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Joseph Antos

Joseph Antos

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Joseph Antos

Joseph Antos wrote a review of on April 2, 2012

5 5

First off, I'm 6'2" 170-175 pounds (athletic build) and the large fits me exactly as a mid-layer to outer-layer should; it has enough room for a fleece and shirt underneath, but fits snug enough for a water-proof shell to fit over it. The neck is comfortable, the sleeves are long enough, and I have enough room to move without it being baggy. I bought the sapphire blue/black and it looks cool enough, but I only wear this for backcountry trips, backpacking, day-hikes, and trail runs. I spend my time mostly in the San Bernardino Mountains, San Gabriels, Sierra Nevadas, and Santa Anas as I live in Southern California (temporarily), and the jacket is perfect as an outer layer unless it's winter, or it's a rainy day. The pit zips provide excellent ventilation when you're hiking on a day with strong wind gusts, yet is otherwise warm. It doesn't have a hood, but I prefer hats or a beanie anyway, since hoods have always made me feel claustrophobic, and they also affect my peripheral vision, which I don't enjoy on steep, rocky terrain. The pockets seem to be in an odd place until you strap on your large backpack for extended trips and realize the hip belts interfere with normal pockets. The higher placement allows you to access your pockets if need be, and besides, who hikes with their hands in their pockets? Obviously no jacket is perfect for every condition, and in my experience, no jacket works for every person since we all have different preferences and body types, but overall I've found this jacket to be a great asset on the trail and I can honestly recommend it. I hope this helps!

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Joseph Antos

Joseph Antos wrote a review of on March 30, 2012

5 5

I try not to write reviews unless I've tested gear at least 3-6 months with consistent abuse and I'm at the 5 month mark with no problems. I can't comment on durability yet, as I need to test it for at least another 6 months before I'm completely sold. Over the last 10 years or so I've had several brands, especially Camelbak, and all of my previous bladders have failed me in too short a time period. I'm not a fan of the design in which you screw the cap down as I always seem to have leaks. The Platypus design intrigued me so I made the switch and I'm glad I did. I've taken my 3L on dayhikes, overnights, trail runs, road runs, and I'm planning on using it for a Ragnar relay I'm doing next month in Southern California. However, I've not used it in temps below 20 degrees and I don't ski or snowboard, so I can't say if it's useful for those particular pursuits, though other reviewers have commented upon using it for snow sports. It fits my Marmot Ultra Kompressor, Osprey Stratos 36, Osprey Aether 85, and Mountain Hardwear Truckee 35 with no problems. The hose is easily detachable from the bladder, which makes the bladder easy to refill. Overall, it seems every bladder brand has its own drawbacks, but I definitely recommend the Platypus for all active pursuits. Oh, and it has no plastic taste!

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Joseph Antos

Joseph Antos wrote a review of on March 28, 2012

5 5

This review is for the previous version of the shoe, as I believe Montrail has now released a newer version for 2012.
So this is my first pair of Montrail shoes and I purchased them because of user-submitted reviews, so I figured I'd do my part by adding to the community. I like to try my gear out for several months before writing a review, since longevity is a crucial factor in determining overall performance and quality. I've beaten these shoes up on rocky, steep terrain in the Cleveland National Forest, the San Gabriel Mountains, the San Bernardino Mountains, and the Sierra Nevadas. I've worn them on muddy trails, in rainstorms, and while scrambling over granite boulders.
I've logged hundreds of miles using them as both a running shoe and a hiking shoe. I'm not sure about the prevailing wisdom on this, but I've used them for overnight hikes and week-long backpacking trips and loved the grip. These shoes give me confidence when I'm hiking straight up a rocky mountainside or when I'm sliding down on my backside. They also fit true to size. I wear a size eleven and these shoes are perfect for me. I wore them straight out of the box on a 14-mile day-hike in Cleveland NF. I highly recommend this product to anybody!

