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Beth Dean

Beth Dean

Beth Dean's Passions

Running
Climbing
Hiking & Camping
Paddling

Beth Dean

Beth Deanwrote a review of on July 9, 2017

5 5

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

I own two Black Hole duffels, so I know them to be near indestructible. Whenever I go on trail runs I find myself carting a lot of gear from my apartment to the car: shoes, a fleece for after the run, snacks, a map or book with the trail, extra water (large metal kleen kanteen insulated bottles), my hydration vest, a blender bottle, hydration powder, towels, sometimes even a change of pants. Trying to fit all this in a regular grocery size tote was a hassle, and because most totes rarely have a flat bottom or any stiffness, they're falling over while you're trying to pack it.

This thing is perfect for hauling all my junk, it fits everything with plenty of room to spare, the material won't puncture if I throw something sharp in it, and it's easily wiped down so I don't mind throwing my socks or used KT tape in there after my run. It also stays upright when you're packing it. If you drive to outdoors stuff with any frequency, you should have this bag.

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Beth Dean

Beth Deanwrote a review of on July 9, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I'm usually a minimalist when it comes to camping gear (2lbs, that's 1/2 the weight of my tent!) but I decided to scoop this up during a holiday sale for a wilderness medicine class I was taking, where a lot of the course would be outdoors, and I didn't want to sit on the ground all day.

I had no idea what I've been missing! First, 2lbs is incredibly light for a chair. When I've borrowed chairs from friends for car camping they're always heavy, and even when folded are kind of awkward and difficult to pack around in the car. This folds down to nothing, and is a perfect little rectangular tube inside its bag, making it easy to fit in a backpack or your trunk. Second, it's easy to put together, the first time I opened it I was sitting comfortably in less than a minute. Lastly, it's very sturdy, this fabric doesn't feel like you'll tear it and it's easy to wipe down so you'll be able to keep it from getting grimy.

It now lives in the back of my truck so I have it ready for impromptu beach trips, or relaxing after a trail run. I'm definitely going to get a second!

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Beth Dean

Beth Deanwrote a review of on July 9, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 9"
Size Purchased: XL

Like other reviewers, I had a special bond with my Houdini. I used it for both hiking and running. Unfortunately, when running, you can overheat pretty fast in the Houdini. It doesn't breathe much, there are no vents, and you start to feel like a swamp – not great for a place that is often 50 degrees with fog and wind. I decided to try the Airshed, since I usually don't use the hood on the Houdini anyway, and wow what a treat! It's the perfect layer for Bay Area running.

First, it's really soft and breathes well. It doesn't feel like you're in a trash bag once you heat up, like the Houdini. It feels more like a regular running shirt, but better. I've used it a lot on mountain runs where the terrain alternates between forest, and exposed hills with a lot of wind. I also use it almost every weeknight in San Francisco, running in Golden Gate Park by the ocean, where cold fog rolls in like clockwork partway through my run. Until the fog comes, I just unzip the shirt and I don't overheat. It's also kept me warm enough to grab a sunset burger outside after my runs. Since it's so light it always goes in my running vest, no matter what the weather is.

I'll still probably pull out the Houdini for anything heavier than a drizzle, but otherwise the Airshed is my go to. I sized up a bit so I'd be able to layer over anything, this fits more like most Patagonia shirts, unlike the Houdini and Capilene which run smaller. I wish they made a t-shirt in this material!

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Beth Dean

Beth Deanwrote a review of on June 13, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I bought this pack for a week of hut to hut climbing in the Dolomites, but I also wanted to have another option for future trips besides my 75L Cilogear. I didn't test out attaching an axe or crampons, but I did manage to get a week's worth of gear in here without difficulty: helmet, harness, carabiners, water bottle, change of clothes, sleep clothes, sleeping bag liner, snacks, layers. I wasn't carrying the rope but it would've fit just fine with the lid. It was easy to get my stuff in and out and it carried the load well. I was able to cinch it down on days where I was leaving my things at the hut, however it did catch when I was squeezing through some cracks because I couldn't cinch it any tighter. It didn't snag, and a sudden storm came in and my things were dry inside. This bag is comfortable enough I'd take it on weekend backpacking trips.

