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stuart smythe

stuart smythe

Japan - Hokkaido, Niseko; Nagano, Hakuba; US - Tahoe, Vail, Alta,; Australia - Falls Creek, Hotham, Threadbo; NZ - Queenstown, the Arrowsmiths,etc ;

stuart smythe's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking
Snowshoeing
Skiing
Climbing

stuart smythe's Bio

Get Up and Go Hard...start of the perfect day is first tracks and fresh powder...then skiing the rest of it with my two young sons...H and X...chasing steep and deeps wherever possible...

stuart smythe

stuart smythewrote a review of on February 6, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I gave it as a gift but have feedback to share
Fit: True to size

Bought as a xmas gift...so successful as a midlayer, my wife requested that I purchase two more! That speaks for itself! The technostretch fabric is incredibly warm when use as mid layer. The hood, with separate full zip neck "gaiter" enables use under any helmet (using Smith Variance) or adds to warmth around the neck when conditions aren't so cold. My wife particularly likes the athletic fit and the waist band which tho not able to be "tightened", functions well and stops riding up under shells or other garments.
Colours are true to picture. Size runs true. thumbholes further increase functionality and retain warmth. Highly recommend.

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stuart smythe

stuart smythewrote a review of on January 15, 2015

4 5

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

My preferred choice for hiking due to packability...and warmth. Use during transition phase or lunch breaks on hikes, then unpack for car trip home. The design provides core warmth, but with the stretch woven side panels, enables sufficient heat exchange if you've not quite finished the hike after lunch...
Would describe the fit as "athletic" vs regular, suspect due to woven materials "hugging" the torso.

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stuart smythe

stuart smythewrote a review of on January 15, 2015

Great shell and jacket combo...
5 5

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

8 y.o. (135cm tall) in size 12 - would suggest runs true to size, if not slightly large - but not overly so.
Used in Japan, minus 20 (inc windchill) on "Japow" days...with base layer, mid, then the addition of the inner jacket and shell...no complaints...toasty warm! Powder skirt and draw string proved very effective on deepest of days. Highly recommend. Inner jacket in the black/graphite grey is a huge hit, loves wearing this independently.

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stuart smythe

stuart smythewrote a review of on January 15, 2015

4 5

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

9y.o. loves this jacket...but runs small versus other brands "equivalent" sizing. He's 140cm, should have gone the L(14), not the M (12).
Pockets are great, plenty of them, most importantly sleeve stash for lift pass, chest pocket for "hot chocolate" money and 550 down warmth means that on most days, its a base layer, plus mid layer and he's as warm as toast!...xt.L and DWR is holding up well after 30 days in Japan powder, with no signs of wear or heat lost through dampening.

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stuart smythe

stuart smythewrote a review of on January 15, 2015

Awesome versatility...runs small tho
4 5

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

Bought a number of the Spyder pants and jacket combo's for 8 and 9y.o. boys for this season.
The consistent theme running thru all is that they run small compared to similar products purchased. This is particularly so for the Force pant, Bormio pant and the Propulsion pant. I deliberately upsized in the hope of getting Nth and Sth hemisphere seasons, but due to sizing, suggest going numerous sizes larger. For comparison - my boys are between 135cm and 140cm, so i chose Youth size 12 (M) for both...but should have gone 14 (L).
Positives - boys love them...bright fluoro colours were a hit...they have commented they are incredibly warm and durability after 30plus days in them suggests it was money well spent. Great product Spyder, just "off" on the sizing.
Photo shows Spyder Propulsion pant, teamed with TNF Gonzo insulated jacket. Worked well....

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stuart smythe

stuart smythewrote a review of on October 10, 2014

4 5

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

Used during spring skiing down in Australia, as an outer layer only, and with the active fit can see how this will match well under pretty much an shell. Tho active fit, there's no restriction in mobility and well positioned pockets work well with any pack. Dual front zips (my preference on any jacket) enable venting and heat regulation. I have several of Zephyrus jackets, for their size, compressibility (?) and resilience, together with the warmth generated they are a great piece of kit. Fabric withstood several skirmishes with a few snow gums or two, no damage to report. Recommend.

