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Matthew Agarwala

Matthew Agarwala

Southern Ontario Ice, White Mountains, NH; Adirondack Mtns, NY; Red River Gorge, KY; Vail, CO

Matthew Agarwala's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking
Climbing

Matthew Agarwala

Matthew Agarwala wrote a review of on May 12, 2010

This thing works everywhere!
5 5

This is the perfect cold weather bag. When paired with the Exped downmat 9 you are ready to take on the coldest weather on earth.

Pros:
1. Super warm
2. im 6'1 and there is enough room for me to dry damp clothes at the bottom of the bag (i got the long)
3. foot box is comfortable and warm
4. WATERPROOF shell is amazing. I don't have to be constantly concerned about keeping the down dry - i know it's safe. Condensation inside the tent while in the north east is no longer an issue. I get all the comfort and warmth and weight savings of down with out the risks.
5. windproof shell is really nice on mt. washington, NH and in rocky mountain bivy nights
6. hood is comfortable and warm
7. fabric is pretty downproof

Cons:
1. draw cord system for the draft collar is a pain to use
2. its expensive, but from backcountry and marmot it is a once in a lifetime investment (i bought mine with a 20% sale/coupon)

Misc notes:
1. the bag dries out quickly
2. in really cold weather I like to pre warm the bag with hot water bottles (nalgenes)
3. zipper is pretty standard - snags a bit, but no more than most

I've used this bag in New Hampshire's White Mountains for week long trips on Mt. Washington and throughout the winters in Colorado's high country.

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Matthew Agarwala

Matthew Agarwala wrote a review of on May 6, 2010

2 5

The BD ice clipper is a good idea, but there are so many design flaws that I can't recommend it to anyone. Especially not when Petzl makes the caritool which performs much better.

Pros:
1. Racks 4 - 6 screws or your tools
2. keeps things organized and in place

Cons:
1. They spin around through the sleeves on your harness (I've experienced this with the BD Blizzard and arc'teryx x350a) whenever you put some weight on them
2. the spike at the top is not big enough to securely hold screws while you're trying to access the third screw on your clipper
3. it should be deeper so that you can get more screws/tools on each clipper

I do not recommend this product to my friends. Instead I recommend the Petzl Caritool which does the same job much better.

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Matthew Agarwala

Matthew Agarwala wrote a review of on May 6, 2010

4 5

Pros:
1. Stephen Koch uses them - probably the best endorsement a product can get.
2. place fast and easy thanks to the swivel head
3. stay sharp
4. they rack pretty well with the petzl caritool (not well with the BD ice clipper)
5. the second can clean them easily and knock out the ice on the spot
6. can get 2 biners through hanger if you use small biners *DMM phantoms are great for this

Cons:
1. the arm between the screw and the hanger gets in the way so you have to excavate lots of ice out of tight spaces
2. clipping the screw part way through the placement sounds like a great idea, but is pretty hard to do in practice. I find that it ends up taking more time and increasing the chance of falling on an incomplete placement. You have to make sure the screw is placed deep enough that when you clip the rope the weight of the rope doesn't change the angle or pull the screw. Then, when finishing the placement, you have to fight the weight of your rope for the upwards half of each rotation. If I really need an oh $#!+ piece I still find it faster to clip a sling to a well placed tool.

(3)

 

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Matthew Agarwala

Matthew Agarwala wrote a review of on May 6, 2010

5 5

These are by far my favorite screws and they make up the bulk of my ice rack.
Pros:
1. rack easily using the petzl caritool, but not so well with the BD ice clipper. 2. tips come sharp and stay that way, i've never had an issue with dulling the screw.
3. Fast, efficient, effortless placements every time.
4. rotating, swivel handle lets you get the screw in tight spaces without having to excavate away all your ice.
5. easy for the second to clean

Grivel screws have cone shaped threads instead of triangular ones. The idea behind this is that each thread has more surface area in contact with the ice, thus creating a stronger placement.

I recommend these to all my ice climbing friends. The only other screw that I use is the petzl laser sonic

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Matthew Agarwala

Matthew Agarwala wrote a review of on May 5, 2010

4 5

This is my most frequently used backpack. I use it for
1. school: (fits lap top, books, notebooks, has a separate pouch for pens, wallet, keys, cell phone, yet another pocket that fits 2 apples, and yet a third on the front that fits small items too.
2. Day hikes: fits water, snacks, sunscreen, bug spray, extra layers, camera, etc. The straps on the outside make it easy to attach trekking poles. I take it on hikes of less than 6 hours and it is perfect. I typically attach my OR multimat so we can lounge around when we take breaks.
3. climbing gym pack: fits shoes, harness, chalk bag, snacks, water bottle, tape, grigri, and draws
4. cycling backpack - stays in place
5. resort skiing pack - hat, gloves, goggles, food, water, extra layer. I would not want to carry skis on it though.

I have not ever, and probably would not ever use this pack as a touring pack. It isn't big enough, and although the fabric of the pack is very durable, the hip belt is too flimsy to carry much weight. I would not want to carry skis on this pack. It would be very tight if you tried to cram spare winter layers, goggles, gloves, helmet, etc into this pack for skiing.

