Mikewrote a question about Salomon MTN Lab Helmet on January 8, 2016
Do you have more specific info on the sizing? What size head does a large fit? Thanks.
Do you have more specific info on the sizing? What size head does a large fit? Thanks.
I've used Totem Basic cams since they came out a few years ago. I'm very familiar with them and I'm pretty sure I've fallen on all of them. I've also used their offsets, which are just as awesome if you find yourself in a lot of flaring cracks.
They are for all intents and purposes CCH Aliens, but they won't blow up on you. They tweaked the sizing minimally to eliminate the gray size (which I think is a good thing). I don't notice any practical difference between the Totem Basics and the CCH Alien when placing them. Green is still tight fingers, yellow perfect fingers, and red is just off fingers. The trigger is more refined compared to Aliens, which is an upgrade.
A big difference between current/old Aliens and these (besides the sizing) is that the blue size also has internal springs on the Totems, so the Totem blue (and blue/green hybrid) is narrower than a blue Alien.
Fixe also makes new Aliens. I personally prefer the totems for the trigger assembly and the sizing. But the Fixes are good units as well.
I've used BD X4s (which are probably my #2 choice for small cams), BD C3s (which rule in the purple and green size but are mediocre in the bigger sizes if you ask me), Metolius master cams (an alien copy but they don't do anything better IMO), WC zeros (only a little bit) and older metolius TCUs (too rigid, walk to easily), so I have a decent basis for comparison.
IMO they are the best small cams out there in their size. Why?
The cam head metal is slightly softer than most cams (such as BDs and Metolius), which makes the cams seem to 'bite' better into the rock, especially in granite. They are uber flexible, so they fit into tight spots well and won't walk. But they still aren't difficult to remove. They are very narrow and fit very easily into irregular placements. I find them very easy to place. they have a good action and just feel good when you're grabbing them. I also haven't had any durability issues. I've had mine for years and they're still ticking without issues. Finally they have a nice camming range. Slightly more range than metolius, similar to BDs. The 'holding power' is more than enough.
There are so many small cams out there. They're all pretty good and they all have their proponents. It's very much a matter of opinion. But my opinion is that these cams rule and you can't beat them in their size range. Get blue-red for fingers and then BD 0.5 and up and you're in really good shape if you ask me.
I've used Dukes for a few years now on a couple pairs of skis. My first pair was the non-EPF version, but honestly I can't tell a difference between the EPF and non-EPF version.
Pros: Skis very much like an alpine binding. Solid downhill performance. Some folks don't like the stand height, but it's never really bothered me. The heel risers work well and are easy to manipulate. It accommodates alpine & AT soles.
Cons: Yeah, it's heavy. But it's comparable to other bindings in its class (Tracker & Adrenaline). And you can't switch from skin to ski mode without taking off your ski. But I think most folks who use a Duke aren't too concerned about an extra 1-2 minutes at the transition. Honestly, if weight and speed are a concern, you're not going to tour with a Duke. I've had no major durability issues. I did get some fore-aft slop at the lever pivot (it's well described) in my early generation Dukes, but this was after more than 50-60 days of resort bashing. But it wasn't a huge amount and didn't really compromise performance in a meaningful way. The toe pivot point feels more awkward than a tech binding, but this isn't a surprise.
So if you're looking for a binding for mainly resort use (90% resort/10% touring) and the occasional short tour, this is a good option. Or if you only do short sidecountry tours, this is a good option. And I guess if you really go big and value ski performance over touring performance, these are near the top of your list. But for true touring, get a tech binding. These are too heavy and cumbersome for long tours if you ask me.
I've been a big fan of Camelbak products in the past, but I thought this one was a dud. I've been happy with the marathoner vest but wanted something with more storage.
In theory it seems like a good idea to get the water weight on your hips, but in practice it didn't work as planned in my experience. I'm only 5'10" 180 lbs but I couldn't for the life of me get the waist strap to stay on my hips, despite trying every which way to get the straps and velcro adjust dialed. After just a few strides it would ride up onto my abdomen. To keep the load stabilized you have to pull the lower strap reasonably tight, but I found it very annoying running with a tight strap across my abdomen. It just isn't comfortable there. And the lumbar portion of the pack was constantly causing my shirt to ride up and chafe the low back. I found myself fiddling constantly with the fit, but I could never get a comfortable fit.
