Sabree Blackmon

Sabree Blackmon

St. Louis, MO - Southern IL, Northern. MD

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Sabree's Passions

Camping
Ice Climbing
Mountaineering
Bouldering

Sabree's Bio

Sabree Blackmon

Sabree Blackmon wrote a review of on August 12, 2011

4 5

First off, this is a great shoe for people who are curious about minimalist shoes for running and any other type of training. It's also casual enough to be worn around town.

Notable Pros:
- There's just enough sole protection to protect from sharp rocks and glass but there's still a great deal of feel. Small sticks and pebbles to cracks in the sidewalk can all be felt.
- The toe box is huge! This allows your toes to splay out and support your steps. This also makes them great trainers for weight training as your leg stabilizer muscles actually have to work.
- Very lightweight, and never interferes with your stride.
- Pretty durable considering the weight and construction. These will definitely need to be replaced after some many months of good use, but at the cost, the value is still very much there.
- Your foot muscles and leg stabilizer muscles will feel noticeably stronger with regular use. Even walking casually around town will increase your strength. No longer will your shoe be doing most of the work.
- Barefoot running technique forced me out of my heel strike that prevented me from running any significant distance. Dare I say, I actually enjoy running long distances now that the pain and knee pressure isn't a problem.

Quirks:
- Even with a midsole with an antimicrobial, this will collect funk after a while, so take care of them and dry them out.
- The inside liner seems to be fraying. This may have much to do with the fact I wear textured SmartWool running socks while running, but it's basically eliminated the possibility of running sock free. If you run primarily without socks, this probably won't be an issue.
- I ordered these to size following advice found on this board. I'd suggest the same, as these aren't meant to be overly tight on your ankle or toes. However, there will be some break in time. This break in time shouldn't be painful or dig into any part of your foot... if this happens you may need to size up.
- The laces are huge! The laces always seems to bounce around and hit my shin as I run as there is so much excess. Easily remedied, but a minor annoyance nonetheless.

All in all, the True Glove is a great introduction to minimalist shoes. If you are a hardcore minimalist, then this may be too much support for you, but I'd suggest giving it a try anyway. I'll definitely be buying another pair. Merrell got this one right.

(1)

 

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Sabree Blackmon

Sabree Blackmon wrote a review of on August 12, 2011

5 5

The Positron is a great locker for directional loads, making it perfect for anchors, hauling, personal anchor systems, etc. Cross loading has never been an issue for me thanks to it's shape. It has a nice smooth action and the lock is never difficult to use, even with bulky gloves on. It's also virtually snag free, and pretty lightweight for a locking carabiner.

What makes is so great, it's size and tight D shape, also makes it a really bad belay locker, and it doesn't take hitches well... but for almost everything else, these are my go to lockers. I tend to carry more lockers than most, but these being so light and reliable, there's no reason not to carry a few.

(0)

 

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Sabree Blackmon

Sabree Blackmon wrote a review of on August 12, 2011

5 5

The Orbit is a great little lantern. The battery life is great, as is the adjustability - if you hold the push button down it will dim to whatever level you want. It's also pretty rugged and water resistant - snow and light rain won't cause it to cease functioning. It could be slightly lighter, but most of the weight comes from the batteries. The rechargeable NRG2 battery pack is a great addition. All in all, it's smooth peaceful glow is a welcome addition to the inside of any tent!

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Sabree Blackmon

Sabree Blackmon wrote a review of on January 26, 2011

5 5

I bought this jacket as an alternative to a heavier fleece jacket for mid-layer piece. It's:

- Lightweight: I sometimes forget I'm wearing it, and it adds practically no weight to your pack.
- Warm: Keeps me warm under my shell into the high teens when simply walking around, and into the single digits during activity.
- Breathable: While it's a very warm jacket, I can wear it during massive temperature and activity fluctuations because it vents very well. I wear in my office at work and I never overheats at room temp.
- Packable: The coreloft insulation is almost as packable as down. The jacket easily disappears in my pack.
- Doesn't restrict movement: Not one bit, and its better than heavy fleece in that regard given the design.
- Bomber face material: Sheds snow and light rain. It also blocks wind well. Seems durable for it's weight and it doesn't bind to the fleece liner in my softshell.
- Sized as a layer piece: It's true to size, and fit's well under my shell. It doesn't allow for too many layers underneath, but I can fit a lightweight fleece vest underneath if it's really frigid.
- Great build: Stitching is tight and even. Zipper is smooth and fluid. The cuffs may stretch over time if you are aggressive with them but I'm not concerned with it.

