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ncj86

ncj86

ncj86's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Snowshoeing
Climbing

ncj86

ncj86 wrote a review of on May 9, 2011

impressive!
5 5

I bought this about a month ago (originally purchased the new version, as shown in the picture, then ended up returning it and getting an older version used for several hundred $ less) and have been very pleased with it. My first trip was skiing with 3 friends: it held my skis plus 3 boards, 4 pairs of boots, and my poles. The second trip was back-country skiing with a group of 13: I fit 7 pairs of skis, 7 pairs of poles, 3 pairs of boots, and 3 sleeping pads. Skis that are 185cm+ don't fit very well, but they can be squeezed in diagonally if necessary. The next trip was snowshoeing with a group of 13: I fit ALL 13 PAIRS OF SNOWSHOES PLUS FLOTATION TAILS! AND POLES! It was pretty amazing. Finally, it holds car-camping gear for 4 people. As you can see from the picture, I drive a subcompact hatchback. This box allows me to carry gear for 4 upstairs so that I actually have room for 4 inside, plus I can still open my rear door fully. I have not noticed any wind noise up to 75 mph and the mileage reduction is about 4 mpg (but is partially just from the extra weight of people and gear, it would probably be less on a bigger car. I go from 39-40 highway to 34-35).

My only complaint about the box is its weight, since the box alone is nearly half the weight I can carry on my roof- but I guess if it were lighter it wouldn't feel as stiff and secure. Also, because of the weight I need a friend to help put it on. With 2 people it takes about 30 seconds to place it on the rack and tighten down the clamps. The first fitting took maybe 15 minutes.

I lucked out finding this box used, but it is worth full price. It basically turned my subcompact car into a small SUV in terms of storage, for far less than buying a SUV!

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ncj86

ncj86 wrote a review of on April 14, 2011

lightweight and grippy
5 5

These snowshoes have served me well for the year or so that I've owned them. I don't get to use them as often as I'd like, but when I do strap them on I like to put them to the test. Most recently with an ascent up a peak that I wished I had crampons for...but these got me up and down without incident! They are truly multi-purpose snowshoes. The work fine in conditions ranging from deep, soft snow to high angle, ice-crusted snow. They excel at slope traverses, especially compared to the snowshoes with only tubes around the outside (which tend to just slip down). Finally, the ascent bar is awesome. It makes going uphill so much easier on your calves and is a cinch to engage and disengage.

I have used these snowshoes, the MSR Evo Ascent, and hiked with people using one of the Atlas models (with no crampons around the edge). As I mentioned earlier, the lack of edge crampon made off-trail travel difficult with the Atlas , especially traversing steep slopes. The Evo Ascents were pretty nice but heavier and wider, making walking more difficult. I ultimately purchased these and have been very happy with them.

I weigh 140 pounds and got the 25" size. If you plan on carrying a pack be sure to factor that in to your total weight (for me: 140 + 30)

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ncj86

ncj86 wrote a review of on April 14, 2011

5 5

This is a fantastic jacket, primarily because of the fabric. It is lightweight and stretchy, with a long, lean fit. I bought it primarily for my bike commute in dry to drizzly weather and it has performed amazingly. I zip it up when I leave my house and unzip the pit zips halfway there, I arrive nice and toasty but not overly sweaty. The most amazing part, though, is that when I get home I'll often forget that I'm wearing it because it fits so well and is so unrestrictive. Imagine your favorite t-shirt...now imagine it is windproof, water resistant, and with full hem-to-elbow pit zips...and you have the Mammut Ultimate jacket.

A few downsides: the pockets are too low to work with a backpack hip belt. The hood on mine is not helmet-compatible (I have last year's version, although the description for that did claim that the hood fits over a climbing helmet). The jacket is a little short in the arms on me, so the thumb loop pulls uncomfortably when I use them.

Fit: I am 5'10" and wear a size 4. I bought the medium. The length is about an inch short of ideal (but would be great for non giant women) as are the sleeves. I can fit a 200 weight fleece underneath and not feel constrained, but due to the suppleness and drape of the fabric it looks good over only a t-shirt too.

I've had the jacket for a few months now and wear it almost daily. I haven't had any problems with durability yet.

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ncj86

ncj86 wrote a review of on November 8, 2010

4 5

I bought this fleece to cover a wide range of uses, from hanging out on the couch in my (often frigid) apartment to around the campfire to low-key mountaineering summit attempts. At this point, I've had the fleece for about a week and have only tested it in less-technical situations.

Here's what I love: this fleece is really soft. I like the zip pockets. I like the chest pocket. The fit around the body is perfect (I wear a size 2 or 4 in dresses and I bought the small). The weight is good for 50-60 degrees when sitting still in the shade and worn over a t-shirt, assuming no wind. And did I mention the softness?

Why I only gave it 4 stars: both the sleeves and the torso are just a little short. Granted, I'm 5'10" so my arms are a lot longer than the average woman's. I could have gone up a size but given the lack of waist-cinching mechanism, closeness around the body was more important. Also, there's a lot of extra fabric in the armpits and upper arm area. The nice thing about this is you can lift your arms up without exposing your belly, but it feels strange at first.

All in all, I'd give this one a 5 if the torso and sleeves were an inch longer.

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ncj86

ncj86 wrote a review of on March 31, 2010

4 5

This was my first pair of climbing shoes and they served me well for a year. I ended up replacing them after some full days of climbing because the heel cup was too big for my feet, resulting in lots of movement and blisters (yuck). However, they were sufficiently sticky to allow me to smear effectively (edging was more difficult, but probably because they were too wide for my feet) and they jammed as well as I could. Overall, a good beginner shoe, particularly for the price.

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ncj86

ncj86 wrote a review of on March 31, 2010

5 5

These are my second pair of climbing shoes. I got rid of the first pair because the heel cup was too big and my foot would move around, causing some pretty painful blisters. I'd been eying the La Sportiva Mythos for a while, but after trying them on, I realized that I need to lace them up as tight as possible for them to be narrow enough. And that's before stretching. These shoes hug my feet like a second (super sticky!) skin.

These are a great all-around shoe, especially for us ladies with narrow feet. I wear a size 10 normally and bought size 41.

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ncj86

ncj86 wrote a review of on December 17, 2009

5 5

Hiking with blisters sucks. These have never given me any problems, even right out of the box! They are a little wide for me (probably because my feet are freakishly narrow), but they still provide the support I need for my sprained-way-too-many-times ankles. And the arch support is wonderful. They can be a bit hot for summer hiking, but I'll take sweaty feet in the summer in exchange for warm, dry feet in the fall/winter/spring.I wear a size 10 in most shoes (occasionally 9.5), and the size 10 of these fits well.

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ncj86

ncj86 wrote a review of on December 17, 2009

5 5

The size on this pack is perfect for a weekend backpacking trip, a day of climbing (holds rope, rack, harness, and shoes), and is more than big enough for a week-long trip to visit relatives (but still small enough to carry on planes). It carries very well and my back is always surprisingly dry at the end of the day thanks to the mesh backing. I haven't had to use the attached rain cover yet, but it is nice knowing that it is there. I've been caught before in the rain with no pack cover-- not fun.

I really only have 2 complaints: first is that the bag squeaks in the shoulder area when it is fully loaded. I haven't figured out yet what is making the noise, mostly because it isn't annoying enough to expend the effort. Secondly, I have a hard time loading a full 2L bladder into the pack when it is fully loaded. That being said, I have never owned a pack for which this was easy...and at least with this pack the pocket is outside the main compartment so you don't have to unpack at all to access it.

Overall, beautiful pack. I highly recommend it.

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