Scott Springer

Scott Springer

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Scott's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Snowboarding
Running
Paddling
Snowshoeing
Climbing

Scott's Bio

A trail bum trapped in the big city. New York City is where work took me, but most of the time I'm scheming on how I can get back out to the wilderness -- even if it's only for an occasional long weekend.

Scott Springer

Scott Springer wrote a review of on July 21, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Packability:
This was a welcome upgrade from my 1.5" self-inflating Thermarest. The packability of the Synmat UL is virtually unrivaled and was the primary reason for purchasing. It is pretty light (without being crinkly and plasticky like the Thermarest options). Packs down to something about the size of a 1-liter bottle, and still has enough insulation to keep me warm well into the extreme ends of the three seasons.

Comfort:
After several seasons of use, I'm pleased to also report that it allows me to get some of the best on-trail sleep I've ever had. By carefully adjusting the amount of inflation, I'm able to get the mat squishy enough to where my butt almost touches the ground, allowing my spine to assume a more natural position while I sleep. I've used it mostly in 3-season weather down to 25 degrees without any discomfort temperature-wise. The 2.8 inches of cushion feels downright luxurious.

Durability:
At first I was super careful with this, but have become increasingly more confident in it's ability to withstand abrasion and puncture. I've not had a problem yet. Mostly it is in a foot-printed tent, but it has also endured the bare wood of some Adirondack shelters without problem.

The last trip was a measly car camping trip, and I was racing a fellow camper to inflate our pads. I over inflated mine and the adhesive holding the baffles together failed, resulting in a giant tube running half-way up the center of the pad. Super uncomfortable. Fortunately I was able to spin the pad 180 degrees and sleep with the big bubble between my legs, but the pad is definitely ready to be replaced. I will probably stick with this model.

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Scott Springer

Scott Springer wrote a review of on July 21, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Grabbed this on a whim, because. SmartWool. (Do I have a merino addiction? Perhaps.) It quickly replaced a Wigwam wool beanie. It is stretchy and softer texture. It is quite possibly my favorite piece of cold weather kit.

It is surprisingly thin, yet I find it to be perfectly warm in all but the most extreme conditions--and it breathes like nothing is there at all. It is pretty effective at cutting the wind, but not so much that my head gets overly hot high-intensity activity. (I usually layer down in the core and keep this on to prevent my ears from getting a chill.)

It also does a good job repelling a bit of water, and even when it does get a bit wet, the Merino fabric still keeps my head feeling pretty comfortable.

I really like pairing this with the SmartWool Neck Gaiter: http://www.backcountry.com/smartwool-neck-gaiter
It's a dynamite combo.

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Scott Springer

Scott Springer wrote a review of on July 21, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Great for winter sports or just staying warm in the city, this completely replaces the need for a scarf, and while it may mess up your hair when you yank it over your head to put it on/take it off, it has the benefit of never coming untied or having annoying flappy bits blowing in the breeze.

Easily keeps the neck warm, and I also found I was able to pull it up high in the back and overlap my wool beanie on the sides and back to completely seal out the cold. Enough fabric to reach up over the nose for those ridiculously inclement days.

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Scott Springer

Scott Springer wrote a review of on July 14, 2014

2 5

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

This doesn't just run big, it seems to run huge. I typically can take up to a 32" inseam and a 32" waist (though 30x30 fits best). I had to hike this up to my belly button and cinch the waist as tight as it would go to get it to stay up. Still felt long. Worst of all, the amount of material in the back was hysterical looking. It looked as if I had a gigantic derriere. Will be returning this for sure.

I was really interested to get a full-zip pac-lite pant, but this is just a laughable fit. Still hunting for the right waterproof pant for a short, skinny guy.

Other than the poor fit, the garment seems quite nice. The pant looks and feels great in terms of build quality. However, the waist adjustment system is not as nice as others I've seen. It consists of metal hooks that clip into loops on each side of the waist. This limits adjustment to set increments, rather than being able to cinch it to a precise fit.

