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Ember Manfred

Ember Manfred

Ember Manfred

Ember Manfredwrote a review of on November 20, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I was skiing on a pair of Atomic Warden bindings before my Pivots and was continually having premature releases with my DIN turned up over 11. The improved elasticity in the Pivots has allowed me to run my DINs at a 9, and I have not had a premature release since making the switch at the beginning of last year. I feel safer, more confident and will not be skiing in-bounds on any other binding.

For reference I'm 5'9 180lbs.

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Ember Manfred

Ember Manfredwrote a review of on November 6, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This pump can move some serious water with relatively little effort. I have bliged a partially swamped 12ft boat that did not have bulkheads using two of these pumps in less than 10 minutes. It floats and is nice and lightweight. My two favorite features are that it provides endless fun for surprise water fights and was critical to keeping me cool on Lake Powell in the middle of the summer. I could take up water in the pump and spray it behind my PFD, on my head etc. Great value for money!

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Ember Manfred

Ember Manfredwrote a review of on November 6, 2018

We Love Our Bays!
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I will be the first to admit I was so skeptical about how our "glorified mail cartons" were going to perform and hold up. My concerns were completely unwarranted. Throughout 2018 I have spent 15+ days in the Bay in a variety of conditions. We have taken them on a 3-day tour in Flaming Gorge, a 5-day tour in the middle of summer on Lake Powell, an overnight trip on a class-3 section of the Green river and a cold-weather trip on Stawberry Reservoir. I have not been easy on these boats, continually zipping and unzipping them while loading and unloading in all temperatures. We also have practiced T-rescues with them with the boats entirely swamped. They are remarkably durable and have vastly exceeded my expectations.
I found the use of dry bulkhead bags key to finding enough space to take these 12ft boats on longer tours. They track very for how light they are and not having a rudder likely because they sit quite low to the water. However I did have some struggles in a 20mph cross wind the other day keeping the boat pointed straight. They handle waves and chop better than expexted and are playful and nimble enough to dabble in a little white water as well.
These boats are by no means dry and after a few hours of paddling have a couple of inches of water that will collect in the tail of the boat. I have never felt the boat become unsettled due to too much water in the boat and its nothing that a quick bilge can't fix. The seat is not the most comfortable thing, but I have gotten used to it . I've still never been able to land a roll in the boat either, but come close a few times. The boats are hot in the summer time, as the plastic can act as a bit of a green house but not unbearably so.
The only maintenance issues we have had since we have owned them is a few of the bulk head brackets have come off and had to be re-glued.
Overall we are very happy with our Orus and expect them to last for years to come. I love how quickly they pack up and throw in the trunk of the car. I can store them inside a closet in the house and not have to worry about tying boats on the roof. They perform far better than I ever expected them to.

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Ember Manfred

Ember Manfredwrote a review of on November 6, 2018

High Quality and a great fit.
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've used the skirt about 15 days this season, including 5 baking days on Lake Powell in July. It is just was waterproof as when it started but the logo is showing some signs of light cracking with all of the use. The elastic feels the same as when the skirt was new and all seams are holding up well. Overall I'm extremely happy with it and like the whistle on the pull handle. The 1.2 is the perfect size for my Oru Bay. I have mixed feelings on the suspenders. I used them in the summer when I didn't want the skirt on too tightly or in calmer waters, but have not felt a need for them in the winter when I'm putting the skirt on tightly.

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Ember Manfred

Ember Manfredwrote a review of on November 6, 2018

Very Happy!
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I bought this PFD primarily for kayak touring. It took a few trips for break in and stop riding up when paddling; now that it has broken in it extremely comfortable both in and out of the water. The pockets are great and I have enough of them to house my car keys, PLB, VHF, phone and snackies. The medium was a great fit for me I have a 41" chest.

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Ember Manfred

Ember Manfredwrote a review of on October 31, 2018

4 5

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

I had mixed feeling about this ski, and I'm sure it is going to be widely loved by a lot of people. It is a light ski but is surprisingly stable at speed. It is a bit playful, floats well when off-piste yet can still rip down a groomer. It is designed to be a quiver killer and I think Head largely accomplished this. I like this ski a lot more than a Rossi Sky 7, it was simply more fun and agile. However I prefer a stiffer ski than the Kore, especially in the tail. I find the Dynastar Legend a better quiver killer for the more aggressive skier. I imagine the Kore would deliver the goods in Powder, but I like a stiffer ski for fast carves and to have more support on very steep trees or chutes. As I said the Kore felt happy to go fast; it is damp for its weight and carves well. I did find the limit of the tails on a steep groomer though and felt the tails flex and wash-out at a high rate of speed, leading to a rather scary spinning wipe out. Having said that I still liked the ski. It is approachable to the masses and felt a lot better than much of the competition in the lightweight all mountain category.

