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John's Passions

Backpacking
Mountain Biking
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johndiggity

johndiggity wrote a review of on August 29, 2013

1 5

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

I've had two pairs of these and both have split on the side seam below the outside of the thumb; the first pair after only the second ride I used them on, and the last pair directly after trying them on upon receiving them as replacements from Backcountry. It didn't seem to be a fit issue as everything about the gloves fit my hands fine. Also the POC logo on the index finger is poorly placed, as you will come to learn after trying to wipe sweat or other trail detritus from your eyes or face. They look cool, but these gloves are garbage.

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johndiggity

johndiggity wrote a review of on March 9, 2013

4 5

This is great mid - heavy layering piece, or use standalone in spring or fall. It will block most winds save for when it's gusting. The material allows for great range of movement and breathes very well. The chest pockets are deep and can fit oversized items with ease. They are mesh lined so they double as vents when you need to dump heat.

The fit is typical of most Norrona products, long and lean. I'm about 6'1", 200lbs with a muscular build and wear a 42r jacket. The large fits me pretty trim, however the sleeves are bit long. I have a Falketind shell and it's the same thing. However it's okay, as the extra length ensures I don't have to stretch the sleeves out to get the hand gaiters over my thumbs. The collar is also pretty tall, so if you are layering a shell or insulation on top, just beware that this might peek out a bit. The tall collar and the zipper pull can get caught when zipping up an outer layer. It's kind of a pain especially if you have heavy gloves or mitts on. Just take the zipper pull off and you should be good.

I've been living in this thing most of the winter and while it seems to be holding up well, I plan on getting another as soon as they're back in stock.

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johndiggity

johndiggity wrote a review of on March 5, 2013

4 5

This is my go-to jacket. I use it for everything from walking to work, to skiing when the temps hit below freezing. I have the past season model, with the tougher Windstopper shell. There's a few details I wish they'd address. The first is the hand warmer pockets. Unlike the Atom, they are in front of the insulation and there's only a very thin layer of brushed fleece. They block the wind, but they don't keep your hands very warm. I'd love to have these behind the insulation. Not only would it keep your hands warm, but the pockets could also do double duty as passive venting as there are no vents on this jacket.

Breathability is fair, but like I said, I mainly use this on the slopes when it's below freezing. It's really too much jacket for anything more athletic.

The Windstopper does a really good job of stopping moisture. I've yet to have it soak through, though I've yet to wear it in a heavy rain.

The hood adjustments are a bit poor. Despite the fact there're 4 different toggles and cords I can never seem to get the right combinations to get the hood cinched down enough when it's blowing. Also, the material on the inside of the hood really absorbs perspiration a grease and is very difficult to clean. I'd go with a dark color lining if you have the choice.

It has two big internal mesh pockets, but I'd love a smaller internal zip pocket with headphone hole for a phone or mp3.

Sizing on this runs a bit large. I typically wear a large in most Arcteryx and took a medium in this. I'm about 6'1" 200lb with a muscular build and wear a 42. The medium in this fits fairly trim with enough room for a heavy mid weight underneath?not that you'd want or need much more with this jacket.

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johndiggity

johndiggity wrote an answer about on February 24, 2013

You're correct - I was wrong about the hook and loop on the sleeves. I got the Micro Puff mixed up with the FA Igniter (I tried them both on the same weekend). However the Atom SV does have some stretch material under the arm pits for ventilation. Sorry if I was unclear.

For an extra $20, I'd go with the FA Igniter. It's a tad lighter, but you get better hood and gauntlet adjustments.

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johndiggity

johndiggity wrote a review of on February 28, 2012

3 5

These are just ok. I was able to make them much better though. I have been suffering from Raynaud's (really cold hands) for several years now which has given me difficulty when skiing. My most recent glove before this was the BD Guide Glove, which I believe is the warmest glove you can buy. I also have a pair of down mittens which have been a lifesaver, but offer zero dexterity.

I was interested in the lobster style glove as it would hopefully offer a little more in the way of warmth than a traditional glove and more in terms of dexterity than a mitten. When I received these and realized there was no other insulation save for a wool liner, I knew these probably wouldn't cut it warmth wise.

The nice aspect of these mitts is that they are modular, meaning you can swap out the liner with a heavier glove if needed, or use the wool liner over a thinner glove liner. I found that Hestra sold only the liners for their three-finger series on their website and bought the Primaloft liner (they sell wool as well). They have a long and short version. The long version I bought hits just about an inch and a half short of the end of the Welder's gauntlet. They also feature velcro at the top to secure them, and while these don't match up to the velcro on the inside of the mitt, they fit snug enough that its not an issue. It's possible the short versions would hit the velcro tabs on the inside of the mitt, but I cannot confirm this.

