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Mike D Hilverda

Mike D Hilverda

Lake District, Tetons, Snowdonia, Cascades, Wasatch

Mike D Hilverda's Passions

Fly Fishing
Hiking & Camping
Snowboarding
Running
Paddling
Snowshoeing
Skiing
Climbing

Mike D Hilverda's Bio

I am an Oregon boy transplanted to Utah by the necessity of school, family, and the incredible proximity of SLC to the glorious outdoors. I love fly fishing, snowshoeing, trail running, snowboarding, climbing and mountaineering and love the gear that allows people to excel in their chosen pursuits.

I am also a Gearhead with Backcountry.com where I work to find customers the best gear for their adventures. If you like my reviews and want to hear about the new gear I am constantly testing, you can follow me on Backcountry.com's community board. If you have specific gear related questions you can contact me by clicking on the "Talk to Gearheads" link at the top of the page and asking for Michael H. You can also email me at mhilverda@backcountry.com.

For sizing reference I am 6'0" tall, 180lbs, 40" chest, 34.5"sleeve, and 16" neck.


Mike D Hilverda

Mike D Hilverda wrote a review of on June 25, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

The Patagonia Tsali 3.0 is a classic trail shoe. Unpretentious. Ready for hard running on rough terrain, but also as comfy and easy to wear as your favorite pair of sandals. I have other shoes that are lighter or more luggy, and which look more like technical trail shoes, but the Tsali feels good and grips well. And if your feet feel good... that is hard to argue with.

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Mike D Hilverda

Mike D Hilverda wrote a review of on May 29, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I haven't used this cam extensively but after only a couple of uses I am very impressed. The feel of the cam is a nice even pull that snaps back well when released. The double stem design helps you easily get a nice consistent placement every time and the "range finder" color spectrum helps prevent over or under camming. Overall a very lightweight and functional. I would highly recommend these cams to others.

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Mike D Hilverda

Mike D Hilverda wrote a review of on May 29, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

The Sol Republic Jax give you excellent sound considering they are not an over-the-ear headphone. If I am at home listening to music or at the office, they get the job done. Very crisp and very comfortable to wear, my ears never felt any ache or discomfort even after hours of use. The one proviso is that these buds will not stay in if you are running around much. If you are looking for an athletic ear bud I would recommend the Sol Republic Relay as a great athletic alternative.

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Mike D Hilverda

Mike D Hilverda wrote a review of on May 29, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I too was impressed by how well the Sol Republic Relay Headphones stay in the ear no matter what the activity. Looking at them it doesn't seem possible. But they secure very well and come with a selection of bud sizes for a personalized fit. The sound is much better than other sport ear buds. My one complaint is that the ridge that keep this secure in your ear started to be a little unfomfortable after a while. Not a deal breaker by any means because the hook style sport ear buds are also a little uncomfortbale with time, but something to consider

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Mike D Hilverda

Mike D Hilverda wrote a review of on May 27, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

I am not sure what I can say that will add to the reviews below (especially the stellar review and side by side comparison from outdoorgearlab.com), but this watch really is worth every penny. The aesthetics of the watch are great, and it actually is very comfortable to wear after the first couple of days, even if you have smaller wrists.

The watch itself is great with tons of features and apps. You get the added benefit of Suunto's Movescount program, which allows you to track the progress of your training and events down to the last detail.

I suppose the biggest hesitation I (and I am sure many others) had in buying this particular watch over say a Suunto Core, is the relatively small battery life. However, my experience leads me to believe that Suunto is being very conservative with their estimates. If you leave the GPS running constantly it will probably run down in 2-4 days. But when I use this watch with maybe 6-7 runs suing GPS a week and some other GPS use activities. I get more like 7-10 days out of the battery, which is far more than the product description says it will get. Also the GPS shuts down whenever you aren't using it so you don't accidentally drain battery life.

And the charging process is so easy. By the time the battery is at 20% I am dying to plug into my computer to look at my training stats on Movescount anyway. The watch charges very fast and you don't have to replace batteries.

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Mike D Hilverda

Mike D Hilverda wrote a review of on May 14, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs small

I have had some foot injuries in the past and have thus been a little skeptical of the zero drop craze because it has been so closely aligned with the minimalist craze. However, the Altra Torin has been perfect for me because it combines an efficient zero drop design with excellent cushion and support. I have had issues with running on pavement recently, but not any more thanks to this shoe.

Remember that with Altra shoes you need to size up a 1/2 size from your traditional running shoes.

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Mike D Hilverda

Mike D Hilverda wrote a review of on May 9, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

When I first took the Norrona /29 Dri3 Rain Coat out for a walk in the hills I was a little skeptical because of its near knee-length hem, stretchy Dri3 fabric, and modern looks. I didn't expect bad things from this jacket, but I certainly didn't expect the level of comfort and protection I experienced.

I got past the look of the longer length after a few minutes(much longer than a more conventional rain jacket like a Torrentshell or Precip), and realized how much better the/29 Dri3 was protecting my torso and legs from the downpour.

The Dri3 fabric was also a pleasant surprise with the feel of a lightweight softshell, but with rain proofing comparable to the best shells on the market. Some other cool features include ample hand pockets at the waist,a zippered chest pocket, and another at the rear.

In the end I only had one complaint about the /29 Dri3 Rain Coat and that was the relatively minimal hood adjustments. There are two internal drawcords on either side of the neck, but it lacks a drawcord at the back of the hood for really battening down in bad weather. My guess is that Norrona skipped on this feature because they are advertising this primarily for casual wear, though honestly I was impressed at how good this jacket can be for real backcountry pursuits.

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Mike D Hilverda

Mike D Hilverda wrote a review of on May 9, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

The Optimus Elektra FE Cook System offers a complete cooking setup in a lightweight compact package. I have used other stoves before (most memorably MSR and JetBoil cook systems), and while people make a big fuss about boil time, the biggest consideration for me has always been keeping space and weight at a minimum. The Elektra delivers in all of these respects, and even on the boil time. I would recommend this set to anyone look for a do-it-all system that you can use in a variety of situations.

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Mike D Hilverda

Mike D Hilverda wrote a review of on April 4, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

This is my first pair of toe socks and it took a little getting used to. Honestly, I was a little hesitant because I identify these mainly with rainbow striped knee length socks girls wore in high school. But after a couple of times wearing, I am a big convert to the toe sock for athletic activities. I have worn the injinji Run Original Weight Coolmax Mini-Crew Toe Sock on a couple of trail runs, and it really helps my toes to spread and use the whole toe box, rather than being scrunched together. I am sure these are not for everyone, but I recommend trying them at least once for running and especially for trail runs where increased balance is a huge help.

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