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Darin

Darin

WA Cascades

Darin's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Snowboarding
Biking
Skiing

Darin

Darinwrote a review of on January 30, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: Runs large

First of all, we're NOT Patagonia people. We tend to be value-oriented, function over fashion gear buyers, and I don't feel like Patagonia typically meets these criteria. However, due to lack of other options at the time, we did purchase one of these jackets for our oldest boy when he was about 1 year old. We fell in love with the design of the jacket. Specifically, the sleeves are awesome. While they are a bit baggy, their smooth material easily slides over long-sleeved clothing, and the elastic cuffs stay put right at the wrists. On and off, on and off, all day, every day. Easy. The hood fits perfectly when zipped all the way up, which is great, because toddlers don't always want to wear hats. The fabrics are good enough for our PNW winters, and the jackets easily compress and stuff into pockets and diaper bags. Car seats are a breeze.
This first jacket was worn by our oldest boy, and then by our younger boy. It still looks new. We recently purchased 2 more of these in staggered sizes(2T ,3T) and we will continue the chain. These jacket work and wear so well, that we look forward to handing them down to someone else when the time comes.
The fit is on the larger side, but the elastic cuffs successfully keep things manageable. I wouldn't recommend "sizing down".

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Darin

Darinwrote a review of on April 12, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

My wife purchased these to replace some heavily beaten, but still functional Burton Missions. First of all, Burton bindings are amazingly reliable, comfortable, and durable. They don't, however, have adjustable heel cups like these Unions. This comes into play for both of us as we are particular about stance width and location, and don't like to waste the "sliding adjustment" of the binding disks on centering the heel/toe on the board. The adjustable heel cups allow for centering the foot, leaving the binding disks fully available for stance tinkering.
The materials quality of the Force bindings is excellent. Strong plastics with rubber, foam and metal where appropriate. They are more comfortable than other "high response" bindings that I've ridden and owned.
The cork colorway does not look like cork. Union can improve their heel strap hardware. The hardware pinches the straps against the base plate/heel cup area, and loosens over time with strap movement. The design is 100% dependent on Loctite. The hardware should instead bottom out on itself, leaving a certain amount of "play" for normal strap range of motion.
The binding disks crack. I am currently riding with 2 cracked disks. This could be potentially unsafe if I was not aware of the issue. I have my eye on it.
I like car analogies, and the Union Forces are definitely the BMW of the binding world. They feel fantastic, but are not without their quirks. I recommend carrying a tool kit if you're driving/riding either of them. If I was aware of a better binding, I would buy it.

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Darin

Darinwrote a review of on March 23, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

When I find something I like, I hold on to it. I have held onto the 32 Brand boots for about the last 10 years. I used to cycle through the "Lashed" model about every 45-60 days of riding. They are relatively inexpensive, comfortable out of the box, and provide the ideal balance of support and response for my taste. I always wondered what the higher-end options in the line could offer, but just kept "going back to the same well" in the Lashed. 2 seasons ago I decided to take the leap and try the TM-Two's. I hadn't been riding as much(making babies), and know from experience that the best time to make a change in equipment is during these periodic "lulls" in repetition that we all experience from time to time. I will say this about the TM-Two's; There was no adjustment period coming over from the Lashed. The fit is identical. Comfortable out of the box. Slightly more supportive, possibly due to a taller cuff height? The boots clearly get their support from their fit. It's common for boot manufacturers to "beef up" or "stiffen" certain areas of their boots to satisfy our "first impression mechanism", but these are the same areas of the boot that wear against each other and break-down causing inevitable dissatisfaction. My experience with 32 boots is that they blend their materials in a way that would leave one to believe that their foot is encapsulated in a homogeneous material. This is ideal because every binding and foot will fit together differently.
In summary: My feet are tough to please. Narrow heels, high insteps, wide forefeet. My feet measure Men's 8.5. I buy Men's 8.5 32's. I don't like thick socks. I used to ride the "Lashed". My first pair of TM-Two's have already outlasted(and slightly outperformed) any pair of Lashed I ever had.


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Darin

Darinwrote a review of on February 12, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

First of all, Backcountry nailed it on the delivery time. They shipped out the same day, and they arrived in a jiffy. As some reviewers have noted, this year's model is an upgrade from the previous generation Force bindings. Noticeably lighter when compared side by side. Very powerful bindings. Some of that "power" can be adjusted down by removing forward lean, or by moving the toe ramps forward, and out from under your foot. Straps are comfy. A tip when mounting bindings: CLEAN the top sheet of your board in the area that the bindings will be mounted. Use additional loc-tite on the mounting screw threads. Lubricate the screw head flanges where they interface with the tapered washers. Use a #3 screwdriver. Make things evenly tight. Keep that #3 screwdriver in your car/ gear bag just in case. Check the mounting screws on occasion, especially after the first day or two. Plan on having these bindings for longer than your last pair, because they're only getting better!

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Darin

Darinwrote a review of on January 13, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: Runs large

This pant has been in the Burton line-up forever. It's the Honda Accord of snowboard pants. There will always be something better out there, but is anyone ever really "unhappy" with a Honda Accord? I currently have, and have had, several different colors and model years of this product and can not bring myself to spend my money anywhere else. I use the pants for low elevation, PNW (wet) lift-served riding, and have no issues with moisture management. Water beads up when the pants are clean, and eventually soaks into the outer fabric layer when they're dirty and need to be washed. Shocking. 100-ish days it what you should expect from a pair. I'm 5'10" 150lbs, size small.

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