Free 2-Day Shipping on Orders Over $50
Caryn Solomon

Caryn Solomon

Caryn Solomon's Passions

Running
Biking
Yoga
Hiking & Camping
Climbing
Skiing

Caryn Solomon's Bio

Environmentalist and weekend warrior. A Jill of all trades currently working in mobile app development. Frequently found daydreaming of big mountains and far away places. Purveyor of tequila fueled dance parties and midnight skinny dipping.

Caryn Solomon

Caryn Solomonwrote a review of on June 16, 2018

3 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

I think I know why people complain about being cold in bags with a high down fill. This 800 fill bag has 5-inch baffles which allow for the down to easily clump and shift. When I first took a look at the bag and held it up to some light I could see dead spots in the baffles. I spent a good 10 minutes manually lofting the bag and checking to see that the down had shifted to the right place. This would be a royal pain to manage when I'm out on multi-day treks or mountaineering. Let's just say when I am working hard in the wild, I do not want to fuss with my gear.

I would recommend that designers consider dropping baffle sizes down to 3" or 4" depending on the fill to prevent the down from wandering around. Overall this bag felt very durable for being so lightweight, but I think there are better options out there.

(1)

 

0 Comments

Caryn Solomon

Caryn Solomonwrote a review of on June 16, 2018

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Let me start out by telling you all that I am a picky gear nerd and a dirtbag. I live out of my Tacoma to climb, ski, mountaineer, backpack, and bike all the land. As such, I do not have time for half-assed products. I am always looking for gear that lives at the intersection of high-quality performance, affordability, and features.

I needed to replace my beloved 20-year-old Sierra Designs bag. As an avid outdoorswoman, I was looking for a lighter bag with more compressibility. Something in the 700-850 fill range. I have checked out bags from Big Agnes, Sierra Designs, Patagonia, and the Marmot Hydrogen. Sadly, I was not impressed with any of them. The one exception is Western Mountaineering bags, but those were further out of my budget.

Enter the Angel Fire bag. The women's long fits me perfectly. I am 6'1" tall, 155lbs. The Backcountry size chart says the long will fit a woman up to 5'10" but I am very comfortable in this size with room to spare. With 650 fill down is only 1 pound heavier than most of the other bags I checked out and significantly cheaper. The 30D nylon feels very durable and has nice next to skin comfort. The only real downfall is that the 650 down does not compress as small as 700+ down filled bags, but it does feel plusher and overall cozier. I have no problem fitting this bag into any of my packs.

The interior pocket is large enough to fit my phone (I have the small sized pixel 2, not the giant one) and a headlamp. The anti-draft collar is very plush. I can easily roll around and side sleep in the bag without feeling like I am being strangled. The zipper is smooth and easy to operate while inside the bag.

The last thing to discuss is by far my favorite. The short side zipper was a feature that I rolled my eyes at when I first read about it, but it is a game changer for comfort. Leavin that unzipped allows freedom of movement for your arms while you are bundled up, giving the feeling of being in a bed vs a mummy bag. It's also a nice bonus if you have the bag fully opened to use as a quilt because you can stick your arm out and have the bag still wrapped around you.

Overall, I think that this is a great pack for the experienced alpinist and a casual backpacker or car camper. The weight to price ratio is hard to beat compared to many others on the market. I have a Marmot Ouray for winter camping that has been put through the ringer and this Angel Fire feels equally durable. I am sure this will last me many years to come.

(0)

 

0 Comments

Caryn Solomon

Caryn Solomonwrote a review of on June 13, 2018

3 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

I am in the market for a 3 season bag to replace my current Sierra Designs bag that is over 20 years old (still looks great btw, really says something about the quality). I was excited when I found the Nitro UL 20. 800 down fill on sale was a price that was hard to beat! Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed when the bag arrived for a handful of reasons.

1. Sizing:
I ordered the regular length which is recommended for a person up to 6' tall. I am technically 6'1" so the regular length was a gamble, but I don't like sizing up to long unisex sizes (for 6'6") because I worry about being able to heat up the extra space in the bag. I am a slim 155lbs and run cold when I sleep. For reference, I fit into the Marmot Phase 30 bag (unisex regular length) and the Marmot Ouray (women long) and the Big Agnes Skeeter 25 (men's regular) comfortably. The Nitro UL runs very short. My feet and head were smashed in when zippered up. I had my Dad who is an even 6' tall and my friend who is 5'10" both try to bag. They each said that the bag seemed short. It also seemed to run quite narrow. The spoon-shaped design is supposed to be a little roomy, but this was actually much more narrow than my old SD bag and my Marmot Ouray.

