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Lawfarm

Lawfarm

Lawfarm's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking
Paddling
Skiing
Climbing

Lawfarm

Lawfarm wrote a review of on December 20, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I live in the midwest, but try to get out to the Rockies and BC a couple times a year. What this means is that I need something that can carve the icey groomers we have in the midwest, but also feel at home when I strike it rich in the powder out west.

I've tried a lot of skis to find something that's perfect, until trying the Sin 7. They are the best all-condition skis I've ever seen.

Between the super light construction at the tip and tail and the aggressive geometry, they turn intuitively. You start thinking about pivoting around that tree or mogul, and they just GO.

In deep powder, another cm of width would be great...but you'd lose the all-mountain, all condition versatility that these have. If I was skiing in the rockies all year, I'd be looking at a wider ski, but that wouldn't be optimal for the midwest. I am amazed to find a ski that, for the first time, doesn't feel like a compromise in either set of conditions. These have been great for my first few ski adventures this year, and I'm in love with them. They are lighter, more responsive, and more compliant than a ski this size has a right to be.

A note on compliance...I don't know how Rossi did it, but these are super compliant on chop, without having the tip and tail flop all over at high speeds. I'm guessing that the weight reduction at tip and tail is a huge contributor, but these are JUST PLAIN GREAT skis. Look at the Rossi FKS bindings for a great product, as well!

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Lawfarm

Lawfarm wrote a review of on December 20, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've got raynauds, which is a circulatory disease that affects blood flow to extremities, like fingers and toes. In other words, I'm always looking for good, warm, waterproof gloves. When my hands get cold or wet once, it's game over. I lose circulation in my fingers and they turn into big, cold, painful blocks.

I checked out the Cottonwoods (actually, a gift from my wife), and had low expectations. I'd used Stoic gear before, but never Backcountry. My best performing gloves are all technical fabrics--goretex this and that. So I didn't have the highest of hopes.

I've been incredibly pleasantly surprised by how versatile these are. Between the leather and the DWR, they're great in just about any reasonable conditions. They're not 'dunk in a bucket of ice water' waterproof, but they're functionally waterproof for outdoor activities ranging from skiing to snowball fights.

On the range of warmth, these are mid-high warm gloves--think of them as a 7 on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being super thin and 10 being the warmest 5 finger gloves available on the market. They're surprisingly warm, keeping my hands comfortable in temps down to the mid 20s when engaged in active pursuits like skiing.

They come cut to allow for curled fingers, such as when you're gripping ski poles, and they have surprising dexterity. Manipulating zippers, buckles and bindings is very easy.

The tensioning system at the wrist is the BEST SYSTEM I'VE SEEN ON ANY GLOVES, EVER. I have gloves that cost $350. The Backcountry gloves have a better tensioning system at the wrist than even those super pricey ones. When you pull them on, pull the velcro away from the glove and it tightens up the nylon strap; then slap the velcro down and they stay taut. To take them off, release the velcro, and slide the tensioning cam down the nylon strap. Super easy to do (even with gloves on), super reliable, bulletproof, and it just plain works. I'll repeat--it is the best system I've ever seen in a glove.

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Lawfarm

Lawfarm wrote a review of on December 20, 2014

5 5

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

I've only had this jacket for a couple months, but it has proven its value.

I'm 6' and about 150#; medium fit me perfectly.

The coreloft in the hood and shoulders keep you warm even when you're out in the cold rain...though I haven't found any conditions that the goretex cannot handle. I've had this in some seriously wet, crappy conditions. It is just plain waterproof. The down in this coat makes it the warmest jacket I've ever had. Remember when we had to wear those bulky zip-in liners in super thick ski jackets to be warm? Or wear a giant puffy that makes you look like the Michelin man?

Those days are gone. Enter the Ceres.

I can't explain how something that fits so nicely can be so warm. I just can't explain it. It isn't huge, it isn't unduly puffy, but it is SO WARM. Windproof, waterproof, warm.

The cut is athletic, and allows great flexibility and movement. This is one of those jackets that you buy and use for a long, long time. It's an awesome jacket.

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Lawfarm

Lawfarm wrote a review of on December 20, 2014

5 5

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

I've put this one through the ringer. Size first: I'm 6' and 150#; athletic and trim. Medium fits me perfectly.

I've worn this as a casual rain jacket, I've worn it skiing (with or without layers underneath), climbing, hiking, camping, and everything in between. It's been drug through brambles and thorns, scraped over rocks, and slid down ice and snow. It still looks like new.

