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Will Gardner

Will Gardner

Wyoming, Connecticut, Mongolia

Will Gardner's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking
Skiing
Climbing
Surfing

Will Gardner's Bio


Yale University Archaeology; - http://anthropology.yale.edu/people/william-gardner

http://instagram.com/willygbro

307andbeyond.tumblr.com

https://ello.co/willygbro

Will Gardner

Will Gardnerwrote a review of on August 12, 2015

No guts no glory?
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I must warn you out right before we go too far, there is no real useful information below. Here's the deal, I totally wanted to do a legit review of this knife cuz I straight up LOVE IT. It cuts stuff and stays sharp, it hasn't broken yet when doing non-knife things, and I have had it for a while, so it's kind of like a thing for me. With that said, I felt the need to do the knife justice while also providing the good people of backcountry.com with a helpful review. As such, I googled other reviews to get the feel of what should go into a good knife review. It turns out, that like real knife review people (internet is amazing for finding subcultures) are CRAZY detailed about properties, facets, nuances, etc.. that I didn't even know a knife possessed. Like I said - I thought saying it's sharp and cuts things for a long time would be enough - nope, not even close. So since I am not really qualified to write about the knife like properties of my knife, I will instead just tell the story of how this knife found its way into my pocket/life.

I work in Mongolia. Along with conducting my own research I guide research expeditions to remote reaches of the northern part of the country. In the taiga environment where I mostly work, the only source of protein is fresh sheep purchased from the local herders. How fresh - still baaaaah'ing fresh. Inevitable, after the first sheep or two, our camp cook grows tired of field dressing with his dull blade and thus begins to prowl around the camp for a shaper instrument. Usually picking on the apparent newbies first, he just casually ask to borrow their knife - like as if he needs to quickly cut a piece of string. Politely, the newbie will acquiesce, not knowing that their knife is about to find itself knee deep in some poor sheep's chest cavity. When finally returned, it is sticky, stinky, and not quite working the same. I know because I have been there - I've fallen victim to it and then later watched the process. I've also watched the cook eventually work his way through newbies and then start on the veterans. During which time he employs a more delicate tactic; "hey you like eating - well then help me help you. Let me borrow your knife". How can one avoid this, how can one avoid dealing with awful and dried blood permanently stuck in the knife casing? GO PINK.

Unlike Stateside fashion, Mongols have yet to embrace pink as a color. It's more of a watered down blood stain to be avoided. As such I thought that if I could find a reasonable knife that was pink, then I just might avoid being bothered. To be honest, when I started my quest for a pink knife I didn't really think I would have much success, but thankfully pink is also the adopted color of breast cancer awareness. A very serious topic not to be taken lightly, even though I jest a lot this is a serious subject - I care about boobs. So when I googled PINK KNIFE one of the first things that popped up was the Benchmade Griptilian. Needless to say I was pretty stoked. Although (as before mentioned) I don't know much about knives - I did know that Benchmade is pretty well accepted as a manufacturer of good blades. More importantly they are MADE IN THE U.S. and they had a pink handle in support of breast cancer research. In total, it seemed like a win, win, win; me and my Mongolia problem, supporting workers of America, and the health of women.

So come the next field season I was pretty animate in showing off the knife: ostentatiously cutting things, making a big show of it as a I pulled it out of my pocket, secretly cleaning the heck out of the handle at night so that the pinkness stood out bright and clean. All said and done - IT WORKED. Despite my fanfare, no one even raised and eye. More importantly, as the cook started making his rounds through camp, my little hovel was treated like a quarantine zone. So while I may not have much objective knowledge to share, subjectively I can say that the knife rocks.

