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Sam

Sam

North Cascades.

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Samar's Passions

Alpine Touring
Fly Fishing
Camping
Backpacking
Snowboarding
Hiking
Road Cycling
Snowshoeing
Mountaineering
Kayaking

Samar's Bio

Outdoor enthusiast.

Sam

Sam wrote a review of on March 7, 2014

5 5

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

Wow. These boots feel like heaven on my feet. They come with intuition liners (which normally cost about $200 separately!) which, in my experience, are the best for molding/break-in time, heat retention, and resistance to packing out. Also, I've used these boots a few times now but the heel hold has been superb! I have a tough time getting good heel hold but these guys really clamp down on your heel without causing discomfort. They also come with a heel hold kit if it's needed but I haven't had to use it yet (maybe when the liners begin to pack out a bit). Additionally, they boast a nice roomy toe box which allows enough room to wiggle your toes and keep the blood flowing. I have been riding some really stiff boots in the past at the cost of giving up a bit comfort so I went down a bit stiffness with these guys but they have not disappointed. Plenty of stiffness for an aggressive, responsive, double-diamond ride yet they have just enough flex to be forgiving on hard landings and be an all-around comfortable boot. One more thing: super light weight! Walking around in these is so easy and it doesn't feel like you're wearing ankle weights when trying to walk around the lodge/resort. Overall: a very well thought out and well rounded boot that won't disappoint!

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Sam

Sam wrote a review of on January 10, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I didn't want to dish out a ton of money on a carbon seat post.. so this was a great buy for me. It's not the lightest carbon seat post out there, but it gets the job done. It's well built (I have over 1000 miles on it) and carbon very noticeably dampens your ride. Also, There's one screw on the seat clamp which adjusts the angle of the seat so adjustment is super easy! Overall: a great buy for a noticeably smoother ride.

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Sam

Sam wrote a review of on January 10, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Great crank! I have over 1000 miles on this crank. I upgraded to this guy from some cheap SRAM one that came stock with my bike. I love the thick, carbon crank arms. There's no flex whatsoever, even when I'm sprinting the bike at ~30mph. Additionally, as with all carbon parts, it dampens the ride making it much smoother. Also, it looks pretty sweet! Definitely an eye-catcher on the road. Only downside I can think of is weight. I have a full SRAM Red set up except for the crank. I went with this guy because I found this one for a lower price (that was the deal breaker for me), although I think the Red crank is lighter weight (still wayyyy lighter than the aluminum crank I used to have). Overall: I can't recommend this crank enough! No flex with great power transfer! Well worth the money!

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Sam

Sam wrote a review of on January 8, 2014

5 5

I was going to purchase a pair of cold weather tights and just throw them on under my shorts but I decided to go with a full tight set up - bibs and all. These bibs have fit the bill perfectly. The tights don't restrict my motion at all. They are quite warm and have a soft lining on the inside which hasn't chafed me yet. They're the perfect weight for Seattle's winter weather (~low-high 40s). Additionally, I have yet to try a chamois better than Castelli's Progetto X2 Air (although I haven't tried an Assos chamois yet). I have a very bony butt and need a really good chamois in my bibs/tights. This chamois stays in place and holds well on the seat and on your butt. The only thing I would change about these is that I wish they had the little foot-wrap to help keep the tights down. They do ride up like half an inch or so when riding, but its really not much. Overall: these seemed a little pricey to me first.. but they are well worth the money!

PS: Castelli has a European fit. As a general rule, go up one size from your regular size!

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Sam

Sam wrote a review of on January 6, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I don't ice climb, but I do quite a bit of general mountaineering and summit scrambling. For my purposes, these gloves have served me very well. They are quite durable and have held up to some rope abuse as well as climbing over rock. They're a little less warm than a 200 weight fleece glove but they provide way more dexterity, grip, and water resistant (especially if you treat the leather). These are my go to gloves for scrambles; even in the summer since they are light enough to breathe a little bit. Also, the gloves are dexterous enough for me to keep them on while pulling zippers on my pack, using a camera, and putting on crampons. I've even tied my boots while wearing these! These are quite form fitting and are perfect as a light and dexterous all-around glove. Overall: very versatile gloves that are still going strong after a decent bit of abuse!