After two days in sub-freezing temps on the mountain, the mitts with the new liners, hand-warmers and silk-weight liners kept my hands pretty good all day. I did have to take one break, but that was mainly due to using a pair of glove liners that were a little too thick and hampered circulation.

I also added my own dummy straps by attaching elastic cord and toggles onto the size tags inside the shells.

My main issues with the mitts is that they are not waterproof at all. I don't know what Sympatex or Dryzone is, but after removing the Hestra liners, I felt the inside of the shells and they were soaked through. It wasn't even wet out either so this was all moisture absorbed from having my hand on the snow. Luckily, the inside of the Hestra liners stayed bone dry. Be sure to use wool or synthetic liners with these.

On the last day one of the cords used to tighten the gauntlet (there are two) tore off the pull tab and is lost somewhere inside the gauntlet. So these are going back and I'm hoping the replacements last a little longer than two days.

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johndiggity

johndiggity wrote a review of on December 19, 2010

2 5

i was not familiar with peak performance, but did some research and found it was generally very well regarded. i was looking forward to receiving this jacket and seeing what all the hype was about. after having used the jacket in a variety of conditions for a month now, i'm not sure what all the hype is about.

i bought the night violet, which is pretty accurate as pictured here. it is indeed a very cool looking jacket. however it is very, very basic—to a fault—especially at this premium price. the primaloft one does a great job of insulating. i've worn this jacket in below freezing conditions with only a mid-weight layer beneath and have never been cold. the pertex at the shoulders is a good call to prevent chaffing with a pack or bag. however the material used in the main body is less than durable, as a run-in with a fir tree found needles penetrating the material with ease. though not waterproof, the jacket does repel a good deal of moisture.

and that's about it. as i said, this is a very basic jacket and there are some design flaws. the first of which is the main zipper, which is very difficult to engage and disengage. i thought it may just need to wear in, but sadly, that's not the case. also, the chest pocket zipper pull is exactly the same as the main zipper. the placement of the chest pocket zipper will often cause you to unzip the chest pocket instead of the main zipper when reaching blindly. this is minor, but really should have been though about at this price-point.

what's not minor is the lack of wrist closures and a drawcord at the hem. instead, both are terminated with cheap feeling elastic closure, which offers no way to minimize exposure when moving about. bending over you will definitely feel a draft as the hem rides up. and don't try to take this on the slopes as you will find yourself with a jacket full of snow after your first wipeout.

this jacket has no interior pockets either which i find crazy, and the hood adjustably is limited to a toggle in the rear that adjusts the overall hood height. there's no way to secure the hood in windy conditions.

other than this being a very cool looking jacket, there's really not much to justify the price. if you are looking for something cool to wear around town, you could do better for cheaper. as a belay jacket, there's definitely better options out there as well.

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johndiggity

johndiggity wrote a review of on February 22, 2010

2 5

i'll preface this by sharing that i have recently begun suffering from raynaud's syndrome, which is a vascular condition in which cold weather causes the capillaries in the hands to constrict. in non-scientific terms, when it gets the slightest bit chilly, my hands and fingers are almost always freezing cold and even numb. it can be quite painful too.

i love to sk, and to combat this, i've tried about every type of glove/liner/hand warmer combination available. on a new year's trip to mt. snow vermont, i broke down when the temp dropped to 2º and bought a pair of gordini goose down mittens—basically sleeping bags for my hands. those combined with hand-warmers kept the feeling in my hands all day. as much as i love having finally found a solution to my problem, mittens don't allow for the most dexterity, plus it looks like i am wearing boxing gloves, as the kid at the store was kind enough to point out to me. so i was on the lookout for some gloves that would do the job in all but the most severe cold.

i read all the reviews about the black diamond guide gloves both on this site and on others. i knew i wanted a pair of goretex gloves because any moisture really compounds the problem i have with my hands. i was stoked when these arrived as i had just made plans to hit the slopes the ensuing weekend.

sadly, things did not start out well for these, as i had a lot of trouble getting the pull-cord on the gauntlets to tighten adequately. the softshell material used tends to bunch up and cause the cord to stick, not tightening as much as it should. you have to pull pretty hard. i did so and actually ripped the fabric piece that attaches the toggle to the glove. i ended up rigging it back on with a twist-tie but not what you want to see from $160 gloves. luckily this happened in my house and not outdoors. but the closure system is really poor. the toggle is way too small to operated with these gloves on which is really a stupid design decision. i had a pair of old burton gloves and their closure system (which i noticed was patented) is far superior and much easier to work, especially when wearing big gloves.

