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Joe Hoffman

Joe Hoffman

Hailing from Maryland, Exploring everywhere.

Joe Hoffman's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking
Skiing
Climbing

Joe Hoffman's Bio

Many a fortnight have passed since I could be considered one of those pale, non-addicted chums that could also be called 'normal people'. I got hooked on skiing when I was 4' tall, became a ski instructor at the age of 15 and spent high school and college working on the mountain. I have been a firefighter/rescue technician since 2005, where I picked up the addiction of climbing.

I prefer spending my time on what the great Kenny Loggins refers to as the highway to the danger zone. On a bike, on a boat, on the rock, in a sock, in the air - I don't care, anything that gets me there.

Joe Hoffman

Joe Hoffmanwrote a review of on August 16, 2013

3 5

Contour has ceased operations as of August 2nd, therefore the 180 manufacturer warranty no longer exists, nor will there be product support.

I refuse to become a go-pro-bro... Time to buy an extra Contour while there are still some left in stock.

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Joe Hoffman

Joe Hoffmanwrote a review of on August 14, 2013

4 5

Fit: Runs small

The fabric is really stretchy and soft, yet seems pretty rugged (feels like wetsuit material). The styling is pretty cool, they are really simple and clean. They fit different then most, above the knee and tighter cut. These fit a little tighter than my other billabong shorts in the same size.

Also worth noting, the color depicted above as neo-lime is really almost a yellow. I really like the color shown in the pic, but the yellowish color ain't really my thing.

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Joe Hoffman

Joe Hoffmanwrote a review of on August 14, 2013

4 5

This hammock was bought as an impulse buy years ago at Bonnaroo. I immediately started snoozing in it everywhere. I keep it in the car with some slap straps, and it is has earned its keep. Since purchasing, I found that there are much better hammocks out there designed for camping, however I am still really pleased with this hammock, and I will still use it after buying a camping hammock.
It fits myself and a lady rather nicely, as long as some compromises are made for comfort. When solo, the extra fabric lets you lay diagnolly which is really comfy. My dog (golden retriever) also loves to jump up in and will spent the entire night passed out in comfort. The material is durable enough to fend off her death claws (no holes!) . It works awesome as a gear sling and bench seat at the crag... really clutch on sketchy belay stations .
Two things to note: The double packs away into a much bulkier package than the single, and takes up alot of pack space, so if you are looking for space saving, go single. Also, if you intend to sleep overnight with this hammock, be prepared. Sleeping bag insulation underneath you gets compressed, and airflow under the hammock will rob every last joule of body heat from you. This isn't an issue on warmer nights, but when the temp dips and the wind picks up, you need to take some measure to stay warm.

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Joe Hoffman

Joe Hoffmanwrote a review of on August 14, 2013

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Like most other reviews, I found these to stretch pretty bad... especially when two people jump into the double hammock. You can expect this out of nylon webbing, but it would be nice to see this design made with a spectra/dyneema blend in the future.

Other than the stretch, they are really easy to use and setup. I keep them around for the simplicity, but I prefer using webbing and paracord for a perfect, custom setup.

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Joe Hoffman

Joe Hoffmanwrote a review of on August 9, 2013

4 5

I'm not sure why I ordered this version and not the standard. The PRO version has doubled up nylon at the belay loop attachment point. When I ordered this, I possibly was thinking "Oh, double loops, one each for the lower and upper harness". What I found was that the belay loop tie in has 2 loops of webbing, but they are sewn together halfway up the loop. Also, the inner loop is longer, which makes it sit really odd when I hitch it to the belay loop. I have recently used other PAS, which is why I ordered it, but I'm confused about the product.

Sterling says that its rated to handle three factor 2 falls, however, its only rated at 14kN. If I am sitting atop the anchor on a ledge and fall, shock loading the anchor, I calculate that will generate a force greater than 14kN. (if it were entirely static material, the force would be 22kN).

Also, I'm guessing the doubled belay loop material absorbs more kinetic energy from the fall... but to what extent I don't know. I'm thinking the regular version would do just as well, and would result in less bulk on the belay loop.

Overall, the quality of the PAS is good. The color is nice and bright. The length allows it to stretch around my waist (34") and clip to my front gear loop on the opposite side. The plus of this PAS over others is that it doesnt use spectra/dyneema. Those materials would pop if you took a dynamic fall on them, whereas this material will stretch some. I'm excited to see how I can start using this PAS to clean sport climbs and setup on multi-pitch.

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Joe Hoffman

Joe Hoffmanwrote a review of on August 6, 2013

4 5

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

I bought these boots last season to be a daily driver for messing around on piste. I was sold on them since a buddy of mine has been skiing with FT konflicts since they came out. Unfortunatly, I could not keep em in the quiver due to a few issues. First, my foot has an odd shape, wide forefoot with a high instep. I tried a range of sizes, but none of them could adequately fit my monster instep unless they were oversized. When I tried the +.5 size, they were too loose and sloppy. I also felt they were too soggy for me, even with the stiffest flex insert. I really wanted these boots to work, but sadly they did not.