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Beth Dean

Beth Deanwrote a review of on June 13, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I mostly wear a hat when I'm running to keep the sweat out of my eyes, and maybe light rain. This does the job perfectly, and has way better ventilation than your standard trucker cap. It would've had 5 stars if it were easier to adjust. I throw it in the wash after every run and it tightens, and I have to fight with the clasp to loosen it back to my size again. I wish Patagonia still offered the red and blue style.

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Beth Dean

Beth Deanwrote a review of on June 13, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 9"
Size Purchased: XL

I own the older style of the Black Diamond Notion pants and they're my go-to for yoga or lounging around my neighborhood. I got the newer pair because I liked the style better – these look a little less athleisure and a little more passable as normal pants. They're incredibly comfortable and they're in my regular rotation for work, however I wouldn't wear them climbing. They're stretchy enough but the material isn't as durable as the previous version. The trade off is that the material is less noisy, and they are more fitted. The previous version were a lot baggier. I do like that the last version didn't have a drawstring that awkwardly pokes out from under your shirt, but again these pass for regular pants a lot better. I don't think I'd wear these hiking or doing anything where I'm sweating a lot since they're mostly cotton. I wear a 14 and the XL fits generously.

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Beth Dean

Beth Deanwrote a review of on June 13, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 10"
Size Purchased: 14

I love these pants so much I went to Mountain Hardwear's website to order another pair in a color not available on backcountry. I've worn them on hikes, and through a weekend wilderness medicine class with NOLS. They have plenty of room for scrambling and don't scuff on the rocks. I had to get into dirt and gravel a lot in the class and everything brushed right off and the pants felt sturdy. It looks like the knee is reinforced, there was no damage even though I spent two days kneeling on all kinds of terrain. I like that there's a front thigh pocket, it's the perfect size for a map, a notepad, or a large phone. It's got a snap so you can get in and out of it easily. I like that the back pockets zip so I don't have to worry about my stuff falling out if I'm climbing something (or let's be real, my phone falling in the toilet.) I wear them to yoga, and I also wear them to work and they don't look like I've just come off the PCT. They'll probably be my go to travel pants. I would have loved to have had these on some of my longer backpacking trips. Lastly, one of my favorite things about Mountain Hardwear is their pants run true to size.

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Beth Dean

Beth Deanwrote a review of on August 27, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 9"

These are great alpine pants, both in terms of construction, and fit.

Fit: I'm a curvy lady, when I buy my jeans size in many outdoor brands they tend to run too small. This is not the case with Mountain Hardware, these fit true to size. The belt was a nice bonus because after a week in the mountains everything is a little baggier, so I can tighten the pants. Even with a 65lb pack and padded hip belt, these pants never rubbed or created any weird hot spots. They are roomy enough that you could wear thermal underwear underneath on a cold day. They fit easily over large mountain boots and crampons.

Activity: I used these pants on a 6 day alpine skills course in the North Cascades. They were a little warm on the approach, but perfect once I was on the glacier. On the approach we went through a lot of scratchy and thorny plants, my shirt snagged, but my pants never did. They protected me from snow and ice while I was practicing self arrest, and kept me warm while I was dangling in a crevasse. The inside of the leg is reinforced, so the pants never ripped when I snagged my crampons. They dried very quickly when they got wet, and I didn't mind sitting directly on snow in these too much. The thigh pocket is pretty deep so I didn't use it much because I didn't want stuff hanging down my knees, but is perfect anything that won't move much like gloves or a map. It was also useful to have a pocket I could still access easily when my harness was on, any time I was hanging accessing the waist pockets would be difficult. Unlike most women's pants the pockets are sized large enough to actually be functional so I could fit gloves or sunscreen inside when I wasn't wearing them. I was able to manage the zippers even with heavy gloves on.

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