This is the most waterproof jacket I've ever had, bar none, and comparing to many, many goretex jackets that are on the market. I have to say...I thought the price was ridiculous, until I tried it. This is a jacket I'll have for 20 years.

I can offer no constructive criticism of it. If you want more pockets or a longer cut, look at some of the other options. For me, the length is perfect because of the versatility and flexibility that it allows.

This is a jacket that forms the basis of my outer layers year-round. In cold conditions, I layer up under it. In warm conditions, I wear it alone. I can't say enough good things about it. This jacket is worth it.

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Lawfarm

Lawfarm wrote a review of on December 20, 2014

5 5

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

My wife was looking for a warm down jacket, so we cross-shopped six different ones to find the perfect jacket.

On sizing my wife is 5'6" and normally wears a 12-14, and this fit great in an XL.

This jacket falls into the warmest tier of down jackets. It is incredibly warm, and the exterior fabric is very water resistant in light rain or wet snow. You're cross shopping this against things like the Arcteryx Ceres and other Canada Goose jackets. This is much warmer than the warmest of North Face puffies.

One other nice feature about this jacket is that it is really nicely cut. Many of the Canada Goose jackets look like expedition jackets and take away any semblance of a person's shape. The Camp Down is incredibly warm without making you look like you're coming from a North Pole expedition. The hood is also very warm and very nicely cut.

If you're looking at Canada Goose jackets, you'll see some super warm ones with hoods and no shape, and some moderately warm ones that have a more tailored fit and no hood. The Camp Down strikes a nice balance between being super warm and having some attractive shaping to it. Great jacket.

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Lawfarm

Lawfarm wrote a review of on December 20, 2014

5 5

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

My wife wanted the perfect down jacket and we tried six different ones to find just the right one.

My wife is 5'6" and normally wears a 12-14; the XL fit perfectly.

The jacket has a very feminine cut, with pronounced taper at the waist and a bell at the hip--a very flattering cut. The fabrics are typical Arcteryx top-notch quality. The jacket is also relatively warm and reasonably windproof. The hood is also a very nice cut for casual use, with or without a hat.

The downsides? The sleeves terminate with just the down--no cuff, no velcro, no wrist gaiter. That lets the cold in.

That's about it for downsides.

As far as warmth goes, this is a mid-level down jacket. There are many jackets in this realm, including the common North Face puffs and others like it. This jacket is not as warm as the super-thick Canada Goose jackets, nor as warm as something like the Arcteryx Ceres. But much of the time, those jackets would be overkill for casual use.

If you're cross shopping this against something like the North Face puffies (my wife had one that we were working to replace), the Arcteryx has a far better fit and cut, and higher quality fabrics that lock in the down. If you're looking for that warm down jacket and don't need expedition grade warmth, look no further.

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Lawfarm

Lawfarm wrote a review of on December 20, 2014

4 5

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

My wife wanted the perfect cold-weather coat, so we tried out six different ones. We tried 2 from Canada Goose, 2 from Arcteryx, 1 Mammut and 1 Lole. At the outset let me say this...the Ceres is the warmest jacket that we found. The combination of windstopper and intelligently placed down makes this jacket unbeatable in cold / windy conditions. The hood has great adjustment, and it's just plain warm.

My wife is 5'6" and normally wears a 12-14. The XL fit her perfectly.

The downside? This jacket is super puffy. Super. Puffy. Arcteryx's great fabrics that lock in the down also lock in air...so if you sit down in the car, the jacket puffs up around you, and the hood puffs up behind you, and you can barely see out of the jacket (with the hood down). Buckling up becomes a chore.

If I was looking for a ladies' jacket to use outside in just about any cold/windy conditions for long periods of time and be very warm, the Ceres would be it. Ultimately, it failed to be a jacket that was livable for my wife, because of the puffiness and because she needs a jacket that she can wear outside, and then get in the car and move on to another activity.

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Lawfarm

Lawfarm wrote a review of on December 20, 2014

5 5

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

This jacket is for my wife; she's 5'6" and normally a 12-14; the XL fit her perfectly. The colors (cyan with orange trim) are very hip and, according to my wife, quite cute. We tried this jacket head to head against the Arcteryx Ceres, which costs about 50% more. The Ceres has a windstopper liner and, true to form, was slightly better at blocking the wind in super windy conditions. Short of those conditions, however, the Biwak is just as warm as the Ceres.

If it was about 2" longer, it would be perfect. As it is, it just barely covers your butt...a smidge more length would add a lot of warmth without sacrificing its versatility for skiing and activities.