Design-wise, the flex insert is an awesome concept. I could only imagine it would be a nice way to use one boot for teaching, working, goofing off, and shredding, just by using soft or hard flex inserts. The buckle system is kinda weird and was frustrating when I was trying these boots. The boots look killer, and I would recommend them for someone looking for a comfortable all mountain boot, assuming your foot can fit them. (If you have a monster foot, I'd say keep looking)

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Joe Hoffman

Joe Hoffmanwrote a review of on August 5, 2013

5 5

I always prefer screw-gate over twist-lock, but sadly NFPA and ANSI are pushing away from screw-gate (because locking is optional). This locking device on this is not optional, and its nearly as easy to open as a non locking carabiner. I am hoping this style of biner will become the standard. They are pretty pricey, and are heavier than many twist locks, but you can't beat the safety and convenience of this device.

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Joe Hoffman

Joe Hoffmanwrote a review of on August 5, 2013

4 5

I bought this as a dedicated locking biner for use with my sterling reactor anchor. (Although stupid, I wanted to use all green components to keep separate for dedicated personal anchor use only -OCD).

This device is really well thought out. I usually don't have an issue with crosss loading the biner with belay devices, but this can totally prevent that. The spine keeps the ATC put at the top of this HMS. For my application, on a personal anchor system, the lower gate keeps the biner on the anchor loop. I would recommend this to be used as a dedicated belay biner.

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Joe Hoffman

Joe Hoffmanwrote a review of on August 5, 2013

5 5

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

I I prefer it over the action of a grigri style device. It is a good device for rookie belayers as it is auto-assist for falls, and it makes lowering the climber easier and more fluid. Catching falls is smooth as the device does not lock up istantly.

One thing to note, it cannot be used for top-belay off an anchor. For that feature, go with the smart alpine.

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Joe Hoffman

Joe Hoffmanwrote a review of on August 5, 2013

4 5

Fit: True to size

I have a wider foot, high instep. This shoe fits perfect, snug around the toes, and laces up good. It looks awesome and feels amazing trekking about. Very light, the tread is good for scrambling around rocks. I love the green and hope the future minimus shoes keep this awesome design and color.

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Joe Hoffman

Joe Hoffmanwrote a review of on August 5, 2013

4 5

I took this on a road trip, stopping in the Smoky Mountains early this year. I didn't expect the weather we got, but after being hit by a snow storm up in the mountains, this bag became my best friend. I didnt even have a sleeping pad so I was sleeping right on the tent bottom, and had no issues. After getting up to pee in the middle of the night, I frigidly crawled back in this raging inferno and was warm within seconds. By sunrise I was venting the bag to let out heat.

It fits generously, the hood is snug and held tight to my head. At 6'1" I had plenty of room, but was still snug for warmth. It is of course pretty bulky, but you expect as much.

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Joe Hoffman

Joe Hoffmanwrote a review of on August 5, 2013

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I got this bag as a low price down bag, with a price not much higher than the synthetic bags. I'm happy with the choice, because the extra money spent is worth it. Its much better than the similarly priced synthetic bags I tried: way more packable, light weight, and toasty warm. It is nothing compared to a higher end down bag, but for the price, I'm damn happy.

Some notes: I am 6'1", and the length is pretty good, but the hood does not fit well. It seems shallow, and the opening is huge, so you really have to cinch it down (a lot) to get a good seal. I honestly wouldn't use it as a 20 degree bag due to the looseness up top, but it does perfectly well as a 30/40 degree bag or summer bag. The loft isn't as good as a better bag, and some spots are bare, but they do well at overlapping the stitches so I don't notice many cold spots.

Its not the lightest, warmest, or best constructed down bag on the market, but for the price, I'm happy with the bag as a down alternative to a synthetic bag, but I will reiterate: I wouldn't pull this bag off the shelve for a trip forecasted near 20 degrees.

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Joe Hoffman

Joe Hoffmanwrote a review of on August 4, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

This shirt is perfect. Super comf and fits perfect. Longer cut, narrow waist so it doesnt balloon out. I'm pretty sure its a blend of polyester, cotton, and hairs from Gandalf's beard. I wish more colors were offered so people wouldn't see me in the same color all the time ("I do wash my shirts, honest").

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Joe Hoffman

Joe Hoffmanwrote a review of on August 4, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

I was going through a pair of gloves pretty much every season, until I met these. I have had them for 4 years now and they are still comfy, warm, and pretty water tight. I fortunately got them in the old school brown color, which I don't think is made anymore.

They do require very frequent balming to retain water resistance and maintain the leather. I usually balm them after every hard day or so. I have taken care not to allow ski edges to cut them (they are very vulnerable to this). They will sometimes get pretty soaked after a day of riding in wet stuff, but I have yet to really get cold fingers (typically the super cold days they stay dry, duh). The extended cuff feels great and keeps those wrists dry.

Overall, these gloves are built with love. I feel like a glove this solid would have been something my grandpa would have worn back in the day. (read: most modern gloves are complete crap).

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Joe Hoffman

Joe Hoffmanwrote a review of on August 4, 2013

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

After finally getting this boot tweaked, I can say that I'm happy with it. First season in these boots was rough, but the past year my feet were happy.

I have a very high instep. When trying on these boots, that did not seem to be an issue, however after a few days on the mountain, I could not bear the pain. Sadly, the boot shop grinding them to death, and now i have a hole in the shell at the top of the instep. Regardless, they finally fit well despite still clamping down on the dorsal pedis artery, which will cause my feet to get super cold and numb after a half day session. I would probably look elsewhere if you have a high instep. My prior boot was the Atomic WC130s which were somehow way more comfy. These boots are great for backcountry and can really suck up some newtons in a drop. Still super responsive and stiff for excellent shredding. I will continue to suck up the pain in order to enjoy these boots. (also note, they look super sick, so that helps dull the pain)

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