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rev

rev

Northern Minnesota

rev

rev wrote a review of on February 3, 2012

5 5

My favorite pants for backpacking, hiking, snowshoeing and curling. The color options- black or dark grey- restricts use to the winter. They're way too hot for me to wear in the summer, which is a shame. They breathe really well, block wind well, have a lot of stretch, shed rain and snow better than standard Supplex-style nylon. For hiking below 30 F, I wear these and a base layer- and extraordinarily flexible combination.

The material is very thin and feels somewhat delicate. Even so, I've not had any rips or worn them through, which surprises me. I still think I'd be afraid to use them in situations where I was up against rock a lot or extensively bushwhacking.

Over all, an awesome pair of pants. Even with all the nice features they're only an ounce heavier in XXL than my current favorite for summer hiking, the MW Canyon pant.

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rev

rev wrote a review of on December 8, 2011

2 5

Got these for a treat off of SAC. Not sure what's up with colors- who picked the 1980s ski bum theme? :P Fabric is a stretch woven softshell, no membrane and no polyfleece backing as described. For me, that's a good thing. Have to send them back, though-the fit is weird. I wear a XL for FA Mountain Guide Lite Pants and can wear an XL or XXL for Arc'teryx Gamma LT. I'd really be a 1.5 XL for the Gamma LTs, in a perfect world. Got the Overhangs in XL, but I think I'd need XXL or XXXL (!!!) - they've a trim cut in a weird way. It's less like they made an athletic cut and more like they just downsized it a size and called it good.

If you get these, size up- the sizing chart lists the XL as 40.8-43.6". These Overhangs in XL are closer to 37".

The fabric is nice, and the features are nice. Despite the undersizing, the cut seems more appropriate for snowboarding than hiking and climbing.

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rev

rev wrote a review of on September 6, 2011

5 5

A little more expensive than I'm used to spending on handwear, but this is a very nice pair of modular mittens. Great for a wide variety of mid range temps- 10 F with glove and mitt up to the mitt alone in 50 F rain storms. I'd like it if the insulation was a bit heavier on the glove, but you can tell why they didn't- dexterity is great and adding more wouldn't help. These mitts are an awesome compromise. They're easy to take on and off, and the two-lock shock cord setup for the gauntlets is perfect.

The fit on these is great, at least for me. I've got regular men's size hands and usually wear a Large glove or mitten. Problem is, on a lot of brands I find the fingers to be a bit long, reducing dexterity or making it hard to secure the gloves. The Scots must have stubbier fingers, as these are just right.

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rev

rev wrote a review of on August 30, 2011

5 5

I wore these all winter long, taking 2-4 mile hikes over my lunch break without changing pants. Pull on my ankle gaiters and my Kahtoola Microspikes and off I go! Descend a snowy, icy hill on my rear? Brush it off.

Got these on sale. $90 is a lot for me to spend on a pair of pants (even my Arc'teryx Gamma LT pants cost me less than that!), but I'd seriously consider it for these guys. These have become my go to pant for just about everything- work, winter/fall/spring hiking, business travel, bouldering, and casual wear. Feature set similar to a pair of Carhartts, without the problems of cotton. I've been wearing these for just about everything. As another reviewer mentioned, the only situation for which they're not perfect is very high temps (85+ F passive, 80+ F active). They breathe a lot better than the other cotton and nylon work pants I've worn, the DWR works quite well, the crotch is at the right place (not too high or low), they dry quickly for their weight, and very comfortable.

My only complaint is that I'd like a belt loop or two more.

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rev

rev wrote a review of on July 7, 2011

5 5

This shirt is insanely light. It's a killer summertime shirt. In XL, the Breathe 90 is nearly 2 oz lighter than Patagonia's Cap 1, which is saying a lot! Blows my mind.

The cut is great, just like the Stoic short sleeve tops. Form fitting without being tight, and flatting for a wide variety of body types. Sleeves are snug around my biceps, which I like- I hate the flapping of loose sleeves.

The Stoic Breathe 90 is above the vast majority of ultralight base layer tops in how it looks when worn alone. Even with darker colors, I can often see the colors of my nipples or the bumps of chest hair on other ultralight tops. Patagonia Cap 1 and 2 is also good in this respect, but the majority of other synth tops I've tried over the years have this problem to the point that I don't feel comfortable wearing it in public off-trail. To each their own, but it's a big plus for me.