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Will Gardner

Will Gardnerwrote a review of on July 22, 2015

More embracing than a hug from your mom
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 9"
Weight: 175 lbs
Size Purchased: Large

So as it turns out, shaking my backside with nothing but these bib shorts on does very little for my wife. It is not for a lack of effort. Pre-ride, when I am fresh and clean, post-ride when I am lathered up in a sexy glistening of sweat, randomly in the middle of the day when I am not even going for a ride. I have yet to find a time or a place where the shaking of my backside in nice tight clinging spandex helps illicit basic primal urges from my wife. Why might this be of importance? Honestly it's not - it's just that these bibs are so darn awesome on the bike I was just hoping that the awesomeness might have some transcendent properties that could expand into other areas of life. But they don't - oh well.

As for on the bike - they rock. Let's be honest, there are times when size does matter when it comes to what you are packing in your pants. In this particular case the ProTour Chamois is exactly the size you want. With good coverage and a comfortable level of thickness I haven't noticed any discomfort during my longer 3 to 4 hour rides (I wish I could say it's good for the longer rides to, but by hour 1 or 2 of the ride the guilt of leaving my wife with 3 kids usually kicks in so inevitably I turn around and head home).

As for the material - AT2 Force Lycra Power fabric - do I need to say more. I mean seriously, it sounds like a wicked cool battle droid from Star Wars and preforms like one as well. It's mechanical and methodical in its performance. It sits nicely on my thighs and doesn't seem to move an inch over the course of a ride. Additionally, the color scheme is essentially all black with very small logo on the right thigh which means these bibs pair nicely with a lot of different jerseys.

Over all I am super pleased with these bib shorts. At 5'9", but with a very keg like build (I weigh in at 180lbs - on a good day) I decided to purchase a large - and I am happy with that . To date I have logged about 1,000 miles in these bib shorts and I couldn't ask for more.

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Will Gardner

Will Gardnerwrote a review of on July 1, 2015

Modern Marvel of Physics and Travel
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Hi, my name is Will and I am a 'Pataholic'. But although admitting you have a problem is typically the first step on the road to recovery, I am not yet ready to change my ways. Why? Well let's just put aside for a moment the fact that as a company Patagonia has committed to a series of responsible manufacturing practices that is good for both the laborers and the environment. Let us even forget the simple fact that Patagonia has been able to set the world of physics on its head. (How can these be so? see attached photo - actual living proof that Patagonia has made it possible for multiple Black Holes to share joining space).

Let us look past the mind blowing physics and awesome social well fare awareness and instead focus on the fact that the black hole duffel is pure amazingness in shiny slick canvas (or some material of the sorts) form. I travel A LOT. When I travel I also find myself carrying A LOT of gear. It is the curse of being an archaeologist. Shovels, trowels, metal sample boxes, super awesome goat curds made by pastoralists on the Mongolian steppe; at one time or another I have transported this equipment across the country and across the word. Each time the black hole duffle has come through like a champ. The numerous different size categories means that you can either use one as a carry-on (ca. 40L) or as that awesome massive bag to transport large bulk checked items (ca. 60 to 120L). Although Patagonia has yet to figure a way to keep TSA from rumbling through your junk, they at least provide a tough durable bag to help you carry your stuff to your final destination.

My favorite feature has to be the large top opening that allows you to pack/access your gear in a very organized manner. You can both fit large items in as well as see all that you have pack in a pretty convenient top opening. This has been really helpful when I use the 40L bag as a carry on. The large opening means it is easy to organize my equipment as well as easily access stuff I put on top. This is important during the security checks as it allows me to quickly pull out things like computers and solar batteries (all items that the TSA wants to x-ray separately).

Inevitably it is not the bag that makes the trip but rather the destination and the gear you get to carry during various adventures. But with that said these bags are durable, tough, and well constructed. Be it baggage handlers worldwide or chicken filled dusty buses on back roads, these bags are up to the task.

