almortal

almortal

Rocky Mountains, baby!

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almortal's Passions

Camping
Backpacking
Mountain Biking
Road Cycling
Snowshoeing
Alpine Skiing

almortal's Bio

Rocky Mountain baby.

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almortal

almortal wrote a review of on December 13, 2013

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

These headphones are a great alternative to the fancy ones twice as expensive. The turncable is really convenient and the cable seems pretty solid. They are well constructed and the design is good. The remote button on the cable is kind of finicky, but the microphone is good. The sound quality is good with solid bass, but not quite as nice as those 200 dollar headphones. They are generally pretty comfortable, but if you have a big head they might cause some discomfort after prolonged wearing. They do sort of fold up, but not very compactly or practically. Time will tell how long they hold up.
Overall good bang for the buck.

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almortal

almortal wrote a review of on September 15, 2013

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Believe the hype. MSR doesn't disappoint. For gear abusers and guides these are the official gear (NOLS, OARS, etc). I am unfortunate to be picky about the taste of my water. I use as steripen because I love the taste of unadultured mountain stream water, and these definitely give a wicked plastic taste. The stuff they laminate the cordura with gives off a bad fast. The 4 litre weighs less than a nalgene. I have to carry a nalgene for the steripen, so I only fill this partially if I know I won't have a water source nearby or if I'm going to do cooking or dishes. For dishes the nozzle is amazing, and there is hydration kit I hear is great. For luxury campers, this works great as a shower. This is durable and lives up to the hype, but because of my water snobbery I would not get it again. If you have a taste like mine you should just get the nalgene bladders, much cheaper, and replace them as they break.

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almortal

almortal wrote a review of on January 27, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I got these because I wanted a street shoe that wouldn't make my feet hurt on those short spontaneous hikes. The most suprising thing when I took them out of the box was how comfortable they felt. They feel like a soft well broken in shoe the instant you put them on. On top of that they have held up rather well (though I don't suspect the softish sole will last more than 3 years). The cushioning and tread of the sole is great on rocky steep terrain. These are trail sneakers, so don't expect a substitute for light trekking boot- after 8-10 mountain miles you will notice you are wearing sneakers, not boots. Being soft they will not provide the support needed if carrying a large pack distances. Size wise, they seem to be cut rather wide, which make them comfy around town shoes, so if you have narrow feet these will not give you the support. If you are the type of mountain bum that keeps boots in the back of your car just in case then these are the perfect shoes for you. Worth the Patagucci price tag.

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almortal

almortal wrote a review of on January 26, 2013

The best backpacking hammock ever
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This was my graduation present to myself. I have used every variety of hammock of every material, from just about every brand. I have recently gone through two Hammock Bliss hammocks, a Grand Trunk ultralight, and this as my backpacking hammocks. This is far and beyond the most supreme. It packs easy, it sets up easy, there is no tangling, and above all it is more abrasion resistant than any other. I spent most of the summer in this, and tonight the weather is only going to get down to 30 so I'm taking this out. The doublewide is nice because the extra width allows for a variety of sleeping positions that are uncomfortable in most other hammocks. And on days of backyard barbecues and picnics in the park this is great to share, comfy with two in it and handles a lot of weight sturdily. My Grand Trunk is my loaner hammock, but if I need to convert someone to hammock camping I let them use this. It's only a few bucks more than the other brands, but is way more comfortable and way more durable. Get it

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almortal

almortal wrote a review of on January 26, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Writing a review of this stove is a bit redundant since every knows it is the go to for any serious outdoors-person. It is bombproof. I have dropped it on so many rocks, bent it, banged it, crammed it into bag etc. and ten years later I have no reservations about its reliability. The priming is somewhat inconvenient and I won't do it indoors, and it has two settings: high and off (don't plan to lightly simmer with this), but thats a compromise you make for a stove that works reliably at 14,000 feet and is indestructible. The shaker makes its effortless to keep it clean, and the simplicity of it mechanisms makes the five year overhaul remarkably easy. 80 bucks for a stove that you will never have to replace, how can there be any doubt.

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almortal

almortal wrote a review of on January 26, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I am very weary of backpacking with anything battery dependent, but this thing has converted me. It is nearly weightless yet the casing is really sturdy. It is so easy to use. Super easy. There is a single button, and the light on it lets you know when its done, if it was successful (occasionally it will flash red if you pull it out too early), if the battery is running low, and many other things. And it doubles as a flashlight for rifling through your bag. The only downside is that you have to use a widemouth 1 litre bottle.
The real reason I dropped the money on it is because it doesn't alter the taste and treats everything. I love that I can now drink the amazingly delicious mountain water and know it is safe. Nonetheless, on long backcountry trips I still keep a few iodine tablets in my first aid kit, just in case.

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almortal

almortal wrote a review of on January 26, 2013

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I opted to spend the extra money on these because they are light, come with trekking baskets and snowshoe baskets, pack down to fit inside my MSR snowshoe bag, and MSR has never let me down. The pin system is really easy to use even with big mittens on. At first they felt flimsy because they are light, but there is almost no lateral travel at the joints, and I am confident the will stand the test of time.The snowshoe basket is shaped in such a way that it makes flipping the televator heel on their ascent snowshoes really easy, but the baskets should be a bit larger for deep light snow. My big complaint is the straps, the friction mechanism is a total nuisance and pops loose too often, but maybe I just haven't figured out the best way to set it up. This complaints makes me question whether it is worth the high sticker-price.
Update:
I am dropping these down from 4 stars to three because they have not held up as durably as most MSR products. Granted I am hard on gear and shouldn't have gotten ultralight poles.

