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Chris 's Passions

Backpacking
Snowboarding
Hiking
natty

natty wrote a review of on December 21, 2013

5 5

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

While facetious statement, I can say that I have quite the high expectations for gloves given my work in the operating room. Durability, dexterity, and tactile feedback are all traits that a quality glove should have, and these Hestra Ski Cross gloves definitely fit the bill. Not bulky, trim (some would say tight) fit. If you want to use a liner, even a Hestra liner, size up as there is very little room for bulk. Leather is very tough but supple, and responds well to the balm treatments every 3-4 outings (I don't use Sno seal, just the balm, as I bought the white versions). A full day out can get the leather a bit moist, but I've noticed that the insulation still keeps the digits warm down to 17-20F even if wet from sweat and/or moisture that has percolated through the leather. These gloves can easily stay warm down to 10-15F if the leather stays dry (keep in mind, the snow here on the east coast is more on the wet side). The neoprene cuff is VERY comfortable, but is a bit short in my opinion. I understand the true intention of this glove, but something a bit longer in the cuff would make this the absolute perfect glove. Still gets 5/5 from me.

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natty

natty wrote a review of on December 21, 2013

5 5

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

So yeah, a little dramatic...but really, what is better than covering your body in warm, soft, comfy goodness that is merino wool? Despite the hits to the bank account, I consider every purchase of Smartwool products a 'smart' (lame pun intended) and satisfying venture. The material is tough yet soft, the seams/sewing are robust and non-intrusive, and the fit is always right on. Never had a problem with the product losing its elasticity in any area. I bought the bottoms here on sale and have noticed a few slight changes from the pair I bought 3 years ago (and are still just like new despite constant abuse), namely the elastic around the leg hem being relatively looser, and the waist and leg hem being a wider, flatter hem. These are not dings, just differences. Regardless of the vintage, the material breathes, warms, and wicks like a champ. You really can't go wrong with Smartwool

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natty

natty wrote a review of on December 21, 2013

5 5

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

What makes these so great? Well the obvious is that they add a few more inches at the leg so I'm not constantly being asked 'where's the flood buddy'? Jokes aside, I'm average height (5'11" with 32 inseam) and love the extra baggy-ness of the pants. I've tried on the non-tall version and the hem just looks a little too high for my taste. Pants have pockets galore positioned in traditional, thoughtful locations, and not like some of the other pants out there with crazy angles and sizes for pockets (e.g. Volcom). As for fit, it's perfect. Not too baggy and not Shaun White nut-hugging tight. Fabric is durable and breathes well, and sheds the snow/water with ease. Fleece liner is the bomb and just makes these the pants the most comfortable thing ever. Liner is easily removable, but you really don't need to remove it: in my experience, no matter the temps, this pant is capable of regulating your temp perfectly. I swear, it's witchcraft. It just breathes that well. It's easily my favorite piece of gear. Just a shame that 686 does not make this in more colors in the tall version. A dark gray and dark khaki color would be frickin awesome.

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natty

natty wrote a review of on December 20, 2013

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs large

Bought this in the North Atlantic colorway and absolutely love the color! The blocked color design gives a nice retro look. Very warm, relatively light jacket that is suitable with just a Smartwool 250 baselayer when riding in temps around 25F with the vents open. I'm sure I can wear this comfortably down to 20F and maybe lower with the vents closed with no additional layering. Breathes extremely well, more than its rating would suggest. Fit is quite baggy and rides the line between the typical bonafide snowboarder look and what is a bit too much. Room for layering if needed. Perfect hem length. Hood is small and NOT helmet friendly. I agree with others that the arms could be a bit longer, but the wrist gaiters help keep the sleeves down. I have yet to find gaiters that do not 'bite' the thumb web, and these gaiters are no exception (why won't designers learn NOT to sewn the bartack right at the thumbhole???). I would say the biggest shortcoming is the lack of thoughtfully-placed pockets. The outside hand-warmer pockets are great, but the inside of the jacket just confuses me...a single pocket on the RIGHT side? Really??? Needless to say, it is awkward to open/close one-handed for a right-hander like me. A standard pocket on the inner left side would have been perfect to balance out placement of knick-knacks like tissues, chapstick, iPod, snacks, etc. Another ding is that the zippers throughout the jacket are not as smooth and catch-free as in other jackets I've used/own (Burton Stagger, Orage Alaskan, Marmot Hard Charger). However, despite the negatives, the look and performance of the jacket make it hard for me to not want to keep this as my go-to jacket. I do not regret buying it at all at the sale price of $116, though I would have to think about it at the regular price.

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natty

natty wrote a review of on November 13, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Had the Poc Retina goggles prior to picking up the Marshall goggles. Absolutely love these. Perfect size---not too small, and definitely not too big. Great field of vision for its size and not claustrophobic like others on the market. Very comfortable with the triple layer foam. Grip strips on the strap hold it in place on the helmet. These goggles have me quite content and not on the subconscious search for a 'better' pair. These things rock.

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natty wrote a review of on January 14, 2013

5 5

Great stomp pad for keeping your foot planted and giving you the control and confidence you need for those hairy chair lift departures. The urethane is extremely sturdy, with nice spikes that are so pointed they should require a weapons permit. Clear version allows board graphics to shine through. The 3-piece design allows you to customize the placement of the pieces for your preference. Love this stomp pad, and will be buying more to stock up with the reduced price.

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natty

natty wrote a review of on January 14, 2013

5 5

I bought the Burton Gig bag (166cm) to lug my snowboard around on anything from the local ski trips here in NYC to trips out west. Bus, train or plane, I wanted a way to protect my board.

However, after receiving the Gig bag and test-fitting my 158 wide board, I felt like I needed something extra to truly protect the board's edges. I had visions of bag handlers tossing my bag around and damaging the edges, which seemed quite vulnerable through the tough, but skimpily-padded material of the Gig bag.

So, I decided to get the Burton board sleeve to complement the Gig bag. Bought the Majestic Black Plaid which is sweet in person. Sleeve is a soft, cushy neoprene which covers all the edges perfectly and, at 160cm, fits within the Gig bag with ease.

So, not only do I have extra padding for my board, but I also have a 2-stage travel arsenal for carrying my board around. Take just the sleeve for short jaunts in the car, or the bag + sleeve for plane or travel-intensive trips.

As for details on the sleeve...excellent construction with heavy stitching throughout. The tips at each end have heavy duty rubber caps to protect the tip of the board when standing it up. Three straps secure the sleeve around the board. The sleeve also has back-pack-like straps that tuck into a low-profile pocket when not in use.

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natty

natty wrote a review of on January 14, 2013

5 5

In my search for a snowboarding helmet...

I bought the standard Receptor in medium but soon returned it after trying it on. The fit was good, but I felt slight pressure at the temples. I new it would only get tighter with activity.

Decided to buy the Skull Light next. This was a mistake as I felt my head being sausaged into the medium helmet. Whatever head shape it is built for, I do not have it. Did not like this helmet AT ALL and returned that ASAP.

Bought the Receptor Adjustable in medium and man oh man, what a sweet helmet. Perfect fitment with no tight spots or pressure points. The adjusting strap is a genius design, and easily manipulated with gloved hands. Provides a comfortable fit that, just like others have mentioned, makes the helmet 'disappear' off your head. Absolutely love it!

If you are considering a Receptor helmet and don't know which to chose, here is my humble opinion. I would try the standard helmet on at your favorite ski lodge pro shop. If it is tight in ANY area, go with the adjustable helmet instead. Remember, a helmet should be SNUG (not tight) and remain comfortable at the same time!

Hope this helps :)

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