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sol100288840

sol100288840

sol100288840's Passions

Hiking & Camping

sol100288840

sol100288840wrote a review of on April 24, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

These are strong poles and they are aluminum. Consequently, they weigh slightly more than some other trekking poles, but I personally didn't notice any drawbacks to the few added ounces and like having the extra sturdiness.
The hand grips (and choke grip sections) are made of a synthetic material that has a felt-like texture. This provides good grip and should remain grippy even when wet with sweat or water. I haven't tried the poles in warm weather yet but I anticipate that they will remain comfortable and provide good grip as the temperatures increase in the summer.
The straps are very comfortable and easy to adjust but could use a little extra length. I adjusted them to their maximum and was just able to insert my heavy winter gloves through the openings. It could be challenging to do this with really heavy shelled mittens.
The unique anti-shock dampers are located just under the hand grips and provide adequate shock absorbing without the sometimes annoying excessive pogo stick spring actions found in other poles.
There's a padded gripping section just below the shock dampers that allows you to choke up on the poles during short steep trail assents without needing to shorten up on the pole lengths - a very convenient feature.
The tips are convertible, from carbide to soft, by simply unscrewing the carbide tip and replacing it with screw-in soft tips (not included). Although this would work, the screw-in rubber tips are of very small diameter and won't grip rock as well as Black Diamond's conventional external rubber tip covers, which are coated with knobby protrusions that give excellent traction on rock. These tips are inexpensive and easily replaced if lost or just worn out, and they fit perfectly on Black Diamond poles. Still, it?s nice to have that replaceable tip feature in the event that you wear out the original carbide ones.
The best feature is the adjusting clamp - 2 per pole. No more twist-to-lock mechanisms that eventually slip. These are lever action clamps that make it very easy and quick to do pole adjustments yet hold firmly even in heavy use. Unlike twist locks, these levers can be manipulated with heavy gloves on and won't slip in your hands or jam up.
The bottom ice baskets are really too small in diameter to be effective. Fortunately they are removable and can be taken off in the summer and replaced with proper sized baskets in the winter. However, they do look cute on the poles, if that matters to you.
Overall, these are very well-made trekking poles with an excellent design and useful features. At first I did have some initial reservations about paying so much for a set of poles, but now feel that they are worth the extra cost.

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sol100288840

sol100288840wrote a review of on April 10, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: Runs small
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 173 lbs
Size Purchased: 10.5 W and 11 W

I've been hiking for enough years to have gone through over a dozen pairs of boots, and these are the most comfortable yet protective footgear I've ever owned. They're more comfortable than my custom-made Limmer boots - which speaks volumes for their fit. Of course, they're not quite as protective as full-blown backpacking leather monsters, but they really aren't intended for super-heavy hauls. These are mid-weight boots, but the support and protection they provide might make you think about using them on an extended BP trip. I don't normally carry more than a 20-lb. pack, but wouldn't hesitate to use these Keen boots for much heavier loads.
The light weight of the boots comes at a quality price; they look like they'll last for a few years and then have to be replaced since you can't resole them. But, that's what you sacrifice when you want to go footlight (1-lb. on your foot is like carrying 5-pounds on your back).
I tested 2 different pairs of the Durands wide (one 10.5 W for summer and one 11 W for winter) for over a month of daily 3 to 4 mile hikes. I've walked through slushy snow and pools of water and have not had any leakage. I've climbed up hills and down in utter comfort with neither heal lift and nor toe jamming. The toe area is boxy with plenty of lateral and front room. The most amazing part of this is that the boots were comfortable right out of the box and needed almost no break in period. I like them so much that I ordered a third pair for my son.
Keen suggests that you buy these Durand boots 1/2 size larger than your regular shoe size. I can confirm that this is true.

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sol100288840

sol100288840wrote a review of on February 8, 2014

Great performance, flawed design
2 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

To begin with, these are great performing snowshoes. They are lightweight, ,maneuverable and well-constructed. The incorporation of a floating tail extension (optional) is especially effective and cleverly done. The bindings are quick and easy to use, even with heavy gloves on and in low temperatures.
Unfortunately the snowshoe binding has a design flaw. The front hook buckle can easily dig into the fabric at the toe opening on the inboard side because that hook extends just far enough to catch. I used them only a few times when I discovered that the buckle hook had dug a ragged little notch where it hit the material. My wife also has a pair of these snowshoes and the exact same thing happened on hers. I contacted Cascade Design (MSR) at 1-206-505-9500 and one of their tech reps admitted that they are aware of the problem and are currently redesigning the binding so as to eliminate the problem. The new design should be available next season. In the meantime the tech rep said that the notch created by the buckle hook should eventually reach a small maximum and go no further. He also suggested moving the foot back somewhat would allow the buckle to be cinched more tightly and no longer hit the material. I did point out that this would place your foot too far back for optimum usage.

