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Mark Travers

Mark Travers

Park City

Mark Travers's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking
Paddling
Skiing
Climbing

Mark Travers's Bio

Grew up outside of Boston, hiking and skiing in the White Mtns and sailing and kayaking on the Cape and the coast of Maine. Did a stint in central Virginia (where I picked up whitewater paddling) before moving to Utah in the spring of 2012. Moved for the skiing, but love getting out on my bike or backpacking in the mountains when it isn't so white and fluffy

Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on September 3, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I looked at this for a while before being able to justify the cost, but I've found that it's a really useful tool to have. Prior to this I used a compass that had an inclinometer... maybe once in every 3-4 tours. Now that I have an inclinometer strapped to my pole I can measure the slope angle without really having to stop. Just turn it on, drop your pole on the slope, read it and you're good to go. The slope angle updates very quickly so there isn't any waiting around for it to get its bearings. I've also found that this makes it much easier to get an accurate angle vs. messing around with a compass vs. the "gentleman's guess." This thing has really helped me hone route finding decisions on the skin track and descents.

Setup is super easy - two velcro straps will hold this to any kind of ski/treking pole you can think of. No issues with durability or battery life after a full season of use

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on September 3, 2015

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I spent the better part of two seasons on these boots before moving over to a true AT boot (Scarpa Maestrale RS). These boots served me reasonably well, but I think that they're ultimately a little bit lost in the middle ground between a true AT boot and a true Alpine boot. The fit was ok for me, but definitely on the high volume end, especially over the arch and back towards the ankle. These felt even wider than the reported 100mm last width.

When I first got these boots I absolutely hated the out of the box fit, but a quick oven session with the liners completely changed the fit. I would guess that heating the liners is just about a requirement for most foot shapes. It's nice to have a light weight liner for touring, but they do feel a bit thin and I found that they packed out quite a bit faster than a traditional alpine style liner or any of the Intuition liners I've ever had.

The walk mode on these boots is ok - good but not great. The switch to a true AT boot gives a huge improvement in range of motion and a more solid feeling. These boots developed a little bit of play in the walk mode mechanism over time. Not enough to impact skiing performance, but enough that I was able to notice it when I flexed the boot forward. That being said, the walk mode switch is easy to use and I never had issues with it jamming up.

Overall these boots are ok, but I think there are several better options out there (Scarpa Freedom comes to mind if the fit is right for you). At the end of the day, most crossover equipment still involves a good bit of compromise and these boots are no exception. Ultimately I found myself much happier in a true AT boot paired with Marker Lord bindings for the resort days and Dynafits for the touring days

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on September 3, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This is a nice upgrade from the standard helmet mount (flat/curved surface mount) that comes with most GoPro packages. I used this on my ski helmet (Giro Seam) and it gives you a good bit of flexibility to get the angle, height, and front/back location of the camera just right on your helmet. This would be especially helpful if you have a helmet with a lot of vents in the front that you need to work around.

So far no complaints on the durability. This mount held up just fine over a trip to Alaska and a couple other trips last season, including a pretty nasty headfirst wreck I had in flat light conditions. My helmet (and the GoPro mount) took the brunt of the impact and everything survived.

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on September 3, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've had these mounted on my Dynastar Cham 107 High Mountains for all of last season and haven't had any issues with them. I finally took the plunge on these after a couple years of touring in Marker Dukes and the change is incredible. The weight savings over a frame style binding are incredible and really make a difference in how fast and long you can tour for. These are easy enough to mount and to get used to using, although it is a bit of a change over traditional alpine binders.

