Karen

Karen

Pacific Cascades, Sierra Nevada, and anyplace else I can get to

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KarenMo's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Snowboarding
Paddling
Climbing

KarenMo's Bio

I spend my summers as an instructor for Outward Bound in Oregon where I work with high-school aged students river-rafting, back-packing, rock-climbing and mountaineering. In the winters I work as a snowboarding instructor in Tahoe. Any time in between I spend exploring via international travel and mobbing around in my van.

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Karen

Karen wrote a review of on September 24, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I personally love Osprey packs in general because of how adjustable they are, so when I needed a larger bag for 5-10 day trips I went with the Ariel. It's great because I can pack it to the brim with food and gear when I need it, but I can also synch it down to fit 40 liters of gear without it loading awkwardly or having huge gaps. I also have some odds and ends in my gear systems (ice axe, backpacker guitar, etc.) so I love the number of straps that the Ariel comes with and how customizable it makes the pack. Additionally, it holds loads well and remains comfortable when weighted. Obviously it's not the lightest weight pack on the market but it's super durable and adjustable which makes it a great all-around pack for both front and back country.

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Karen

Karen wrote a review of on July 30, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I spend a lot of time between June and September backpacking and mountaineering in the Oregon Cascades so I wanted a boot that was more durable and technical than a standard hiking boot but lighter than a full-blown mountaineering boot. I settled on a pair of the Rapace and they get the job done, but they're not quite as versatile as I had hoped.
They're too light to use in the mountains during winter or spring and won't keep your feet warm enough in low temperatures or while trudging through deep snow. At the same time they're a bit too stiff to be comfortable when you're backpacking on trail, particularly if you're doing big mileage for several days.

They are perfect for summer mountaineering when you have a shorter approach and are traveling up rocky summits or through smaller snow-fields. Good mixture of lightness and support.

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Karen

Karen wrote an answer about on July 30, 2014

I prefer to size up. I normally wear an 8.5-9 street shoe and I have size 9 chacos which give me about a centimeter of space from my longest toe to the front of the sole to give that extra bit of protection. Personally, I don't like the toe-loops so if they feel a little off for you I would try smooshing it down so it lies flat against the sole and see if you like the standard cut better.

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Karen

Karen wrote a review of on July 30, 2014

sadly going downhill
3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

These sandals were once a thing of legend: technical, durable, stylish, and produced in the good ol' U S of A. Alas, I have watched the integrity of these sandals gradually deteriorate over the past decade and, while prices have stayed the same, the production has been outsourced and the quality has lessened. They do alright as town shoes, but if you wear them regularly as proper rafting shoes you're lucky to get a year out of them before the webbing frays at the toes or the tread of the soles breaks down. Every pair I've owned has had a webbing blow-out within 16 months, and even when you repair them the soles start de-laminating and cracking within a few years.

I still prefer chacos to any other brand of technical sandal that I've found and I wear them all the time but I have to say: I'm saddened by the shifting quality.

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Karen

Karen wrote a review of on July 30, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Ladies, while this hoodie is totes flattering and srsly cute, it also serves technical purposes other than appearing flirty. I personally use it as a sun shirt when I'm rafting during the summer. The fabric is light-weight, it breathes well, and it dries quickly and the long-sleeves and hood provide full sun protection on scorcher days. Since it's synthetic it does build up odor if you go a while without washing it, but what can you do.

I also wear it around town as a light layer on days when it's a little too hot for a cotton hoodie so I imagine it also works well for running in the cold. I wear mine for a week at a time, under a PFD, while constantly rowing, paddling, and swimming and I've never had issues with chaffing so I fully recommend it as an active layer.

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Karen

Karen wrote a review of on July 3, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I spend a good deal of time on extended back-country trips so I've wound up using this harness for rappelling, rock and ice climbing, glacier travel, and moving on fixed lines. Once again, I love this harness.

As others have said: the size and weight are awesome and it's super easy to put on and take off so you don't have to fumble about when you're wearing large boots, crampons, or anything else on your feet. I'm also impressed by how comfortable it is, even when weighted, considering how minimalist it is.

As for sizing, I didn't have any problems at all. I wear size 6 in women's pants (an XS/S sport climbing harness) so I went for the S/M, figuring I would need more room for layering. Even when I'm just in base layers it fits me so that I have a few extra inches that I could tighten it, and when I'm dressed for warmth I have plenty tail to safely double back.

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Karen

Karen wrote a review of on July 2, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This is a perfect mid-sized backpack for all manner of adventures. I've spent a lot of time traveling with mine and I find it works well on one to two week trips where I'm just carrying clothes and some souvenirs and it fits wonderfully in overhead compartments of airplanes, trains, and buses.

It's also great for one to three day back country trips where you're carrying technical gear. I've used mine on short backpacking/camping trips and on one-two day stints climbing, mountaineering, and back country snowboarding. I find osprey packs really adjustable and comfortable to wear when weighted. Plus this little guy holds a pretty good amount of gear. It has two gear loops for ice axes/tools, vertical and horizontal straps that you can use to attach a thermarest for backpacking or your skis/snowboard when your boot-packing. It has two zip pockets on the hip belt where you can put your compass, sunscreen, chapstick, passport, keys, and all types of odds and ends. Plus it's got side pockets for water bottles, a slot for water a drom, and a decently sized mesh pouch on the back where you can keep avey probes and most styles of shovels.

All around sweet.

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