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sol100288840

sol100288840wrote a review of on March 29, 2013

5 5

I've had many different Gortex (and Gortex wannabe) shells over the years and have always had to put up with some degree of inside moisture build-up due to physical exertion and/or ambient temperatures. So, that's what I expected with the Theta SV but was I wrong! I really tried to work up a sweat by putting on a liner jacket underneath and wearing a hat and gloves in relatively mild (48 deg F) temperatures, but it just wouldn't happen. No sweat even though I felt a touch too warm after about an hour. Given the conditions and the hilly terrain I hiked, I should have been swimming in perspiration. Instead I remained dry and comfortable. I don't think I'll ever get another Gortex shell again unless I manage to trash this one and need to replace it.

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sol100288840

sol100288840wrote a review of on June 8, 2012

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I really liked these pants at first. They were very comfortable to hike in and I experienced no leakage when sitting on wet rocks or in drizzle. However, this morning I went out hiking in a moderate rain. The temperature was 40 deg.F and there was a 2 to 4 mph wind blowing. After 1-hour, the right pant leg - just below the top of the stretchy lower section - started to leak cold rain water down my leg. The rest of the garment remained dry.
These pants are not sufficiently water resistant for use in even a moderate rain.

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sol100288840

sol100288840wrote a review of on June 8, 2012

2 5

The Good: Two large main burners plus a grill in between. Grill has self-igniter. Grill does a great job on steaks and has a nice bottom removable grease tray. Easy to adjust flame. Easy cleanup. Lots of cooking room.

The Bad: Plastic knobs stick out enough to potentially break. Gas connection on stove sticks out the side opposite the carrying handle leading to inevitable damage. Main burners are NOT self-igniting. No storage bag - you have to buy your own and you'll need one with this baby.

The Ugly: Center grill held in place with 4 flat prongs allowing the grill to slip out with the slightest movement while cooking (then it's too hot to push back into position). The grill self-igniter pin is dangerously easy to stab yourself with when cleaning. There is no easy way to store the propane tube assembly inside the closed stove. If you place the valve end under one of the burner grate corners and weave the tube end diagonally over and under the bars just right - you can close the stove and store it. Figuring this out takes anywhere from a few minutes to several hours depending upon your proficiency at solving 3-D puzzles.

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sol100288840

sol100288840wrote a review of on November 9, 2011

5 5

The Torrentshell pant is perfect for carrying in a pack, along with the jacket of course. The jacket and pants weigh so little and crunch down into such a tiny bundle that there's loads of room for everything else you might want to carry. Both garments do their job, that is preventing you from getting soaked in the rain. They are not for keeping warm as there is no insulation, so think under-layers when using the Torrentshell system. Quality is first rate as you would expect form Patagonia.
I've tried the pant both with and without regular pant underneath and it works well both ways.

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sol100288840

sol100288840wrote a review of on April 22, 2011

5 5

It seems to be almost impossible to find a 3/4-length rain/wind shell but the Patagonia Torrentshell fits the bill. That extra length nicely covers your rear, unlike all the shorty rain/wind shells currently being sold. The construction quality is first rate - as you would expect from Patagonia. It's roomy enough to use with a fleece vest or light jacket and feels comfortable with regular walking around even without the zipper pits opened. I haven't yet tried it during rigorous hiking but feel confident that the fabric's breathablity plus those pit zips would do just fine. It packs down to almost nothing in size and weight yet provides excellent protection from the elements. The zipper is very substantial and the extra Velcro tabs are easy to engage and disengage as you zip the front. It has two outer pockets that are positioned low enough for comfortable hand-level access. The only improvement I can see is to have two inner zipper pockets instead of the single open one provided. Otherwise, I liked this shell so much I bought two more for my wife and son.

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sol100288840

sol100288840wrote a review of on January 14, 2011

2 5

Like all North Face products, it's well made. However, the sizing runs small. It's very tight fitting allowing little room for interior liners or sweaters. Since this is supposed to be a shell it should be cut large enough to fit such liners. Also, it's very short providing less protection than is optimal. Great looking but not practical.

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