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stuart smythe

stuart smythewrote a review of on August 28, 2014

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Big fan of Black Diamond - their carbon poles cant be beaten. Disappointed however by the flick lock mechanism on this pair needing constant adjustment. Trekking backcountry on near full extension (still 10cm to go), the pole continually slipping and needing adjustment. Will go back to the Razor's as preferred touring pole. The probe functionality whilst useful (not tested), was let down by the flick-lock.

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stuart smythe

stuart smythewrote a review of on March 10, 2014

Starts Warm and toasty but....
3 5

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

bought these as i have the lobster version and find those too warm...was hoping these would be a happy medium...
have spent pretty much the last 30 days using these in mostly trying conditions (Hakuba Japan...from +5c to -12c) generally heavy powder and my "back to base" touring kit ....over periods of several hours however these gloves do lose their initial warmth quickly. Whilst highly water proof, the leather does get damp faster than similar gloves (ie. hestra alpine pro's)...not sure of the leather treatment process at BD, but have found Hestra gloves far superior in this capacity. Inserts are great initially, but quickly "pill" with constant use and don't particularly like getting damp from snow infiltration.

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stuart smythe

stuart smythewrote a review of on March 10, 2014

Not as warm as it could be...
3 5

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

I bought this jacket because of the tech supposedly used in its constructrion..but have been underwhelmed by its "warmth"...you will definitely need numerous layers, ideally soft shell or fleece underneath, as this jacket doesnt hold out the cold, as suggested...on the positive side, great number of pockets, powder skirt, wrist gaiters, two way zip (tho a little "sticky" for first numerous uses)...its a big fitting jacket...suggest size down if in warmer areas, but it does need layering...

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stuart smythe

stuart smythewrote a review of on December 27, 2013

5 5

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

UPDATE: Feb 2015...two years of abuse and still going strong...I bought two pairs (see below) - coated one with wax, one without...the one without whilst still working brilliantly will get a coating of wax, as these gloves are pretty much indestructible. Suffice to say, the stitching on one pair has undone slightly...easily fixed...but for $30 they owe me absolutely nothing! HIGHLY recommend - used on piste, backcountry, building igloo's and shovelling ...cover them in wax and they'll last for at least two seasons (and counting!)...
_____________________________________________________
if you treat your gloves with little respect and tend to go through them quickly because of rough wear and lots of contact work, these are a cheap and terrific alternative. Great value for money! I've gone through every pair of "guide" glove there is, spending up to 5-10x more than these yet the durability so far appears to be pretty much on par...they mightn't look as good as the more expensive gloves, but I'll take function and form over style any day if it keeps my hands well protected.
I've noted that several other reviews mentioned decreasing waterproof qualities, so have used hestra wax to reinforce the existing wax coating on one pair and have kept the second pair untreated. Will report back in a few months on how this works. Nevertheless, for comfort and warmth at this price i don't think they can be beat. Elastic cuff is great for keeping the snow out when digging and clearing snow, but also traps in the heat.
My everyday go to work and play glove. Great Job FlyLow...thanks!

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stuart smythe

stuart smythewrote a review of on November 18, 2013

5 5

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

These boxer briefs are the only undies you'll need...end of story...
Three years down and all my pairs are going strong, still keeping everything where it needs to be, no wear or tear, elasticity great and most of all the best breathable, non chaffing boxers on the market...they are multipurpose and simply unbeatable...

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stuart smythe

stuart smythewrote a review of on November 18, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Voluminous, hardy, takes a beating, then packs down to nothing for easy storage...I have these in nearly every size & colour as they just can't be beat for versatility...
Numerous ways to haul this bag, with great shoulder straps...the danger is you pack too much into them because they can take it...
A version with wheels, yet still packable (if its not already available) would be great...
Fabric is incredibly resilient with no punctures or tears to report so far.
Cinch straps and daisy chains add to functionality...
My only criticism is the zippers take some time to "wear in" and can be sticky (this is consistent across all sizes).