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Scott Springer

Scott Springer wrote a review of on June 21, 2014

Great on so many levels!
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I had to really stop and think about what to highlight with this review. There are so many wonderful things about this pack, I want to be sure to cover them in proper priority.

Osprey uses an innovative design for the frame, harness, and belt sizing that results in a light-weight, flexible pack that feels like it moves with you but still is rigid and load bearing.

The pack feels like it sits closer to my back than other similar packs, resulting in a much greater sense of balance. The load lifter straps feel like they really pull the pack in close. In fact at first I often found it hard to look up because the pack was that close. Once I got used to it, it wasn't a problem.

The 60 liter has plenty of space for gear. I've done 5 day trips just fine. Max weight I've hauled was 37lbs, but I would prefer to keep it a bit lighter than that. I would be concerned that the larger version would just tempt me to load it heavier. (Pretty sure the harness system doesn't get any beefier on the 75 liter version).

My only complaint is that the side mesh got a bit torn up on my first outing, but no further damage was done on the subsequent trips. Must have just snagged it while being careless.

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Scott Springer

Scott Springer wrote an answer about on June 21, 2014

Nope. The mounting points are sewn into...

Nope. The mounting points are sewn into locations where there are no gaps in the mesh. I took a close up of my bag to show you.

I haven't had a problem with pocket access, though I'm not sticking a nalgene in there solo (had another person to assist). The straps on the outside do seem to work well for keeping tent poles and loose items like bug spray from moving around or falling out of the mesh.

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Scott Springer

Scott Springer wrote a review of on June 21, 2014

Warmth vs Peace of Mind
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size

I was able to snag one on sale, and was very excited to try it out on my late May trip to the Adirondacks. While it is difficult to empirically measure the insulating properties of a jacket, I can say that it felt a tiny bit less warm and cozy than my $65 UniQlo Down jacket (still one of my favorite pieces).

However, it was great to be on the trail knowing that I had a puffy that would still insulate if it got wet ? because it rained a lot!

My primary complaint with this jacket is that it feels a bit boxy, which may be one of the reasons it doesn't feel as warm as my other puffies. When there is more air space inside, that is more air your body has to heat. I'm pretty skinny, so I tend to go for the tighter fitting items.

The other downside is that the color options aren't great. I ended up looking like a traffic cone in the woods, but for the price I paid it was tolerable.

I'll probably continue to grab this for the rainy transition seasons, and use my down jacket only in winter.

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Scott Springer

Scott Springer wrote a review of on June 21, 2014

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

I have somewhat of a base layer and mid layer addiction. Having been an R1 devotee due to the gridded fleece, I was intrigued by the Cap 4's striped rows of thicker insulation, and snagged one of these to try out.

It is fairly warm, reminding me of a 220ish gram Icebreaker. The stripes of different thickness fabric allow it to breath really well, which is nice in high-energy activities.

It fits great. Slim and contoured the way a base layer should. The shoulder paneling is designed to feel great with a pack on. Could easily be a base or mid layer depending on the conditions. The zipper feels a bit cheap, but is tolerable.

Where it really fails is odor control. While it does much better than untreated polyester, after a few days of use (in this case just wearing it around the apartment) it will develop what I can only describe as a urine-like smell. The smell is back country tolerable, but unacceptable if you're around civilized society. Having come from the world of merino wool, I will be sticking to merino as my base layer of choice. To me it is worth the money to not smell.

One thing that I do love about this garment though is that it seems to shed pet hair far better than merino, and the light gray color manages to hide the hairs that remain (I have a white cat). So this remains my bumming around the home top.

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Scott Springer

Scott Springer wrote a review of on June 21, 2014

4 5

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

This jacket has grown to become one of my favorites. I agree with Josh that it is close to, if not stealing the glory from the venerable R1.

It's made from Polartec Powerdry fleece which feels a tiny bit thinner than the R1, but makes up in warmth by being just slightly less breathable. The hardface fleece blocks wind in some key exposed places. The result is a hoodie that is less bulky and better than the R1 when worn as an outer layer.

