Nick Mitchell

Nick Mitchell

Catskills, Upper Delaware River valley

Nick Mitchell's Passions

Hiking & Camping

Nick Mitchell

Nick Mitchellwrote a review of on November 10, 2015

Fidgety straps, hip belt cuts
2 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I've been a pretty big Black Diamond pack fan. I've had the old Octane for 5 years. Pretty great. The Nitro 26 is great, too.
A buckle on my Octane finally busted, and so I used this as an excuse to try something new in a larger pack. I've used this for 50-70 miles of hikes so far. Two huge problems:
1) The brain bag retention straps don't hold! After cinching them tight, a few minutes of walking and they've loosened themselves completely. I've wrapped these around the brain and knotted them, for now.
2) The bag is quite fidgety, with those top straps getting loose; the side pockets, as another reviewer has observed, are difficult to keep tight as well; the bag has a larger inner area, and a smaller outer area with webbed pockets and zippers. The whole design makes it difficult to quickly access much.
3) I'm 6'5", and got a Large. Maybe I'm just too tall for this pack, but the hip belts give me bad cinch burns against my hips.
4) [minor annoyance] The only pocket with a key clip is on the interior of the brain. This means that I need to undo the brain clasps in order to access anything that I have secured to the key clip.
Ugh, oh well, back to the drawing board. That was $180 wasted. I hate to be harsh, but I don't like this pack much.
Redeeming features: the moroccan blue color is great; the pivoting system of the pack is, as usual for black diamond, quite excellent.
Photo: sorry for the blur; wearing Fjällräven Greenland (good, not great), Mountain Khaki Broadway Fit Poplin (awesome); Fjällräven Byron Thin hat (awesome)

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Nick Mitchell

Nick Mitchellwrote a review of on November 5, 2015

Breaths: Good; Water: Meh; Fit: baggy
4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 5"
Weight: 180 lbs
Size Purchased: Large

As I do mostly high-aerobic hiking, I wanted to try out the eVent fabric. I've put this through several hundred miles of hiking now. I'm fairly happy with it, but I probably wouldn't get it again.
Upsides: it breaths well. The blue color is great.
Downsides: 1) I've had mediocre experience with rain. Less than an hour in light New York fall rain, and the jacket was saturated. 2) If you are tall and skinny, I recommend you go with the Arcteryx Alpha FL as a rough comparable. The Arcteryx piece has a far superior cut for me (longer and more trim in the torso, with longer arms).
The Alpha FL also has much less of the garbage bag feel to it, especially as the jacket gets moist. The Muztag just starts to feel junky as you heat up and the jacket gets moist (from sweat, from rain). The Arcteryx Alpha FL is far superior here, in my experience. Comparing Large in both.
Yes, you may criticize me for getting a Large, and then complaining about short arms. But the body is already cut too large, even in a large. the Arcteryx in large fits me quite well.

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Nick Mitchell

Nick Mitchellposted an image about on November 5, 2015

Long Shirt! This is an XL.

I'm 6'5", and this shirt is quite long on me. Here you can see the Greenland shirt (in green!) extending way past the hip-cut Rab Muztag outer jacket. The arms, though (see the picture in my review) are way too short. This shirt has an odd fit. All Fjällräven products I've tried have some problem or the other with fit. Oh well. I love the material; I just wish the cut would improve. How can they make such short arms on an XL?