We haven't had a chance to test this one in a downpour, but in light rain and wet snow, it is more than adequately waterproof to keep you warm and dry indefinitely. It has integrated thumb loops/handwarmers that make a very nice system to wear under gloves, without having any cold spots.

I have to admit, I slipped it on and walked around the yard on a super cold day...if they made it in dude colors, I'd have to think about getting one! It is one of the warmest jackets I've ever tried on. Ever.

Ever.

We tried six different down jackets for my wife, and this was the keeper for the coldest of weather. Great product.

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Lawfarm

Lawfarm wrote a review of on December 20, 2014

5 5

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

My wife loves her Lole Emmy. She's about 5'6 and normally wears a 12-14; the XL fit her perfectly. The waist belt allows her to taper the jacket at the waist, which makes it not look so big and bulky. The hood is nicely cut for normal use with or without a hat--but obviously is not helmet compatible. That's not an issue, because this isn't a helmet kinda jacket. This is for long cold walks in the City, or for covering a dress on a cold night. The DWR does a good job of keeping the jacket water resistant under normal conditions or with wet snow, and the "downglow" insulation is surprisingly warm without being as bulky as comparably warm down jackets.

This is not as warm of a jacket as something like the Arcteryx Ceres or the heavier Canada Goose jackets, but it is warm enough for 99% of what you'd do in a casual winter down jacket, and again, the fit is really nice and very feminine.

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Lawfarm

Lawfarm wrote a review of on December 17, 2014

2 5

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

This is a super-warm jacket for tough conditions. It may be the warmest jacket my wife has ever tried. However, we were unable to keep it.

In exchange for the warmth, it is super-heavy. It's odd to notice how heavy a jacket is, but this one is HEAVY. Get ready for that.

More importantly, my wife started breaking out in hives after wearing this jacket for more than 5 minutes at a time. She does have sensitive skin, but has worn many other down jackets (including North Face, Arcteryx, and even other CG jackets) without issues. It would bother her anywhere it touched exposed skin--arms, neck, etc. CG is great gear, and I don't know if it was the down, the DWR coating, or something else, but this one didn't work for us.

My wife is 5'6" and a size 12-14 in most clothes; the XL fit her very well--although it is a bulky jacket. I have to give this an NR based on the allergic reaction, although that might be person-specific.

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Lawfarm

Lawfarm wrote a review of on December 17, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Bar none, this is the best bike multitool on the market. It's as light and compact as most multi-s that have half this many tools. The chain breaker is easy to use and BREAKS CHAINS WITHOUT BREAKING ITSELF, which is a feature that many chain breakers lack. It works with SS chains, 6 speed, 10 speed and 11 speed...everything I've tried it with. The tools are effective, the allen keys are durable, and the sizes provided are useful and common. Great tool, highly recommended.

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Lawfarm

Lawfarm wrote a review of on December 17, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: Runs small

Let me say at the outset: I'm an Arcteryx whore. Totally acknowledge it. I'd spend all day in my Alpha SV, in just about any conditions, and do it happily. But there are times when the skies are clear and you're ready to head out, and you're not really sure that you need to pack such a bomber jacket...when you want something light to throw in your pack as insurance against bad weather. You've done enough hiking/skiing/biking to know that if things turn bad, you want a product that will work to keep you dry and warm.

My previous experience with lightweight and "ghost" jackets was that they were light and packable, and some were even waterproof, but when you needed them, they were not breathable or durable. They were bandaids that helped keep you dry from rainfall, but that built up sweat inside like a proverbial sauna.

The Squamish is a pleasant surprise. It's inexpensive (for Arcteryx standards), light and packable--all good qualities in a 'just in case' jacket. but when you need it, it's waterproof, reasonably windproof, and breathable. I'm surprised by how effective a nylon/DWR system can be. 20 years ago, when Goretex was too expensive to afford, the nylon/"waterproof coating" jackets were good for a little rain, and then would get saturated and you'd get wet. Not so with the squamish. It's waterproof. I have had it in some tough conditions, and it doesn't soak through.

Moreover, unlike most ghost jackets, it is breathable enough to actually be useable as a frontline jacket. I find myself wearing it from time to time when I don't need the weight of the Alpha SV, but when I do need reliable, breathable, waterproof jackets. Don't tell Arcteryx, but making good, inexpensive jackets like this undermines the need for their more expensive products, in many 'normal' circumstances. (I'm still not giving up my Alpha). Great jacket! Arcteryx-true sizing, which means it is an athletic cut. I'm 6', 155#, and a medium is perfect.

