luke.orlando

luke.orlando

Portland, OR

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Luke's Passions

Camping
Backpacking
Hiking
Sport Climbing
Bouldering

Luke's Bio

luke.orlando

luke.orlando wrote a question about on July 30, 2014

I've been on the hunt for a high end 0F bag for a while now. I have narrowed it down to 2 bags, but now i'm stumped. I am torn between the MH Phantom, and the Western Mountaineering Kodiak 0F. I can get the Kodiak for the same price as the Phantom, so that's taken out of the equation. I have a WM Puma, and love it, but I also have a MH bag and love that as well. Both are around the same specs, but what to do? Any users have experience with both and prefer one over the other? Any feed back would be much help. Thanks!

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luke.orlando

luke.orlando wrote a review of on July 30, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I wrote a big review of the previous model of this pad. I recently had the valve break on me. It was not so much the products fault, but me biting it to open and close the valve. It was frozen in place (my bad still) and then i broke the twist part. However thanks to Backcountry.com's old return policy, I was able to get the new version for free! So here it goes.

I've had to now for about 2 months, and so far of the half dozen night's I've slept on it, I love it. I am 5'9" and 160lb, and a side sleeper. I toss and turn a lot at night, but amazingly, this pad works perfectly for all forms of sleep style. I have developed mixed feelings about the integrated pillow. I first thought it was the greatest thing invented, but after using it since 2011, I am not so sure any more. It doesn't offer as much support as a full pillow, and then when a pillow is added, it's too much. So now it's more of neither here or there for me, but it is a neat feature if you are a super minimalist. I haven't used this pad in the winter yet, but I have used the previous pad in the winter and it's awesome. You dont need an extra pad to insoluate you further. This is still the one stop shop pad if you are an all season kind of person. Still awesome size, and still a comfy place to rest you weary body on after a long day. This is not the lightest version, but it doesn't sound like a bag of potato chips, there's that. It is a solid pad, and comes highly recommended.

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luke.orlando

luke.orlando wrote a review of on July 28, 2014

Big and Beautiful
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I got this pad for 2 main reasons:
1) good suspension system
2) flexible around rock's, roots, and trees

What I found after using it was that it was very comfy to fall on, of which I did many times. Often suddenly and unannounced. It also has a great wrap feature for the bottom and side to that it doesn't lose anything you packed into it. Two downfalls, it's very heavy, and the taco fold make it very bulky. However, the suspension system handles the weight very well. No matter what, it's still a big pad (as can be seen in the attached picture. It take up most of the space in my hatch. If this is the only pad you're going to bring however, it's a very good one. It molds around trees and rocks like no bodies business. I've taken some really big falls (7 feet onto my hip) with minimum discomfort. It's really a great pad if protection is hard to come by, and if you're going solo to a boulder field. It's not great for long hikes to unknown boulders +2 miles from the car because that weight will start to wear on you. So, if what you are looking for is a 1 pad wonder, this one is for you. If you are looking for an arsenal of pads, then this might not be the best one for you. Overall great pad, it saves your bum, side, legs, and head.

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luke.orlando

luke.orlando wrote a review of on July 23, 2014

The standard in alpine showshoes
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

What else can I say other than it's the best snowshoe I've ever used. Before I dropped the cash on a pair of my own, I did a number of hikes in rental shoes from local shops in the North East. I tried Tubb's, MSR Evo's, and a few other random pairs. Once I went on a winter overnight with a borrowed pair of the Lighting's I was sold. They weren't the lightest pair, but as far was performance per ounce, nothing can touch them. They feel firm, but allow flex without worry. The ascent bar comes up without any effort. The multitude of gripping features is great for ice, snow, and rock combo's. They pack up nicely too, and go on any size boot with minimal effort. Also everything is easily replaceable on the binding, so if something breaks, it's an easy fix. These are by far (in my opinion) the best snowshoe for alpine ascents. They also work very well with mountaineering boots. No fit issues and in my opinion, they work best with a stiff synthetic or plastic boot, rather than a hiking/backpacking boot. They really are a great snowshoe.

