Lawfarm

Lawfarm

Lawfarm's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking
Paddling
Skiing
Climbing

Lawfarm

Lawfarmwrote a review of on August 30, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I tend to write pretty positive reviews at this point in my life. That's because I've tried a lot of crap, found what works, and I try to stick with it.

ENVE is as good as it gets. These are, bar-none (pun intended), the best riser bars on the market. Wide enough to bridge small rivers, they can be cut to your preference or left alone for total control. Pair these with a short stem, and go destroy some personal records on the trail.

Perhaps the best thing about the ENVEs is that while they are incredibly durable, they are also shockingly good at dampening vibration and helping your hands have a fun day on the trail.

I recommend these without any reservations. They're simply the best bars out there.

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Lawfarm

Lawfarmwrote a review of on August 30, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've tried all of 'em. Candidly, I really wanted to love one of the pumps that has a hose on it, because that seems soooooo convenient. But after trying the Crank pump, I've found the one that lives in my pocket. It works under all conditions, and I can carry one pump for mountain and road. The switch-function works really well--high volume/lower pressure, or low volume/high pressure. Even with road tires, I put a couple "high volume" pumps into them, and then switch over to finish them off.

Reliable, even after being submerged, dropped in mud, etc. Wash it off, let it dry, and then throw it back in a pocket or hydration pack. This one rocks.

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Lawfarm

Lawfarmwrote a review of on August 30, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've used Shimano XT Ice rotors for a few years and had thought they were the bees-knees. The AVID/SRAM rotors are a step up in my opinion.

The Avids are equally good at dumping heat, equally light, equally blingy. Where they come out on top is in 2 areas:

1) They seem to be more resistant to all of the annoying sounds calls that brake rotors can be prone to making--the mating sounds of geese and the sound of dying burros. The Avids are quieter, longer--even when used with Shimano pads.

2) These seem to be more corrosion resistant than Shimanos. I use disc brakes in snow, salty roads, rain, mud, crud, and crap. Sometimes literally. The Avids wash up simply and just don't corrode or show deterioration.

Longevity wise, I have no complaints. Get them nice and flat/even at the start, and these will last for years, even under hard use. I tend to replace several sets of pads before replacing rotors.

Highly recommended.

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Lawfarm

Lawfarmwrote a review of on November 24, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 155 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

Goretex. Down. Perfection.

The warmest jacket I've ever had. More comfortable than layering a down jacket under a hardshell...the perfect combination of both. The powder skirt is fantastic and functional. The goretex works like goretex should. The pit zips keep you cool when things warm up. The hood is great, with or without a helmet. It's expensive. Really expensive. On the other hand, I'll have it forever. It's an investment piece. I love it. I wear a medium in just about all Arcteryx. 6' tall, 155#. Medium fits me perfectly.

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Lawfarm

Lawfarmwrote a review of on November 21, 2015

The gloves I've been searching for.
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I have reynauds--for the unfamiliar, it's a circulatory disease. In cold weather, blood vessels in your extremities shunt, and your hands freeze. Freeze. These are the gloves that have saved my outdoor happiness. I've spent thousands of dollars on gloves, glove heaters, mittens, etc. These render them all past history.

They're as warm and waterproof as a premium pair of goretex gloves should be expected to be. All day in the snow? No problem, whether the snow is dry or wet. As gloves, they're really nice gloves.

And then you turn on the power.

With the power on, they're life-changing. There are 3 settings. On the low setting, battery life is over 9 hours (that was the limit of my patience, not the batteries). On low, you don't notice the heat. You don't really notice your hands. It's just that your hands never get cold. On high, battery life is around 3 hours...and the gloves are palpably warm inside. It's amazing. I haven't tried the medium setting for duration yet.

We haven't had super cold temps yet; I've worn them down to 0 degrees...but nothing colder. They've been great (on low) at those temps. They're completely windproof and waterproof.

When you insert the battery pack, make sure that it's all the way plugged in. That's the only issue I've had--a loose connection caused by my failure to fully plug in. Charging is quick and easy--a couple hours to a full charge (and it charges both batteries at once).

I picked up a spare set of batteries, and recommend it. You can have a good, long day of coverage with some high and some low. You can take the gloves off, your hands get cold, you put the gloves back on, and instant warmth. The heating grid is incredibly well designed--the parts of your hand that would otherwise get cold...well...stay warm.

Next to my Arcteryx Macai jacket, these are my favorite cold weather gear. Highly, highly recommended.

