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Angela L

Angela L

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Angela L

Angela Lwrote a review of on October 14, 2019

5 5

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

I recently brought this duffel traveling on a 5 day trip while visiting family. I thought it was the perfect size for the trip, and I even had some room to spare. I wouldn't have wanted to bring a bigger bag, this one was perfect. I appreciate all the handy compartments outside and inside of the bag, as it makes for easy and organized packing. Having backpack straps allowed me to maneuver through the airport quickly. This is a solid and burly bag that does the job and more!

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Angela L

Angela Lwrote a review of on September 13, 2019

5 5

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

I brought these poles for the first time on a three day backpacking trip in the Wind Rivers. The terrain there ranges from mellow hiking in meadows to climbing rugged scree passes. These poles held up great. I was worried about stability, since these poles are so light, but they felt just as supportive as heftier poles. I would totally recommend these poles for hiking, backpacking, and running. Just be sure to get the correct sizing when you order, or better yet, get the FLZ version where you can adjust the length.

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Angela L

Angela Lwrote a review of on August 14, 2019

5 5

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

This axe is pretty sweet! As someone just getting into mountaineering, I brought it on some mellow low angle stuff for an added aspect of safety and it worked nicely! I did some practice self-arresting and it gripped nicely into the snow. This is a great middle of the pack axe in terms of price, weight, and features. Excited to get to know this axe and snowy terrain next winter!

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Angela L

Angela Lwrote a review of on August 10, 2019

Meet my Best Friend!
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This backpack was my best friend on my two week backpacking trip through the Sierra Nevada's on the John Muir Trail. Even though I spent those two weeks hiking with two of my good friends, I got to know this pack even closer than anyone I met on the trail. After many months of considering and researching different packs for the trip, I ultimately chose this pack because of its weight (SO light), and size (60L is very spacious), and overall design (handy straps and functions). With about a 40 pound pack, at its heaviest, this pack performed amazingly on my small frame (I am only 5'2). I chose the short sizing option and appreciate the mirco-adjustments I could make in the hip belt and shoulder straps. I was able to fit 11 days worth of gear (6 days of food at a time with a bear canister), with room to spare! I probably only used 48L of the entire pack at my max weight, but I like the option to have more space if needed.

A few features I love and must rave about:
+Compression straps on front of pack: I loved to use these straps as a drying rack! It worked well to hang wet socks, underwear, and even my pee rag on these straps.
+Hip belt: nice big hip belts means easy assess to SNACKS and sunscreen! Never a bad thing.
+Straps: the straps are nice and long; so if you're a seasoned backpacker, you can chop these to your liking, or if you're new to the trail, keep them long for versatility.
+Side pockets: these pockets are massive! I could stuff my water and filtration system and little random things in these pockets and still have space. The drawstring can really cinch down for a tight enclosure.

Considerations:
-The pack definitely packs better vertically than horizontally, not a bad thing, but sometimes it was hard to stuff the pack to fill it out since it wasn't super stretchy.

This pack is a great lightweight option for any backpacker! I would especially recommend it if you're looking for an affordable lightweight backpack for longer trips or thru-hikes. Happy trails!

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Angela L

Angela Lwrote a review of on August 7, 2019

A wild solar panel in its natural habita
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I recently brought this solar panel on a 2 week backpacking trip through the Sierra Nevadas and I am sure glad I did! On a long backpacking trip, a solar panel feels like an unnecessary piece of gear and extra weight, but I found it helpful on my trip and don’t regret bringing it. Since I was using Gaia for navigation on the trail, having battery was important. After trying the solar panel in different types of light and hanging arrangements, here are some things I found:

+TIME OF DAY: The solar panel works best when it is in direct sunlight between 10:30-4:00pm. The morning and evening sun seemed to provide less of a charge then bright afternoon sunlight.

+SET-UP: A lot of people seem to hang their solar panels on the outside of their packs. I found that this method, while convenient, does not give you the best charge. Too often was I hiking through tree coverage, and this very on and off light source almost drained my battery more than helped it. During hiking breaks and lunch, I would take out the panel and lay it somewhere with sun. Depending on the area and day, the panel would charge about 5% every 30 minutes. Its slow going but worth it to keep the juices flowing. Unless you’re hiking in direct sunlight with no coverage, the panel works best laying out for extended periods of time. I would recommend bringing an external battery pack if you’re going on a trip longer than 2 weeks, just to have a back-up option.

