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Paul B.

Paul B.

Seattle

Paul B.

Paul B.wrote a review of on December 14, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
Fit: Runs small
Height: 5' 11"
Weight: 175 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

Purchased and returned these pants due to a tighter than expected fit, more than likely due to the fact that the fit was not adjusted to accommodate the insulation.

Strafe makes a bomber Nomad jacket wish is among the best shells I've ever worn in 40+ years of skiing. That being said, the attention to detail on these pants is comparatively lacking.

For example:
• The size chart sates that a medium will fit a 32-34 inch waist. I'm a solid 32 inch waist and these pants were really tight through the pelvis, exactly where you don't want to feel restricted when you're (I'm) skiing. The legs are perfect and the length is perfect (33inch inseam). But even my girl said, "ski pants shouldn't make your butt look that good".

• Despite the description, there isn't a square inch of brushed fleece anywhere in this garment. I actually wondered if I'd been shipped a pre-release "test" pair. The liner was cold, tent-fly-like feeling, no fleece. At least, not anything I would describe as "brushed" or "fleece".

• At this price point, the boot gaitors should include zips and snaps just like the cuffs.

Can't say anything about their performance or durability, but I can say that Neoshell is very light and very flexible.

A few small tweaks and these pants would be fantastic.

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Paul B.

Paul B.wrote a review of on December 14, 2016

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I wound up selling this helmet after a couple days on the hill due to an odd fit. It just never felt quite right. Not sure if it was the MIPS liner or the padding, but it sat high on my head. Cinching down the fit adjustment only made the feeling more pronounced.

It's comfortable, warm, and well made. It just wasn't for me. Which means it may not have been made for an oval-shaped head (despite my research for an oval-shaped helmet).

My only criticism is that the Effect X lacks goggle venting — Fogged up on me constantly throughout the day.

I wound up purchasing a Giro Range MIPs dome.

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Paul B.

Paul B.wrote a review of on December 14, 2016

5 5

I wear a large helmet because I have an abnormally big head. My head is oval-shaped. Finding a helmet that fits well is challenging. More so because I fall right on the line between medium and large. Medium is always just on the verge of uncomfortably tight and large is always just on the cusp of being too loose.

This helmet fits like a glove that is designed for freakishly large, oval-shaped heads.

It is not, however, low-profile. Yes, it's rise off the top of my head is slightly, minimally lower than my old POC helmet and slightly less than the Pret Effect X helmet I just bought and sold for a big loss (because I missed the used gear return date), but it is still a big-ass helmet. Even after dialing in the fit and feeling the shell conform to the shape of my head, the lateral space this beast takes up disqualifies it as "low-profile". It just shifts the vertical savings to the sides of the helmet. Kind of feel like an Imperial Storm Blooper. Whether it looks less bulky, well, I'll let the ladies decide.

That being said, the fit is tremendous. It's so light and comfy you actually do forget you're wearing a plastic ball on your head. And the adjustability of the fit is so good, for the first time ever, I could actually wear a balaclava if I chose to. Not that I would.

The only other feature worth noting is the goggle venting. It works. Can't imagine why so many helmet makers don't include goggle vents.

Best helmet I've ever owned (Smith, POC, Pret).

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Paul B.

Paul B.wrote a review of on December 14, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 11"
Weight: 175 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

I just picked up the Nomad in Orange/Orion Blue in a medium. This is a pricey piece of kit. But when comparing features to other brands I’ve skied with in the $400+ range, I can’t help but be impressed with the smart design decisions that went into this shell. I’m 5’11”, 175 lbs and the Medium fits me quite well. It’s not fitted, let’s just get that out of the way. There is ample room for comfortably layering a sheep underneath without restricting movement. And as long as you aren’t walking around with your arms held out to the sides, it doesn’t look boxy. It’s “full”, not fitted.

There is just a whole lot of jacket in the Nomad and I’m not used to hem lines that fall well below my waist. The hem is three inches longer in the front and four inches longer in the back than the Flylow Quantum Pro (my old shell). The sleeves are a full two inches longer than my old jacket.

