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Jon

Jon

Boston

Jon's Passions

Snowboarding
Biking
Running

Jon's Bio

I'm an outdoor enthusiast with a software engineering problem. I love anything that let's me go fast or push my limits including biking, running, snowboarding, and soccer.

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Jon

Jonwrote a review of on February 22, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I got mine as a gift 2 years ago, and its lived on my desk at work ever since. The wide opening is great for the ice machine, the lid controls the flow, and the insulated design keeps the condensation puddle at bay. I prefer a traditional mug for coffee, so I can't comment on how well it keeps stuff hot.

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Jon

Jonwrote a review of on February 22, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Everyone needs a minimum of 2 bags in their life. A 20-30L backpack, and a carry-on legal duffel. The backpack is up to you, but this should be your duffel. I've had mine for about a year, and can honestly say it's the best overall carry-on design you can buy. Most people who travel have realized you can fit more stuff in a duffel vs a similarly sized roller because you don't have to account for the wheels or handle. However, what separates this from the rest of the duffel world are the pockets, carry options, and clam-shell opening. Packing cubes take this to another level. Go with the Eagle Creek Pack-It Specters to save weight.

Pockets:
1. The tiny exterior pocket will hold a pair of shoes or a couple pairs of flip-flops, keeping them separate from your clothes. Best option is wear the shoes, pack the flops.
2. Small exterior pocket has organization for all your cords, wallet, passport, travel docs, etc. I always carry my phone, but found the padded pockets holds my Anker battery perfectly for emergency juice. Having this stuff accessible while not showing off the rest of your stuff is key.
3. Large interior pocket will hold a variety of cubes. I recently returned from 8 days in Costa Rica and brought 2 large cubes, 2 medium cubes, 1 small cube, and a toiletry bag with room to spare.
4. Two small interior pockets hold small items. I used one for socks, and the other for some emergency meds and a small travel camera.
5. Behind the small interior pockets is another that's great for keeping items flat. It held my suit and wife's dress for a wedding we went to last summer without any trouble. Alternatively, you can keep this pocket empty and use it for dirty/clean clothes depending on where you are on your trip.
6. Laptop sleeve. Want your laptop, but don't want to carry a second bag to keep it protected? Done.
7. Tiny pocket with zippered bottom for sliding over a roller. I don't use a roller, but it's good for holding my kindle and pass while boarding.

Carry Options:
1. Two handles make grabbing it out of a trunk or overhead bin easy.
2. Backpack straps are wonderful if this is only bag you bring. Otherwise, tuck them away, and the use the...
3. Shoulder hardness for when you're also carrying that 20-30L backpack. You can remove this and stuff it into the backpack strap area when not in use.

Clam-shell:
Having the bag split in half makes packing and accessing your stuff much easier than a traditional duffel. You'll come to love it when you can just open the bag on the floor in the hotel, and see everything nicely laid out.

The Black Hole series gets all the recognition, but this is the better travel bag. Like everyone has mentioned, the 3-5 day suggestion is crap, and will easily get you through twice that. If you want to go full travel-pro, get one of those super compressible day packs (Sea To Summit, Osprey Ultralight, etc.) for all that Costa Rican coffee you're going to bring home...

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Jon

Jonwrote a review of on February 19, 2017

4 5

Fit: Runs small
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 175 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

40" chest
32-33" waist

I didn't buy this, but tried it on at the local Arcteryx store in Boston while shopping for a new shell. I have an Atom LT, so I'll compare it directly to that.

Fabric: Seems more durable than the Atom, and more closely resembles the Gamma series in overall feel, which I prefer.

Fit: It feels trimmer overall, and is most noticeable in the waist and arm holes. The waist is fine for me, and had enough room for a t-shirt and wool baselayer. I have larger shoulders, and the arm holes felt restrictive in the pit area. I can't tell if it's fabric build-up, or needs more room in the arm hole/chest , but I found it uncomfortable, and wouldn't like it for everyday wear.

Open up the pit area a bit, and I'd probably take the Proton over the Atom.

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Jon

Jonwrote a review of on February 8, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 175 lbs

I've got two full-size ones, but those have too much fabric to make a good headband, so this was the next logical step. I use mine primarily for running in the winter, but will probably use it under my bike helmet in the spring/fall. I didn't realize they made a Buff Headband, so I'll probably get one of those next.

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Jon

Jonwrote a review of on February 8, 2017

3 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

5' 10", 18.5" torso, 40" chest. S/M

I originally bought this as a small pack for trail running, hiking/travelling, and maybe a little mountain biking down the road, and would be primarily carrying a hydration bladder and a little extra gear (snacks, shell, dog leash, etc).

The good:
When it first arrived, I thought I was set. The size seemed perfect for what I wanted. I really liked the pockets on the hip-belt because they were large enough for my small camera, but not overly big to get in the way while running. The fit is outstanding, and once I got it set-up, it almost disappeared on my back. I loaded up some heavy stuff, and ran around the house a bit, and didn't notice any weird shifting, which is good.

