Rob de Luca

Rob de Luca

Park City, Utah

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Rob's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking
Running
Skiing

Rob's Bio

They say every man has a country; Utah is mine. Growing up hunting and fishing in Pennsylvania, I've always felt a strong pull to the outdoors, but it took moving to the (beautiful, weird) Beehive State to really understand how dramatically the mountains can change the way you live your life.

When I'm not procrastinating in front of a computer or obsessing over new gear I can't afford, I'm out skiing, mountain biking, hiking, or getting thrown off my dirt bike. I'm not an ex-racer, an endurance athlete, or a pro anything. I'm just a regular guy.

I've been here since 2006, and while I'll always have love for the East Coast, I don't think I'm ever going back. Sorry, Mom.

Check out my seldom-updated website for more of the same: www.delucasaurus.com

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Rob de Luca

Rob de Luca wrote a review of on August 27, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

We have the reflective version of this collar, and bought one of the trout patterns for a friend who is really into fly fishing. It's amazing, both for the realistic, vibrant trout pattern and the waterproof, super-tough design. The description doesn't say this, but it is a classic nylon webbing collar that has been encased in some kind of flexible plastic, making it totally waterproof and tough as nails. We use the loop to hold a bell and tags, and to attach a leash when needed; it has plenty of room for all three (as opposed to what a previous review might suggest). The colors don't fade and the coating doesn't crack or peel, even after two years on a very active outdoor dog. And no, I don't work for or have any relationship with Dublin Dog. These collars are awesome.

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Rob de Luca

Rob de Luca wrote a review of on May 28, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Pedals are one of those things that nobody wants to spend money on, so they go with what they know or what their friends recommend. Well, I have been running a single pair of these pedals for almost a decade, now on a second bike, and they have thousands of miles on them with absolutely zero issues, ever. In fact, this isn't really a review of the ATAC 6 pedals, it's a review of the ATAC XS, which is the predecessor to this model and shares all the same construction and technology. I've had zero, zip, none, nada, absolutely no problems. No replacing parts, no adjusting, nothing except buying new cleats every few seasons. I'm one of very few people I know who own ATACs, but everyone I've met who owns them feels the same way. They engage every time, they never clog, the float is great, and the pedaling platform feels sturdy. So there you go: your friend just recommended Time ATAC, and you should trust him because he rides a ton and knows about stuff.

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Rob de Luca

Rob de Luca wrote a review of on April 29, 2014

5 5

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

...but enough about me. These pants are great. I don't know if these are a new cut or what, but I used to wear Carhartts in college every day, and I remember them fitting like this; a little slimmer than the wide-legged pairs now relegated to my closet for painting, plumbing, and yard work. I don't have any mobility problems as another reviewer mentioned, but I also have skinny legs. There's no gusset in the crotch, so if you're looking for climbing pants these might not do it. What they do have are triple-stitched seams, burly fabric, side pockets that will hold your pocketknife, flashlight, and smartphone without dropping them, and style that's apparently hip enough for my hipster-ass buddy from Reno to remark "wait...those are Carhartts? I'm buying a pair." As for the fit, I'm a 32x32 in most pants and these fit pretty much to size. I have a green pair that's a bit looser, and a brown pair that is snug when I pull them out of the dryer but they stretch out after a day. The best part is, when you blow the crotch out (like I do on all my pants after a year or so) you can pick up the exact same color, size, and pattern for about $40 on sale.