The added length of the arms means that I can raise my hands above my head without the wrist gaitors on and the jacket doesn’t pull away from my gloves. Nice. One big benefit of the longer hem is that the powder skirt sits low in the jacket — When buttoned, I can raise my hands above my head and the extra length prevents the powder skirt from pulling mid layers up to my nipples - Fully extended, it still sits below my waist. I've always removed the powder skirt or cut it out because they always sit too high inside the shell. Not so with the Nomad.

Overall, the mobility of this jacket is simply exceptional. But what sets it apart for me is the attention to detail that was put into designing the pockets. Best I’ve ever seen. Period. The RFID pass pocket on the left forearm sleeve is something every jacket should have. The internal pockets are pretty standard, but the massive chest pockets are fantastic. The left chest pocket even has a small mesh pocket for a beacon or phone with a passthrough for head phones. The hand warmer pockets are a nice addition. But what’s even more impressive is that every pocket is perfectly accessible while wearing my pack — That’s just smart design.

I only have a handful of nitpicks:

1) The hood is not tall enough or deep enough. Maybe by 1 inch in height and circumference. With a size-large, supposedly "low-profile" helmet on (Giro, Large, MIPS), the hood pulls the jacket up at the neck and back so that the collar becomes tight. The hood just isn’t big enough for anything other than partial wind-protection while riding the chairlift if you’re wearing a helmet. And even then it only covers half my head.

2) The internal zipped security pocket and the internal mesh pocket in left front chest pocket are back to back. If you have a phone in the mesh pocket and your wallet (or anything) in the internal security pocket, it creates a stacked brick. Not a deal breaker due to plenty of other storage options.

3) The pit zips are indeed huge but they only open and close in one direction and I’d even argue that the direction of the pull should be reversed. It’s just easier to pull up and away from the torso. Ideally, the pit zips should be bidirectional.

4) Could just be the type of fabric, eVent, but it scuffs and marks up really easily. And even after using Nickwax Tech Wash straight on the mark/stain and scrubbing the crap out of it (per instructions), marks and stains do NOT come out of the fabric. Three days on the hill and I’ve found all sorts of visible marks on the jacket, including chairlift grease. Buy dark colors and you’ll be fine. Battle scars are part of the game, but for this kind of $$$, it’s worth noting that my previous Gortex garments held up really well getting the crap kicked out of them for a much longer period of time before they started to show even minor wear.

Like I said, nitpicks. The Nomad is really a well designed shell and looks damned good too. It held up really well for hours in extremely wet weather on opening day here in the PNW even though the hood was only partially helpful.

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Paul B.

Paul B.wrote a review of on December 14, 2016

5 5

Fit: Runs small
Height: 5' 11"
Weight: 175 lbs
Size Purchased: Large

I've been looking for a basic pair of insulated pants for resort skiing on those bitterly cold days when riding a chairlift is challenging. Worth noting that the last time I skied with insulated gear, I was tall enough to look a full grown goat in the eyes.

Insulated pants that don't look like sacks of flour are difficult to find. It also turns out that most manufacturers do not adjust their sizing to accommodate the addition of even a thin layer of insulated padding. I've tried on dozens of pairs of insulated pants from dozens of brands over the past few seasons. I didn't have high hopes for Majola. But I liked the sale price point.

First: Insulated pants do not tend to have the same level of waterproofness that Gortex or eVent shells have. Most tend to have DWR finishes that provide 10K ratings for waterproofness, which means they will repel water without any problem until it starts to rain. These are cold weather pants where moisture is typically crystalized.

How do they fit:
I wear a medium in nearly everything: 32 inch waist, 32 inch inseam. The medium was tight. Very tight. As in, no room for the boys to breathe tight and I'm a skinny f'er. The only measurement that is accurate on the Majola sizing chart is the length — the inseam for the medium pants is actually 32 inches long. The waistline fit like a pair of skinny jeans.

I exchanged the medium for the large. The large fits very well. These pants are not American "freeride fit". They are definitely an athletic fit. Not tight. Not baggy. Just a good overall fit with plenty of movement. The inseam length on the large is 33 inches. And the waist will fit a 32-34" waist comfortably and can be adjusted using the included velcro adjustments. Thin or medium-weight base layers can be worn comfortably.

Nitpicks:
The legs could stand to be a little looser. However, it is worth noting that the insulation plays a roll here. It fills up space.

