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Lara LaBar

Lara LaBar

Salt Lake City, UT // New River Gorge, WV

Lara LaBar's Passions

Snowboarding
Snowshoeing
Paddling
Yoga
Hiking & Camping

Lara LaBar's Bio

Lapsed whitewater river guide/errant kayaker with a passion for the outdoors and a degree in Anthropology.

Having retired from twice-yearly cross-country moves from Utah to rural West Virginia in pursuit of whitewater and snow, I've settled in SLC on a somewhat more permanent basis and couldn't be happier to be at Backcountry.

I recently bought my first raft and am diving headfirst into exploring all that Idaho, Utah, and Colorado's rivers have to offer.

I love helping people find the gear that suits their specific needs and budget, whether beginner or expert.

If you've got questions (or just want to nerd out) about the following topics, I'd love to chat with you:
Whitewater
Why inflatables get a bad rap
Kayaking
Rafting
Hiking/Camping/Backpacking
Snowboarding
Snowshoeing
Hot Yoga
Utah
Vegetarian cooking
How to live in a van down by the river

Have some gear questions, or just want to pick my brain? Here's how to reach me:

801-736-6399
Monday-Friday (usually) 9am-5pm Mountain Time
or email me at llabar@backcountry.com

Lara LaBar

Lara LaBarwrote a review of on July 20, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs large
Height: 5' 4"
Weight: 138 lbs
Size Purchased: S

Flattering, super comfortable, with bra-friendly straps. I didn’t even need to pin the back for the cutout, which was a nice surprise. Got a little drunk at a BBQ and in a fit of joie de vivre, leapt into the river wearing it (don't judge) and it dried quickly as well- bonus!

I bought the Mirtillo Blue Flower, returned the Campari (like Campari mixed into a weak drink, not in the bottle) and the Black Mix (seems a lot more Gray) but love the florals. Hits a few inches above the knee for me. Ended up returning for a Small because I was swimming in the Medium, which has been my experience with about 50% of the Lole items I’ve purchased.

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Lara LaBar

Lara LaBarwrote a review of on July 15, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I picked up the smaller Black Diamond Bullet last year for a superlight minimalist pack, but needed something a bit more robust for 10-15 mile hikes on an upcoming trip to Scotland, so grabbed a Nitro 22 two days before leaving. Four months and five countries later, still loving it.

What I put in the pack:
-3 L Osprey hydration bladder
-Extra warmth (merino top, synthetic insulation vest, gloves, beanie)
-DSLR camera
-Rain pants
-Snacks

Good:
-The Swing Arm straps and ReActiv suspension are killer. Descriptions don’t do it justice. I’m in love. You’ve got to have a little weight in there (7-8 lbs is where I started to notice the difference) but it’s fantastic.
-Sleek. Nothing worse than an overdesigned pack.
-The buckles that cinch down the open back pocket also function as mini compression straps.

Eh:
-The external-access hydration sleeve is a) pretty minimal (just a fabric divider against the back of the pack, no suspension points or real sleeve to speak of) and b) a little awkward. Doesn’t bother me at all, but I’m sure there are folks with higher expectations around integration.
-Personally could have done without the two side stretch pockets, but they hold Nalgenes just fine.

All in all, perfectly happy with my purchase.

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Lara LaBar

Lara LaBarwrote a review of on December 12, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

Onzie has a nice take on things?why should every sports bra have to be for high-impact sports? Finally yoginis have some options that are both pretty and functional.

This is the least supportive Onzie top I?ve tried, but that's not a negative thing-- it's good that they offer a spectrum of support options. (If you?re looking for something more supportive, check out this one: http://www.backcountry.com/onzie-racer-sports-bra-womens or this: http://www.backcountry.com/onzie-sun-ray-sports-bra-womens )

The front panel is a double sided stretchy nylon fabric, and the rest is stretchy elastic webbing. It?s a neat design, and a godsend if you?re prone to overheating/prickly heat in hot yoga like I am.

I agree with other reviewers that it is probably designed for ladies on the smaller-busted side of the spectrum. I?m pushing capacity in the M/L as a 34D, and it?s a little cleavage-baring?not scandalous, and I?ve never fallen out of it (ahem) but it?s definitely not your grandma?s bra top.

The only thing about the design that?s mildly annoying is that the elastic straps tend to slide to the outside of my shoulders anytime I?m engaging my trapezius muscles in yoga poses, so if you have super beefy traps (looking at you, climbers and paddlers) maybe be prepared for this possibility.

I hand-wash this one in the sink since the elastic is a little more fragile-- throw it in a lingerie bag if you're putting it in the washer! Dries super quickly.

I wouldn?t recommend buying it for running or other high-impact activities, but for casual wear or no/low-impact activities like yoga, it?s amazing.

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Lara LaBar

Lara LaBarwrote a review of on December 8, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

Things that fit in this pouch:
-Pencils and pens
-Smallish toiletries
-Cosmetics

Things that will not fit:
-Cats
-Basketballs
-Sandwiches

The heavy outer fabric is durable and stiff-- short of carrying scissors or razorblades in there, no worries about anything poking through the fabric. The zipper works smoothly-- though the teeth are a little sharp, so maybe don't throw your pouch down next to a pile of silk stockings or anything.

In all seriousness, the Network Medium Pouch does what it needs to do. Sturdy, well-made, likely to last until our computer overlords do away with pencils and pens... and robots rule the earth.

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Lara LaBar

Lara LaBarwrote a review of on December 1, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

So first, let me come clean about my bleeding heart consumer past (er, present): definitely bought Tom's back in the day because I liked the idea of a little kid in Africa getting a pair of shoes; wore Warby Parker glasses until I finally got Lasik because somebody else got a pair for free too, and I might even eat at a sandwich shop here in SLC that donates a sandwich to a homeless shelter for every one you buy. You could say I'm a sucker for socially responsible businesses. So the United by Blue story totally gets me.

The first thing that struck me when I unpacked it is how nice a pack it is. It came in a little cloth drawstring bag—nice touch. Mine is lined with an army green fabric, not sure if they're all the same color interior.

All of the leather trim and stitching is immaculate—United by Blue must have phenomenal quality control, because there was literally not a single stitch loose, hanging, or out of place. The canvas is nice and thick, seems to be an extra layer of canvas on the bottom of the bag, as well as on the top flap, which makes them fairly stiff. My fear with cotton canvas is always that I’m going to wear holes in it, but not so worried about it with this pack. Not waterproof by a long shot, but its water resistance is easily increased with a good spritzing of Nikwax Cotton Proof Spray.

Cool features—there are button snaps for easy access in and out of the bag, as well as side snaps at the top of the bag to allow you to load all your stuff up, then snap down for less-bulky transport.
The shoulder straps are only *very* lightly padded (I mean LIGHT) but the straps are a bit wider than you might expect, which seems to keep them from cutting into your shoulders—I found it pretty comfortable, even with a load full of books.

There are a handful of pockets inside—the zippered pocket, which is ample, a water bottle pocket (fits a 32 oz Nalgene comfortably) and a couple more, too.

Overall, solid daypack for city life. And there's a pound less trash in the ocean too? Cool.

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