If you are like me and don't carry your home on your back when you go to work, this is definitely the bag to carry. The total volume is lower than most backpacks but quite reasonable for a day on the town. Very comfortable straps and back padding. The bag is light, waterproof for days when the rain falls straight down, easy to access, and simple (my favorite combination of features). Being a Timbuk2, it will probably outlast my grandchildren. I can fit a 17" MacBook Pro laptop computer into it just fine, and several folders of paperwork. It is limited in its space for bulky lunches or coats, but that hasn't been a hindrance to me yet I can stick a coat easily under the fastex-buckled flap. The easy side access to a wallet pocket is great. I haven't needed the side access zip to the computer, but then I haven't taken a flight with this bag yet. All in all a bomber, lightweight, and cleverly designed bag for the Luddite in you.
Truly excellent design and feel. I love these crampons! Highly adjustable, fast to put on, light in the pack, and super solid. I prefer them over BD's Pro version, but mostly because I wear Scarpa Mont Blanc boots, which give room for lateral movement of the Pro's foreplate. The Clip version is more solidly in place on a variety of boots and still has the tenacious grip of the Pros. I can frontpoint in these very effectively, as well as French technique on icy slopes. The strap attachment is simple and effective. Mixed climbing is just fine because they fit my boot so well. I would highly recommend these as a solid pair of "do all" 'pons. Thank you Black Diamond!
This is an excellent pack for alpine use -- cleverly designed, highly adjustable, and very comfortable with loads up to mid-20 lbs. I most often use it for overnight summit attempts on peaks to 14,000 ft, and strip it down to a minimum for actual summiting. On return to camp, it can be restored in a matter of minutes to a load-bearing, weatherproof sack for gear hauling to the car. I most often use it without the internal liner (which zips out) or top lid for dry-day climbs and scrambles in the alpine zone. The green color is not my favorite, but it makes one highly visible during hunting season (this is a major benefit where I live). I love the single buckle attachment for the top flap, since there is an internal rope strap for carrying the coil. The ice axe attachments are also fine, though I prefer better positioning of the bottom loops for a general mountain axe like the BD Raven; they will work very well for curved ice tools of short shaft length. The ski tote straps are also adequate, particularly for A-framing. The material is very tough, flexible, and light. In short, the elegance of this pack's highly functional design makes me wonder why so many alpine packs continue to over-engineer their features. If you like a light, functional, and highly versatile alpine pack for day or overnight summit attempts, THIS IS IT. Well done, Mammut!
Feel like you have a two-car garage for your Vespa scooter? Here's the answer, at least for those who like a little comfort while packing light. This pack has the right level of down sizing from an Exos 58 with the right level of simplicity and support. Putting this on loaded was like a stranger giving me candy...
I give this product a 4.5 on a scale of 5: it really is very near to the pack I've been craving, since I carry a load of about 25 lbs for one week of on/off trail backpacking trips in montane and alpine zones. I bring a solo tent, pad, down bag, and cannister stove. What matters to me in a pack is balance, good support with the frame, and simplicity. This is a very fine pack on all three counts.
The balance is very good for a pack that pulls away from your back (i.e. "breathable"), although I find this feature is not worth the little extra sweat it takes to have the pack hug close in times of ridge scaling, creek crossings, or blowdown traversing. However, back space is all the rage in light packs these days, and with a load of 25lbs or less it is not really that much of an issue.