One thing to note about the MSR EVO, although lighter and cheaper there is a tremedus amount of flaping from them. I thought about getting the EVO to save weight, but when I tried they I felt like I was all over the place. When you lift your leg to walk, the binding opens fully, but because they are so light, they bounce on the pivot point. This gets really annoying after a few miles and sprays snow everywhere. Just wanted to mention it before you let either weight or $$$ steer you away from the lightnings.

Happy trails!

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luke.orlando

luke.orlando wrote a review of on July 14, 2014

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I convinced my girlfriend (now Fiance) to buy this pack for backpacking and her 2 month trip around the world. I like BD a lot (I'm a climber) and I have a BD pack and love it. I thought the design was cool and innovative... and it was purple (her favorite color).

We went though it and all of the features seemed awesome and we were both stoked on the purchase. We used it to travel to Zion (no backpacking though), and it fared well. However when she left for her world trip, that's when things went south. By her second stop the hip belt came off in customs. There was no mention to having to keep tightening the swivel joint and for the life of her she couldn't find the allen key it came with. She managed to fix it, but confidence was broken. After that the zippers would not close. The taping seems awesome because it will keep water out, but they wont help if you can't close them. Other noted items were, the bottom of the bag (sleeping bag storage) is really narrow. Its has trouble fitting a very small 20 degree down sleeping bag. If she had a synthetic, it would most likely not fit. Also, the material does rip easy on the bottom. One last item, the outside of the pack is totally bare. This is great for traveling, but for backpacking, it's pretty hopeless.

Now on to the things we liked. Color is awesome. The "C" zip that opens to the main compartment is a great feature. The little inner pockets are very handy for organization. The hood is huge and great for putting important things in. When the bag is working and packed well, the swivel system is really great, and comfortable to hike with. I've used this pack for a bit myself and I can totally agree. When it's properly adjusted, it's very nice. The handle on the zippers are nice and big and sturdy (but you do need them to be to over come the zipper its self).

All in all, we wanted to love it, but if she could do it again, she would have gotten a Gregory or Osprey (Jade 70 or Xena 70). Unfortunately not worth it.

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luke.orlando

luke.orlando wrote a review of on June 30, 2014

Owes me nothing
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've had this bag for 3 years now and it has been put through hell and back, and keeps on truckin'. This is a very good bag, and is built like a brick poo house. It is very good, but could be better (see the MH Direttissima). I liked the idea of the insulated hose, but it never really worked for my bladder (3L Platypus). Another thing that bugged me a bit was the bottom of the bag is very narrow, this made it difficult to put the heavy things below. Other than those nit picky items, its a solid winter hiking/ski/crag bag. It is built Ford tough and has good features.

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luke.orlando

luke.orlando wrote a review of on June 18, 2014

The standard in everyday harnesses
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've had this harness for over 2 years now, and I love it. I've used it for everything, and I couldn't be happier. It looks good, functions like a champ and hasn't let me down yet. It's light enough to where it doesn't effect your performance, but you can also sit in it for a while and still have the ability to make children in the future. As far as a day-to-day gym harness, this in my opinion, is the perfect harness. It's cheap, easy to take off and on, durable, and moderately comfortable. If you're shopping around for your first harness and you see the BD Momentum at $45, don't buy it (like I did). I would say spend the extra $10 and save yourself the time spent doubling back your harness. It's totally worth it because after about 2 months of climbing in the gym, you will ask yourself "why am I dealing with this silly harness all of the time?". Be more comfortable, buy this harness and enjoy!

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luke.orlando

luke.orlando wrote a review of on June 17, 2014

Good alternative to the generic helmets
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I got this as a gift, and I've used it a few time on ice this year. I really enjoyed it. I felt comfortable all day, and after a few minutes forgot it was there. The chin strap is really nice once you get it sized right. Looks cool and protects whats important. All in all, it's a sweet helmet.

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luke.orlando

luke.orlando wrote a review of on June 17, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I like this pad a lot. I've bought 3. This was my first pad, and I really loved it. It was stolen along with the rest of my pack. Then broke, I bought it again, and then I gave one as a gift. This pad has treated me well and is very nice to have in the backcountry. My one complaint is that it is terribly noisy. I roll a lot and one of my friends actually refused to share a tent with me and that pad. The long baffles tend to rub on the ground and make a bad farting noise..... all night long. I have upgraded my pad to the Nemo Astro isolated pad (which is really a great pad if you're willing to spend the cash). If you're on a budget, this pad is great and very comfortable, just not for light sleeper.

