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aaalllen

aaalllen

Lake Tahoe, CA

aaalllen

aaalllenwrote a review of on May 5, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 235 lbs
Size Purchased: XXL

I had tried an XL in a store and it was too small in the chest. So I went to look on here. I was hesitant to pull the trigger given the picture showing a short jacket compared to the arms. Let's just say that it's the arms, but that's ok since I've got a long wingspan. Maybe companies should start mentioning center back and sleeve length instead of having to ask the gear heads for it.

The fit is like the current nano-puff sizing. I'm linebacker sized and find the jacket very comfortable. I also have full range of motion with room for some light layers. However, unlike other jackets from the other companies, the XXL doesn't have a ton of extra material around the body to lose air or snag on something.

Everyone else can talk about breathability. I went the opposite direction in terms of "never take off". You don't want to wear this thing in 80*F. For its intended use, it works well as a snowboarding insulation layer and around town during the cold San Francisco summers.

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aaalllen

aaalllenwrote a review of on April 26, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

As of Q2 2015, this is the current carry-on size for most airlines. You can get slightly more space in this bag than a roller bag as there are no wheels, stand nor internal handle compartments.

The material seems pretty rugged and the bathtub bottom makes me feel comfortable putting it down in whatever.

I was unsure of the "front" backpack straps, but this just means added security against thieves. Like some backpacking bags, there are load straps for a better fit. The lack of a hip belt hasn't bothered me w/ a full bag for short walks or waiting forever in the TSA line.

I had gotten a cheap Digi-Hauler on SAC, but I didn't like the location of the laptop pocket or it's flimsy-ness. It also lacks the pen/gear organization pockets of many backpacks. Getting these in the Gear Hauler is definitely a perk. I was able to fit a 16" laptop into the slot. Although the rest of the compartment is a convenient place to put the TSA 3-1-1 liquids bag, do I really want to put it near my laptop?

For some future changes, I wished that:
* there were some internal sleeves along the sides
* an inner lid zip pocket found on the Digi-Hauler
* "zip away backpacking straps" is a misnomer. It's more like "zip to hide".
* hiding the backpack straps adds some bulk to the lid. couldn't they be fully removable? Does this count as padding for the laptop?
* packing cube info graphic is generic and doesn't account for the shoe compartment.
* the digiHauler has a zipped side pocket for a water bottle or not. would adding this in have compromised the bathtub?

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aaalllen

aaalllenwrote a review of on June 14, 2013

5 5

I had an REI 3.5L mat used for car camping, staying over at a friend's place, extra mat for friends and those ski lease occasions when I didn't get a bed. I didn't like the rolled size and fortunately a friend screwed it up. So I went looking for a replacement =)

I ruled out the NeoAir because of the noisy crinkling and how light of a sleeper I am. I thought long and hard about the 7LW (6-3 230), but I ended up with a Synmat 9LW. The 9LW adds about 2" in diameter to the 7's rolled size. That's still much smaller than my down sleeping bag or the old mat.

The instructions said to lay it out w/ the values open for 24 hours. Afterwards, I inflated it and laid on it. It felt really warm. Inflation seems fine. The air lasted 4 days before I decided to deflate it.

Inflation takes a few minutes of giving it CPR, but the one way valve makes it easy enough to take a break if you really have to. I've seen some negative deflation time comments, but I've been used to the two phase tear-down: accordion folds + sitting on it -> a final roll up. The only complaint I can give is that both inflation and deflation are noisy. Think of deflation like a whoopie cushion.

I have used this in a walk-in Tahoe camping trip. It was in the low 30s at night and my friends told me they were freezing. I was fine in a non-mummy 25 bag. I slept in on the last day and woke up because of the heat... go figure. Also, I couldn't find a flat place to setup camp and noticed the 15-20 degree incline while on the mat. It was fixable by sticking clothes under the shoulder side.