another quip i have with these gloves is that they do not come with a retaining strap. with gloves these bulky, any task that requires a modest amount of coordination requires you to remove the glove. the straps come in handy when you are constantly removing the gloves and the omission of this simple feature really seems like an oversight on black diamond's part. i scavenged the straps from my old burtons and hooked them around the tabs used to separate the liner from the shell, which does an adequate job of replicating this, but the straps are kind of awkwardly placed now.

on the slopes, these did an ok job, but the daytime temps hovered around 40º. i bit it badly once, and sure enough, somehow snow found its way into one of the gaping holes created by the bunching effect of the gauntlet's closure system. as soon as the sun started going down and the temperature dropped a little, i noticed a familiar tingling feeling in my fingertips. i threw on some liners, but it was already too late and i had to call it a day. i was pretty bummed that these did not work out as i had hoped. perhaps with hand-warmers, these would have done the job.

bottom-line is that, for the money, these are really poorly designed and i question the durability and quality. and while the orange and grey color-way looks much cooler than my enormous mittens, i'd rather be able to feel my hands at the end of the day.

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johndiggity

johndiggity wrote a review of on January 8, 2010

4 5

i've been using this jacket for about 2 seasons now. so far i am very impressed as this is the first piece of gear i've owned from norrøna. this is a very deceptively lightweight and seemingly basic shell, yet it handles anything with ease. i love this jacket because it is just about light enough to use year round, though using it as a rain coat in the summer and doing much more than just trying to stay dry might be asking too much-especially wearing the caviar color might be asking for heatstroke..

when i say basic i mean this jacket doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles. it uses the gore-tex pro shell line of fabric and it is as waterproof and weatherproof as it gets. the construction of this jacket is top notch. molded pulls and zipper hoods on all the zippers, pull cords in the right places and usable with heavy gloves, laser cut hook-and-loop closures on the gauntlets—the attention to detail is really befitting a jacket of this price. which is the way it should be, as i said, there is not a lot going on with this jacket feature-wise so everything else should be flawless.

the fit is slimmer than most us brands, but not so much that you need to change sizing. if you have freakishly long arms, this is the jacket for you. one odd complaint is that for some reason, when this jacket is zipped, there is a slight bulge happening around the abdomen. this was seemingly innocuous enough, but having worn this in two complete downpours i've noticed that bulge seems to channel rain water directly into your groin. if your pants are not already completely soaked from the rain, it really does look like you've pissed yourself. just a heads up.

also, the zippers are stiff at first, but they seemed to have loosened up after a month or two's use.

my major gripe is the price. i was lucky enough to get one on sale for under $300 and i think that is more than fair for this jacket. i rated it 4 stars because i think for the money, this jacket is way overpriced compared to what else is out there. i wouldn't pay full price for this, but if you can get a good deal, jump on it.

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johndiggity

johndiggity wrote a review of on December 20, 2009

3 5

i was hoping these would be versatile enough to withstand winter conditions, as i need a glove with excellent insulation, without sacrificing dexterity. unfortunately, the hoback gave me neither. i wore these with liners in an absolute downpour in about 40º weather and my hands were soaked and freezing after an hour or so. THESE GLOVES ARE NOT WATERPROOF and i don't know why they are listed as such. i think they might be fine for spring skiing and fall hikes, but would probably also be overkill.

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johndiggity

johndiggity wrote a review of on December 20, 2009

2 5

this is the only piece of outerwear i purchased on impulse. i was stuck in new york city in 10º temps with little in the way of insulation layering so i stopped into the patagonia store to see what they had. i originally tried the large on in a bright green color and at the last moment, decided i wanted a the blue, so i picked one off the rack. even though it was the same size as the one i tried on, the sizing was much larger, and not as trim. much to my disappointment i discovered this AFTER i had paid and walked out wearing it. i actually ended up exchanging it for a medium almost a year later; a testament to patagonia's satisfaction guarantee.

the insulation to weight ration is quite good, especially if you find a size that fits you well. however sizing seems to be the problem as you sacrifice a snug fit for arm length. i am by no means oddly proportioned, but the medium jacket is about 2 inches too short in the sleeves. compound that with the lack of any way to tighten the wrists and you get a jacket that rides up your arms with just about any movement. this can get pretty annoying. don't wear this on a chilly day with gloves without wrist gauntlets.

for casual wearing around town, it's probably ok, but i think you could find more affordable alternatives. i can't imagine wearing this as a belay jacket as it is not that warm. also it breathes poorly. i'm not really sure what it's useful for except lightweight warmth in a pinch. for the money, i'd consider the arc'teryx atom lt, which i wish was available when i had bought my down sweater as i would have purchased that instead.

