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Courtney van Stolk

Courtney van Stolk

Courtney van Stolk

Courtney van Stolkwrote a review of on January 21, 2019

3 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
Fit: Runs small
Height: 5' 4"
Weight: 110 lbs
Size Purchased: S

I'm a petite person, and usually when I see reviews saying "this fits small in the shoulders" the garment fits me well. However, this jacket, while nice quality, is sewn with very limited mobility in the shoulders even on me, and I'll be sending it back. It's disappointing, because I love the material and the variety of pockets. The jacket's body is very long on me but the sleeves are too short. I'm 5'4, 110 lbs and got the size S, and the length is more like a parka than a down jacket for layering. Backcountry is on the right track with this jacket's quality, but I hope they'll dial in the fit for next year.

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Courtney van Stolk

Courtney van Stolkwrote a review of on September 2, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I'm 5'4 with a short torso and scrawny shoulders, and finding packs that fit has been a pain. This one fits so well I can almost forget about it! The hip fins are secure and comfortable, with pockets big enough for my hand lens, chapstick, or pocket knife. Too small for a phone, but I'm OK with that because larger pockets would just get in the way of my arms. The hip straps do a good job of keeping the pack stable when I'm scrambling on rocky terrain, and support the pack's weight well. The shoulder straps don't dig into my neck. The hydration sleeve fits a 3L bladder comfortably, but it's a bit fiddly getting the tube through to the outside of the pack. There's plenty of space for lunch, essentials, binoculars, and a layer. The color is very nice (I got it in cardinal/maroon) but is more muted that the online photos appear - it's kind of a warm rosy pink.
The pockets on the side of the pack might be awkward if you want to fit water bottles in them - the cinch strap is in the way. However I just use my camelback so I'm fine with that, and use the side pockets for snacks and a map.

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Courtney van Stolk

Courtney van Stolkwrote a review of on May 7, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I can fit my size 24.5 low volume boots, size small helmet, and goggles into the main compartment with room to stuff my gloves in. I can fit a trail map and some snacks in the outside pocket. It suits me and my needs just fine! For someone with larger sizes of gear it might only fit the boots. I only wish there was a padded slider on the shoulder strap, but otherwise it does exactly what I need.

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Courtney van Stolk

Courtney van Stolkwrote a review of on July 27, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I spent two nights in this tent with my twin sister, and she remarked that it was the closest thing to being back in the womb. So, definitely not a two person tent unless the two people are kids.

However, for this one 5'4 person, the Grand Mesa is a lightweight and sturdy home base. I spent 3 months living out of this tent while leading trips in California. It's a great little tent for a great little price! There's room for me to sit up and stretch a bit, it does a great job of keeping the rain out, and it's a breeze to pitch. I can set up my sleeping pad on one side and my duffel bag on the other and not feel cramped. The materials feel substantial and the bottom stands up to rough ground. My only complaint with the design is that it's hard to get the front vestibule taut enough that it doesn't flap. I haven't had a condensation problem with it, and it manages to both stay cool on hot days and keep the wind out on cold ones.

If you're a solo backpacker looking for a lightweight tent, it's a little bit on the heavy side to carry, but I don't suppose you can beat it for the price.

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Courtney van Stolk

Courtney van Stolkwrote a review of on March 15, 2017

2 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
Fit: Runs small
Height: 5' 4"
Weight: 110 lbs
Size Purchased: 25

I usually wear a size 0 in pants, and ordered the size 25 and 26 in these pants in El Cap Khaki to try on. I've got scrawny legs but both sizes just about cut off circulation and had unflattering creases where they were pulled too tight around my hips, knees, and calves. If I had gone up to a size 27 they would have fallen off of my backside. I wanted to love these pants but they just didn't work.

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Courtney van Stolk

Courtney van Stolkwrote a review of on February 8, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 4"
Weight: 110 lbs
Size Purchased: 0

I have a horrible time finding pants that don't gap at the waist, and these are perfect! No belt needed! I bought my usual size 0 and it is spot on. I'm 5'4 and mostly leg, so didn't find them as long as some others have and won't cuff them. The denim is lighter weight but not clingy and they'll probably be cooler in summer than my other jeans. The cargo green has a slight sheen to it that makes the color dressy enough for casual office wear - they don't look like cargo pants. I can see these becoming a real favorite.

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Courtney van Stolk

Courtney van Stolkwrote a review of on January 11, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 4"
Weight: 110 lbs
Size Purchased: xs

I had been looking for a black down vest to wear to work, and my mom gave me this one for Christmas. I like that it has a longer fit than my Patagonia down sweater vest. Unlike most down vests it is not flared out at the hips, which fits my narrow frame well, and the armholes are small enough that they don't gape but large enough to layer a sweater underneath. The collar is wonderfully snuggly! It's bulkier than several other down vests available, so don't buy it if you're looking for a super sleek silhouette, but doesn't make me look like a marshmallow. It keeps me cozy but not overheated.

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Courtney van Stolk

Courtney van Stolkwrote a review of on November 1, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I bought my latest cube to replace my old cube (previously reviewed)that my sister liked so much that she nabbed it to pack for her 6-month trip around Europe. That one has stood up very well to a year of heavy travel and this one should too. These pack-it cubes are phenomenal for packing a duffel bag without clothing sloshing around and getting wrinkled, and also for easily organizing within a suitcase when I'm sharing a hotel room with five other grad students at a conference. My clothes stay neatly folded and easy to find. This size holds eight shirts or five sweaters, and the half-cube size is great for socks and skivvies.

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Courtney van Stolk

Courtney van Stolkwrote a review of on April 7, 2012

great, but bigger than expected
4 5

I ordered this hoping for something to keep my change of clothes from getting too mussed in my pack, and it ended up being bigger than I expected. So, in the picture I uploaded I fit all this into the packing cube:

swimsuit, board shorts, short-sleeved rash guard, spare bra/underwear, coverup dress, pak-towel, toiletries kit, sunscreen, headlamp, bandana, and teva flip-flops.

This, my friends, is a lot of stuff. I think I'll order the half-cube to fulfill my original purpose, but I'll hang on to this one too because I can see it being useful to segregate my personal gear from group gear for backpacking.
I gave it a four because I haven't seen how it will hold up to wear yet, but I'll bump it up to a five if it wears well.

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Courtney van Stolk

Courtney van Stolkwrote a review of on June 4, 2009

4 5

What an awesome dress! Comfortable, cool, wears like iron. I only wish that it came in a shorter length, since I'm 5'4 and it comes below my knees. That would make it perfect. For the record, I weigh 105 and the XS fits great, maybe a bit loose in the chest area. The neckline's great - not too frumpy, not too low, and the armholes that people complain about fit my small shoulders beautifully.

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Courtney van Stolk

Courtney van Stolkwrote a review of on June 4, 2009

4 5

I tried these on at the store and liked them, but the first time I wore them I cut my feet to bits and the toe-straps strangled my big toes. The fourth time I wore them I loved them.

Here's my biggest tip: tighten the straps to the tightness that seems intuitive, them give the straps an extra half inch to and inch. Since I've done that, and put band-aids on the top inside edge of my foot where the straps cross, these shoes have been great. I love the zebra aqua color! I can't wait to wear them hiking or canoeing, instead of just out on errands.

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