Nick Gaines

Nick Gaines

Nick Gaines's Passions

Hiking & Camping

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Nick Gaines

Nick Gaines wrote a review of on December 19, 2011

5 5

You simply can't go wrong with the SmartWool PHD ski socks. I've probably got about 10 pairs of ski socks total from all different brands, a few are as good as the PHDs, most aren't, but none are better. I've got both the medium and the light-weight. My feet typically stay pretty warm and get sweaty no matter what. So I only wear the medium-weight on the coldest of days. The moisture wicking is a huge deal for me and these puppies perform wonderfully. Also, the strategically-placed extra padding and stretchy pieces are a real asset and do a great job of keeping the sock in place.

I liked them so much that I bought my girlfriend a couple pairs of the women's version and bought PHD hiking and dress socks for myself.

You could probably save a few bucks with something else, but may not be as happy. Just buy these and forget about it!

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Nick Gaines

Nick Gaines wrote a review of on December 19, 2011

5 5

Every adventure/outdoor athlete should have at least a few of these. Put them in you car, in you backpack, in you ski jacket pocket, in you toolbox, in your mountain bike kit, etc... They not only make great ski straps for traveling or holding together your A-Frame on you ski pack, they have about 1,000 other uses.

For example, when the front tire ratchet strap on my roof-mount bike rack broke I simply cinched it down with one of these and didn't think twice about hitting the interstate home.

One of the most amazing characteristics of these little straps is that no matter how cold it gets (at least to about -20 in my experience), the rubber stays pliable and flexible.

Buy some, you need 'em!

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Nick Gaines

Nick Gaines wrote a review of on December 19, 2011

5 5

I deliberated long and hard over purchasing this bag. I'm a side-sleeper and flip back and forth from side-to-side about every hour through the night. I hadn't had a lot of luck being warm and comfortable through the night in most traditional down mummy bags. They were either to narrow for me to move comfortably in without waking up completely, or too wide to prevent air pockets and thus cold sleeping.

This bag was the perfect solution. I'm 6'1" 210lbs with broad shoulders and an athletic build. I went with the long. No regrets whatsoever. So far I've only used it on a kayaking/backpacking trip here in the Midwest this fall. It was about 40 degree nights but a cool breeze in my hammock. In just boxer shorts I was perfectly comfortable. I'm interested to try it out closer to freezing temps in a backpacking tent. I'm a little concerned that it may not be warm enough, but it probably will be with my insulated pad and some wool long johns.

Overall this is a well-designed bag that meets my needs perfectly. If you're a narrow person that sleeps straight up mummy-style throughout the night there are probably better traditional style bags out there for you. But if you toss and turn, sleep on your side, and are broader than the average 165-pound backpacker, this bag may be your ticket.

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Nick Gaines

Nick Gaines wrote a review of on December 19, 2011

5 5

I got this saw for a multi-day kayaking/backpacking trip and it worked wonderfully. I compared it to some more expensive, folding-style saws and came to the conclusion that for the price and light weight this one was as strong, if not stronger, that the competitors. It was useful for sawing dead wood up to the width of my forearm. Probably wouldn't be suitable for anything bigger than that, but that isn't its purpose. It also did a real nice job as a "bushwhacker" to clear some fairly thick weeds and brush out of my hammock area.

Would definitely buy again.

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