Per the above comment, the cuffs definitely could be wider. They fit a little more snugly over my boots than I would like.

Per the above comment, the internal boot gaitor is very tight. Burly, but too tight. I'm not a fan of gaitor hooks to keep gators anchored anyway, but these are tight enough they would never be needed. I would prefer gaitors to have zippers and snaps for convenience, just like the cuffs.

The cuffs are reinforced with a rubberized patch the looks like it was heat-welded to the fabric. Looks a little cheap, but I suspect it's durable.

Overall, great product and solid design. Just purchase one size larger than you normally do. And note that Majola products, based on my experience, are designed to fit ectomorphs.

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Paul B.

Paul B.wrote a review of on December 14, 2016

5 5

Fit: Runs small
Height: 5' 11"
Weight: 175 lbs
Size Purchased: Large

My stats: 5'11", 175lbs, Picky as hell when it comes to ski gear.

So here's the deal. I'd never heard of Majola. Just stumbled across an ad on the interwebs one afternoon and their design piqued my interest. I was surprised to find that Backcountry stocked a few of their items ... More specifically, the items I was searching to replace in my kit.

I wanted to find a burly Gortex shell with a simple design, basic colors, that actually looks like something other than a garbage sack that repels water. Check. The overall design and attention to detail is superb. While this jacket is described as a resort/backcountry shell, my own opinion is that it's a solid resort shell for one reason: Pockets (this assumes, you are the type of person that likes having the option of storing skins in your jacket). The jacket has two front slash pockets, one chest pocket, one internal mesh pocket, and one forearm pocket. The internal mesh pocket and chest pocket are both quite small. You could roll up your skins and put them in the slash pockets if you don't mind bunching around your waist. This jacket does not have an internal zip pocket for a wallet (a curious omission).

Major bonus points from this skier for one feature that no brand seems to be able to get right: The hood. I have a big friggin' head and while every single brand claims to have a "helmet compatible" hood, few, it seems, actually have full-sized adults with big heads and bigger helmets test their products. The hood fits my entire over-sized melon wearing my giant "low-profile" helmet and does not impede movement, does not lift the jacket around the shoulders and neckline, or pull it back so much that the collar becomes overly tight. In fact, I can actually cinch it down using the hood cords to perfect the fit. Well done.

Other major bonus points for designing a collar stiff enough to remain in place covering my chin when the hood is down.

Majola sizing, on the other hand, is almost comical ... Or Germans are just really oddly shaped people. Bottom line: don't pay attention to their sizing chart, at all. I wear a medium in nearly everything. Majola sizing is exactly one size too small. Size up. The medium is very tight all over. Returned for a large. The large fits perfectly — hem length, arm length, body — all perfect. With plenty of room for layering. Movement is excellent. Almost looks and feels tailored, or as much as a ski shell will ever look tailored.

German engineering almost as good as their beer.

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Paul B.

Paul B.wrote a review of on February 5, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: Runs large

This is the second Prana hoodie I've purchased. Overall, their quality and style can't be beat - simply, good-looking technical clothes. Material on this particular hoodie is thick and really comfortable.

Fit, however, depends on the wearer. I don't particularly like baggy clothing, especially if I'm active and Prana tends to run big, not true-to-size. I'm 5'11 / 160lbs. Which means, I fall right in between medium and large in most brands. Normally, I default to a medium. Both of the Prana hoodies I own are small - Fit is snug, sleeves are the right length, and the hem sits exactly at my waist. I can layer this hoodie over a couple base layers very comfortably.

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Paul B.

Paul B.wrote a review of on April 24, 2014

3 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
Fit: Runs large

At 5'11", 160lbs, I typically wear a medium very comfortably. This jacket felt like an oversize trash bag. Tons of room for layering ... As in, enough room to wear medium-weight puffy down jacket underneath. Sleeves were a little long. The tail was also a little long.

Marmot makes great products, but I fail to see how this is an athletic cut. Superb construction and features. Just runs very large in my opinion.

Worth noting that I tried on a Small in a retail store. Which fit exactly the opposite.

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Paul B.

Paul B.wrote a review of on January 30, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Skied with these gloves (in tan) for about ten days now. Temps ranging from -10 degrees to 48 degrees and in conditions from dry (Tahoe) to downright wet (Cascades).

