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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnson

Gearhead

Salt Lake City, Utah

Connor Johnson's Passions

Biking
Running
Skiing
Hiking & Camping

Connor Johnson's Bio

Howdy! I work as one of our Expert Gearheads - I specialize in skiing (resort & backcountry touring, I don't discriminate in my powder hounding), mountain biking, hiking & camping. I'm happily semi rad! When I'm not getting lost in the woods, you'll catch me tinkering with my bikes, snappin' photos, and eating burritos.

Some of my favorite trips I've done have been bikepacking the Colorado Trail from Denver to Durango, following the snow up & down the Powder Highway in Canada, and roadtripping with my brother to find the best trailheads & singletrack west of the Mississippi!

All of the photos in my reviews are either my own or one's that friends have shot of me enjoying the gear! Check out my latest adventures on my Instagram @connorjuliusjohnson

For any gear questions or adventure advice, give a shout to cojohnson@backcountry.com or call me at 801.204.4547

Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on May 4, 2018

Bicycle Bell Clickbait!
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Hello, welcome to my Spur Cycle bell review! You're probably scanning reviews, wondering how a bell can cost $50-60 dollars! I too, was a non believer, but am here to spread the good ding of the Spur Cycle Bell!

If you live in an area with high traffic (or remote and you want to keep away those scary bears), a bell is a great idea on a bike. My requirements were wanting one that was relatively subtle looking, was louder than an screaming infant, and could get used and abused on the trail and not instantly explode. Lets go through these to see how it fairs.

Low key looking: check. Its a bit more obvious than something like the Knog bells, but I had one that style that pretty instantly fell apart after one of the springs came out.

Loud Factor: DING DING (shout this out loud and will be close to as loud as this bell is). Yes, and it has a lovely after ring.

It has been through considerably more use than other my bells have and still truckin' along. Its easy to install and I've now bought them for literally all of my bikes.

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on April 30, 2018

Solid Saddle
4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I threw this on my Niner Sir 9 and its treated me well. I honestly don't remember exactly my sitbone width so I just went with the medium and it fits fine. Hardtails can be rough on the behind after a fair amount of mileage, but had no issues with this!

I have noticed a bit of wear and tear on the left side, which is a bit of a bummer. I'm guessing its from putting it down on the left side, though there is a chance of it coming from the occasional crash (I'm only human, ok?!)

Vanity aside, I like the matchy matchy of being able to match my saddle with my Ergon grips.

If you're looking for a good trail saddle, look no further! Feel free to reach out if you do have any other questions on it and I'd be happy to help!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on April 30, 2018

No Bull, Just A Workhorse Dropper
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have this mounted up on my Niner Sir 9 - I managed to squeeze a 170mm post on it and it essentially has turned it into a full on rowdy trail hardtail. Its awesome.

- My initial dropper I bought essentially didn't work. Bummer. I hit up PNW Component's warranty dept and the founder personally reached out to me and got me another sent out pronto. Pretty rad.

Since then, zero issues. Works flawlessly. Though they did include a 1x style lever with it, I had an anodized Raceface Turbine remote lever that I use with it.

If you're looking for a bomber dropper lever that is 150mm or bigger and comes with a lever, look no further! Pretty awesome post - if you have any other questions on it or are interested this dropper for your bike, feel free to reach out and I'd be happy to help!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on April 30, 2018

Heavy Metal Trail Hardtail
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I am 5'11" and have a 32" inseam. I went with a size large frame and it fits great. I built mine up from the frame up (Deity cockpit, Ergon saddle & grips, PNW Components Bachelor Dropper, Rockshox Pike 130mm, GX Eagle drivetrain, and Guide RSC brakes) and it has been so fun. I've ran it with both 29" wheels (pictured here) and 27.5+ wheels - I personally prefer 27.5+ hands down. Its not that light, in fact I like to call it Heavy Metal!! (Insert rock hands here)

What I like about it:
- Pretty capable for a hardtail. I absolutely smash down rowdy trails and it can hold its own! Generally not as fast as a full squish bike, but its a steel hardtail that is a blast to ride. Not sure if its the steel frame or not, but it holds its own for sure. I definitely felt that the 27.5+ were more confidence inspiring on the downhill - better traction and feels like it lowers the bottom bracket a bit.
- Short chainstays make for a snappy bike, just pretty playful in general.
- Reynolds 853 Steel frame gives a lively feel on the trail. I would love to try a direct comparison of a non steel version (I know this doesn't exist) but does have a springy feel that is just fun to ride.

