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OkP

OkP

OkP's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Snowboarding
Climbing

OkP

OkPwrote a review of on February 27, 2013

5 5

After having owned and loved a few long-sleeve shirts from Icebreaker, I decided to give this one a try when I saw it on sale. I expected to wear it for climbing, but now I treasure it so much that I only wear it to work and around town. It's a slim fit, so size up. I'm 6' 185lbs, and usually wear medium, and this shirt in large is a slim fit for me.

I love the look of it. The gray has a nice sheen to it, and the red stitching on the sides gives a subtle touch of contrast. Of course you get all the benefits of Merino - good wicking and great odor-resistance. The price might seem steep for a tee, but considering that it's a technical piece that also looks great around town, I think it's fair.

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OkP

OkPwrote a review of on May 28, 2009

5 5

It seems like everybody had the old Metolius rope bag - the one with the single strap. And that was really the biggest problem. "I got the rack, you get the rope" used to be my favorite thing to say, because the rack, no matter how big, was in my nice comfy backpack, while the other chump was stuck carrying the rope awkwardly over the shoulder, swinging it around on scrambles, and having a sore back by the time we got to the crag. Well, this bag changes all this, and there's no going back. They added a second strap, so now it can be easily worn as a backpack. As far as durability, this bag is just as bomber as its predecessor. It also now has a rubber-coated grab-handle that's centered at the top end, and I'm surprised by how often I use it to handle the rope while packing, handling gear, or rearranging the car. A great ropebag that will outlast many a rope, and If you see it on SAC - it's a no-brainer!

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OkPwrote a review of on May 14, 2009

5 5

I was skeptical at first. I have seen a lot of miracle-materials come and go with mixed results - capilene, smartwool, the paint-on condom...but this was on sale, and I went for it. Oh man, can you say new favorite base layer? First of all, I don't find it completely non-itchy. Maybe I'm extra sensitive to wool (I could never wear a wool sweater without a long sleeve shirt underneath, yet I do love lamb kabobs), but I do feel a bit itchy when first putting it on. The itchy feeling is gone within minutes though, and I can keep wearing the shirt for days at a time in total comfort. And that's the other great thing about it - the odor resistance really is as impressive as they say. It is so good that I find myself sniffing it again and again, waiting for it to release the hidden funk, but there just is none. I sweat a lot, and to have a base layer that wicks it all while smelling nice is so unusual that I'm suspecting they've made a deal with the dark one. Wear it by itself and it will keep you cool and dry. Wear it under a windbreaker, and you're ready for any moderate weather. Wear it under a soft shell, and you're going to be toasty no matter where you go. I'd love to say that I'm going to order more of these, but really, the one is already doing the job of 3 or so other base layers that I haven't reached for since I got this one. If these guys ever start making underwear, I'll buy it in bulk.

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OkP

OkPwrote a review of on January 16, 2009

5 5

I was used to getting a new pair of gloves every snowboarding season, or sometimes tearing through several pairs per season. Invariably every glove I had either ripped, turned into a sponge, or both. I've had these for over a year, and there's not a loose thread anywhere, and after a day of riding slush they were only damp at worst. Another problem I've had with some gloves is when you pull them off, the inside lining would stick to my hands and pull out, calling for a few minutes of fiddling with each finger to get it back in; these gloves don't have this problem. Oh and let's mention the fantastic liners (pipe gloves). I think I have last season's model because I don't see my color listed now, but my liners look mad sharp, with a sick red black and white design, and a web of sticky rubbery material on the palm. I've worn just the liners on many warm occasions, and I kept expecting them to rip apart as I fall, drag my hand, handle gear, etc. But aside from a bit of fuzzing near at the seams, they're still rock solid. I'll even wear the liners around town and get compliments. It would be great if Backcountry would show a picture of the liners too, so you could match your steez. Bottom line, these gloves talk the talk and walk the walk!

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OkP

OkPwrote a review of on June 23, 2008

4 5

I have a tenuous, passionate love-hate relationship with this pack. I’m mainly a climber, so the pack usually has a rack and a rope in it, or the rope strapped to the outside if the inside is too full. I haven’t had a chance to use it on a big wall yet, but I’m pretty confident that it would do a good job, the hipbelt has gearloops, there are burly haul loops stitched to the top, etc. For more alpine adventures, the back of the pack is reinforced with a tough rubbery material for crampons, and the bottom of the back looks like it could easily hold icetools or a shovel.

