catiecoo

catiecoo

Boulder, Colorado + the Swiss Alps

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Jennifer's Passions

Snowboarding
Trail Running

Jennifer's Bio

catiecoo

catiecoo wrote a review of on July 17, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Bought these shorts prior to my business trip to France, where I'd be running a race with some business colleagues. As such, I was looking for a pair of shorts with decent length, no major leg splits to show off legs, still comfy in hot temps. These shorts delivered.

Dynafit usually makes ski equipment, but they got into alpine running recently. These shorts are definitely more Euro style: straight leg with just a minor leg split, welded seams, super clean design, no unwanted liner briefs so you can wear them multiple times without washing. There is a back zippered pocket, slightly larger than an iPhone. The fabric is more stiff than most American-branded shorts, but it still doesn't rub chafe.

Only caveat is that given the minor notch at the legs, I'm not sure if they would bother some people when going a steep uphill, although I've definitely run up some moderate hills with these shorts.

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catiecoo

catiecoo wrote a review of on May 14, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This is a light fleece jacket that's good for spring days. I love the Swedish brand - their stuff is super well made (in the EU so it does cost quite a bit more), well designed, really striking colors, and very eco conscious.
This particular jacket is no exception to Houdini quality, but it needs a bit of improvement on the fit. I don't have climber chick's physique, that is to say, my shoulders / upper arms are the normal sizes. But this jacket is really tight at the armpits. Not uncomfortable for me to return it, but I can't imagine climbers wearing it. Consider quite a few Houdini's "friends" (that's Houdini's speak for "ambassadors", sponsored athletes) are climbers, I don't get how they can let the mishap happen.
But regardless, it's still a nice fleece jacket. I particularly like the long sleeves and longer length.

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catiecoo

catiecoo wrote a review of on May 14, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Ever worn a fleece jacket that makes you feel like you just came down a mountain, or feel conscious about standing out / being an American when traveling abroad? Well, you should've worn the Montoya instead :-)
I love Peak Performance stuff - they are well made, made with technical fabrics, and above all, well designed with a classy style that makes the wearer blend in in the cities.
I wear this jacket to the office in spring days, out for a hike on the trails, out to a nice dinner, and traveling to Japan/Europe, where people tend to wear more classy monochrome than the wild, taste-less American style :-)
It fits me like a glove. Which is to say, it fits people that are shaped more straight than curvy. Sleeves are a tad short for super technical stuff, say climbing. The outside is smooth and inside is micro fleece, not "poly jersey" as stated in the description here.

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catiecoo

catiecoo wrote a review of on May 14, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've worn Icebreaker since 2000, when they first started in NZ, and I have all iterations of the Oasis crewe. Last season, according to Icebreaker, they improved the fit on some items, and Oasis crewe was one of them.
And they weren't kidding. The older versions used to have much tighter necks, stiffer fabric, and felt much tighter (like a true base layer). For the new version, neck is a bit bigger, fabric is definitely softer, and fit is more stretchy and just a tad more relaxed - which is a good thing since it doesn't feel as restrictive as before. I can now use the shirt as a baselayer, a l/s over a short sleeve shirt. And since I got the Lotus stripe, the shirt is nice enough to wear in the office, out on a run, and out to dinner, all on the same day. I'd imagine this will come in very handy for traveling.
As always, I wear all my Icebreakers, including Oasis for weeks on end without washing and it doesn't smell. Versatile indeed!

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catiecoo

catiecoo wrote a review of on July 27, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: Runs small

Arc'Teryx website has a video explaining how Phase SL fabric works. It might sound like a gimmick, but the fabric does work. I wear this shirt running on this summer's hottest days, and I've never soaked the shirt. The fabric absorbs the sweat and just disperses it. The fabric also feels quite airy, super lightweight, and soft against the skin. Because it doesn't have any fancy looking contrasting panels, there are no extraneous seams to rub you. New to this season is the UPF rating. I have a Phase SL tee from 2 seasons ago and it was not rated. It really gives me a peace of mind when I'm out for a few hours under the sun, knowing that I'll be moderately protected. Next I'd like to see Arc'Teryx using a UPF50 fabric. Previous season's Motus crew uses the same Phase SL fabric, yet had a UPF50 rating.

(1)

 

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catiecoo

catiecoo wrote a review of on July 27, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I take this knife when I go for a long trail run - the kind of runs when you'd take a pack with food & a first aid kit. Weight and volume is the key, so I only take the lightest possible gear, and this knife comes with me every time. I always take some tape with me just in case I get blisters, and the scissors are just adequate enough to cut the tape. After losing this plastic handled version on one of my trips, I decided to upgrade to the alloy handle version (also sold here by BC), which is the same without the toothpick & tweezers.

