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Matt Zia

Matt Zia

white mountains and colorado

Matt Zia's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Running
Skiing
Climbing

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 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 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 a review of on November 9, 2010

5 5

i picked this stuff sack up last spring when my 10 year old sack finally kicked the bucket. coming from the dinosaur of a stuff sack i had, this is like a dream come true. it weighs next to nothing but it has a super sturdy feel to it. i love how it's water resistant. with a down bag, it's a huge advantage over a standard stuff sack. i don't need to worry about my bag getting wet when it's in the stuff sack. my one complaint is the straps are a little long for normal use, but i guess if you need to really fill the sack up the long straps will let you get the lid on. now i just need to get another one for my clothes.

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Matt Zia

Matt Zia wrote a review of on August 3, 2010

5 5

just found one of these today at the horny toad store. besides the obvious material quality (it is a horny toad shirt after all), the design is awesome. unfortunately it's a bit too subtle for most people, i had to flat-out tell my mom and sister what it meant, but once they got it, they thought it was hilarious.

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Matt Zia

Matt Zia wrote a review of on June 27, 2010

3 5

these pants are one of the better investments i've made. they're some of the cheapest rain/wind pants i've found, but they're super durable, and do exactly what they're intended for, keeping you dry. i've put them through multiple trips including bushwhacking for two weeks in the yukon and several years of skiing.

through all this the only damage they've gotten is a little scuffing around the knees, and a small tear in the butt. for $70, i'm amazed at how well they've held up.

my one complaint is they're not the most breathable pants ever, they tend to start clinging to my legs when i start sweating. they also have a weird habit of almost stretching out when they get damp. almost every time i wear them backpacking they start out fairly slim in the morning, and end up looking like snowboarding pants by the time i reach the next camp. for these two reasons i knocked them down to four stars.

despite this, i still think they're some of the best pants you'll get for your money. they've never leaked a drop on me and they're some of the toughest pants i've worn. i would definitely recommend them to anyone.

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Matt Zia

Matt Zia wrote a review of on June 27, 2010

4 5

these pants are one of the better investments i've made. they're some of the cheapest rain/wind pants i've found, but they're super durable, and do exactly what they're intended for, keeping you dry. i've put them through multiple trips including bushwhacking for two weeks in the yukon and several years of skiing.

through all this the only damage they've gotten is a little scuffing around the knees, and a small tear in the butt. for $70, i'm amazed at how well they've held up.

my one complaint is they're not the most breathable pants ever, they tend to start clinging to my legs when i start sweating. they also have a weird habit of almost stretching out when they get damp. almost every time i wear them backpacking they start out fairly slim in the morning, and end up looking like snowboarding pants by the time i reach the next camp. for these two reasons i knocked them down to four stars.

despite this, i still think they're some of the best pants you'll get for your money. they've never leaked a drop on me and they're some of the toughest pants i've worn. i would definitely recommend them to anyone.

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Matt Zia

Matt Zia wrote a review of on May 17, 2010

5 5

osprey may have made one of the best daypacks out there. despite being super light, the material has a very durable feel to it. the seams are double stitched and it feels solid. the main pocket is cavernous and can fit pretty much anything. it's doubled as my school backpack when i needed it to, and it worked like a champ.

the one (very minor) complaint i have is in the design of the outer pockets. the front stretch pocket is incredibly useful, as long as the main pocket isn't stuffed. the two side pockets though, don't serve much purpose. they're too small to hold a liter water bottle, which is what i'm guessing they're designed for. i suppose you could put a camera or something in there and still have fairly easy access to it, but you could just use the hipbelt pocket.

overall, great design, lightweight, durable, practical, adjustable for different backs. i would definitely recommend this pack to anyone

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Matt Zia

Matt Zia wrote a review of on May 11, 2010

5 5

i wore these for a month long NOLS course last summer and had zero complaints. i didn't get the chance to break them in beforehand, so i was worried i would get mad blisters, but i had no problems with them.

by some coincidence, half the people on my course had these same boots and everyone loved them.

i'd recommend them to anyone who's looking for a sturdy, comfortable, bombproof boot.

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Matt Zia

Matt Zia wrote a review of on April 16, 2010

3 5

I originally picked up a pair of smalls of SAC. When they came, I loved them...except that they fit me more like a pair of long underwear than touring pants. The waist was good, and below the knee was fine, but the thighs were almost skin tight. I returned them and ordered a pair of mediums from backcountry instead. Again, I loved them, but they were way too big. The waist had about two extra inches, and they were about two inches too long. They also hung off me like a pair of baggy jeans, not the kind of thing you want when skinning up a mountain or carving down it.

Maybe I have weird sized legs, but the size difference between the medium and the small didn't seem right to me.

If they fit you, they are an incredible pair of pants, the material is tough, but still feels comfortable, and they don't have a lot of frills, just three pockets and belt loops. I'm just bummed they didn't fit me right.

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