Don't Miss Free 2-Day Shipping on Orders Over $50* — Ends Today
zak harris

zak harris

Planet Earth. More specifically Utah

    New Feature

    Browse Your Followers or See Who You're Following

  • #67of 19658

Zak's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Running
Climbing

Zak's Bio

Backcountry.com’s Gearheads are your instant connection to gear knowledge. They’re passionate outdoor experts hell-bent on helping you find the right ski, saddle, or pro. Follow their adventures and exploits.

Here's a little about myself:

"I like to think of myself as a person that you need to keep your eye on or I'll wander off into the forest and forget to come back."
I'm a hero to some and a savior to the rest. Some people say that I think to highly of myself but that was before I melted their pants with the heat that radiates from my plethora of accomplishments.

I spend most of my time recreating in the mountains around Salt Lake City. I love to hike, backpack, camp, run and if I owned a bike, I'd certainly ride it often.

I've dabbled in climbing but never really put the effort into it to become really good at it. My favorite outdoor past time is canyoneering. I'll gladly spend a weekend or two down in southern Utah when I can rappelling down waterfalls and solving problems in a canyon.

Traveling is another joy of mine. When I can, I love driving to remote locations just to watch the clouds roll in. I've spent some time in Guatemala and Turkey and hope to travel elsewhere internationally before I eventually croak.

"To believe in bigfoot is to hope, to dream -- to resist the crassness of mass culture and to insist that ones individuality remains untouched."

I’d love to answer your gear related questions. Here is how you can contact me:
zharris@backcountry.com
1-800-409-4502 ext. 4248

zak harris

zak harris wrote a review of on June 10, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've been using a pair of Skullcandy earbuds for the past couple years with no complaints. Decided to give these a shot and they're a great option if you're not looking to spend a pretty penny on some decent buds. The sound is good and clean, the bass is deep and the flat cord really does help prevent these things from looking like the Griswald's Christmas lights.

I gave them 4 stars because I've run into the same issue with these as I do with most buds, they never stay in my ears. Like my eyeglasses, I'm always having to constantly re-adjust them and every time I blink they start to slide out. It wouldn't be that big of a deal but when they start to slip out you lose all the good bass that makes them stand out against any other buds. Maybe my ears canals are deformed and this dream of finding a pair of buds that won't slip out is never going to come true...

(0)

 

0 Comments

zak harris

zak harris wrote a review of on May 14, 2014

3 5

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

I've always had a hard time with the fit on Backcountry.com products. I have short arms for my height (6' 1") and their sizing generally runs with long arms in relation to the torso length. On top of that, I've added a fine ring of sugar muscles around my belly and this shirt hangs in all the wrong places because of it. It's almost as if it were designed to make me look as fat as possible, and mind you, I'm only 185 lbs.

Other than that, I loved the material, which is why I originally wanted to try this one out. Seemed soft and cool and I could imagine it being particularly nice on a cool summer evening. But because of the strange fit I returned it.

Normally I'll go with a Medium or Small depending on the fit. I tried out both on this shirt and the Medium nearly swallowed my hands the sleeves were so long and the Small made me look like your creepy uncle. I'm going to say it tends to run small based on the torso length.

(0)

 

0 Comments

zak harris

zak harris wrote a review of on May 14, 2014

3 5

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

This is a fine product, plenty of room, sits securely around your waist, and would make it extremely difficult for someone to swipe your stuff without you noticing. Where my qualms come in are when it comes to actually being "undercover."

As I said above, the wallet works great for keeping your stuff out of reach, but it's not very concealable unless you're wearing a jacket or something baggy and dark colored. I spend a lot of time traveling around 3rd world countries and sometimes I have quite a large sum of cash on my person as I'm leading groups of people around. We're already a target because we're usually the only white people around. I don't want throw another one on my back by inadvertently advertising to an assailant that I might have a large bit of money that I'm trying to hide from them. And seeing as most of the places I'm visiting are not the type where you're going to be needing a jacket, I found it hard to conceal this wallet when I tried it on at home.

