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Lara LaBar

Lara LaBar

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

Lara LaBar's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Snowboarding
Paddling
Yoga
Snowshoeing

Lara LaBar's Bio

Partway through college I realized I was treating my education like a chore and needed a minute off to reevaluate. What to do instead? Move to rural Appalachia, of course!

I've split my years into distinct halves over the last few years; snow season and river season. Spent three of those working as a river guide on the New (I-IV) and Gauley (III-V) rivers in Southern West Virginia with some incredibly talented people, learned plenty about moonshine and a little about boating, too.

During the winter, I live in downtown Salt Lake City, snowboard at Brighton, and do a lot of tromping around in snowshoes. I just like being outside.

If you've got questions (or just want to nerd out) about the following topics, I'd love to chat with you:
Whitewater of any kind
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:

1-800-409-4502 Ext 4456
Monday-Friday 9am-5pm Mountain Time
or email me at llabar@backcountry.com

Lara LaBar

Lara LaBar wrote 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 36C, 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 LaBar wrote 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 LaBar wrote 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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Lara LaBar

Lara LaBar wrote a review of on November 19, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size

This is the first piece from Arc’teryx’s 24 line that I’ve tried, and it’s great. I did a lot of waffling before finally pulling the trigger on this coat, partially because there’s not a whole lot of information out there. And because it cost as much as the first serious down sleeping bag I bought a decade ago.

A lot of care went into the design. Things I especially like:
-Two-way zipper. Fantastic.
-The pockets aren’t fully lined, but just on one side (back of the hand) with a nice low pile fleecy velour-type material—not groundbreaking, but a nice touch.
-Hood is lovely—If you’ve tried on many down jackets, you’re familiar with that concern—surprise Gandalf hood, lack of adjustability (or at least functional adjustability that doesn’t make you look like an Eskimo) or a hood that flops around independently from the jacket. Not the Nuri! Having the hood down doesn’t pull the front of the jacket up or make the collar look stupid.
-The narrow baffles at the elbows are nice, sort of a stylish and functional articulation.
-The baffles narrow again at the waist as well, and it seems like Arc’teryx must have looked at an actual honest-to-God female body during the design process, because the waist is ACTUALLY WHERE MY WAIST IS. Revolutionary.

Sizing: 5’4”, 140 lbs, size 6 pants, broad shoulders, big ribcage, 36C bra. I’m a Medium in most casual tops and a lot of outerwear—I’d say I size up to a large 10-15% of the time in shells for snowsports layering. I also have the Atom LT and wear a Medium in that as well; Beta LT, also a Medium.

The Medium Nuri fits me perfectly through the shoulders, arms, hips, and just shy of snug through the bust. If you’re much more top heavy than I am, you might find it a tight squeeze without sizing up.

I’ll get some photos posted over the weekend. If you have any other questions about the Nuri (or any Arc’teryx gear) don’t hesitate to get in touch- my contact information can be found by clicking through to my profile.

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Lara LaBar

Lara LaBar wrote a review of on October 17, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I chose this instead of it's zip top counterpart and I've been really happy with it so far. It's leakproof and easy to clean... the 150 Denier ripstop fabric is super durable, too. Great for parties, concerts in the park, or tucked behind the seat on roadtrips.

The side compression straps are nice for saving space if you're not stuffing the cooler to capacity.

I wouldn't really recommend this one for serious multi-day use, since the roll-top does mean if it's open, it's ALL THE WAY OPEN and takes a little bit longer to close back up. I used it in a pinch as a supplemental cooler on a 3 day desert car camping trip recently, and the ice melted long before the conventional cooler.

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Lara LaBar

Lara LaBar wrote a review of on October 15, 2014

5 5

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

What exactly is a $95 headlamp going to deliver that you can't get from one that costs half as much?

Turns out, plenty. This thing is the Rolls-Royce of headlamps.

My husband and I happened to be headed down to Canyonlands for the weekend the day that I picked them up-- we charged them in the car with our iPhone charger (each one went from dead to a full charge in roughly an hour). We took them with us on a hike to watch the sunset and then spent the entire hike out in the dark freaking out at how awesome the Reactive Lighting setting is.

The band is really well designed-- comfortable (even has some padding on the forehead strap), tapered in the back, stays in place, and super easy to adjust. Changing the tilt angle of the lamp doesn't make it flop all over the place like some headlamps.

And best of all, the rechargeable battery keeps you from having to do that last minute "Oh sh*t, my headlamp's dead!" remote control scavenging on your way out the door for a backpacking trip. Worried you're gonna run it down on a long trip? No problem, pick up a spare for $26.95: http://www.backcountry.com/petzl-accu-tikka-r-rechargeable-lithium-battery

My sole complaint is that the button on the top can be a bit hard to find when fumbling around, due to the USB charging port, but I suspect I'll get used to it with time.

I'll revise this after I've used it a few more times, but I'm pretty pleased at the moment.

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