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Rob de Luca

Rob de Luca wrote a review of on April 23, 2014

A bit big for MTB, but a great moto pack
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I got this pack last summer for dirt biking after finding the Nomad too small (see my review) and so far it has lived up to the task. It's well-built, which makes it a tad on the hefty side, but the weight is worth the ability to survive multiple crashes without failure. At 26 liters, it's bigger than any mountain biking pack I have owned or used, but it might be perfect if you needed, say, a burly pack for MTB touring or all-day winter rides with tons of gear. In the Apex, I can fit a spare dirt bike tube (way bigger than a MTB tube), a tool kit, a bolt kit, an emergency blanket, ski straps, food, sunglasses, a hat, a small first aid kit, 40 feet of 1000lb test static line, carabiners, a rain jacket, and a bunch of other small items. That's all in addition to the full 100oz water reservoir, so when I say it is a big bike pack, I mean it. The reservoir is a Hydrapak Shape-Shift bladder with the quick disconnect hose, and truly a great piece of tech. The center baffle keeps the bladder from barreling, so it stays flatter in the pack, and the top slide-lock closure makes filling and cleaning super simple. The back panel features two firm ridges of vented foam that keep the pack away from your skin so air can circulate; some say it is irritating but I've worn it for 6 hours at a time with 20lbs of gear and never felt uncomfortable. So far, I have absolutely no complaints about this pack. If you're looking for a mountain bike pack, I would honestly recommend a smaller one first (like the Nomad or smaller), unless you know for sure you will be carrying a ton of stuff. But if you do need a big pack, the Apex is a well-made bike pack with tons of space and great features, and it looks like it will last a long time.

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Rob de Luca

Rob de Luca wrote an answer about on March 18, 2014

If you're a good skier, go with the 182, no question. I'm 5ft10in and 175lbs, I ski the 182, and I sometimes wish I had the 188 for going wide open. At your height and weight, the 182 is perfect.

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Rob de Luca

Rob de Luca wrote an answer about on March 18, 2014

Stiffness is relative, but if you're asking how they compare to most similar-dimension skis I would say the Bibby is on the stiffer side, until you start comparing it to skis with metal layers in the build. This ski can charge hard, but it's lively, not super damp, and the tail rocker makes it easy to release. If you used to race, you might like a more dead-plank feel under your feet and a ski like the (old) Bodacious or Katana. If you ski park or have a more energetic skiing style, you'll probably like the Bibby a lot. If all you want is to charge big lines going fast, get the Governor.

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Rob de Luca

Rob de Luca wrote a review of on March 18, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This new version of the Targhee was a gift I received from Gregory after doing some freelance work; I have an older version of this same pack, but they insisted I try the "updated" one, and because I am not stupid I said "OK". To clarify, they did not ask or imply that I should review it, at all. All I can say is that the difference is night and day. The old pack, while burly as hell and well-featured, is a beast in comparison; I actually ended up removing the framesheet, because it just added more weight and felt too stiff when touring and skiing. Now, even without the sheet, the old pack is heavier than the new one, and the new one has a trick internal wire frame that gives great support, but somehow flexes freely as you ski. It skis with excellent balance and minimal pendulum effect, even fully loaded. In fact, if you're traveling light, you'll probably forget you're wearing it (I have). Feature-wise, it's a Gregory, so it's been thought out, tested, and re-worked a billion times over. There are lash points and hidden straps on this pack that I don't even know how to use (in fact, an instruction booklet might be a nice feature), but they all tuck away if you don't need them, making the pack look and feel streamlined. Comfort is second to none; the shoulder harness and waist belt are sized to wear over layers, so a medium fits me perfectly at 5ft 10in and 175lbs. My favorite feature is probably the cavernous top pocket. Spare goggles, gloves, sunscreen, energy bars, a Leatherman, and a bunch of ski straps all fit in there with room left over. If you need a "basic" backcountry pack (i.e., no Avalung or airbag system), this is unquestionably the one. I wear an old sling-style Avalung on top of all my gear, and I still prefer the fit and ride of the Targhee over any integrated 'lung or airbag pack I have tried.

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Rob de Luca

Rob de Luca wrote a review of on December 2, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I ski the PB&J a lot: early season, late season, and during dry spells. This ski can do it all, from ripping groomers to bashing bumps and even skiing pow, if you find any around. Unlike other 100mm-wide skis I've had, this one releases easily and stays agile in chop thanks to the tip and tail rocker, making it easier to ski in varying conditions. The camber underfoot has plenty of juice for high-speed carving, even more so in the 188 length than the 182, but I prefer the shorter length. I find the 182 great for casual cruising, where I would have to be more on top of the bigger ski when I'd rather be relaxed. In either length, the PB&J is a solid quiver addition for the West as a groomer-day/spring conditions ski. If I lived back East, I might go with the 188 as my one-ski quiver, because in the longer length it has the float and stability to act like a mini-big-mountain ski.

