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Brian's Passions

Alpine Touring
Nordic Skiing
Camping
Backpacking
Hiking
Mountain Biking
Paddling
Road Cycling
Alpine Skiing
Sport Climbing
Kayaking

Brian's Bio

Dawn patrol surf sessions at Rincon and Jalama, coffee in hand, the smell of neoprene. When it gets big and hairy, the mere thought of paddling out can get me high. Sometimes it's high-altitude camping and easy rock climbing in the Sierra Madre that does it for me. I still use skis (don't want to risk injury to wrists while snowboarding cuz that would end my surfing fun, big time - as much as I desperately want to learn!!!!) = But, I love my Vokyl skiis, and I respect well-made gear that is able to keep me safe on well-planned, but often gnarly excursions... ones that can push the edge of what is comfortable for me at times. SCUBA diving and lobster hunting (never times to push the envelope here - safety first) has helped me to view life more positively. It's just different down there. I think my favorite thing to do in the whole world, tho, is to get up early and free-dive for abalone. Mother Ocean, safety in the mountains, respect for living things. I eat what I take, and only take with respect. Satisfaction comes also when I get involved in helping the same causes as the ones I use as hobbies. Get involved and help others learn to respect what we all have.

cortezbankbugslayer

cortezbankbugslayer wrote a review of on April 20, 2009

5 5

Even though I already own this in size large, dark blue, I just now went ahead and ordered the white in XL (no white larges at the sale price). I'm getting a second one because I dig it that much. Great all around single layer for crisp hikes and biking here in the coastal range of Santa Barbara. It shields me from poison oak (as far as I can tell) and protects me from heavy chaparrel in tighter places when I'm mountain biking, especially on the single-track descents. I was gonna use it as a base-layer for skiing but it's a little too stiff. Wicks really well - which is surprising cause it definitely acts like a shield- altho it IS surprisingly warm for how thin it is. It's kind of like a mini-softshell in a way. Absolutely perfect for biking. Super well-made and I like the way it fits and looks on my lanky form. The collar is kind of formal, but kind of flattering too (or so I'm told). The cuffs look good too, altho they are light blue on mine, not white (as shown here). Everything I read in the reviews below is pretty accurate... it's worth it at the sale price, and it is a quality piece, despite not being made in Canada. It has found that good balance between being a protective softshell-like shield, but without the overheating when working hard, and it is actually pretty warm for how thin it is.... I guess that's just the nature of polyester. It's not super stretchy, but it does give a bit. I'm 6'2" 190, and the large fits me really well. I like the length of the arms because they keep me covered on downhills while I'm biking.

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cortezbankbugslayer

cortezbankbugslayer wrote a review of on April 16, 2009

4 5

Flexfit, 98% Cotton, 2% Spandex. Clean lines. Very heavy, doubly layered, quality brim. White color is actually a creamy beige. Beautifully embossed burnt orange logo, very raised, not quite as gold colored as picture. Nice Stitching. I usually wear between large and XL in most hats and ski helmets, depending on manufacturer, and this hat fits me perfectly. Tall front. Warm. You will dig it.

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cortezbankbugslayer

cortezbankbugslayer wrote a review of on April 16, 2009

4 5

I have huge hands, and wear XL in just about every glove I have ever owned. Tho I never wear a Lg, sometimes I do wear an XXL, but very rarely. My new pair of Stinger gloves are tight for now, yes, but I know this is right where they should be because they are brand new. NOTE - they will stretch. I ride motorcycles and as a result have to buy new leather gloves all the time. YOU WANT LEATHER TIGHT AT FIRST - I know this to be true. Leather stretches a lot, I mean, a lot. That's the good news of it - if you have the patience. Just the simple act of pulling them on and taking them off will serve to break them in a bit. Try watching TV for an hour here and there, or driving your car or riding your bike in them. They will begin to relax, and you will end up with better "feel" as a result of taking the time to do it right. These are well-made. I'm sure the Canadian division or the Arc' could do a better job, but still, it's really hard to tell with leather as a medium of constuction - every glove's gonna be different anyway.... I even see differences between matching pairs of the finest leather gloves. They are as good as they need to be - and you will notice them as definitely high-end when you get your hands in them. The velcro wrist-strap is well-designed, and offers a good, slim fit. The leather pieces seem to be cut well and fit together snugly. Tolerances are good. Stitiching is very good. I am satisfied with the overall look and feel. The only downside I can see is that the stitching is not up to Canadian quality on the pinkie-side, outer-cuff joint, right where they sew the labels in - it's the spot right over the little "ball" that is my knobby wrist bone.

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cortezbankbugslayer

cortezbankbugslayer wrote a review of on April 16, 2009

4 5

Just got this windbreaker. The actual color is redder than in the photo - more of a brick-red than an orange. Good news is that BC matched the $119 price (as shown on Arc'Teryx's website). I like it and would recommend it. It is a simple design, and therefore probably not going to reveal all that much difference for having been made in China, as opposed to Canada. But, it's not bad... however if you're an Arc' fan and know what you're looking at, you'll see that this windbreaker is just not quite up to Canadian quality - but you REALLY have to know what you're looking at to tell - it's just a "feel" thing. It's just little things like the way it drapes, the straightness of the stitching lines, and a slight wavinees in the fabric.

