Mr. Big

Mr. Big

James's Passions

Hiking & Camping

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Mr. Big

Mr. Big wrote a review of on November 28, 2008

5 5

I hate vests, yet I love this one. I use it for winter hiking and jogging, although I'd grab something for warmth if I wasn't moving. It's not that the vest isn't warm - that's just not the principal intent despite the fact that I'm perfectly fine with it while on the move. With its loads of pockets and the fact that it is well made, I really like it. Mountain Hardwear stuff is always good stuff.

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Mr. Big

Mr. Big wrote a review of on October 28, 2008

5 5

For you folks out there who haven't invested in merino wool or SmartWool products - you've missed the boat. There simply is no synthetic on the market which compares and cotton wearers are just plain dumb. Merino wool wicks great, doesn't hold a smell, wears well, doesn't itch, comes in multiple colors and fashion, and the best part, it regulates body temperature like nothing else. When you're hot, it helps you cool down. When you're cold, it helps you warm up. This shirt is a great addition to any merino wool system and I highly recommend it. To the poster who says Icebreaker is better, I'd argue that. Both are nice shirts, but this one has a little more room and fits a little more generously. It is a little thicker too which will help long-term wear.

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Mr. Big

Mr. Big wrote a review of on May 5, 2008

2 5

This was the lightest non-mesh hammock I could find and the most packable. It was also a very good price and comes in decent colors. My only problem with The Travel Hammock, and I've used quite a few of their products, is that the quality isn't as good as a Hennessey, Eagles Nest, Speer, Mosquito Hammock, Jungle Hammock, etc. The material is simply low quality and the stitching isn't terribly tough. With use, the hammock will rip and eventually fail. For the models which have mosquito netting, it will eventually rip as it is made of lower grade stuff. With that said, this is an entry-level hammock, yet one of the better (price, weight, size, etc.) for an infrequently used piece of gear.

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Mr. Big

Mr. Big wrote an answer about on May 3, 2008

Travel Hammock gives you two pieces of very thin yet strong rope/cord. The idea is to loop it around a tree and attach it to an "S" hook on either side of the hammock. It holds fine, but if you're concerned about the tree, it will dig into it a bit. Some manufacturers offer a fairly easy solution to distribute the weight of the rope/cord against the tree. For example, Hennessey uses a 3" wide piece of nylon strapping with a loop on either end. The nylon strap goes around the tree and the hammock rope/cord slides into the loop. Because the nylon strap is wider then the rope/cord, it disburses the weight better and doesn't damage the tree. You can make something like that yourself and I think Hennessey sells them for something like $15/set.

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Mr. Big

Mr. Big wrote a review of on April 28, 2008

1 5

When I first got this watch, I hoped it would live up to the expectations and it never really did. It has a lot of things the avid hiker/camper could user, but the watch simply does not work as advertised. On mine, the compass was never accurate and neither was the temperature gauge. With that in mind, I have no idea if the barometer or altimeter were ever right either. I considered everything from the watch to be "general" information to use when comparing and contrasting the environment and I definitely wouldn't rely on it to be my saving grace. The watch interface seems old and support from Suunto is poor. I've heard Suunto customer service isn't great and I'd have to admit I wasn't impressed either. Their website is slow, poorly organized, and you won't find anyone to talk to. If I could return my watch, I would, but right now it's in the hands of Suunto to see if they can fix any of the problems...of course, I haven't received any contact from them either. I think the only feature which I liked and seemed to work well was the Storm Warning feature which is essentially nothing more then a comparision of recent barometer pressure readings. When it falls rapidly, an alarm sounds which indicates an approaching storm. It works well in the wild, but it stinks for every day use as it goes off constantly in the car, office, and home when manufactured A/C and heat effect it.

