners rather than full gloves. After I bought these I donated my other pairs of ski gloves to charity - not going to use anything else

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James Francis

James Francis wrote a review of on January 25, 2010

5 5

I bought this in the fall to replace my old covert pack with avalung. The top load design is far better for gear capacity and simplicity, and the back zip panel is the best thing since sliced bread. The seperate front section for probe and shovel does a great job of organizing, and has enough room to throw my skins between laps (and keep whatever is in the main compartment dry). The zippers have been updated, so you no longer zip around the avalung mouthpiece, which was a huge PITA. Overall, an excellent multiday/long tour pack

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James Francis

James Francis wrote an answer about on December 19, 2009

You can switch the bindings a few times, if you are very careful to not strip the threads (maybe 2-3 times before the threading is toast). I would NOT use wood glue, but rather use epoxy. Wood glue just does not hold as well and rots out with repeated water exposure. Epoxy is a pain in the ass when you need to change the binding (you must head the screw heads), but it will hold much better than wood glue.

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James Francis

James Francis wrote a review of on December 7, 2009

5 5

so I bought one of these without really taking a good look at the dimensions. When the box came I couldnt figure out where the liner was among several other items...it is tiny when packed, and weighs almost nothing. Got to try it out when the furnace went out last week and the house temps dropped into the 40s...I was able to sleep very comfortably in a very light summer bag when this was added, and the feel next to the skin is great. I bought the hooded mummy version...the hood is totally useless as it has no drawcord or anything and is essentially a flat half moon. Overall a great product, and worth the cost.

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James Francis

James Francis wrote a review of on December 7, 2009

5 5

I have been using platypus and camelback bladders for as long as I can remember, and this is far better! The material is bomber, and tastes far less like plastic than the others. It also has an easy opening, which I can operate with gloves on and doesnt need to be really cranked closed to seal properly (a real problem with camelback bladders). My only gripe is the 90 degree bend at the bite valve - which makes this really hard to run through the insulated sleeve on my backpack (this is my fault for not reading the description!). Overall a really good bladder, go for this above all others

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James Francis

James Francis wrote a review of on December 7, 2009

3 5

Picked up a pair of these hoping that they would work out under a pair of softshells for touring. I spoke with someone at backcountry.com who told me they were very light insulation - which they are not. They have a brushed poly interior, which when paired with the wind resistant material on the front panels makes for a bit of a sauna effect. They are light on the backsides to vent, but I would suggest for heavy duty aerobic exercise to go for the lighter non-insulated pair. In terms of the fit, they fit well and provide a moderate level of compression and provide a bit of knee stability (certainly not comparable to a brace). Overall the construction appears to be of high quality, and the seams are pretty minimal and do not rub.

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James Francis

James Francis wrote a review of on September 17, 2009

5 5

This is everything that I want in a probe...solid, simple to assemble, and light(ish). I originally wanted the carbon version, but ended up going with this to save some dollars. The weight penalty is not bad at all, and I am glad that went with the aluminum version as I feel that this will hold up better in the long run. The assembly mechanism is simple and works well, and most important is fast and solid. highly recommended

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James Francis

James Francis wrote a review of on September 17, 2009

4 5

I have two months in these, and I am really happy with them. The fit is great (as said below, roomy toe box), and they are really comfortable. But, they have essentially no arch support...the footbed is practically flat. I ended up stuffing a pair of footbeds in them and they are now much more comfortable. The rubber sole is quite thin, but has held up well so far. If you are looking for a pair of casual shoes without looking like a total wanker take a look at these

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James Francis

James Francis wrote a review of on September 17, 2009

3 5

The insulating capabilities and moisture transfer of this are awesome, and the crafstmanship and quality are typical of patagonia (by that I mean, it is built well and holds up). The thumb loops are very nice, and help to keep the shirt from pulling up. I also have several regular R1 pullovers, which I like much more. Personally, the problem lies with the hood. I rarely find the need for the hood, and it is somewhat bulky when it is not being worn. The hood fits awkwardly under any layers on top, and when I am wearing a pack it rests between my shoulder blades and the pack...and is quite uncomfortable. The zip goes way up, so that in normal use the top of the shirt folds down and makes pack straps uncomfortable. That said, the few times I have needed the hood, it was nice to have and provided needed protection. But, this has become essentially a town shirt for me.

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James Francis

James Francis wrote a review of on September 17, 2009

4 5

I bought a pair of these last winter in the 180, mounted with BD01's. I have been very happy with them, for a ski of their width they are still capable of tight turns and are a ton of fun to ski on. They float very well, and are quite responsive. My only gripe is the weight...at nearly 9lbs these can be a bit of a beast on a long tour (especially when paired with tele bindings). But, for shorter tours, slackcountry, and in-bounds these skis are a ton of a fun and a great mid-fat pair of boards

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James Francis

James Francis wrote an answer about on September 17, 2009

Personally, I have the 180's and I think I would have been happier with the 170s. I am 5'11''. I tend to like a shorter ski that I can push around alot, and the 180 is good, but I think the 170 would be a bit more maneuverable. I do tele ski on them, so that is one caveat that should be considered. Also, the 170 makes snap turns on tight skin tracks a bit easier. Just my thoughts, take em as you will

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James Francis

James Francis wrote a review of on September 3, 2009

Great Bag
5 5

An excellent backcountry backpack from BD. I have put about 200 days on mine, and it has held up beautifully and is super functional. The integration of the avalung into the backpack is awesome...I had an old school avalung before this and it often was left at home because the fit was akward under a backpack or I just forgot it, now it is fully integrated and I hardly notice it. The shovel and probe pocket is very nice, and does a good job of keeping wet gear from the main compartment. It is pretty roomy, but would not accommodate a huge shovel blade without some zipper issues. The main compartment is sufficient for a long day tour, and the integrated bladder sleeve does a good job of holding a platypus or camelback bladder, while the hose routing does a great job of keeping the hose out of the way and from freezing. My only complaint is the waistbelt, which is a bit lightweight and without much support, though the size of the bag keeps the weight down so it is not a huge issue. Overall a great product, very well designed and solid

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James Francis

James Francis wrote a review of on September 3, 2009

3 5

I bought a pair of these last winter and put about 10 days on em. They perform well, similar in terms of bite on new snow to ascensions or glidelites, but better in glide. I would recommend the glidelites over these because the bite of these in hard snow (like stiff crust or recrystallized) was not quite as good, and both days I used them when it was a bit wet I ended up with massive snow buildup (skins were treated with wax, and compared to others with glidelites I was by far the worst off). Great for flatter tours where glide is key, but save some coin and get the glidelites if you want a more versatile skin

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