happ438450

happ438450

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happ438450

happ438450 wrote a review of on April 28, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

The beam is bright enough for most activities, the options are functional and the charging is easy. I have used it on a week long trip as the sole source of light and never noticed a change in the light quality at all. My only minor complaint is the design of the headlamp creates a fractured red light that can be a bit distracting to use for extended periods.

Seems like the best option for those of wanting a high quality general purpose headlamp that is rechargeable.

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happ438450

happ438450 wrote a review of on April 17, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

The weight of the Mountain Smith Mountain Shelter LT is by no means ultra-light as it measures just a bit above 2 pounds when packed. That said, they designed a thoughtful compromise for those of us who are happy with the slightly more durable and affordable category of "light" shelter. Some specifics:

1) Enclosed design: I prefer a closed structure compared to an open tarp. I thru-hiked the Uintah Highline trail last September at the tail-end of the epic storms our region saw. The Mountain Shelter kept me dry and warm during 3 days of heavy rain, hail and fog at 10-12,000 feet. I hunkered down in it for 18 hours (lightening on the passes at 11 am) one day through 8 separate hail storms and the only moisture I experienced was a few drops of condensation the hail knocked onto my sleeping bag. This is a considerable plus in my book as I almost exclusively use down sleeping bags nowadays.

2) Design: plenty of room for 2 people (and a dog) and roomy for my solos. The space is plentiful in this tent: plenty of length for laying down with enough space for gear storage. As well, the vestibule opens up completely for warm and dry nights. The design is also tall enough to easily situp in the front portion of the structure which makes cooking morning meals a snap on those colder September days I prefer to backpack during.

3) Set-up: This one takes a few times to get right. Its easy to accidentally set it up improperly (offset versus square OR too taught to get poles properly adjusted). I used it with ease my first trips but had to tweak my setup a bit on my last journey as the ground was not flat.

4) Additional: plenty of tie out points to keep it taught; breathes well with rear vent and lowering the upper (of the double) door zippers just a smudge; reinforced well at all points of pressure.

Overall....an effective choice for most of us trying to cut weight for backpacking without breaking the bank. A prize winner in storm-proofness and space.

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happ438450

happ438450 wrote a review of on April 17, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I just wrapped up a 4 night Trans-Zion backpacking trip with this sleeping bag and thoroughly love this new piece of equipment. Marmot has designed a great sleeping bag for mid-spring to mid-autumn in the desert.

First, the Plasma 30 is extremely light. I knew this when purchasing but its ridiculous to feel it in hand. Historically I have strayed from going too light for issues of durability but....

Second, the Pertex Quantum this bag uses for its shell and lining is by far the most down-proof material I have ever experienced. After almost a week of use and compression I have yet to see a single down feather. I have never used a piece of down equipment that didn't lose at least one feather a trip. Not a hint of this bag giving up a feather yet which means its will keep its warmth rating much longer.

Third, the shape and features on this bag are perfect for my body and sleeping style. The zipper is long enough for ease of use while ending well above the toe-box for thermal efficiency. The draft collar came in handy for my first night when the temperatures dropped to 25F, which only required that add my down vest to keep warm (this bag is accurately labeled at 30-32 for my body temp). And the hood is well designed as well: it has the proper lanyards for cinching while also being fashioned in a way for me to open it up and breathe when side sleeping. I move alot while sleeping and found this bag worked perfectly on my side or back.

All-in-all.....I can't imagine a better design coming from a major company for a lightweight summer and shoulder season sleeping bag. Compressable, proper EN temperature rating, durable and comfortable. And I really can't provide enough praise for the Pertex Quantum they chose to use.

(Per the zipper issues...they seem to be a thing of the past. Never had a problem with the new 2014 model.)

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happ438450

happ438450 wrote a review of on April 3, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have used this bag extensively over the last year. I used it for a traverse of the Uintah Highline trail last September and thoroughly loved it. Never once did the bag get wet despite 3 days of intensive rain, hail and wind; one day I spent almost 18 hours in and out of the bag when a thunderstorm series at 10,600 feet hit me with 8 different hailstorms from 11 am until after dark. The bag stayed dry the entire time despite the hail knocking condensation from inside the tent onto my sleeping bag. I was impressed with how toasty I was despite limited movement and therefor less heat from my body. I can't imagine a better bag for these fringe season conditions. The full length zipper (actually 2, one standard and another in the foot box) allows the user to push the bag well past most sacks upper limits by using it as a quilt or duvet. This sack provides a one quiver option from its EN-certified lower limit of 12F to temperatures around freezing. I look forward to taking this sleeping bag on my hybrid loop of the Sierra High Route and John Muir trail this september. You can find lighter bags out there but none with the features, diversity of application and reliability the Xt II will provide.

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happ438450

happ438450 wrote a review of on April 10, 2013

4 5

Just got these in the mail for an upcoming backpacking trip to the Sierras. They fit true to size in the 11 (I have a low-medium volume foot). I actually played with the multi-fit insole and found it a valuable tool in changing the function of the shoe; I also found the to-the-toe lacing a brilliant addition to the design. Several online reviews challenged the benefit of the Y-wire system on a low cut shoe (as the ankle already has freedom of movement) but I found it made a subtle change to the way the shoe felt....though that is obviously highly subjective. Time will tell. Just know the velcro that attaches the two insoles together is stronger than the insole material itself and therefor rips easily. I will be contacting Backcounty to see if they can send me a replacement insole (I really don't want to return the entire shoe just for this issue).

My foot runs hot so I chose the non-GTX version. Boy am I happy I did. The shoe provides a close fit and the material is burly enough that I would not want any additional liner to reduce breathability or add insulation. I have also always found goretex to be useless in low cut shoes as any moisture will be easily absorbed by the sock line or simply overflow the top.

Looking forward to putting the shoe to the test on a 5 day backpacking trip with several class 4 summits along the way. I think the shoe will perform well with a pack, as I am use to trekking in light hiking shoes and these feel like they have the support of a burlier boot with the mobility I love in a low cut shoe.

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