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Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Lee

Southwest U.S.

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Szu-Ping's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Climbing
Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Lee wrote a review of on March 30, 2014

5 5

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

The fit and stretchiness of the material of these pants enable exceptional levels of mobility and comfort. They look good enough for work too (better than Carhartt work pants). Another good thing is that they don't wrinkle too much.
The canvas is thick and durable, however it is not a pair of pants for hot/humid weather.

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Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Lee wrote a review of on February 23, 2014

4 5

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

I own all 3 (hoody in Atom LT and Nuclei, jacket in Aphix). If you are considering a light synthetic insulated jacket, Arcteryx makes some of the best. If you are considering Aphix jacket specifically, here is what you need to know.
Aphix is part of Arcteryx's "white line", meaning that it was designed with snow sports in mind. What make it a good snow sport jacket?
1. The cut is longer, quite a bit longer than the other two. It goes down to my hip, providing greater coverage.
2. It is thicker, and feels thicker than the other 2 because of the 80g/m^2 coreloft vs. 60g. This difference is most significant in the arms. It feels slightly warmer than Atom LT.
3. The face nylon fabric is more "wrinkly". It is not the tissue paper textured material like in the Atom LT.
4. The arms feels much longer than the other 2 in the same size because (a) it is longer, (b) there is no stretch material at the wrist cuff, so the cuff tends to slide down.
5. All the way from the wrist to just above the hip, a hard-face fleece material provides breathability. I haven't try Aphix in high exertion mountain sport yet, so cannot comment about this. It will be mad if it breaths better than Atom LT, because Atom LT is amazingly breathable. Aphix is definitely more breathable than Nuclei.

Overall, I give the jacket 4/5. It is a nice looking jacket and fits well. The worst part is the cuff. I plan to use this jacket for general hiking in colder climate, and snow shoeing.

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Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Lee wrote a review of on February 19, 2014

4 5

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

Like many others, I am comparing the Nuclei to the gold standard of synthetic insulated jacket that is the Atom LT. A bit of background, I owned my Atom LT for 4+ years now, I am basically wearing it everyday when a little warmth and wind protection is needed. The great thing about Atom LT is you basically don't have to take it off, it hits the magical trifecta of "warm, windproof, and breathable" to a level that is great for 3 season use. My main activities are hiking, backpacking, and climbing.

Comparing between Nuclei and Atom LT, the biggest difference is in the arm pit area, Atom LT has the power stretch fleece material, while Nuclei is nylon fabric throughout. This makes Nuclei warmer, perhaps a little lighter, but not as breathable as Atom LT. I went snowshoeing last weekend in 35-45F, no wind weather, wearing a long sleeve base layer, a thin First Ascent fleece hoody, and Nuclei. Immediately I overheated on the uphill section (2000 ft. in 3 miles)and have to take Nuclei off. Because of its all nylon construction, there is no exit for the sweat vapor to go. I can see this as a good thing on a windy day, but if you tend to sweat a lot when moving, this can cause problems. My synthetic base layer stay wet on the downhill bit because I put the Nuclei on when I got to the top. I know that if I had my Atom LT, I will at least be dry by the time I got back to the trail head.

I plan to use my Nuclei for belaying and hiking on windy days, and as a cold weather around-town piece. It is still a wonderfully crafted jacket, but in my opinion not as versatile as the Atom LT.

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Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Lee wrote a review of on July 22, 2013

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Have to admit that this pot/bowl set was an impulsive purchase when browsing the local outdoor retailer. While the set is acceptable, I should have spent a little more to get a better system. Problems with the Trail Lite Duo:
1. The pot holder is a snap-on design, basically a T stick that is held by an U attachment. However it is very easy to pull the stick out of the attachment if you are not careful or don't know how the joint works and try to force the matter. The problem with this thing is that it also works as the retainer of the lid. So basically you have to take it on and off at least twice when you use the pot. Once the stick is off, it is a pain to stick it back in.With only one weekend of use, the attachment is already coming loose. I can't imagine it last a year. MSR's Quick and Alpinist pots use a different mechanism that may work better.

2. The lid of the mug is difficult to use. It is not easy to open (which can be a good thing). When it opens, it keeps falling into the mug. I was doing this in summer without a glove one. It is most-likely not going to work well in winter.

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Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Lee wrote a review of on June 29, 2013

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I bought the XL size of this twin-bag out of curiosity. I thought it will be a good idea to have separation of dirty and clean, or shirt and shorts.
In the end, the quality of the product is top notch, but even the XL is too small for more than a few days of supply of my summer underwear/baselayer. It might be better suited for girls though.

I am perplexed about how to use this bag. Maybe as an organizer inside of a larger stuff sac?

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Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Lee wrote a review of on May 18, 2013

3 5

Like all Arcteryx products, these shorts are exceptionally crafted. I especially liked the design of a cargo pocket which uses a flap, instead of finicky zippers.
The material and attention to detail are immaculate. Style is sharp.

I ultimately decided to return these because of issues with fitting and the material being a little too warm to my liking. Most Arcteryx pants/shorts are designed for those with flat butts, so if you have pronounced hips like me, these aren't a good fit. Even though I can put them on okay because of the stretchiness of the material, I just don't feel that they warrant the $90 price tag. Try them on before you buy.

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Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Lee wrote a review of on April 21, 2013

4 5

I got No.3 and 4 to complement my set of nuts as passive protections. The tri-cams do so much more! I find them particularly useful on sandstones with reverse flaring (pockets with narrower openings). You can slide them in, then cam them; while spring loaded cams cannot fit, and nuts are not as secure. I climb mostly trad in Red Rock. The only down side is that these are heavier than nuts.