The material is bomber and there is little to snag and trip you up when off-trail in the wilds. The capacity of the pack is perfect for me, with the 50L being more than enough for a week long trip. The extended collar is superfluous for me but it may be useful for others who pack bulkier (but light) gear. The narrow webbing is plenty hefty enough for the task required and the zippers are sufficient. The bottom loading access is very handy for a rainy day when your tent is at the bottom of the pack and you don't want to unload all your contents to get to it. The Dyneema material is exceptionally tear resistent which is probably why Lowe Alpine doesn't bother to reinforce the bottom area around the frame. With 20 days of backpacking use so far, I haven't seen the slightest sign of wear in this area. The single external zip pocket on the front is all I needed to carry repair kit, toilet kit, towel and toilet paper. The "catch-all" expandable pocket beneath it is sufficient for wet gear (I get rained on a lot), shovel, and sitting pad. The side pockets I use to carry tent poles, rain cover (maybe not necessary with this pack), and smelly socks. The top lid is positioned well for a reasonable load so that it stays up and on top, and does not sag down the front of the pack (which can disrupt the balance of many packs, like an underpacked Exos). Since I don't use trekking poles, I tied the pole loops into the daisy chains stitched onto the front, with little effort.
Pros: A quite, durable, comfortable pack with loads of 25-30lbs. Stable, simple, and tough. For people 6 feet tall and under, with "light comfortable" hiking styles, this is a top choice. Pack weight is light, though not the lightest. However, I honestly can't tell the difference between a 25lb loaded pack (Nanon) and a 24.8 lb pack (Exos) at the end of a 20-mile day; i.e. this will do you just fine. Easy-to-adjust frame mechanism. Snug, compact load.
Cons: Tall people, or those with a long back and skinny waist, will find this pack to be either too short in the frame or too wide in the waist belt. I'm 5'9" and 150 lbs with a 30" waist, and I have to pull the belt in to the buckle (as far as it goes). But then, with only 25 lbs of gear that is not much of an issue. Also, the lack of a manual and very little online information about the use of the pack is tricky (if you are experienced with lots of packs, this will not be an issue).
Very well done, Lowe Alpine!
Expensive, impressive, and a fit to kill for. But having tried this vest in a variety of chilly wet situations on the trail, I can say that I found no discernable improvement over just wearing my Backcountry.com wool jersey and a parka versus adding the vest. The warmth improvement is minimal, in my opinion, but it might just be the edge you are looking for, particularly in your 30-degree sleeping bag at night. Highly packable and of negligent weight. I would not recommend it for wilderness travel of any serious duration, even though the weight is so very very light. It is just too light to make a significant difference for the price.
The trade-off between light-weight gear and adequate performance is perhaps best exemplified in this pack cover. It will get damp. It will form a puddle inside if the pack is left out in the rain for more than an hour. But it sheds enough rain that your packcloth will only get damp but not soaked. I took four backpacking trips of a week each with this cover and each time the material soaked through in about half an hour of rain. I returned the cover because it did not fit my needs, since my ten year old cover both fits better and is more waterproof than this cloth. It might fit your need, though, so don't ignore the tradeoff of dampness versus weight savings. Note that my Osprey Exos 58 (about 3500 cu inches) was far too small for the medium cover, which was sized for an expedition pack. If you go light, get a small size.
Got both wet and torn within a couple of hours of use on a wilderness trail. The day of the tear, I didn't even have to climb over a downed tree; I just discovered at the end of the day that the leg had ripped several inches. This pant has several nice features though for the VERY careful user: easy on, easy off (even over boots); I found the material to be quiet in use; and, dries very quickly when worn (body heat will dry out the main parts in about half an hour). However, will not stand up to wet bushes, downpours, and contact with natural objects on the trail like stones, branches, and downed trees. Get it for light day hikes, when the stakes are not high.
Great styling and fit, but got me wet on two occasions of first importance. Long hiking days in the rain will overcome a lot of lightweight gear, and this jacket is no exception. A half hour of steady downpour on two backpacking trips beat out the barrier of this coat, which is a shame since its fit is superior, as is its weight. The pit zips are useful, but for whatever reason the jacket failed when needed most: cold wet weather for at least a day or more. On the up side, it will most likely get you damp, but not soaked. Also, it is very quick to dry by body heat, even when near freezing. The collar and sleeve cuffs are comfy when dry but terrible when wet (soaked within an hour). Not for wilderness travel, but might be just the thing for active short days in the wet.