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Nick Mitchell

Nick Mitchellwrote a review of on November 2, 2015

Comfy, arms a bit short for a tall guy
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 5"
Weight: 180 lbs
Size Purchased: Large

What attracted me to this was the red, which is quite a nice looking pattern. The material is, as one would expect from flannel, is nice and soft against the skin. The material is lightweight. It is comfy, not stifling at all, in day-to-day wear.
I'm 6'5" with 36" arms, 180 pounds. I took a gamble on Large. After looking at the manufacturer's Size Specs, I realized that it was either garbage bag around the middle (with XL) or kinda short arms (with L). The arms aren't bad. I could certainly use another inch or two, but it's not embarrassing. The torso length, another sore spot for tall skinny guys, is pretty good.
Attached is a picture with Mountain Khaki Camber 109 jeans down below, and an American Mountain Co. moisture wicking sweater on top (also Large, and, yes, I could also use an inch or so more on the arms, there). The Basin&Range piece peeks out below.
Oh, and the new Lowa Tibet Superwarm breaking in on my feet. Backcountry: stock this boot, now!
I'd love to find an outdoor manufacturer that targets tall skinny guys. Until then or another 7 years until i cross 50 and begin to spread, it's borderline fits, I guess.

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Nick Mitchell

Nick Mitchellwrote a review of on October 28, 2015

Comfy, arms way too short for me
3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 5"
Weight: 180 lbs
Size Purchased: XL

I was a bit of a Fjallraven skeptic coming into this. I've tried on a few of their pieces in the past, and the sizing has been all over the place. Some too small, some ridiculously big. But... I love their green color, and have wanted to try the G-1000 fabric, so keep coming back, in the hope of finding something that fits.
Fit: This shirt is fits oddly. The cut is very long, extending well past my hips, and I have a long torso. The arms are way too short for my 36" reach. The body circumference is OK, though still 2-3" more material than I need.
Arms: When bent over, I cannot have the cuffs snapped, as the arms are cut too short (and shoulders too narrow??). Compared to an Arcteryx Rho LTW (shown in the picture; size: Large!), you can see that the Greenland arms go all goofy.
Comfort: Happy! The shirt breaths fairly well, and has a nice feel.

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Nick Mitchell

Nick Mitchellposted an image about on October 14, 2015

Not hemmed at both ends

Ok, I wasn't expecting this design, my fault for not paying closer attention! Notice from my picture the lack of hemming on one end. This makes the piece awfully fidgety to wear, when it's "doubled over" -- because the outer material is so thin, and not hemmed to the bottom end of the microfiber, the outer material will just ride up as you wear it.

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Nick Mitchell

Nick Mitchellwrote a review of on December 1, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

I'm 6'5" 180 pounds with 36" arms. This jacket, in Large, fits just about perfectly. It has maybe a bit too much material around the torso, but I suspect this is by design, for layering. It's pretty close to good enough, for me. Arms nice and long, body, too.

In comparison, the Acteryx Alpha FL fits... a bit better, in my opinion, with a slimmer profile in the middle.

The zippers on this Rab? Pretty good, though not as smooth as the Arcteryx Alpha FL. I also dislike the double zipper on the Rab. In fact, my first try at this jacket had a misalignment in the double zipper --- i could not zip it up. The second try seems to be holding up.

Breathability: great. No pit zips, but I haven't missed them yet, and I'm a pretty vigorous hiker. It breathes astoundingly well. The Alpha FL has a lighter material (that jacket is unbelievably light), but (also without pit zips)... does not breathe quite as well as this Rab, despite the Rab's thicker material.

I don't have a lot of datapoints, yet, on rain protection.

Noise level? The Rab has a moderate swish to it, as does the Arcteryx Alpha FL. Neither is as nice, in this respect, as a good softshell jacket (I have a Norrona Windstopper jacket); windstopper is silent, with a sweater-like feel... but it isn't useable for me above 40 degrees F (though, below that, the windstopper is pretty awesome).

The look is nice, with the contrasting zips. I use this one quite a bit.

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Nick Mitchell

Nick Mitchellwrote a review of on December 1, 2014

4 5

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

Ok, finally a Fjallraven shirt that fits me. I'm 6'5 180 pounds, 36" arms. This Large shirt fits well! It's not a tailored fit, by any means, but it has plenty of length in the arms and torso, which are my main complaints with other shirts. For example, I have less kind words for most of the rest of the Fjallraven line, in terms of these two aspects of fit.

