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Brian Chausmer

Brian Chausmer

Portland, OR

Brian Chausmer

Brian Chausmerwrote a review of on June 9, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Really like this platypus more than I thought I would. On a discount it was a really great deal and I've used it a ton. Lugging around a nalgene or hydro flask when traveling or at a camp site can be a little cumbersome, while this platypus can be folded into a small package. I'm really impressed with the quality of the plastic and overall construction.

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Brian Chausmer

Brian Chausmerwrote a review of on June 9, 2018

5 5

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

I wanted something larger than a big hydro flask but smaller than my 7 gallon water hauler, and this was the perfect compliment. Folds down to pack easily but the plastic is strong, pliable for use around a camp site. The 3GAL size is great for water for a handful of people for a day or single night.

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Brian Chausmer

Brian Chausmerwrote a review of on June 9, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This has quickly become my go-to daypack for very short trips. If you're doing a hike under 2-3 hours and need just enough room for a spare jacket, a water bottle and some small items, look no further. I also use it for lugging around our dog's things (harness, extra leash, food and water bowls) and it's perfect.

It's also become my travel bag as a "day of" arrival type bag. I'll use a large duffel as my primary suitcase and stick this bag in the duffel to use to carry around small things as we're walking around or for going to the gym.

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Brian Chausmer

Brian Chausmerwrote a review of on June 9, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I gave it as a gift but have feedback to share
Fit: Runs large

I bought this for my sister as a birthday gift and like all of her down sweaters and Patagonia jackets, she's had nothing but good things to say. Ultra comfortable, great fit and fashionable. She did size down, normally wearing a large in most other brands jackets, and instead ordered a medium and said this was the perfect fit for her. She said the torso is just a bit boxy if you buy your normal size.

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Brian Chausmer

Brian Chausmerwrote a review of on June 1, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

My first thought upon purchasing these: $24 for a pair of socks is really obnoxious.

My first thought upon wearing them: OK, I can see why these are so well reviewed and sought after.

My first thought after wearing them while walking 8 miles in a pair of work boots: I'm replacing all of my boot socks with these.

If you go on a lot of hikes, or wear boots that can put pressure on specific areas of your feet, look no further than the darn toughs. I recently brought two pairs on a 10-day trip across Europe, and wore them more than any other sock because of overall support and build quality. The best part was that after a day of use, a quick rinse with water and a little detergent, plus a hang dry, made them good as new for the next day. You could definitely get away with just a hang dry because of how well these wick sweat and moisture.

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Brian Chausmer

Brian Chausmerwrote a review of on June 1, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Eagle Creek is well known as making the best packing cubes in the industry--excellent build quality, thoughtful design, super sturdy--but if you're like me and purchased the cube set (full, half, small) then you might be interested in buying an additional full or double cube to add to the collection. If you like to pack in "themes," which is common for packing cubes, two full size cubes makes it really easy to do.

Full cube #1: dress/day-to-day clothes such as pants and shirts
Full cube #2: gym/exercise/activity clothes, predominately t-shirts and shorts.
Medium cube 1: misc. t-shirts, underwear
Small cube: Socks

On a recent trip I could fit 6 t-shirts, 4 pairs of shorts and a jacket into a full cube. The equivalent dress clothes was two pairs of pants, two polos and four button downs.

Where a full cube really shines is for an overnight or weekend trip. You can fit an entire trip's worth of clothes in a single cube, drop it in a backpack and be done. This makes packing/unpacking at your destination incredibly simple and doesn't mean all of your clothes are buried at the bottom of a backpack or duffel.

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Brian Chausmer

Brian Chausmerwrote a review of on June 1, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Ginger Lemonade is one of our favorite flavors of Nuun, which is quickly becoming our go-to for any and all activities. Really convenient storage solution, can easily be dropped into a nalgene or hydration pack of any size. I've also noticed that it leaves behind less residual smell/flavor vs other powdered hydration solutions (Gatorade, etc.).

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Brian Chausmer

Brian Chausmerwrote a review of on May 29, 2018

5 5

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

I only had the 45L black hole duffel in my hands for less than two hours before I also bought this 60L version. The 45L is perfect for a weekend trip, or as a spacious gym bag, but I knew I would need the ~30% more space if I wanted to use a duffel for a week-long trip or while traveling abroad. I can comfortably fit four packing cubes (large, medium, small, x-small), three pairs of shoes, toiletry bag, two jackets and an electronics organizer in the 60 with room to spare. This is the only duffel I have where even when it appears to be full, it's construction and zipper layout means you can easily cram it 20-25% more full.

The two mesh compartments are really nice for organizing small accessories or electronics. I went from traveling with a backpack and small roller/duffel for week to weekend-long trips to just traveling with this bag. Unless I'm traveling with a laptop, which is more rare, I stack my kindle or iPad on top of all of my other luggage and once I board the plane I can quickly open the top compartment to grab headphones, kindle, and any accessories from the two mesh compartments.

