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Ben M.

Ben M.

Ben M.

Ben M.wrote a review of on March 25, 2015

Works great
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Pretty simple; not a lot to review - adjustable arms that fit perfectly through the scupper holes on my Jackson Cuda12. Once secured, it rolls perfectly - no issues whatsoever. My only issue is that the strap secures to the cam buckle _under_ the boat, leaving you with a bunch of extra webbinig to secure to the top of the boat; in and of itself, no big deal, but a rubber-coated bucklesecured to the unit with a couple of feet of webbing so that you could tighten it on the side, rather than below, would have been perfect. Minor design flaw in an otherwise perfect unit. Highly recommended for sit on tops.

Oh, and FWIW, this was an exchange for a Sea-To-Summit kayak cart which definitely did *not* work with the Cuda12. I was talking to the person who initiated the exchange and asked for some different color goat stickers in the box with the Harmony. The Harmony arrived with no stickers. The stickers arrived a couple of days later in a stamped envelope - now that's awesome follow-up. With everything we all have going on to remember to send some stickers out is the perfect blend of the personal touch when doing business over the Internet. Bridges the gap between local and the cloud. Well done, BC.

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Ben M.

Ben M.wrote a review of on March 2, 2015

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I bought this on the recommendation of a "gear head". I was told it would be perfect for my Jackson Cuda12; which it wasn't...not even close. I suppose on a yak with a flatter keel and narrower profile, it would be fine...but the Cuda12, when strapped down mid-bow, sloped over to one side due to the size and profile, making portage uneven and extremely cumbersome. Can't see why it wouldn't work well with the right boat, but on a yak/canoe with a sharp keel / wide proffile, it isn't worth a flip.

With that said, this is why I do business with Back Country: they are taking it back on trade for a Harmony sit-on-top cart. I'm optimistic I'll have far better results with this piece.

-B

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Ben M.

Ben M.wrote a review of on November 26, 2014

So far, so good
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Simple, lightweight, good looking, stiff, great piece. Had the Werner Camano, but the over-complicated locking mechanism seized up and I opted for the BB Pro Angler; couldn't be happier. The ergonomics are next to none, as well - nice contours. As yttou can see, in this picture there is another kayak tethered off to me; that is my son who is eight and not quite ready to paddle & fish, so I tether him to my yak so all he has to focus on is casting. Tugging him along is effortless with this paddle...slightly more paddle volume than the Werner, but lighter and more efficient. Kudos - great product.

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Ben M.

Ben M.wrote a review of on October 23, 2014

2 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

While it worked, it was *great*; lightweight, effective, strong paddle. BUT for $280 I expect perfection...and I didn't get it. After about four months of steady use, the locking mechanism that holds the paddle together froze up and would not lock the paddles in place. I used it at the beach, and perhaps the salt and sand were too much for what seems like an overly complicated mechanism for locking the paddle. Though I am meticulous about cleaning my gear at the beach, and the paddle was no exception. Bottom line, give me the simple snap button, not the spring loaded plastic latching thingamajig Werner uses. Junk in an otherwise fantastic piece.

I will say this, Back Country does not handle warranty claims for Werner, but they front-ended this one for me and toook it back on return - kudos to BC, you know how to build brand loyalty...I just wish the Werner was as solid as you guys are.

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Ben M.

Ben M.wrote a review of on April 16, 2014

1 5

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

Cheap, cheap and more cheap. The bottle opener is kinda cool, but really who wants to open their beverage with something that's been touching the ground all day? The soles separate from the uppers very easily and contrary to the little air-pocket fake out thing, these things offer no cushion. Very thin, not much cushion, cheaply made, one star.

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Ben M.

Ben M.wrote a review of on March 30, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I have the 2013 model and after about five uses, I really like it. I agree that the zipper tends to snag a little too often on the bag, but it comes un-stuck pretty easily most of the time. The loft is great, the bag itself is unbelievably smooth, comfortable and it is ridiculously light. I tend to sleep a little cold, and last night was the coldest night I have had in it; 35* and I wore socks, a pair of Under Armour tights, a 160 Icebreaker base layer with a North Face DNP hoodie and was spot-on comfortable; never hot and never a shiver - perfectly warm. Some might say the bag sleeps cooler than the 30* rating, I prefer to say I sleep cold...which I definitely do. It was on sale here, but they must have run out so I got it somewhere else at the on-sale price...which is good, as I couldn't justify paying close to $500 for this unless you are a _serious_ weight weenie and are only camping in moderate weather. Can't discuss wet-weather/conditions performance yet, but will when I experience that.

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Ben M.

Ben M.posted an image about on March 16, 2014

This was the front...