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johndiggity

johndiggity wrote a review of on November 2, 2009

5 5

i love a good 1/2 zip in the cooler months. it's one of the most versatile pieces of clothing i have. my old moonstone (rip) windpro fleece was starting to look a little tattered, and seeing as i now have a dog, i was looking for a replacement that was comparable in weight, had a chest pocket, and wouldn't collect a lot of hair from a constantly shedding labrador.

i was looking at the marmot powerstretch 1/2 zip, the arc'teryx rho ar zip top, and the cloudveil run don't walk. after returning the arc'teryx for a weird skirt-like fit, i stopped by my local shop where they sold the marmot. the fit in the body was snug, but the collar was way too loose. plus the zipper stuck when using it, and the zipper track ended about an inch short of where the top of the collar ends, leaving a gap.

i ended up ordering the cloudveil site-unseen. i usually wear a large in most brands. when it arrived it was a bit too large, and as a base layer, i like the snugger fit. so i exchanged it for a medium which worked out. the fit is great, not too tight. the flat seams are also a bonus when layering on top of this .the deep zipper helps dump heat when inside. if you are considering any of the other two, i would definitely recommend the cloudveil over the others.

i'm very happy with this top and will probably live in it most of the winter and fall. it's a great weight to wear over a tshirt when it's in the upper 40's. and because of the smooth-face powerstretch fleece, you can layer it under another fleece when it gets chilly and it will not hinder mobility. also, i am now dog hair free. or my top is anyway.

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johndiggity

johndiggity wrote a review of on October 19, 2009

2 5

i was looking for a nice mid-weight powerstretch top to wear alone on chilly days and as a layer on colder ones. i thought this was exactly what i wanted, but looks can be deceiving.

for one, the sizing is different than all other arc'teryx gear i've used; it runs a bit smaller. not a problem as i could have easily swapped sizes.

the deal breaker for me was the hem, or mainly how it blouses out. i'm all for a drop tail to give some more coverage in the rear, but the bottom-back seam juts out in a skirt-like fashion. it looked like i was wearing a dress from the back. needless to say i returned this top.

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johndiggity

johndiggity wrote a review of on October 15, 2009

3 5

unlike hercules, who was renowned for his godlike strength and not much else, this jacket is pretty comfortable in a variety of different conditions and climates, yet fails to really shine at doing one thing exceptionally. it sheds light rain, yet becomes soaked in a downpour. it will keep you warm above 40º, but needs some additional help insulating when the mercury plummets. after using this piece almost daily for over two years now, and i hate to say it, the hercules hoody is basically a glorified $350 sweatshirt.

if you plan to use it standalone, it is at its best in a misty cool climate, where the light rain will bead on its surface and the plush fleece interior will keep you pretty warm, but restrict your mobility if you are layering anything that is not smooth faced underneath. this jacket is very breathable, but at the expense of wind-proofing as anything more than a gust will cut right through this jacket.

usually arc'teryx gear is pretty well constructed and thought out. however, i've had some problems with this jacket as far as durability and design features. for one the drawcords to cinch the hood and the hem are terribly placed and a real bitch to pull and adjust. the hem drawcords are situated in the pockets, making operation with any glove heavier than a liner a real chore. likewise, the hood pulls are located inside the hood making adjusting the hood when it is up, almost impossible. did i mention the tension? i had to pull so hard one of the plastic retaining caps came off the hood drawcord.

another problem is the zipper, which lack a garage at the top, and would chafe, but this zipper fails to stay all the way zipped and is always open about a half an inch or so.

if i had to do it over again, i would have saved up for a super water resistant shell to combine with a nice insulating fleece layer, or something with more insulation like the kappa sv that can truly standalone on chillier days. my advice to potential buyers would be to consider your uses as you can get more versatility with your money elsewhere.

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johndiggity

johndiggity wrote a review of on November 21, 2008

3 5

as pointed out, this vest has strange sizing (go a size smaller). fairly warm with a lightweight fill. good for brisk days but i doubt it's effectiveness as a base layer when it gets colder. the embroidery on the black vest is not as shown in the picture. it's more of a brown color. also the liner is a deep brown color with a sublimated print.
with all the zippers you'd think they would have taped the seams to eliminate the bulk and prevent the zippers from catching and becoming stuck. it's these minor details throughout that keep this piece from getting an enthusiastic recommendation from me.

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