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Will Gardner

Will Gardnerwrote a review of on June 1, 2015

No need to waffle - Honey Stinger rocks
5 5

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

To the relief of most of my family, my children have taken after my wife. This also turns out to be quite a boon for you, the backcountry.com community, as Backcountry.com and Honey Stinger were wise enough to bypass me and ask my children to review the Honey Stinger?s Kids? Organic Waffles (honey) and Kids? Organic Chews for the benefit of the backcountry.com community (See what I did there? Yep - product plug. But just in case you missed it I will be even more outright - go check out my review of Honey Stinger Kids? Organic Chews).

Honey Stinger Organic Waffles have a lot going for themselves; organic, NO high fructose corn syrup, cool back story about beekeeper Ralph Gamber and his wife Luella. But let?s BEE honest, the main quality I look for in kids food is whether or not it can quiet my kid's complaints of being hungry and thus prolong our time outdoors. A recent after work boulder session proved that Honey Stinger is up to the task.

I am a graduate student, but I am also a pseudo-stay at home parent of three - so needless to say, I stay busy. Despite all this though, my wife and I place a high priority on spending time outdoors as a family. This means quick family hikes or rushed bouldering sessions after school are the norm. Packing healthy, "good", food can be tricky though. Thankfully Honey Stinger fits the bill. Limited amounts of sugar, good serving sizes, and great taste makes them an optimal "treat". "Treat" definitely being the key word. Why? Cuz when you tell kids they are getting "treats" they stay quiet and happy while you squeak out a few extra laps at the local crag.

In this particular instance the Honey Stinger waffles were perfect for our 10 month old while my wife and I put in a few laps on some of our favorite boulder problems. The best part about these tasty treats is that teeth are not needed, good for babies and rednecks (I can say that - I'm from Wyoming!). What kept the older kids happy? Check out the Honey Stinger Organic Chews for tips there.

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Will Gardner

Will Gardnerwrote a review of on June 1, 2015

"Not Ewwwww"
5 5

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

Mom: "KIIIIIDS - time to EAAAAAT!"
Kids: "Ewwwwwww- I don't like it"
Mom: "You don't even know what we are eating!"
Kids: "What are we having mom?"
Mom: "Hamburger with French fries, YAY!!!!!"
Kids: "Ughhhhhh we hate hamburger and French fries!!!!"
Mom: "Ughhhhh What DO you want then?!?!?"
Kids: "ICE CREAM!!!! or cookies!"

While this conversation is not verbatim - it essentially is a boiled down representation of EVERY single evening at our house. We tried so hard to always expose our kids to new foods as they grew, but yet here we are, each and every night re-enacting what must look like U.S./Iran nuclear weapons negotiations. We have even followed our government's lead and enforced sanctions, like withholding food. Hoping that starvation may inspire rationality we are instead left with hungry, emotional, sacks of tears.

So needless to say that when Backcountry.com and Honey Stinger asked my children to review the Honey Stinger's Kid's Organic Chews for the benefit of the backcountry.com community - I was a little bit nervous of what may happen. But given our inability to find proper sustenance for our children, the opportunity to try out healthy, organic, snacks was too good to pass up.

The first opportunity to try these little snacks out came about a few weeks back when schedules and weather worked out for a full family, post-school/work bouldering session at the local crag. These trips are usually a mixed bag of hiking, dragon fighting, treasure hunting, running from bears, and occasionally climbing. Yet regardless of how much fun is had, eventually hunger takes control and tears ensue. This time, however, my wife and I had Honey Stinger chews as reinforcements.

The fun flavors of mixed berry and citrus proved to be SUPER enticing "treats" to the kids. Not only did they help stave off supposedly "MASSIVE" stomach pains - my wife and I were also able to sneak in a few extra climbs while the kids snacked away. The kids meanwhile had enough energy to arrest some bad guys and even chalk up for a few attempts on their own personal problems. Now if only Honey Stinger could make a product to help the bedtime routine go a bit smoother.

