rickevam

rickevam

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rickevam

rickevam wrote a review of on January 10, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This is definitely one of the coolest NorthFace jackets I have ever owned! I saw this jacket for the very first time when US Magazine reported Angelina Jolie's December 6th 2012 visit to the Jordan-Syria border. At that time it was only a mystery jacket for me because nobody knows exactly where to find the same one. So many media outlets had reported the wrong info about Angelina Jolie's jacket and ALL the web links they provided always automatically got rerouted to the NorthFace regular "Thunder Down Jacket"which is totally different in style and pattern (*Hint: missing word MICRO in the name) After noticing the pattern and style differences on the regular NorthFace "Thunder Down Jacket" and comparing numerous jackets with the picture of Angelina Jolie in US Magazine, my persistence and extensive research finally paid off! Even though all the NorthFace products are still made in China, I think this Thunder Micro jacket is very cool, super flattering with sexy slimming cut and it's extremely light (*hint: micro jacket). Frankly, I am still hesitant to wear it around the campfire due to its delicate material so I've been trying to "baby" this jacket to death. Trust me, it's very hard to find a nice winter jacket that doesn't make you look like Michelin Man. I ordered SMALL when my actual size is EXTRA-SMALL as the NorthFace size usually runs small and it's fits me perfectly! I am still unsure whether this Thunder Micro jacket can travel far in high mileage adventures. My all time favorite NorthFace down jacket is called "ERICA" (but sadly--it has been discontinued) That jacket has been keeping me warm in so many different countries without complaint because it was crafted with more durable material and tons of smart hidden-pockets that I am crazy about. This NorthFace Thunder Micro Jacket is definitely very cool, stylish and highly packable, so far I am loving it. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves looking awesome and fashionable on a backpacking trip!

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rickevam

rickevam wrote an answer about on January 9, 2013

For me, the tent is easier to set up (especially during a low visibility condition) if I "pre-package" the footprint at the very bottom layer underneath the main tent with the rainfly on the last top layer making sure the grey and black loops all aligned (grey on grey, black on black). After the three layers stacked up in correct order you can fold them and roll neatly together with the poles+stakes in the center. Even after you fold in the three layers plus the stakes+poles together the sack is still big enough to carry additional tarp and a down jacket. I love having an emergency tarp in case I have to set up my tent in the rain. Being prepared for the worst scenario like this always helps keeping all my expensive gears safe. If you "pre-package" your tent, everything will be ready to go as soon as you roll out the content of your tent sack; no need to fumble around trying to match the colors (*setting up a simple tent in the dark windy wet condition can be pretty challenging). I also like to find out what the prevailing wind direction is so all tent-doors can be aligned along in the wind direction. This will greatly increase the ventilation in the tent and prevent condensation. Immendiately stake down the four corners at the 45-degree angle pointing away from the tent as soon as you roll out the tent while keeping the three layers together. Staking the corners is very helpful since the tent tends to flap around like crazy and lead a life of its own due to its featherweight material. Extend the poles by unfolding/connecting the strands. The only short independent strand should be attached right at the center (tent ceiling). To erect the "skeleton" of this tent you need to carefully bend the poles and insert each end of the pole into the matching color-coded riveted-loops, and then clip the black mesh parts and other hanging plastic parts to the tent "skeleton". Finally, drape the rainfly on top, clip on the color-coded strap at each corner... and it's done!

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rickevam

rickevam wrote a review of on January 8, 2013

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

The Copper Spur UL2 is definitely more livable than Big Agnes' Flycreek series. The flycreek gave me a very tight coffin-like feel inside the tent with its slanted walls design. The Copper Spur UL2 provides high degree of comfort and livability for ONE PERSON. I took this tent on a solo cold-mountain backpacking and put it through hellish torrential rain + 65mph wind in the middle of SANDY STORM last year and I was pleasantly surprised to see the excellent performance. I pitched the tent on its "footprint" (purchased separately) using only 4 stakes, didn't even use the guylines... no pole breakage, no leak, no condensation, everything was bone-dry inside the tent despite the insane weather (-although both vestibules got really flooded because the rainfly is not designed to reach all the way to the ground) I am glad that I picked the UL2, if I had the UL1 then I would've been forced to place my gears in the "faulty" vestibules. IMHO, the Copper Spur UL2 is most suitable for ONE PERSON only; of course it's still "doable" to push 2 people in it, but they would have to be tiny teenagers or super skinny adults who won't move around much during sleeping. It's miserable riding out a bad weather in a very cramped space, even when both occupants really like each other. One more complaint that I have is its Rainbow Doors! The "D style" doors would certainly seal the FIVE STARS approval. After stepping on the doors so many times I can't help wondering why such a nice highly packable ultralite tent would have this stupid flaw. But then again, Big Agnes' tents are NOT in the same class as the Hilleberg's so I don't expect they'll ever make a tent like the Hilleberg's. Swedish manufacturers seem to always have well thought out designs and superior quality. Nevertheless, even with the annoying "Rainbow Doors", I still highly recommend this tent! It's even worth the wait when it's on back-order!

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rickevam

rickevam wrote an answer about on January 8, 2013

The Marmot CWM -40 is extremely packable, but the -40 rating is highly pimped out, IMHO. I was able to stuff it into a 31ltr compression bag without any struggle, but it is not warm enough for Denali-- for sure. I was disappointed with The BISON because it is crazy huge and stiff as hell...but it's got its own fan base, if you try to badmouth the Bison on here, I'm sure they'd bite your head off ! LOL

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