Being a bigger guy (220# / 6'1") I was a little concerned about the durability and power of these bindings, but I've been pleasantly surprised. I skied on these more than any of my other skis last winter, including several days at the resort in thoroughly mediocre conditions and have not had any concerns with over skiing these or concerns about their durability. The only time I had a somewhat surprising release was when I (somewhat lightly) hooked a log in the trees. Not sure if my alpine binders would have released on that one, but I was fine with the toe popping open on my Dynafits (I didn't have the toe locked up)

When I first started skiing these I did notice a bit of a difference in how these ski vs. alpine binders, but I think the biggest single difference is that your skis feel a LOT lighter with Dynafits vs. alpine binders. Not necessarily a good/bad feel to them, just different

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on September 2, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

You can spend a pretty penny on a waxing iron, but at the end of the day its just going to melt some wax... This iron is very easy to use, heats up quickly, and holds the heat steady enough for a good wax. The dial can be a little hard to read since the indicator arrow is directly under the handle, but it's easy to tell based on quickly the wax melts (and make smokes a bit) if you need to turn it up or down. I've used this iron for a couple of seasons and it's holding up ok. There are a couple of minor scratches on the wax plate but nothing major enough to screw up your skis. I haven't been super gentle with how I store the iron - it just lives in a plastic tote box with all of my way and other tools, so I'm not surprised that it's got some scratches on it

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on September 2, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

These are a must if you're going to be doing any kind of waxing at home. They're strong, durable, and make quick work of holding your brakes out of the way. I've had one pair for the last three seasons and have never had an issue with them breaking or tearing. I've also used Voile straps for the job, but these rubber bands are a lot easier to deal with unless you happen to have a third hand.

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on September 2, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

These are a great addition if your skins didn't come with storage sheets included. Helps to keep your glue fresh and clean, especially during summer storage. I always put these on my skins as soon as I get home from a tour while they're drying out. These also make the skins MUCH easier to separate vs. just folding the glue side over on itself.

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on September 2, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have an older model of this pack that I've been using for a couple of seasons and have played around with the current version of this pack as well. The pack is really comfortable and has a lot of really nice features that you won't necessarily find on other packs. One thing that's important to note is that the fit is a little bit finicky and pretty important on this pack. Since this is the "Pro Protection" airbag style, a good bit of the airbag packs into the shoulder straps of the pack when it's folded up. This makes the shoulder straps pretty thick and stiffer than your average backpack. That being said, Mammut did a great job with the shoulder harness design, so I've found the straps to be really comfortable even with the ends of the airbag packed into them. The other key piece is that you want to make sure that you're wearing the pack correctly so the airbag (top of the pack) sits right around your shoulders. I've found that the pack fits a good variety of torso lengths - it's just one unique feature that any owner should be aware of.

The pack itself has really nice features - a large avy tool / skin pocket in the front that can swallow up some pretty big shovels, along with back panel access (not all that common in airbag packs). Additionally, Mammut did a really nice job designing the compression and ski carry straps. My bag can sinch down nice and tight if I don't have a ton of gear, and the ski carry options have been very secure and easy to deploy regardless of how much gear I have in the bag.

As I mentioned, I have an older version of this pack. The durability on mine has been really impressive. The materials are all very strong and my pack really isn't showing any signs of wear after a couple of seasons. All in all, I've been very happy with my pack and highly recommend it

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on September 2, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've got a couple pairs of these skins and also a pair of the Black Diamond Nylon STS skins and I hands down prefer these to the Nylon skins. The Nylon ones are good in their own right, but the Mohair Mix is significantly lighter and more compact, which is a big help when my touring pack starts getting really full. I really haven't noticed a difference in grip between the Nylon and Mohair Mix, and the durability seems to be relatively comparable between the two. I guess I see the Nylon ones lasting a little bit longer but I suspect that the glue would go out on either set before you really start wearing through the skin material itself. The biggest thing that I've noticed between the two is that the Mohair Mix skins seem to hold more water if you're skinning through really wet snow. Fortunately our snow is usually pretty dry here in the Wasatch, but it might be something to keep in mind if you're looking to do a lot of skinning in coastal ranges or late spring/early summer.

These skins are pretty easy to set up - mine came with a flat front end that you cut to length before installing the tip loop with a set of breakaway screws. All of the hardware was included so all I needed was a screwdriver and a utility knife to cut the front end to length. I do notice a bit of stretch in my skins, especially in wetter snow. When trimming the length, make sure you take this into account don't leave your skins too long. That being said, I haven't had issues with them stretching so much that they come off. As others have mentioned, the trim tool that Black Diamond includes with their skins pretty much sucks. Do yourself a favor and pick up the G3 skin trim tool.