Storage was a little below average for a pack of this size (compared to a comparable Nathan pack for instance). The front mesh pockets were a little small to throw a bottle in as well.
Throw some weight in it and jog around before committing to this pack to make sure the fit works for you. Mine seemed comfortable enough in my living room, but on the trail not so much. But hey, if the fit works for you this could be a perfectly capable pack.
5'10" 175-180 lbs. 178 Nunataq mounted with tech bindings. They run long compared to most other skis. They are pretty much the same length as an older pair of 181 Voile Chargers. I'm happy with the length at my size. Used roughly 8 days so I'm fairly familiar with the ski by now.
This is an excellent all around touring ski that does everything pretty well. It's a good mix of traditional and new. It's got a full length sidecut (no taper) and a fairly rearward/traditional mount point, but the full rocker keeps it maneuverable and loose enough to be fun. No problems making quick turns in the trees in pow.
It skis well in powder. I haven't had it in mega deep snow but in 2 feet or so of pow it performed well. It holds a solid edge in firm snow for its weight and girth. It's fairly stable as well at speed and in weird snow (for a touring ski), which I attribute to the full rocker and long sidecut radius. Fun on groomers for a touring ski. Felt reasonably damp. Pretty lightweight, just a hair under 4 lbs for a single ski (1790 g per ski on my scale). There are lighter skis nowadays but few have the versatility of the Nunataq. Durability has been fine. No problems. Hit a few rocks and just have superficial scratches on the bases.
Although technically fully rockered, the rocker is pretty subdued and they're essentially flat underfoot, which makes them good on the skin track too. I haven't noticed a difference compared to cambered skis on the skin track. Nice.
I guess one complaint would be that the tip doesn't have a lot of splay (it doesn't rise far off of the surface), and it would occasionally dive under fresh snow on the skin track. But I didn't have any issues with the tips diving while skiing, so it's not a big deal.
Excellent do-it-all touring ski with a bias to softer snow.
Me: 5'10" 175-180 lbs. 176 BMT 94, mounted with G3 Ions.
They weigh 1450 grams per ski on average on my scale.
I've used these about 8 days in a variety of conditions and so far I'm very happy with them.
I mounted them myself. Mount went smoothly. No spinners. The core seemed solid when tapping the holes. As long as the pattern falls within the H shaped reinforced area of the BMT, you should be fine with mounting anything you want. The reinforced area is 26.2-54.2 mm wide according to the template. This review has a good picture of the mounting template:
These skis run a little long compared to most brands. They're just as long as my 178 Dynastars. I'm very happy with the 176 size for the BMT 94. For a wider pow ski (like the 109), I feel like I'm a bit between sizes.
I've had them in pow 2 days. One day was about a foot of light pow on a soft base, so it felt pretty bottomless. The other day was boot top. They float well for their size. They plane well once you get up to speed. They don't float as well as a fatter, dedicated pow ski (as you would expect), but they perform well for their size. I bought them to be more of a ski mountaineering/spring weapon, so pow performance isn't a huge deal for me for these skis, but they perform more than adequately.
1 day of groomers to test them out, and they carve really well for a ski of their weight. Very good edge hold and they ski like a much heavier ski, which is a compliment. They're not a metal laminate crusher, but expectations were exceeded as far as dampness, carving ability, and edge hold given the weight.
That said, they're fun in corn. Very quick edge to edge but not hooky.
I had them in 1 reasonably steep couloir (40-45 degrees) with variable alpine snow. Edge hold was great and they're very easy to get around with the low swing weight and full rocker. The full rocker doesn't seem to compromise edge hold.
My only minor gripe would be that the full rocker gives up a little grip when skinning on firm skin tracks. But with good technique they're totally manageable and it's not worth docking any stars IMO. I like the way the ELP rocker skis, so I'll take this small compromise.