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aaalllen

aaalllenwrote a review of on April 29, 2013

5 5

I can see why other reviewers called this a boxing glove. There's about 4x more padding on top/backhand than on the palm area. That gives enough dexterity and control. I wouldn't see them working w/ ski pole straps at all.

I have long fingers and sometimes XL gloves are too small. The XL fit pretty well into the individual fingered fleece inner glove. I read the reviews and was ok that the mitten wasn't fully open. The fleece is soft and didn't find myself with sweaty hands in a 70*F room after wearing them for 15 minutes.

Comparing this to other gloves, these seems to be missing keeper straps, but the size tag could work as an anchor point to attach them from other gloves. This glove also doesn't have a wrist tightener, but the gauntlet closure got pretty tight. I will probably cut off the hook/d-rings that the designers intended to keep the gloves together for storage/travel.

I agree w/ the flimsy material thoughts other people have. The backhand seems really lightweight. The fingertips and palm get a beefier nylon around a small soft leather patch. I'm not going to be able to dig snow out of my bindings w/ the thin backhand material, but the thumb and finger tip area looks do-able.

Great price on SAC so I had to pull the trigger twice and give this a lot of stars.

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aaalllen

aaalllenwrote a review of on September 22, 2012

5 5

I'll have to compare this against that other brand. Both are listed at 700ml, seem well constructed, can fit a small stove w/ fuel can, an alcohol setup w/ little bottles, easy enough to clean w/ large hands and has a functional lid. This one doesn't have measurements, but it holds a nalgene bottle better (think air wooshing when you separate them).

I can't tell which lid I like better. The other brand can kind of attach to the body when not in use and has holes closer to the edge for easier straining. This one has an interesting handle that can slide around between grooves. One set of grooves is for storgae and it doesn't really lift up. The other groove tilts the handle up and away from the vent holes. These holes have less room for steam to escape.

I would say that this works with the JetBoil coffee press better. With the other brand, you had to move the fins out. Even then, you had to get the right angle to get the seal on a cold pot or it would just fall down. For this one, minimal fiddling with the fins toward straight down makes a perfect seal. If you want to jerry rig something else, a Bodum Chambord press seems to work, too.

I started w/ a GSI Pinnacle Soloist w/ a sea to summit x-mug. I wanted another boiling or campfire option and bit on the sale price. I'm pretty happy w/ this purchase. After fiddling w/ things, my current setup for 2 people seems like a perfect nesting system:

-> hold the Soloist bowl open side up
-> put the bottom of the non-bagged kettle in the bowl
-> foon, alcohol stove, windscreen, some fuel and a lighter
-> kettle lid
-> x-mug downward
-> the upside down Soloist pot over everything
-> flip everything over
-> gsi pot lid & lock the handles

The other way around seems to have the pot lid squishing the x-mug.

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aaalllen

aaalllenwrote a review of on May 10, 2011

5 5

I've camped at Coachella for over 5 years and the description sold me. I will disagree with the people who say they can make a 25 down bag work in any environment and have been looking for a summer/travelling bag (think 90*F by 9am). If I'm car camping, I don't mind having a big tent, a thick pad and a comfy sleeping bag. I'm 6-3 and linebacker sized. This bag is taller than I am by a good few inches so I don't know why they say the max size is 6'. The bag is really wide where I can have both arms at my side with a lot of extra room. Rolling between sides isn't an issue.

The inside is a soft material that almost feels like cotton. Cold weather bags seem to have extra material around the zipper to block drafts. This LACKS that and you can feel the zippers from the inside. The zipper works well from the inside or out. There is a button closure in one corner, but I haven't found a good use for leaving it snapped.

There is no stuff sack. Instead, you get a Marmot branded medium/large sized duffel carrying case with backpack style handles. Unfortunately, there are no pockets. It is possible to compress the bag a little and add a few more things for the road. A BC rep said it would be ok to use my own stuff sack for a short period of time.

