Rachael Van Dolah

Rachael Van Dolah

Salt Lake City, the Southern Deserts of Utah, the Wasatch Mountains, Unitas, and surrounding area.

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Rachael's Passions

Road Running
Camping
Hiking
Trail Running
Alpine Skiing
Kayaking
Swimming

Rachael's Bio

Backcountry.com’s Gearheads are your instant connection to gear knowledge. They’re passionate outdoor experts hell-bent on helping you find the right ski, saddle, or pro. Follow their adventures and exploits.
Here is some information about me.


While a native to South Carolina and drawn to the coast, warmth, and the sunshine, I have uprooted for a change of pace and have now called Salt Lake City, UT home for the past 4 years. With a variety of terrain, Utah offers endless opportunities to get out and explore. When the weather is warm, I can be found camping, hiking, running, backpacking, and playing Ultimate Frisbee all over the state. When winter is back in full swing, I tend to stay in the Salt Lake area and can be found skiing up at Snowbird or snowshoeing with the pups in Millcreek.


I’d love to answer your gear related questions. FOLLOW ME FOR REVIEWS ON GEAR AND GIVE ME A HOLLER FOR ALL YOUR GEAR QUESTIONS AND NEEDS BY PHONE AT 1.800.409.4502 ext 4089 OR BY EMAIL AT rvandolah@backcountry.com.

Rachael Van Dolah

Rachael Van Dolah wrote an answer about on July 22, 2014

Just to clarify, this pack is not a dry bag but rather is referred to as a dry/wet pack as it comes with a back pocket that has space for a rashguard or wetsuit. If you are in need for a waterproof pack you may want to look into alternative styles. As for compressibility, this will get quite thin. The pack dimensions are 19 x 12 x 9", but will flatten to about 19 x 12 x 1.5 to 2 inches when empty.

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Rachael Van Dolah

Rachael Van Dolah wrote an answer about on July 22, 2014

Thanks for reaching out to us. Ty is correct. The Hi Loft Down Sweater is going to be a bit longer in cut than the Down Sweater. The Hi Loft is considered to have a Parka Length Cut, but it will be the same as the Down sweater in all other ways (same fabric, quality, and down). One thing to note, is with the additional material added on the Hi Loft the weight does vary from the Down sweater by 4 oz.

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Rachael Van Dolah

Rachael Van Dolah wrote an answer about on July 21, 2014

While I am a huge fan of Osprey pack as they are well designed, light weight, easy to pack, comfy to carry, will distribute weight well on your frame, and will hold up for years of use; unfortunately I only hesitate as I am not sure this pack will fit your flight needs due to its size. If you have this one in mind, I would recommend double checking the carry on size limits the airlines you intend to use has, as many may not allow you to use this as hand luggage since it will not reduce in size below 24 x 11 x 9 inches. Overall this Sirrus 36 is a wonderful bag and would work well for your trips, but you may need to rethink size if the airline will require you to check this any time you fly.

*Dimensions of the Osprey Kyte 36 will be 26 x 12 x 11"

** Size wise, you may want to check out the http://www.backcountry.com/osprey-packs-sirrus-24-backpack-1400-1600cu-in-womens if the 36 exceeds your size limits.

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Rachael Van Dolah

Rachael Van Dolah wrote an answer about on July 21, 2014

We are very sorry for any confusion. The Meteor helmet does have a sizing option #1 and #2, but the sizing on the Meteor III + will be adjustable and fits all head circumferences between 53 - 61cm (20.8 - 24 in.). Should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to let us know. You may reach the main customer service line at 1.800.409.4502. Thank you for your time. Have a wonderful day!

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Rachael Van Dolah

Rachael Van Dolah wrote a review of on July 20, 2014

3 5

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

Such a cute style, but I ended up returning these sandals as they did not stayed on my foot when trying them on and I knew I would be doomed when walking around. These may work well for some feet, but they did not work for me as I prefer a more secure strap and fit in my sandals.