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almortal

almortal wrote a review of on November 23, 2012

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This mug is great because it is the right size for every type of food. 7.5 oz might be a lot for ultralighters, but it does multipurpose as storage, mixing bowl, plate (wide enough to stuff pancakes in) measuring cup. Easy to clean. My most dreaded part of backpacking is cleaning, and this is the easiest thing to clean ever. That said, no matter how tight I make the lid it still leaks a little with sufficient shaking. From the other reviews that say its watertight I assume I just got one with a bunk lid. Still pleased with it, but the main reason I got it was for easier leftover storage and putting off dishes.

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almortal

almortal wrote a review of on September 25, 2012

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

The general MSR snowshoe design which essential makes it a huge floating crampon is light-years better than the typical design. The Lightning Ascent is the gold standard Backcountry Guide Snowshoe. The televator is amazing, perfectly designed in its simplicity and how well it functions. It makes a world of difference. The bindings are amazing, with big mittens they are easy to adjust, and provide a solid complete connection. They are easy on easy off one handed, but they will stay secure all day. The binding adjustment is easy to tweak so it accommodates your unique stride perfectly. They are bombproof. Bombproof! The fact that the entire perimeter is a sheet of spikey metal crampon means you can maneuver in gnarly terrain far better, climbing over down trees or trudging through underbrush, or just going up icy terrain; all without worrying about bending dainty tubing. You can do stuff with these you just can't with others. Also, the MSR tails are awesome, so if you don't usually have deep snow or carry lots of gear you can size down, just get the tails for the occasions you need more surface area. The tails go on real easy and make a huge difference.
That said, you might not need this much. If you live somewhere flat you can just get the lightning flash, and if you live on varying terrain, but don't need the high performance bindings the lightning axis are just as good (the same minus the bindings)
If you don't anticipate much more than the occasional quick jaunt, or are new to snowshoes, the MSR Evo series share some of the great design elements are light and inexpensive.
If you were originally planing on spending $200 on snowshoes, spend a little more and get these, they make difficult terrain more pleasant, and they will far outlast any others on the market. These seriously deserve twenty stars. I know I won't have to replace them for a very long time, and I won't let my friends get anything else.

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almortal

almortal wrote a review of on September 25, 2012

Well executed
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This is of the standard MSR caliber, superb. As an A-frame tent it does about as well as can be executed and it does everything it claims. A word of advice though, if you are getting this simply because it is an inexpensive light four-season tent, make sure you know what a floorless non-freestanding tent entails. I got it for the above reasons prior to a weeklong snowshoe trip in the Rockies and discovered it was not ideal for those circumstances. In deep fluffy snow, even with fancy snow stakes, a non-freestanding tent is a nightmare to set up. Even with the footprint you are exposed to dirt/snow at the edges. Though the max height seems high, remember it has steep walls, so the wall/roof is only inches above your outer shoulder. And the poles pitched in the middle means it is not "couples conducive."
Do not let these comment deter you if you know you need an A-frame, or just an ultralight. It is perfectly designed and constructed, and super durable. The material appears thin and flimsy, but it is super waterproof and tear/ abrasion resistant. The zippers are amazing, and once you've set it up a few times, it only takes a few minutes. Condensation (to a certain degree) is unavoidable, but a tent like this makes it so quick and easy to dry the interior. It has become my go to, and I cherish it.

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almortal

almortal wrote a review of on September 25, 2012

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I got this when it was super discounted, so I have no complaints.
It is light, considering all the excessive straps zippers (if you're ounce counting you could definitely trim a lot of compression straps and bungies). It took two full uncomfortable days of backpacking until I really honed in the straps, then it carried weight really well. The frame is a good design, and the airflow on the back is great, but the pad that sits on the base of the spine is a little awkwardly positioned (hopefully it will break in). Considering how thin the shoulder and hip padding is to save weight, it is actually rather comfortable. The material seems a bit more durable than other bags in this weight class. The zippers don't snag much, but when the bag is really bulging they can require two hands. The excessively adjustable hip straps actually require two hands, no one handed tightening/loosening on the fly. The overall design is good, the side access zipper is well placed, and the outer pocket/pouch is rather versatile. The opening to the sleeping bag compartment on the bottom is tiny, so unless you have a bag that compresses really small it is a little annoying getting the bag in there in the morning. Don't factor the rain cover into your purchase. It doesn't cover the entire bag if the bag is full, and the pouch is just a novelty. I might buy a bigger rain cover and put it in the pouch. Overall, it serves it purpose; most of my complaints are regarding the bells and whistles. I will gladly use it for many years to come.

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almortal

almortal wrote a review of on September 25, 2012

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

The zipper is snag-proof. That is half of why I got this, and it really is consistently smooth.
It is the perfect cross between a light backpacking mummy, and a rectangular bag. I like to be able to put pants on in my bag when its cold in the morning, something that is really difficult in a mummy bag. This has the right amount of space without being bulky. The temperature rating seems true, though I haven't tested it below freezing, I did wake up sweating (naked in bag) at 35 degrees at 11,000 ft. With a good liner it might be used as 4 season bag.
It compresses really well, and fluffs up well. The compression sack it comes with is actually too big, it could pack even smaller, but I can't complain seeing as most bags don't include a compression, laundry and storage bag.

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