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Sam

Sam wrote a review of on December 19, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs large

This jacket is great. Wrist gaiters for me a are a must so I loved that feature. It also comes with a lightweight balaclava which attached to the inside of the jacket so it stays down. The jacket is waterproof, breathes well enough for some resort side-country (too heavy for back-country riding though), and the pit zips also help with breathability. My favorite part about this jacket though is the fabric. It totally waterproof and quite breathable while retaining a tad bit of stretch. This is great for double-diamond runs or those crazy lines when you really need the mobility from your jacket. On top of that, plenty of pockets for storage. As a reference, I'm 6' and like a slimmer fitting jacket and the small was great. DC jackets run a bit big in my experience.

Overall: great resort jacket that's also breathable.

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Sam

Sam wrote a review of on December 19, 2013

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs large

These pants are great. They're waterproof and quite breathable so tackling a bit of side country during a resort day is no problem in these. These are however 2-layer, so they're a bit heavy for back country riding (in my opinion at least). I'm 6' with a 29" waist and went with the small. It fits my waist and still provides enough length in the legs (these do run a bit long). Also, the fit is regular so there's no restriction of movement while skiing/boarding. I like the scuff guards around the ankles as well since it keeps me from ruining my pants against snowboard edges and the occasional clumsy kick from my boots.

One problem I ran into however was with the laminated seams. I've never had a problem with laminated seams but the inner right pocket came undone. I didn't want to wait around for a warranty replacement so I just went to my local fabric store and bought fabric super-glue. Fixed the seam just fine and I haven't had a problem since.

Overall: great resort and side-country pants! Hopefully you don't encounter the same problem with the seam.

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Sam

Sam wrote a review of on December 11, 2013

5 5

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

This hoodie is perfect! Smooth outer finish, longer sleeves for mobility, hem cinch, and thumb holes. Plus, Polartec Powerstretch is amazing. It's a tad heavier than a 200-weight fleece, but it breathes well and has some decent stretch to it. I originally bought this as a mountaineering layering piece but find myself wearing it very regularly just for casual wear. It's warm and light and does a decent job of blocking light wind will still remaining breathable. One thing to note is that this has a trim fit. It fits very close to the body and runs quite narrow in the forearms (if you have thicker, muscular arms I don't think this will fit you very well). Overall: a great all around piece for many applications.

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Sam

Sam wrote a review of on December 11, 2013

5 5

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

I needed a new rain jacket and I wanted something durable. I didn't want something as heavy as my Theta SV, it was just a light rain shell I was looking for. I was planning on going with just gore paclite but then noticed that the Hybrid shell had reinforced gore pro shoulders. This was the feature that sold me since I didn't want my jacket wearing out under a heavy pack. So far, I've used this jacket as a light back up to my softshell for windy summits and have used it a few times under rain and snow. Keeps the moisture out and breathes well (plus the pit zips)! What more do you want from a shell? The hood is also great since it fits it over a climbing helmet but also cinches down very well. Overall: great jacket with well thought out reinforcements.

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Sam

Sam wrote a review of on December 11, 2013

5 5

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

This jacket has met all my expectations. I normally wear a small in soft shells (I like them to have a closer, athletic fit) but I went with a medium with this one since I planned on using it for snowboarding. This jacket isn't the lightest soft shell, so I don't use it during the summer. However, for the other 3 seasons this jacket is perfect. A little bit of stretch, breathes very well, blocks the wind and is extremely water resistant. The Gore Windstopper material isn't as breathable as a light Schoeller type material, but the jacket does have pit zips to help vent. I use this for shoulder season and winter mountaineering as well as back country snow boarding or snowboarding on warm resort days. As a reference, I am 6', 135lbs and the medium fits with enough room room for me to layer a fleece and a light-insulated jacket underneath. Again, if I wanted a more technical fit, I would have bought the small. Overall, this jacket is a great soft shell for colder weather activities!