Worked great for the first three trips, but a year later BOTH valves broke off. I discovered this in the spring as I dug out my gear and found the nozzles lying next to the bag. No good. A thoughtful design (if it functioned) though: the drawstring is excellent for very quick attachment to the paddle. Testing it out a few times in mild conditions, I have been able to enter the boat in under a minute flat. That's great for super cold water.
4.5 Stars! This, one of the most interesting designs from Necky, is a veritable wave machine. The plastic hull is sufficient, though heavy at 60 lbs, and a lot cheaper than the composite versions. As I've discovered in several extended big lake, river and ocean trips, the unusual hull shape and somewhat cramped low volume for a touring kayak has its distinct advantages: excellent stability, good rolling capabilities, and less wind resistance. For luxury tourers, you'll have to cut down on the gear; but I can take a week-long trip in this with many more amenities than a similar backpacking jaunt, so if you tend to pack light you won't even notice (tip: put your food bag and water in front of the foot pegs in the inner cockpit for even more stability). Bulkheads, hatch covers, and a solid spray skirt will keep inner moisture down to a minimum (even in oncoming chop and wind). Your upper body will be wet from spray, but it is a small price to pay for the excellent control and bow buoyancy in steep waves. Rocker is pretty strong (it is a coastal performance boat by nature) which would suggest low efficiency and poor tracking, but I routinely average 4 knots with a relaxed low-angle stroke when touring and I rarely use the skeg. If you are comfortable with lean turns, it will spin about better than most boats on the market. I'm 5'9" and 150 lbs, and the 16-foot is an excellent fit (it could work for those a little larger, but if you are over 6 feet or 190 lbs, I would look at the 17-foot model). This is an excellent, lean, and advanced kayak for windy western lakes and rivers, the Great Lakes, and of course coastal fun. I've also found Necky to be an excellent company if there are warrantee issues, which speaks highly of them and their commitment to their customers.
I agree with chrisw001330206. The boot has a very nice fit for those of us with narrow heels and wide forefoots (not that uncommon among outside people, oddly). I've had horrors with a lot of modern boots that have too narrow of a toe box and are poorly built. My pair of Contacts are probably the best boot I've tried in 4 years. Their advantages are: excellent shank for full-length protection, rocker in the shank that makes walking a breeze, FULL breathability and solid water protection, and space for the little piggies up front (i.e. toes). I normally fit a 9.5-10 (due to foot width), and the Contact 9.5 was my size of choice. I strap BD hinged crampons to these for lightweight spring snowfield climbing, and also wear them in 80F heat through baking dry deserts in the Southwest. I find E-vent's breathability better than that of Goretex, and the ankle support is superb. The full shank also makes edging in the boot quite reasonable for mountain scrambling. My only hesitation is the worry that the materials may not last very long -- put a full leather upper on this boot, and you have a classic, legend-worthy mountain hiker. Probably the best boot on the market for narrow-heeled, wide footed hikers (though still a little tight, and not a true wide).
Nice fit, quality manufacturing, but utterly useless in the outdoors. I've field tested this item several times while backcountry skiing - what this jacket was supposedly designed for. Even mild breezes went right through it, and you'll freeze in a winter wind unless you have a windblock layer underneath (in which case, why wear a parka?). It is also only as 'waterproof' as the DWR; if you lean against anything snowy or wet, the body soaks right through. I found it highly breathable, yes, but so is cotton and wool. I even tried a second jacket to be sure that these criticisms applied to more than one - parka 2 was no better than parka 1. So here's the conundrum: what is a $375 jacket for if it neither blocks wind or keeps you dry? I sent them back.
