Sam Reese

Sam Reese

Berkeley, Tahoe, East Side

Sam Reese's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Skiing
Climbing

Sam Reese's Bio

Former ski instructor, ditched park and pipe steeze for backcountry (after an unfortunate incident in a superpipe leaving me with a titanium-reinforced collarbone). Recent convert to Trad climbing. Unrepentant gear-head after working a year at a independent outdoor shop.

photo from a tour in the Wasatch, march 08

Sam Reese

Sam Reese wrote a review of on January 12, 2010

4 5

>Sleek design won’t snag on the area boundary rope you somehow didn’t notice

I really find it annoying when things like this are put into advertising. Are you encouraging reckless behavior or criminal trespass? With more and more ski areas opening gates and allowing limited use of backcountry, we should encourage responsible use of these areas, not let people think that a cool backpack is going to keep them safe in unpatrolled areas.

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Sam Reese

Sam Reese wrote a review of on November 17, 2009

5 5

Quick review: These bindings rule. Once you get to trust them (which takes a while, they are SMALL), it's hard going back to anything else.

Long review:
Because you have metal-on-metal connection from boot-to-ski, these can drive more directly than anything you've ever had. Those old race bindings that went to 16? nothing on solid connection. That said, they can feel skiddish and chattery on hard stuff at first because there is almost no binding to absorb all that crap. Learn to trust them, and absorb more with your feet.

People talk about them coming out earlier than a traditional binding. I really think this is a function of not trusting them to release and dialing down or up because of that. Dynafits release very predictably in almost all situations. There are two pre-release conditions that I've come across: Flexing the ski hard (in moguls), and your boot pops out because the rear prongs aren't long enough. Also, coming out forward when bombing a hard packed run and hit chatter. They do absorb less viabration, so when things get hellatiously rough, you have to back off some, or take a beater of a fall. That said, bombing chattery hardpack isn't that much of a thrill...

Also, the leashes are chincy, and people ask you dumb questions at resorts.

I really nit-pick in this review because I was dubious. I'd been skiing nearly 10 years, 3 really serious years, and had BIG Bomber bindings. Crap that went to 14 or 16, and thought I needed that to stay on. I didn't trust dynafits, and thought they would be a lot of work. They work, and they aren't too much work, they are just a little different.

If you want click-and-go, these aren't them. If you want resort beaters, these aren't them. If you want a backcountry setup that will steal your heart and displace the rest of your quiver over time, well, step right up.

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Sam Reese

Sam Reese wrote a review of on October 20, 2009

3 5

In line with the other comment, the bladder is trash. It's supposedly a North Face branded Nalgene bladder, but Nalgene bladders don't leak like this. I've had two thresher bladders leak (one at pivot at bottom, one at screwtop) and my girlfriend's TNF Mako bag leaked too.

Ok, now that we're off that, the Thresher pack is a great extremely small and rather light pack. It's got pretty good and supportive straps and backpadding, but it holds about 1.5 liters of water, wallet, keys, a sandwich and a cliff bar. You can perhaps shove a thermal in the bungee pouch, but it is small. Great if you are going for a bike ride or jog, bad if you want this to be a minimalist summit push bag (my original intention).

Overall, it's surprisingly good and breathable for an on-the-back pack, and quite light and streamlined... but as has been said, the bladder it comes with is landfill food.

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Sam Reese

Sam Reese wrote a review of on October 2, 2009

4 5

Please read your manual. I used to work in a gear shop, and every last one of these we sold was to someone who didn't need it, or needed it because they mistreated their old filter.

Step 1: Don't need a new filter: I've had a MiniWorks for 11 years, if you let it dry out after trips (prevent mold), don't let it freeze with water in it, and make an attempt to get clear water into it, it'll last a decade or more.

Once you think you need to get a new one of these, check the MSR manual (online too!), and scrub off the surface according to their directions. Presto, I probably just saved you $40. Scrub it off, and when you do that, just bite the bullet and get new O-rings for it (normally less than $5 at your local MSR rep).

Also, make sure that you've got the prefilter on the little floatie. That'll again extend the life considerably.

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Sam Reese

Sam Reese wrote a review of on September 30, 2009

5 5

Let's get the negative out of the way. They are wider and less acceptable to side loading than CCH's Aliens. (Hence why I've got 3 aliens on my rack too). That said, I use these about 5 times more often than the aliens.

Why? Well, I climb mostly in the Sierra, and our cracks aren't that squirly. Almost always, I can throw in a TCU, and I rarely ever miss the sizeing, they jut seem to work. The color coding is intuitive and bright, the triggers work great.