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Will Gardner

Will Gardnerwrote a review of on March 18, 2015

Down with the 'Rab'ness
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 9"
Weight: 175 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

First and foremost I want to thank Backcountry.com and Rab for not using better judgment and instead hand-selecting me to review the Rab Neo Guide jacket for the benefit of the backcountry.com community. I must admit this has been a unique process for me and I embraced the opportunity with open arms, if not a little bit to enthusiastically. But at least I can give pointers as to some stupid things that do not effectively help you review a jacket. For example:

1) Showering with a jacket on
2) Wearing nothing but a jacket while flirting with your wife after the kids have gone to bed
3) Using a jacket as an impromptu blanket during a diaper change

If you do choose to do such things you will end up wet, rejected, and stinky. But this is just anecdotal evidence I picked up in passing. When this jacket is used within its designed realm.... well let's just say that there are tigers and then there are saber tooth tigers. Which would you want on your side in a fight? Rhetorical question - Saber Tooth and you aren't thinking twice about it. Why are we talking about extinct felines? Cuz the Rab Neo Guide jacket is the Saber Tooth of hardshell jackets.

Work recently required me to spend a fair amount of time outside during a cold snap here in the northeast. Although temps ranged from -5 to 25 degrees Fahrenheit with blustery winds, the strength of the shell kept the wind chill at bay, while the low bulk of the New Guide allowed for a wide mix of layers. For example, around 25 degrees F and below the jacket paired well with an 800-fill Patagonia down sweater. For warmer temps (25 F and up) a nice 260 weight merino wool layer (like the Icebreaker Quattro hoodie) worked out great.

One should be forewarned that like Achilles, this jacket does have a heel. Rab did not give the jacket a normal pocket structure. Instead of the very standard pockets just above the waist, there are 2 cavernous pockets on the chest of the jacket. I understand the thinking behind the design. When wearing a harness, lower pockets are often blocked by the hip strap. With the pockets on the chest you have full access to its contents while harnessed in. But when not harnessed up you might end up like I did - natural instincts had my hands seeking refuge in lower pockets only to be rebuffed by the solid mass of Polartec Neoshell (registered trade mark due to awesomeness).

As disappointing as the pocket setup is, I stopped caring once I got a taste of how fully water-proof the Polartec Neoshell / YKK Aquaguard zipper combo is. Spring ice conditions these past few days have left the local ice routes weeping more than my wife at the alter (tears of joy or sadness? - the jury is still out). As such, pulling a cruxy roof section left me literally stuck under a faucet for a good period of time. The Polartec Neoshell, however, laughed it off while the YKK Aquaguard zippers (just don't get to close to a public swimming pool or they start blowing their whistle and telling kids to stop running) spurned any attempts by water to enter.

At 5'9" but with a slightly longer torso (I'm taller than my wife but we share pants - again tears of joy or regret?), I found the medium to be an excellent fit. The sleeves stayed in place the entire time I was swinging axes above my head and the length of the body kept any cool breezes from tickling my nether regions. Although I have only had the jacket for around a month - between work, boulder sessions on course granite, and ice the jacket has a pretty tough feel and should be able to stick around for a while.

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Will Gardner

Will Gardnerwrote a review of on February 4, 2015

5 5

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

My wife is a terrible gift giver. I on the other hand - to put it mildly - I total ROCK at giving gifts. Ipad Mini, Patagonia (or is it Patagucci), babies (easy to get, hard to return) - really the list could go on for a while. Meanwhile I get wal-mart tube socks - FROM HER MOM. This is not intended to be a low blow - she has other redeeming qualities. However, it did mean that in order to save my Christmas this year I had to take matters into my own hands. If I wanted a good gift - well then, dang it, I had to take some of my own gift giving magic and just sprinkle it on me. And again - not to be vain - I hit another home run.

Okay I will admit, wrapping my own present on Christmas eve was a bit cheesy - I should have been more diligent and wrapped it a few days earlier to let the suspense build. But none the less, I was more than happy to open my box bright and early, as my kids (one of my awesome gifts to my wife) opened their Legos, barbeis, and other great gifts from me. After making a bit of a scene thanking myself, I put the shirt on and immediately noticed the temperature regulating qualities. The icy stares the wife sent my way barely even registered as I was in wrapped in 'Bodyfit 200 merino wool' bliss.