Overall, the best most dextrous glove I've owned. I rarely get cold fingers but these gloves kept my hands warm down to zero and dry even on the warmest days.

Just like any leather glove, you will get some saturation even after treatment. This is just the price you pay for dexterity. If you hang them to dry, they should be ready to go tomorrow. Quality is fantastic.

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Paul B.

Paul B.wrote a review of on November 5, 2012

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This is a terrific sweater jacket and one of the most stylish pieces of outer wear in my closet. As a couple other people have noted, it quite literally looks good with anything.

I'm 5'11'', 155 lbs and wear a small. This leaves plenty of room for layering, including wearing a rain-barrier if necessary. The jacket is warm, but it's worth noting that the wool fabric isn't terribly thick. And it provides little protection against a stiff wind - The (very) high collar is fantastic. I wore this in Minnesota recently with temps down into the mid 30's and was comfortable, but not toasty warm.

Sizing note: It is truly an athletic fit. If you have extra padding around the waste line or sport massive biceps, you may find the fit a bit on the restrictive side.

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Paul B.

Paul B.wrote a review of on November 21, 2011

4 5

I have yet to ski with this helmet, so I'll just post a comment about fit and look/feel.

Fit:
I wear a medium in the Smith Variant. With the POC SL, I wear an XL (59cm).

Measure your head. Their measurement chart is accurate to the CM with almost no room to spare. Due to the fact it is a hard shell, there is no means of customizing the fit beyond manually adding padding.

If the shape of your head is on the roundish side, look at another manufacturer. The POC SL is designed to fit oval shaped heads.

Feel:
The helmet is snug, but not uncomfortable, with thick padding. The chin strap is one of the better designs I've ever seen on a helmet, although it doesn't cinch down as much as I'd like it to.

The best feature are the ear pads. Not only are they easily removed and reinstalled, but they have a deep pocket for your ears. No more of that awful crushed ear feeling at the end of every day. The ear pocket also helps make the helmet feel light as air.

Look:
It's a good looking helmet. Simple and stylish. But it isn't small. It's bigger than my old Variant by a good margin - Enough that it barely allows me to pull over the hood on my shell (for those blizzard lift rides). It is a low-profile helmet, that much is true. Low-profile meaning it doesn't rise off the top of your head very far. However, it is wide, very wide. Kind of makes my head look like a watermelon on a tooth pick.

Build:
Compared to my old Variant, the build quality of the POC is simply outstanding.

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Paul B.

Paul B.wrote a review of on August 30, 2008

4 5

I carry around a mellon that is really tough to fit into helmets. The fit adjustment feature on the Variant solved my problems. Very comfortable, good venting (although I did experience some fogging on occasion), and it proved to be toasty warm during ridiculously cold 60mph winds at the top of the world on a recent trip to Chile ... which is especially important because the storm hood on my over-priced shell won't fit over the helmet.

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Paul B.

Paul B.wrote a review of on August 30, 2008

5 5

As small as this sack is, it still fits a lot of gear. I purchased this pack for one main purpose, to carry a large DLSR camera (Canon 20D without battery grip and two good sized lenses) when skiing. That said, I also sewed on two extra plastic loops onto the shoulder straps to create a mobile camera support structure. I jammed an extra fleece and spare pair of gloves into the bottom of the main compartment with the spare lens. Put a padded my camera in Domke insert and put that on top. A small 45ounce water bladder went into the hydration pouch. In the front pocket, an assortment of gear and lunch, including a walkie and beacon. All this with enough room to spare for a shovel or additional gear.

Performance: Compression straps worked well and stabilized the whole load. The ski carrier worked flawlessly on our off-piste and short backcountry hikes. With the exception of the extra weight, I never really noticed it when in motion. Even took a couple nasty cartwheeling falls down steep pitches landing directly on the pack ... no damage to my camera whatsoever (thanks to the insert). Great fit (I'm 5' 11", 150). The hydration bladder worked superbly.

Cons: The only improvement would be a full zipper on the main compartment. Even though they thought to include half-zips on the bottom part of the bag to access items in the bottom of the pack, it is still a little hard to reach those items.

Conclusion: Excellent pack for day use at a resort and shorter off-piste or backcountry hikes.

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