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Joseph Antos

Joseph Antos wrote a review of on January 25, 2012

5 5

This is the second time I've purchased this jacket. I had my first one for 5 years and it survived 2 years in Asia, camping trips, day hikes, bus rides in Laos, and any other torture I could put it through. It only died when I lent it to a friend who dried it on high heat and basically melted some of the fabric on the arms.
I primarily bought this jacket for traveling abroad, as it's lightweight and packable, which makes for a perfect pillow on overnight bus/train trips, if you get cold on a long flight, or if you're stuck on a slow-moving ferry. I used it during the rainy season while teaching in Thailand and Laos, and it kept me dry, yet allowed me to remain cool in the hot, humid conditions.
As previous reviewers noted, the jacket fits large, which makes sense since you can use the jacket for an outer shell if you're traveling or living in cold climates. I'm 6'2" 170 pounds, and the large jacket fits me just right, not too tight or baggy.
Other competing companies probably sell comparable products, but in this category at least, I've only owned a Columbia and it's an awesome jacket. I highly recommend it.

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Joseph Antos

Joseph Antos wrote a review of on January 25, 2012

2 5

I'm writing an update 4 months later to my first glowing recommendation. One of the side compression straps snapped on a day hike in the Cleveland National Forest and I've officially given up on this particular genre of backpack. I was out in a severe thunderstorm for several hours and even with a Sea-to-Summit rain cover, the Ultra's thin material managed to become completely soaked and drench everything in my bag, including my camera (which I saved). Obviously I'm not taking this on my next trip abroad. I returned the Ultra to Backcountry and bought an Osprey Stratos 24 to go with my Aether 85. So, while I originally gave this backpack five stars, I now have no choice but to give it 2 for a lack of durability. I'm sure Marmot or Backcountry would send me another one, no questions asked, but I don't want another one.

(Here's my original review, which has more detailed information:)
I was looking for a daypack that I can pack into a larger pack if necessary, yet can stand alone when I need it. First off, I've purchased other packs in this category and been disappointed by poor designs and flimsy build quality. Honestly, even the Kompressor and Kompressor Plus didn't catch my eye. My girlfriend bought this for me as a Xmas present and I'm glad she did. The pack actually feels like a backpack, with comfortable shoulder straps, and a sternum strap and a waist strap for added stability. It has 3 outer mesh pockets, 2 for water bottles, and another one I've used for sunglasses, a camera, etc...And with 1250 ci of storage space between the top pocket and main compartment, you can fit everything you need for walking around town or a day hike. However, the Ultra isn't packable into its own zipper pocket like the other Kompressors. You can definitely pack it down to a flat item taking up about as much room as a sweatshirt in your larger backpack.
I think it's important to know exactly why you're buying this pack. Yes, it actually fit my laptop, but the pack doesn't offer much protection, and can hardly fit anything else, especially in the mesh pockets, if you decide to cram the main compartment. This is an ultralight pack, plain and simple.

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Joseph Antos

Joseph Antos wrote a review of on January 23, 2012

5 5

This is the first Osprey pack I've ever purchased, and I did so because of rave reviews from friends and internet users alike, so I figured I would post my own review. I'm 6'2", 170 pounds, and I got the large (2,319 ci), which suits my body perfectly. As other reviewers have noted, the Airspeed system allows your back to breathe, no matter the conditions. This pack is great for 1-3 nights, though I'd use a larger pack if I was hiking/trekking for a longer period of time. The hip-belt pockets are easily accessible and great for a digital camera or energy bar, and I like the front-loading feature, in my opinion a must have. However, if you're searching for a day-to-day pack, then this probably isn't the one for you. It's a bit bulky for daily use, especially if you're on a crowded bus or train, or if you're commuting on a bike. I spent 3 years abroad, living out of a backpack while teaching in Latin America and Asia, so I tend to put my packs through one torture test after another. I'm planning another long-term excursion to Australia and Southeast Asia, and this pack is definitely coming with me since it has a built-in raincover that's great for the rainy season. Once again, I highly recommend this pack for hiking, camping, and outdoor use, not so much for day-to-day city use.

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