Since that magical Christmas morn, I have used the shirt as a layer under thin button up work shirts as well as a layer under softshells while ice-climbing. It is nice under a thin button up shirt when the weather is cold as I can run outside on those brief errands that pop up during a work day without having to grab a jacket (except for when it is windy - wind blows - gotta wear a jacket when it's windy). As a base layer while ice-climbing it is pure joy. We have had some cold snaps lately and day time highs were sub 20's. However, between this shirt and a nice softshell jacket, I have been totally warm while climbing. I do have to throw on a puffy while belaying but whatevs, try standing around, not moving, in the cold and stay warm - not an easy task. As for fit, I am 5'9", 175 lbs and the large worked out perfect for me. So seriously. If you ever need some gift giving magic for yourself or anyone else take it from a gift giving PRO - this shirt rocks.

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Will Gardner

Will Gardnerwrote a review of on January 20, 2015

5 5

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

Sitting in Terminal 1 at JFK I started to eevver so slightly panic. Okay I can't lie, MAYBE that is a bit of an understatement. Let's just say that even though I am a grown man, if I could have started crying to get my dad to rush in an save me - I TOTALLY would have. But let us not judge. How might I have found myself in this predicament? Or more importantly how does this even relate to kids boots? Don't worry, we'll get there, but I first must digress a bit further.

See the problem is, I have a bit of a stubborn streak. A year ago when my son (Kid #1) was all crying, and sniveling, and sad, as I left the house for 8 weeks of work in the wilderness of Mongolia, I got a BIT emo and promised that when he turned 5 I would take him with me.

Which leads us to JFK Terminal 1 - my son and I are waiting for our plane; it's all setting in, we are leaving and we are going to be gone a long time, we are going far far away, and mom and sister are not coming with. Kid #1 is starting to rethink his choices and it is SUPER evident on his face. The idea of movies, soda, and dude time has lost its magical appeal. He is bona fide SAD. And as before mentioned I am FREAKING OUT on the inside. Meanwhile, my wife (the loving sort that she is) has totally rebuffed my text requests to come save our son. I'm stuck. So as a last ditch effort I dig wayyy deep into my bag of parenting tricks and start up a random argument about his new Vasque (cool like a summer) Breeze 2.0 WP hiking boots.

DAD: "You like your boots?"
KID #1: "Yeah I like my boots"
DAD: You LOVE the boots?"
KID #1: "Yeah I LOOOVE the boots"
DAD: "You want me to take the boots back?"
KID #1: "NOOOOO!"
DAD: "Here's the deal, I totally bought those AWESOME boots for Mongolia dude"
KID #1:"But dad [in whinny voice] I can wear them in the forest at home"
Dad: "Who takes you to the forest? Does mom take you to the forest? NOO, I take you to the forest! And I'm going to Mongolia!
KID #1: ..........

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Will Gardner

Will Gardnerwrote a review of on December 11, 2014

Practically saved my (social) life.
5 5

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

As it turns out I was a bit of a Linus as a child, totes had a blanket for WAYYY past the acceptable age limit. You may find yourself wondering how long this random internet dude had a blanket for. Well let us just say that thanks to the Quattro Long Sleeve Zip hoodie I can say I am blanket free; no longer, it i™s gone, done, finished, no more, out of my life (well I should not overstate it to much, I mean seriously you can not just throw something like that away) but it has been successfully retired. Why? Because merino with an ohhh soooo subtle hint of LYCRA (all caps, registered trademarked) is Amazingly COMFORTABLE.