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catiecoo

catiecoo wrote a review of on July 27, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I take this knife when I go for a long trail run - the kind of runs when you'd take a pack with food & a first aid kit. Weight and volume is the key, so I only take the lightest possible gear, and this knife comes with me every time. I always take some tape with me just in case I get blisters, and the scissors are just adequate enough to cut the tape. Unlike the plastic handle version, these don't have useless tools like toothpick and tweezers, and the alloy is more durable.

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catiecoo

catiecoo wrote a review of on July 27, 2013

3 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
Fit: True to size

The skirt looks to be made of high quality. The fabric feels too thick for summer, but could be a good early fall skirt for running. However, the fit is just not right for me. The tights fit great, hitting just below the knee. But the outer skirt seems to have too much fabric at the hip. But then again, I've got a pretty straight figure, so the skirt might fit hourglass shape better.

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catiecoo

catiecoo wrote a review of on July 27, 2013

5 5

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

I just discovered Tencel lyocell this season, and love the fabric on this shirt. It's soft like cotton, yet doesn't feel stuffy & clammy like pure cotton feels - I can wear this shirt a few times and doesn't feel stale even if I sweat in it. It's a pretty basic shirt, yet the gathered shoulders are a really nice touch, with great neckline that's not too high or too low. So far no issues with durability. Always washed in cold delicate cycle & line dry. I ordered my usual Patagonia size, and it fits very well.

(0)

 

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catiecoo

catiecoo wrote a review of on July 27, 2013

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs large

Like everything else Nau makes, this dress will become a classic. The fabric is incredible. It's soft, yet polished, with a subtle sheen. Very appropriate for work and after work. I wish the strap around the waist is longer so I can run across front and back. But the short strap still works, doesn't make me look like wearing flour sack. But alas, the seamstress really slaughtered the dress! Turning the dress inside out, I see seams that are just, unbelievably sloppy. What's up with quality control Nau?! Anyway, still love it, but just wish they did a better job sewing it together. Runs large. I'm usually a 4, but had to go with a 2.

(1)

 

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catiecoo

catiecoo wrote a review of on July 27, 2013

5 5

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

I know it might sound gross, but I regularly wear these IB socks more than a week at a time without washing. So far no one has told me that they smell cheeses whenever I'm around. These IB socks are soft, and they don't pill like other merino wool socks like Smartwook, Point 6, etc. I don't own a drawerful of socks, but when I do, I'll make sure they are all Icebreaker socks :-)

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catiecoo

catiecoo wrote a review of on July 20, 2013

4 5

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

After watching Darcy Africa winning the Hard Rock 100 Endurance Run in these Patagonia skirt, I decided it's finally time to mix it up a little. I've always run in shorts, so when I first put the skirt on, it felt really light and floaty absent of the fabric in between the legs in a pair of shorts. Fabric is light and stretchy. I can put my iPhone in the rear center pocket - it doesn't have a zipper but it still felt secure. There are 2 rear side pockets for gels, and they have a bit of rubbery strips on the top to prevent things coming out. Length is spot on, providing enough coverage for me (5'6"). The "deep space" color with a strip of sky blue at the waist looks different enough from everyday black, but still goes with most of colored shirts in my wardrobe. The only con is the liner. The seams seem to be really bulky. So far they haven't bothered me on my multiple 5-6 mile runs, but I haven't had a chance to do a long run in them to tell whether they will rob. But hey, if Darcy Africa can run ~28 hours in these nonstop, they are probably good enough for everyone else :-)

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catiecoo

catiecoo wrote a review of on March 18, 2013

5 5

These alpine alphies are perfect for skiing. The fabric is similar in weight to Patagonia Capilene 3, but Houdini has padded the knee areas with double layered fleece. They are perfect for keeping knees warm, and in my case, since I wear knee pads under the snow pants, it's really nice to have some padding against the hard pads. Before getting these, I've always stuffed my full length long undies inside my snowboard boots. Not anymore - if you haven't tried 3/4 length undies, I strongly recommend them. Plus, Houdini is an ethical outdoor brand - these are made in the European Union (and the quality shows), not in some southeast Asian sweat shop.

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catiecoo

catiecoo wrote a review of on March 18, 2013

5 5

Since outdoor companies have refused to understand that women runners need pockets too, I decided to buy men's running shorts. I got these for the longer inseam (yeah that's the other problem w/ women's shorts) and lots of pockets and was not disappointed. Back zippered pocket is just big enough for an iPhone, although I did have to remove the cover; and there are 2 side flap pockets on the hip which are perfect for some bloks plus a small Salomon soft bottle. The inseam is not too long or too short. The shorts have a moderate split on the legs - again, perfect length - didn't feel like exposing too much leg but didn't impede stride either. Took these on some very steep uphill runs and they didn't ride up at all. I love the mesh panels on the crotch and the back - it was 70F here the other day and venting was excellent. Can't comment on durability since it's only been warm enough here for me to wear them a few times. The only problem I noticed is the liner - it's more fitted than other Patagonia shorts, so keep that in mind. Overall, this shorts is a major winner and I've got them in 2 colors.

