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Matt Lutz

Matt Lutz

Minnesota

Matt Lutz's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Running
Snowshoeing

Matt Lutz's Bio

I walk further with less. Current 3+ season base weight for Midwest is ~7 lbs.

Matt Lutz

Matt Lutzwrote a review of on December 9, 2009

4 5

The best part about these shoes is the plastic straps. These do not freeze up like a nylon strap, and they can be used while wearing big dumb mitts. Also, the straps can be shortened by cutting the non-handle end to eliminate excess. If you choose this route, remember to ensure that you have enough strap for your largest boots and to measure twice and cut once.

I recommend folks get the 30's if they are going to be dealing with powder. I sank to my hips in powder in 25's and 175 lbs of gear (bodyweight + gear). On more hard-packed snow, smaller sizes are acceptable.

The teeth and grip on these snowshoes is exceptional, especially on hard-packed snow and ice. The teeth dig in and hold nicely. I have distinct marks on mine where the paint has rubbed off due to wear, but the points themselves are holding up nicely after two seasons of use. I also have not had problems or durability issues with the clevis pins that hold the bindings to the snowshoe body

The grips are also acceptable for deeper powder. The side-to-side bars underneath the decking help to prevent slippage on uphills and downhills. Like all snowshoes, they are easiest to use when you have trekking poles (unless an iceaxe is necessary) in deep powder.

The elevators on the heel should be moved forward about one inch. Otherwise, my heels (mens size 9) on my hiking boots and winter mukluks slip off too easily. It is a nice touch for long, steep inclines. If you stay out of the mountains, you don't need this feature. (those who frequent rolling hills also need not apply for ascent feature).

Finally, while these snowshoes are not the lightest out there, they are an acceptable weight and do not cause excess fatigue. For storage, they can be packed flat for carrying on the top of a pack should shoes not be necessary.

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Matt Lutz

Matt Lutzwrote a review of on December 9, 2009

5 5

I have three pairs of these and wear them in cool weather around town and in the woods. For hiking/camping, they are my go-to socks when the mercury gets below 40F, but it's not so cold out to require full-on over-the-calf winter socks (SmartWool Mountaineering).

In two years of use, they have lost some of the interior padding due to normal wear and tear, but the padding is still there and the socks have not fossilized like a cotton sock or low-quality wool sock does.

If I had to change one thing, I would make the padding a little less on the top of the foot to encourage ventilation.

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Matt Lutz

Matt Lutzwrote a review of on December 9, 2009

3 5

The down is 700 fill, which is below the quality of other jackets made by Montbell, Rab (which uses European down standards), Western Mountaineering and Feathered Friends. This makes the jacket heavier for the insulation value it provides. In addition, the construction is sewn-through. In wind, there are definite cold spots on the seams.

That said, the jacket is warm and sufficiently large enough to layer a puffy midlayer underneath. I have used it (with layers underneath) in conditions to -20F with windchills much lower.

The DWR on the shell is average and wears out after a while. When the DWR is gone, the shell wets out and gets the down wet. This compromises the insulation value.

The hood is just a nylon hood that rolls into the collar. For winter conditions, I want an insulated hood to keep my head and neck warm.

For the cost, the Nupste's hard to beat. This jacket regularly goes on sale, so don't pay full price for it.

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Matt Lutz

Matt Lutzwrote a review of on December 8, 2009

5 5

I wear this vest in winter underneath larger puffy parkas for extra bonus warmth in my core. It has also provided a good boost of warmth to my summer-weight synthetic puffy, a Montbell UL Themrwrap Parka. The fit is close and the vest is designed to be worn over a baselayer and a windshirt and no more. If you expect to get this vest over another puffy, size up or pick different layering option.

Patagonia has done right to chose Primaloft insulation for this vest, as Primaloft's short-staple fibers and compressibility are best suited for a garments. Also, Patagonia's shell fabric is very breathable and repels moisture nicely.

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Matt Lutz

Matt Lutzwrote a review of on December 8, 2009

4 5

I received these socks from running in a TNF endurance race. I now wear them with my racing flats because they are so thin. I do not use them with my normal running shoes because they do not take up space in the shoe like my (minimally) thicker wools do.

These socks are an ultra-thin running sock that are designed to just come over the lip of a show. They fit tight like a slipper. The are thin like a liner sock would be, so don't expect padding here. If you want padding, get it in your shoe or switch to a thicker sock.

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Matt Lutz

Matt Lutzwrote a review of on December 8, 2009

4 5

GoLite makes two windshirts - the Wisp (hoodless) and the Ether (hooded). Hands down, the Ether is better. I have each, and have rated each at a 4 because neither is perfect.

Combine it with a thin or midweight base layer and it becomes a lighter replacement for a softshell jacket in milder conditions. The cut is athletic, and the neck smartly bellows out at your chin to increase ventilation. Unfortunately, the jacket has a 1/4 zip making ventilation more difficult. This also makes the jacket a pullover.

Like the Ether, the Wisp fabric is very breathable, but as with any breathable fabric, don't expect miracles. I have sweated it out while running, but it dries very fast.

I would give the jacket five stars, but the lack of hood and quarter zip prevent this one from being perfect.

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Matt Lutz

Matt Lutzwrote a review of on July 27, 2009

4 5

This windshirt goes anywhere I do, regardless of the season. Combine it with a thin or midweight base layer and it becomes a lighter replacement for a softshell jacket in milder conditions. The cut is athletic, and the neck smartly bellows out at your chin to increase ventilation. Also, GoLite's current version has a full-zip front, as opposed to its older quarter zip models - again, for increased ventilation.