Typically I try to throw in some genuine critique of the item I am reviewing but seriously I can not think of a thing. I mean be honest, just take a look at the listed specs: 1) naturally odor resistant which is perfect because my body (and probably yours to) is naturally prone to produce odor, 2) did I mention it has a touch of LYCRA (all caps, and still registered trademarked) for a perfect fit 3) dries fast in the shade, great if you are a vampire. Really I could go on, but I will not trouble you further. Just get it, BE happy; but do remember that wearing a $200 hoodie (with shipping and taxes) means that you CAN afford to give a buck or two to the homeless guy on the street asking for money!

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Will Gardner

Will Gardnerwrote a review of on December 11, 2014

I am not saying its bullet proof, but...
5 5

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

I recently spent some time in the desert lands of western Colorado during hunting season. I bought the tech lite t-shirt because the 'heat' color closely resembles 'hunters orange'.

So basically speaking I bought this shirt hoping that it would keep me from getting shot. I can happily say that it worked. If I was a Washington politician I might go as far as saying that the Icebreaker Tech Lite T-shirt is bullet proof.

But alas I have a slightly higher level of education so I can not in good conscious recommend that people use this shirt as a means of personal protection in times of combat. What I will say though is that the shirt wore very nicely under a heavy backpack during very long hours of hiking over rugged terrain. I did not experience any chaffing or uncomfortable bunching under the straps of a day pack that was holding approximately 25 pounds of work equipment.

I list the shirt as true to size but it was borderline. I am 5'9" with a short torso and wide shoulders (I would equate my chest to an upside down pear). the shirt had good length but the sleeves were mid to upper bicep. Guess it all depends on personal preference.

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Will Gardner

Will Gardnerwrote a review of on September 30, 2014

Set your flame to HIGH
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

7k worth of calories in one serving is no small task. First and foremost (well outside of American Fast Food), the creation of a food item that actually contains that many calories in and of itself is quite a feat. Typically, such a culinary creation only comes about for special occasions – think thanksgivings & deep fat dry turkeys. In this particular circumstance I – the project director – was saddened by the amount of excess food our expedition had sitting around our cook tent on the last two days of our time in the desert lands of Colorado.

I admit, the excess food was my fault, I was the one who handed the company credit card over to five guys in the parking lot of a Super Wal-Mart in Riffle, Colorado. What else could I expect other than glorious gluttonous excess. 10 days and two dozen extra eggs later, I demanded the we initiation the EAT EVERYTHING IN CAMP (EEC) public policy. Not being afraid to lead from the front, I manned a 16 inch skillet with expert control and precision as eggs, bacon, sausage, left over roast, some veggies, and a few cheerios all sizzled in a stick of butter; the result – a 24 egg omelet tribute to over indulgence.

How was such a king of calories made outside of the diabolical labs of McDonald's? It was only possible because of the Camp Chef Explorer 2 burner. When push came to shove this burner stepped up in a major way.

In all honesty, we did put this stove to the test in a recent archaeological research expedition in western Colorado. Sand and other adverse conditions could not keep this stove down. Three square meals a day for 11 people were cranked out for 7 days on this cooking system and we still had propane to spare. When we finally did give this stove a cleaning at the end of the trip it cleaned up mighty nice, looking just as good as when we first pulled it out of the box.

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Will Gardner

Will Gardnerwrote a review of on December 17, 2013

Milli Vanilli said blame it on the rain
3 5

But the Barenaked Ladies said "if you blame it on the rain what can be gained so, if all else fails you can blame it on?.. [Sawyer's water treatment system]".

Yes that is right, Sawyer. Had it not been for the pure awesomeness of a similar style gravity filter system by Sawyer, I would blame my Platypus water treatment system's difficulty purely on the rain. Why?

An exceptionally rainy year this past field season (I guide research expeditions in Mongolia) deposited a lot of silt into the rivers/streams in the remote valley of Mongolia where we were working. Although it was nice having a wealth of water for bathing (something we had not enjoyed in the past), the overload of fine silty sediment really clogged my Platypus system, resulting in daily cleanings by the end of the project.