Finally, the side handles really shine as a feature when you're loading/unloading into a car or overhead storage of a plane. I have many duffel bags and travel bags and not a single one has these handles. It's definitely a very small feature but knowing the load capacity of these bags, those two handles make maneuvering the bag into a space much, much easier.

The only possible complaint I have about these bags is I wish there was more color variety. The paintbrush red in 45L is great, and I wish there were a handful more bright color options for the 60/90/120L sizes. That said, if that meant sacrificing build quality or QA, then I would much rather have the more limited color selection.

If you want a bag that can hold a ton of stuff, will replace a backpack/checked bag for longer trips and will stand up to everything you can throw at it for years to come, look no further.

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Brian Chausmer

Brian Chausmerwrote a review of on May 26, 2018

5 5

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

Reviews of the Black Hole have become something of an echo chamber but I’m going to keep the trend going: this is a great bag. I spent a lot of time researching and debating sizes and brands, and am really glad I got the BH.

First, who I think should buy this: I would say 45L is the perfect size as a gym bag (with change of clothes/towel/small accessories) or a 2 day trip bag. If you are a packing cube enthusiast and you take pride in minimal packing for maximum time, I could fit 4 eagle creek packing cubes (large, medium, small, XS) in my 45L with room for a toiletry bag, puffer jacket and accessories. If you’re really good you could probably make this work for a week long trip if you only had a single pair of shoes and enjoy packing minimally with cubes or a similar system.

If you like to overpack and be very prepared, or have many “genres” of clothes and shoes for a trip (hiking, going to the gym, etc) then I would go toward the 60L as your maximum carry on size. When I travel I usually have three pairs of shoes (work boots, two pairs of gym shoes), and gym accessories that occupy a lot of space. The 60L is perfect for this. I travel internationally at least once a year for up to two weeks and the 60L checks every box I could need for that trip.

As an aside, I considered the 71L base camp duffel for a long time but 60L is probably on the high end of carry on acceptable size, and I knew 71L would have to be checked

If you check everything anyway and like to overpack, get the 90L. I would only recommend the 120L if you’re packing for a ski trip for 2, or traveling the world for at least a month.

Now the quick hits:

Pros:
- construction quality
- backpack straps ease of add/removal
- color (paintbrush red is an awesome color)
- durability
- size (honestly, 45L is JUST right)
- Patagonia reputation (warranty especially)

Cons:
- my only complaint is that I wish the mesh compartment inside the bag was one large compartment rather than two separate. This is a very personal issue as the two small compartments are perfect for small accessories like cables or chargers. But if it was one solid mesh compartment it would perfectly fit an iPad - which, ultimately, can just be stacked on top of the bag.
- I wish there were more bright color options across all sizes, but again that’s a minor complaint.

If you want a duffel that looks sharp, can withstand a lot of abuse and can be your go-to, I can’t see why you’d buy anything else.

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Brian Chausmer

Brian Chausmerwrote a review of on May 21, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 225 lbs
Size Purchased: Large

I bought a pair of these just prior to a ten day trip through southern Spain, hoping to wear them for at least one or two days while exploring on foot. After walking between 10-12 miles a day in the heat (75-80 degrees), I can confidently say these are the best pair of day-to-day boxers I've purchased in a long time.

They fit similar to a compression short would, but slightly looser, similar to a boxer brief. I would say they run "true to size" compared to your normal boxer brief, but be ready for them to be a closer fit.

Another benefit of their construction is that they would can be used as "active" boxer briefs or just day-to-day wear. If you wanted to have something you could wear to work, but also on a hike or to the gym, these would absolutely get the job done.

I've already purchased three more pairs and plan on replacing my existing boxer brief collection with just these ExOfficio boxer briefs.

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Brian Chausmer

Brian Chausmerwrote a review of on April 16, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've been on team packing cube for a few months now, and I can't believe it took as long as it did. I've tried a few different brands and Eagle Creek has hammered down everything you want out of a set of packing cubes: excellent stitching and fabric that you don't have to worry about ripping, a solid zipper and overall great construction for the price. You could spend slightly less for other brands but you would be nervous about quality of construction, especially when it comes to packing the cubes very tight with clothing.

I have two sets of these in different colors to differentiate between my wife and I's things. This also helps if you bring a large cube for packing dirty laundry as it keeps it separate.

Finally, there's a lot of ways to maximize the use of these cubes, but in general it's best to stick with each cube having a theme: usually pants/shorts in one cube, shirts in another, and socks/misc in the last one. If you buy two sets you can mix and match a little more.