Re: looks, I got the Deep Red. It's... a bit goofy looking, quite loud. For my tastes, I need to layer this under something else.

The material is nice, though not as soft and pliant as the Sarek flannel (but the Sarek flannel is horribly small). The material actually feels a bit like it has polyester in it, c.f. the Arcteryx Cavus shirts (which, by the way, have a great fit for me).

I'm giving this 4/5, due to the funky colors. This one is not a go-to shirt that goes with everything.

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Nick Mitchell

Nick Mitchellwrote a review of on December 1, 2014

3 5

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

I like this shirt, it looks pretty good, and has a nice fit in the torso. The material is soft. The flannel pattern is nice. The fit (and this seems to be endemic to the Sarek line) is a bit on the small side. I'm 6'5" 180 pounds, and the Large could use another inch or two on the arms and body length. In contrast, the Ovik flannel shirt in Large fits me very well. Whereas the Fjallraven jackets, in Large, are way too big around the body. The Sarek non-flannel shirt (which backcountry does not currently sell, I guess), is *ridiculously* small. So I suspect that this is an issue with the Sarek line.

All told, I'm a bit put off by the Fjallraven brand. The sizing is all over the place. I have two lines of sweaters from them. One fits well (Koster), and the other (the Sarek knit, surprise surprise) is a bit on the small side, though at least this one is manageable. I'd be OK if the variation was merely in the girth, as this would accommodate different levels of layering, etc. But the arm and torso lengths are ALL OVER THE MAP! Even within one line (e.g. Sarek, which is always small, but ...).

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Nick Mitchell

Nick Mitchellwrote a review of on November 19, 2014

2 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
Fit: Runs large

i'm 6'5" and 180 pounds. i ordered a large. the jacket looks cool, the torso and arm lengths are fine (though the arms could use another inch, for my 36" arms).

the body fits way too big. i have probably a foot of extra material around the circumference of my hips. the jacket has only a small bit of flexibility to tighten this up -- there are two "levels" of snaps, but this helps only a small bit (it takes off an inch or so of the foot of extra material). the arms are also pretty loose, but the snaps here offer more of a solution.

i ordered one of the heavyweight flannels from fjallraven, and that has a great fit around the torso, so it's not just the brand. (though, there, too, the arms could use another inch, for me).

finally, the zipper was incredibly difficult to align. this isn't just a euro left vs american right thing -- i have a handle on that. rather, it appears that the double zippers just aren't aligned very well. it was a monumental struggle to get the jacket to zip properly.

two stars for looks... i guess?

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Nick Mitchell

Nick Mitchellwrote a review of on October 31, 2010

5 5

this is among the best shoes that i've used. it has a pretty spacious toe box (though not a cavernous one, like some montrail shoes), and a very good walking/hiking feel (unlike any montrails i've used!). compared to the non-GTX version, this has a less supple feel (due to the liner), but still breaths well. i haven't used this on a summer day, yet, but on these fall days, i haven't had any problems with overheating. much better than the montrail and north face shoes that i've tried, especially on the stability and general foot feel.i always use a karnazes sole insole with any shoe, but have spent some time with the default insole. the sole helps quite a bit, but this shoe provides a really nice foundation.they also look really good.

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Nick Mitchell

Nick Mitchellwrote a review of on October 31, 2010

5 5

wow, this is a pretty great shirt. the medium is almost a perfect fit for me (6'5" 175 pounds). the arms are nice and long, as is the body. the fit is trim, but not form fitting -- it has just a small bit of room, which is great. i got the white/gray color, and it looks really good. the grid pattern on the body is precise, but i could do without the Houdini advertisement on the collar!!it breaths really well, and has a very nice feel on the body. note that this doesn't appear to be the same fabric as the (older model?) non-zip Houdini Alpha long-sleeve shirt; the non-zip model is somewhat thicker, and has more of a thermal weave. this zippy shirt has a better cut than the non-zippy -- longer torso and arms, and just a small bit more room around the body (this zippy version still has a nice trim fit, though!). the zippy version also has thumb loops, though the arms, while super long, are about 1cm too short to make the thumb loops totally comfortable.this shirt is considerably better than the stoic breathe shirts. it is a better hiking shirt than the arcteryx rho LTW (though the arcteryx is still a nice shirt). it is now my favorite shirt, beating out the capilene 2. i'll see how it ages, though, and update this review if things go south as it ages.