The bad:
Once you add a hydration bladder, it's fairly expensive. I picked up a 1.5L Hydraulics LT, which brought the total to $132. The little stretch pocket on the shoulder strap is about the size of a granola bar, so I'm not really sure what you'd put in there. I feel you'd be better off leaving that out.

The Deal-Breaker:
The integration with the hydration bladder is terrible. The external sleeve sits between the back panel and main compartment, and is only 8" wide, which makes sense given the size of the pack. However, there are two load-lifters blocking it. If you get a Hydraulics LT, which is also 8" wide, you need to completely undo the load-lifters to get it in. The depth is also an issue, and requires quite a bit of force to open the hydration compartment wide enough to accept a full bladder. Since I wanted to use a bladder pretty much every time I used the pack, this was a no-go. I realize it standardizes production, but there's no way you need load-lifters on a pack this size. If there was a zipper access, I may have kept it.

Given the above, I recommend focusing on your primary use. Once you add the hydration bladder, you start competing with much better options.
Hiking: For 20$ more, you get the Manta AG 20, which has a little more space, a larger bladder, and AG suspension.
Biking: For 10$ more, you get the Raptor 14, which has similar usable space plus and awesome hydration bladder integration and is probably the best alternative.
Running: For 20$ less, the new Duro 6, which is what I'm going with, should carry significantly better than the Talon while running, and actually has enough space for a 1.5L bladder plus shell and snacks which would cover you on most short hikes.

If you're not going to be using this with a hydration bladder, this is a great pack. Otherwise, there are much better options.

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Jon

Jonwrote a question about on February 6, 2017

Between the Furio, Axiom, and Skyward, which would be best for an everyday rain shell? I'm primarily going to use it around town, but would also like it for travel/hiking (lightweight/packable) and winter bike commuting when it really sucks (35 and raining...). Trim-fitting would be good since I run hot, and it's unlikely I'd be wearing more than a button-down or light fleece (R1 style) under it. I have a separate Gore Pro shell for skiing, so I don't need anything with powder skirt or pass pockets, etc.

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Jon

Jonwrote a review of on January 18, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This is one of those things where you don't realize what you're missing until you have it. If you have a dog, and travel at all, you know you need somewhere to put food, water, bowls, leash, toys, poop bags, and treats. This does all of that while keeping it more organized than the old grocery bag/plastic bag combo you've been using.

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Jon

Jonwrote a review of on January 18, 2017

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back
4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Size: 5'10", 18.5" torso, S/M
Commute: 10 miles roundtrip
Weather: Boston in January....

I had been eyeing the previous model of this bag for a while and actually went to REI multiple times to check out both the 26 and 34 versions. The problem always came down to wanting the larger one, but hating those weird little side pockets.

ENTER THE REDESIGN and my wife for coming through big at Christmas! The suspended mesh back panel distributes the load well, comfy on or off the bike, and reduces the dreaded sweat build-up. I initially thought the kickstand was gimmicky, but boy was I wrong. It's super convenient having the pack stay up and open and is probably my favorite feature. The small front and side pockets are great for storing tools, plus phone/wallet, although I keep going back and forth on which to use for what. I have a 14" laptop, and the pocket for that is great, with lots of extra room if you have a larger one. The main compartment is massive; easily holding a day's worth of clothes and food, plus an extra pair of gloves, buff, and wool baselayer, with two little interior pockets for keeping the buff and gloves separate. Yesterday I put my softshell jacket in there too because it warmed up in the afternoon, and there was still room for more. I've been putting a small towel and a pump in the front shoe pockets, but will be carrying shower flops come summer since I leave my normal shoes at work. The sunglasses pocket on top is a nice touch, and keeps them from getting scratched or squished. I got caught in a storm on my way home, and the rain cover was excellent; protects the bag without any billowing.

Given the size and pocket selection, this would also be a great bag for weekend trips; especially if you always bring a pair of running shoes like me and want to keep them separate from the rest of your clothes. If you're a bike commuter, this is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition.

UPDATE: I've used this for about a month, and have some suggestions:
1. Add a spot to secure a larger pump like the once pictured. I'm thinking velcro or elastic straps in the main pocket.
2. Get rid of the document sleeve, or move into the laptop pocket. Unless you also use a folder, any papers you put in the current spot will get wrinkled or crushed. It makes more sense to put them with the laptop so it can keep them flat. I don't typically carry papers, but when I do, I slide them between my screen and keyboard for protection.
3. Add zippers to the two mesh pockets in the main compartment.
4. Make the shove-it pocket clip more accessible. I miss being able to pull my u-lock out without taking the bag off.
5. Add an extra loop to the female side of the sternum strap so you can clip a small carabiner to it. This is minor, but I like clipping my keys here instead of putting them in a pocket somewhere. The extra loop is so they don't fall off if you unclip the sternum strap.
6. The stretchy load lifters are terrible. They amplify the side-to-side motion and create way too much instability when off the saddle.