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cortezbankbugslayer

cortezbankbugslayer wrote an answer about on March 25, 2009

Mitts always gonna be warmer. Heat comes from your body. Assuming quality of construction and materials is even remotely similar, a mitt's gonna do the job way better. I see a lot of blow-hards on here yapping about stuff they know little about. Use a mitten if you're cold. Jeez.

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cortezbankbugslayer

cortezbankbugslayer wrote a review of on March 16, 2009

5 5

Bulletproof. Originally purchased in '96 to fill a requirement that students have available at all times a multi-tool (during a half-year diving course at Diver's Institute of Tech, Seattle, WA) that has the following attributes: must be well-made (we used ours BRUTALLY hard), of excellent steel, tough, have diverse applications easliy accessed, and be a real ONE-HANDED OPENING DEVICE. I took this program with a bunch of SeAL's and other professionals in the commercial deep-sea diving industry. When I arrived on campus the first day I simply asked around, "What should I get?" "SOG" was the consistent answer, assuming one could afford it. Back then it was about seventy bucks. It has never left my right hip since. With time, the tool has loosened up in a very good way - the actions become silkier with time, and the steel is top-notch; holds an edge, fiercly sharp, brutally hard - no hint of cost-cutting overseas alloy to the metal. You will know this for exactly what it is the first time you hold it in your hand - it's just feels "right" (I think of it as art in the same way a perfect tool can be a perfect friend.) I just now bought a second pair so I can give one to my brother to keep in his car. In my own experience, those who know use SOG. It's made here in the US, and it is dedicated

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cortezbankbugslayer

cortezbankbugslayer wrote an answer about on March 15, 2009

I've been wearing protective leather for different sports for a few years now and I think I can honestly say, in my own experience, if you just wait and keep wearing the gloves (or boots, or jackets, etc - I ride motorcycles as a way of life, and spend time breaking-in stuff all the time) the leather will suddenly begin to relax. It seems to take about two weeks for me, if I keep after it every day. I know it's hard to make yourself put on a tight, uncomfortable glove and make repeated fists, but it pays off, BIG TIME, in the end if you simply have to be able to "feel" what you're doing. Keep at it, they stretch way more than you would guess! When they are "on," there's nothing like it!

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cortezbankbugslayer

cortezbankbugslayer wrote an answer about on March 15, 2009

I'll let you know when I get 'em in - just ordered 'em today. After freezing my ass off up above Lone Pine, at Lake Muir, 11,000' (Mammoth Mtn/Mt Whitney area), I vowed I would make the switch to an INSULATED type of GoreTex product, rather than trying to layer up enough to stay warm (note the "big-fridge" effect of just Pro Shell or XCR alone with no insulation). I know the Primaloft combo works with both fabrics cause I love my Fission jackets so much - I have both the LT (Windstopper/Primaloft) and the SV (XCR/Primaloft). Hard to tell which is warmer cause the LT has only 130 gram Primaloft (but the warmer shell fabric), vs. the SV's 200 grams (with XCR). I think the SV is the warmer, tho. I can't imagine I will ever be cold again with my new combo going - Fission SV and new Kappa pants. My baselayers are old Rho's (Canadian- made back then!) and my mids are either Gamma SV Hoody, or my old Javelin Comp sidewinder-zipping hybrid (Shoeller DrySkin Extreme with XCR Shoulders, hood and arms - talk about WELL MADE - I bought it back in '03 - incredible stitching). So, to sum up.... I'm looking forward to the next snow cave!
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OK, I just got the Kappa AR pants, super fast, from this great company. They ARE made in China, tho. I also got he Arc' Celeris windbreaker (Thailand), and the Stinger Gloves (China). The gloves are beautiful. Windbreaker is not up to Canadian quality - but you have to know what you're looking at to tell - it's just a "feel" thing.

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cortezbankbugslayer

cortezbankbugslayer wrote a review of on August 21, 2007

5 5

Gonna sound foolish to some, but this ski pant makes my arse look really good. Ny girlfriend says I look "elegant" in them. I'm 6'2" 180 lb, 43 yr. old white guy, with a flat butt - at the office: "Hey, B! Did u forget ur butt today?" Hey, I own too many Arc products to admit to owning - a lot of jackets, so I already have a compulsion for these AT magic workers. So this is my first pair of pants. The bomb. Integrity and beauty. Excellence in fit and finish. The best design with the best materials. They get the proportions dead on if you have a longer, lean type body. They are understated, with clean, crisp lines. I feel good in them. Do I have to explain the breathable shelter that is Gore-Tex XCR? It's exactly what I expected. Exactly. Good website.

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