...that we tested the tent out in. Steady, heavy rain with some wind. One or two small drops got in between the fly and mesh wall, but otherwise dry as a bone. Not sure how the water got it, going to perform a forensic inspection, but if that's the worst that happens in weather like last night, I'm good with the waterproff performance.

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Ben M.

Ben M.wrote a review of on March 16, 2014

5 5

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

I got this tent a few weeks back and haven't had a chance to take it for a spin until this weekend. I did take it out to set it up when it arrived, and it is simple, simple to set up. Just lay the body out, two collapsible poles across the body, one across the front and one across the vestibule and you are in business. Putting the fly on is probably best done with a second mate due to the height of the tent and length of the fly, but can be done solo; not a problem. It's really incredibly intuitive and snaps in/stakes down easily. So set-up is a breeze. Two stars there.

I am 6' tall and can stand up anywhere in the tent w/o touching the top. I have to crouch slightly in the vestibule, but that is to be expected. You can easily get two air mattresses in there, an air mattress and a cot, or three or four cots - it's got that much space. There are several side pockets for stuff, pockets up top; plenty of storage space for the valuables. Roomy as hell - two more stars...we're up to four for those counting.

As for performance, we were supposed to go car camping last night but the radar (photo included) kept us from hitting the woods. I don't know who was more disappointed, me or my son, so we decided to set up in the backyard and ride it out for the night. Around midnight, the rain came and hit us pretty steadily, and occasionally heavily, for the next seven hours. The wind wasn't too terribly strong, and I didn't stake off the guylines, but there were no stability issues. I did notice just a _couple_ of drops of water that somehow sneaked in between the fly and body through the mesh wall; not sure how it got in; I'm going to do a forensic inspection to see if it is the fly. But other than two little drops, the inside was bone dry. Waterproof - one star, completing the 5-star cycle.

Oh, and the tarp is because I didn't buy the footprint; I'm on the fence on that one. Since I got in on this one early at $369.00, It's an easy five star piece for me.

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Ben M.

Ben M.wrote a review of on February 25, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs small

I bought a pair of 11.5's, which is what I generally wear in most every shoe. They were too short and exhibited all of the negative traits you will find in the reviews below: digging into the ankles, heel cup issues, etc. There were enough positive reviews out there to warrant an exchange for a 12, so that it what I did. I am here to say that I am glad I did. The 12 is just a *touch* long, but the lacing system with the webbing halfway up the tongue allows you to tighten the lower lacing while keeping the upper lacing loose(r), and vice-versa. So with a slightly tighter lower lacing technique, I set to "breaking them in"...which is really not necessary as they are just suede over Goretex. I wore them around for a couple days and walked around the neighborhood in the evenings. I was confident enough after three days of wearing them around the neighborhood to go ahead an use them for my hike on Sunday.

My friends were skeptical, but I felt good about it. And here's the deal - they are *extremely* comfortable on flat trail and descents, but I do have to say that the heel cup did tend to create some hotspots on my lower heel. With that said, I did 13.5 miles with them, and the hotspots did not turn into blisters. So I imagine that I wil develop some callouses and it won't e an issue much longer.

To sum up, buy a 1/2 size large, as they run small and are the Alpine fit. They don't really need much of a breaking in period, but be wary that you will feel the heel cup. Four stars.

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Ben M.

Ben M.wrote a review of on February 4, 2014

3 5

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

I bought a pair of these about 28 months ago, and they have been good shoes. Pricey as hell, but good, not great. Granted, I have worn them almost daily for the occasional trail run, hike, and general go-to athletic shoe. The lacing system is solid & convenient and has shown very little wear,with no give. They are still waterproof with no cracking where the soles meet the uppers, but there is quite a bit of wear at the point where the heel/achilles tendon meet the shoe. The ankles are fraying big time, and I can see that being a big problem soon. There are also some micro-cracks in the material just past the arch towards the toe box. Again, no leaks, but I can see issues coming from different areas of the shoe. The tread is highly worn, as well. I would give it four stars, but for the kind of money I spent I can't. I wish there were fractions - it's really a 3.8 - 3.9 shoe. But alas....

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Ben M.

Ben M.wrote a review of on February 4, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This one has the best overall features of any bladder I've used. First, the bad: 1) drinking tube does not appear to disconnect from the pack for easy cleaning. 2) the plastic that connects the cap to the lid is too stiff so the cap gets in the way sometimes when pouring in water/ice, and you end up spilling stuff. Neither of which are that big a problem. The GOOD: The wide mouth. The rigid back-plate is AWESOME. This bladder can be used in any pack with ease - it doesn't slump and act all crappy like a lot of the other bladders out there. The handle on the front makes filling/emptying and loading/retrieving this piece incredibly simple. The magnet on the nozzle; if you are using this in the pack it came with, the magnet is a great feature/benefit, as well. Take a sip, clip the nozzle to the left side of the chest strap, and the tube doesn't bounce around and it easily retrieved. Another ingenious aspect to this unit.