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on September 1, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

These give a nice bit of grip and peace of mind on icy skin tracks. I wouldn't recommend putting these on and going straight up an ice sheet but they can be really helpful is the skin track is starting to get a bit greasy, especially on extended traverses or side hills. I have the 110mm size for my Dynastar Cham 107s and they have plenty of clearance. These are easy enough to install as long as you do it before you get solidly onto slick terrain. They can be a little bulky in the pack but they aren't so sharp that I'd worry about damaging other gear by shoving them in a tight pack. Of course you can always clip them on the outside of your pack but then you're just asking for cowbell jokes for the rest of your tour.

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on September 1, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

My wife and I love our Poco and this raincover is a great addition to it. The cover packs up pretty small and has a separate stuff sack so you can leave it at home if the weather isn't threatening. It sets up easily and has plenty of coverage to keep the little one warm and dry. Much easier than trying to jerry rig something after it has already started getting nasty. Not much more we could ask for out of a rain cover

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on September 1, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

....before Caddys became the official state car of Florida at least...

My wife and I have one of these packs and several of our friends have this (or the other versions of the Poco) as well. One of the best things that this pack has going for it is the wide range of adjustability, both for the kiddo and for the person carrying the pack. The entire suspension system adjusts for a wide range of sizes and shapes of adult - the shoulder straps have an easy ladder strap adjustment inside the back panel and the hip belt can be lengthened or shortened to fit any size hips. Additionally, the baby seat adjusts up and down and has a secure set of shoulder straps to keep the little one safe, secure, and comfy. Most of the pads that are at risk for slobber or spitup can be removed for easy cleaning. Additionally, the included sun shade and optional rain cover add on mean that you won't be scrambling to jerry-rig something should the weather stop cooperating.

In addition to all of the adjustability, this pack also has plenty of storage space for everything you may need for a day outside. I've even seen people on the trail with some light overnight gear strapped on to the back of one of these (really helps to have a partner willing to carry the bulk of the group gear). With a full aluminum frame, this isn't quite as light or compact as a typical backpacking bag, but it does fold up quite small and includes a couple of straps that help to keep it bundled up small for traveling or storage.

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on September 1, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I'm on my second Seam helmet after having my first one for a solid four seasons. Between its age and the number of impacts I've gone through with it, I decided it was time for a refresh (remember, you probably don't want to wear a helmet until it disintegrates from old age....). My first Seam served me really well and I have absolutely no complaints about the durability or longevity that I had in my old helmet. I did some shopping around to see if I liked anything else better and ultimately came back to the Seam for another round.

The helmet is light and comfy and has a good set of vents. Probably not the absolute highest airflow out there, but I like the positioning of the vents and the ability to close them easily with the push of a slider on the top of the helmet. The front vent is also nice in that it helps vent hot air off your goggles and keeps them from fogging up.

I have these paired with Oakley Airbrake googles and it's a great fit. Almost looks like the helmet and goggles were designed for each other.

Ultimately the biggest deciding factor for me was fit. I've come to realize that I generally have a "Giro-shaped" head and helmets from Smith and POC (among others) generally just don't fit me as well. I've found that, as a general rule, Giro helmets seem to have a longer / more oval fit whereas Smith and POC both have a rounder shape that isn't as comfortable or secure on me. Fortunately, Giro helmets usually fit me like a glove.

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on September 1, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have this on all of my skis for summer storage in order to keep the bases from drying out. It's good for that purpose - one of the cheaper options available and sold in large bricks for a whole quiver waxing session. Melts easily and scrapes well. As makes for a good prep/cleaning wax if your skis need a little extra love part way through the season

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on September 1, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have both the 2-person and 3-person copper spur tents from BA and have one of these footprints for each tent. Since the Copper Spur is an ultralight tent, having some sort of footprint / ground sheet is really a necessary - the floor fabric on the tents is pretty thin and I'd rather have issues with a ground sheet than the tent floor itself.