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Rob de Luca

Rob de Luca wrote a review of on December 2, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Oh, you didn't read all the reviews or see the bajillion awards the Deathwish picked up recently? Here's the dirty: it's the best all-around pow ski for people who like a more centered stance and a slashy, forgiving, floaty ski that can still carve groomers. It's the best ski I've ever skied in my life. I'm on the 184 and the only thing I would say in the negative is that I want a little more ski for really pushing it on big days. That's why I am picking up the 190 this year, because after skiing it in Jackson, it's perfect if you want a little more ski without feeling overwhelmed. I'm 5'10 175, so if you're a huge guy or gal or an ex-racer, this isn't your ski. But if you're average sized, above-average ability, and you want to spread a doo-doo-eating grin across your mug every time you click in and shred, PICK THESE UP and NEVER LOOK BACK. What? Only five stars available? Need 69 at least...this thing's broken.

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Rob de Luca

Rob de Luca wrote a review of on December 2, 2013

Gotta get up to get down
5 5

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

Just spent my first weekend on these in Colorado, touring up Buttermilk and riding lifts at Snowmass. My setup is 184 Exit World, Dynafit Vertical FT 12 w/ 4.5mm B&D shims mounted on the line, Dalbello Sherpa 5/5 boots. First, I was surprised at how light the Exit World was. They may not be a ton lighter than the Bibby, and part of it is definitely the tech binding, but they didn't feel heavy at all for a 115-waist ski. At Buttermilk, we had about 6 inches of superlight pow over a week-old base, and they skied great, farming turns when needed and remaining stable when pushed faster, even over uneven ruts and drainage ditches. Using skins was easy (easier than any other Moments, at least) thanks to the round tips and indented tails; I used Black Diamond Ascensions with no problems at all. On hardpack, they took a little time to get used to, especially with the stiff Dynafit toe making them feel harsher than an alpine setup. After a couple of laps, however, I was able to rail turns with confidence and really push as fast as I wanted without getting any sort of chatter. On crusty refreeze, they were definitely skittish, but I'll put that down to the light setup and non-elastic toe. If I could have whatever I want in life, I'd have a pair of these with alpine or hybrid bindings like Dukes, and a pair with Dynafits. I'm betting they'd be absolutely killer paired up with alpine gear, just like the Bibby was, only a tad lighter. As it stands, I'm pumped to have these for touring regardless and the powder performance is definitely on the money.

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Rob de Luca

Rob de Luca wrote a review of on November 13, 2013

5 5

Since getting the Swift I have rarely worn anything else outside this fall. I am in the mountains daily and compared to a fleece, there is no comparison. It blocks wind on the downhill and I've yet to get through the DWR and soak the fabric with snow or rain. It breathes well, even in warmer weather, and while it's not a super warm jacket (I need to layer under it in <40F weather) it is versatile enough to use year-round. I live out West, but I would wear it back East for all-around gray weather, barring heavy rain.
At 5ft 10in, 175lbs, and athletic, I'm usually in between a Medium and a Large, but i prefer a regular (not trim) fit. In the Swift I am a definite Medium. It fits more like a sweatshirt than a "technical softshell" and I can layer underneath it easily. Range of motion in the arms and shoulders is excellent. The hand pockets have a comfortable slanted opening and a little lip to keep your stuff inside even with the zippers open. It also looks rad.

If anything, I would ask only for an extra inch in the waist, a tad more room in the "scuba" hood, and for the hood drawcords to be an inch further from my chin when the collar is zipped up. Overall though, those are small issues, and in the end I love the look and function of this jacket.

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Rob de Luca

Rob de Luca wrote a review of on September 17, 2013

5 5

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

The Radarlock XL's fit much better than the old Radar XL's (I own both) and the lens swapping feature is excellent. I can remove and replace the lens almost without touching the surface and putting fingerprints all over it, and it doesn't give me a nervous breakdown thinking I'll break the frame like the old design did (for the record, the frame has yet to break on my old Radar XL's and I have swapped lenses plenty of times). As for the photochromic lens, I'm satisfied but not over the moon about it. I mostly wear these mountain biking, and it seems like the brim of my helmet keeps the lens from fully converting to its darkest tint, even in bright Moab sunlight. If Oakley had included a dark tint spare lens, like Black or Red Iridium, these sunglasses would be perfect. My only other complaint is that while the smaller, more rounded lens performs slightly better and looks sportier, it loses a bit of the square Terminator style I love about the Radar XL. Bottom line, I'm still giving these five stars for function and fit.