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Angela L

Angela Lwrote a review of on August 7, 2019

Happy Staying Light and Dry!
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 2"
Weight: 125 lbs
Size Purchased: XS

As I did some research on the best gear jacket for my 2 week backpacking trip through the Sierra Nevadas, the Helium jacket and pants stood out to me as the lightest and best rain gear for the job. Different sites kept praising the Helium line and I decided to give it a try. Here are some thoughts after using the jacket and pants on my trip:

+It is super light: Outdoor Research Helium raingear is one of the lightest kits on the market. It is nice to have an emergency layer that doesn’t take up much weight or space. I kept this in the brain of my pack which was great for access and storage.

+It is mosquito proof: This bonus feature came as a surprise to me. We stayed in many campsites where the mosquitoes swarmed and it would have been miserable if it was not for wearing my rain gear at camp. I picked up this trick after seeing some PCTers doing the same. Despite its thin layer, both water and mosquitos stayed away, and I was able to enjoy being at camp in peace.

+Keeps ya dry: I was lucky to have nice, dry, sunny weather for the first 9 days of our trip. However, the rain came rolling in for the next 3 days. Rain can be such a downer, everything gets cold and wet and walking all day becomes much less appealing. Luckily, with the Helium, I stayed (mostly) dry. Mostly dry, because there was 5 hours of pouring rain one day and by the end of the day, I was definitely a little damp. The jacket and pants eventually got oversaturated and water started to seep into my layers underneath. Despite this, the Helium still did a good job on keeping me dry for the majority of my trip, just beware of extended downpours.

+Sizing: I am usually between XS and S in most gear and I went for the XS. In retrospect, I should have gone with the S. The XS fit me perfectly when I was just standing still with the gear on, but any kind of bending or reaching made it apparent that the gear was too small on me and was riding up. If you are between two sizes, I would probably size up.

Overall, I would recommend this rain set for any trip, especially if you are trying to save weight. If youre lucky, you wont have to use it at all, if not, rest assured that the jacket and pants will help you stay dry.

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Angela L

Angela Lwrote a review of on August 7, 2019

Happy Staying Light and Dry!
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 2"
Weight: 125 lbs
Size Purchased: XS

As I did some research on the best gear jacket for my 2 week backpacking trip through the Sierra Nevadas, the Helium jacket and pants stood out to me as the lightest and best rain gear for the job. Different sites kept praising the Helium line and I decided to give it a try. Here are some thoughts after using the jacket and pants on my trip:

+It is super light: Outdoor Research Helium raingear is one of the lightest kits on the market. It is nice to have an emergency layer that doesn’t take up much weight or space. I kept this in the brain of my pack which was great for access and storage.

+It is mosquito proof: This bonus feature came as a surprise to me. We stayed in many campsites where the mosquitoes swarmed and it would have been miserable if it was not for wearing my rain gear at camp. I picked up this trick after seeing some PCTers doing the same. Despite its thin layer, both water and mosquitos stayed away, and I was able to enjoy being at camp in peace.

+Keeps ya dry: I was lucky to have nice, dry, sunny weather for the first 9 days of our trip. However, the rain came rolling in for the next 3 days. Rain can be such a downer, everything gets cold and wet and walking all day becomes much less appealing. Luckily, with the Helium, I stayed (mostly) dry. Mostly dry, because there was 5 hours of pouring rain one day and by the end of the day, I was definitely a little damp. The jacket and pants eventually got oversaturated and water started to seep into my layers underneath. Despite this, the Helium still did a good job on keeping me dry for the majority of my trip, just beware of extended downpours.

+Sizing: I am usually between XS and S in most gear and I went for the XS. In retrospect, I should have gone with the S. The XS fit me perfectly when I was just standing still with the gear on, but any kind of bending or reaching made it apparent that the gear was too small on me and was riding up. If you are between two sizes, I would probably size up.

Overall, I would recommend this rain set for any trip, especially if you are trying to save weight. If youre lucky, you wont have to use it at all, if not, rest assured that the jacket and pants will help you stay dry.

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Angela L

Angela Lwrote a review of on August 7, 2019

A Backpackers Best Friend!
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I got these poles for a two week backpacking trip on the John Muir Trail in the Sierra Nevadas, and let me tell you, they became one of my favorite pieces of gear. Previous to this trip, I had not used hiking poles, I hadn't found them to be super necessary on shorter trips, but I am changed after relying on these puppies for two weeks straight. The John Muir Trail offers a range of challenges from river crossings to snow travel up mountain passes to endless switchbacks. These poles gave me the stability and confidence I needed to travel safely on the trail. They stood sturdy as I gripped them as a lifeline across a raging river and through many miles of slushy, unstable snow....not to mention they saved me from the dreaded knee pain on long descents. As a bonus, they make a great clothesline when you need to dry all your damp clothes at camp.

