James Jenden

James Jenden

Canadian Rockies

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James's Passions

Camping
Backpacking
Trail Running
Mountaineering
Sport Climbing

James's Bio

I'm a climber, both rock and ice, and a backpacker, and I love all things outdoors. I live for the opportunity to get out into nature, and have been extremely blessed with the ability to be able to do so. I'm studying to be a geologist, but work in the mean time as a carpenter, when I'm not climbing up things in the Canadian Rockies.


I write an outdoor gear blog called Blessed Outdoors, which is filled with gear reviews and trip reports. The URL is: http://blessedoutdoors.blogspot.com

James Jenden

James Jenden wrote an answer about on November 8, 2012

I think that you could make do, but I agree with Arthur that a shell is quite necessary. Although both jackets use wind resistant fabric, they're not windproof, by fabric or construction, and that makes a big difference in warmth. I would disagree that you need a super burly shell. The heavier the shell, the more it'll compress the down, and you won't be as warm. Definitely don't get anything over 20 ounces, maximum. The Patagonia Super Alpine is, in my opinion, the single best expedition hardshell on the market, and it's quite durable, and would work well. You could also try a jacket like the Marmot Speed light, which I have and love, which is lighter, but offers the same protection, with a slight loss in durability.

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James Jenden

James Jenden wrote an answer about on November 8, 2012

Fitz Roy is the warmest of the three. Ama Dablam gives you the best ratio of warmth/weight/durability. Phantom isn't bad, but the nylon shell is a little too lightweight for my taste. Honestly, because it's the PNW, I wouldn't choose any of them. I would look at Synthetic jackets instead. Something like the Marmot Baffin hoody, Patagonia Micro Puff, or First Ascent Igniter. I have the Baffin and Igniter, and I like both, although the Igniter is warmer.

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James Jenden

James Jenden wrote an answer about on November 8, 2012

No. It'll be huge on him. A small is designed to fit an adult with a 38 inch chest, and that's when they're wearing winter climbing layers. Marmot has an excellent kids line of clothing, though. Look at the kid's Guides hoody, or Kid's Ama Dablam, which are the same amount of warmth, just for smaller people. The Guide's jacket is more durable, and not quite as light, where as the Ama Dablam is designed to shave weight wherever possible. If it's a jacket for going to school and whatnot in the winter, the Guide's is a much better choice, as it's going to last a lot longer while being abused by your son. I destroyed quit a few jackets myself, playing in the snow!

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James Jenden

James Jenden wrote an answer about on November 8, 2012

I would say that it's fine for Rainier. Layering two down pieces together is difficult, because down gets less warm the more it is compressed. Basically, you want your down layer on the outside, and other things below. I would suggest that if you're wanting two jackets to pair, buy the Ama Dablam, which is a fantastic jacket in it's own right, and pair it with the Marmot Alpinist Hybrid, which is one of the coolest jackets on the market, and will pair very well. That said, for Denali, you may want something more than these. Windproofness will be essential there, and it's a lot colder than Rainier. I would look at something like the Greenland baffled jacket, if you need a belay/rest jacket, or maybe the Marmot Trient overtop of the Alpinist Hybrid, with several other layers underneath. The best idea is to dress in exactly enough to keep you warm when you're moving, and then put on a puffy jacket when you stop. The Trient is a hardshell lined with 60 grams of Thermal R, so combined with the Alpinist Hybrid, they should keep you plenty warm when you're moving. When you stop is when you'd want to put on a jacket like the Ama Dablam overtop. Hope that's helpful.

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James Jenden

James Jenden wrote an answer about on November 8, 2012

The general distinction in marketing between a "sweater" and "jacket" when you're looking at down pieces is the amount of fill. "800" refers to the quality of down inside (1 ounce lofts up to a volume of 800 cubic inches, roughly), but what really determines the warmth is how much down is the jacket stuffed with. Less than three ounces is generally a sweater, and greater than three is a jacket. To a lesser degree, items defined as jackets are sometimes designed specifically as outer layers, with more durable, or waterproof fabrics, instead of flyweight ripstop shells.