I have three complaints, in order of importance to me:

1. The Logo Art - If I could get this shirt without the big logo and horizontal lines, I'd buy a few more. I'm not totally against logos- the Stoic logo on the lightweight merino T is just fine.
2. The Price - $10 more than Patagonia's Cap 1. Enough said. :)
3. The Collar - I've complained about this with other Stoic shirts. I'm sure they're going for distinctive, and I don't blame them. It's just not my thing, but the ugliness of the collar isn't enough to skip over an otherwise great shirt.

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rev

rev wrote a review of on May 3, 2011

5 5

The best lightweight short sleeved merino base layer I've come across. The two I purchased from SAC last year as still in great condition. They've been a lot more durable than other 150 g/m^2 wool tops, like Smartwool Microlight, etc. A lot less pilling than the Smartwool Microlight, too. Like a lot of folks, I want a light, thin base layer for 3-season use- but I hate when you can see my nipples or body hair through the shirt. If a shirt does that, I get worried about wearing it as casual wear, or while day hiking. This top doesn't have this problem, at least in Deep/Deep and Beehive/Black. I love the cut- it fits me very well, and I've received quite a few compliments on it. Chest sizing is a bit small, but that works well for me- I wear XL in standard fit stuff like Columbia, but for Patagonia, Mountain Hardwear, Arc'teryx and others XL is a bit small and XXL is too big. XXL for this top fits perfectly, right between most athletic fit XL and XXLs. I wouldn't size up unless you think you need it- XXL is more like a 1.5 XL, not XL.

The only thing I don't like about this top is the collar. I imagine they wanted something distinctive, but the look doesn't work well IMHO. Not a big deal to me, especially at the SAC price- the performance of the top more than makes up for the goofy looking collar.

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rev

rev wrote a review of on May 2, 2011

5 5

Been using the SL-3 for solo and trips with a single partner. Started off using it with the SL-3 Nest, but ended up relegating it to car camping- it's just too heavy. The SL-3 shelter, along with a custom ground cloth/footprint is quite light and very comfortable- the headroom in the SL-3 is great. If you can hang the whole shelter/tent from a tree, it's a true 3 person shelter; with the big pole in the middle, it's more of a very roomy 2 person shelter. I've known a lot of folks who use the SL-3 for 1 or 2 person hunting trips, because of the ample space for gear. The center pole is not terribly light, and if you use trekking poles like me, you can use webbing/guy line to unite link poles. If I were taking the SL-3 into high wind or if I expected a snow load, I'd just take the provided DAC center pole- it's incredibly sturdy, especially compared to two lashed together trekking poles.

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rev

rev wrote a review of on May 2, 2011

4 5

I've had the SL-3 for a year. The weight of the SL-3 Nest limits its use mostly to car camping, though I have taken it on a few short backpacking trips. Otherwise, I use a much lighter ground cloth I made. The design, features, and durability of the Nest itself are great- the only strike against it is weight. Weight was as claimed, but it's just a bit heavier than some similar options from smaller cottage shops like Bear Paw, who make a much lighter equivalent you could use with the SL-3 shelter if you really wanted to keep the true two wall tent design.

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rev

rev wrote a question about on April 13, 2011

What is the width like on these? I have a wide forefoot, but a regular heel. I usually buy wide width shoes, though medium width shoes and boots with a nice big toe box are a better bet when available.

Specifically interested in the Lowas because of the polyurethane midsole. Sick of EVA midsoles going pancake on me after a few months.

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rev

rev wrote a question about on March 16, 2011

How do these compare with the Vasque Velocity VST? Purchased a pair, but they had to go back- they developed the dreaded VST Bubble after a single day of owning them. The fit was great. Pondering these ones... What is the difference? Are these a pre VST model from a year or two ago? Thanks!

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rev

rev wrote a review of on February 16, 2011

4 5

Got one of these recently while waiting for the Patagonia Houdini or Arc'teryx Squamish to come back into stock. My first bit of kit from Norrøna. Initial impressions were good- a bit heavy, but very well featured for a UL wind shell- velcro wrist closures, big hood, waist draw cord, hood adjustment, and a chest pocket.

