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DonnOutside

DonnOutside

Virginia mountains.

DonnOutside's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Skiing
Running
Biking
Paddling

DonnOutside's Bio

If anyone asked me to describe myself in the fewest possible words, "Backpacker" would be it. I don't know anything I have done that so comprehensively informs everything I do, say and think. There is nothing in my personal philosophy I can't link to it in two steps or less. It has literally made a different person out of me from anything I could possibly have imagined without it. Wild is my religion and my church and solitude my muse. I plan my life around being outside and consider "travel" a state of mind one should stay in as much as possible. I've been doing this for over three decades; and the primary impression I get from doing the "same hike again" is: I can't believe I forgot how beautiful this is. You've never "done" anything. You've just refreshed your memory and added more.

I have been called a "Chamber of Commerce" for my part of the country. If you want to know about outdoor within a day's drive of DC, check me out.

DonnOutside

DonnOutsidewrote a review of on November 18, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Picasso carved sculpture with one. That's not enough? Well OK. There isn't a knife I have used this one couldn't replace and do the job as well or better. It fits easily in any pocket. It cuts anything you'd cut with a knife. It is sharp and I mean sharp. It may be overkill for most things you will use it for. But for the price...get overkill. Because nothing you will do with a blade feels more right than the Opinel No. 8.

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DonnOutside

DonnOutsidewrote a review of on November 18, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

And for those of us who don't understand why *anyone* would, say, remodel a bathroom or buy a Lexus, this one is cheap. Way cheap, and stylin to boot. Why get a dull bucket? My favorite use so far: cooler. Stop by the store on the drive out. Toss in a bag of ice; toss some food and maybe a few beers or une bouteille du vin on top; and your road dinner just got made. No leak no fuss no muss. Two of them is a dish washing system par ex. Great caddy for the stuff you want to keep right next to your cot at night. And Snow Peak cachet to boot.

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DonnOutside

DonnOutsidewrote a review of on November 18, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I may not have had a piece of gear that does its job better than this table. Quick setup, quick breakdown, and stable surface. The second deck for cup holders was a stroke of genius. The buckle-strap tensioners don't rank far behind. Look at what other tables cost and what you get for that money; to my mind this may be one of the best values available in outdoor equipment.

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DonnOutside

DonnOutsidewrote a review of on October 9, 2016

Skewer stakes aren't for sissies.
5 5

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

'Coz they ARE sissies. Get these to find that out. Using a Snow Peak skewer - redoubtable, for a skewer - as a control, on a Tent Pad of Stone, I got it in halfway, with a gym rat workout. Then came the #20s. Two of em, right up to the hilt, with less effort in toto, by a lot, than it took for the skewer. Get these if your stake bag looks like Rold Gold made what's inside.

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DonnOutside

DonnOutsidewrote a review of on October 9, 2016

If pounding stakes is your thing...
5 5

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

....get this.

Ever whack a steel hammer head off a recalcitrant nail? You feel much of the impact rebounding into your hand. Your hand will tell you about that sooner or later. And it won't be pleasant. That's why this one has the copper head. The head deforms a bit with each strike, absorbing bad energy and sending good down into that stake where it belongs. That head will look like a mushroom by and by. But your hand won't feel like a battlefield. Snow Peak sells replacement heads, which cost much less than treating carpal tunnel syndrome or stress fractures. You can whale away and feel good too. The leash makes for a secure grip and beaucoup leverage, yeah, use it; the handle gives the right feel; and the flip side of the head will make extracting a stake child's play. (Really. It'll surprise you.) It's heavy perhaps to tote backcountry. But for those of us who like to bring a little Lewis and Clark into the front country mix - never mind getting through those armor plate "tent pads" that seem as often as not to be discouraging you from pitching that tent - well, consider this. It feels like the big leagues before you use it, and delivers when you do.

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DonnOutside

DonnOutsidewrote a review of on June 14, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I had a No. 8 for years (and years), the first backpacking knife I ever bought. I can remember it now, like it's still in my hands. What happened to it is The Great Mystery of My Gear Lifetime. (I still have the stone I sharpened it with, so there's the Good News.) I am thinking that if it hasn't turned up by now, it won't, but maybe it's better now. Not much, mind you, not that this knife needs much. The only thing they've done to it is to make the locking collar even better by making it work both opened and closed. You, backcountry.com, benefit from my loss, because my next order from you will be to replace the world's best pocketknife with...the world's best pocketknife. If you're looking for one of those, stop, order now, this is it. Picasso carved sculpture with this knife; and you're gonna do better? No, you are not.

Edited to add: this isn't just the world's best pocketknife. Of all the knives, of any kind, I ever used, if you told me pick one, and that's the only knife you use, for everything, the rest of your life: it's this one. Because I haven't used a knife that can do something this one can't. That. In your pocket. Think about it.

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DonnOutside

DonnOutsidewrote a review of on June 12, 2016

Beautiful and goes up quick and taut.
4 5

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

It's nice that Snow Peak gives you precut lines and stakes to save even that small additional effort. My 130 cm Black Diamond Z-pole was perfect for the front prop; you won't need to buy a pole for this with a good set of trekking poles. Unless you are planning to use that pole on a hike from camp, but even then you could use an extra stake to nail it down over your stuff until you come back...and finding a big stick for a temporary fix that keeps everything taut (or an overnight fix, if you don't use poles) is not hard at all to do in any backcountry I have been in. The fabric is to my mind pretty darn substantial; this is no cuben fiber/silnylon ultralight, although if you use no other shelter it's a pretty economical weight. (I plan to use the 9 oz. MSR E-Bivy with mine.) Its wingspan will surprise you too; it's roomy. I slept front to back, but one can easily go side to side behind the pole. Pitch it tail to the wind to keep rain from sweeping in that huge front opening, now, and it'll keep the weather off you.