Again, it's a fine product, and if you've got the ability to conceal it under baggy dark clothes or multiple layers then it will work fine. My problems are that it's hard to conceal when you don't meet the conditions above.

(0)

 

0 Comments

zak harris

zak harris wrote a review of on May 13, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

What more can you expect from a water bottle? How about the fact that it's made out of super tough plastic or that the narrow mouth allows you to drink while riding with your friend in his car who thinks it's funny to tap the breaks on his car and you don't spill water all over your face? Genius.

(1)

 

0 Comments

zak harris

zak harris wrote a review of on April 8, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I do a lot of traveling internationally staying in places that you'd never hear the end of from your girlfriend. During my travels I'm often leading a group of folks and handling lots of money to pay for group activities and such so I've been in the market for a discreet undercover wallet/pocket. My biggest concern is making sure that to onlookers, I don't appear to be carrying large sums of money on me. One of the most frustrating things to me is to see people traveling around developing countries assuming that they're not suspicious to onlookers because they have a money belt or leg wallet that keeps their stuff safe from pick-pockets and such. But what they don't realize as the bulky thing on their hip or mid thigh is completely visible to anyone who knows what they're looking for which makes you a potential target for muggings and the like.

So when I compared this with the Money Belt DLX and the Leg Wallet, this one stood out above the rest as the most concealable option. Because it hangs from your belt on your hip vertically it's a lot less noticeable when you're wearing light colored, or tighter clothing. I found that with the Money Belt it's extremely obvious that you've got something tied around your waist unless you're wearing loose or multiple layers up top. And the Leg Wallet can be uncomfortable in hotter temperatures and obvious when you sit down in a pair of shorts.

I chose the Hidden Pocket for it's concealable and inconspicuous design as well as the comfort level when traveling in hot hot developing countries.

(1)

 

0 Comments

zak harris

zak harris wrote a review of on April 8, 2014

5 5

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

Bridgedale makes the some of the most comfortable and functional socks. They're nice padded, extremely breathable which makes them nice and cool (as in temperature) on your feet, and hold up well to lots of usage. I'm looking forward to getting a lot out of these.

I'm a 10.5/11 and the Large fit exceptionally.

(0)

 

0 Comments

zak harris

zak harris wrote a review of on April 8, 2014

5 5

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

I've been wearing the Merrell Chameleons for the past three years and they've always done me good. My last pair I purchased were the Chameleon 4's back in May 2012 and I used them for everything. Hiking (all 4 seasons), backpacking, construction, and as casual around town shoes. They were sturdy enough to hold up to the hard stuff and comfortable enough to lounge in.

My first impressions with the 5's are that they certainly seem more rigid in the upper than I remember the 4's being out of the box. I like this. Weight seems about the same between the two, which some might find a little much at about 1.2 lbs. each. While a lighter pair of shoes is nice I feel that the added weight goes towards having a more durable sole as well as the added rigidity and protection from the nylon arch shank.

I haven't gotten to take these out and hit the trail with them yet, I'm still working on breaking them in. The only downside that I can find so far is the weight. While I can handle it and it's certainly not excessive in my opinion, some people might find that to be a turn off.

I normally go with a 10.5 or 11 depending on the shoe and while I fit in the 10.5's the 11's are a lot more comfortable.

(1)

 

0 Comments

zak harris

zak harris wrote a review of on April 1, 2014

5 5

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

I love Smartwool socks. Durable, provide great performance, and look great too. I always find myself at this place when the seasons are transitioning from snow to sun where I have no appropriate apparel for my feet. You know, it's the time when it's too warm for your big winter socks but not quite warm enough to bust out the Chaco's. Because of my track record with Smartwool and the vast amounts of pleasure I receive from wearing them, I grabbed a couple pairs of these and put them on. It's been a great couple of weeks as my feet have gotten to know these socks very intimately. The construction on these socks are very low profile so no bulky heel or toe, but just enough padding to keep your dogs from barking at the end of the day. I'm going to be sad when this spring weather lets up and I have to say goodbye to these socks for a while so my feet can experience the freedom only a flip-flop can provide.

