Matthew Johnson

Matthew Johnson

MI, NY, VA, TN, CA and everywhere in between

Matthew Johnson's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Running
Biking
Yoga
Paddling
Snowshoeing
Skiing
Climbing

Matthew Johnson's Bio

I like to play outside.

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Matthew Johnson

Matthew Johnson wrote a review of on February 8, 2012

3 5

I've gotten several different pairs of Icebreaker underwear over the years and I was really excited to try the Anatomicas. For the most part they fit, feel, and look great, but there's just something that's not quite right at the hem. They're usually fine but sometimes when I sit I feel something getting pinched and I'm not sure if it's because they're a little too short or if it's for another reason. It hasn't bothered me enough to stop wearing them but they're not as comfortable as the Icebreaker relaxed fit boxers.

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Matthew Johnson

Matthew Johnson wrote a review of on September 9, 2009

4 5

The PreCip Jacket is good at what it does. It will keep you dry and the inner coating actually does a decent job of keeping things from getting clammy. The pitzips and mesh pockets do an okay job of letting fresh air in without too much rain, and the pockets are accessible while wearing a pack.

The PreCip sets the standards for $100 rain protection but it has its limitations. You won't easily find a better $100 jacket but if you really use it a ton you probably won't get more than 2 seasons of heavy use out of it. $100 buys you a jacket that relies on a coating, rather than a membrain, for weather protection. Once that coating wears off it's up to you to re-coat it, but spray on and wash in coatings are never as good as factory coatings that are chemically bonded to the shell. If you only have $100 to spend buy the PreCip. If you have $50 more and want to get a little more use out of a jacket get one that uses a membrain. Everyone makes one and they're just as light.

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Matthew Johnson

Matthew Johnson wrote a review of on September 7, 2009

5 5

The DragonFly may weigh a little more than other white gas stoves but it's worth it when you need flame control in the backcountry. The dual control valves allow for more precise flame control than single valve systems like that used on the Whisperlite and means less burnt food. I've boiled water for 12 and cooked the freshest lake trout I've ever had on a DragonFly and it performs well in either situation. The wide pot supports allow it to handle cooking for larger groups especially well. It's a little loud, but it cooks just as well at 9,000 feet as it does at sea level... and in 9 years I've never had it fail to light.

It sets up easily and strips down for field maintenance without problems, at least in my experience. The fuel pump works well but I would suggest taking an extra on long trips because of the plastic construction. The DragonFly requires a little bit of love & care every once in a while to keep it going 100%, but the shaker valve will keep it running just in between cleanings and maintenance.

I can't think of any time the DragonFly has let me down and my experience with MSR has been nothing but positive. It's a great stove if you want to do more cooking than boiling in the backcountry and for me it's proven to be extremely reliable in every situation I've faced.

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Matthew Johnson

Matthew Johnson wrote a review of on September 6, 2009

5 5

The Ronin fits great and allows for excellent mobility while paddling. The fit is a little bulky if you're standing up with it on, but once you're settled into your boat it's great. The strap adjustments are easy to make and the front pocket will hold an unexpectedly large volume of whatever you want to keep close at hand. I haven't gone over since I've owned it, but I'll comment on the in the water fit after I do.

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Matthew Johnson

Matthew Johnson wrote a review of on September 6, 2009

5 5

Got my reactor recently and used it last weekend in Shenandoah. This thing is an absolute ROCKET. As promised I had a liter of water ready for dinner in about 3 minutes (I didn't bother to time it, but it was fast) and was soon enjoying(?) my unseasoned chicken, corn, and rice. Water for coffee in the morning came quickly as well - so no complaints here. Turn on the stove and it lights easily with a lighter or match. It just takes a few seconds to heat up before it's ready to rock. I've read complaints about it not having an auto ignition feature, but I've never had much luck with those systems. Just make sure you have a windproof lighter/sparker/etc. if you're spending time at exposed sites. I'll add something about cold weather performance once winter rolls around.

The Reactor packs nicely into the pot along with a lighter and fuel canister (but the 8 oz isopro makes for a tight fit if you insist on keeping the cap on it). The whole system fits nicely into a pack as long as you've got enough room for a 1.5 L pot.

It's not the most versatile stove and it's not for gourmet cooking. It is what it is... an 18 oz. stove system for people who like to get up and go without burning through too much fuel. If you want to play gourmet chef in the backcounrty go with the Dragonfly. The pot is a little small for more than 2 or 3 people, but a larger pot is coming soon.

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Matthew Johnson

Matthew Johnson wrote a review of on August 8, 2009

5 5

The Zeus is a nice lightweight down jacket that takes up minimal room in your pack. The stitching is done well and the baffles are nice and lofty. I just got it so I can't say much about how warm it really is... just that it's too warm to wear in southeast Michigan in August. It does loft higher than the Patagonia Down Sweater, so it should be the warmer of the two.