(As a side note the system is easy to clean via back flushing, but does waste time and water).

I was more than willing to excuse the poor performance to the overload of silt; however, a member of the research team was the proud owner of a Sawyer water treatment system? a system that never once had any difficulty or reduction in flow capacity. Their system filtered water just as fast on day 30 as it had on day 1. Weight or filter life be damned, next time around I recommend a Sawyer.

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Will Gardner

Will Gardnerwrote a review of on October 23, 2013

Almost as good as goat curds
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

It’s not often that I find myself mapping 1300 year old villages, but when I do, Goal Zero, coffee, and goat cheese curds powers my day. Pictured here is the Sherpa 50 battery with the Nomad 27 panel. In this section I will focus on the Sherpa 50 battery and not the associated solar panel.
For a little bit of context, I conduct archaeological research in remote regions of Mongolia. We have an extremely large power budget, fueling numerous computers, GPS units, iPads, phones, cameras, and other types of equipment for a very large group. Equipment, in order of importance, is: 1) computers; 2) iPads; 3) GPS units. To meet our power requirements, we also use the now discontinued Sherpa 120 and the Extreme 350 battery (and a generator for rainy days). Of the three solar batteries, I think the Sherpa 50 is the most useful. I say this because of its light weight, quick recharge time, and number of smaller electrical items that can be recharged from one power cycle of the battery.
Because the computers are the most important item for our daily operation we mainly reserve the Extreme 350 and Sherpa 120 for powering them (these are also great batteries and we still sneak in a GPS unit or two on the power strip running off the 350), as such these batteries are stuck at base camp constantly cycling through various states of charge. The Sherpa 50 fills in nicely because it can quickly power an item, be taken into the field where it can be recharged in a morning or afternoon and then either provide an important ‘top-off’ charge that allows us to finish a day of work, or be taken back to camp to power a second item that night. The only slight drawback is that the power button is a bit touchy and can give you a little trouble turning off but nothing that would reduce the overall ranking of the product. At the end of the day, it is a good product – okay, maybe not as good as goat cheese curds but at least it leaves your breath a whole lot fresher.

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Will Gardner

Will Gardnerwrote a review of on October 17, 2013

Rab Latok Extreme"ly good" Gaiter
5 5

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

Coming from the west I have discovered many interesting truths in life that few are aware of – e.g. bored sheep herders like to stack rocks. How is this important in the review of a gaiter? We’ll get there, but first let me ramble.

I am a PhD student in archaeology conducting research in a remote region of north central Mongolia. Imagine the foothills of the Wind River Range - not so much the dune covered, camel caravans, region of the Gobi.

Despite what some movies have said about my profession, I actually don’t get to spend a lot of time rescuing damsels in danger of having their hearts ripped out. I chose a more tame side of the profession, specializing in landscape archaeology. Basically, I spend a lot of time scientifically wanderings in the wilderness looking for remains of Mongolian sheep herders. As such, I have put my fair share of hiking equipment through the wringer.

In total, the performance of these gaiters for hiking in variable terrain has been second to none. The project area where I work gets a lot of summer moisture. Despite long days tramping through knee high, wet grass, these gaiters have kept my feet nice and dry. Similarly, the body material of the gaiter has held up well in thick, thorny, underbrush.

I was a bit concerned with the durability of the strap that goes under the boot. Hundreds of kilometers of hiking later & these things are still going strong. Granted, the hiking has been mostly in grass/dirt terrain, however, (if you recall my earlier nugget of wisdom) I do feel confident saying that the lower strap will handle rocky situations also. Why? As it turns out, the Mongolian sheep herders of antiquity took rock stacking to new heights. These guys are the proud creators of huge rock monuments (10’s of meters), boat loads of rocks. Spending days recording these monuments has roughly approximated scrambling over a talus field so I do feel confident that the gaiter will last.

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