2. Baffling:
Even though the baffles are 5" wide I noticed huge gaps in the down when held up the light. The down fill shifts very easily in the baffles, which makes me wonder if the fill weight was shorted or perhaps the baffles should be smaller to keep the down from shifting so easily. It was easy to shake the bag out to reposition the down. But this might be problematic in the backcountry, leaving a person with cold spots and drafts.

3. Fabric and features:
Although the 15D nylon felt very durable, it also felt quite cheap and papery. It did not give the impression that it would do a great job at repelling water (frost or condensation, etc). You can feel that it will do a good job standing up to abrasion from the occasional cowboy camp, but it did not seem particularly comfortable. The half zipper was very smooth and seemed durable. There was zero snagging when zipping the bag up or down. Lastly, the venting foot box is a neat feature that compensates for the half zipper nicely, but there is still room for improvement. With the narrow shape and feel of the bag, it was a bit difficult to bend my leg enough to get my feet out of the vent. Once my feet were out they didn't have much wiggle room. Adding just an inch or two to the width of the bag would make a huge improvement in overall comfort and ease of use.

Overall, I can see the Sierra Designs team really put a lot of thought into the design of this bag. It targets the budget conscious through hiker as well as the gram counting alpinist. The features nicely intersect between quality, cost efficiency, weight, and packability. I was impressed by the bags ability to squeeze down to half the volume of the included stuff sack. This is a good budget alternative to a Hyperlite, Feathered Friends, or Western Mountaineering bag and will likely last a person many years with proper care. But overall, I made the decision to go for a Marmot bag due to fit and my personal preferences.

(2)

 

0 Comments

Caryn Solomon

Caryn Solomonwrote a review of on May 18, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I live outdoors and travel full time. All of my favorite pastimes require top gear with low weight. This pad has been a great upgrade for me. It is smaller than a 1L nalgene when packed away, weighs next to nothing, and the added insulation makes for a cozy night of sleep through all seasons (with the right sleeping bag). Years ago I had a down insulated Exped pad that was great until it started leaking air from a seam during a winter camping trip. I was scared away from air pads and have been using a Thermarest trail pro for a while, but I hated that it did not compress much. I am also a die hard side sleeper so the Thermarest never quite made it to 5 stars for me. This is where the Big Agnes saves the day. It seems much more durable than my old Exped pad, saves a ton of space in any bag, and provides a very comfortable sleep surface.

As a person who always wants comfort, quality, price tag, and weight to be intersect I highly recommend this pad. You should also get the pump house ultra! It helps blow this thing up in no time. It also steals the show by moonlighting as a dry bag, stuff sack, and outdoor shower. Cant go wrong with multi purpose gear!

(1)

 

0 Comments

Caryn Solomon

Caryn Solomonwrote a review of on May 18, 2018

Always aloha
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I love this little chair. I am personally a fan of lounging closer to the ground so I can stretch my legs out. This chair is exactly the right height. I bought the palm leaves print on sale and I love that I am taking a little bit of the island vibes with me to every camp. It compacts fairly small in the pouch and is lightweight. I wouldn't want to take it backpacking, but it is great for everything else. I live on the road full time in my Tacoma and this is one of the items that I always have stowed away. Its great for fishing days, kayaking trips, sitting around the campfire, and more than one dog has napped in it giving the ultimate seal of approval.