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Lawfarm

Lawfarmwrote a review of on November 19, 2015

Awesome Winter Boot!
5 5

Winter has only just begun here, but my daughter is already getting a ton of use out of her new boots. Thus far, they have proven to be warm, waterproof, and surprisingly resistant to getting moist inside after a full day of use. She finds him so comfortable, but I can barely get her to take them off. Highly recommended by my brother picky eight-year-old.

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Lawfarm

Lawfarmwrote a review of on January 3, 2015

4 5

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

I have reynauds, so I get cold hands easily.

These gloves are very waterproof--even more so with the included leather waterproofing wax. That said, I was surprised that they weren't as warm as expected. Temps down to 20ish are fine...but below that, I have to add a liner glove. In comparison, these are about as warm as my Black Diamond Guide finger gloves.

For the price, I'd expect that if these needed a liner glove, it would be included. Other mitten combinations that I've used with a liner, for the same price, have been equally as waterproof, equally as warm, and have included the liner.

I'm not fond of the white leather palm either; it has proven to be durable, but shows every bit of grime.

When paired with a light wool liner glove, these are great, great gloves. Without a liner, they are nice gloves, but not great cold-weather mittens, which is what I was really hoping for. I will say that the glove leashes are the nicest I've ever used.

If you're looking for gloves for the coldest temps and you're prone to cold hands, either bypass these, or get them with a set of liner gloves. I have nothing bad to say about these, except that they aren't as warm as I had hoped. Otherwise, very competent, good gloves. I'm giving a 4 instead of a 3 as I'm giving the benefit of the doubt, given my tendencies towards cold fingers.

Sizing is true to the size chart; a L fit me perfectly.

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Lawfarm

Lawfarmwrote a review of on January 3, 2015

5 5

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

I have reynauds, so I get really cold fingers, very easily. These are the warmest finger gloves I've ever used. I put some waterproofing wax on the leather (because I'm A/R), and put these to work. I've had several good ski days on them, with temps dropping down into the upper teens. Normally, that'd be mitten territory for me, but these gloves have kept my hands warm and dry--surprisingly so. The leather is pretty bomber; shows no evidence of the trees, rope-tows or rocks that they've interacted with. Thus far, I'm loving these gloves!

Sizing is true to the size chart; I ordered a large, and they fit perfectly.

They seem entirely waterproof to my skiing use.

My only constructive criticism is that if your hands are moist and you pull the gloves off, the insides pull out just a smidgen, which makes it hard to put them back on with your moist hands. That's more a problem with the pinky hole than anywhere else. Not a deal breaker by any means...more of a minor annoyance. Great gloves overall, and I'm glad to have them.

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Lawfarm

Lawfarmwrote a review of on January 3, 2015

5 5

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

I've had this watch for about 1.5 weeks now, so no long-term review. In that time, I've used it for 3 long bike rides, 1 day of skiing, a long run and a few hikes. It's fantastic. The bluetooth syncs wirelessly with my iPhone, so when I'm riding, I can set my watch to notify me of certain events--like if I'm getting a mid ride text from my wife, or a phone call. The wireless sync also uploads post-ride data...so after a day of skiing with my daughter, I can instantly show her our tracks from the day and the vital stats.

Used with the Suunto HR monitor, it is very reliable at getting both HR and respiration rate data, which has been interesting to monitor on endurance bike rides.

Battery life has been great. With a full day of skiing and GPS, I ended the day with 65% battery left. Used without GPS, it goes for a long time--I don't know how long yet.

Waterproof, seems very durable. Watch strap seems a bit soft, but we'll see. The watch strap is long enough that I can strap it on outside my jacket, to keep good GPS signal and to be able to monitor my ride/ski/hike all day.

The Movescount service works well, when it is working. Their service was down for 3 days, but once it went up again, it has been pretty straightforward to use. The user interface is a bit lacking, but it is stable, and you can figure it out. The ability to customize watch displays is pretty awesome.

All in all, this is a great watch. I was torn between the Ambit 2 with ANT+ capability and the 3 with bluetooth. I went with the 3 so I could sync with my phone, but that means that my power meter and cadence sensors won't work with this. Suunto really needs to support both formats in one device. Until then, this is a pretty great tool to use.

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Lawfarm

Lawfarmwrote 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

Lawfarmwrote 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

Lawfarmwrote 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

Lawfarmwrote 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

Lawfarmwrote 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

Lawfarmwrote 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

Lawfarmwrote 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

Lawfarmwrote 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

Lawfarmwrote 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

Lawfarmwrote 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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