The two zippered handwarmer pockets are well-placed and the whole jacket will stuff into the left pocket. The waist drawcord adjusts from inside them and there are two stuff pockets on the inside of the Zeus that will fit a pair of gloves or your lunch. The wind flap behind the zipper is nice and sturdy, and the collar is a good height.

I'm 6'0" & 175 lbs and a medium fits me well without being too tight or too baggy. It fits under my Arc'teryx Beta AR just fine, too. And Gargoyle is an awesome color.

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Matthew Johnson

Matthew Johnson wrote a review of on August 8, 2009

4 5

I've had my XA's for a year and a half now and there's not much to complain about. They keep my feet safe from the elements and grip fairly well, considering the lack of an aggressive sole pattern. The quick lace system is also nice when you're feeling too lazy to tie a pair of shoes or boots.

I wear mine all the time when I'm camping, outside on my feet all day, and just when the weather is really crappy. They are a little warm for summer temps because of the gtx liner, though.

The lacing ssystem is quick and easy, but it takes away the ability to focus pressure at specific points. They do adjust to your feet after you've had them on and moved around a little, but this may not be a problem for everyone. Mine have also started to squeak a lot when I'm walking around, but I can't remember when this started.

The one thing I wish Salomon would do is offer a color scheme that isn't so dark and dreary. I've never really been a fan of dirt and moss color schemes. I feel weird wearing them in civilization because of the colors. A little less dark gray and black would be nice.

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Matthew Johnson

Matthew Johnson wrote a review of on June 14, 2009

5 5

In two years my Gizmo has never let me down. It's bright enough for night hikes and has a second brightness setting that works well around camp or in your tent. It doesn't have a spotlight like the BD Spot or other lamps with 1-watt LEDs but I haven't come across a situation in which that has been a necessity for me.

Battery life has just been awesome for me. I spend 30 to 40 nights in a tent every year (and use it to grill all winter) and I've only replaced the batteries once or twice in the two years I've owned my Gizmo. A few people mentioned something about poor performance in the cold, but that's just how batteries work. Keep it in your pocket to keep it warm until you need some light and it will be fine. I've routinely used it in temps around 0 F without problems. If you need a headlamp for prolonged lighting in the cold buy one with a battery pack separate from the light... that's why they made them.

You can't beat it for $20 and most people don't need anything more than the Gizmo. If you need a spotlight, buy a spotlight. If you don't, get a Gizmo. Plus, it only weighs a couple of ounces with batteries. Score. There's a reason I recommend it to every customer at my store in need of a headlamp.

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Matthew Johnson

Matthew Johnson wrote a review of on January 26, 2009

4 5

I bought mine abou a month ago and so far I have really just been wearing them at work and school, but I have spent some time in them in Shenandoah NP. The toe box is a little narrow for me, but it doesn't bother me until I've put a few miles in the hills. I have a pretty wide forefoot (I can't wear penny loafers) so this isn't too surprising, and I may take them to a bootfitter to see what they can do. The arches are a little low with the stock insoles, but I replaced them with some Superfeet and it's all good (they take up a little more volume than the Scarpa insoles, though).

The outsoles are pretty aggressive and they've been great on all types of terrain. The suede looks great and they haven't really required any break-in time. They will be awesome boots for you if they fit you correctly, not so much if they don't. Just don't get too fixated on one boot model if it won't fit your feet. I would suggest you try a few before you buy this if you have a wide foot (try the Asolo Fugitive or Vasque Breeze).

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Matthew Johnson

Matthew Johnson wrote a review of on November 7, 2008

5 5

I own six performance jackets. This might be my favorite. I have worn it playing in the snow when it's 10 degrees out, in the rain in Arlington, and pretty much every other weather condition since I got it last November. It's warm enough to wear over a t-shirt in any temp over 35, and great with just a baselayer down to about 20 if you're working hard.

The seams aren't taped so you will get wet if you stand in the rain for long enough, but the DWR does a pretty good job of keeping you dry in all but sustained, steady rain. By design it is not windproof, just highly wind resistant, so it can get a little chilly when the wind is really rippin unless you have a few layers underneath. I just wish the main zipper was backed by some form of storm flap because I feel like it lets in more of the wind than the polartec powershield does.

Nothing will ever cheer you up more than putting on that fleece lined hood when it's frigid outside. The way it feels on your ears is just awesome. Plus it keeps snow from coming in through the collar (for those of us who do not like the feeling of snow down our backs).

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Matthew Johnson

Matthew Johnson wrote a question about on November 6, 2008

About the "missing features" of the gamma mx:The majority of softshell jackets are made without pit zips because of their superior breathability compared to waterproof/breathable jackets. The price point comes from the special polartec powershield lightweight fabric, and the fact that alpinists looking for a jacket with the features of the gamma mx are willing to pay so much. Also, Arc'Teryx has positioned itself as a premium brand and, consequently, commands a premium price.As for the hood... Arc'Teryx only makes a few jackets with stowable hoods (which add weight over a non-stowable hood) and they are all gore-tex shells. The thicker powershield fabric makes the hood too bulky (in my opnion) to stow.

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