Potentially a fine shell, with quiet materials that are reasonably flexible when cold. This jacket has several limitations that should be considered before ordering, though. I'm 5' 9" and a fit 150 lbs, and fall uncomfortably between the S and M sizes. Here's why: the arms and armpits are sized tight, but the body is sized 'regular fit', which means it is quite broad and lets in lots of drafts. Even when I size up to a M, the over-tight arms prevent layering this jacket over anything but a close-fitting garment such as an Arc'teryx Covert sweater (which still doesn't fit under the S size, even though the S arm and body length is perfect for me. So, unless you are a rotund man with very skinny arms, this parka won't fit comfortably. Furthermore, the two main pockets are wedged under the waistbelt when wearing a pack, leaving no hope for handwarming in the backcountry. The shell is meant to be just an overlayer; it is not intended to keep you warm, but to protect you from wind and rain. If you are constantly active in the outdoors and wear thin, form-fitting underlayers, you will like this jacket. If you plan to stay out in a snowbank, think about another company that allows room in the arms for layering. What was Outside Magazine thinking in rating this the Best of 2007?
I've owned a pair of these gaiters for 15 years, and have worn them to tatters. They are uncoated fabric, which is nice for 3-season breathability, and do a bang-up job of keeping stones and dust out of my boots. I replaced them this year only to find the snaps pulled out of the material within about 4 days of continual use. Not a crisis, since the hook-and-lop-closure sticks well on it's own, but for this price I reckon they could get the snaps correct, which have never pulled out of my old pair. I've returned the new pair and will keep wearing the old ones for now. Get the S/M size for normal backpacking boots.
I've walked nearly 300 miles in the Fugitives, from cold spring mornings with dew to baking hot desert river valleys for days on end. Lots of issues with this boot, which I found less worthy than it appears. I fit them carefully in the store, and I gave them a proper break-in by doing ten 10-12 mile day hikes before taking them on a packing trip. No good. The toe box (like all Asolos now) is too narrow, meaning I had to get a half-size larger for toe room, which made the flex point wrong at the ball of my foot. Despite the mesh material, they were boiling hot in all weather due to the Gore-tex lining, and yet soaked through in only 5 minutes in a dewy meadow with gaitors on (I suspect the stitching through the Gore-tex to be at fault). The shank in the forefoot is great, and so is the stability and weight. But you'd actually be cooler and drier with a pair of leather boots. The heel cups were different sizes on each foot (poor quality control). I had to cancel my trip on day 11 because of the abuse these boots did to my feet, which is a first in more than 60 backpacking trips). Get them for cool and dry conditions, but not if you like toe room and breathability. Come on Asolo, you used to be great.
Let's face it, you're going to pay a lot of frogskins for this tissue tent, so be sure it's what you're looking for. I was quite pleased with it on a recent 10-day solo trip, but I had to be very careful. It's super delicate, so be sure to buy the ground cloth, and don't snag it on a tree branch. The venting is fantastic (you can feel a breeze inside), yet each morning I had significant condensation, whether it was a dry warm night or cold wet one. I'm 5'9" and had to sleep diagonally to keep my head from touching the screen. For backpacking, it's comfy for one, too tight for two. The wind will try to steal it or flatten it, so stake it down tight. Seam-sealing was a holy terror: 5 hours of painstaking work, yet worth the watertightness of the end product. It packs ridiculously small; I was truly impressed.
This is a brilliant pack. For climbing, day hikes, and mellow rambles through the verdant realms of this world, this is a beaut of a day pack. The design is minimalist: I carry a 1L water bottle, a lightweight pile pullover, a lightweight rain jacket, a small first aid kit, and a small lunch. The shoulder straps are excellently contoured and comfortable, and the minimalist padding against the back really does work as a barrier between my spine and my waterbottle. What it is not: waterproof, spacious, and interestingly colored. What it is: incredibly comfortable, reasonably sized, feather-light, and brilliantly designed. What Ive used it for: multi-pitch climbs, day hikes, backpacking (ultralight daypack to bring along), cross country skiing, and international travel (day tours in foreign cities).
Nasty color choices, but for high performance and packability, this is a beaut. Relatively quiet fabric (greatly appreciated on those long solo walks), nice ventilation, tailored fit, and super lightweight, this is a very fine jacket. The hood tucks neatly into the collar and the jacket itself packs ridiculously small for a fully weatherproof and breathable shell. Brilliant.
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