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TJ

TJ

TJ's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking

TJ

TJ wrote a review of on November 21, 2014

5 5

"Innovation" is tossed out there way too frequently but, in this case, I'd say it's right on the nut. Marrying a hard shell with a soft shell opens up the market to backpackers looking for maximum functionality.

I actually had an instance of a mistake turning in to a positive. I'm 6', 190 lbs with pretty wide shoulders and am a consistent Large which is what I ordered. When the Nabu arrived I threw it on and couldn't have asked for a better fit. It had the nice low profile look I wanted, perfect arm length with no restriction of movement. I started layering to see what I could handle and I threw on a wool baselayer, light fleece and a low profile puffy but because of the stretch of the Nabu, felt perfectly comfortable. It was only days later after a trip that I looked and realized I'd been delivered a Medium. Might be something to think about if you're on the sizing fence.

Rock freaking solid in the rain and while it doesn't offer the insulation of it's counterpoint, the Zion, I've found myself turning to this instead of a fleece when I'm on the trail. Seems to regulate my body temperature perfectly. Even though there aren't pit zips, when I start to feel clammy I'll just unzip the side and Napolean pockets, or just open up the front, and I'm good to go.

The hood is a little large and made for a helmet. But there's enough stability in the brim to keep it from obstructing my view.

The pockets are perfectly positioned for use with a pack and all the zippers function smoothly.

I did have a little mishap with the first jacket I ordered as the cinch for the hood broke almost immediately. My gut tells me it was an anomaly as I have a fair amount of Marmot stuff and it always holds up well. Backcountry was awesome about taking care of me. Great customer service.

I've never been one to bring along a softshell on most trips but given the dual uses with the Nabu, (and killer good looks), this one has found a place in my pack.

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TJ

TJ wrote a review of on May 22, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

If only had this out about a dozen times but it's clear this is an excellent pad. It's light for an insulated pad, packs small, deflates quickly and doesn't really take much at all to inflate. But what really works for me is that lack of a 'crinkly' sound when I move.
If you can grab this one on sale I wouldn't hesitate to pull the trigger.

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TJ

TJ wrote a review of on January 2, 2014

5 5

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

I've only had these out about ten times but enough to form an opinion. First, the fit for me is right on the money. I was looking for something low profile that I could use with my poles that would provide good wind resistance while providing some warmth. These do the trick perfectly. I also don't like having to remove my gloves to do simple chores around camp and I've found these to serve that purpose well.

Because of their design they can also work under heavier gloves and have proven to be relatively weather resistant. They're not waterproof though so keep that in mind.

While there is an extra piece of material sewn in between the thumb and forefinger, a heavy use area for poles, I did notice some pilling almost immediately on the little finger. Not sure about the long-term durability with these but I've had good luck with TNF in the past.

I also appreciate the very small and inconspicuous buckle that allows you to snap the two gloves together when not in use.

If you can grab these on one of Backcountry's great sales I'd say these gloves are a winner.

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TJ

TJ wrote a review of on September 27, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

Kind of hard to get too effusive over a hat but, for me, this is hands down the best hiking cap I've ever owned.

I'm in SoCal and even though we have big boy ranges and snow; a cap is what I'll wear on the trail nine months out of the year. This hat is crazy light, durable, allows for some ventilation and is low-profile. It also cleans up really well and has a cool 'hiker' look.
You won't go wrong with pulling the trigger on this one.

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TJ

TJ wrote a review of on August 13, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

If you're new to the softshell pants game, or want to add to your gear, you won't go wrong with the Marmot Rockstar. Quality construction, lightweight, breathable and an incredible range of motion. While they don't offer the insulation like in the other Marmot softshells that's what baselayers are for. The fit is true to size and low-profile (no belt included) and after a year and a half and a lot of trail miles they show no real signs of wear other than some tree sap residue.
You can pull the trigger with confidence on these ESPECIALLY with the incredible price offered by Backcountry.

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TJ

TJ wrote a review of on May 9, 2012

Osprey Rocks
5 5

This is my third Osprey pack and I think I'll be a customer for life. Beyond the awesome lifetime guarantee they seem to design packs with a lot of thought.

If you're in to light, overnight backpacking the Kestral will do the trick but as one who doesn't mind a little extra capacity for long day hikes the 38 is right on the money.

I actually swapped out my Osprey Stratos 36 which served me well for a couple of years for the Kestral 38 and am glad I did. The Stratos has the mesh back panel which is supposed to help circulation by keeping the pack away from your back. In my case, not only didn't it do much in terms of sweating, (which is something I do a lot of) but the design caused the internal frame to squeak. And after a few miles of that in my ear I'd be ready to lose my mind.

The Kestral fits like a glove although at 6' and having a longer torso I was right at the edge of getting a good fit. I can't imagine this working for someone 6' 3" or more.

The only drawback for me on this pack is the internal pocket on the top lid. It's mesh, sits at an awkward angle and requires unsnapping the compression straps to get to. Not sure why they didn't just put it on the outside like they do with the Stratos.

A really cool design feature is the two way compression straps towards the top of the pack. You can work them around the front or the back depending on the size of the load. Really smart.

All in all you won't go wrong with this pack unless multi-day trips are on your agenda. But you wouldn't be looking at this pack if they were.

(And the red color is awesome. More of a dirty maroon...not the brighter basic red as most of the pictures show.)

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