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Rob de Luca

Rob de Luca wrote a review of on September 12, 2013

5 5

The word "bombproof" gets thrown around a lot in the ski industry, but these bindings really do deserve it. I have two pairs, one that's a year old and another that's five or six years young. They both work flawlessly and I expect them to last another five or six years.
UPSIDES
1. Metal. They last forever.
2. Elastic travel means no pre-release, so you can set them lower than other bindings without worrying.
3. When they do release they don't "pop" out, they just come off.
4. Short mounting platform=free flex, centered weight.
5. Boner heel can be engaged manually, without needing to stomp down (great for powder).
6. Pivot heel design is supposedly easier on your knees. Fingers crossed on that one.
DOWNSIDES
1. Metal. Heavy.
2. High DIN, not for everyone.
3. No adjustability. Get new boots? Better be the same shell size or that's a remount.
4. No interchangeable brakes. If you break them, Rossignol will replace them, but ONLY with the size you purchased. And you have to send them in; they won't ship them to you.
5. Expensive.

I also don't ski hard enough to actually NEED these bindings. I look at it as $250 or so that I don't have to spend every few seasons replacing sloppy or broken plastic bindings, so in the end they are worth it. For the record, the Pivot 14's are also very nice bindings with a great track record and vertical release. Haven't failed me yet.

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Rob de Luca

Rob de Luca wrote an answer about on September 12, 2013

No. The toes have a single piece housing that is not adjustable, other than DIN setting. They do have pre-loaded downward pressure, but it is set to within a narrow spec and won't automatically adjust to fit, say, really worn-out shells or touring boots with rockered soles.

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Rob de Luca

Rob de Luca wrote a review of on September 12, 2013

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

These look damn sweet and they do an adequate job, but if you're expecting 2013 performance from a circa-1995 design, you're going to be let down. The lenses are flexible, so they deliver more-than-average distortion, and the Lexan material scratches easily. They fog up faster than newer goggles, and they let in a lot of air through the vents. I wear them in the spring, when I'm not as concerned about function as I am about looking hella rad on the tram deck.

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Rob de Luca

Rob de Luca wrote a review of on September 12, 2013

5 5

When these came out I was itching to get on board, because I use Superfeet in all my shoes and I swear by wool's versatility as a technical fabric. I put them in a brand-new pair of GORE-TEX Danner hikers, thinking that while they might be too warm for summer, they'd be perfect for winter. However, I found out during an 8-mile hike in 65-70 degree weather that these footbeds are comfortable in warmer temperatures too, even with leather uppers and thick hiking socks. They are warm, but not too hot, and they never felt damp or sweaty. In fact they feel strangely (but not unpleasantly) neutral, as though they are insulating you from the ground (they are). The felt top is luxurious, softer than I expected it would be, but not too cushy or at all unsupportive. I wouldn't recommend them for low-volume shoes, as they are pretty thick, and I can't say I'd imagine they'd be as comfortable in really hot or humid climates, but so far they appear to be perfect for my uses. Can't wait for the snow to start falling so I can feel how well they perform in the cold.

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Rob de Luca

Rob de Luca wrote a review of on August 29, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Just my opinion, of course. I originally bought the Nomad to use dirt biking, and found it too small to fit all my gear. The Apex, on the other hand, fits my tool kit (about the size of a travel bath kit), spare tube (way bigger than an MTB tube), pump, first aid/emergency kit, 40ft. of 8mm static line, a waterproof shell, a long-sleeve wool baselayer, food, sunglasses and 100oz. of water. If/when I get a GPS or PLB, it'll fit in there too, no problem. The bladder system is great, thanks to the center divider that keeps it flatter than a straight tubular bladder, and I love the quick-disconnect feature for filling up. While the full pack weighs at least 15lbs, I don't find it uncomfortable on 4-5hr. rides. I suppose if I were on some sort of epic long-distance ride, I might use it for mountain biking, but honestly I can't see myself needing this much room for anything day-to-day. Maybe commuting, if you have a small laptop with its own sleeve. Hard to call too much space a negative feature, though, so five stars it is. I am very pleased with this pack so far, and would recommend it if you need a LOT of room for mountain biking.

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