What I don't like:
- While I wasn't entirely concerned about the weight, it really is not a light bike (again, Heavy Metal). I think mine weighs in at 31-32ish lbs with my Crank Brother stamp pedals.
- Niner says it should fit 29" tires that are up to 2.5" depending on brand - a Schwalbe 2.35" Nobby Nic mounted on Industry Nine Trail 245 wheels practically do not fit and rubs on hard cornering. Seriously millimeters of clearance. For having Niner as a name and barely fitting a pretty normal size tire on not that wide of rims is a bit weak. No issue with plus size tires though!

If you're looking for a hardtail and are more concerned about having a rad time out on the trail than bother counting grams, this could be the bike for you! Feel free to reach out if you do have any questions on it or if you'd like any help putting together a custom build for yourself!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on April 19, 2018

4 5

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

Posting from an email from a customer who bought the size XXL:

I ended up with the XXL Gore gloves when my size by measurement was large. The xxl's fit perfectly. Probably good information for you to know for the gore gloves. I love Gore equipment but that's a drag if they're fit is that off. Anyway bottom line I'm happy.

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on April 17, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I surprised my girlfriend with this on a trip down to Moab and she absolutely loved it. We were car camping and this was perfect for it. The desert gets cold at night - this was perfect for making coffee in chilly mornings and sitting around late at night.

Pros:
- Lightweight and compact when in its bag. Not sure it would be a straight up replacement for a sleeping bag, but awesome thing to have, especially when car camping.
- Plenty warm!
- While I don't have a dog, my girlfriend and roommate both do and keeps from dog hair from sticking to it.
- If you're sleeping under it, its definitely a 1 person blanket. You can share it when sitting around totally fine though!

Cons:
- Nothing yet! Durability seemed fine after being in the rocky & prickly camping spot we were in, but nothing to report here. No news is good news in this case!

Overall, if you're looking for something fun to add to your camp coziness, look no further! Its a great gift and something to keep you warm.

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on February 14, 2018

No Nonsense Technical Shell
4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 7"
Weight: 145 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

Got this jacket for my girlfriend - she is a medium in everything, including this jacket! She tried out a few different similar shell options before deciding to go with this - she will ski at resorts and backcountry tour with it and generally loves it.

Here's what she likes about it:
- Fit is spot on and fits well for her. Its a no BS, durable technical shell. A lot of the jackets had funny proportions for arms or were boxy and this fits well for her.
- 3 layer Gore-tex holds up to nasty wet, weather. With the variable condition season that Utah has had so far, this has proved vital. Also, the 75D protects against random tree branches from ripping it.
- Pit zips allow for dumping heat when touring, relatively easy to use.

What she doesn't like about them:
- The hood does fit over helmets, but doesn't easily move with the turning of the neck.
- Not a deal breaker for her, but she likes powder skirts and this doesn't have one.

If you have any questions on it or are a guy looking to get their chica an awesome ski shell, this is a great contender. Feel free to reach me at my direct line 801.204.4547 or email cojohnson@backcountry.com and would be happy to help!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on February 14, 2018

Fastpackin' Boots
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 11"
Weight: 175 lbs
Size Purchased: 10.0

I normally wear a 9.5 - a 10.5 depending on the brand. I was a 10.0 for sure in these - seemed to fit spot on, not running small at all. I had the chance to demo these, though didn't really get to put them through the test in the mountains or desert. I did do a few laps around the building and stood in our river / koi pond in front of our building, semi submerged. Gotta make do with what you got!

Here's what I took away from my experience using them:
- The Gore-tex Surround allows for them to be semi water proof. I didn't full submerge my foot as I wasn't that committed, but enough to stand in some water to see what happens. My socks weren't wet after it - though if you stayed for longer than I did they might have been. I did feel the water and it definitely retained water between the membrane and the sole until drained at an angle.
- They seemed comfortable and supportive enough for backpacking and light enough to hike and scramble around in. Sole of the shoe seemed more than capable for baggin' peaks and making sure that you have plenty of traction with them. Unfortunately did not nearly put through the paces to comment at all on durability.