(0)

 

0 Comments

Caryn Solomon

Caryn Solomonwrote a review of on December 3, 2017

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: Runs large
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 155 lbs
Size Purchased: 8 long

Not bad, not good. It took a couple tries to get the right fit with these pants. I sized up to a 10L based on all the reviews saying they ran small. They were HUGE. The 8L is slightly large, but not so big that they fall down. Sizing down to a 6 would probably fit me best, but it would not be as comfortable to add a base layer underneath. I like my outdoor gear to have some extra room, but still have a tailored fit. This material does stretch as you wear the pants, but it makes layering base layers underneath easy and comfortable. I would barely consider the inseam to be a long. These barely hit above my ankle, which isn't a huge problem while wearing winter boots. For reference I wear a 29/8 in all Patagonia pants (these all leave a comfortable amount of room. Size 6 fits in the waist, but I do not like the tight things). I wear a 4L in the Prana Halle and 6 in the Kara. I wore these pants for 4 days straight climbing in the Sierras for Thanksgiving. The fit very well with a harness and stood up to monkeying around on rough rock. After a wash they look brand new and do not have any holes or scuff marks. I wish I loved these pants more than I do considering how high the quality is. If you can figure out the sizing you will be adding a solid mountain pant to your wardrobe.

(0)

 

0 Comments

Caryn Solomon

Caryn Solomonwrote a review of on December 2, 2017

2 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: Runs small
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 155 lbs
Size Purchased: medium

Sadly, I received these as a gift otherwise I would return them or exchange for a larger size. I am a solid size medium across most outdoor brands. I wear a 28/29 in Patagonia pants (aka medium) and a size 6 in Prana for reference. At 6'1" and 155 I have a slender athletic build that is thicker in the glutes and thighs. I own an older pair of these Smartwool bottoms in a medium and a pair of running tights. Both fit well. Unfortunately this fits terribly. The elastic band on the pants is very tight and is uncomfortable to wear even lounging around the house. This photo shows that the rise comes up to just below the belly button, but these sit much lower on my body. Lots of muffin top is produced around the waistband. Muffin top that is not present when wearing any other pant or base layer. The fabric in the legs fits fairly well, even stretches out a little with wear which indicates that this is a correct size for me. I don't think sizing up to a large would solve the stiff elastic problem. I also find that the area around the ankles is quite tight. I struggle getting my feet through them and they feel slightly restrictive around my calves. I noticed that there were small spots that have the beginnings of holes already. Overall I would rate this one star for the fit. I gave two starts because the fabric feels nice against my skin. Based on the fit of these bottoms I would not recommend purchasing this item.

(1)

 

0 Comments

Caryn Solomon

Caryn Solomonwrote a review of on November 20, 2017

Deuter is my favorite!
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I own 3 Deuter backpacks. Each one is incredibly comfortable, has bomb proof construction, and has every feature I need. Nothing more, nothing less.
I had originally purchased the womens 28L The max torso length is 19". I am 6'1", 155lbs and needed at least a 20" torso length for the hip straps to be effective. The shoulder straps for the womens bag were also slightly small and just felt strange. I had to return this and ended up buying the mens ACT 30L which has a perfect fit!
I love that you can leave the bag fairly empty without feeling (or looking) like it is overkill for your leisurely hike. Its also great that you can STUFF this thing full of gear and carry it comfortably for hours on end. Want to go climb with it? Sure! Easy to stuff a trad rack and rope in along with shoes. You can haul it up a rock and not worry about it falling apart. I love that you can stow the hip straps for use while wearing a harness.
The zipper on top of the bag is easy to reach and operate without removing the pack. Having a zipper that allows you to access the bottom of the bag without taking everything out is incredibly helpful.
I know I will have this pack for many years and I am looking forward to using it this winter while ski touring and snowshoeing.

(0)

 

0 Comments

Caryn Solomon

Caryn Solomonwrote a review of on November 20, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I own 3 Deuter backpacks. Each one is incredibly comfortable, has bomb proof construction, and has every feature I need. Nothing more, nothing less.
I had to dock off one start for the fit of the womens bag. The max torso length is 19". I am 6'1", 155lbs and needed at least a 20" torso length for the hip straps to be effective. The shoulder straps for the womens bag were also slightly small and just felt strange. I had to return this and ended up buying the mens ACT 30L which has a perfect fit!
I love that you can leave the bag fairly empty without feeling (or looking) like it is overkill for your leisurely hike. Its also great that you can STUFF this thing full of gear and carry it comfortably for hours on end. Want to go climb with it? Sure! Easy to stuff a trad rack and rope in along with shoes. You can haul it up a rock and not worry about it falling apart. I love that you can stow the hip straps for use while wearing a harness.
The zipper on top of the bag is easy to reach and operate without removing the pack. Having a zipper that allows you to access the bottom of the bag without taking everything out is incredibly helpful.
I know I will have this pack for many years and I am looking forward to using it this winter while ski touring and snowshoeing.