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Rachael Van Dolah

Rachael Van Dolah wrote a review of on July 20, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have the Iphone 5S and always feared I would drop this phone and crack the screen or drown the phone on accident. While researching around, I opted to pass on the otter box as it is a tad too bulky, but the IPhone 5 Fre case fit the bill. This case is durable, water tight, easy to open and close if needed, doesn't make you sound like you are in a box to those on the other end of the line, and all around gives you the peace of mind that your phone just may survive a few years of use. The fingerprint feature works flawlessly with the case for me although I know some folks have commented on some concerns. As for what I dislike about the case, I dislike the fact that the screen looks a bit distorted and has from day one. It appears as if there is almost a ripple on the screen and at times seems like there is moisture on the inside, but I have opened it each time and it is dry as can be on the interior. I have wiped it down each time with the cleaning cloth and this has not corrected the issue. This was not a deal breaker for me, but it may be for some.

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Rachael Van Dolah

Rachael Van Dolah wrote a review of on July 20, 2014

5 5

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

I absolutely love these sandals. They are light weight, very cushioned, easy to walk in, and to this day are my go to shoes for the summer. It has been years since I have worn Teva?s, but they have won me over again with this shoe. I went with the hippy blue print and was impressed that the fabric band has yet to become grubby and gross as it has been used in mud and around tons of dirt and sand.

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Rachael Van Dolah

Rachael Van Dolah wrote a review of on July 20, 2014

3 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
Fit: True to size

The fabric of this tank top is so soft and colors are wonderful, but I ended up returning the item as the cute styling that looks like it has been designed to have some slits making it a little different from your average racer back; in person it appears to be unfinished holes that look like they may have been cut with a straight edge/knife. I did not put its durability to the test as I returned the item before using, but I suspect that the fabric may start falling apart like tattered jeans will in these unfinished parts with the first wash.

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Rachael Van Dolah

Rachael Van Dolah wrote a review of on July 20, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: Runs large

This tank is so awesome that I ended up getting two. The fabric is durable (has yet to pill when washed ~6 washes so far), light weight, and feels like a tissue tee. Perfect for the summer and has a nice racer back style without being overly low cut in arm and neck region.

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Rachael Van Dolah

Rachael Van Dolah wrote a review of on July 20, 2014

4 5

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

I really like this tank as the fabric is durable (has yet to pill when washed ~6 washes so far), light weight, and feels like a tissue tee. It is perfect for the summer and has a nice racer back style without being overly low cut in arm and neck region. I have not had this issue with other RVCA tanks, but I did find that the green stained with dirt a bit more easily and the stains have yet to come out when washed. This was an error on my end as I did get a light fabric quite grubby, so I am not sure I can expect much more for the outcome.

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Rachael Van Dolah

Rachael Van Dolah wrote a review of on July 20, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I have purchased two pairs, one for myself and one as a gift and both fit us well. These guards are light weight, but very durable and I would say they fit true according to the sizing chart. The neoprene sleeve on each pair was a tad on the tight side to start, but stretches out with use. One nice feature that sold me on this style over others was the fact that the exterior hard shell can be removed from the interior neoprene sleeve so you do not need to take off your shoes to shed the extra bulk. When you are ready for your descent and need the extra protection you can pull the hard shell out of your pack and reattach. I have yet to have any negative feedback on this item so I do not have any to share at this time, but I do have concerns about the stitching that others have mentioned in reviews below.

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Rachael Van Dolah

Rachael Van Dolah wrote a review of on July 20, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size

Although this jersey is fairly basic in design, it is great for summer biking. It is lightweight, breathable, and tailored enough in an athletic fit that it is not baggy, but it is not tight. I found the sizing chart to be pretty accurate and I fit perfectly in a Medium at 5?7 and 135 lbs.

