Colorado, Wyoming (mostly)
See Ryan Conklin's 8/27/13 question below. Ryan suggested that there might be some clever uses for the webbing lash points on the pocket-less side of the hipbelt. Photo shows my Lowepro Apex 60 AW camera bag mated to the Shaka 55 left hipbelt. The Apex 60 AW has built-in velcro attachment and the velcro is long enough to "grab" the top or bottom webbing, but not both. I usually attach this camera bag to my shoulder strap, just above the sternum strap. I haven't tried it in the field yet, but it might be nice to carry camera on hip rather than chest.
Yes, the pack only comes with one hipbelt pocket and it is removable. This pocket is set up for your right hip only. See photo below for details. The left edge of the pocket (closer to your hip) is attached to fixed webbing lash points (not elastic bands) with velcro. The buckle and webbing of the hipbelt strap slips through a loop on the right edge of the pocket. Since it isn't reversible (from right to left hip), I'm not sure why they didn't simply include two pockets. I've pasted a photo, further above, that shows my Lowepro camera bag, attached with its own built-in velcro, to the left hipbelt webbing lash points.
I have a on older version (Snow Peak MG-001) of Snow Peak's Ti Single Wall 300 Cup. Mine has fixed wire handles instead of folding wire handles. I pair my cup (1.15 oz) with a modified can coozie (0.30 oz) and a Pringles lid (0.05 oz). This setup really keeps cold morning java hot. Compare my total insulated package weight (1.50 oz) to Snow Peak's insulated Double 300 with optional lid (3.3 + 0.9 = 4.2 oz).
Photo below shows cup, coozie and coffee - sans Pringles lid - on a snowy, 11,000 ft morning in Colorado's Holy Cross Wilderness.
The shirt is nice. I like the discreet "nut" logo on the front, but the back screams, "HEY EVERYBODY... I'M WEARING A MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR SHIRT!" I guess it isn't so bad that I didn't buy one (on clearance). I'd say fit is true-to-size.
Pic below shows MH Logo T at the 2010 80-35 Music Festival in downtown Des Moines.
I purchased these shorts several years ago, mostly for backpacking. They fit and look great and don't restrict motion in the backcountry (or around town).
These shorts don't have cargo pockets - perhaps a problem for some, but not for me because I like to travel on the trim side. The "Canyon Twill" fabric (aka nylon) has a nice cotton feel. My older pair has a "micro-chamois-lined seamless conical waist" that feels "seamless" under a cinched-down pack belt. The integrated webbing belt is nice, though it does get twisted inside the belt "sleeve"... not enough of an annoyance for a star deduction in this review.
I don't bring these shorts on backpack trips anymore because I liked them so much that I bought MH's Mesa Convertible Pants (similar fit, construction and features, but with convertible functionality) - see my separate 10/4/12 review of those excellent pants.
Pic below shows Canyon Shorts paired with my new Life Aquatic tee (thanks Paul).
Blended composition? Fabric drawbacks? Nylon components? 4Degree Elite Fit system? ReliaWool technology? I've never really thought about the value or my enjoyment of all those features, but I do really like these socks. As with all SmartWool products, I'm surprised I'm willing to pay this much, but I do keep coming back for more!
Pic below, taken at cemetery where I run, shows how much sock is visible above shoe.
I agree with geraldcf011103127's 6/20/13 review, below... I pack MHBS on every trip. Backpacking partners have always agreed that this meal is a keeper, too. I like to pair with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.
Pic shows plated meal, with linens and china, at 12,500 ft in Wyoming's Wind River Range.
Staying cool and looking good from backcountry to bar stool...
My lady friend - yes, I am in a relationship - took this pic at London Underground (best pub in Ames, Iowa).
From the backcountry to the back yard... from -8 to 98 deg F... this glove just about covers it all. Iowa winters can get below -10 deg F actual temp and below -50 deg F wind chill temp and these gloves get worn when it's coldest. There's nothing like cinching down the elastic gauntlet "Quick-Draws" AND the adjustable wrist strap to seal out what Mother Nature dishes out. And who doesn't want gloves with "Falcon Grip"? My size large pair comes in at 8.3 oz. Recommended.
This is my favorite trail bar. It has a really good blend of taste, texture, protein and calories. I do a lot of alpine backpack trips and am always trying to tweak my gear and supplies. To that end, I made a spreadsheet of trail bars to compare calories, protein and weight. My most important consideration, in addition to taste: maximum calories packed at minimum weight. The Mojo Dipped came in at 126 cals/oz (5th best out of 21 tested). Bar weighs 1.6 oz and has 8 grams of protein. Recommended.
Gratuitous 2010 pic shows a Clif Mojo in my pack's belt pocket (for quick access) in Colorado's Comanche Wilderness.
