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Richard Possin

Richard Possin

Japan, NZ, AK and occasionally Australia

Richard Possin's Passions

Snowboarding

Richard Possin's Bio

Me lovey powder

Richard Possin

Richard Possin wrote a review of on November 26, 2014

Great Shovel
4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I upgraded to this from a light aluminium low profile shovel almost a year ago and I'm really happy with it.

Small shovels are fine for occasional side country use, but once you start pushing your boundaries further and further from the fence of your local ski hill, you will quickly realise the efficiency and safety value of a bigger and more capable shovel. A bigger shovel means quicker and more efficient pit digging. The adjustable length handle means good torque on the blade and you won't have to stoop as low as with a lightweight single length shovel. At the risk of stating the blindly obvious, a person buried under snow is literally drowning and the quicker you move the snow and get to them, the more likely they are to survive. The blade also slots onto the hand end of the handle to make a hoe.

Most times I go snowboarding involves getting on a plane so there's always a compromise with size and I like the size and weight of this one.

There's a few small, but worthwhile features thrown in too, such as the slits in the blade. Loop a 120cm sling through and you've got a fairly decent anchor.

If you have holes drilled in the end of your planks you can also make a sled with the supplied nuts and bolts.

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Richard Possin

Richard Possin wrote a review of on October 8, 2014

Good, but not great
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I'm pretty happy with this pack for splitboard touring. I've tested it out on multiple day tours and a 4 day hut trip.

It's a nicely designed, roomy, classic style touring pack with top access . There's 2 pull-to-tighten closures for the main compartment which give the pack good overflow capacity for multi-day adventures. There's also a weird adjustable strap clip closure over the top of the main compartment,.

There's a side access zip to the main compartment and 2 zippered internal pockets in the main compartment. 1 is at the bottom of the pack, which I find fairly useless. The other 1 is next to the side zip to the main compartment.

The 'wet' pocket (avy tools) has more than enough room for shovel, probe, snow saw, rutschblock cord, skins.

The lid is removable, has a key clip and can be adjusted up/down depending on how full the pack is. There's also another key clip in the main compartment on the back panel at the top.

There's A-frame carry as well as a chunky loop for diagonal carry. I did find my splitboard (A-framed, I've never tried diagonal) slapping my legs occasionally when booting, haven't decided if this is a design flaw or whether I need to experiment a little. I think if you pull the top shoulder straps a little tighter this will pull the top of the pack a little closer to your shoulders and push the bottom of the pack out a little thereby pushing the tips of your plank(s) a little further out.

You can vertical carry a snowboard (without ski straps) if you're lightly packed.

There's dual ice axe carry which is well done. The pick sits under a flap and the lower side straps have dual loops/clips. The upper straps have an extra loop, but only one clip.

What would I change?

- You can carry 2 ice axes, but where's the external crampon storage? I put mine under the lid and secured it with the (previously useless) black strap.
- Add drain hole in wet pocket.
- Move zipper pocket from bottom of pack to underside of lid.
- $$$ for what it is.

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Richard Possin

Richard Possin wrote a review of on October 2, 2014

Minimum clunk and they dry quick
4 5

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

I worked out a while ago that the thickness of your socks has almost no bearing on their warmth (with ski/snowboard boots that is) as most of the insulation comes from the boot/liner, not the sock. With this in mind I started buying thinner socks like these that are quick drying, definitely important when away from heat e.g. doing overnighters in the backcountry.

I have only had these for a few months, I haven't had the durability issues that Jared mentions below... yet... I have had durability issues with other icebreaker products - fingers crossed with these. My tip here is wash them on gentle cycle and do NOT put in the dryer. You certainly don't have to wash them every time you wear them either.

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Richard Possin

Richard Possin posted an image about on September 14, 2014

How to store your crampons on this pack

I struggled to find the best way to store my crampons in (or on) this pack when touring. There's an adjustable clip strap that comes up over the main compartment pack closure (but under the lid) that I previously thought was useless until I took my ice axe and crampons. This is what I came up with.

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Richard Possin

Richard Possin wrote a review of on July 29, 2014

Dig, Study.... LIVE
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This is my first snow saw and I'm very happy with it. If you're serious about digging pits, you're going to need one at some stage. This one is relatively light and compact and seems tough and strong. It's got a ruler for measuring column widths and mini-grids for snow crystal sizes. Handy too, for the odd bit of wood surgery.

The handle can probably be ski-strapped to a ski pole for some long range cornice cutting, although I haven't tried this.

The bonus bottle opener is a nice touch for those post-touring trailhead beverages!

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Richard Possin

Richard Possin wrote a review of on July 7, 2014

Hot Tea on a Mountain!
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I really like this mini-thermos, it's great for ski touring when you don't want to bulk out your pack with a big regular size thermos flask. It won't keep your Tea quite as warm for as long as a normal glass-lined thermos will, but is certainly good enough for day tripping. Worth checking you've tightened the lid properly before you put it back in your pack as I've nearly put it with the lid slightly open (faulty operator not equipment!).

I haven't tried it in warm weather with cold liquids, it's got different lids depending on whether you want warm or cold.

For weight weenies, there's a titanium version ($$$) that shaves some weight off.

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Richard Possin

Richard Possin wrote a review of on May 17, 2014

Perfect for layering when Alpine Touring
4 5

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

This is my "go to" layering piece for when I'm touring, mostly I use it as a mid-layer in warmer touring climates like Australia and NZ. Having a synthetic fill rather than down works much better in these warmer environments as it's not a problem if it gets a little wet.

I find the best use is when I'm skinning and you hit an exposed ridge line and it gets a little colder or you're suddenly in the shade for a while. I generally have it under some compression straps on the outside of my pack and it's easy to quickly take the pack off, chuck it on and move on quickly without opening and searching your pack for a shell.

It's super light and compresses into it's own inside pocket about the size of a really fat beer can.

Would you believe this photo is in Australia?

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Richard Possin

Richard Possin wrote a review of on April 20, 2014

Lifesaver, but pack itself ordinary
3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I've used this 'lightweight' 5L pack at a heli operation in Alaska and also a 50L ABS pack when touring.

I'm quite conflicted about the ABS airbags because they're such a fantastic backcountry safety device, but really let down by poor pack design and straps.

The airbag part of the pack is great, no doubt it's a potential lifesaver in avalanche terrain and that's fantastic. Having two airbags is a nice redundancy. The logistics of airline travel with the gas cylinders are a nightmare though.

My first beef is with the removable activation handle. IT'S WHITE FFS *&%#$!!!! Yes, that's right - it's the same colour as the snow. WTF? Did they run out of coloured plastic? Not such a problem if you're touring, but if you're heli skiing (you have to remove it from the pack to prevent accidental activation in the heli) and you drop it in powder as you're removing it, it's REALLY hard to see.

The straps, particularly the waist strap, on both packs I've used are substandard and loosen by themselves and I had to continually tighten them. I'd hate to see what happens in an avalanche.

The good news is you can buy the ABS base unit and get a zip-on pack from another manufacturer, which is what I'd recommend.

Some people complain about the extra weight. I can't say it's a problem for me - you can't have an omelette without breaking eggs.

Personally, I'm going to wait to see what the newer options e.g. black diamond jet force are like before I commit to buying an airbag pack.

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