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Rachael Van Dolah

Rachael Van Dolah wrote a review of on July 20, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I gave it as a gift, but have feedback to share

Although I have not personally used this item as I have purchased this as a gift to ensure my guys dome piece was well protected for mountain biking, I do have feedback to share. With a 23.5 inch head circumference he fit perfectly in the size range for the Large on the sizing chart and when received, the Large fit him perfectly. The helmet is lightweight, easy to get on, allows plenty of ventilation, and perfect for his needs. He did have two features that he was not sold on at first, but has come to like them. The first was the padding felt a bit too plush to start in the jawline and lower cheek regions, but seems to have packed out a bit by forming to his face with use. The second is the closure system for the helmet strap was a bit of a pain at first, but with a few rides he has gotten the hang of it. Fingers crossed he doesn't go down hard enough to truly test its durability, but it seems to be a very well designed helmet.

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Rachael Van Dolah

Rachael Van Dolah wrote a review of on July 20, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

These are perfect if you are looking for a light summer weight glove. These gloves are inexpensive, comfy, lightweight, and have a nice grip, but they do not have any padding so you may need to look elsewhere if you are in need of palm pads. I have not had a chance to test out the durability of the gloves for long, but I suspect that they will hold up well with use. Although it did not matter to me, one downside of the glove is the lighter fabrics do get dirty quickly and will not clean up very well. This was not a deal breaker for me, but may be for someone else.

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Rachael Van Dolah

Rachael Van Dolah wrote a review of on July 20, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I gave it as a gift, but have feedback to share

I gave two of these bottles as gifts and they work perfectly. They are durable, lightweight, and keep your cold beverages actually cold and the hot ones hot. I have not had the opportunity to try cleaning this bottle, but I suspect that it would be fairly easy with a scrubber. One feature that is rare on a bottle, but really nice is the removable strainer. This would be perfect if you are a big tea drinker or if you do not wish to have a mouth full of ice when trying to drink out of a bottle. Each of the bottles I purchased was black and they kept the water inside cold even when sitting in direct sunshine for hours. One downside is that the material will scuff if dropped, but I would say all around these bottle are very durable and a great buy.

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Rachael Van Dolah

Rachael Van Dolah wrote a review of on July 20, 2014

4 5

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

These shorts are perfect for summer biking and I do not have any complaints at this time. They are lightweight, breathable, durable, and comfortable. I am 5?7 and 135 lbs and the small fits perfectly. I would say that the sizing does run on the large side, as I started out with a medium and had to exchange for the smaller size, but the chart should get you fairly close.

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Rachael Van Dolah

Rachael Van Dolah wrote a review of on July 20, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I think this was a wonderful investment as I absolutely love this vest and the pups do too. We have two dogs who are each 65 lbs (lab/collie and a lab/wirehair pointer) and both are strong swimmers, but I had concerns about taking them out on the lake for long swims away from shore without a pfd should they get tired. The medium vest fits each perfectly, but I would absolutely recommend getting a girth measurement to confirm the size will fit well. They are light weight, durable, not bulky, and will give them just enough float to keep their heads above water, but will not interfere with swimming, laying down, getting up, running, or playing. Both dogs appeared a bit unsure when I first put the vests on, but one minute later when they headed into the water for the day, any concern that existed vanished as they seem to have forgotten they even had the vest on.

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Rachael Van Dolah

Rachael Van Dolah wrote a review of on April 26, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I gave it as a gift, but have feedback to share
Fit: True to size

I bought this item as a gift for my boyfriend and he absolutely loves it. For a guy that is capable of destroying just about everything gear wise, this jacket seems to be hanging in there. The jacket is durable enough that he has yet to scuff it while ripping through he trees, yet light weight enough that it can be used in spring conditions while still being warm enough for full winter (with a base layer as this is just a shell). It offers solid ventilation for those warmer day touring/hiking (he was stoked that the vents were set a bit forward actually drawing in air while you walk), the fabric is very waterproof, and the coat offers nice additional features. I was wary of Dakine at first as I was not as familiar with the durability of their apparel products, but I am pleased with my purchase at this time.

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