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Nick Mitchell

Nick Mitchell

Catskills, Upper Delaware River valley

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Nick Mitchell

Nick Mitchell wrote 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 Mitchell wrote 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 Mitchell wrote 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 Mitchell wrote an answer about on October 14, 2010

hello! i got this shirt. 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. a large should be pretty good for you.

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Nick Mitchell

Nick Mitchell wrote 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 Mitchell wrote a review of on July 21, 2010

3 5

i got a bunch of these on sale. they look pretty good, and have long arms and a long body, which is great for me (6'5" 175 pounds). the black looks especially sharp with the contrasting piping. the white looks good, too. the other colors are a bit more blah. i've used these for summer hiking, and they breath pretty well -- almost as well as the Capilene 2, which is a close analog to this shirt. The capilene breath better, hold off on stink better (though the capilene are not immune from stink, either), and the capilene have a quarter-zip option (which i think is invaluable on a hiking shirt). but the capilene are shorter in the body and arms, a medium borderline-fits me in the capilene 2, whereas a medium in this shirt fits very well (though not as well as the merino bliss stoic).

the main downside with this shirt is that they pick up and hold stink like no other. yuck.

also, two of the shirts' stitching started fraying right away!! a third got a "run" by a brief scratch of my cat's nails, so they're relatively fragile, in my experience.

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Nick Mitchell

Nick Mitchell wrote 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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Nick Mitchell

Nick Mitchell wrote a review of on July 20, 2010

4 5

Hey, this is a very well designed technical pant. The belt and buckle, the cut, pockets, and everything are really great. It's not the lightest weight material out there. For summer stuff, I go with Arcteryx Rampart -- awesome pants!! The other main reason i go with the ramparts is that they actually fit.

I'm 2m tall and about 175 pounds, and have chicken legs! Ok! i admit it! hehe, so i got a Large hoping that the "euro" cut would be in my favor. The length is great, super long and at least that part is perfect for me. But tooooo baggy!! I have a good 3-4" of growing room in them, plus way too much spare material around the thighs. I'm keeping them, because they're a good backup and lounging around pant (not what i got them for, and not what they should be used for, but all i can, given the sizing problem). Plus, they fit my brother (185cm or so tall and 20-30 pounds heavier) perfectly, so he can use them when he visits and we hike together.

For tall skinny people, the Arcteryx Rampart 35" inseam medium is the way to go.

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Nick Mitchell

Nick Mitchell wrote a review of on April 13, 2010

5 5

this is a really excellent jacket. i'm 196cm (6'5") and kinda slim, and the large fits very well. the cut is about the same as a medium in say the north face, but with the body and arm length of a ... large! compared to my (now ripped) north face DIAD jacket, this breaths hecka better. the crappy hyvent material of the DIAD (north face continues to use it!) is really clammy. even when dry, the material in this Dri1 fabric is better, more supple. the hood is huge (great!), but doesn't call attention to itself when not in use.

the blue color is beautiful.

the only downside: no hand pockets, only two small chest pockets. the upside: full body pit zips!!

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Nick Mitchell

Nick Mitchell wrote a review of on December 25, 2009

3 5

i bought three pairs of these shoes over a few years. i was pretty happy with them, as they support my narrow heel/wide toe box combo; they have a incredibly spacious toe box, it's great!! they look pretty good, at least until the webbing starts to deteriorate. on the trail, they are fine shoes, but i found that their comfort does not last very long. so i've switched to other shoes that might not be quite as initially comfortable and fun (so light!), but that hold up better, both in terms of looks and in terms of comfort.

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Nick Mitchell

Nick Mitchell wrote a review of on December 25, 2009

4 5

I have a somewhat older version of this jacket, but have been very happy with it. It's light, looks great, has held up to much hiking brilliantly. it breaths and holds out the wind so well. despite lots of encounters with tree branches, i have experienced no tears or even blemishes to the material. the zippers and the taping or welding or whatever it is -- these are all still in perfect shape!

the only downside, for me, is that it isn't tall enough. i'm 6'5" 174 pounds, and the medium fits great around the middle, but the jacket doesn't have long enough sleeves or body. In comparison, the Arcteryx Gamma MX jacket that i have, also in a medium, has the same nice trimmish (trim, not super trim) fit as this jacket, but the gamma mx has much longer arms and a longer body. for this reason alone, i'll purchase my next shell from elsewhere.