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Brian Chausmer

Brian Chausmerwrote a review of on April 2, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: Runs large
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 225 lbs
Size Purchased: Large

Size: I wear a large in all Patagonia jackets (down sweater, better sweater) and the torrentshell was no different. I wear an XL in almost all other t-shirts/jackets but Patagonia runs a little bit boxy in the torso and waistline, so sizing down to a large makes for a perfect fit.

Pros: Minimal rain jacket that's great for taking a beating in the PNW, which gets rain 10 months out of the year. I've taken this jacket on long walks and hikes and it's kept me drier than any other that I own. The full coverage from the hood and pit zippers means you'll be completely protected but also have some ventilation so you don't overheat during warm spring and summer showers.

Like other Patagonia jackets one of my favorite features is the ability for it to pack into its own pocket. I keep a carabiner in the pocket at all times so when I am ready to pack it down I can easily clip it to my backpack or belt loop. The convenience and coolness factor never wears off.

Cons: sizing, but if you know your typical Patagonia fit, go with that.

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Brian Chausmer

Brian Chausmerwrote a review of on March 31, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have multiple hydro flasks under 32oz but finally took the plunge on the 40ozer when I wanted something to keep at my desk or take on long trips. It is an absolute tank - great color quality and super solid construction. I find that if I fill it with water and some ice early in the morning I’ll still have ice in there by end of day and before bed. Same goes for hot beverages - will keep 40oz of coffee hot for at least 6-8 hours.

I use it the most for water but it’s also fantastic for iced coffee or tea as it keeps them so cold it stops the drink from becoming watered down.

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Brian Chausmer

Brian Chausmerwrote a review of on March 5, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs large
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 225 lbs
Size Purchased: Large

I bought this on a whim after looking for an additional down jacket to add to my collection. I'm a big fan of the Patagonia Down Sweaters and this Marmot jacket has a very similar fit and finish. Being a 600 vs 850 fill means the Marmot is slightly less warm overall, but the fit is almost identical.

I wear an XL in most jackets but sized down in the Patagonia due to the L feeling too boxy around the waist and shoulders.. The same goes for this Marmot - it's perfect through arms/shoulders/waist while still providing enough room for mobility.

For the PNW, where our winters range from 20 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, this jacket is just enough to keep me warm and keep the chill off. If you plan on going up the mountain or dipping below that 20 degree range I recommend adding some base or third layers to keep the wind chill off.

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Brian Chausmer

Brian Chausmerwrote a review of on February 21, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Unsurprisingly these water bottles are very overbuilt: super sturdy, great insulation and love that they work so well for hot or cold drinks. I will drink coffee out of mine in the morning and move to water or iced tea in the afternoons, and it does great with both. The stainless steel also makes it really easy to clean and keep free of grime or buildup.

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Brian Chausmer

Brian Chausmerwrote a review of on February 21, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Really liking these Smith sunglasses so far. I decided to finally bite the bullet and upgrade to a nice pair of sunglasses, moving past the sub $10 category, and so far I'm really impressed. The quality and weight is really nice, and being polarized makes them awesome for going to the mountain or being on the water.

They also come with a really nice hard carrying case with a zipper, which would easily double as a phone/wallet storage if you wanted to put everything in one container.

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Brian Chausmer

Brian Chausmerwrote a review of on January 9, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

My wife gave me this wallet as a gift and it has rarely left my pocket in the two years since. I do not carry many cards or cash (about four cards at any given time, rarely cash) so this is the perfect wallet for me. The leather has aged really well, showing some small nicks/scratches that add to its character. I clean it once every few months and do add some leather treatment to it to help with water exposure but I don't think it's necessary.

When we do travel it still can hold many cards and cash without a problem, which is great: most wallets are either all or nothing on this front.

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Brian Chausmer

Brian Chausmerwrote a review of on January 9, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: Runs large
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 225 lbs

I've had the same pair of Desert boots for quite some time now and I still wear them more than any other boot. Unlike a work boot, which can be a heavier sole and overall wear, the Desert boot is extremely light, can be worn with just about any outfit and can be put through anything. I've worn these through rain, snow, mud and heavy sun, and the leather and patina only looks better with time.

Pros:
- Classic and iconic style
- Can be worn up or down
- Fit great with thick socks or lighter dress socks
- Will last forever

Cons:
- Sizing, like most leather boots, is about a half size big. I wear a 13 in training/running shoes and a 12 in most boots; I wear a 12.5 in my Clarks.
- Laces: Clark's laces are infamous for breaking after about a year of use. Just seems to be their MO. If you contact Clarks on their website they will send you a replacement pair free of charge. You can also buy a pair of replacements directly from them for $2. Given the fact that I've had these boots for almost 10 years now, it was a worthwhile investment.

I also recommend treating the leather once a year if you live in a rainy/humid environment. This'll keep the patina fresh and protect the leather from salt/water exposure.

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