Matt Zia

Matt Zia

white mountains and colorado

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Matthew's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Running
Skiing
Climbing

Matthew's Bio

Matt Zia

Matt Zia wrote a review of on December 30, 2012

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Another super bomber pack from the good folks at BD. The material feels solid and holds up well to scrapes and general pack abuse. It's not the most water-resistant I've found, but I always have a trash bag liner anyway, so no big deal. I love the Swingarm suspension and how it hugs your body rather than staying rigid on your back; the shoulder straps are pretty thin, but the pack isn't designed for super heavy loads so I don't notice them rubbing, plus the pack carries so well that there's not much weight on your shoulders anyway. I'm also a big fan of the padded bottom. God knows I've accidentally dropped my pack a bit too hard a few too many times so it's nice having that little extra padding and durability. Also the buckles are gloves-on-compatible-for-unbuckling. Super nice for cold days.

The hipbelt is a bit of a PITA to take on and off, the expansion collar is way too big IMHO, and the adjustment buckles on the shoulderstraps and brain have two different ways to thread them, one locked and one free to slide, but they're all things that I've figured out how to resolve and/or deal with efficiently.

All in all, super solid pack full of hidden secrets (okay just one - the tucked away rope strap) but yeah, I love it.

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Matt Zia

Matt Zia wrote a review of on December 25, 2012

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

5 years ago, a naive 15 year old asked his parents for video games for Christmas. Instead they surprised him with this sleeping bag (albiet the older model). The boy was distraught for he did not know the true value of the sleeping bag in all its glory.

Fast forward 5 years and the now 20 year old boy has spent almost a year of his life in the sleeping bag all over the world. When others complain of the cold, he simply shrugs and remembers the warmth of his bag. When others bags become sodden with blood, sweat and tears (and rain and condensation), he laughs and affectionately rubs his still-dry bag.

The boy is now looking forward to many years of continued adventuring with his sleeping bag.

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Matt Zia

Matt Zia wrote a review of on December 25, 2012

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Absolutely my favorite, go-to, captain clutch, buzzer beater layer. Packs down wicked small and light, sheds off light precipitation, dries quickly, blocks wind pretty well, and most importantly, keeps yah buns toasty!

The only downside to the pullover? It doesn't have a hood, sad face. There is an easy solution however! The Nanopuff Hoody! Either way you'll be happy.

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Matt Zia

Matt Zia wrote a review of on December 25, 2012

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

With great sadness, I bid farewell to my trusty Z-Lite last month after 5 amazing years of companionship, epic adventures, warm and comfortable nights, and some of the wildest terrain I've ever seen. You know how they say dogs start to look like their owners? Well my Z-Lite looked like me; in that I spent so many nights on it there was an indentation the shape of my back on it. I had it strapped to the outside of my pack bushwhacking through Yukon scrub pine forest, Utah slot canyons, New Zealand rainforest and everywhere in between and the Z-Lite never failed or broke. I spent 20 days camped on a glacier, double padding with my Z-Lite and a Prolite and was snug as a bug, when everyone else, including a guy who had a 2.5" thick Exped mat and people using just a Prolite were freezing their butts off. Simply put, the Z-Lite is one of the most functional, reliable pieces of equipment you can buy. Just do it. You'll fall in love.

(footnote: the same Z-Lite is still going strong; I gave it to a friend in New Zealand because I didn't want to have to pack it coming home. I cut off part and use it as a buttpad though, so it still has a place in my heart.)

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Matt Zia

Matt Zia wrote an answer about on December 24, 2012

I've got big fat (or phat?) feet too and the Scarpas fit like a dream. In my experience, Scarpas tend to run a little wider in the toe box and narrower in the heel. I've had these boots for about 6 months now and haven't had any issues with blisters or hot spots on my traditionally janky feet. In the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, "Do it now! Get to da choppah!"

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Matt Zia

Matt Zia wrote a review of on December 19, 2012

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Super awesome pants. Just wore them for 77 days in New Zealand and of everyone else I was with, I definitely stayed the driest and most comfortable. The Gore-tex breathes super well and is way more durable than I was expecting, given that they're lightweight pants. They've scuffed a little on the knees, have some tiny holes around the cuffs, and one big hole where I kinda caught them with a crampon...but they're all patched up fine! I should add that they don't feel like normal rain pants with the unlined/uncoated nylon clamminess. The exterior is a sort of brushed something which feels great, and the inside is I'm pretty sure the raw Gore-tex membrane.

The only issues I found are the lack of belt loops and the length of the zippers at the feet. I ended up sewing my own belt loops onto the pants because the elastic just doesn't hold them up super well, especially when carrying a backpack. IMHO, belt loops (or an integrated belt) are a necessity on rain pants. As to the zippers, they're not quite long enough to make getting the pants on or off over boots very easy. You really need to wiggle them and pull hard, and if you're wearing plastic boots, forget about it. It's not as big an issue for mountaineering or skiing because you'll be wearing them all day anyway, but for hiking, it's a bit of a PITA.

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Matt Zia

Matt Zia wrote a review of on December 15, 2012

2 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Super comfy. I've got funky feet and these are the only shoes I've found that really fit well. The rubber on the other hand...well let's just say there might have been a mixup between the rubber shipped to the climbing shoe factory and the rubber shipped to the prophylactic factory. Some rubber is supposed to be slippery, some is supposed to be sticky.

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Matt Zia

Matt Zia wrote a review of on September 17, 2012

5 5

Love these wiregates. They're nice and big, but still pretty light, so perfect for sport draws. The wiregate action is super smooth and has a nice big gate opening for easy clipping. They also just feel good in your hand. In terms of climbing gear, I think this is most important, cause no company sells any gear that's any less safe when used properly, so for me, the biggest factor is the feel and comfort level I have with equipment. These 'biners feel good. Get some. They're great.