50+ nights it's really warm. It dropped to 43 one night. I was fine w/o a hat/extra layers where others thought it cold.

So far, I'd recommend this for Coachella, car camping, overnight at a friend's or for guys my size.

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aaalllen

aaalllenwrote a review of on January 2, 2011

5 5

As a frame of reference, I'm 6'3”, 225 w/o gear, wear size 13 boots and have a 23” with 18/-6 angles. I've definitely have had toe drag issues and have been using Palmer Shock risers on a 2005 Burton Baron ES 168 (26.4 waist). It's a nice stiff board that still has a lot of pop out of turns, but it felt squirrely at high speeds. I was looking for a board to take me to the next level offering more stability and dampening.

I found many great reviews on the Raptor X online and even rode a lift next to a person with one. I had trouble finding a 169... Let's say I had it in my BC shopping cart for a few hours and on checkout, it was sold out. The NS website order went through before it was canceled. I had a good talk with NS' Vince and almost went with the 165 until I found a 169. Lesson: pull the trigger on a NS board sooner than later.

First impression: I had to stare at the board for two weeks before being able to ride. The online images don't do the carbonium top sheet justice. It seemed grippy enough to avoid a stomp pad. The base graphic's yellow is somewhat see through and you can see carbon inserts. Looking down the side from nose to tail, the RC is trippy to look at. I was worried about the flex. As stiff as I've heard it was, the nose to tail flex wasn't stiff at all. I still have noticeable toe and heel overhang and went with the risers.

Adjusting to my first non-cambered board took about 2 runs. I was very surprised at how easy it was to turn and maneuver. For harder stops, I felt like I had to bring my knees in together more. A 22” stance width felt more comfortable, too. I don't get the pop out of each turn and have only been getting it randomly. Vince didn't recommend detuning and I didn't find that to be an issue.

After a few weeks, I'm in love with the board. Tahoe has already offered many conditions to try the board out in. In packed powder, turns were like butter. In spring like slush or clumpy snow, the dampening is very noticeable. In fresh powder, I felt very centered and it was so much fun. In heavy non-groomed stuff, it felt effortless. Trees are do-able, but you have to pick good lines. Ice is ice, but the edges held well. I've been ok w/o a stomp pad, too.

I did meet a guy with a new Heritage. He suggested that with the RC, I try 70% rear leg weight outside of powder runs. He also suggested that I may have to jump out of turns to get the pop. I'm not sure I have all that down without thinking about it, but I can give an update later.

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aaalllen

aaalllenwrote a review of on December 10, 2010

4 5

After doing a scrunch/pat down test, I can only find one Recco reflector so this is a little misleading: "Upper and lower RECCO reflectors make it easier to find you should you get in over your head".

It's not black but more of a slight herringbone dark grey w/ a little shine to it. The side cinch adjusters make you look more like a person than a square blob. The suspenders stand out and the length works. The foundation bib had the length adjuster near the top of the shoulders for most people.

Compared w/ the tight ski stuff, this is probably baggy. I can only compare it to Burton pants or a TNF foundation bib from a fear years ago. The bottom is not baggy at the waist to mid-thigh. Then it gets baggy, but not puffy. The top is form fitting but not tight (6-3 225 line backer sized). I can sit comfortably. No room for padded shorts if that's your thing.

No zips on the cargo or back pockets, but the flap folders over to block rain and you have velcro or button snap for closure. The front pockets are horizontal and zip w/ maybe a 5" pocket. I'm used to more angled pocket openings so not sure what I'd find more convenient. Definitely less of a chance to loose things. The crotch zipper goes top down instead of both directions like some other pants.

One pocket has the standard TNF key attachment that snaps into a cord. It's less bulk than a hook, but takes more work w/ different set of keys.The inner thing vents are mesh lined.

The bottom gaitor could use stickier plastic or a smaller opening. There is a hook for laces, but I typically collapse them given the tiny burton speed laces not having any room under them.

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