If you're in the market for a 24-25 liter backpack with a suspended, ventilated mesh back, you'll probably come down to this brand new model from Deuter, the Lowe Alpine Airzone 25, and the brand new Gregory Z 25. I'm sure Osprey has something too, but Osprey is not my personal preference.
I have a Deuter AC Lite 18 which is a fantastic little daypack. I use it all the time, however 18 liter is sometimes too small, especially if you need to carry multiple layers. A 30 liter is in my opinion a bit too much for most day hikes, so the 25 liter packs neatly fills in this niche.
Given my great experience with Deuter I had big hopes for the new AC Aera, and make no mistake, this is a great pack. Its main, unique feature is the bottom zipper that lets you access the contents at the bottom of your pack without having to empty everything from the top.
But, I decided to return the Deuter in favor of the (also quite new) Lowe Alpine Airzone 25. Because of this I have not actually used the AC Aera, so this review is based on me comparing the two at home.
The AC Aera is almost a pound heavier than the Airzone. And, if you compare it to the Gregory Z 25 it's almost two pounds heavier. Comparatively then, the Deuter is quite heavy.
The back mesh design on the Deuter is one large, continuous mesh, while on the Airzone it's actually more like two strips of mesh, which should make the Airzone even more breathable. That being said, and this is something that is not easy to tell from the pictures, the AC Area has a much larger curvature of the opening in the back. It also goes all the way down to the very bottom of the pack which makes it ventilate even around the hip area. The Airzone has a smaller curvature and the hip area does not have an open space behind it for airflow. However, due to the large curvature of the AC Area, the storage compartment is quite noticeable curved as well, while on the Airzone it's much more straight down. This makes the Airzone easier to pack.
A lot of reviews for these pants, most has probably been said.
The fabric is very nice. It has a soft, silk-like feel to it, with quite a sheen. I got mine in Anvil Grey. Their wind resistance makes them great for windy and a little cool conditions. Not cold without a base layer, as there is no insulation here. The pants are great for the conditions they were designed for. Depending on where you live that may a bit constrained.
Fit is good, the integrated belt makes the pants stay in place. Note that there are no back pockets.
One very small design flaw for me is the direction of the zipper on the leg pocket. When closed the zipper is towards the inner of your leg. This makes my hand sweep across it every now and then and after a while I find my leg pocket being half unzipped. This is a very, very minor point, but the Norrona pants have the zipper go in the opposite direction.
Note that the care instructions says not to tumble dry and hang dry instead. When these are soaked it takes a while to dry them out.
The Polartec Power Dry fabric is great. Feels nice to the skin and breathes really well. I have both the short and long sleeve version of this shirt.
The fit is listed as trim but that must be a mistake. These run very large. I usually wear a large in everything but for this shirt a medium might have fit me better.
I just tried this out for the first time. I used it in a strenuous, rainy and windy hike. Under the hood of the rain jacket, it was perfect in keeping me warm but not hot. I never felt the need to take it off unlike what I often experience with a thicker Icebreaker beanie.
Unless you're working out really hard I don't see this beanie being warm enough for cold weather though, but that's very subjective.
Like all Arc'teryx product, it is expensive. I'm not sure I would pay full price for this.
I've tried to buy Norr?na pants before and had to return them every time because of fit. My jeans are either 33 or 34 in the waist depending on the brand and always 30 in length. That's on the short side when it comes to length in technical outdoor pants like this.
The size chart is listed as the waist being 34.6 - 36.6in for Medium, which is what I ordered. Even with waist Velcro snaps all the way out this feels a little snug. So with 33/34 jeans the supposedly 36.6 waist on these pants is borderline tight for me. Sure these pants sit a little higher than jeans but still.
I would've preferred the legs to be every so slightly shorter but this will do.
Craftsmanship seems top notch, as expected. I agree with Bill's review below on the general fit of these pants. They are closer to athletic than regular. The thighs are quite narrow, while the legs quite wide. This is useful for having them outside of boots and then tightening the Velcro at the leg openings. Once that's done the legs don't feel so wide.
If you fit within their size chart I don't think you can go wrong with these pants.
While I've only used them once so far, I came out very impressed. The mesh lining does add weight and bulk, but it makes it very comfortable to wear the pants with only underwear. I remained completely dry. The pants were very comfortable to wear. I was hiking in steep uphill/downhill terrain. The little hooks at the bottom of the legs never let go from the laces of my boots giving a secure fit.
This is a 5 star product if the sizes fit you.
Beware: I hoped Backcountry would have fixed the sizing by now, but no, the sizes provided are still UK sizes.