General comments:
1. 2 external pockets are easy to use and big enough to hold essential gear.
2. Internal pocket helps with organization.
3. pack fabric is very durable
4. back panel is heavy duty. this is not a fast and light pack, but it can carry high density loads rather well
5. mine was made in the phillipines and the zipper sometimes snags on stray edges of sloppy stitchwork. (I typically expect more out of a $100 day pack)

I love it, I use it almost daily and would recommend it to a friend. I would not recommend it for it's intended use as a ski touring pack though.

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Matthew Agarwala

Matthew Agarwala wrote a review of on May 4, 2010

5 5

This pack fits everything I need for a long day of sport climbing, keeps it well organized, and carries it comfortably. It is a cragging pack, and should not be confused with an alpine climbing pack. It is not designed to haul gear for 8 hour approaches. The longest approach hike I've had with it was 30 - 45 minutes and it felt good.

Pros:
1. Big enough to fit everything (15 - 20 draws, 10 lockers, grigri, reverso, PAS, 2 pairs climbing shoes (size 43.5) harness (arc'teryx x350a), chalk bag, 70 meter 9.8mm rope, rope tarp, keys, wallet, cell phone, 2 nalgenes, snacks for the day, helmet, sun block, bug spray, first aid kit, and a lightweight compressible puffy.
2. Keeps things organized. 3 gear loops at the top of the pack keep your sport rack organized. Special pockets for 1 pr shoes and chalk bag keep them in place. Nylon divider keeps your rope & rack separate from your other gear. Internal pockets hold snacks, keys, wallet, cell phone.
3. Complete clam shell opening lets you get to your gear fast and easy.
4. front pocket is big enough to fit lots of snacks and clothing even when the rest of the pack is full.
5. included rope tarp is big enough to hold a 70m 9.8mm rope.
6. outer nalgene pockets are deep enough to securely hold a water bottle even when the rest of the pack is stuffed
7. burly zipper takes some serious abuse.
8. daisy chain on the outside of the pack lets you attach extra gear if you need the space
9. shoulder straps and hip belt are padded and comfortable.
10. It carries high density loads very comfortably

Cons:
1. the 'ice axe' attachment on the front of the pack is flimsy and silly - i can't think of a use for it.
2. when you have a full rack clipped to the gear loops, the weight tends to pull the top of the pack down, which wastes space and renders the load lifters useless. (this problem can be minimized but not eliminated by laying the pack on it's back to pack it)
3. I would like to see some sort of secure external helmet attachment

(2)

 

Matthew Agarwala

Matthew Agarwala wrote a review of on April 21, 2010

2 5

I bought this, tried it out and I don't use it. I would not recommend this product to anyone.

The clips to attach the leash to the tool are big and bulky. They only work with tools that have a spike on the shaft rather than in the handle. That is, they cannot work on the petzl nomics. (I extended mine with accessory chord so I could use the spinner with my mixed tools... wasn't worth the effort)

Pros:
won't drop a tool

Cons:
*the leash is way too short which means you can't reach high without having to pull up pretty hard. Think resistance training every time you want to reach up.
*when high stepping the leash hangs down low enough to get in the way of your feet.
* when seconding the leashes still get tangled around your top-rope.

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Matthew Agarwala

Matthew Agarwala wrote a review of on April 20, 2010

Pretty good, I hope it's worth the cost.
4 5

I've had this rope for about 9 months now and it gets used quite a lot. I manage a climbing gym and this has been my go to rope since I bought it.

Pros:
1. Excellent hand - easy to work with
2. works well with grigri and reverso
3. lots of stretch gives a soft catch and reduces strain on gear

Cons:
1. the sheath shows wear pretty quickly
2. after a couple of days on ice in NH it gets wet and icy

Overall a pretty good multipurpose rope. I bought this because I read reviews that said it was a workhorse that could take more abuse than any other rope... I'm not yet convinced that this is accurate - the sheath wear on mine is pretty ugly. So far the core still feels good, I'll update my review if anything changes. If you've got the money, go for it.

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Matthew Agarwala

Matthew Agarwala wrote a review of on April 20, 2010

5 5

I hate helmets because they are uncomfortable, bulky, clunky, inconvenient to carry, and generally get in the way. But if you're going to play outside, they're really non negotiable. This helmet gives more coverage than most rock specific helmets which makes it safer for a wider range of potential impacts. It is so lightweight and comfortable that I've forgotten to take it off until I bang it against the car when getting in to go home. I use it year round for rock and ice climbing. It fits well under a hood and/or over a hat (in winter I use a windstopper hat because of all the vents in the helmet). This is the only chin strap that doesn't annoy the *$%& out of me. Unlike my shell helmet (Grivel Salamander) this helmet does not get ice crystals inside it. Wish it came in a matte color though.

(0)

 

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Matthew Agarwala

Matthew Agarwala wrote a review of on April 20, 2010

4 5

I love Arc'teryx gear and this is no exception. It does all the things it's supposed to do and it does them well.