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Nick Mitchell

Nick Mitchellwrote a review of on October 14, 2010

3 5

argh! i really want to like these boots. i also have the kayland convert, which is a very good boot, and the kayland apex trek, which is an awesome boot. this boot (the contact) is also very nice, but doesn't have enough toe box room. kayland's web site led me to believe that the contact and convert shared the same asymmetric last. but, in contrast an absolutely huge toe box of the convert, the contact is quite a bit tighter up front. otherwise, this boot is actually very nice. it's a nicer hiker than the convert, except that my toes get smooshed after they warm up and expand.

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Nick Mitchell

Nick Mitchellwrote a review of on October 14, 2010

5 5

wow, this is a pretty good shirt. i wore it on a coolish 15-16 mile hike, and it held up very well. it breaths nicely, and, surprisingly to me, takes the bite out of the wind almost like a wind breaker. at the end of the long day, the wind picked up, and i didn't even need to put on anything else. and yet, while in the midst of hiking during the (somewhat) warmer parts of the 50-60 degree day, i never felt hot (or cool) at all. it wicks water off quickly, and dries out pretty quickly. i imagine it'd be a bit too heavy for summer hiking.

the material has a kinda subtle waffley texture to it. it's not thermal waffley, but the weave is somewhat similar.

i got the blue color, in a medium. i'm 6'5" and about 175 pounds, and the medium actually fits pretty well. it could, as expected, be a bit longer in the torso, but the arms are actually pretty decently long, and the torso isn't embarrassingly short on me. the blue is very nice.

i like this much more than the stoic breathe, though the stoic have the awesomely long arms. the stoic stitching isn't very high quality, and the material doesn't feel as comfy against the skin. despite the houdini's extra thickness, it actually can be worn in similar temps, i've found. the stoic holds stink, whereas the houdini seems pretty good in this respect.

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Nick Mitchell

Nick Mitchellwrote a review of on July 21, 2010

4 5

this shoe is pretty good. i use it for my smaller (<10 mile) walks and also have used it on a couple of less rocky hikes. i have a narrow heel and wide toe box, and it fits very well! i prefer the vasque blur to this shoe by a good margin, though this is still a good shoe (it's far better than the north face boa, though the north face looks nicer, in my opinion). the vasque, in comparison, has a better footfall, with more stability. I'm tall and narrow and have always been somewhat unstable (knees, and biking accident) on my feet. the montrail has an edge in toebox room, though the vasque has a goodly sized toebox, too.

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Nick Mitchell

Nick Mitchellwrote a review of on July 21, 2010

4 5

wow, this is a great shirt. i'm tall (2m) with kinda long arms, and a long but narrow torso. this shirt fits perfect, it's kinda uncanny how well it fits. the arms are longer than the non-merino version of this, and so is the body (good for me!). the cut is very nice, and the weight of wool feels just about right. it, like wool in general, holds off stinky (unlike the stinky non-merino version, which stinks like crazy!!). the zipper goes way down, much further than most "quarter zip" shirts, which is surprisingly nice.

compared to a smartwool NTS microweight that i got at the same time? the smartwool seems to be of higher quality; it just looks better, and feels nicer against the skin. the smartwool also has a long body, though somewhat shorter arms (a bit shorter still than the non-merino version of the stoic long-sleeve).

the thumb loops are kinda gimmicky, but i have chronic cold hands, so it is nice. since the arms are so long, the loops actually work for me. with the non-merino version, with it's somewhat shorter arms (still long, though), the loops aren't as helpful.

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