This is my main day pack. It's only 18 liters, but that's usually enough for a day pack in fairly constant weather so you don't have to carry much change of clothes. But despite the small size, it has a full suspended mesh back, which makes this a winner. I don't think many backpack manufacturers make this small backpacks with a suspended mesh back. It does make the pack a little heavier and the curved back may make it a little less roomy, but these are good compromises for the extra airflow. I also like the clean and uncluttered exterior design of the pack.
One drawback is the trekking pole attachment. The top attachment point is part of the lid which means your trekking poles may come loose if you open the lid. There is also attachment on one side so you'll have to have both poles on the same side. In my experience most packs go for a symmetrical point system with one pole on each side.
Deuter is a quality German backpack manufacturer, if not one of the best. I'll definitely be buying Deuter again.
Adidas is my favorite shoe brand. Most of my shoes are Adidas and I wear them almost every day.
I am excited about Adidas trying to break into the "outdoor" market. The styling they have taken on their hiking footwear is refreshingly different. Quite simply, it's cool.
All of this then made me especially disappointed with these shoes. I really wanted to like them. I tried them on again and again. I loosened the drawcord-laces significantly. But it was clear that these shoes would hurt my feet on a hike. The shoes are very narrow. I wear regular width on every shoe, including all of the Adidas sneakers and trail runners I have.
Also I would say the tongue of the shoe is oddly oversized although if the shoe fits I don't think it would be any issue in practice.
Lastly the shoes do seem a bit pricey for what they are. On sale they are more competitively priced.
Given the very tight fit width wise, the oversized tongue, and the high price I would not recommend these shoes. However, if you have narrow feet and get them on sale, they just might be great. Outside Magazine raved about them.
I had done my research before getting these shoes. I believe Jennifer Phaar Davis used these when beating the world record of the Appalachian Trail thru hike record , completing the 2, 181 mile trail in 46 days 11 hours and 20 minutes, according to the Salomon website. I seem to recall these shoes winning at least one award.
With that, I ordered these shoes on sale. Seemed like I had a sure winner.
Unfortunately, these shoes don't work for me at all. I've probably put around 40 miles in them, including a 26 mile hike. The sole is just too soft with no structural rigidity. It makes the shoes seductively comfortable when you first put them on, obviously with no break-in necessary. However, after a while this becomes the critical flaw of the shoe. If you pronate slightly, like I do, you'll quickly get a poor performing shoe. Also, if you do any extensive hiking on rocky ground, your feet will get very tired as you'll feel all of those bumps go through to your foot. The upper also doesn't appear to have any strong structural support.
Sadly I will have to get another pair of hiking shoes. Technically there's nothing wrong with the ones I have, they just aren't built properly for me.
Now, if you do have a good stride and don't hike in rocky terrains, these may be terrific. I love the "lace" system. I'm a convert: I'll try similar systems over regular laces from now on. I just have to tighten them once when I put them on and they'll stay put. No heel slippage. The rubber sole isn't the usual Vibram rubber, but rather Salomon's own. It is much softer, which makes for a very grippy shoe, at least in dry conditions. I haven't tried them in the wet. They will wear out faster than Vibram soles however. They also look good: I have gotten compliments on them, like the nicely painted metal lace hooks.
In the end, personally I can't recommend them based on my experience, however they are clearly great for some people and/or certain types of terrain.
Basic synthetic shirt good for hiking. There's no venting in the pits or mesh on the inside that many shirts like this have, even North Face have a very similar shirt with that.
In general I find North Face to run rather large. I usually wear large, but for this shirt I went with medium. I'm 5'9", 187 lbs but unlike mikp220011 medium works better for me.
Did you try the "Size Advisor" that's on The North Face site and its page for this jacket? It's a tiny link over the sizes. It lets you fill in your weight, height, and body shape and gives you a size recommendation.
I took a chance on these shorts and I'm glad I did! These are truly a hidden gem and may just have become my new favorite hiking/climbing shorts replacing my Arc'teryx Ramparts.
I like the fabric. It is elastic and light. It's probably not as abrasion resistant as the Ramparts but hopefully good enough and the the fabric of the Runbold's don't make the "swish" sound that the Ramparts do.
I also like the cut, design, and details. While the fit is listed as loose, I feel it fits just right in the front and back and really only the legs are loose in my opinion. All pockets are nicely zippered. There is a Mammut logo on one leg and the text "Mammut" on the other.
The legs are a little long. As listed in the description they stop below the knee.
I usually wear 34/30 or 33/30 pants. I picked the large and they fit perfect. Note though that the elasticity of the material may require you to wear a belt. I always do anyway so it's no big deal.
I hope Backcountry will get more of these.
