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Johanna VonKuster

Johanna VonKuster

Portland, OR

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Johanna's Passions

Backpacking
Camping
Road Cycling
Sport Climbing

Johanna's Bio

for my job i'm an operating room nurse. the rest of the time, i'm usually doing something that involves the outdoors. i have several different bikes, i go for hikes and backpacking/camping in all seasons. i've spent quite a bit of time in the gorge, the nearby mountains, and the coast. i've got a dog that goes with me on these trips most of the time. I also love the southwest and enjoy going down there for some canyoneering. as for the kind of gear i choose, i appreciate quality and functionality the most. when reading my reviews you can know that when i buy something, those two things are foremost in my mind.

Johanna VonKuster

Johanna VonKuster wrote a review of on March 29, 2012

4 5

i have not had the chance to wear these in the snow yet, or test their durability over time, but am quite impressed with the comfort and warmth i've noticed so far. as others have pointed out, they are sized too small. i normally order a half size up for boots in general to allow for thick socks, but i had to exchange these for a larger pair. i have a foot size 7.5, but in these, i had to get a size 8.5. no big deal though. also, yes, they are stiff, but i think this is a good thing. ankle support is importand when you are snowshoeing, and that's what i plan to use these for. to make up for the stiffness, the toes are rounded more than usual to make walking easier and this feature seems to work well.

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Johanna VonKuster

Johanna VonKuster wrote a review of on July 1, 2011

5 5

i got these for my boyfriend for our trip to utah this summer. he hiked every day in these, one hike of 13 miles, and had nothing but good things to say about them. they were comfortable from the start and didn't need a break in period. he said they gripped the rock really well too. one reviewer mentioned the lack of speed laces and this is true, but nothing you can't live without. all in all, a great buy!

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Johanna VonKuster

Johanna VonKuster wrote a review of on May 26, 2011

4 5

i found this shirt to be quite comfortable. the fit is really nice and the sleeves ae the perfect length. my only complaint is that i think it should be longer. when i buy a shirt for the canyons, i'm going to be sliding down boulders, getting sand everywhere, and hiding my skin from mosquitos. so naturally, this is the type of shirt i'd like to tuck in to keep the unwanted out, but there's no way i can do that as MH seems to have sacrificed some functionality for style. i'm thinking of sewing a 6 inch strip of fabric onto the bottom myself to remedy this issue. i see what others have said about the buttons--they are really small and the button holes are tight, but i guess that's okay because it means they won't be popping out on their own. all in all though, i'm glad i bought the shirt and would recommend it to others. for size reference, i'm 5'2" and 125 lbs and the size 6 fits really well.

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Johanna VonKuster

Johanna VonKuster wrote a review of on May 26, 2011

5 5

i got this for my boyfriend and he can't stop marveling at how comfortable and warm it is. it's great for wearing around town as well layering under a coat or shell in colder conditions. it does a great job at blocking wind too. the cuffs are great for sealing in warmth as are the cinch cords. a fun suprise is an extra pocket not listed in the specs--there's an inside chest pocket as well. the only thing that might have been a fun option to have is a removable hood, but still really happy with the jacket.

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Johanna VonKuster

Johanna VonKuster wrote a review of on May 25, 2011

so great i bought another pair!
5 5

these boots are amazing! i got them for desert hiking after reading reviews of how they seemed to do well in those conditions. immediately, they were comfortable. prep involved a couple of 1 hour hikes, but no real break in to speak of. the big test came on a canyoneering outing that was about 12 miles long and 13.5 hours in duration. in all that heat and sand slogging i never even came close to getting a blister. while nearly every other member of my party was layed up with blisters the size of golf balls, i was ready to jump up and go for more! (after a night's sleep and a couple gallons of water). another thing that really impressed me was the incredible grip that these boots have. in dry conditions, i can be standing on a near vertical slope of rock and my feet don't slide at all. i lose my balance before my feet lose grip. now, i have noticed a downside that can be expected of soft grippy soles, and that is that they wear out faster than if they were stiff. the tread on the bottom is noticeably worn after about 10 months of heavy use. this is a small sacrifice though in exchange for such great performance. i love these so much that when the they went on sale i bought another pair so i'd have them when the first wears out.