The jacket is very breathable, but as with any breathable fabric, don't expect miracles. I have sweated it out while running, but it dries very fast. I have used it as a shell layer against mosquitoes with good success.

I would have given this five stars, except for the fact that I pulled out the sewn-in attachment that held the hood closure neatly inside the hood. The hood is still functional.

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Matt Lutz

Matt Lutzwrote a review of on January 13, 2009

4 5

I bought this jacket to replace my TNF Denali jacket as a main fleece in winter conditions when weight is not a factor. The jacket has as much loft as my 200 weight Polartec fleece pieces, but it is softer and noticeably warmer. It also fits underneath my softshell jacket nicely. The Powerstretch fleece is a nice touch to increase venting.

There are a few problems though. I am between sizes and a medium was not snug enough. I ended up with a small, but the sleeves are about .25 to .5 inches too short to use the thumbholes effectively. Finally, the collar elastic is unnecessary and I will probably remove it. Hand pockets would be nice, that would decrease the simplicity of the garment.

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Matt Lutz

Matt Lutzwrote a review of on December 23, 2008

4 5

This pack has won a slew of awards and for good reason. It carries loads up to 30 pounds well, and you can stretch it to 35 if your gear is dense. The bottom bellows out at the bottom allowing you to put a cold weather bag in there sideways if you use a compression sack. The hipbelt and back panel are padded like a pack with twice its volume, and the belt molds well to one's hips. The pack comes in three torso lengths and three sizes of hipbelt, and the hipbelt is removable and replaceable if you kill it or need to go up a size. Also, the bottom is made of a durable Cordura nylon to boost durability for every time you take your pack off. All in all, a great pack.

There are a few nitpick issues with the pack. The straps are too long on the top closure, the side compression straps, hipbelt and load lifter straps. The bottom set of compression straps on the sides are poorly placed and if used, eliminate the side pockets of all use. Those straps should be eliminated. Finally, the hydration port is slightly too small - a hiker needs to remove the nipple of their hose to pull it through.

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Matt Lutz

Matt Lutzwrote a review of on December 15, 2008

5 5

My initial two pairs of these socks are still going strong after a 200 mile through-hike and summer marathon training. The first two held up so well that I bought three more pairs over the course of my summer running, and they are my go-to sock for running and 3+ season hiking. These socks do not fossilize like other merino wool socks.

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Matt Lutz

Matt Lutzwrote a review of on December 15, 2008

5 5

These gloves are fantastic for use by themselves in 3+ season weather and for use as a liner in winter conditions. The WindPro fleece is excellent for keeping the chill off of your hands, although it is a bit bulky. The small seams, despite their multitude, help keep the bulk down. I chose the BD Jetstream over Mountain Hardwear's windpro fleece gloves because BD's verion (like their PowerStretch Fleece gloves) has a leather palm.

As for durability, I have used them pretty hard over the last year or so and they are just now starting to develop small abrasions in parts of the outer fabric near one or two of the fingertips. When my pair dies, I'll replace them with another pair of the same.

They will melt, so keep them away from hot stoves.

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Matt Lutz

Matt Lutzwrote a review of on November 10, 2008

5 5

The best feature of the Spires is their FlickLock. The lock holds the pole in place and you know it's closed; no turning and wondering if the lock is holding like other poles. The lock does need minimal maintenance, however. The screw that holds the lock's latch needs to be checked after and before every trip. It is a standard Phillips screw, and can be turned easily with a penny, knife blade or fingernail. I consider this minimal maintenance just part of taking care of one's toys, so it is not a detractor.

For their weight, these are the best trekking poles around. The straps are a easily adjustable and large enough to accommodate gloves (but not big mitts) and have a 3D mesh to wick away moisture. Should you break a part, you can get replacement parts from Black Diamond.

I've put a 400 or so miles on mine, and they look good-as-new. They hold just as well, too.

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Matt Lutz

Matt Lutzwrote a review of on November 7, 2008

5 5

This is an excellent 3+ season bag that is conservative in its listed temperature rating.

It comes with a heavy nylon stuff sack that is 6"x12". The stuff sack bottom is round. The bag easily stuffed into this sack, and compresses into a approximately a 6"x6"x6" cube. The 850+ fill power down lofts up quickly on its own, and it lofts up even faster if you climb in the bag. The bag's fabric, Pertex, feels good on one's skin and it is slippery smooth. This allows you to roll around and not take the bag with you. I have not weighed the bag. The manufacturer's listed weight is 21 oz. Mine weighs 23.35 oz.

My bag has a half zipper, although current models have a full. When fully zipped, it locks into place as Marmot claims. I have no problems getting into or out of the bag, despite there being only a half-zip. The zipper tape is stiff and keeps the wispy shell fabric from being caught in the zipper.

I have used the bag twice in temps below the listed bag rating of 30 degrees F. Both those nights (10 and 11 degrees F) I was wearing a base layer top and bottom, liner socks, thick wool socks, 100 weight micro fleece pants, a 200 weight fleece vest and a thin hat. I was using a Therm-a-rest Prolite 3 (1" thick) underneath me. Both nights I was in a tent.

I have also used the bag on multiple nights in the mid 30's and lower 40's. Each time I slept in just a base layer and a thin fleece hat. I had either a Therm-a-rest Prolite 3 (1" thick) or a 57" Ridgerest underneath me. I was toasty warm. I would recommend this bag to a friend.

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