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Mark B.

Mark B.

Mark B.'s Passions

Hiking & Camping
Paddling

Mark B.

Mark B.wrote a review of on October 22, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I needed to downsize from my Atmos 65, except for winter, so I went with this 48L pack. I've only done a test pack so far but I think it will be just right. My total load was around 25lbs:
- Hammockgear 20° under quilt
- Hammockgear 40° top quilt
- Warbonnet Blackbird hammock
- Tarp
- Stakes
- Extra socks and boxers
- Capilene 3 zip shirt
- Rain jacket
- Toaks 600 Ti pot (stove and windscreen inside)
- Small fuel bottle
- Stuff sack with food - a little smaller than the size of a football
- Sawyer mini water filter with 1500ml Evernew bag (in one of the side pockets)
- Bahco folding saw (in side zippered pocket)
- First aid kit and toiletries (in lid pocket)
- Battery pack for charging phone
- Small 16oz water bottle (in one of the side pockets)
- Headlamp in hip pocket

I think that's it; everything fit well!

Just like most packs, the side zippered pockets won't hold much after packing the main section, but that's how it goes. They are still nice to have for small or flat/long items.

Someone else mentioned the hip belt being too loose. No kidding! I wear 32" waist pants and I had to crank this hip belt ALL the way...not a 1/4" to spare. I think it should even be tighter, but it won't go anymore. Hopefully it works out OK.

I don't think I'll use the hydration bladder pocket. It presses against my back too much and may defeat the purpose of the Airspace feature. I'll just throw a bladder loose in the main compartment if I even take one.

I won't use the sleeping bag compartment either. In fact, I'll cut that material out since I'm 100% I'll never use it. But I like having a zipper to access the bottom...just another quick place to stash dirty socks or random things.

Included rain cover...thank you Osprey!! Smiple, but many times overlooked feature. I hate buying them separate and hoping they fit. This is stored in a zippered pocket on front; another nice place to stash small items (compass, lighter, etc.)

The hip belt padding is my only concern being pretty thin. I'll give this a good test on my first real trip.

The mesh expandable pocket on the front feels a lot cheaper than my 2012 Atmos, so I'll be careful with that.

The only REAL negative remark I can make is the lid. I cannot believe it doesn't "float" like most other packs!! Having just a few inches of adjustable strap on the back would let me raise the whole thing to pack in a large jacket or get a little more mileage out of the main compartment when packed full. But I'll make do.

Someone else said this pack is the shit. I have to agree!

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Mark B.

Mark B.wrote a review of on July 17, 2012

3 5

I have many Fenix LED flashlights, so I'm used to their bright white color. When I turned this headlamp on...the room turned PURPLE! Horrible color LED, I'm not even sure I can use this. I'll try it outside in the dark and maybe update my review, but I doubt it. Still giving 3 stars for the comfortable fit and amount of light output.

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Mark B.

Mark B.wrote a review of on February 21, 2012

Crazy Fast!
5 5

This is my go to system for winter backpacking (melting snow for drinking water, coffee and dehydrated meals). I tried to cook soups and several types of noodles in here but it's just too darn fast and hot, so I'll stick with my boiling water and dehydrated meals (just so easy and lightweight).

Tired of hearing people complain about canister stoves in winter, sleeping with the canisters to warm them up, making homemade heat exchangers, etc? I think this Jetboil was unknowingly designed to work perfect in cold weather - just use the bottom cup to hold the small canister with an ounce or so of lukewarm water. I was melting snow and boiling water in 15° weather like it was the middle of summer! The efficiency of this setup is just insane. The canister in the cup is a perfect fit, so only a small amount of water in the cup surrounds the canister keeping it the right temp to vaporize the gas mix efficiently. You can even add a small amount of warmer water every so often, maybe a teaspoon, if you hear the burner starting to slow down.

Check out the pic from my latest trip.

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Mark B.

Mark B.wrote a review of on February 7, 2012

5 5

This thing is amazing! I needed a light, small-when-packed down layer for backpacking and this is it. I have a First Ascent Guide jacket with 800 power fill for when it's just stupid cold out, but that was a bit bulky. The Kelvinator's hood and elastic makes it feel like a custom fit just for me. I was debating a jacket with a hood, but I'm glad I got this because it's just so much more convenient and warmer when standing around in the wind. I layer a Marmot Tamarack (awesome) jacket over this, and can even tuck the hood down and out of the way if I want to only use the hood on my shell. I don't notice it's there, plus it's like a built-in neck gaiter for the back of my neck. Just too much good to say about it. Stole one online for 142.95!!! Very difficult sizing. I'm 5'9", 150lbs, no gut. The small and medium were close, but I finally chose the medium since the small jacket dug into my arm pits - uncomfortable with layers on. Other than that, the sizing was almost identical. My cold winter, "standing around" setup is a Capilene 3 half-zip, 200wt fleece jacket, plus this = cozy blast furnace!

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Mark B.

Mark B.wrote a review of on January 3, 2012

3 5

The quality of these gloves is fantastic. I was very comfortable in windy, 25° conditions. However, being my first pair of gauntlet-style gloves I was not sure about the fit. None of my jackets or coats seem to work with these – the gauntlet won’t fit over anything but a long-sleeve shirt (only a bit of an exaggeration). These just cause the arms of my jackets to bunch up and let cold air right in. I could probably spend some time tucking the sleeve in, but that’s not something I want to do 50 times each day while out in the snow. Too big to tuck under cuff. Any comments or suggestions to help me out? Thanks!

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Mark B.

Mark B.wrote a review of on February 27, 2011

5 5

Before you question the 20° rating, you have to consider what you’re wearing to bed. I used to always wear boxers and a t-shirt and complain about being cold and that the bag wasn’t doing its job (also like every other sleeping bag I have). I’ve since learned my lesson to always pack something just for sleeping. I just returned from a weekend backpacking trip in northern Michigan. In this case, I took a set of Capilene 4 top and bottoms to sleep in (SO COMFORTABLE by the way). The low temperature was 18° both nights so normally it would have been a gamble, but I was warm and slept well all night on 11” of snow. Most importantly, get off the ground any way you can! I use an inflatable mat which is about 3/4" thick.

I really like the zipper and material on this bag. Mine has held up well for a few years so far. The included compression sack does a good job to about the width of my backpack, so I just hang it from the bottom leaving space for everything else inside. I'm 5'9, 150lb and feel like this thing was designed just for me!

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Mark B.

Mark B.wrote a review of on February 15, 2010

5 5

I purchased this locally (paid a bit too much) about a year ago. Everything about this kayak is perfect in my opinion. I've been everywhere from small streams, rivers, lakes and nearly inaccessible swampy ponds. 50lb weight is no problem throwing on top of my jeep grand cherokee and carrying into lakes/rivers. Cockpit doesn't need to be so large, but it's fine since I usually have my camera bag on my lap. Tracking and stability is exceptional. I find the 12' is perfect for easy storage, good speed, paddling longer trips, yet able to launch and portage in tight/inaccessible areas.

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