xtekian

xtekian

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xtekian

xtekian wrote a review of on April 15, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

Just got it in today -- stand is very sturdily built and fits my Salsa Mukluk with Surly Nate 3.8" tires no problem. Love the minimalist style, it doesn't interfere with the cassette or rear derailleur and makes my bike look like it's in a showroom. Only caveat is that there is only about 0.5" of width leftover, so a bike having 4.8" tires might be too tight a squeeze.

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xtekian

xtekian wrote a review of on February 1, 2013

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I owned an Arcteryx Venta AR Jacket for over a year and in many ways it was a great windproof jacket -- it was light, nicely cut, had a burly outer fabric, and its fleece backing added warmth so I could wear it on its own with a tshirt to the high 40s. However, it also had a lot of issues with it -- 1) the face fabric does not stretch so it's hard to layer more than one long sleeve top underneath 2) the arms taper to the handcuffs which make it even harder to layer 3) it's a very short jacket -- sure it's windproof, but it barely covers my hips which leaves my crotch a bit too cold. These issues together made me consider how well my money was spent on a jacket this expensive!

I finally sold this jacket one day after I tried on the Patagonia Adze in stores, as I found it better than the Venta in most aspects. It's similar in that they're both windproof jackets with no hood and a light fleece backing. However, the Adze has a super stretchy face fabric which makes it MUCH more comfortable, it has hand cuffs = easier layering, and it is slightly longer -- about 1 inch -- which helps cover my sensitive areas while still maintaining an athletic fit for backpack wearing. The only downside of the Adze is that its fabric is softer and likely less abrasion resistant than the Adze. But, the Adze costs less than half of the Venta retail!

The Arcteryx Venta is a very hard sell considering how awesome the Patagonia Adze is; while the Venta is a good jacket, there are certainly better out there at better prices.

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xtekian

xtekian wrote a review of on January 3, 2013

3 5

Was excited about getting this shoe cover since it blocks the wind at a decent price. I got the size L for a size 43 shoe. Unfortunately when I received it, I had a really tough time putting it on the shoe -- Mavic made the rear zip very small ,and didn't think about how hard it would be to put on shoe covers on bike shoes with speedplay cleats. Returned it because (1) I didn't want risk ripping the shoe cover while putting it on since it was such a tight fit, and (2) I don't want to spend 5 minutes putting on the shoe cover every time the weather's cold enough for it.

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xtekian

xtekian wrote a review of on March 1, 2011

4 5

I've been looking for a lightweight softshell that doesn't break the bank for spring/early summer treks, and potentially for hiking across South America this summer. I wound up trying both the MH Offwidth Jacket and Patagonia Simple Guide. I'm fairly small (5'7, 34" chest) and ended up getting the MH in Small and Patagonia in XS.

Fit: Both jackets are sized nearly identically - same hem width, back length, armpit-to-armpit width (20" armpit-to armpit, 19" hem width). The Simple Guide has 1" longer sleeves and a slightly tighter bicep area. When worn, both expectedly fit the same, with a fairly athletic cut and room for a fleece layer but not much more.

Features: Once again, nearly the same features: 3 pockets, hem drawcord, velcro cuffs. The Offwidth has a neck drawcord. The Offwidth has a slightly heavier soft shell material and as a result weighs about 4oz more than the Simple Guide.

Material: The jackets differ mostly here, with the Offwidth having a slightly thicker, more windproof softshell than the Simple Guide. The texture of the Offwidth is thicker as well. Both have tons of stretch and do not have a fleece backing or membrane. The fabric of the Simple Guide is much more breathable -- probably the most breathable soft shell I've owned -- and is less crinkly and falls more naturally when wearing (think silk scarf).

Styling: I love MH but one thing they need to work on is the styling. I would not wear the Offwidth around town -- it has loud, white Mountain Hardwear logos on the chest, sleeve, and even on the velcro cuffs. Even worse, the zippers stick out at a weird angle to the front AND to the side of the jacket due to the construction of the zippers -- WHY MH WHY?? In contrast, the Simple Guide just oozes with style with an understated logo on the chest and tasteful zipper drawers. There is no comparison here really, the Simple Guide wins hands down.

In the end, I found that both jackets had a nearly identical feature set, and both clock in at $120 retail. I sided with the Simple Guide primarily because the soft shell material was lighter and more breathable, which is what I'm looking for during spring and summer. Also the styling may be a deal breaker for some, for me I spend 95% of my time NOT hiking so this was a factor as well.

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xtekian

xtekian wrote a review of on February 9, 2011

5 5

This is my favorite light fleece jacket! Light, warm, and and slim fitting; I'm 5'7 135 and the Small fits well with enough space to layer a light sweater. The microgrid fleece pattern reminds me of the Arcteryx Delta LT, which MH trumps easily with an extra chest pocket, drawcord hem, and Powerstretch Hardface sides and sleeves (and it's $10 cheaper retail to boot). The Powerstretch Hardface really is the dealmaker here as it gives this jacket an excellent fit and a feeling of luxury as only more expensive jackets tend to have this material (Arcteryx Atom, MH Desna). Only thing I think it missing would be a two way zipper since the jacket is fairly long, and it bunches up a lot when I'm sitting.

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xtekian

xtekian wrote an answer about on January 10, 2011

There is more insulation in TNF Redpoint Optimus (100g Primaloft vs 80/60 on the Thermawrap) so it will be warmer. TNF Redpoint also has a stronger ripstop weave and is a looser cut than the Thermawrap (for the same size). I think the Redpoint is meant to be more of an outer layer, while the Thermawrap is a little more versatile as it can be used as an outer layer or as a layering piece.

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xtekian

xtekian wrote a review of on March 11, 2009

4 5

I loved my Gamma SV so much that I wanted to try out another Arc'Teryx softshell. After some shopping I ended up with this jacket in Tarragon as it seemed to provide a different set of technical qualities than the Gamma (windproof, warmer weather). Basically, after wearing both these jackets for the fall and parts of the winter, here are my conclusions: The Venta jacket is usable in a more diverse set of conditions. Tarragon is a beautiful dark greenish color, I absolutely love it (my Gamma was in drab black). The cut of the Venta SV is slightly roomier than the Gamma (but still athletic) and slightly longer, allowing for better layering. Taped Seams makes the Venta much more comfortable to wear over just a baselayer.

Now here is the one thing I do not like about the Venta -- the Windstopper fabric has almost no stretch. This is usually ok since the cut is roomier -- however the jacket is stifling at the wrists! There is almost no way I can check the time on my watch when wearing this jacket. The wrists are so tight that I cannot layer anything more than a long sleeve shirt and maybe a thin fleece, and putting on gloves under the wrists is really a pain (especially with a watch). This problem is made worse since whenever I put on my Gamma I realize how stretch yet durable the Powershield material is. Perhaps it would have been wise for Arc to provide gussetted wrists on this one.

So yes, almost perfect, and should be fully deserving of five stars... but the lack of 4way stretch takes this jacket one notch down. I would still buy this jacket in a heartbeat!

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xtekian

xtekian wrote a review of on February 26, 2009

4 5

I have a rather small chest - 34" - so I was glad to try on the XS, which fit well. Nice and form fitting but two things give it 4 stars instead of 5 -- 1) material is so thin, it should not be this expensive! and 2) it's as soft as some of my soft cotton.... actually that's probably a good thing, but it makes me wonder why I just didn't spend $10 on a gap cotton shirt.

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