I don't have anything bad to say about this jacket - it's highly functional and has a great build for it's weight. I'll definitely be buying another one when my current needs replacing.

(2)

 

Sabree Blackmon

Sabree Blackmon wrote a review of on December 15, 2010

5 5

I was looking for a softshell that would do well in high output conditions like ice climbing but would also do well in lower output situations like winter camping. The Venta is a great combination that proves very versatile.

Notable Pros:
- Incredible build quality. It might seem pricey, but when you get it in your hands and can take notice of the details (taped seams, liquid smooth zippers, liner quality), you can really distinguish it between a cheaper shell.
- Wind protection is great. All of my softshells have windstopper, and this shell has an added zipper flap for added blocking power. This along with the taped seams, make it a great alternative to a hardshell in all but the very worst weather.
- Good breathability. I don't sweat very heavily and I find the breathability even without using the pitzips to be good.
- Great technical fit. I'm 5' 7", 180lb, muscular build, and the small fits me great with room for a decent layer underneath. It's not a super athletic fit, but if you need to layer this makes for a more versatile jacket. It also fits really well under a parka if situations warrant (belaying, etc).

Notable Cons/Quirks:
- While the inner fleece and windstopper definitely keeps cold air out, I wouldn't expect this to provide much warmth in the 40's and below unless I'm quite active. So while this jacket is great for camping and low output activities, you'll still need some decent middle layers to keep you warm.
- The hood is huge. It's fully adjustable, but even when you have it dialed in to your head/helmet, when the hood is not on, it tends to get in the way just a little.

Great, versatile softshell that can keep the elements out without removing any technical ability. If you want something super breathable for summer use, this can well work for you if you want just one softshell - otherwise look at the Gamma MX. Having both will cover 99% of year round conditions, but the Venta alone will cover 99% of Fall, Winter and Spring and a lot of Summer.

(3)

 

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Sabree Blackmon

Sabree Blackmon wrote a review of on December 7, 2010

4 5

I brought this along side the BD Icon in preperation for a last minute camping trip last Nov. I ended up using it and the my partner the BD Icon to hike to and set up camp in near complete darkness, made even worse by the heavy fog. Safe to say we got really good use out of both headlamps from a camping/trekking prospective.

Quick comparisons between the two lamps:

Battery Life: As many have said, the battery life of the Princeton Apex is not near as long as the BD Icon. If you only use the Apex spotlight on mid-power, you can improve battery life a decent amount, but it's still a battery eater compared to the BD Icon which seems to be more efficient.

Cost: The BD Icon uses AA batteries which are much cheaper than the CR123 the Princeton requires.

Bad Weather Use: The CR123 batteries in the Princeton perform slightly better in the very cold than Alkaline AA. However, if you buy Lithium Ion AA, you can get similar performance. Both lamps are pretty water tight, though the Apex claims to be waterproof while the Icon does not.

Rechargeable Option: The BD icon supports the NRG battery pack by BD. There's nothing similar for the Princeton Apex, however your can find rechargeable batteries for it if you look hard enough. As noted before, CR123 batteries the Apex uses are the same batteries used by the Steripen. I can use my solar charger for my Steripen to charge rechargeable CR123's. Very nifty.

Brightness: The brightness difference between the two lamps is noticable, but barely. The Apex puts out a little more light, but the light also appears to be a bit more "pure" than that of the BD Icon. Both lamps performed perfectly in our conditions.

Weight: The Princeton Apex is noticeably lighter weight than the BD Icon

Build: The Princeton is noticeably better built than the BD Icon. While the Icon is a solid product, the Apex simply feels more rugged due to it's compact design. Case in point, I'm replacing the BD Icon because of an over-torqued screw that keeps the battery compartment together. Granted it was likely user error, but I doubt you'd be able to do the same with the Princeton.

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Ultimately, the decision is between the Princeton Apex and the BD Icon for me, is one between build versus battery life. The Apex weighs less and built a bit more solidly, but the BD Icon has longer battery life. I'll be probably keeping the Princeton Apex for hardcore use and getting a Petzl e+Light to use to conserve battery life when in more casual situations.

(2)

 

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