These poles are nice and lightweight, I didn't have to sacrifice much weight to bring these on my trip and I was stoked about that. I am a big fan of the collapsible feature which makes sizing these poles super easy, and also allows them to be compacted down. The cork handle helps sweaty hands stay dry, minimizing chances for blisters. It took a couple of hours to get used to using these poles, but by the end of the trip, I had discovered about 6 different grips that I liked to switch between depending on the terrain. I am a converted pole used because of these poles and I would recommend them for any long distance and varying terrain. Overall, I am impressed with how ergonomic these poles are and how necessary I found them to be on the trail. Props to Black Diamond for the great design.

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Angela L

Angela Lwrote a review of on August 1, 2019

Sweet comfy dreams!
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Wow, this bag is amazing and I am in love. I brought this bag on my most recent trip backpacking in the Sierra Nevada’s on the John Muir Trail, and this was one of my absolute favorite pieces of gear! First off, the weight of this bag is crazy light. When I first got the bag in its stuff sack, I could hardly believe that there was anything inside (not even exaggerating that much…well, maybe a little). At 1lbs 13 oz, this bag is about as lightweight as you can get for the warmth without switching to quilt systems. The lightness of the bag matches the packability of the bag. With a Sea to Summit Event Dry Compression Sack (14L), this thing stuffed down to the size of a BearVault450 (about the size of a gallon of milk). When sleeping at night, with temperatures around 40-50 degrees, I was nice and toasty warm. The down surrounded me like a puffy cloud. Even though it didn’t get down to super cool temps, I have no doubt that this bag will keep me warm through fall/warmer winter nights. I am excited to love the heck out of this bag! Before getting this bag, I had heard that Western Mountaineering made amazing sleeping bags and I am absolutely sold.

Weight and space was the name of the game and this bag met every expectation and exceeded it. This bag is worth every cent. It is 20 degrees of sleeping bag wonder.

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Angela L

Angela Lwrote a review of on July 1, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

After looking through a variety of different packs for my two week backpacking trip in the Sierra Nevada's, I landed on this pack as a great lightweight choice. In fact, it would be my best recommendation for a lightweight pack from Osprey. It holds more form than their UL series and overall is the best fit for longer lightweight trips. While not the lightest pack, its a great choice for something light and reliable. Its a pretty spacious pack, the stretchy material helps you pack every last piece of gear in your pack. It was a tight fit, but I fit 11 days worth of gear in this pack (with a resupply in the middle). The back suspension keeps your back aired out (as much as that is possible) and helps distribute the weight. I wear a S and am 5'2, and it fit just fine. I like how deep and secure the waterbottle holders feel. I only wish that the hip belt had pockets, its a real bummer that they dont. I tend to keep easy access items/snack in those pockets. Other than that, this is a trusty pack for those longer summer expeditions. Love this pack and cant wait to bring it on more trips in the future!

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Angela L

Angela Lwrote a review of on June 13, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I know everyone has said it, but these shoes are like clouds. They are so comfy. I walked around with these shoes for a week and a half, and not only are they stylish but they are supportive and comfortable. I prefer running with shoes that are on the thinner side but these were great for me on my longer walks on my non-running days. Worth checking out!

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Angela L

Angela Lwrote a review of on June 13, 2019

4 5

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

To start, I only tried these shoes on about 2 runs before I decided they were not for me. I think Hoka's are definitely a style that takes a bit of time to get used to. They are solid shoes that I have heard great things about, just not for me. First, I think I got a size too small. I got a 6.5 and should have got a 7, my typical shoe size. The tighter fit felt great at first but then made running a bit painful. I brought these on an easy trail run and could only make it about 2ish miles. I am someone who likes to feel the ground more than not, but I wanted to check these out because of the sweet reviews. Try these out for yourself!

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Angela L

Angela Lwrote a review of on June 13, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

After trying their 2.5 and 3.5 versions, Mountain Hardwear's Optic tent line is a solid tent system. It is simple and light and functional. A great overall tent for backpacking and car camping if you want something that can serve both purposes. I particularly enjoy the spacious feel of this tent. Definitely fits two people with a little more space to spare. Set up is easy and I LOVE the double adjacent doors for convenience. I've been lucky and haven't been in any bad weather since using this tent, so I can't speak to that aspect. I have tried out this tent in the desert and in the mountains and it has held up perfectly fine in these different environments. Solid tent, check it out for yourself!