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Nick Mitchell

Nick Mitchell wrote a review of on December 25, 2009

3 5

This shirt is pretty good. In the hierarchy of shirtdom, for hard core hikers, i place the patagonia capilene stuff at the top, then the smartwool stuff, and then this. they are all nice! but capilene breaths so much better than this or the smartwool woolies. the woolies are better for really keeping you warm in the absence of lots of exertion. and heroically fend of sweat stench much better than the capilene stuff. however, i've found that a thin silk base layer teamed with a capilene 3 matches the wools, in the heat regard, and far exceeds the breathability.

i prefer the smartwool shirts over this, by a slight margin. the smartwool shirts have a less technical look, and, since i don't use wools much for strenuous hiking, i might as well have a wool shirt that looks less nerdo.

this shirt has a pretty trim fit. i got a medium, and it is nice and skin hugging, but not muscle mapping. it has decent arm length, though not as good as my arcteryx gamma mx jacket, in this regard. i have longish arms (6'5") and the medium just barely meets the arm length criteria, for me. note that the Rho LT model is much different in this regard. the Rho LT medium is far too small for me, but the LTW fits pretty well.

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Nick Mitchell

Nick Mitchell wrote a review of on December 25, 2009

my favorite hiking pant
5 5

i've had my ramparts for about 1.5 years now. i am super happy with them. they come in a 35" inseam, which is so rare in a stock pair of pants (lucky jeans, by the way, do too!). they have a great trim fit. i remember at first being slightly concerned that they looked too hiker geeky. and i guess they do, with the fit and the sleekness of the overall look. none of the pockets stand out to give the leg much visual texture. the material doesn't look like a typical street cred kinda pant. but still, they look pretty good!

for hiking, i am really happy with their lightness, lack of excess material allowing for quick striding, and super breathability. in the winter, a pair of patagonia capilene 3 or silk long underwear is necessary, but sufficient to keep me warm (and i'm always cold).

two minor downsides: the thigh pockets aren't very deep, and the hip pockets aren't either! so there's no pocket big enough to store a map taller than about 5 inches. second downside: the pants have dual snaps for some reason. well, shortly after i got these, one of the snaps just came off (are you listening arcteryx??). luckily (and maybe this is the reason for a dual!) there is a backup snappy.

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Nick Mitchell

Nick Mitchell wrote a review of on December 25, 2009

2 5

i really don't like these pants. i got them because they came in a long length (i'm tall, 6'5" and relatively slim at 174 pounds). i got them for my long and routine hikes. they have lots of downsides, for me. first and foremost is the fit: if you have a trim, athletic build, i think you'll find that these pants are super baggy. i got the medium-tall. the waist fits fine, but there is so much excess material around pretty much all parts of the leg. even the leg opening is too wide for a hiking pant. secondly, the material is very heavy. as you walk in them, they just don't stride well at all. the combination of the weight and the excessive bagginess just doesn't work for me. they don't look flattering at all. thirdly, one of the belt loops broke.

the Arcteryx Rampart or Columbia Sportswear Powers Vertical II, both available in a long length (though the latter of which backcountry doesn't seem to carry), are much better pants for hiking. my favorite is the former of those two.

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Nick Mitchell

Nick Mitchell wrote a review of on December 25, 2009

5 5

i really love these insoles. i hike for 5-7 hours at a time, quite frequently, and couldn't be happier. they have so many positive attributes: no abrasion against my foot soles (i've found that superfeet have this problem), just enough cushion to them (they have an amazing balance of support and just a bit of give/cushion), they have a nice wide platform (many insoles aren't wide enough, especially those provided with shoes), they don't get sweat-logged, they dry out quickly, and they are very resilient. after hundreds of miles, my two pairs (i alternate) don't show many signs of deterioration. maybe this is because i alternate them, giving each some time to dry out. whatever the case, they seem to be lasting quite well.

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