I'm a big fan of freeze dried meals in the backcountry and Mountain House's Pasta Primavera is one of my top 5. Pasta, vegetables and a little cheese. You could add a packet of tuna or chicken, but this dish has always stood on its own for me. When I'm trying to keep up with all the calories I'm burning in the mountains, I don't have a problem eating two portions (one pouch) by myself. Recommended.
2011 photo shows MHPP, pre-boil, at 9,000 ft in Colorado's Comanche Peak Wilderness.
This is one of my favorite warm weather shirts. The "polyester jersey"material in my Abyss (dark blue) shirt feels and looks great. Columbia says the fit is "Active: Body skimming fit with end-use mobility in mind". They also say that users have rated the size as "fits slightly small". I agree... For me, some t-shirts fit great in medium, while others need to be large. This shirt is definitely a large. Mine weighs in at 6.65 oz. Recommended.
Photo shows my 5'-11", 175 lb frame with large Mountain Tech shirt
I've had these flip-flops for a couple years and they are the ones that get used! Despite tattered edges (see pic) they've held up well. The cozy foam foot bed is like butter - I've never had a blister / never had a problem wearing them all day. The only drawback, and a one star deduction, is that they soak up water like a sponge (open cell foam construction vs. closed cell?). This has not been a problem for me.
These are my all-around "go to" socks. I wear 'em for cool weather trail running (too warm for Iowa summer runs), backcountry hikes (though not on backpackpacking trips) and to work (If you feel good - like when wearing SW PhD's - you look good!). I believe SmartWool redesigned the PhD sock line in late 2012 / early 2013. In the 7 months that I've had my Medium Gray pair, they seem more durable than past pairs - "bald" spots aren't evident yet after a good amount of wearing/washing. My size large weighed in at 2.40 oz. Highly recommended.
I got this shirt in plaid and concur with Vinny Mauro's review, below... shirt is light and well vented. I wear mine mostly in "business casual" situations where a little bit of tech-y aesthetic is a good thing! Weight for my size medium is 6.3 oz.
I recently bought a pair of OluKai Moloa shoes (see my separate review of those excellent shoes). I was so impressed by quality, fit and appearance, that I bought a pair of Kamuelas in Nero (black). These shoes are true-to-size and my size 10.5 fits perfectly. I do have slightly wide feet and I think OluKai designs their shoes with a comfortable, "island" fit (not too loose, but definitely not too tight). Other reviewers say that Kamuelas are a little tight around ankle / at top of lacing. I've read on other sites that over time, with some break-in, they become more and more comfortable. Mine were only a little snug and I simply didn't cinch my laces too tight. These shoes look equally good with jeans at the pub or with some Royal Robbins pants at work.
I have wide, size 10-1/2 feet and, even with size 11, these sandals were just too tight for me. Here's a similar review from the Reef.com site:
"Love Reefs, and love the look of these sandals. However, one review I read mentioned that the straps were too tight, and that is accurate. The first time I wore them I ended up with multiple blisters. Also, the sizing chart for a size 11 shoe recommends a size 9 sandal. I was smart enough to doubt that sizing, and ordered a size 10 sandal, and they still are borderline too small. So order your shoe size or at most one size down. Long story short, if you don't mind a painful break-in, the sandals look great and will eventually be comfortable."
For $80, I wasn't willing to go through a blistered break-in period.
I recently bought a pair of OluKai's Moloa shoes and they are the bomb. With or without socks... with the "drop-in heel" up (shoes) or down (slip-ons)... these are some of the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn. The full grain uppers are soft on foot and look even better the more I wear them. The traction pads on the soles felt different at first, but they actually seem to massage my feet as I walk. The Moloa's are true-to-size - my size 10.5's fit perfectly. These shoes are highly recommended.
See BzBrian's October 27, 2012 review, below.
I agree that, for everyday use, a multi-tool like the Leatherman Wingman seems like a good value with good utility, but... If you're considering multi-tool weight (say, for backpacking trips), compare the Wingman (7.0 oz, per Leatherman Website) to other tools like the SC2 (4.5 oz, per my scale).
See my 4/4/13 review, below, for more detail on actual component weights. I'm a tenth-of-an-ounce counter and have been really frustrated in past about vague tent specs. Big Agnes - who does a better job than most in providing weight info - has the following definitions in their tent FAQ section:
- Packed weight: This is the heaviest you can expect your tent to weigh, straight out of the box or from the store. This weight refers to all packaging, hang tags, as well as the stuff sacks, fly, body, stakes, poles, and guy lines.
- Trail weight: This is the lightest you can expect your tent to weigh, stripped of everything but the essentials. This number reflects the weight of just the fly (no guy lines), body, and poles.
- Fast-fly weight: This is the weight of your fly, footprint and poleset only.
Do we really need the weight of tent with "hang tags" or plastic packaging? Don't we want to know what the "Trail Weight" is with stakes? How about if we want to pack tent components that we may actually need if we run into a stormy night in the mountains (like guy cords and stakes)? C'mon tent makers!
Pic shows 0.75 oz worth of guy cords (so light... so useful...)