Pros:
1. SUPER adjustable hood. I can use this over a helmet or just over my hair without restricting range of motion or view in either case. You can cinch it down close to your face and the brim will minimize water dripping down your face. This is one of the best designed hoods I've ever seen.
2. packs down small
3. pockets work well with pack & harness.

Cons:
1. the cuffs seem to wick moisture up inside the sleeves
2. if you're just wearing a t-shirt under it your arms will feel wet and cold (they won't be wet, but they will feel wet). Mountain hardwear has developed a ceramic coating for the inside of their lightweight rain shells to combat this problem.
3. Even after proper DWR restoring treatments this jacket never seemed to bead water as well as my theta AR or alpha sv.

Beware: with the new paclite your jacket will look wet on the inside. It isn't. What you're actually seeing is the fabric breathing. I saw this and was initially very concerned, but when I used a piece of TP to soak up what I thought was water the paper was bone dry.

Pretty good jacket, I'm a loyal arc'teryx customer and am pretty content.

(1)

 

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Matthew Agarwala

Matthew Agarwala posted a video about on April 19, 2010

This was an afternoon storm in August in Rocky Mountain National Park. It lasted about 25 minutes, this was within the first 3-5 min. There was a trickling stream created by the storm that ran right down one side of the tent, but everything in the tent stayed completely dry. The gusts of wind that accompanied the storm did nothing to disturb the tent.

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Matthew Agarwala

Matthew Agarwala wrote a review of on April 19, 2010

5 5

I used this (with footprint) for a week long trip in Rocky Mountain NP in August. We had hot nights and hail/snow storms (check the video). It was great, no condensation, waterproof, sheds wind, I'm taking it for a 180km trek through the Alps this summer.

Pros:
* lightweight, packable
* TONS of room for 2 people, lots of gear, and a dog.
* you can customize the tent shape for the conditions. If you want more headroom, you can extend the trekking poles more to get a higher, narrower tent. If you want more floor space, leave the poles low and stake it out wider (this also helps shed wind).
* most ventilation (read least condensation) from a single wall that I've ever seen
* easy to set up (stake it out first, extend the poles, make micro adjustments)
* obviously it's lightweight
* has loops so you can hang the tent instead of using trekking poles.
* in winter you can dig out bunk beds, steps, shelves, or kitchen underneath the shelter (you have to hang it and there needs to be a lot of snow)
* with the floor it is completely waterproof (check my video)
* mesh door is a nice touch
* floor is easy to clip in

Cons:
* I wouldn't trust it in new england's mosquito or black-fly season.
* might not want it somewhere with lots of dangerous snakes because the floor doesn't seal
* not many places to connect guy lines

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Matthew Agarwala

Matthew Agarwala wrote a review of on April 19, 2010

5 5

This is my go to pack for ice climbing, alpine climbing, summer mountaineering, and backpacking trips of up to 3 nights.

Climbing features:
1. ingenious helmet carry ON TOP of the pack keeps the helmet secure and out of the way - avoids wasting space inside the pack and eliminates the clunky swing you get from clipping your helmet to the back of your other packs.
2. lid is removable to strip down for a summit push
3. smartest rope carry system i've ever seen. Rope is independently secured between the main storage compartment and the lid, but you have complete top side access to the main compartment without having to unclip & remove your rope.
4. Front and rear haul straps let you bring the pack up vertically, which reduces snags.
5. bomber crampon pocket lets snow/ice/water drain through the bottom, completely contains crampons adjusted to fit my size 47 boots, folds down and velcros flat against the pack when not in use (so it doesn't snag when you're in tight chimneys).
6. ice axe holders work equally well with my black diamond cobras and my petzl nomics (mixed tools with no adze/hammer). Sleeve keeps pick tips safe and out of the way.
7. padded hip belt is comfortable and has 2 sleeves for ice clippers.
8. padded hip belt can be replaced by an included lightweight hip strap (for summit days)
9. pack has a narrow profile to accommodate mid climb acrobatics & keeps the weight where you want it.
10. Sturdy frame lets the pack handle high density loads (ice climbing rack) with ease.

Backpacking Features:
1. due to an efficient use of space, this 55L pack holds more than most 70L packs.
2. Lid has 3 pockets (2 on the top/outside, 1 on the bottom/inside) - the small one (outside) is perfect for headlamp, cellphone/wallet, knife. The main lid pocket (outside) easily holds maps, guide book, camera, the day's trail snacks, bug spray, & sunblock. The inside/bottom pocket holds small first aid kit & TP.
3. Cavernous main compartment swallows everything you need for up to 3 summer nights.
4. Side access zip lets you get to key items.
5. crampon pouch is big enough to hold rain gear (jacket & pants - men's large)
6. side compression straps let you securely carry wands or tent poles on the outside.

Overall features:
1. Very durable outer fabric has taken lots of abuse scraping against rock and ice
2. I routinely fill this to 50 pounds with no problem. (I don't know of another pack that comfortably carries 1lb/liter.
3. remarkably inexpensive.
4. hydration compatible.
5. ski carry.

Cons:
1. the grommet from the lower of the two draw chord cinches on the top of the main compartment ripped out after about 8 months.
2. it does take a while to dry (though not longer than any other pack)

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