If you have any questions about the boots, feel free to reach me at my direct line 801.204.4547 or my email cojohnson@backcountry.com and I'd be happy to help out with sizing or help put in an order for a pair!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on February 14, 2018

Thoughtfully Designed Touring Pack
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I was lucky enough to use this pack for 4 days of in intensive use of touring in the Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Hole Resort & its surrounding backcountry, and Teton pass. I have a bone to pick with the rating of the review below as its one of the better non avy airbag touring packs I've used and is packed with features that are actually useful in practical use.

What I liked about it:
- Can't speak for the vertical board carry, but the A-Frame ski carry was easy as can be. Didn't use the diagonal ski carry, photo attached is one of the shorter bootpacks and just threw my skis over my shoulder.
- Building off that, yes it does not have a frame - but no issues with a fully loaded pack for big touring days or boot packing with skis on the pack.
- Pocket situation is great. Goggle / sunglasses pocket, dedicated tool pocket, access from top and back panel for main pocket. I used the radio pocket and was easy to put through. Snack all day keeps the bonk away - this pack makes it easy with the awesome hip pocket. I fit 3 or 4 bars in there no problem. Plenty of storage - in addition to shovel & probe in my other pocket, the main storage fit another pair of gloves, two water bottles, another layer or two, more food, and more.
- Helmet carry stows away and makes it easy to carry a brain bucket with you when touring in.
- Because it was February in Jackson, I didn't want to risk using a hydration bladder for fear the hose would freeze, so didn't really put that to the test.

What I didn't like about the pack:
- Though I didn't use it, there wasn't a pocket or anywhere specifically to hold a hydration bladder that I could tell. Again, I used a Nalgene & a Hydroflask instead, but still would be nice to have.

All in all, if you're looking for a great mid size touring pack, seriously look no further. This pack is awesome and would highly recommend it - If you have any other questions on it, feel free to reach me at my direct line 801.204.4547 or my email cojohnson@backcountry.com.

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on February 14, 2018

5 5

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

I'm 5'11" and 175lbs and often split between medium and large in terms of sizing. I decided to buy both to try them out and see which fit best - large was hands down the way to go in this case. It fit well - not snug, not loose. A perfect, athletic fit.

What I like about the jacket:
- The hood fits over a bike helmet. Rainy day? No problem. Throw up the hood and you're set.
- Goretex Paclite is waterproof and packs down tiny enough to fit into a pack or even, gasp, a fanny pack. Fantastic emergency shell for the trail! I haven't fully put it through the ringer to talk durability. Will report back on it.
- I like that you can cinch down the bottom of the jacket and the hood.

What I Don't Like:
- I guess lack of pockets, not a huge fan of rear pockets like it has. With that said, I don't really mind as its more of an emergency style shell or can wear a pack.
- I do slightly worry the lack of venting may lead to overheating, but will cross that bridge when I come to it.

If you need a good trail jacket for wet weather that also packs down pretty small, look no further! If you have any questions on sizing or if you're looking to place an order, feel free to reach me at my direct line 801.204.4547 or email cojohnson@backcountry.com and would be happy to help!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on February 14, 2018

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 11"
Weight: 175 lbs
Size Purchased: Large

I'm 5'11" and 175lbs - typically in between a medium and large and decided to go with a large in this case. It definitely is pretty roomy, but I prefer a bigger fitting jacket for skiing, especially as I like to be able to layer underneath it. I use it for both resort and backcountry skiing and it does do both pretty dang well.

What I like about the Beta SV Jacket:
- First and foremost, its is a burly fabric (80d means its not gonna get ripped apart from a little twig) that is Goretex Pro - made to take a beating when the going gets wet and nasty. SV stands for Severe (Weather) and its designed for that exactly.
- I keep the zippers at the top of the pit and its easy to use the pit zips to dump heat when touring.
- Storm hood, the love of my stormy life. Fits up and over a helmet and still protects the face - it also moves when you turn your head, not just getting sucked into the hood. I measure the amount of good ski days by the number of days I was wearing my storm hood.
- Though its definitely a bigger jacket than what I'd wear casually, the fit is great for layering. Base layer, nano air hybrid vest, down jacket are my go to touring layers and it can comfortable fit all below no problem.

What I didn't like about the jacket:
- It doesn't have a powder skirt. I get that this may be a multi purpose technical shell (mountaineering, etc), but the fact that there is a pass pocket on the arm and not a powder skirt sort of irks me.