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Sam

Sam wrote a review of on December 3, 2013

5 5

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

I've been looking for the perfect down jacket for a while. I live in the PNW and its usually wet around here so having the Pertex Endurance fabric is a nice bonus. Also, I'm very thin and tend to run cold and on top of that I continue to climb even in the winter months. This jacket has finally fit the bill. I first tried the Marmot Ama Dablam. It had a great fit, but there wasn't enough down to keep me warm. I then tried the Marmot Greenland. That jacket was too warm. I then tried the First Ascent downlight jacket which I tried to love, but it wasn't very weather resistant and and didn't fit right over my mountaineering layers. This jacket finally felt right. Perfect amount of insulation to keep me warm (more down in the body than in the arms) but not enough to make me start sweating like crazy. Additionally, the hood is great and the collar covers high to seal out the wind and cold. For reference, I am 6', 135 lbs. and bought a medium. This fits fits easily over my winter mountaineering layers (base layer, 100-200 weight fleece, light synthetic jacket [atom lt], and a hard/softshell). If you're looking for a warm, weather resistant down jacket, this a great buy!

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Sam

Sam wrote a review of on October 22, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Great hat! Wind resistant and the smooth finish doesn't snag and sheds light moisture. Polartec power stretch is a tad warmer than a 200 weight fleece and this thing keeps your head warm and itch free. It also breathes very well. Because of its low profile, it also fits under a helmet (bike or climbing) no problem. I've only used this down to 40 degrees so far, but I have a very similar REI one which keeps me warm down to about 15 degrees (F) if you're moving. I hope this one performs just as well as that one when the temp drops. Buy one! It won't disappoint.

UPDATE: I was able to use this hat in the low 20s(F) and 25+ mph wind and it performed perfectly. Kept my head warm while I was moving but didn't let me overheat and it blocked the wind so my ears and forehead weren't freezing. Overall, this hat seems to have passed all my field tests! Still highly recommended.

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Sam

Sam wrote a review of on October 4, 2013

5 5

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

Close fitting, smooth outer finish, grid-fleece on the inside. Basically everything I wanted out of a fleece. I also like this non-hooded version better since its easier to layer with during a climb or while snowboarding. The fleece is light weight yet warm enough for Seattle's fall weather (~50 degrees). The smooth outer finish ensures that the fleece doesn't stick to everything and doesn't clump up lint. Also, the collar is very soft and doesn't chafe my chin when it's zipped up all the way. Also, this thing breathes amazingly well and the chest pocket vents quite nicely when you begin to warm up. It's nice to have a fleece that I can actually hike/climb in. All in all: a truly amazing piece that comes with me on every trip.

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Sam

Sam wrote a review of on July 19, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I was originally planning on going with some Mavic Cosmic Carbone SL wheels but when I saw these on sale and noticed they were lighter by almost 100 grams, I went with these guys. These wheels are lightweight and accelerate in a snap. The wheels are stiff but not harsh; they are still forgiving and absorb a fair bit of road vibrations. They're also quite durable and I've had no problems so far (~400 miles). With a 23mm tire, the tire had no bulge over the sides and looks like it's integrated with the wheel. As far as aero goes, once you reach about 19+mph, you can really notice the difference the aero wheel makes. The spokes aren't bladed, but the wheel is still plenty aero. I also liked that fact that these guys were 42mm deep, as opposed to the 52mm deep Mavics (a little too deep for me).

Overall, they've been a great all-purpose wheel so far.

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Sam

Sam wrote a question about on June 17, 2013

I had some massive condensation build up in the rain while using this bivy, even with the zip open about 12" (twice the recommended amount). I've never had experience with Pertex before and assume that Pertex just isn't very breathable? Has anyone used one of the Goretex bivys? How does the breathability compare? Thanks for any responses!

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Sam

Sam wrote a review of on June 4, 2013

5 5

For how much this thing costs, it can't be beat. It packs down quite small, is warm and quite lightweight. It also comes with a compression sack which is a plus since I didn't have to buy one (packs even smaller once you cinch the straps). I've used this bag in about 40-45 degree nights so far it kept me perfectly warm and very comfortable. I would have to agree with a previous viewer about the zipper; it snags easily. But, as long as you don't pull too hard you can avoid all the snagging. I went with this synthetic bag at this temperature range over down to save money and it definitely has not disappointed. Buy one! You'll be glad you did.

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Sam

Sam wrote a review of on May 8, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Awesome sunglasses for active-wear. They fit snug, but they're not uncomfortable. They really stay in place and I don't have to constantly shift them like I have to with other sunglasses. The lenses are extremely easy to swap out even on the go. When the trail turns to snow, I can swap out to a darker lens in just a few seconds right on the trail. The vented lenses don't fog up but still block the wind which is nice when you're riding at a steady 20mph pace while cycling. If you're looking for one pair of sunglasses that does it all, this is it.

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