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Ember Manfred

Ember Manfred

, Employee

Utah: Land o' Radness

Ember Manfred's Passions

Snowshoeing
Skiing
Paddling
Biking
Hiking & Camping

Ember Manfred's Bio

Moved from North Carolina to Utah in search of bigger mountains and proximity to UT's desert. As a former thru-hiker with over 3500 miles of backpacking under my belt, camping and hiking is where I feel at home. I also enjoy mountain and road biking, kayak touring, both alpine and backcountry skiing. I'm buyer on the camp hardgoods team and love having a career where I can be a total gear nerd interacting with what I love every day.

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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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Ember Manfred

Ember Manfredwrote a review of on August 1, 2018

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

The small is big enough for a couple of tubes, levers, multitool, key, and maybe a couple of clif bars. The fit is super stable, but is still quick to take on and off the bike. I do wish the roll closure had some level of adjustability to tighten the bag up when it's not completely full.

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Ember Manfred

Ember Manfredwrote a review of on July 31, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Pretty darn good, but might be too spicy for some! Use a little less water than directed for best results (try 14oz water). Lacks some points on presentation, but makes up for it in flavor. This one packs the fiber in too! I also love the short wide bags, so you don't get your hand/glove dirty when eating out of the package.

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Ember Manfred

Ember Manfredwrote a review of on July 31, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Not sure where the flavor complaints are coming from. This is hands down the best tasting Freeze dry meal I have tried. It is nothing short of delicious. I also love that the packaging is wide and short, so you don't get your hand covered in food while eating out of the bag. Keep it up Trailtopia!

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Ember Manfred

Ember Manfredwrote a review of on July 31, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Few miracle products are out there, but this is one of them. Cuts through 3 years of coffee stains in 30 minutes, with no pitting to the stainless. Billy Mays would have been begging Hydrapak to sell this stuff!

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Ember Manfred

Ember Manfredwrote a review of on June 25, 2018

5 5

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

The rescueME PLB1 is the smallest PLB on the market and comes with a 7-year battery replacement interval, compared to ACR's 5-years. 406MHz PLB's operate off of the COSPAS-SARSAT satellite program (which provides dedicated global search and rescue coverage and the best reliability of any Satellite network). Unlike SPOT (Global Star based) and Garmin (Iridium based) this device does not require a subscription. However, it will not transmit text messages or other forms of communication to family/friends. This beacon is for emergency use only and should only be used in a life or death situations. It will transmit on the international distress frequency, and your unique information will be transferred to mission control, then to your country's rescue coordination service, and ultimately to local SAR operations.
This model is a great fit for me because it will be taken along for a wide variety of activities. It will be used for BC skiing, Kayak touring, canyoneering and any backpacking trip where cell-service will not be reliable. I put a premium on weight, size, battery life, water resistance, long-term cost, and reliability. It is industry leading in size, weight and battery life. A PLB is an often overlooked backcountry safety device, that can ultimately save a life in a time-sensitive situation. I will feel more responsible and secure knowing that I have this lifeline in my pack. For my PFD I have a lanyard tethering the PLB to a pocket in my vest, and can use the supplied rubber strap to secure it my shoulder strap. For my backpacks I put a rubber band over the flap, so it won't accidental open, and just find an empty and accessible pocket for it.
I registered my device and tested it, following the protocol. So far so good!

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Ember Manfred

Ember Manfredwrote a review of on June 21, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Used it melting snow at 11,000ft for a party of two for two days. Water boiling went from a process that could take hours to something that took less than half an hour to produce 7L of water. During the summer my water is boiling before I can even get my food out of the bag and ready too cook. It is stupid fast. Pair it with the French press adapter for a delicious brew on the trail. Simmering is not this guy's strong suit, but hey that is not what it was meant for!

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Ember Manfred

Ember Manfredwrote a review of on June 21, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

It is hard to find a better Ultra-lite pole that blends price, portability, swing weight, comfort and durability. I love these poles! They are stronger than most Carbon poles out there and are reinforced with Titanal in the lower section, to prevent cracking a lower section in a rock garden. I'm a big fan of the foam grips and find them more comfortable and less slimy than cork. These also got top-marks at Outdoor Gear Lab for best value. Give them a try you won't be disappointed! Look for the non-compact version if you are taller than 5'11 or live around some really steep downhills.

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Ember Manfred

Ember Manfredwrote a review of on June 1, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

My "well-seasoned" Marmot bag and TNF jacket went from oily, loft-less, and clumpy to clean and lofty. It did a much better job then the Dr. Bronners and tennis balls I had been using. The dryer balls won't damage the down, but are still heavy enough to effectively break up the clumps. I am sold on Grangers fabric care moving forward.

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Ember Manfred

Ember Manfredwrote a review of on May 22, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This has become my go-to headlamp for 90% of my activities. First it weighs 1oz. I have no excuse to not throw it in my daypack, bike, or touring pack. It is the size of an emergency light but performs at a comparable level to a modern full-sized headlamp, all be it for a shorter duration. The light is bright enough for trail running, is comfortable and does not move on the head, is rechargeable and waterproof. I would bring this light on a thru-hike, and I use it for all of my overnight trips. Polite red mode is a nice touch on such a small light, for use in the tent. Unless you are out at night for a prolonged period of time, or engaging in active route finding this light is more than adequate for the job. I've had mine for four months now of frequent use and it has held up great, still holds a charge as if it were new, and has even survived a couple of downpours. I ran it out of battery once on a long night hike, but was still able to make it down using the emergency mode. The only downside is it is hard to find because it is so small!

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