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Jon

Jonwrote a review of on December 12, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 175 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

40" chest

I got this a few weeks ago to fill a jacket gap between a Marmot ROM and a Black Diamond Heat Treat Hoody in terms of warmth, and it's doing the job beautifully. The dwr repels a light drizzle or snow, and the fleece side panels have kept me from overheating. The cut is trim, but not restrictive, leaving enough room for a button down or fleece without looking bulky. The odysseus color is much better in person, and looks like a mix of green and grey.

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Jon

Jonwrote a review of on December 12, 2016

Good minus front clip
4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

8 month-old aussie mix, ~45lbs, small harness

Oakley is an energetic pup that likes to pull with just a collar. We picked up one of these based on the reviews, and have liked it so far. He's about an inch or so under the upper limit, and the small is working well. He tried to bite it at first like everything else, but has figured out the harness means we're going somewhere fun. The back clip is great for keeping the leash away from his paws. However, the front clip kinda sucks. Like another reviewer mentioned, if he pulls with the front clip, it slides to the side. It works, but not nearly as well as a traditional front clip one that has a horizontal strap across the chest.

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Jon

Jonwrote a review of on June 10, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I got doored on my commuter bike a few months ago which resulted in a few scrapes and bruises along with a bent chainring. I wasn't a huge fan of the stock gearing, so I decided to swap everything out. I'm using a 38t with a 9spd 11-28 cassette. I would have preferred a larger ring, but those don't seem to be available in a 104bcd and I didn't feel like spending a ton of money on a new bottom bracket or crank. I'm a big fan of the 1x commuter, and will likely go with a real 11spd system if I ever trade in my Sirrus Sport.

This is a pretty good site for seeing how your gearing will change: http://www.gear-calculator.com/

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Jon

Jonwrote a review of on May 23, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 7"
Size Purchased: Small

I bought these for my wife before a long weekend skiing near the end of last season. She typically runs cold, and never complained while wearing these. She wears a small in both Patagonia and North Face, and she likes how these fit.

One thing she mentioned is they're a little see-through, so be careful wearing them on their own to the bar after a day on the mountain.

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Jon

Jonwrote a review of on May 23, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 175 lbs

My wife has another roller with ridges that wasn't quite working for me. As others have mentioned, the density on this is great, not too hard, not too soft. I use it mostly for my hamstrings, back, quads, and calves.

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Jon

Jonwrote a review of on May 13, 2016

5 5

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

If you bike commute, you're probably using a backpack or panniers. I'd also say you're not riding your carbon fiber baby to work everyday unless you live someplace where the roads are perfect and it never rains. After nodding in agreement, you've also noticed your tires are a bit wider than the average road bike and have discovered the standard 16g CO2 canister leaves them a bit too squishy for your liking.

Congratulations, this pump is perfect for you! It will fit in your pack, you won't really notice the added weight over CO2, and it will inflate your slightly wider tires with ease (I'd recommend Gator Hardshell in 32c if you're looking for a set).

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Jon

Jonwrote a review of on May 13, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 175 lbs
Size Purchased: 34

These just came in the mail. The fabric is wonderful; sort of like the Patagonia Tenpenny, but less crinkly. I have short legs (30" inseam), and these come to just about knee length which is fine. My only issue with these is the waist sizing, which is a deal breaker. I typically wear a 33", but these only come in 32/34. The 34 is too big, and I'm afraid the 32 would be too small.

Any chance these or other Basin/Range stuff will ever be made in the odd sizes?

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Jon

Jonwrote a review of on December 29, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 175 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

Waist: 33"
Inseam: 30
Height: 5'10"

I have relatively short legs for my height, so finding running pants that don't bunch like crazy at the bottom can be tough. These go maybe an inch past my ankles, so keep that in mind if you have long legs or like extra length.

Fit: Fitted through the waist and thighs, with a little looser fit from the knees down.

Warmth: I wear shorts until it's freezing out. It hasn't been super cold yet, but I did wear these once when it was about 20 and was fine. I'd go with something warmer if it was below 10, but that doesn't happen too often.

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Jon

Jonwrote a review of on December 29, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 175 lbs

I had gotten a pair in black a couple years ago, and loved them. I've been leaving those at work since I bike commute, but I've found myself constantly wanting another pair. I went ahead and picked up the grey/black combo, which look great with jeans. Size is true, and if they're anything like my last pair, I'll be using them for a while.

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Jon

Jonwrote a review of on December 10, 2015

3 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 175 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

I've got 4 pairs of Salomon trail shorts and a jacket that I love and have been looking for another pair of pants since Under Armour discontinued the ones I like.

The material and overall fit on these is wonderful; soft, stretchy, slim but not tight, and not overly thick to prevent overheating. The only problem is I've got short legs (30" inseam), and these pants come to the middle of my foot. I don't like having fabric bunched above my shoes when I run, so I'll be looking elsewhere.

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