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stuart smythe

stuart smythewrote a review of on November 18, 2013

5 5

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

I have THREE pairs of these booties...they are my go to relief shoe after a day out skiing...or for wearing around the house on those cold winter days...they are VERY durable...the rubber soles are grippy and hard wearing...
The initial fit is tight, but they do stretch and the elastic around the boot does loosen in time...they deal with light snow, rain and the odd puddle, or spilt beer(!) very well.
To say they are comfortable doesn't adequately describe the sensation of putting them on after 8 hours in ski boots...
Highly recommend!
Go up one size would be my recommendation...

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stuart smythe

stuart smythewrote a review of on June 26, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This bag (200cm) is ENORMOUS...

I have a pair of Armada JJ's, K2 Pettitors and Coombacks, plus associated kit - boots (scarps 28.5), helmets (x2), gloves (x3), extra safety gear (ice axe, skins, spare shovel), spare parts, waxing kit etc...plus the odd piece of clothing stuffed in the remaining gaps...of course this blows out your luggage allowance but for a four week trip in Japan...it did brilliantly. Packed again and headed for NZ in two weeks...

Highly recommend it...

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stuart smythe

stuart smythewrote a review of on January 12, 2013

great choice for kids protection
4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

two boys 6 & 7 - extremely active and always pushing it...this helmet has been excellent in terms of fit and adjustability, as well as functionality and according to them, comfort. No complaints of cold heads etc, so guessing its warm too...
Only complaint, the ear warmer inserts do wiggle loose, so tighten the adjustable straps to keep helmet firmly in place...(hence only 4stars). The Goat sticker is optional!

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stuart smythe

stuart smythewrote a review of on January 7, 2013

Insurance & Functionality
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

July 2013:
Used extensively in Japan (refill via Rapie's in Hakuba) and New Zealand (refilled & new cylinder by SportivNZ in Christchurch - great sales service by these guys too.) Travelled back to Australia no issues with cylinder through X-ray - no questions asked by "TSA" equivalents. Great pack - HIGHLY recommend it.


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Jan 2013:
Whilst this pack doesn't negate the necessary and appropriate planning and decision making needed to assess backcountry risk, it does however add some piece of mind. this is my first air bag, replacing a track hardened Ospraie pack, but the BCA has all the same features, plus the air bag, that I love about great backcountry gear. The key backcountry kit of shovel/handle/blade & probe, beacon etc fit easily into the dedicated section. My 320 mammut probe, which packs to 44cms length, fits easily with room to spare. The general section fits all kit, including skins, first aid pack, bivvys x2, alpine harness,30m of rope, lunch, down jackets, spare gloves,500ml thermos, you can insert 2ltr camelback etc and any additional kit etc...the goggle pocket is tidy and will only handle current large frames, the helmet tie down is simple and functional to operate. The waist harness is hardcore, takes some practice to engage with gloves etc, but feels very sturdy (leg strap is easy to install). Whilst yet to activate the bag (hopefully won't need to either), the functionality, ease of use, quality materials and overall sturdiness of this pack should be an essential part of your backcountry gear. cheers ss

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stuart smythe

stuart smythewrote a review of on January 7, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have used these extensively this winter from groomers, park to backcountry. They are my go to glove. The fit is tight (size 10), when compared to other hestra styles i have (ie. army leather GTX, the seth morrisons). Warmth and durability have exceeded my expectations. All day backcountry skinning in -15degree temps, the glove dexterity and usability are the best i have experienced.

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stuart smythe

stuart smythewrote a review of on September 29, 2012

essential ...
4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

top of mt fuji (3717m), -1c, but brilliant blue sky, tho wind was howling on the ridge, the pullover did brilliantly. The wind proofing was tested and for the most part did a great job...packs down in the chest pocket to about 5 by 4 inches and compresses well...to stow in backpack...another pocket or two wouldn't go astray tho...(hence only 4 stars).

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