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Mr. Big

Mr. Big wrote a review of on April 23, 2008

3 5

This was one of the first tents I purchased to lighten my load. Strictly speaking for its size, I really like it. I had the hardest time finding a longer tent because at 6'6" and 270 pounds, I learned quickly that manufacturers counted a lot of extra floor space which was unusable principally because the slant of the walls. This tent has loads of space, sets up easy, does well in the rain, and overall I highly recommend it. The only gripe I have is that the interior gear net needs to be tied in by hand (it will sag) and the rainfly has no windows and little ventilation.

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Mr. Big

Mr. Big wrote a review of on April 16, 2008

5 5

This is a hard review for me to write because the reality is I'm considering getting rid of this great jacket. The jacket itself is great - very durable, vents fairly well, and for once, it is actually waterproof. The problem for me is that it is 25 ounces which is fairly heavy for a piece of gear which rarely gets used (although no more heavy then many other more mainstream jackets). There are also more breathable fabrics in the form of eVENT. Unfortunately, for everyone who claims eVENT is the world's greatest fabric which allows you to breathe, there is someone else who will tell you that they got damp in a rainstorm while wearing it. To me, it's a trade off because at the end of the day I expect my rain gear to keep me dry or else there is no sense in having it. If I'm damp, it should be because I didn't ventilate the jacket properly, not because it leaked. Many people also incorrectly assume dampness means the jacket leaked or smothered them. The reality is that if the jacket didn't leak, which if the jacket is built correctly it really shouldn't, then the user is probably failing to use the wrist cuffs, zipper, and armpit zips correctly to get the jacket to breathe. My point here is that this is a great jacket with the only negative being it's weight. If you aren't an ounce-counter, then this is the jacket for you. By the way, if you want to have more fun camping/hiking, become an ounce counter. Nothing kills the experience more then a heavy pack which makes you miserable.

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Mr. Big

Mr. Big wrote a review of on April 16, 2008

5 5

I can't say enough nice things about this pack. I became so familiar with heavy cumbersome packs that I didn't realize there were other options. I went from a very old school pack to a Gregory, which had great suspension, but it was entirely too heavy for its only function to be to hold the rest of my stuff. After a LOT of research, and coming to the reality that many backpacks aren't designed to fit someone my size (6'6"/265), I ended up with the Osprey. At 5 pounds, it was slightly heavier then I wanted, but it was much lighter then most others. The most noteworthy thing about this backpack is the fact that after using it for a solid 10 hours on day one, by day two, I was ready to go and my body didn't hurt at all because the pack is designed to put nearly the entire load on your hips (where it should be). I can say confidently that this was the most comfortable pack I've worn to date to carry...and that should say a lot to everyone. Like most Osprey products, the pack is made very well, it is very durable, and has just enough bells and whistles to keep the typical backpacker happy. If it fit me, it will fit you. Buy it.

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Mr. Big

Mr. Big wrote a review of on March 5, 2008

5 5

You know, this backpack really pisses me off. I love it. I think it's made well. It is actually lightweight, with volume, and even has a separate compartment in the front. It has a pocket in the belt which really is something all backpacks should have. It appears durable with watertight zippers and a nice separate section for a sleeping bag. I want it to work so badly, but dammit (!!!!) at 6'5" the torso length is just too damn short, and honestly, my fat gut (260 pounds worth)makes the chest and belt strap barely hang on anyway. My point, if you are shorter then 6'5" and you aren't known for clearing out buffets on a regular basis..........BUY THIS PACK!!!

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Mr. Big

Mr. Big wrote a review of on February 27, 2008

4 5

The GoLite Pinnacle Pack is what it is. It is an ultralight backpack for people who actually practice ultralight principals. If you have a "normal" size tent and sleeping bag, find something else as this won't fit. I found the 4,500 cu/in size a little optomistic and the long version wasn't as long as other packs I've tried. It is made well, but it has no frills and doesn't appear willing to take a terrible amount of pounding - then again, how often do any of us really sling around a backpack instead of treating it as if we had the world on our back? The top cinches tight, so plan on figuring out ways to keep the contents dry if it rains.

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