(1)

 

0 Comments

zak harris

zak harris wrote a review of on April 1, 2014

4 5

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

I'm in the need for a new pair of shoes that transition well between the hills and the office. I've been using a pair of Merrell Chameleon's for about 2 years now and they're finally starting to fall apart (there's a nice split in the side and the laces/eyelets are destroyed). So I bought these to compare against the newest Merrell Chameleon 5's.

These seem like a great pair of shoes if you're looking for a flexible shoe with some aggressive traction. I'm usually a 10.5 or 11 depending on the brand and the 10.5's were perfect for me. I wore them around for a day and it doesn't seem like there's much of a break-in period. Ultimately I decided to stick with the Merrell's and here's why.

Because I've been in the Merrell's for so long my feet have gotten used to the stiffer sole in the Chameleon's so walking around in the Mantra felt a little loosey goosey. Plus I like the added protection that the Merrell's offer with their nylon shank. Another issue I ran into is the lacing on the Mantra's tends to pull pretty tight on the top of my foot right below my ankle. I've had this problem with other shoes but the Merrell's have always fit my feet well and never caused an issue with this. So what I'm left with is either having my feet fall asleep if I sit down for more than 5 minutes or I have to wear them without the laces tightened all the way and the shoes feel like they're going to fall off all the time.

I really wanted these to work because I've never owned a pair of Vasque's but I found that they just don't suit my feet well. Otherwise, seems like a great shoe.

(0)

 

0 Comments

0 Comments

zak harris

zak harris wrote a review of on March 24, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

I purchased this for my Grivel G14's which are sized to my 45 Trango Extremes and this case is about 1/2 an inch to short to fit them. I feel like I have a pretty standard foot size (10 1/2 or 11) so it seems weird that the crampons wouldn't fit unless I wanted to break them down every time I put them away. So I returned the bag without being able to use it. However, if the bag had been big enough to fit my crampons, it seemed like it would work just fine.

(0)

 

0 Comments

zak harris

zak harris wrote a review of on March 4, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

When you spend a lot of time sitting in coach on an airplane, you learn quickly that the dorky things you see people carrying onto the plane with them can be well worth the loss of style points when your physical comfort is on the line. I've tried out several of these neck pillows and always found them to be too bulky to really hold my head up in those uncomfortable seats and ease the neck tension I'm prone too. Unfortunately this pillow was no exception. Still too bulky for me. However, because this one can transform into a flat pillow I've found it to be greatly helpful. The stuffing on the inside is nice and soft and the outside of the pillow feels good against your face when you're leaning against the window.

(1)

 

0 Comments

zak harris

zak harris wrote a review of on March 4, 2014

5 5

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

I've recently found myself traveling a lot to developing countries. So I've been on the lookout for some pants that are versatile, comfortable and look good. I've tried out several by Columbia and I've liked what I've found. I tried some Prana's and they were meh, not bad but could've been better. For my latest trip to Haiti I got a pair of these and put them to the test.

Great pants so far. They're a little stiff right out of the bag but after one wash they felt like I'd been living in them for years. The color coated zippers on the zip-off legs are awesome. Hugely convenient when you board the plane and it's below freezing but when you get off it's 90 degrees with 100% humidity (or vice-versa). The pockets all feel secure when I have them stuffed full of cash and important documents for border officials. The length on the shorts is nice and long (although I'm not opposed to having a little short-shorts action going on). Performance is great as well. They breath nicely, have a good amount of stretch and the durability is great for building brick houses and messing around with concrete.

The only complaint is the built in belt. On a lot of other pants I've tried the belt is either removable or designed so that you don't have to buckle something up every time nature calls. It's a minor thing but a little inconvenient.