I love everything about these, and don't think a rack is complete without 00-3.

Do note, as well, that 00 has somewhat a low strength rating, like all small trad pro.

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Sam Reese

Sam Reese wrote a review of on September 16, 2009

5 5

This is my second glowing review of this jacket in so many years. It's like having a little house you can go inside when the weather is bad, and look out through your little protected window. It's so good that at times in hellacious weather, you can get this confused sensation about things not feeling real, until a gust of wind puts you on your butt.

For starters, let's talk about the bad: The inside fabric can feel really clammy right against your skin, if you plan on wearing a jacket bareback, go for a packlite or conduit DT laminate. Also, there aren't what one would expect for hand pockets, because that's where your pack's waist belt goes. The fabric is also very stiff when new, and doesn't break in much, so get used to a crinkly sound with the hood up, and a tin-roof over your head when it hails.

The pros? Everything. This thing is body armor against weather. The hood and elbow articulation are probably the biggest stand-out features of this jacket. The hood fits like a baseball cap, and doesn't drip water down your neck when you pull it back.

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Sam Reese

Sam Reese wrote a review of on August 29, 2009

4 5

The writings about this say that only the heel releases, meaning there would be no lateral release (sideways). That would be really bad and dumb. In reality, when you go sideways, the wings at the toe push the heel out and to the side, so the heel exits the side of the heel piece. (Somewhat like a dynafit, only by going backwards instead of rotating).

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Sam Reese

Sam Reese wrote a review of on August 7, 2009

4 5

Spider-silk weight fabrics and a clever asymmetrical design come together to make this a very special tent, that needs some attention to detail in setup.

For starters, let's get the obvious out of the way: The two poles are hugely different in size, and the long one looks bent. Put them in backwards,and you'll get nowhere. Once you do that, you'll find that the high pole takes a good bit of tension: this tension makes the entire structure pretty solid and strong, but worries me when pulling that mesh so tight. Same with the rainfly: Takes a little getting used to pulling it over to get it to set right. Tip: Poles always go under seams!

The arrangement where the poles clip in to the tent body is interesting, and I highly encourage setting this tent up at least once in daylight before you're fumbling with the headlamp. It actually makes a good bit of sense, it's just different.

Liveability? Great! It's a thin tent, with a whole lot of airspace inside, so condensation is less a problem than it should be, all and all, surprisingly capacious for you and the bike. Less garage-like than an MSR Velo, but 1/3rd the weight.

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Sam Reese

Sam Reese wrote a review of on June 2, 2009

5 5

I've got two of these, One for me, one for my girlfriend. They rock and are easy to use.

My Public Service Announcement: If you turn it on, and the battery meter (those two numbers) reads anything less than 30, especially if you've had it in a warm car, REPLACE THOSE BATTERIES. Less than 30 or so is effectively zero...

(dorky explination here: The battery meter is actually a volt meter of the battery. New 1.5v batteries give off like 1.7v or so, older ones give off 1.3 or so. The Tracker guestimates the amount of battery life left on the voltage. The lower the voltage, the less accurate this measurement is.)

Batteries are cheap! Your life isn't! Thank you, carry on.

Also, Don't store the thing over summer with batteries in it.

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Sam Reese

Sam Reese wrote a review of on April 6, 2009

4 5

Or the instructions weren't that clear.

For set up. Connect those thin little ribbons that go across from the Key Corner (one with the pockets.

Stake in the Key Corner. Then pull tight, and stake an adjacent corner. Now, the third corner, you pull tight to the second stake, as well as pulling the ribbon tight. Do the same for the next corner (#4), then corner #5 will be really easy to pull tight between 1 and 4.

You basically start from the key corner (back of the tent), and go around in a circle. If you do that, it gets quite tight on the walls, and won't flap very much in the wind.

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Sam Reese

Sam Reese wrote a review of on March 26, 2009

5 5

I've got two of these bags. One is for Top-Roping days, the other for my firespinning gear (duvetyn rag, dip can, poi, meteor, et cetera).

The closure system is designed for quick stuffing, not maximum closure. If you are using this for climbing, you just wrap your rope up in the attached tarp (quite large) and jam that in the bag, then pull the drawstring. If you wear it like a backpack, don't use the cinch straps, if you sling it, do.

I love this bag, I'll probably end up buying more of these for random things. Oh: they are completely worthless for trad, so don't bother.

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