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DonnOutside

DonnOutsidewrote a review of on April 12, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 214 lbs

But stick around, you'll learn something.

I have these boots. They're too small. Other footwear I had that was too small got donated. These didn't. Should have, but didn't. Sentiment. Love. (Gore-Tex.) Dunno. But I kept them. Can't wear them with conventional socks. Toe-box city, egregious forefoot cramping, pain pain pain, and it doesn't take long.

Enter the Injinjis. I switched to a pair of the original in a mini-crew length. Eureka! No more toe-box no more pain feet felt great. But this weekend was gonna be, I thought, a leetle tad chilly for mini-crew. I have been saving these up for summer use with my Chaco Unaweeps, but I decided now was time. I wanted warmer shanks, so out these came. I brought along a pair of lighter Injinjis in case the fit was off. The fit wasn't off. The fit was great. My too-small boots, improbable as it seems, have a new lease on life. And my Injinjis are why.

You should consider them no matter what you are going for in socks. Toe slots minimize blisters not only in the forefoot but throughout; they align the sock so that a heel placement millimeters off simply doesn't happen. Your toes aren't restricted by the sock and they don't rub against one another. Whether your boots are sized right or not, I'd consider these.

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DonnOutside

DonnOutsidewrote a review of on August 23, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 218 lbs
Size Purchased: 11.5 (eur 45)

Was planning to wadewhack a stream in the southern Massanutten. Saw the stream and decided it was more brush than water. Let's stick to the trails. The trails ranged from flat and wide to way up, way down and way rocky. The Lotics remained great at not reminding me I'd chosen water shoes for hiking as dry as it will get (and almost as steep). Bonus! When I found water I just stood in it - cool off the dogs, you know - and when I walked out, no slosh no squish no sucked in gravel and silt and junk, no nothing but let's tackle that dry...and let's tackle it dry. Nice.

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DonnOutside

DonnOutsidewrote a review of on June 14, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 218 lbs
Size Purchased: XXL

That's what My Gearhead said about these. This weekend in Laurel Fork, VA, isn't gonna make me contest that. On a weekend tempting to go with shorts, I didn't. My buddy did. The stinging nettle must have made him at least consider reconsidering. Didn't bother me none. The fit might be a tad slim but that actually makes me happy. The fabric moves when and where you do. They move moisture very well and stay cool in the heat (the little crotch gusset vent holes might have a little to do with that). Love the left thigh cargo pocket that has two entries: zip top and zip side (the latter superb when you are sitting, particularly in a car). The little auxiliary belt snugged up the fit so well that I really didn't need a belt, but figured the belt loops would make good Emergency Rappel Sling Holders or Emergency Snake-Bite Tourniquet Holders. I pounded and sweated up these guys a weetad too much (is there a category for 'worn it once *and* put it through the wringer'?), but if you choose these pants will not embarrass you in town. Winner so far.

(Update. Purchased three more pairs; they are now not only my go-to for hiking and road trips but office mainstays - it's a shirt-and-tie office - that have retired several other pairs. They're in big-time rotation. Nothing feels better in a wider range of situations. Best pants I have owned.)

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DonnOutside

DonnOutsidewrote a review of on June 14, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 218 lbs

So, my buddy leaves camp first, saying he wants to check out this crossing of the Laurel Fork right out of camp. OK, sure, I say. Some time later I reach the stream; he is staggering across, barefoot. I say, feet, don't stop, and wade right across. Other side, dry feet. I'll mosey on a bit here, I say to my buddy, who's busy doing the Post-Crossing Footwear Challenge. Even if these socks don't get wet, they won't feel too hot or stuffy either. They dry out pretty fast. If you are pretty sure heavy rain or noxious stream crossings will be on the menu for your next long day or two, I'd consider these. I was wondering whether they would be a tad warm for a summer walk in humid country with high-top boots. They aren't.

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DonnOutside

DonnOutsidewrote a review of on April 19, 2015

5 5

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

Fast schmast. This pack does that for sure; the load is part of you, and I put about as much in this pack for its first eleven-mile dry run as one might want to. So yep, run. Go fast as you can. But it's not, for me, about making the 200-miler possible; it's about making the ten to fifteen more fun. When you aren't tempted to add more stuff you don't; the front shoulder strap pockets keep the energy snacks available for the big uphill pulls and the smartphone ready for the glory shots; and I got rainshell insulation gloves warm hat mondo headlamp food (how's a steak and wine lunch sounding to you?) water puro and forty-eight ounces of nicely frozen water in there for a delightful day under a blazing sun. This one was well thought out and a pleasure to drive.

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DonnOutside

DonnOutsidewrote a review of on February 22, 2015

4 5

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

Only skied 'em one day so far (on the Altai Skis Hok). Didn't experience the cold/wet issues described by others. Surprisingly comfortable to walk in; even more surprisingly easy to put on all considered. A beefy boot, but based on that one day there's not a place I wouldn't consider taking 'em. Using the Hok with Voile 3-pin bindings; my experiences with cable bindings included blisters so went back, and so far glad I did.

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