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Ember Manfred

Ember Manfredwrote a review of on October 31, 2018

4 5

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

I took a couple of laps on these during a ski demo day last Spring. I have skied the 108 Supernatural in a 188. Stepping down to the narrower 100 in a 179 length felt like a different ski. These skis pivoted quickly underfoot, allowing for lots of maneuverability at slower speeds, they felt jibby in fact . They were much more playful than I was expecting and had a lot of pop. I imagine skiing steep trees would be pretty fun with these skis, especially on a powder day. They are not a damp ski, the hardpack felt jarring at times and edge hold on the groomers was lacking. This is a good ski for softer conditions and is certainly not as chargey as the bigger Supernaturals were. You get a lot of ski for the price and they are a versatile all around ski that can do a little bit of everything. And aren't they a really good looking ski?!

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Ember Manfred

Ember Manfredwrote a review of on October 31, 2018

5 5

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

I completely agree with the review below. Evan only let me borrow them for two runs because he was having too much fun on them. They are a great ski. I was skiing on a pure front-side 72 waist ski on this day and these skis were more fun. They are fast, have endless grip, push effortlessly through crud and are very quick edge-to-edge for a 99 waist ski. If I could afford a pair I would be on these skis at least half of the year. They are the best mostly front-side ski that I have ever been on.

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Ember Manfred

Ember Manfredwrote a review of on October 31, 2018

5 5

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

I have a guilty pleasure. It is carving.

This is hands down the best front-side groomer ripper I have come across. I own a pair of Dynastar Speed Zone 12's, have skied on Rossi Hero's and Blizzard Quatros. The Atomics rule the roost of the lot of them. I was grinning ear to ear on these skiing in icy/hardpack conditions on a ski demo day. They encourage you to push harder and faster than you ever should not on a race course. They are the dampest carve ski I have been on. The ski had more to give than I could give it. My quads and bravery were giving up in high-G turns well before the grip of the ski. They were an absolute blast and I WANT A PAIR!

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Ember Manfred

Ember Manfredwrote a review of on October 31, 2018

4 5

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

I'll start our by saying I love my 2013 Blizzard Chocise. Flat underfoot, stiff, full-metal top sheet, and one of the most forgiving skis in variable conditions I have ever been on. It fits my style of reckless abandon quite well.

Naturally I was excited to hop on the new version of one of my favorite skis; I tried the 185cm length. It ticks all of the boxes on paper, stiff, quite a bit of rocker with a little camber underfoot, and heavy enough to be stable at speed. When I finally got a chance to hop on these, I was disappointed. They did not track as well in variable conditions as there predecessors and were significantly less damp. During the test I couldn't help but compare them to the older generation of the ski and feel that I had lost and old friend.
Halfway though the test, I took a different approach and looked at the Cochise as a new ski. It was not Blizzard's goal anymore to make a hard-charging one-trick pony. It is actually a very good all around wide waist ski. It is far more poppy than its predecessor and I soon had fun launching off of cat tracks and using the weight of the ski to blast through the crud on the landings. It also is far far better on piste than its predecessor. It made smooth wide turns and felt stable in icy conditions, even with the amount of tip and tail rocker it had. The carbon had made the ski very laterally stiff and you can feel the support as you dig an edge in. It turns well at slow speeds due to the tip and tail rocker and has become a ski that is more approachable to a wider market. It is not the ski that I went into the test looking for but is a very capable all arounder is still quite stable at speed, will be better than the previous generation in powder, skis better on piste and is more playful.