All in all, if you're looking for a fantastic, burly technical shell for resort and or backcountry skiing, this is a great option! If you're unsure of whether this vs any other Arc'teryx shell jackets is the best option, have sizing questions, or are looking to put in an order, give a shout! My direct line is 801.204.4547 or can email me at cojohnson@backcountry.com and would be more than happy to help!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on February 11, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 11"
Weight: 175 lbs
Size Purchased: Large

I am 5'11" and 175lbs with a 32" inseam and waist typically. I purchased a large - I probably could have fit a medium just fine, but prefer a slightly baggier fit for ski pants. I am previously coming off the Arc'teryx Theta SV pants (in size large also) and these are the solution to many of the problems that I previously had with the Theta SV. I'll try to get a photo up for sizing when I can.

Here's what I liked about the Rush LT pants:
- Two decent sized pockets. One bib pocket that can more than easily fit a modern phone and snacks and a thigh pocket. For the record, the Theta SV bibs have two bib chest "pockets" that definitely leave a ton to be desired.
- Goretex C-Knit makes for soft and still very waterproof & breathable. Can't ask for anything better on that!
- The venting is on point. One vent on the left that starts low enough that you can pull it down with a jacket on and the right is a half zip starting from the top of the bib. Thought it was a bit odd right when I got them, after a few big days touring in the Grand Teton National Park, I am a big fan.
- The Touring Cuff seems like a neat - seems that you can run the power strap through the gaiter so you can adjust the strap without having to take off the gaiter and get snow in your boot. Haven't really used it yet though. Will report back when I do actually use it.

What I haven't liked about them:
- The suspender straps do come up and cross pretty high on the back - practically right behind the neck.
- Something to note is that the cut of the pants looks a touch bell bottom esque when putting them on without boots on. Make sure to try them on with your boots if you're not sure on it.

Overall, if you're looking for a heavy duty ski bib that you can just as happily rip resort laps and spend all day touring in, look no further. I would highly recommend these - feel free to reach me at my direct line 801.204.4547 or my email cojohnson@backcountry.com if you have any other questions or would like help placing an order!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on February 7, 2018

4 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

Sick of having frozen digits when I returned home after rides in late fall/winter/early spring, I picked these up among a few other pairs of windproof / winter gloves to ride my mountain bike when the weather gets nasty. These were my close second choice of glove. I typically wear mediums (I bought mediums) and have a 7 3/4" length from finger tip to wrist length and 9" circumference at the widest part of the palm.

They're relatively warm, without being overly insulated or bulky. This was a big factor for me - I like my MTB gloves pretty tight so I can get a decent grip on the bars. These are pretty good about it, with the exception of the pinky being too long.

The Gore Windstopper I would expect to have done wonders. I have other ski touring gloves that have Windstopper that are fantastic and breath well in high aerobic activity and would have expected this to have been no exception. I also liked the build of the palm and the elastic bits on the fingertips.

If you're in need of a new pair of gloves for cold weather commuting, cyclocross, or mountain biking (road too I suppose), these are a fantastic option. Feel free to reach me at my direct line 801.204.4547 or my email cojohnson@backcountry.com

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on February 7, 2018

Pretty Rad Waterproof Urban Shoes
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 11"
Weight: 175 lbs
Size Purchased: 9.5

I typically wear a 9.0-10.0 depending on the brand and this splits the difference on 9.5 exactly. It fits great! I have a medium width foot and these feel great in them. I've only had a few days in these so far, but am pretty stoked on them in general. Salt Lake City gets a fair amount of rain and snow in the winter/spring and these are perfect for that exactly. Photo below is from a drizzly day in SLC recently.

The Gore-tex Surround has allowed for me to tromp through (small) puddles and wet grass without fear of soggy socks at my desk. I personally really like the look of these, they sort of look like an approach shoe while still being a casual shoe for day to day use. They seem to breath well, though haven't really put them through the ringer on that.

The one real downside to these are that the laces seem to unlace themselves, so definitely need to double knot them.

All in all, if you're looking for a rad city shoe in a place that rains pretty frequently (cough cough, I'm looking at you, PNW), this is a great option! Feel free to reach me at 801.204.4547 or cojohnson@backcountry.com if you have any questions on them or would like help placing an order.

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on December 19, 2017

5 5

Height: 5' 11"
Weight: 175 lbs

I'm 5'11" and 175lbs and went with the size large. While we haven't had much of a ski season, I can attest that this thing is cozy for apres beers. I plan on using it as a mid layer when it becomes a bit colder out.