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Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Lee wrote an answer about on April 6, 2013

I just received the z lite sol short pad....

I just received the z lite sol short pad. When folded, the pad can be inserted into the freamesheet sleeve fully (with the original framesheets removed). I tried to insert the pad not fully folded (one fold short, so the pad is wider and thinner), but couldn't do it easily because the pad is too wide this way for the sleeve. Doesn't matter, just be advised that there will be empty spaces on the sides, and the pad pushes into the main compartment a little. This z lite + summitrocket setup is killer in terms of lightweight, support, and versatility.

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Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Lee wrote an answer about on March 30, 2013

I speak for the 2012 version of HW summit rocket 40.
Yes, it will fit, as the pocket is quite large. You can take out the little frame sheet to get more space too.
Just measured the dimension of the pocket, it is 25 by 10.5 inches. So your folder 20 inch z-lite should fit. But it is probably going to push into the cargo compartment a bit thick-wise.

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Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Lee wrote a review of on March 30, 2013

5 5

Just came back from a spring mountaineering trip up to 10000 ft. with TNF Assault 2 tent. The tent handled sustained 30mph alpine wind very well, only using the 4 corners and 2 tie-downs. The sleeve system distributed the wind pressure well; the side wall did get pushed in but is expected.
No condensation issues even with everything zipped up but an 1-inch hole in the back window. However it is probably due to the windy condition that the air flow is good.
I am 6'2, and I had no issues with the length of the tent. I share the tent with my wife who is 5'6. The space worked, but was not spacious (boots outside, packs inside). If you absolutely don't want to come in contact with the tent wall or want to "stretch out" inside of the tent, then this is not a 2-person tent for you. For light and fast alpinism, it can work well with the exception of rainy conditions.

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Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Lee wrote a review of on February 9, 2013

5 5

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

This bag is just great. I am 6'2 185 lbs and bought the long size. I am a side sleeper and prefer space inside of my bag; this bag fits my needs perfectly. Lofty, warm, light, and smooth are the four words that sum up its features. I can't believe a bag this spacious actually fits into the included XS stuff sac. I especially love the smooth inside/outside face material, it just feels very soothing to the touch, unlike the Montbell u.l.'s tissue like material. Few people talked about the function of a smooth face material on a sleeping bag, but the smoothness of the inner surface lends itself to allow easier tumbling and turning, without taking the bag with you.
My wife and I can even use it unzipped as a comforter, and achieve decent warmth and comfort. It also shows minimum down leakage, which is a serious problem in other bags that I have owned. This is one piece of luxurious equipment that I can honestly say well worth the money.

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Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Lee wrote a review of on January 11, 2013

4 5

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

This bag was bought in Jan 2013. I have heard that there are minor changes to the year model. However, without experience of using previous models, I only give you my impressions on the 2013 bag.

What everybody else have raved about the stretchiness of the bag is true. But is it not a rubber band and there is a limit to that stretch (obviously).
I compare this bag to the Big Agnes Crater 15, which is a roomy regular length mummy bag at 3 lbs, the difference in spaciousness between the two is not as large as expected. In short, the Montbell bag stretches, but that doesn't mean I can move freely such as crossing my legs inside of it. I have heard that the revised bag is slimmer and not as stretchy as before, so this is something to keep in mind. In short, with the additional stretch of the bag you get, it is about slightly less roomy than a roomy-cut bag such as my Big Agnes.

The face material feels like thick tissue paper, which means it is not the smoothest. If you stretch while inside of the bag, you will get additional tactile feel of the seams, which is something I not necessarily like.
The bag comes with a stuff sac that is the right size for it. When stuffing the bag for the first time, I was amazed by how small it is. But considering this is called a UL, this should be justified.

The hood is adequate, but this bag is not designed for winter, so no neck draft collars. The opening is larger than I like, but in warmer weather, this will not matter.

I will take the bag out to do dessert winter camping next week with temp. in the high 20s and low 30s. We will see how it handles that situation.

I am 6'2 180lbs; as a minimalist I ordered the regular. Lengthwise it fits, but it doesn't stretch as wide as I thought it can be. Another reviewer mentioned a long may work better for my size, but I don't need the additional length, just width.

I will decide whether to return this to get WM Megalite after my field experience.

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Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Lee wrote an answer about on January 6, 2013

No, it is just brushed fleece on the inside, and smooth on the outside. Pretty generic. What I like about them is that the silicon band at the top is quite secure. I can wear these with baggy shorts, and they won't slip.

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Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Lee wrote a review of on January 4, 2013

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I owned this bag for two years now. Overall this is a good bag; fairly light and compressible, roomy as long as you are a back sleeper.
The problem with this bag, as a side sleeper, is that only one side of the bag has down insulation, the bottom is a nylon pocket for the pad. If you roll "with" the bag to your side, you will expose the un-insulated underside (if you don't insert the pad). If you do insert the pad, it is still awkward as you will force the bag to fold a little. The only way this system will work is you roll "within" the bag, then it doesn't matter as much. But I don't think about how I roll when I'm asleep so sometimes I will wake-up from a cold back. This problem only occurs when you push towards the limit of the bag, to me it is in the range of 20-30 degrees.

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Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Lee wrote an answer about on January 4, 2013

Montbell has a little PDF on their website for this difference.
http://www.montbell.us/custserv/faq/data/montbell-sleepingbag.pdf

It looks like the difference between super spiral vs. spiral is in the elastic stitching, which allows even more stretch than just the biased cut in the regular spiral.

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