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Ember Manfred

Ember Manfredwrote a review of on October 31, 2018

5 5

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

Towards the end of last season I had the opportunity to ski 9 different skis over the course of a full day. Conditions were icy hardpack on the groomers with corn to be found in the sun off-piste. I'm 5'9 weight 175lbs and skied the 182cm length ski.
The new Legend 106 skis absolutely blew me away! It was hands down my favorite all-around ski of the day. I have always been a fan of the Dynastar Cham and this was my first chance to ski the new carboned-up iteration of one of my favorite skis. I was scared I was going to hate the ski as today's trend of adding carbon and lightening up skis has made many skis too harsh and challenging to control through chop at higher speeds in my opinion. My fears were completely unwarranted! For as light as it is, it still manages to plow through chop as well almost as my old full metal top sheet Blizzard Cochise that weigh significantly more. The Legend carves better than any 106 ski has a right to and the tail hung on incredibly well when pushing hard on icy groomers. Off-piste they plowed through icy crud better than any other ski aside from the Nordica Enforcer that I tried on the demo day. It's amazing how a ski that is 2lbs lighter than the Enforcer yet can come ever so close to matching it in the chop. They carved better than any mid-fat ski in its class. This is a remarkably damp ski that is quite stiff, particularly in the tail. It is genuine fun in all conditions and will serve you well in everything from blower pow (the shovel tips are softer than the rest of the ski to rise you on top of soft snow) to icy hard pack. It is a more poppy ski than previous Chams, yet still retains the ability to charge. Can you tell I didn't want to give this ski back? It kept a smile on my face lap after lap. Dynastar knocked it our of the park with this one!--Update. I bought a pair and after skiing poweder...I'm in love

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Ember Manfred

Ember Manfredwrote a review of on October 8, 2018

3 5

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

Mixed feelings on this box. Setup was a breeze and the tool free mounting to the vehicle was intuitive and easy. The box does not add much wind noise to the car and there is not noise from it while driving at highway speeds. It is large enough for 5 pairs of skis and is long enough for my 190cm skis. It's also nice that it opens from either side. The main drawback is that is just feels flimsy and cheap for $400. The locks feel cheap and the button to release the latches does not always release them all at the same time. There is a lot of flex in the lid of the box, and there is so much play in the latches it can be hard to tell if they are all secured. Although, I have discovered they all latch pretty easy on the first try most of the time. When the box is fully shut there is significant play between the lid and the bottom, but is does not seem to be an issue even at higher speeds. So it should get the job done, comes with a lifetime warranty, but leaves something to be desired on the fit and finish front.

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Ember Manfred

Ember Manfredwrote a review of on September 27, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This is real tea that is ground extremely finely and dissolves quickly in hot water. It does not leave any more particulate matter in your cup than a standard tea bag would. The taste and aroma is remarkable, truly as good as tea made from a tea bag. It is great to be able to quickly make a hot cup of tea and not have to worry about putting a wet tea bag into your pack to carry out. I will caution that you do need warm water to dissolve the tea in, as it can be a bit chunky in cool water.

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Ember Manfred

Ember Manfredwrote a review of on September 5, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I'm a big fan of this pack, and it has become my go-to for extended day hikes. I love having the front pockets for phone, food and water. The main body of the pack is large enough for the bladder, food, a few layers first aid kit and a summit beer. It carries great and the back panel is a nice touch for adding a bit more to the suspension while carrying heavier loads and eliminating pokes from off shaped objects in the pack. The sternum cinches also draw the main body of the pack into you, eliminating bounce. The back stretch stuff pockets are durable, but a little too deep for my taste. It can be easy to lose a headlamp all the way to the bottom of them, but they are great for quick access to layers. The rain cover is a nice touch as well and can easily be paired with other packs. All in all I think this pack is one of the best carrying packs in the fastpacking world and I am very happy with it. MY chest is between a 38 and a 39. I preferred the L/XL size as I have a longer torso for my 5'9 frame and didn't need the pack to fit all that snug, as I mostly hike with it.

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Ember Manfred

Ember Manfredwrote a review of on September 4, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

If you are yet to try a modern inflatable pad you are missing out! Sleeping on small imperfections like roots and rocks that could ruin a nights sleep are no longer an issue. The pad inflates in around 20 breaths and packs up in a just a couple of minutes. Mine has been leak free; I always check under my tent floor for anything overly sharp (if there is a sharp rock or stick that can't be moved, you can always put a sock or something on the imperfection to prevent it from puncturing the then floor). Like any lightweight inflatable pad I wouldn't recommend sitting around camp on this pad or sleeping with it directly on the ground. It was a touch crinkly at first, but as I used it, moisture from my breath and a few roll cycles have left it as quiet as my XLite. Its R-Value of 2 is good enough for sleeping down to freezing but any colder than that you should look to a pad with an r-value of 3 or greater. For the price you can't do better in terms of comfort and weight. This is a great pad for general backpacking and car camping. Highly recommended!

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Ember Manfred

Ember Manfredwrote a review of on August 23, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Pods are a total game changer; never going back to stuff sacks as my primary packing system. My partner and I are always fighting over who get the Pods on backpacking trips. Space in the pack is used used much more efficiently, and these are extremely well-built and durable. We overstuff these all of the time, packing them like you would a roll-top dry bag, and the zipper and seams have perfomed perfectly. They are much more waterprrof than Sil-Nylon roll-top dry sacks. They provide piece of mind in the rain, and they are great inside of dry bags on river trips, as some water always gets in. I use the small one with a down jacket in it as a pillow at night. Give these a try; they really are a revolutionary product!