However, there are some things that could be improved. Most importantly, I wish there were pockets. I suspect they're not present to make wearing a harness or pack more comfortable, but around home and the campsite I always find myself instinctively trying to slip my hands in to pockets that should be there.

The balaclava style hood is nice but could be improved. I love that it fits snugly around the head, but the zipper / face covering portion just feels slightly uncomfortable. Resulting in a hood that never quite feels right when all bundled up. Awkwardly sits between nose and upper lip with a zipper that doesn't quite lay flat.

That being said, I do find myself turning to this layer more and more over the R1 (which was my previous all time favorite layer). I love that is is slim fitting and can be worn in a number of configurations because of the hood/collar design.

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Scott Springer

Scott Springer wrote a review of on June 21, 2014

Pitiful DWR finish. Shell wets out.
2 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

I'm going to buck convention a bit by complaining about this jacket. It is adequate for casual use, but is a bit lacking for serious back country adventure.

From a design perspective, the jacket fits great and looks nice, but I would have preferred waterproof zips instead of storm flaps, snaps and velcro. It packs down nicely, and the shell material feels a bit more supple than other jackets I've had in the same category.

However, my main issue — which seems to plague a great deal of Marmot products is that their garment materials don't bead water well. I suspect the DWR process they use is just not up to the task, as I found the M1 softshell material and the Super Mica to also fail at beading water shockingly fast when compared to similar garments from Mountain Hardware or Patagonia.

While the jacket stays dry inside, once the shell is saturated, the GoreTex ceases to be breathable – or at least becomes less breathable than it was. While the water doesn't come through, since moisture isn't escaping as well, it will still feel clammy inside after more than 20min in the rain. (Notice in the photo that the shoulders and sleeve cuffs are super dark and soaked – this was from a 15 minute walk in medium intensity rain.)

Keep in mind this jacket has only been used about five times, only one of them being in the back country (most recently) and the wrists and shoulders wet out in 5 min. That is just unacceptable.

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Scott Springer

Scott Springer wrote a review of on June 21, 2014

5 5

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

Took the 9-inch pair out for my last multi-day backpacking trip and am thrilled with them. Several times I noticed that I had never felt so comfortable on the trail. Wore the same pair for all five days and there was no riding-up, itching, chafing, swamp-ass, or clammy feeling. By day five there was a wee bit of smells, but less than I expected.

With the extra 3-inches of material, they do feel a bit warmer on the legs than the short style, but that added material helps keep the leg in place and eliminates inner-leg chafing.

However, just like the short style, I wouldn't recommend these for normal everyday use. The material in the seat is so thin that it wicks and saturates faster. Not a problem when wearing thin shorts or quick-dry pants, but I do find it a bit less comfortable when I have jeans or normal clothes on. Between these and the original Give-n-Go boxer-briefs, all conditions and activities are well covered.

Here's the review of the 6-Inch pair which focuses on the other properties of the garment: http://www.backcountry.com/exofficio-give-n-go-mesh-sport-6in-boxer-brief-mens

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Scott Springer

Scott Springer wrote a review of on April 14, 2014

2 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

Just like the Anatomica pair I tried, the legs are too short and creep up as soon as I start moving. Material is what you would expect, quality merino, but you might as well just buy these in the briefs style, because they transform into bunch briefs as soon as you walk.

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Scott Springer

Scott Springer wrote an answer about on April 14, 2014

Yes, they ride up something awful. Might as well buy briefs instead.

If you don't require Merino, I've had really good results with ExOfficio Give-N-Go and Give-N-Go Mesh Sport. Preventing leg creep is one of the most important things for me, and I've never noticed it with these in any activity. For synthetics, the odor control on them is great. Still hunting for a Merino pair that fits as well as they do.