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Angela L

Angela Lwrote a review of on May 20, 2019

Awesome Piece for Spring!
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs small
Height: 5' 2"
Weight: 120 lbs
Size Purchased: Small

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Solid and handy. First of all, this jacket is SO light. I picked it up and was immediately impressed with the feel of it. Light and sturdy. I brought this on a few bike rides and runs and it is perfect for those chillier/windy days. I like the design and features this jacket has to offer, more info on that below. The fit is slightly small and something to take into consideration when ordering. Overall, it does its job while helping me look and feel more stylish.

WHAT I LOVED: At first glance, this jacket is very eye catching, I am a big fan of the dark blue pattern I chose. The detail of the light blue lining and logo makes the jacket pop and the pattern is unique compared to most solid colored options. As I mentioned, the jacket is very light, and as someone who will use this as a layer in case of wind/light rain, its perfect to throw in my pack and not worry about weight. The pocket is awesome! I love a good pocket! Its a roomy side pocket that is perfect for my phone and keys and a few cards. Plus, the jacket stuffs right into this pouch, super convenient. I brought this on a few rainy bike rides around town (nothing serious, just biking to run errands for a couple miles here and there); it kept me dry from the (light) rain and acted as good protection from the wind. I don't think its necessarily a replacement for a rain jacket but definitely reliable in a light drizzle. I'm stoked to get out more with this jacket, especially in the unpredictable spring weather.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: I have a small critique when it comes to the fit and sizing of this item. I typically wear a XS or S in most jackets, with medium being way too big. I got a small in this jacket and the small was borderline too small. It fit exactly right when standing still; so it hit right at my wrists, right at above my butt. I tend to like a little looser fit because it allows room for movement. I found that, while biking, the sleeves rode up just a little and the back (when leaning forward) was a bit tight. Not as much of a problem while hiking and running. Its not so ill fitting that I want to return it but it is a bit uncomfortable in those areas. I do have broader shoulders so that could have made a difference in the fit. Just something to take into consideration.

BOTTOM LINE: From climbing to hiking to biking, I know I can use this jacket on those more mild weather days where the weather is nice but a bit too windy for comfort. Just throw this on and you're set! After buying and wearing this jacket a handful of times, I think its a solid wind jacket ( and a light drizzle jacket) to bring on any adventure. Be weary of the sizing, I am always a true XS/S and I would probably recommend sizing up a size, especially if you're between sizes.

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Angela L

Angela Lwrote a review of on May 16, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 2"
Weight: 120 lbs
Size Purchased: xs

This jacket is as adorable in person as it is in the photos. The material is a sleek, matte, and smooth (no crinkly sounds!). I think its perfect for wearing around town on a rainy spring day, great even for non-rainy days. I got the green color and it goes well with practically everything. I am a fan of the longer, trench style so that I can wear it with leggings or dresses. I am 5'2 and bought a XS, it fit me just right. Probably couldve gone with the small but I am happy with the XS!

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Angela L

Angela Lwrote a review of on May 16, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I absolutely love this pad. Super comfortable and kept me warm on a recent and unexpectedly snowy night. Got it for the higher R-value and it's been great so far. For reference, I'm 5'2" and got the shorter size; the length is perfect and allows me to stretch out easily.

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Angela L

Angela Lwrote a review of on May 16, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

After many years of researching different down sleeping bags, I finally made my first purchase. I kept coming back to looking at Big Agnes for their roominess and weight and general quality. I'm a very cold sleeper and on a recent and unexpectedly snowy night (woke up with 2 inches on the ground), the sleeping bag kept me cozy and warm. Love this bag and highly recommend it. The new pad sleeve system is handy for people who tend to roll and kick around, like me. Excited to take it on more trips.

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Angela L

Angela Lwrote a review of on May 14, 2019

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 2"
Weight: 120 lbs
Size Purchased: S

I bought this jacket for some travelling I will be doing in colder weather. It is so very warm, great for crisp fall weather! The inner lining is very soft and comfy. The jacket is a little too long (it goes past my butt) for how short I am but it still works as a jacket to wear over leggings. Definitely a stylish and functional item!

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Angela L

Angela Lwrote a review of on May 13, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This is my second pair of Blundstone boots and I love these so much! They are great for long days on my feet or travelling. They keep my feet warm without overheating and stay comfortable all day. I like the narrow ankle on these and they pair well with leggings/skinny jeans/boot cut pants. They are great! I would say that they fit true to size.

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