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Ember Manfred

Ember Manfredwrote a review of on August 23, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Pods are a total game changer. My partner and I are always fighting over who get the Pods on backpacking trips. Space in the pack is used used much more efficiently, and these are extremely well-built and durable. We overstuff these all of the time, packing them like you would a roll-top dry bag, and the zipper and seams have perfomed perfectly. They are much more waterprrof than Sil-Nylon roll-top dry sacks. They provide piece of mind in the rain, and they are great inside of dry bags on river trips, as some water always gets in. I use the small one with a down jacket in it as a pillow at night. Give these a try, they really are a revolutionary product!

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Ember Manfred

Ember Manfredwrote a review of on August 13, 2018

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have slept in the Access 2 Tent nine times and have to say that despite some drawbacks I really like it. The strength to weight ratio of this tent is impressive, setup is fast and the symmetrical design means that you can't put on the fly backwards. The vestibules are large and doors plenty big to get in and out of.
This tent is not a bombproof 4-season shelter. Lightweight materials and design come with tradeoffs. It is not built to stand up to 60mph wind in exposed areas. However, it is a warm tent, there are lots of guy points, and carbon poles that can be bent far further than their aluminum counterparts without breaking or permanently bending. Like any 4-season tent ventilation is a challenge and I could see condensation being an issue in wetter climates. Living in Utah though, I have had 0 condensation issues, even during a deluge where we had plenty of wet gear in the tent and where a single wall tent in our party heavily condensated. Unlike the previous reviewer, I have had no issues with the fly touching the tent body. The tent has 10 guy points. I have these 10 points tethered into four main guy outs with each line clove hitched to a micro carabineer on one of the 4 main guy lines. This allows me to tension each point on the tent individually and only have to carry 4 stakes to fully guy the tent. This seems to work great keeping the tent rock solid in 30mph winds. I would agree with the other review that the walls need to be steeper, but we have gotten used to them and find there is plenty of vertical and usable space above the heads of our sleeping pads. With condensation not being and issue in the rain and condensation being frozen in the winter I’m not overly concerned by the wall angles—After all it is going to be a warm tent with two people in it. Internal pockets are limited to two horizontal ones at the head and foot. I would like them to be a bit deeper, but are adequate. Finally, there are four loops on the ceiling of the tent. I lashed some cord in an x pattern to these points with a micro biner in the center. This gives us a clothesline for wet items, adds a bit of strength to the tents, and provides place to string up a Big Agnes MtnGLO strand of lights (highly recommended). Overall my modification of dyneema guy cord, biners stakes and lights added 6oz to the tent. Well worth it IMO for the added strength and creature comforts.
The tent is great, but loses a star for the price and the low walls. My partner and I fit in it comfortably (I’m 5’9 she is 5’6 we are both medium builds) with room for gear, but make no mistake there is not a lot of extra room. It could be a bit awkward with two bigger people sharing it that don’t like to cuddle. I’m excited to use it this winter for touring. Above treeline I’ll dig it down in the snow a bit for added wind protection, but am not worried about its strength.

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Ember Manfred

Ember Manfredwrote a review of on August 2, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

The Diamondback 10x42 is a very versatile optic. It is small enough to bring along on hikes, waterproof for kayak trips, and fun for walks around the neighborhood. Low light performance is quite good for a 42mm objective, especially in this price range. The roof prism design keeps the package small and lends itself better to sharing with friends at a sporting event than a porro-prism design, as it is easier to quickly focus.
This bino ships with a high-quality case, padded neck strap, operation manual and lens cloth. It comes with a no-questions-asked transferable lifetime warranty. I directly compared this bino to a pair of Bushnell and Steiner binos that cost 3x more than these Diamondbacks. The Vortex blew the Bushnells out of the water both in fit and finish, glare resistance and optical clarity. The Steiners were marginally more clear and had a more precise feel when adjusting the focus, but they were certainly not worth spending $400 more.
I've left these binos in my car Utah desert in the middle of the summer (dashboard temps were likely atleast 150 degrees F. They have been packed along on a week-long kayak tour, getting stuffed into drybags and living case-free in wet deck bags. They have survived it all and continue perform exactly as they did on day one. Vortex has won me over, there is no better all-around bino for the price conscious birder, traveler, sports fan, casual star gazer or hiker.

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