I have several bladders & in order of functionality, they are:

Source Widepac 70oz - great concept in the Ziploc style to opening for easy filling/emptying, cleaning, and the plastic is rigid, so it holds it shape even when empty. Nozzle can be removed from the pack, a feature the Osprey desperately needs to incorporate.

Hydrapak 100oz - the top zip feature is, again, great. A zippable baffle makes cleaning easy, and it is freaking reversible so you can air it out after using it! The downside to making a bladder reversible is that it is very flimsy. Filling/emptying is easy due to the zip top, but loading a 1/2 - 3/4 full bladder is a pain, and it slumps as it is emptied in the pack. Removable nozzle; have I mentioned that Osprey needs this feature?

Camelbak Antidote 70oz/100oz - my least favorite by far; relatively flimsy, tough to reach the bottom of the bladder when deep cleaning, the crappy plastic nozzles are easy to chew through, and the cap system is AWFUL. a b*tch to line up & screw in. Much better systems out there.

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Ben M.

Ben M.wrote a review of on February 3, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Can't give it five 'cause of the price. They are exorbitantly priced, but that fact is mitigated by the reality that this tire is actually pretty damn durable. I bought my first set in 2011 and only in the last couple months did I have to replace them. I ride probably 750 miles / year, so that's a solid 1500 miles on them. I never lost a knob, but there was noticeable wear, no question. But I never cut a sidewall or cut them anywhere else. I did slam into a berm on a bunny hop and puncture the rear one, but I plugged it and it performed beautifully.

As for hooking up, I can't imagine it getting much better. My primary trail is in a park filled with oaks which means roots, roots and more roots. It is also relatively wet down here, so the roots are oftentimes quite slick. The Nic handles them with ease, as well as allowing you to really throw yourself into turns. There is all sorts of terrain; groomed 1track, rock gardens, technical rocky slow areas, fire road bomb, a flow trail, pine groves, etc. Bottom line, there are plenty of areas to cut these bad boys...but I never have.

When I first researched them, the big thing was rolling resistance; may be, I can't really tell if there is any more resistance in this tire than any other tire with relatively beefy knobs. I run them tubeless at 23 - 27 PSI, depending on conditions, I weigh 200 lbs and ride a Trek Superfly 100AL Elite(1x10), Stan's Arch rims and Chris King ISO hubs.

Again, can't give it 5 because they are just so pricey, but if you don't mind dropping $80 /tire, this is where you should be looking.

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Ben M.

Ben M.wrote a review of on February 3, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Four stars. Lightweight, but it sits pretty high on your dome; not the coolest looking lid, but that's not why people buy helmets....right? Anyway, I took a hard slam in my Giro Hex a couple years back and cracked it in three places. Upon reading about different helmets I decided on the Trabec Race. So it does sit high, but it is light, the lining is antimicrobial, and after two years of hard riding does not smell even remotely bad.

The adjustment system is a big minus... for me. The Hex had a simple roller that tightened / loosened the frame. The POC has a system that works fine, but really requires both hands - you have to pinch two small tabs on the back which allow you to tighten / loosen the frame. So the downside is that it is very difficult to adjust on the go - you can get used to pinching with one hand, but it's terribly difficult. Also, the frame prevented me from wearing my Tifosi glasses until I tweaked out the fit to where the helmet is sitting a smidge further forward than I would prefer.

BUT I can attest to it's efficacy - I have taken one pretty good head slam and both my melon and my helmet came out unscathed. And that's what it's all about in the end. Can't give it five becausde it is over-priced and the frame adjustment feature is not where I would like it to be, but it is a damn good lid.

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Ben M.

Ben M.wrote a review of on January 30, 2014

5 5

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

Bought a large in graphite / kiwi and it was way too tight in the armpits/sides. Length was fine, but I suppose I'm too broad for this jacket. BC exchanged it for the XL, and it is a *good* fit...not a great one, a good one. The previous reviewer nailed it - don't expect to wear a heavy layer under this one.

With that said, wow - great looking piece, four pockets - hands, outside and inside chest pockets...deep pockets, plenty of storage. The cinchable elastic band around the top of the neck lets you control airflow up top, there is a liner that goes up the zipper path which prevents you from catching the jacket when zipping up.

I wore it today in 35* weather with a golf shirt and base layer, and it was quite toasty. Bottom line, it's good looking, highly functional and seemingly quite versatile. The stuff sack is not just a cheap bag, it's rather beefy. Oh, one weird thing is that the zipper is on the left side...like a woman's jacket. Odd...

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