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Lawfarm

Lawfarm wrote a review of on December 17, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

When I learned to ski, my skis were too big, they were pre-parabolic, and they were pretty terrifying. Learning to turn was an exercise in humility, and fortunately, the giant snow pants of the day featured extensive padding that helped cushion the bruises to my posterior, if not my pride.

Times have changed, and these skis (used by my daughter) are lighter, parabolic for better turn initiation, and much cuter. My daughter has learned to ski on these, and has gone from literally no ski experience to being able to cut reasonable turns. We're still riding groomers, but she's gained a ton of confidence--and frankly, with a 6 year old girl, it helps that she thinks the skis are cute. The bindings are easy to set for release tension, and have worked predictably. Great product.

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Lawfarm

Lawfarm wrote a review of on December 17, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I became a hero to my 6 year old by sliding a set of these powder blue boots on her, and teaching her how to ski. My daughter is pretty articulate, and after trying on a lot of ski boots, we found that these fit comfortably, provide good ankle protection, good ski control, and do not have any hot spots. They are warm comfortable, the padding has held up to 2 years of hard use, and they do not have any gaps that let cold or moisture into the boots. The liners dry quickly overnight, and the buckles are micro-adjustable and easy to use. Highly recommended.

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Lawfarm

Lawfarm wrote a review of on December 17, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

It does exactly what it says. I've used mine extensively, and it doesn't seem to break down or change resistance...I was worried that with time, it would either break or get easier, but it hasn't. If you use it with grungy climbing hands, it does get dirty, but it washes up easily with some dish soap and warm water. It's simple, it's effective, it's cheap. It is NOT the best for isolating specific fingers, but it's great for overall hand strength.

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Lawfarm

Lawfarm wrote a review of on December 17, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Great set, easy to use, easy to install. I made a plywood hang board to install on a wall, and used some nutserts (you can get them at any hardware store) to give the ability to move these around. I also used a full Metolius grabboard below these, so you can hang on the board, and then practice doing explosive reaches up to the jugs. As you get better and stronger, you can rotate these to increase the level of difficulty. They are highly durable, and have an appropriate texture--very easy to grab, without completely ripping your skin off. Great product.

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Lawfarm

Lawfarm wrote a review of on March 6, 2013

2 5

I washed them.

Followed directions to a T.

Bad results ensued. The inner liner became irretrivably twisted. I've tried to fix them, my wife has tried...I've even tried to employ the tiny fingers of my daughter. No dice. You cannot get the index finger liner back to where it shoudl be...which renders them useless.

It was a good run while it lasted, but if you can't wash them according to directions, they're not so useful now, are they?

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Lawfarm

Lawfarm wrote a review of on March 6, 2013

5 5

I've always been frustrated by the paucity of products like this.
I wear comfy, great-performing jackets for casual wear, but when I have to wear a suit to work, I have to put on a trenchcoat or overcoat that hasn't had a design update in a century. WHY?

Arcteryx finally answered that question. No more.

The Diplomat performs and fits like a technical jacket...but looks like a dresscoat. I'm 6' and 150#. A medium fits me like a glove. (Like a jacket?) It's trim--I can just fit a suit or sportcoat underneath...but it's a good compromise between sizes. If it was larger it would more comfortably accommodate a sportcoat underneath, but would be too large for wearing without a jacket underneath. As-is, it works great with a sweater or just a shirt, and works acceptably well with a sportcoat.

I'm amazed by how water resistant and windproof it is. For how thin the wool is, it is amazingly warm. It's just what I've always wanted...gear that lets me discretely enjoy the benefits of performance fabrics, when I'm walking into the office or shuttling between buildings on a cold, snowy December day.

And the hood--the hood is perfect. It won't accommodate a helmet (duh), but is perfect for keeping your coif...well-coifed.

Also, it has nice little wrist cuffs that keep your arms warm and dry, without having big elastic at the end of the sleeves. I wear mine with leather dress gloves. From a distance, all you see is a well-cut, fancy looking dress overcoat. From inside, you get the benefits of Arcteryx quality, and perfect fit.

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Lawfarm

Lawfarm wrote a review of on March 6, 2013

5 5

Are you conflicted? You want the lightness of carbon bars, but you're worried about them snapping and leaving you with a massive dental bill?

Look no further.

These bars perform like carbon bars with good vibration dampening and amazing lightness, but they're built to be bombproof. Note that ENVE calls them downhill bars because they're 800mm wide. They're marked for cutoffs, so you can make them whatever you want, with a few minutes, some masking tape, and a hacksaw. 750mm seems to be a sweet spot on my 29ers. Add in a short stem, grip it and rip it.

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