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catiecoo

catiecoo wrote a review of on January 13, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I haven't bought Smartwool for years, mainly due to their weird patterns. But this year's design is a big surprise. Love the Imperial Purple stripes - classy enough to wear to work but versatile enough to wear out to the trails. Fabric is super soft. And since it doesn't smell, I wear it all the time and it has only visited the washer once after 2 months of wear. It does run a bit big - I had to size down. I also have the crewneck which actually runs true to size, so keep that in mind when you order.

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catiecoo

catiecoo wrote a review of on December 22, 2012

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

These Icebreaker socks are way more durable than other merino wool socks, such as Smartwook, Point 6, Teko eco-merino, Stoic. For those "lesser" brands, I'd turn socks inside out for washing like instructed, and I get clumps of wool that would come off, and so over time they'd get thinner and thinner. Not so with Icebreaker socks, they feel like they will last forever. The only other brand that is similarly durable is Darn Tough Merino. My only gripe is that they fit a bit bulky at the toes - not sure if they bothered with women-specific fit or just shrank men's versions. I have 8 pairs of these - I wear them almost everyday for fall, winter, and spring, and all in the cranberry color which makes sock matching easy. And I can wear each pair for 5-7 days without washing and without even a hint of smell. At least for the cranberry color, they fit a bit large. I'm in between sizes, and I find I need to go with the smaller of the 2 sizes.

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catiecoo

catiecoo wrote a review of on December 12, 2012

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

These shoes are overall pretty awesome. They fit well - toe box is roomy but doesn't feel overly so, and they've got a narrow heel to lock feet in. They are pretty light, enough that I can feel the difference between these and my Salomons. These make me feel like I'm flying on the trails. The ride feels cushy, and outsole is really grippy on steep and slippery downhills. A few things they need to improve. 1) they really need to attach the tongue to the shoe. The tongue right now is not attached at all - the whole thing shifts to the side and let in lots of dirt and small rocks, a lot more compared to any other trail shoes I own (Salomons, Brooks). And 2), the lace can really be better - I need to retie mine every few miles which is very annoying. Lastly, there are some semi-transparent "tendon" glued to the sides, and it feels that they would rip through the side mesh at some point. I've only put 100 miles on these, so can't tell at this point.

One more thing, while the outsole is super grippy, the lugs are placed very closely together. Compare these to Salomon SpeedCross which has more widely spaced lugs. The result is that the Bajadas tend to catch a lot more small rocks in between the lugs while that's not the case in the Salomons. I haven't taken these in mud, but I suspect it'll be very difficult to get the mud out.

(1)

 

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catiecoo

catiecoo wrote a review of on December 10, 2012

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have 2 pairs of these. I bought 1 pair, but the wrist developed a small hole immediately after the first use. So I called Ibex - not only did they offered a replacement pair immediately, but they also let me keep the original pair. Pretty awesome customer service! I'm still using the original pair as the hole didn't get bigger as I thought it would.
I use them for running - I ran 4x a week in winter and they have lasted a couple winters. They are good for down to 30 degrees. I also use them as liners for my ski gloves. They are quite thin so they fit into my ski gloves really well, but it's amazing how much warmer my hands feel. Especially when the ski gloves get a bit clammy inside, the merino still keeps my hands warm. It's one of those things I always take in my running bag and in my ski jacket pocket - they are so low profile that it's a no-brainer to bring the extra insurance - yet the amount of warmth they generate is so amazing!
The fit is generally good, but I think they can use a bit more lycra to keep them a bit more fitting - not that they are totally loose, but they could be a bit more form fitting.

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catiecoo

catiecoo wrote an answer about on November 25, 2012

R1 will be a lot warmer than the Indie. Merely comparing the weight of the fabric, the Indie uses 195 g/m2 fabric, whereas R1 is 6.8 oz/yard^2 fabric according to Patagonia website, which is roughly 230 g/m2. But more than just the weight, the inside of R1 is gridded fleece, which creates air pockets and helps trap more heat. The Indie fabric on the other hand is flat.

I can't comment on how the breathability compares though, and how warm they will keep you while wet.

Another point of comparison is how high the zipper comes up to. R1's collar comes up to just below the nose (yep, I have the men's version), whereas Indie's zipper comes to the chin (this is from women's version).

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