I've found that both the 2-person and 3-person footprints fit pretty well - maybe a little on the loose side, but not so much that they extend beyond the rainfly.

You can do a simple ground sheet cheaper with clear plastic sheeting, but it's nice having the option to travel with just the ground sheet and rainfly when bugs aren't a concern.

I've had the 3-person tent for about 3 years and it's seen the most use. The footprint is holding up just fine and doesn't hold a ton of dirt. I rinse it out in the bathtub if it gets really nasty after a while, but generally a quick shake to get the big pieces of dirt & leaves off is the only "maintenance" this needs

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on September 1, 2015

3 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
Fit: Runs small
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 220 lbs
Size Purchased: X Large

I love the idea of this shirt and the stuff that Ten Tree puts out in general. Unfortunately, the fit on their t shirts is just too slim for me. I'm typically either a large or an XL in t shirts, but the slim fit on this shirt meant that it was almost skin tight on me, even in an XL. If you're solidly on the skinny spectrum I highly recommend it, but if you're a bigger guy this shirt isn't all that comfortable

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on September 1, 2015

3 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

I got this and played around with it a bit before ultimately returning it and going for a Garmin 510 instead. It seemed to be a good computer with all of the basic features, but I'm happy that I ultimately chose to upgrade to a Garmin. The display on this unit is ok - not my favorite as it seems rather small and has limited customization options but it covers the basics. The instructions walked through the install and set up in pretty good detail as well.

I ultimately chose to go for a GPS unit for a couple of key reasons:
- Garmin accessories (HRM, cadence, power meter, etc) are pretty easy to find and offer a wide range of upgrade options
- Having a unit that syncs to app / online training programs seamlessly is really really nice
- Running a GPS unit means no wheel magnets or sensors cluttering up your bike (the speed / cadence sensor in this kit is pretty bulky and didn't fit on my bike's chain stay very well)
- Having a GPS unit gives you a certain degree of multi-sport functionality (hiking, running, etc)

If you're looking for a low-frills computer that covers the basics (speed, cadence, HRM (w/ add on strap)) this computer is a pretty good choice. That being said, there are a lot of nice features that Garmin and other GPS computers provide that aren't available at this level

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on September 1, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Great option for skiing and mountain biking shots. The video is much less choppy than being on your helmet. That being said, you tend to get less of the surroundings in your shot and more of just what's straight ahead. The straps are easy to adjust and very secure once you sinch them down a bit. Comfy over a ski jacket, although it can feel a bit bulky if you've got several layers on underneath

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on September 1, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

The compressed air (Mammut / Snowpulse and BCA) systems are great for air travel, especially in North America. As long as the cylinder is empty you can take it on the plane in any piece of baggage you want. It helps to have the head removed so if you do get stopped by TSA they can clearly see that the cylinder is empty. My wife and I flew up to Alaska in the spring an had a pair of these in our carry on. We left them packed in our bags through security and didn't get any questions on them from TSA in either airport. Getting these refilled was easy enough - we found a dive shop in Anchorage that refilled them in about 10 minutes for $10 each.

If you are planning on traveling with these and refilling them at your destination, make sure you have a rearming kit as well. When you fire this off, there is a small copper disc and washer that get punctured and need to be replaced. In my experience, most places that have the fitting for refilling Mammut cylinders tend to also keep a couple rearming kits in stock - just make sure you confirm with your shop of choice

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Mark Travers

Mark Traverswrote a review of on September 1, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

The compressed air (BCA and Mammut / Snowpulse) systems are great for air travel, especially in North America. As long as the cylinder is empty you can take it on the plane in any piece of baggage you want. It helps to have the head removed so if you do get stopped by TSA they can clearly see that the cylinder is empty. The BCA canisters are nice in that you can unscrew the entire head of the cylinder by hand (just make sure it's empty first). My wife and I flew up to Alaska in the spring an had a pair of these in our carry on. We left them packed in our bags through security and didn't get any questions on them from TSA in either airport. Getting these refilled was easy enough - we found a dive shop in Anchorage that refilled them in about 10 minutes for $10 each.

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