(0)

 

0 Comments

0 Comments

Caryn Solomon

Caryn Solomonwrote a review of on April 3, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: Runs small
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 155 lbs
Size Purchased: medium

I hate bras. I have avoided wearing them for years with the exception of sports bras for running. I have a fairly small chest and never really needed support outside of running. I fall somewhere between a 36A and 36B. A usually being a bit too small and I cant fill out a B cup on top. This bralette has been a game changer though! The merino wool is soft against skin and doesnt get smelly when worn for a few sweaty days in a row in the back country. Its comfortable hiking and doing low impact activities and it smooths everything out under my work tops. As the only woman in my company I was always very conscious of the shirts I would wear to work without a bra on. Now I dont think twice about it.

I did find that the straps are a little short though. In the size medium, which fits my ribs and cup perfectly, I had to uncross the straps and leave them as loose as possible for the fit to be right. In the cross back setting the bra is a little tight near the armpits. It would be nice if the straps were about an inch longer or came in a true racerback style.

(1)

 

0 Comments

Caryn Solomon

Caryn Solomonwrote a review of on April 3, 2017

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Mountain hardware always seems to hit the "good not great" category for me. This bag is made of super tough fabric that will surely last for years of abuse (I am really hard on packs for some reason). It is very comfortable loaded up with my laptop, lunch for the day, change of workout clothes and running shoes, etc etc. But there are two annoying design flaws that keep me from really loving the bag. 1. if you put anything other than a chapstick in the lid pocket the top of the bag will sag in a very strange way. Only a problem if you attach a bike light to the external strap. The sagging can reduce the visibility of the light. 2. The side pockets do not stretch and are to small to hold a nalgene or my 20oz yeti. I have been using a 16/18L water bottle when I commute with the bag and the bottle just barely fits in there.

Overall the bag is solid and I have been happy with it. The price point is fantastic for the high quality construction.

(0)

 

0 Comments

Caryn Solomon

Caryn Solomonwrote a review of on December 6, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: Runs large
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 155 lbs
Size Purchased: 4

I am currently sitting in these pants on the couch and loving life. Just as the other reviewer mentioned the fabric is fairly thick with a slight amount of stretch to it. The fabric also very soft. I usually wear a size 4 in Prana pants, and these are no different. They have just a slight amount of room to move or layer in. Not enough room to size down.

The deep side pockets are great on these pants. The down side is that the seam above the knee restricts movement a bit. I don't think that there is enough stretch in these pants to climb in, a high step would be a serious strain. They may soften up a bit after a few washes.

So far I love them. They feel super durable and are thick which is nice for the cooler temps. These can easily transfer between walking in the woods to biking around town or being dressed up for work. The length is also pretty good for me. They hit just above the ankle which is normal for my height. Pairs well with boots and looked cute rolled up with sandals.

(2)

 

Caryn Solomon

Caryn Solomonwrote a review of on December 6, 2016

3 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
Fit: Runs large
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 155 lbs
Size Purchased: 4

I wanted to love these pants. I have the Halles and love the fabric, so I thought these Memes would be great too. Unfortunately these did not work out for me. My usual size 4 for Prana fit well in the waist and thighs, but the length on the inseam is no where near 32 in. At 6'1" I am used to wearing high water skinny pants, but these only reached my calves. Usually a 32in inseam hits above my ankle which is fine for wear with boots or sandals.

In addition to the inseam issue, I think these pants have room for improvement. The internal buttons on the cargo pockets are difficult to open and close. I also feel restricted in my movement due to the seam above the knee.

Overall the fabric is great, they seem super durable, but beware of the inseam and the annoying pocket buttons.

(3)

 

Caryn Solomon

Caryn Solomonwrote a review of on July 19, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs large
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 155 lbs
Size Purchased: 4 tall

I was first introduced to these pants by being gifted a pair by a friend. They were a size 8 regular (way to large and short) but I wore them on a couple climbing trips with the legs rolled up to try them out. Thankfully they come with a drawstring so they didnt fall off of me completely. I ended up falling in love with them and decided to order a properly fit pair when I discovered that they come with a 36 inch inseam!