Pros:
- I like both the wool/acrylic blend, as well as the synthetic quilted front. The wool gives it warmth, but is still soft. The front gives you a bit of wind protection if you decide to unzip your shell layer to vent a bit.
- Lets face it, you look straight up mountain classy in it, but still is a great performing midlayer.

Cons:
- I don't mind it, but some folk might not like how high up the neck comes on it . When its fully zipped up, its not too far off from turtleneck territory. I don't normally zip it up that much though.

If you have any other questions on it or helping size before purchasing, don't hesitate giving a shout - my direct line is 801.204.4547 or you can reach me at my email cojohnson@backcountry.com and I would be happy to help!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on December 19, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 11"
Weight: 175 lbs
Size Purchased: Large

I'm 5'11" and 175lbs - I went with the large on this and it fits great. I possibly could have gone with the Medium, but figured I would be wearing this with at least a base layer underneath it so figured I'd give room to layer up. I know its designed with the intent of being used for nordic skiing, but while we don't have much snow currently, I've been using it for winter training on runs and bike rides.

Pros:
- For as warm & windproof as this is, it still breaths really well. I tend to overheat pretty easily, but for the winter runs and bike rides I've put this through it has performed great so far.
- It has reflective bits for when running/riding in city at night. I try to limit my night rides for fear of cars, but can't always help when a ride goes late. Gives me a bit of confidence knowing its a bit reflective.
- The fit is great. Trim without being restrictive.

Cons:
- Honestly not much yet. I haven't had the chance to give the DWR a real test but will report back when I do!

Overall, if you're looking for a good option for winter training - nordic skiing, running, biking, etc, this is a great option to protect you from the elements! Feel free to reach me at my direct line 801.204.4547 or my email cojohnson@backcountry.com if you do have any other questions on the jacket or would like help ordering the right size!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on December 14, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 11"
Weight: 175 lbs
Size Purchased: L/XL

I got some Bjorn Daehlie gear for winter training and activites in Salt Lake City, including these. I spend my time running and road riding to cross train as well as backcountry skiing. I'm 5'11" and 175lbs and got the L/XL. I likely should have gone with the M/L but this is a pretty great base layer. Its a bit long and long sleeves, but like that for being able to curl up my hands in if its a cold day and without gloves.

I would say that the material is soft, but still durable enough that it seems like it will hold up to at least a few seasons of training and skiing. I do like the quarter zip though, its an easy way to dump heat and regulate those temps. These will be a go to for me for cold weather activities this year.

I would absolutely recommend this to someone looking for a good midweight base layer. I've also mountain biked with it as a base layer in 25 degree weather and it did great with an outer shell. I plan on using it for touring in the backcountry as soon as we get more snow!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on December 14, 2017

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 11"
Weight: 175 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

I got some Bjorn Daehlie gear for winter training in Salt Lake City, including this. I spend my time running and road riding to cross train as well as backcountry skiing. I'm 5'11" and 175lbs and got a size medium. It fits true to size. The cut of the top is a bit interesting.

I just want to make it clear what you're buying - the mesh is pretty much see through and the way these pants are designed ends up being pretty specific to their intended use, that being high aerobic activity. Its a bit of a crop top with merno mesh being pretty snug around the bell. I will say that I'm not willing to post a photo of myself wearing them, but the merino mesh is very much see through, the product photos show this.

If you plan on doing a seriously high intensity aerobic activity and plan on wearing an outer layer, I could see these being a great option. Not sure these would be the first base layer option I'd recommend to most people unless you plan on mostly nordic skiing with it.

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on December 14, 2017

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Height: 5' 11"
Weight: 175 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

I got some Bjorn Daehlie gear for winter training in Salt Lake City, including these. I spend my time running and road riding to cross train as well as backcountry skiing. I'm 5'11" and 175lbs with a 32" inseam and waist and got the size medium. It fits true to size, but the cut of the pants is a bit interesting.

I just want to make it clear what you're buying - the mesh is pretty much see through and the way these pants are designed ends up being pretty specific to their intended use, that being high aerobic activity. With that said they are very form fitting, though not uncomfortable. I will say that I'm not willing to post a photo of myself wearing them, but the merino mesh is very much see through.

If you plan on doing a seriously high intensity aerobic activity and plan on wearing an outer layer over it, I could see these being a great option. Not sure these would be the first base layer option I'd recommend to most people unless you plan on mostly nordic skiing with it.

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