As for the fit, that is what made me fall in love with the pack. It is simply, hands down, the most comfortable pack I’ve ever worn. The weight just seems to disappear, and the cool shaping makes wearing this pack nearly as comfortable as wearing a t-shirt. Make sure the hipbelt is heat molded to fit you, and once it is, it is perfect. In fact, right on the hips is where this pack will put all the weight - don’t worry about it pulling on your back or shoulders. Sometimes I feel like the shoulder straps are there just for looks, since the pack is so good at putting the weight on your hips. Other neat features include the built in bungee on the back, well designed compression straps, and a built in whistle on the chest strap that’s great for annoying your companions and frightening the wildlife.

But sadly, I do resent this pack. After just a couple months of use, I discovered a finger-sized hole all the way through the yellow material towards the bottom. Did I put something metal in there? Did it rub against a rock? I don’t know, but other packs I’ve owned certainly didn’t get holes in them without some sort of epic and obvious mishap. I took it back and exchanged it for the same one: great lovers deserve a second chance. I’ve been much more careful with this second one, and we’re approaching our one-year anniversary, but I fear that it just won’t last. I already see scuffs and a couple tiny perforations on that yellow fabric. Whenever I’m stuffing the pack with irregular shaped objects, I watch in terror as they bulge up against the fabric, just waiting for it to rip. Despite the great fit and features of the pack, the yellow material just appears to be weak. Since this is targeted at climbers, this seems like a pretty gross oversight.

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OkP

OkPwrote a review of on June 23, 2008

5 5

When I got a job and put my dirtbagging days behind me, one of the first things I got was a compression sack for my down sleeping bag. My first sack was the Granite Gear Air - it looked stylish, came in a little plastic case, had a neat logo, and so I thought I'd now be the envy of the campsite. Well, after about a year of stuffing my sleeping bag into it, the Granite Gear sack tore. It tore right at the edge where I'd hold it with my left hand as I stuffed it with the right. Granite? More like choss! At the time I thought that maybe stuffsacks are just meant to be disposable like that, like so many other conveniences of our consumer culture. So instead of buying one of the fancy ones, I went to the Outdoor Research outlet store in Seattle and picked up this Helium sack. It definitely doesn't look flashy - the colors are very granola. The first thing I noticed about it was that two of the straps are on snaps. Compared with my old sack, where none were on snaps (just cinches), this made putting it all together much easier. Without snaps, you're left to untangle the "cap" part of the sack every time you put it on, which is not the most fun activity when you want to just pack up and go. With the Helium's snaps, it's a no-brainer - just cap, snap, and cinch! But even more importantly, I've been using this sack for 3 years now, expecting it to rip like the last one, but it's holding together nice and strong. Since I wouldn't mind trying another sack for novelty's sake, I don't hold back when stuffing this guy. I push and pull on it like I'm shoving a demon back into hell. And yet it's held up perfectly. Looks like I'll be stuck with this ugly sack for a while!

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OkPwrote a review of on March 13, 2008

5 5

For me these were an upgrade from a set of Drakes that came with a $200 board+bindings beginner package. Learning to ride on those, I imagined that all bindings were the same, and so I focused on improving my technique rather than upgrading my gear. When my friends would brag about their new stuff, I would turn my nose up - pfft, I ride on cheapo gear, and I'm as good as you!

But then I gave my Drakes to a friend and got these Rides. I mounted them on that same old board and went up to Steven's Pass in Washington. After the first run I was ready to call my friends and apologize. The difference was phenomenal!

These bindings let me have way more control of the board. Turns were smooth, predictable, and thanks to all the padding - nice and soft, even on fairly icy terrain. One thing that really made the improvement obvious was riding the board flat. Before, I would be stressing about the board squirreling this way or that when flat, having to make quick adjustments and being super careful not to overcompensate. With these bindings, riding flat became much easier. I felt like I had way more control - there was no way the board would skim out now. A similar benefit was observed when riding switch. Switch for me is still an awkward ordeal, but these made it much more controlled and predictable. Also, skating with one foot unstrapped, getting off the lift, etc, I felt like I had more control and could finally relax and enjoy the ride.

I also love the adjustability on these. The highback can be rotated so that it stays parallel to the board as you rotate your bindings. The toepad can be extended or retracted to fit your boot better. Of course the straps can be adjusted, and the overall length of the binding. Once you get the adjustments dialed, it feels like the binding was custom made just for you.

I haven't tried other high-quality bindings, so I can't compare, but I'm freakin' loving these. I can't wait to mount them on my new Jussi board (thanks again!).

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