Ordering a size 6 turned out to be a mistake. They were still far too large (even with a winter legging underneath) so I had to return them. I have since gone down to a size 4 tall and they fit perfect. I wear a size 6 in the Kara jean, so these do run quite large. I can still get my winter legging under the size 4 and they have tons of stretch, which is great if you plan on climbing in them. High steps and stemming will not be a problem.

The fabric is super tough and durable. Backpacking in for alpine climbs and squeezing through off widths will not ruin these pants. I love how quickly they dry and they breathe fairly well.

I gave the original pair of pants to my mom and they fit her perfectly. She is 5'4" and is wearing a size 10 or so in regular clothes. She also commented that she was able to wear them to work. Her office has semi strict dress codes, but she was able to dress them up enough to pass them off for dress pants! WINNING!

(1)

 

0 Comments

Caryn Solomon

Caryn Solomonwrote a review of on July 19, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 155 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

I have had many years of bad luck while searching for a bikini that fits my frame. I am very tall, athletic/slender, with a small bust and full hips. It seems like manufacturers assume that if you are tall and slender you must have zero chest that only needs to be covered by pasties and hips so narrow that you can sling the bikini down to your pubic bone. NOT. THE. CASE.

Enter this wonderful Prana top. It has the comfort and performance of a lightweight sports bra but is actually cute enough to wear to a pool party or casual beach day. I have done some cliff jumping and played in the beach surf and have not had the top fly off to expose my boobs to the world.

(0)

 

0 Comments

Caryn Solomon

Caryn Solomonwrote a review of on June 9, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 155 lbs
Size Purchased: medium

I bought this jacket from a different retailer and ended up returning it because it was not what I was expecting. I had thought that I was getting a jacket closer to a soft shell vs a rain jacket. I did use it a couple times and did like it, but it went back because it was NOT what I was looking for.

Pros:
- Excellent athletic fit like all Patagonia items
- Very high quality fabric. Light weight and thin, but insulated very well. Did not feel clammy or sticky when sweating.
- Loved the storable hood. It folds away and becomes invisible.
- The reflective logo and markings light up bright at night

Cons:
- Only one interior pocket no external pockets
- The arm venting zips did not seem to really release any of the body heat, I think pit zips would have been much better.
- On another site its advertised for running, biking, and climbing. Climbing in this is a no go because every time you raise your arms up the jacket swallows your head and face. I wouldnt consider this as a camping or backpacking jacket either because of the lack of pockets and zero lining. This jacket is paper thin.

Overall it was a hard decision to return the jacket because I did really like the overall fit and function, but I could not justify hanging on to an item with this price tag when this was not what I was really looking for. If you live in a very rainy place and want a serious running/biking rain jacket this would be a very good deal for you.

(1)

 

0 Comments

Caryn Solomon

Caryn Solomonwrote a review of on June 9, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Deuter backpacks are simply brilliant in design. I picked this bag up before leaving for a backpacking trip around Europe....and I mean the kind of backpacking that required gear to trek across peaks and glaciers, not the Kerouac kind of trip. I trekked this pack through Iceland, high across ridge lines in the Austrian alps, backpacked the English country side, and hiked into Germany with it. It has since seen countless backpacking trips in high Sierras, through the Utah desert, and up into the PNW. It has been the most comfortable for every type of trip. I am 6'1" 155lbs with a lean athletic build. Finding gear that really fits my body is a difficult chore and the adjustable back straps on the ACT are fantastic.

Pros:
- Adjustable torso has fit my tall frame and my best friends 5'5" body
- Bag is light for its size
- Ability to overstuff and extra 10L means you CAN bring the kitchen sink or a couple beer cans on your trek
- Hip and shoulder straps are very comfortable
- Exactly the right amount of pockets. Has everything you need and nothing you don't
- The tall and narrow design makes it easy to pack for correct weight distribution
- The sleeping bag compartment has an interior zipper so you can fully separate the compartment OR leave it as open space.

Cons:
- I legitimately hated my bags pine moss color. It was the worst combination of green shades and I really wonder what Deuter is thinking with some color choices.
- Only one hip belt pocket
- No included rain cover (I did not buy a rain cover for this bag and it stayed fairly dry while I was in Iceland and the PNW but I also use stuff sacks for my clothing)


These complaints are very very minor and I still recommend Deuter bags to everyone.

(3)

 

0 Comments