I'll also add, for deciding between these (or the HoodWires) and something like the Oz for a sport climbing rack, go with the full-size 'biner. They'll hold up better for longer on hard sport climbs where the weight savings of the Oz won't really make a difference.

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Matt Zia

Matt Zia wrote a review of on February 15, 2012

4 5

Love these socks. Super soft and comfy, but pretty durable too. I wear them pretty much every day for everything from backpacking to playing Ultimate. They don't get clammy and gross like cotton socks and still smell alright at the end of the day (or week...). I only give them four stars because I have a couple pairs of Darn Tough socks and they're the absolute best. But, these guys are half the price of the Darn Toughs, and almost as good, so that counts for something. Plus the graze/grey color looks wicked cool. They're the only pair of socks I've ever gotten compliments for.

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Matt Zia

Matt Zia wrote a review of on December 13, 2011

4 5

First off, there are way too many shoes that are really boring in terms of color, and then there are a lot of shoes that seem to be bright just because they can be. Vasque hit the right medium with the yellow peat color. I've had them for about a year, probably put close to 300 trail miles on them, plus just running and kicking around town, and I've gotten numerous comments on the color. I caught a friend once taking a picture of my shoes while hiking, so yeah, if you're going to get these, definitely get the yellow.

Aesthetics aside, they're a great pair of shoes. I was a little skeptical of the built-in footbed at first, but I'm a believer now. They're perfectly molded to my feet and feel like a million bucks when I put them on. Okay maybe not a million bucks, but still pretty good. They're pretty durable too, as the number of miles can attest to. The only real damage has happened in the past month when the sole started tearing off the rest of the shoe and now I can see my socks... They breathe really well, lots of mesh to air out my stinky paws during a run. The sole is pretty sticky, not like climbing shoe sticky, but it'll earn your trust going over a boulder field.

The one downside is the toebox is slightly on the narrow side. I've got fairly wide feet so my pinkie toes have started grumbling about the width, not to the point of full on blisters, but definitely unhappy.

All said, 5/5 for the durability and steeze.

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Matt Zia

Matt Zia wrote an answer about on December 5, 2011

if you're 6'10'', most definitely the large. but if you're 5'10'' and you mistyped, i'd go with the medium. i'm 5'11'' and the medium fit me just about perfect out of the box. that said, if you have a longer torso, then you might want to go with the large. best thing to do would be to find a store nearby that carries the infinity and try one one. or, cause the shipping'd be free, you could order one, then exchange it if the sizing was off.

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Matt Zia

Matt Zia wrote a review of on November 15, 2011

5 5

do not buy these. if you do, then there will be less of them for me to get and wear! : )

seriously though, bomber shorts. the material is super lightweight, but has enough structure to not look like a flowing kilt around your waist. kinda what you'd expect from a hiking short in terms of feel, not as smooth as a baby's bottom, but by no means scratchy. it dries wicked quick so you almost never need to worry about chafing. the buckle feels solid and has a good range of adjustment, so you can batten down the hatches on day 5 of the 3-day backpacking trip when you're down to eating crumbs of gorp and going lord of the flies over the last clif bar you found in your buddy's pack, but then you can loosen it back up once you have to resort to eating your friends and you pack the weight back on. the pockets are good sized, not too big, not to small. be careful though, they're angled just right so that things in your pocket can escape easier than the loch ness monster when you sit down. the fit is great, i'm 5'11'', 155, usually wear a 30-32 and the medium fits perfectly. sitting comfortably on my waist they come down to a little above the knee; long enough to keep people from being blinded by my pasty white man thighs, but short enough for good range of motion.

in short (haha, short...yeah...) patagonia hit the nail on the head with the GI II's. great hiking short, but simple and classy enough to wear around town and not look like you just came from a week in the woods.

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Matt Zia

Matt Zia wrote a review of on December 2, 2010

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

When I want to dance, I don't go to a party, I just pull my pack out of the closet. She (yes my pack is definitely female) fits like a dream and the pivoting hip joint and shoulder straps let her move with every motion, whether it's scrambling through Utah slot canyons or winter climbing in Colorado. BD nailed it with the Infinity.

Super simple pack; one big pocket, H20 sleeve, one-pocket brain. It might not have all the fancy bells and whistles that an equivalent Osprey or Gregory pack might have, but then, there's less to break. After three years of hard use, I've got two tiny holes in the brain fabric, the side and front pockets are stretched out, and there's scuff marks all over.

I've never had an issue fitting my gear in, even when leading weeklong trips where I've had to carry extra food, first-aid kit, paperwork, etc.

Just the best. Bottom line.

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Matt Zia

Matt Zia wrote an answer about on December 2, 2010

hey john, those straps are for stabilizing the ball joint behind the hip belt. they should be already threaded through a toggle thing on each side, but if they aren't, it's kind right on the edge of the backpanel near the straps. basically the straps go through there and have a little bit of elastic in them, so after you put your pack on, cinch them down and they'll keep the hip belt from swinging too much. you should notice the pack won't move quite as effortlessly, it'll move when you do, but not otherwise. hope that helps.

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Matt Zia

Matt Zia wrote an answer about on November 9, 2010

i'm pretty sure the lower clips are used for carrying an ice axe. put the head in the little reinforced rubber pocket and the handle comes up and attaches using the two elastic tabs, basically like a trekking pole carry system.

the lower clips are also part of the snowboard carry system. if you unclip both, there's a strap that comes with the pack made of the same reinforced rubber material that connects them together and goes around the bottom of your board.

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