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Scott Springer

Scott Springer wrote a review of on April 14, 2014

2 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

I love everything I've ever owned from Icebreaker, and was super excited to get my first pair of merino underwear. Sadly, the design of these is terrible. The legs are way too short, and ride up immediately ? even without pants over top. The result is they turn into briefs with bunchy rolls of fabric pinching my leg. I may try the version that comes as a brief, but I would prefer a boxer brief as the leg of the underwear helps reduce inner leg friction when doing longer hikes. Had such high-hopes, but these are in the same comfort camp as the Hanes 3-for $10 pack I got at Kmart.

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Scott Springer

Scott Springer wrote a review of on April 14, 2014

4 5

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

These used to be the best underwear ever, but they've been exceeded by the new Give-N-Go Mesh Sport version.

These are still quite nice. I've found them to be quite durable (as long as you never put them through the drier). My favorite thing about them is that I've never had problems with them riding up. Second favorite thing is that they don't smell terrible after a few days on the trail. For a 4 day trip, I pretty much can live in a single pair without feeling like a biohazard is brewing down there. I'll still happily wear the several pair I own, but from now on, I'm going with the Mesh Sport version.

UPDATE: After more experimentation, I found that for normal everyday use, I still prefer the original style. The thicker fabric tends to wick the natural everyday moisture better. When sitting or wearing jeans, the originals feel better.

However, when doing a more intense activity where I'm already creating more heat and sweat, the Sport Mesh is great. (They just can feel a bit clammy in the city. Seem to feel best when paired with fast dry pants and activities where you are gonna sweat a lot.)

Verdict: 2 pair of long-legged sport for activities, and keeping all of my existing originals for normal use.

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Scott Springer

Scott Springer wrote a review of on April 14, 2014

5 5

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

The original Give-N-Go was absolutely the best boxer brief I've ever worn... And then I slipped into these. THEY BLOW THE ORIGINAL AWAY. They're so comfortable I was downright giddy. I know it sounds silly to get that excited over underwear, but these are an outstanding improvement over a product I already thought was perfect.

The mesh panelling on the legs wraps around the backside, keeping things nice and cool back there. The junk pouch seems to be made of the same material as the original Give-N-Go, but the tailoring makes it feel significantly more comfortable. Great support. The design keeps things from sticking to your legs ? perfect for hot summer backpacking trips where the last thing you want is swampiness and stickiness down there. Fit is a bit more snug than the original, but without squeezing in any way. They fit so well, it almost feels like they aren't there.

UPDATE: Still the most comfortable underwear, but I only use these when I'm exercising. For some reason when I wear them in the city with normal clothes I tend to feel a bit swampy. These are great if you're already gonna sweat and you have thin pants/shorts. Still prefer the originals for everyday use.

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Scott Springer

Scott Springer wrote a review of on October 8, 2013

My other caps are now jealous
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I used to wear a surplus boonie cap with a full brim when I went on 3-season hikes/camping. Picked up this cap on a whim and it immediately became my go-to cap. It is significantly lighter, breathes well, and packs down to almost nothing. The fabric even seems to be some what water repellent. In a gentle drizzle, I noticed the water was beading rather than soaking in.

I have the dark olive green color, and love it for being in the woods. Will probably snag a blue for use around the city where color coordination is a bit more important.

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Scott Springer

Scott Springer wrote a review of on September 21, 2011

2 5

It's light weight, packs down small in a larger bag, but it left me feeling completely underwhelmed and disappointed.

Even with the foam backing, the bag is still really floppy. When loaded, the foam tends to begin working its way out of the bag which looks sloppy as well as just being annoying.

When partially loaded, the bag lacks the rigidity to hold any shape, and the contents pool up at the bottom in a big glob. This becomes a catch 22, because the bag's straps aren't really padded enough to hold much weight, but the bag definitely feels better on the back when it's stuffed to the brim.

In the end, I found a slightly smaller, heavier hydration-capable bag from Osprey to be a more useful approach. I pack items within this bag, then pack that into the large trekking backpack. Sure I'm sacrificing a bit of weight and space in the large backpack, but I'd rather have a solid platform to make the day hikes enjoyable than be such an ounce-counting nut job that I have to be miserable during the fun parts of my trips because I have a floppy stuff sack for a daypack.

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