I've only used this a couple of times. I'm pretty happy with it, but realize that the material is very thin and it's true that it's only wind resistant. I recently used this on a 10 mile hike, temperature ranged from 75 to 66, the wind speed around 11 mph. I had only a t-shirt underneath and I'd say I was just OK, a little cold but not very uncomfortable. A little warmer base layer would've been perfect.
I found that the arms run very long on this jacket and the fit seems a little loose even if it's listed as athletic and I could loose a few pounds myself.
Given the long arms, slightly loose fit, hip length (rather than waist length) and super thin fabric I find this to be a specialized jacket. In the right conditions I'm sure it's hard to beat but that limits its use. As such I wouldn't pay full price for it. I got mine on sale.
I usually wear 33 or 34 waist size pants. I got these shorts in Large and they fit well. Usually I wear a belt but with the hook-and-loop straps I didn't have to.
The material is thicker than my Arc'teryx Ramparts and Paliasade shorts but the Norrona still felt great. They weren't hot at all.
I would say the they are quite long. They cover the knees and are a bit baggy.
I got mine in "Too Blue" which are intensely blue/cyan. In an endless display of olive and khaki colored pants and shorts on the trails, these livens things up.
Note that there are two zippered pockets on the back as well, but the zippers are mounted very low. It's a design choice I don't mind.
I'll definitely buy more Norrona products.
I got one in white. Fit is good except for the huge, stiff, uncomfortable label on the inside which I should remove.
My biggest problem with it, however, is that it has no SPF rating. On the top the mesh is really, really thin. It doesn't seem like it would protect much in this area.
I love the Capo's Martello design. I had to have it so I got the bibs and the jersey.
The legs are longer than usual and it's because of the very wide white band at the end of the legs. They do feel a bit excessive and looser than I'd like, so one star off for that.
One thing that's not visible in the pictures is that the black part of the bibs have this very nice, textured/striped look. It looks great and makes it have a matte look instead of shiny.
Sizing is the usual, small European kind. I'm 5.9", 179 lbs and got XL because I have another Capo bib in XL and it seemed like a good size. For this Martello, however, XL is a bit too big.
I love the Capo's Martello design. I had to have it so I got the bibs and the jersey.
The pictures make it look like the material is like a mesh. It's not really. The pattern you see is more like printed or woven into the material. It's still a thin jersey that ventilates well.
One thing you might not notice from the pictures is how long the sleeves are. They go almost down to the elbow. I'm not sure what's up with that. I would have preferred to have shorter sleeves, so I'm taking off one star.
Sizing is the usual, small European kind. I'm 5.9", 179 lbs and got XL. That fits me good. I tried the Large and while I could use it, it's a bit on the small side.
I've only used Fox shorts before. They two I've used have been OK, but I felt they were too heavy and lacked breathability.
I was excited about these Endura shorts because of the thinner material, almost like some hiking pants. In addition it has a couple of mesh panels on the back to help with ventilation and promised to have a less baggy cut.
The looser, lighter material is welcome, but it does like it causes the fit to be a bit "saggy", especially in the seat area. This is a minor complaint, though. The lighter feel is a huge plus.
The liner is pretty bad. It felt extremely baggy, as if I was wearing diapers. I haven't even bothered riding with them, instead using the liner from my Fox shorts.
The sizing chart here seems off. According to the chart a medium would fit me, but it didn't. I had to return it to get a large.
Overall I'm happy. These shorts replace my Fox shorts, but I am using the liner from those instead of the ones that came with the Endura.
I'm comparing this to my experience with Sugoi, Castelli, and Capo bibs.
I like the design of this one. The length of the legs are good, and feels like they're longer than my Castellis, but shorter than Capo. I haven't measured, though.
Unlike any other bibs I have used, the straps on this one are more like stretchy suspenders, not the usual, non-stretchy mesh panels. That does make them more comfortable on the shoulders.
My biggest dislike with these is the chamois. They're the biggest I feel I've ever worn. They feel bulky when walking or standing around. They're also thicker than anything else I've seen in the front. On the bike they're OK.
Despite the criticism, I'm pretty happy with them for the price I paid on sale. Overall I'm more pleased with my Sugoi and Capo bibs.
This is a bit different jersey than the others I have (Sugoi, Capo, Castelli). Firstly, I usually have to get XL, but for this one I had to return and get a Large. That's probably because the fit, as listed above in the right under the Tech Specs, is "regular".
Secondly, the material is not the smooth and shiny kind that's typically found in jerseys. It's not as smooth and more of a matt texture.
Lastly, there aren't any ventilating panels in the pits or anywhere else. That together with the different material makes the jersey feel ever so slightly warmer to me, but that might be an illusion.
Overall I'm pleased with the jersey, it was just a bit different than I expected. I got the red one and I like the clean design.