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luke.orlando

luke.orlando wrote a review of on June 11, 2014

Bomber Set
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I bought these to complete my sport rack, now I really only want to use these draw's. they feel smooth and safe. Totally worth the money for the look and feel of these draw's. The wire gate on the rope side really gives you the confidence when hanging on for dear life that you can send that project. They are a great draw and come highly recommended.

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luke.orlando

luke.orlando wrote an answer about on June 11, 2014

Thanks for the idea. I ended up using 4 eye-bolts sub-flush to the corners with a bungee cord to stand it up flat up against the wall of my closet. Works like a charm, and easy to access.

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luke.orlando

luke.orlando wrote a question about on June 10, 2014

I have had this pad for a couple of years and I just moved into an apartment with limited space. Does anyone have a good idea on how to store this? I have a closet that it could fit into, but that's about it. I feel like it's just too heavy to hang, that's my biggest problem. Thanks!

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luke.orlando

luke.orlando wrote a review of on May 30, 2014

Awesome puffy!
5 5

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

This down parka is my go to jacket in the winter for when I dont want it to feel like the winter anymore. It's warm, packs down well, and it a real life saver. I bring this jacket everywhere if it's going to be chilly at all. Makes a great belay jacket, camp jacket, mobile sleeping bag, and a Michelin man costume. I've had this is -10F and where I was cold the second I stopped. Once I put this jacket on, I was instantly warm and happy and almost forgot how cold it was until it came off. It's a great jacket and fits the bill if you need a winter parka that doesn't take up half of your pack.

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luke.orlando

luke.orlando wrote a review of on May 30, 2014

5 5

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

I just got these shoes a few weeks ago and so far i'm in love. I generally hate running, but I see it as a necessary evil in order to have better endurence on long hikes and hard sport climbs. I started a 100 day running challenge with my Faience, and we are about 1 week in, and around 20 miles later, and I love them. Reasons why I dislike running is afterwards my knees always ache, but with improving my technique and adding these babies, I am in love. In a week of training I can run an 8:30 mile, that's down a minute and a half from my previous timed mile. Reasons why I went with this version rather than the traditional black or dark green, they were on sale, but with that said, I'm glad because the highlighter green/yellow is awesome, and I wouldn't have it any other way. So in the end the XA Pro 3D Ultra is an awesome shoe, with great support, and magical motivating powers!

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luke.orlando

luke.orlando wrote a review of on May 27, 2014

One of the best bags I've ever owned
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've had this bag for 4 years now, and it still amazes me everytime I use it. I've done everything with it from day hikes, winter day hikes, summer over nights, traveled through Europe, days at the crag, cycling, and everything in between. It's comfortable, light weight, and built like nothing I've ever seen. The bag is simple, but has the capability to haul probably more than it's designed for (45lb). Not only does it just work seamlessly, but it is also very good looking. All in all if you are looking for a general hiking bag (of which there are many), I would stick with the Talon series. I've had the 22 and I have the 33 now (the 22 was stolen), and they are hands down my 2 favorite. If you are just getting into hiking, I would get one of these over any other bag because they have a timeless design, and are very reliable, and most of all they can be with you from your first day hike, to your last peak 14er's. Totally worth the cash for the quality this bag provides.

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luke.orlando

luke.orlando wrote a review of on May 22, 2014

5 5

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

For the price these boots do everything and more. They climb very well, they hike as good as they can. They are warm, and surprisingly comfortable. I used them a half dozen times this past season in the White Mountains, NH. It was one of the coldest years in recent memory. They held up very well. it wasn't until I was standing still for 30 minutes, around -5F with 20mph wind in the shade, that's when I got cold. My toes got cold and numb for a bit, but I warmed up in the sun and I never had an issue after that. I should also mention that I got these boots from an REI garage sale for $65 brand new. With that said, I really like these boots because they work very well, but I also am bias due to the limited price paid. Obviously there are better boots, Spantik, and Baruntse, but for the price, they work and are total work horses.