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Johanna VonKuster

Johanna VonKuster wrote a review of on May 19, 2011

good addition of space
4 5

we got this gear shed to go with the hubba hubba tent. the goal was for us to sleep in the tent and provide extra shelter for the dog for the trips where he goes too. it seemed to work pretty well. it's made of the same material as the tent so has the same water shedding properties. it is partially floored--the triangle of space at the end, but the rest is open to the dirt. this is probably a good idea as water would possibly collect otherwise. the only reason i gave it 4 stars in stead of 5 is because the roof of the shed doesn't come with any sort of pole for stabilization. i know this saves weight, but you have to put some serious tension on the end guy line to pull it taught enough to not sag really bad. this of course causes the main tent body to be pulled towards the shed and then everything is sideways and makes the zipper of the fly opposite the shed pretty tight and difficult to open and close. it worked okay though and gave us the extra space we were going for. if you check out the tent, you can see a pic i posted of the shed attached.

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Johanna VonKuster

Johanna VonKuster wrote a review of on May 19, 2011

5 5

i recently took this tent out for the first time and was very happy with it overall. then entire time we were out it rained so provided a good test. first off, it was easy and fast to set up. once up, it shed the rain very well. it remined me of rain-x on a windshield the way the water beaded up and ran off the sides. the doors on both sides were invaluable. mesh pockets provided plenty of storage for small stuff and no need for adding a gear loft. the pole design is amazing for adding roomminess to the interior. the only thing i would recommend adding would be a bit more cord. they provide just enough if only making short lengths from the tent to the ground, but we were camping in a rocky area and at one end we were unable to push the stake into the ground due to a rock under the dirt. i found myself needing an extra foot of cord to tie around a tree. small matter, but something to keep in mind.

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Johanna VonKuster

Johanna VonKuster wrote a review of on January 18, 2011

5 5

I've only used this rope a handful of time so far, but have been very pleased with it. Obviously, I can't comment on it's durability yet, but I'm totally loving everything about it. I'll try and remember to edit my review after a year or so to include comments on it's performance over time. As of now, I'm very happy with the handling right out of the box! it's soft and doesn't kink as much as i expected. All ropes will kink, it's unavoidable, but this one's not bad at all. It has a middle marker, which I wanted, and is lighter weight than other options. I chose this rope after much research and reading reviews and am pleased with my choice.

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Johanna VonKuster

Johanna VonKuster wrote a review of on January 7, 2011

5 5

i really love this! it's super lightweight and works great. i got two so there's one for my foot and one for my harness. for the foot tibloc, i made a loop of 8mm cord to stand in. i took the advice of one reviewer and got two petzl attache locking biners to use with them. the attache fits through perfectly and the teeth in the tibloc bite down nice and solid. i've never had to use them in an emergency, but i've strung a rope up in a tree several times to practice using them and getting hooked into them mid rappel and have been very pleased with the ease of use and simplicity of design. like others have said, be sure to put a small cord through each one so that you don't accidentally drop it.

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Johanna VonKuster

Johanna VonKuster wrote a review of on December 21, 2010

5 5

This snowshoe bag is great! It's really well made of durable material and has several features that make it a bit better than the other bags I've seen. The mesh in front serves both as a viewing window to see which pair is inside, and keeps the bag ventilated. The loops on the side hold your poles, and there's an internal pocket for extensions etc. There are two loops at the top and bottom to strap the bag to the back of a pack, and both a carrying handle and shoulder strap. The only thing I can think of that would make it better were if it came in different lengths. My show shoes fit fine, but I know that there are plenty of people out there with longer ones than me.

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Johanna VonKuster

Johanna VonKuster wrote a review of on July 5, 2010

5 5

i just got back from a week in utah and i was very happy with the pirana. rappelling with a pack was no problem. this is a great descender with lots of options for a variety of friction for braking. it's super easy to use by providing the basic shape of a figure 8, but with added features to increase versatility. the little instruction booklet that comes with it has great diagrams on how to properly use it. the petzl attache locking biner is a very snug and perfect fit for this device.

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Johanna VonKuster

Johanna VonKuster wrote an answer about on January 12, 2010

well, this jacket definitely is warm if that's what you're looking for. not sure if it would be good for skiing. i usually ski in just a non-insulated waterproof jacket with a couple good layers underneath--even in miserably cold skiing i'm fine with that after a warm up run. as for sizing, i'm 5'2" 125 lbs and i got the medium. i got it rather than a small because i wanted to be able to put a thick fleece and a base layer underneath. she could probably get away with a small. no worries either way though--backcountry has a hassle free return policy if she ends up wanting a different size. hope this helps!

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