Unlike most competing products, the fabric it's made of isn't either super shiny or noisy and stiff like fresh Tyvek. Not a huge deal, comes with the territory of low-denier fabric but I avoid it when I can.

I got it with the intent to use it for a lot of day hikes and overnight treks, using it as a replacement for a hardshell on those trips where it makes sense. Like any good wind jacket, it is a four season garment. I've done a lot of hiking in it this winter, wearing nothing bit the Aero 60 and a base layer in the temperature range of 5 F to 50 F. Breathes well, cuts down on the wind enough to make it worth having around. Certainly blows anything with a WINDSTOPPER and similar membane out of the water for any active winter pursuits.

Only disappointment was that the waist drawcord broke before I actually got a chance to use it. The stitching anchoring the shock cord to its anchor point near the zipper fell apart, leaving the shock cord detached and the waist draw cord useless.

Went back and forth on it, but ended up giving it a 4, even though the waist draw cord died on me right away. The way I figure it, defects happen- and unless this is a common defect to this design or brand, I didn't want it to spoil my rating. I'd send it in for a refund/replacement, but since I got a discontinued color on sale that BC no longer carries I'll hold on to it for the time being. If anything else goes south, I'll send it back and try the Patagonia or Arc'teryx equivalents.

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rev

rev wrote a review of on February 12, 2011

3 5

My wife got this jacket last season. She likes the fit and the look, but for aerobic activities it falls flat. She found that it breathed about as well as your average hard shell, but worse than her eVent shell. This was disappointing, especially as it is billed for "highly aerobic" activities. It's been relegated to casual duty only, and we're looking for a replacement to actually use climbing, hiking, running and cross country skiing.

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rev

rev wrote a review of on January 30, 2011

3 5

I've been trying to find a lightweight softshell to use as winter activewear. A breathable shell to wear over a light to heavyweight base layer when hiking, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing. For these situations, you want something that is unlined or only lightly lined, wind resistant, very breathable, and fit snugly enough to layer over and not get in the way of movement.

I ordered the Approach, and I ended up returning it. In some ways, it was spot on- the cut was a lot slimmer/more athletic than the Leadville or TNF Apex Bionic and the arms didn't have a bunch of extra material flapping around. I liked the Arc'teryx-esque zipper- big, chunky plastic zipper that is easy on, easy off. Those are the positives...

Negatives:
- NO stretch. This was the biggest disappointment. Frankly, it was quite surprising! Some of the mechanical stretch (no spandex) softshells I've tried had more stretch than the Approach.
- Cuffs: *way* too tight. Too tight to get it over my light Primaloft gloves without really fighting it.
- Chest was cut a bit small, considering their sizing charts. Wasn't athletically cut so much as sized down; the Approach in XXL fit like a Leadville in XL.
- Didn't seem very wind resistant, even compared to other non-membrane softshells like the Arc'teryx Gamma LT, First Ascent Mountain Guide, or jackets made of Schoeller Dryskin. Even so, should probably be good enough for mid to high activity in mild conditions.

If I could, I'd probably give the approach 2.5 stars, but IMHO it wouldn't be fair to go all the way down to 2, so I'm sticking with 3.

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rev

rev wrote a question about on December 30, 2010

How breathable is the Solano? I've never had a WINDSTOPPER jacket before, which makes me reluctant to try the Solano. Plan on using it for active use in the winter, and breathability is key. I don't want insulation- in the winter, I end up wearing nothing but a merino base layer and my hard shell once I'm warned up. I saw a TNF Windstopper Active at a local store, which uses the same type of WINDSTOPPER, and it looked and felt like it'd a sauna if you were hiking or running in it.

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rev

rev wrote a question about on December 30, 2010

I'm trying to figure out if this jacket will work for me, or if I should look elsewhere. Basically, I want a light softshell that is wind ressitant and very breathable. Winter use only, in temps between 0F and 30F, mostly for hiking and bouldering. I usually wear a hard shell on top of a lightweight merino base layer in those situations, the shell being there only to block wind.

How does the fit compare to the Marmot Leadville or TNF Apex Bionic? I'm a big guy- 5'11", 300 lbs, 42" waist- but find the 2XL Leadville to be a little big and the 2XL Apex Bionic to be way too big. I'm hoping for something that's true to size with an actual athletic/performance fit- enough room in the shoulders and upper chest, but arms and torso that are snug enough to not get in the way.

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