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luke.orlando

luke.orlando wrote a review of on May 20, 2014

The capsole of warmth and happieness
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This bag is the real deal. WM is in my opinion one of the best manufacturers of down goods. Nothing fancy, just some of the highest quality of materials simply put together. What else can I say, it's super warm, lightweight for it's size, and very breathable. It's the ultimate winter sleeping bag.

Looking around Backcountry a bit for other -25F bags, there is no competition. You can consider buying a Marmot or TNF, but it always feels like there is something missing with them. Western Mountaineering makes a living off of manufacturing the best down garments, where as TNF and Marmot aren't the specialists here. WM is always highly recommended especially when the temp drops.

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luke.orlando

luke.orlando wrote a review of on May 20, 2014

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I bought this bag in college when I was broke, but couldn't stop from backpacking any chance I got. It works very well. It's warm, and even when condensation gets the better of you, it stays warm. I like the zipper, how it's big and glow in the dark. The hood and neck baffles are well designed, but then there is the size of it. It does not pack down well. I have a -25F down bag, and that is smaller than this in the stuff sack. Unfortunately I almost refuse to use this bag now due to the shear size of it. Also that size comes with weight. It takes up half of my 65L and it's like carrying a snow leopard in my bag. It is highly recommended if you need a cheap, durable, warm sleeping bag that you don't plan on lugging up a mountain. As for car camping, or at a base camp it works well, but not recommended for backpacking.

Down is commonly recommended for backpacking because it's lightweight, pack-able, and more breathable. If you are still stuck on a budget, check out the Rab Ascent 900. It's specs are reasonable and should work well at the price (either full or sale price). I can't speak too much on it's warmth and comfort, but I know Rab makes a good sleeping bag, and should do the trick.

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luke.orlando

luke.orlando wrote a review of on May 14, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I bought this bag last year right when it came out. I got this bag specifically for a GNP trip and it fit the bill perfectly. Really light, packs down to almost nothing (a little bigger than a nalgene). Over all no big complaints. My only thing was that after 4 nights in the backcountry, it started to smell like low tide. I wasn't always able to dry it out before it went into the stuff sack for the day. When we got to camp it had a fair amount of stench. By bed time it had cleared up, and was fine when fully dry. Most nights i've used this bag haven't been too cold. I used it one night around 30-25F and it was really warm. I had an extra jacket on because I thought I would be cold, and a few hours later i was just in my base layers and perfectly comfortable. Another thing to mention, the shell material is a little loud and crinkly. Not a deal breaker, just an observation.

For me this is a very good bag for the price. If you have an extra $100 and like to support American made products, I would look at the Western Mountaineer Apache 15. I was torn between the two, but I got a great deal on the TsII. The WM has a slightly higher quality, and the zipper NEVER snags. I have a WM Puma, and its a very good product. I recommend anything made by WM, because the quality and the craftsmanship is unlike another brand.

All in all, the TsII is a solid bag, and is much warmer than it looks and feels. The inner shape is very comfortable, and the stuff size is excellent.

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luke.orlando

luke.orlando wrote a review of on December 25, 2011

5 5

Back story: I am 5'9" @ 155lb and a side sleeper. I enjoy my sleep on the trails and on every trip I go on, so my pad's get a lot of use. I used to have the Big Agnes aircone. I loved it to death up until it go stolen. It met most of my criteria, but one draw back was that it was really loud when I rolled in my sleep (which I do a lot). When it came time to buy a new pad, I was very picky in what I bought. I loved the size and weight of the Big Agnes, and the expanded dimensions of it too. I wanted all the same things only in a design that didn't make as much noise (enter Astro pad). I have spent a few nights on it inside and outside. It is one of my favorite things in my back pack. It blows up fast, its super comfy and its 4 season without the 4 season weight. I couldn't make a better pad myself. I have no issues with it, what so ever, its perfect. If you are broke and cant afford a 100$ sleeping pad, buy the Big Agnes, its awesome minus the awful amount of noise and its half the price. If you can afford a 100$ pad don't be silly, buy the Astro pad, its way better than any other pad I've tried. I've use the thermorest pad's and they are nice buy they aren't nearly as cozy as this pad and they are the same price. All in all, it's my vote for best sleeping pad.... ever.

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