MBS and NOCA
Got this as a gift... one thing to note - this jacket runs big. I normally wear a Large, and in this jacket I fit in a Medium with a perfect snug fit - no arm movement restriction or sleeve creep, which surprised me. I really like the material, fit, and construction of the jacket. Major bummer when I found out on an uncomfortably cold day at the resort that the HOOD is NOT HELMET COMPATIBLE. Doesn't everyone wear helmets these days?
NOTE: This review is of the 2012 model. It is unknown if the 2013 model has a different fit. These are too short to fit a normal men's size AT boot. I'm a size 28.5 boot and my Scarpa Maestrale's have a boot sole length of 322mm. The crampons come with a 17.5cm center bar and I don't believe a longer center bar exists, because CAMP USA was also unable to provide me one. CampUSA wanted to hear from me about these crampons but then would not return emails.
My wife decided to use them on her size 24.5 Dynafit Zero4UTF AT boots. They were a little wide but she decided to give them a try. She climbed both Rainier and Adams in them and they came off several times. Not good.
So they're generally too wide for her boots, and they're too short for my boots (but now that I look even if they were long enough the heel tabs would be too wide for any AT boot that I know). We've both resorted to purchasing Grivel Haute Route crampons which fit both small and large perfectly.
They're also waaay too wide for her US8 Montrail Olympus mountaineering boots. If they were long enough to fit my US11.5 Scarpa Triolet mountaineering boots (they're not even close and the toe bail wouldn't work anyway) the width might actually be about right. I really wanted these crampons to work, because I feel the Sandvik steel would outperform other crampons for our intended use, and they are SO LIGHT.
Unfortunately, I can't find a boot anywhere that will fit them.
UPDATE: Backcountry gearguru told me they would accept these as a return. Gotta love a company that stands behind the product they sell! They're still my favorite online retailer.
Last season, I demo'ed quite a few skis over several days, including powder, heavy new, and hardpack/groomed. I narrowed it down based on my desire for a powder ski that would also perform acceptably in other conditions. Four skis have a tip rocker profile, width/shape, and ride that I like: Line Sir Francis Bacon, Armada JJ, Salomon Shogun, and Dynastar Cham 107.
The Bacons were immediately beautiful, quick-turning, floppy, and very forgiving in powder. For me, their turn radius on groomers was a little too short. The JJs were fun, soft, schmeary, and had a springiness that made me want to play around up on the tips and tails. If I skied with a pack of snowboarders I'd have picked the JJs for both ride style and looks. The Shoguns were ugly, stiffer and with a better carve feel on the groomers, which I happen to like. The Chams were the stiffest yet and had an ability to really carve the groomers, but they lack twin tips and cool graphics.
What really set the Chams apart for me was their aggressive feel. Powder? I no longer eschew the number 11. I think it must be partly because they're stiff, and partly because there's no twin tip sticking up in the back and vibrating, but I want to charge the bumps and open the throttle on groomers. The tapered tail still allows quick turns (something my otherwise similarly-shaped, stiff, speed-loving La Sportiva Hi5s won't do well). If I encounter some crusts or chunks I feel like they'll blow through comfortably and then they'll allow me to quickly dump the speed when deemed necessary.
Apparently, I'm more truck driver than artisan baker. Its always a matter of preference, but I haven't felt this way about a pair of skis in a long time. I love them!
PS there are several other skis in this category that deserve a look. Two that I particularly regret not being able to try: Rossi S7 and DPS Wailer 105.
I've owned a regular Corsa aluminum axe for several years and have used it as a just-in-case item while ski touring. This one bites much better and is still feather-light. I nervously chose the 50cm shortest length. So far I don't regret the short length at all since it lives on my pack more often than in my hand (I have whippets for everything but the occassional shrund or longish patch of really hard rime). Thumbs-up.
Update July 2013: I now own two of these and love them both. I don't expect ice tool performance out of them, but they inspire MUCH more confidence in hard snow and rime than my aluminum Corsa axe with very little weight penalty. Very highly recommended!
The just-out-of-the-box review is that they are too short to fit a size 28.5 AT boot with a boot sole length of 322mm. The crampons come with a 17.5cm center bar and Backcountry.com does not currently stock any longer center bars for these. I ordered a 22cm steel center bar direct from CAMP USA. If I can get them set up and start using them, I'll post an update.
I like the material, and the cut is okay but would be better if I were skinny; luckily they stretch. I however, like many other reviewers, cannot get past the MAJOR DESIGN FLAWS... #1 the pockets fill with snow if you're in powder or so much as sit in the snow and worse than that, they are lined with mesh, so there's a perpetual dripping snowball inside your pants - nice. I'm going to try to just sew them shut. #2 The cuffs are also too small, they BARELY fit over my lightweight AT boots. Worse than that, they are secured unnecessarily by snaps, which can come undone and flail through the snow next to your boot, each becoming a dingleberry of packed snow.
I have been using a version of this stuff sack on my sleeping bags for over 12 years, so it is with me on every overnight pack trip. Simple, reliable, waterproof. A great product from a company with prompt and effective service.
Yup. For multi burials, I'm much faster with this one than with my Ortovox M2. Will tell you how many tranceivers are out there, and will "ignore" a signal so that you can focus on one at a time. Not much faster or slower than a Tracker for a single beacon search as far as I can tell. But they really flubbed the strap system. You wear this thing in a pouch, crappily strapped to your chest and it is connected to the pouch via a tether when you have it out. Meh.