(1)

 

0 Comments

zak harris

zak harris wrote an answer about on February 17, 2014

Hey Ben,

It looks like we have 1 more of these guys in a Medium in the color Twilight that we'll be getting in. Unfortunately I can't give you an exact date when we'll have that up on the site for purchase. The best thing to do is just keep checking the site because as soon as we get it in stock it'll be listed as available for purchase!

(0)

 

zak harris

zak harris wrote an answer about on February 10, 2014

Hey Chris,

Unfortunately, whether or not this would be appropriate for those temperatures tends to be a relative question depending on a number of factors including how your body temp tends to run. I own this pad and I've used it in temps below 0 degrees C and I've been fine. However, I also had a 15 degree bag with a fleece liner. So it can depend on a number of other factors as well. As David mentioned, looking for a pad with a higher R-value or some included insulation (this one has no insulation, just air) would certainly keep you more warm, but it doesn't necessarily mean this one won't work.

(1)

 

zak harris

zak harris wrote a review of on February 3, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I bought several of Eagle Creeks Pack-It cubes for a trip a made to Africa lasting about two weeks. They performed phenomenally and were really helpful in keeping my room in some what of a less disheveled state for the duration of my stay. The smaller ones were useful for putting together a small first aid kit of sorts that I would take out during the day. It was really easy and convenient to just grab the bag and know that everything I needed was in there.

(1)

 

zak harris

zak harris wrote a review of on February 3, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I've gone back and forth on investing in some of Eagle Creeks Pack-It cubes for a couple of years now and decided to pull the trigger on some before a trip I made recently to Tanzania for 2 weeks. If you're the type of person who appreciates organization then absolutely these are awesome! I can fit about 10 t-shirts into a single one. I took 5 and that fit all the clothes I needed for the two weeks trip. The other added bonus is the smell from my shoes didn't transfer over to my clothes which is a problem that I've had before (I don't have fancy luggage, just a bomber duffel bag). The bags are thin and light and easy to pack and organize.

(1)

 

0 Comments

zak harris

zak harris wrote a review of on December 16, 2013

5 5

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

I love these shorts! Great length and great cut. My wife says they make my butt look great. Wore them for the first time in Hawaii for nearly 2 weeks straight they were so comfortable. Used them hiking and lounging and couldn't say enough about them. Lots of features and pockets and good durability so far. I'm usually a 32-33 waist and the Mediums fit like a glove.

(0)

 

0 Comments

zak harris

zak harris wrote a review of on December 16, 2013

4 5

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

I like Prana, they generally make a very functional and comfortable product. However, I was a little disappointed in these. I'll start with the pro's.

As shorts these are awesome, I love 'em. They fit great (I'm usually a 32-33 waist and the Mediums fit great), have a great length and tons of pockets and features. As pants, they are mighty sharp looking!

The cons are they feel a little stiff and aren't as soft as I've come to expect from Prana garments. The other big complaint is the construction seems kinda shotty on these. Lots of loose threads as well as extra material left untrimmed concerning the zippers which I had to go in and shave down with my pocket knife 3 miles into a hike because the plastic coating around the zippers was scratching into my legs.

I'm not sure if I just got the bad banana in the bunch so I still gave them 4 stars. I hoped for better though.

(2)

 

0 Comments

zak harris

zak harris wrote a review of on October 30, 2013

4 5

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

I love the Ultimate Roc Pants and so I thought why not give the shorts a try?

While the pants are great for just about every environment I've found (work, hiking, lounging, weddings, etc.), I feel like the shorts are a lot more specific in the settings that they're designed for. Basically, they're dad shorts. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Columbia found a photo album of my dad wearing shorts from the late 80's to early 90's and designed these shorts to look and feel like what my dad was wearing. The only different is that these have updated pockets.

Fine shorts, just not for me.

(1)

 

0 Comments

load more