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James Jenden

James Jenden wrote an answer about on October 15, 2012

It is "T" rated. It's the shaft that's "B" rated, which while technically true, isn't a particularly useful stat. The B rating comes from being able to deal with less than a 400kg force directly on the shaft from sideways. Think sticking it into a horizontal crack and standing on it. If you did that, and weighed more than 280kg, it would break. However, if you weigh 280kg, you probably shouldn't be dry tooling. For reference, the Petzl Quark "Ice" pick is 3mm at the taper, and is fully "T" rated.

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James Jenden

James Jenden wrote a review of on May 22, 2012

5 5

I love 'em. They're great glasses, although the price isn't as good as it used to be. Perfect for anyone with a small face. The inserts do a great job of blocking reflected light from your face, just like they should.

For a full (and poetic) review, check out my blog: http://blessedoutdoors.blogspot.com/2012/05/julbo-nomad-sunglasses-review.html

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James Jenden

James Jenden wrote an answer about on May 15, 2012

They don't generally post weight limits on this stuff because it's climbing-spec webbing or stronger, meaning that the tensile strength is greater than 4500lbs. Seen videos with several people on a slackline and no problem. Maximum weight is also dependent on how long you set it up. A 60' setup will be able to take less weight than a 10' one.

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James Jenden

James Jenden wrote an answer about on May 15, 2012

This isn't a tent by itself. It's designed to be added on to the TNF Docking Station tent, and so it won't stand up without the other. If you're backpacking, there are very few 4 person tents, and for ease of use's sake, you'd be much better served by going with two 2-man tents. I'd recommend the Kelty Salida 2 as a lightweight and inexpensive option. If there are three of you, the Black Diamond Skylight is a great option. In general, for cold weather, you tend to want something with less mesh, because it keeps the heat in, which is why the Salida and Skylight are both pretty good options. If there's going to be heavy snow, look at something with a four-season rating, like the Big Agnes Flying Diamond or MSR Dragontail. A three season tend can be crushed under heavy snow, so be careful.

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James Jenden

James Jenden wrote an answer about on May 15, 2012

It's just nylon, so it will degrade in the sun overtime. More importantly, because you're stretching it to get it taut, if you leave it up, you'll break down the nylon a lot faster. If you leave it set up in your yard all the time, it'll break down more quickly from sun and stretch. That said, it'll still last awhile, so it's not the end of the world to leave it set up.

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James Jenden

James Jenden wrote an answer about on May 15, 2012

I've tried both, and have the Scarpas. They are super similar boots in both materia and, now that the Sportivas are blue, looks. Pretty much the only difference is that the Scarpas have a wider footbed than the Sportivas. Other than that, it's slight color and material differences. Both are great companies, so if they fit, you're not going wrong with either.

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James Jenden

James Jenden wrote an answer about on May 15, 2012

That's a difficult call, but I would go with the 10. I've had these for over a year now, and they tend to shrink a little in the wash, then re-expand as you where them, so they might be a little bit tight if you got the size eight. Your other option would be to order both and return the one that doesn't fit as well. Backcountry has discounted shipping labels, so it's only a few dollars more.

For what it's worth, these are pretty much the best pants ever. I've worn them close to 150 times in the past year, and they still look good.

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James Jenden

James Jenden wrote an answer about on May 15, 2012

Nope. It's a rain jacket, so it's meant to keep you dry, not warm. It's completely windproof, so in that regard, it could help you out as far as staying warm; however, you should probably be looking into dedicated insulating jackets. If you like Patagonia, look at the Nano Puff series of jackets, any of them will suffice. Some other good options for light insulation would be the North Face Zephyrus Pullover, Arc'teryx Atom LT, and Rab Xenon. None of these are fleece though, and fleece will save you money if that's an issue. It will just be slightly heavier and bulkier. If you're looking for fleece, try to get something that's either windproof or wind-resistant, because it'll keep you a lot warmer. I'd recommend something with Polartec Wind Pro, or Gore Windstopper, but there are lots of good things out there. The Stoic Breaker fleece would work pretty well, or the anything from the North Face Windwall series. Good luck!

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