Durability seems fine, although long term durability remains to be seen. Base durability seems on par with other skis (I have hit a few rocks and just have superficial scratches). Same with topsheet durability - they don't seem any more prone to chipping. If anything I imagine it will be better than most sandwich/sidewall skis that tend to be prone to this.
So if you're looking for a well rounded touring ski with a bias to firm snow and technical skiing, look no further.
Anyone have a weight on these in the 180 and/or 185 size?
It seems based upon the G3 website that this year's (14/15) version of the C93 Zen is cap construction like the 105. Can anyone confirm this?
And a weight on the 177 size?
I've used these pants now about a half dozen days, all ski touring.
In general, they're very good touring pants. They are pretty warm for softshell pants, but I can wear them comfortably without long underwear in CA winter conditions, so no big deal. The vents are a very nice feature when you're getting hot on the skin track. For spring conditions, I would wear something lighter. They'd be a bit warm for me on corn days.
The fabric sheds water well. The pockets are well thought out. I like the cargo pockets for stashing hats/snacks. Easily accessible this way. The belt works well and the suspenders also function nicely. Minimalistic but functional. Like most Arc Teryx products, they seem very well made.
My only gripe is the cuffs/gaiters. They're pretty small and quite tight. It's tough (although not impossible) to fit them over touring boots with the buckles open for skinning. Even with the boot buckled for skiing, the cuffs/gaiters are a bit on the tight side. If this was corrected they'd be perfect IMO.
Is the brim stiff/reinforced or is it flimsy? Can I stuff it in a pocket?
I've got Alpinist skins on all of my touring skis save 1 pair. I've also used Pomoca and BD skins for comparison (both mohair mix and nylon).
I think G3s have the best combo of grip/glide/durability. They glide much better IMO than nylon BD skins, which is a big plus. Even if you're not doing long/flat approaches, the glide makes ever step a little more efficient. Grip is totally adequate. A bit less than BD nylons, but I try to focus on improving my skinning technique before complaining about the plush. I've never been shut down by the grip on any skin really. I've had no durability issues after 40-50 days on a pair.
The glue is fine as well. Sticky enough for pretty much any condition. I've had them out in -25C temps and they worked (the awesome tail clip helps here I'm sure). But it's not so sticky that you can't rip the skins off the skis with the skis on your feet.
The new tail clip is awesome as well. The best in the business if you ask me. Way more secure than the BD version. I also appreciate the tip connectors. They work with any tip shape, with no need to modify the tip connection because of tip shape.
Finally, they're super easy to cut and set up. Just center them, stick them on, and use the killer G3 skin cutter to trim the skins. A couple of minutes per skin.
Weight of the 177s?
Weight on the 178 Cham 97 HM?
Me: 5'10" 175 lbs, tour in the Sierra Nevada and some Cascade volcanoes
177 GTs with tech (Plum) bindings and Scarpa Rush boots
Pros: Light! Man, these things are light, but you still get a solid construction. Medium stiff in the tail and underfoot, medium in the tip. Full wrap edges (except for the tail insert which makes attaching skins a piece of cake) and ABS sidewalls underfoot. Construction is top notch. They hold an edge well on hardpack for a ski of this weight. I've been on icy groomers and in firm chutes with them and they've held. The tails don't wash out. They ski corn very well and do fine in good powder, but most skis do. The do well in anything firm. This and the light weight makes them a good ski mountaineering weapon.
Cons: They're a traditionally cambered ski with traditional sidecut (no taper). I found them a bit difficult to ski in bad snow, especially tough breakable crust and wet mank (granted, this was really bad snow - thick mashed potatoes and thick, breakable crust). But this isn't surprising to me given the shape, camber, and weight. I found the tails difficult to release in bad snow. I recently de-tuned the tails more aggressively, we'll see if this helps without compromising edge hold.
Overall, a very solid choice for spring touring in primarily firm snow and corn conditions. Very lightweight and solidly built. Not a quiver of 1 touring ski in my mind - I'd want something with a bit of early rise or rocker for that position.
Sizing question. 5'11, 180 lbs, 32" inseam, larger/muscular thighs. 120 or 125?