Ethan Chaleffposted an image about Marmot Minimalist Jacket - Men's on September 18, 2019
This is a bullet proof outer shell for when conditions go south, which tends to happen pretty regularly in the Chugach
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I'm a grad student getting my PhD in engineering who spends way too much time climbing to be getting my PhD in engineering.
This is a bullet proof outer shell for when conditions go south, which tends to happen pretty regularly in the Chugach
After using the jacket in light rain, I finally got a chance to test it in Northern Alaska. Standing outside working for hours in pouring rain left me nice and dry inside.
When La Sportiva canceled the original Cobra in the US market, I was pretty hurt, I mean, LS probably did this to me personally. Though there are a million opinions about this, for my money, the cobra was the best all around climbing shoe on the market, favoring slightly to bouldering and overhung climbing, so I'm still not sure why they canceled it. Either way, this review is in two parts 1) What do I think of the Cobra, and 2) what do I think of the ECO Cobra. To get (2) out of the way, as far as I can tell, there haven't been any compromises in making this shoe "85% recycled," other than the color scheme which I don't exactly care for, which was my major hesitation. So with that out of the way, to address (1), what do I feel about the cobra?
Strengths: The cobra is a low profile, comfortable slipper with a thin, sensitive sole. The shoe is soft enough to conform to whatever imperceptible feature your buddy promises is on there. The relatively minimal shoe gives you incredible feel for the rock. It makes for a great climbing experience and at a relatively lower price (although a little less so with the ECO) these shoes can perform right up there with the top of the line.
Weakness: Though I guess the shoe technically has a P3 rand, they very much take the shape of your foot. In other words, it will not give you a ton of support on long vertical or overhung routes or when grabbing holds with your feet, meaning it might take some time to develop the muscles in your feet, especially if you normally climb with extremely down turned shoes. At the same time, this lets the shoes be comfortable and versatile. The slight downturn will also make this rather painful for crack climbing.
Fit: The shoe runs a little narrow, but sizing is generally in line with the rest of the La Sportiva line.
This is the first bit of UA outdoor kit I've purchased, and it probably won't be the last. This is neither ultra-light, nor is it really heavy duty enough to count as a hard shell, but it's a nice middle ground. The magnetic zipper feature is actually way nicer than I expected. Rather than having to alight the two zipper halves, they magnet snap together, making one handing the zipper relatively easy. It's just something nice that isn't make or break but is cool.
Single adjust hood is snug, and in the limited rain I've exposed this to, it has shed water without issue. The lining seems durable as does the material, but obviously I'll have to see how it holds up. The cuffs, under-arm zippers, pockets, and front zipper are all of good quality and overall the fit and finish on the jacket reflects a reassuring level of quality for a brand which in my mind is associated with overcharging on fashion relative to features. As a plus, I like the color and wavy pattern.
When you start climbing, most people give you the pretty solid advice to "just climb." For a while, this is great advice. But if you want to know what you should be doing, how to train, how to rest, how to get stronger, eventually a little structure goes a long way. There are a lot of methods and ways to get strong; if you can be born with wunderkind genes, personally I think that's a good tactic. This book gives you a solid foundation and a new outlook on training, even if you don't follow it to the letter, there is a ton of useful information that will help make your climbing career longer, better and stronger.
After using one of these in the gym today, I started to wonder what the point of this biner is. It adds several annoying opening and closing steps before and after you belay. For that hassle you gain the safety of avoiding cross loading your belay biner. While you might think that's a good thing, keep this in mind: The minor axis strength of say, the Magnetron VaporLock, is 8kN, about 1 ton. Even if you could generate a ton of force on a belay device with a dynamic climbing rope, you or your belayer would probably suffer a shattered pelvis and lower back. Partially by design, belay devices are far from static and simply can't generate the force required to break or damage a cross loaded biner. An ATC slip around 1kN, while a grigri will slip around 6kN (depending on rope diameter). Your belay biner simply can't see high enough loads to break it in cross loading.
While you don't need to worry about the safety effects of cross loading, I will admit this does keep the ATC on the rope end of the biner, which is nice, but other dedicated belay biners do a better job of this.
Overall neat solution, unfortunately it's for a problem you don't have.
As with most climbers, I own a number of locking biners in various styles. Screw-locks are time-honored, but can be a hassle and don't autolock. Twist-locks are simple, but also don't inspire confidence as they can open themselves. Tri-act lockers are great, but require a bit of a touch to open and can be difficult when handing someone your biner or having to open in awkward situations. Of all locking biners I've used, the magnetron is the smoothest and most intuitive. The magnets feel solid and confidence inspiring. It is incredibly simple to use and explain how to use, and trivial to open one handed. Great belay biner.
Only downside is that this is a bit to the expensive side, but all those features aren't cheap.
I'm picky with jeans, I've only owned two pairs that I liked over the last 4 years. Well, with these jeans its now three pairs. These jeans fit me great, although I will acknowledge I have the traditional slim climber build. If you actually have leg muscles, these probably are not cut right for you. The jeans are stretchy and soft, but I wouldn't go as far as some people to call them sweatpants-esque. They stretch enough to climb in, and are sturdy enough to take the abuse. Thanks to the styling, once you wipe the chalk off and unroll the cuffs, you'll blend in perfectly and can pretend to be a functioning member of society again..
Style: There are a million different jean style, this one happens to be exactly what I want. They are cut narrow all the way through the leg, but not so skinny that they look like "skinny jeans." The Dark Khaki is a nice color, which is all the words I know to describe color. There's a little accent stitch triangle on the sides next to the pocket, I don't think it does anything but it looks like a style choice and this is the style section. You can't unread these words.
Fit: If you want to climb 5.13, leg muscles are a luxury you can't afford. These pants fit tight in the thighs, if you squat 350, you would probably struggle to wear these pants. I'm 5'10" and 155, and the 30x30 fits like it's almost tailor made for me.
Technical: These pants are advertised as climbing pants, so how do they climb? I wore these to work and then went straight to the gym to pull on some plastic. These aren't as good as a climbing pant like the stretch zion, but at the same time, it did feel cool to be bouldering in jeans. These are like a concealed weapon, no one expects it and then bam, bust out the solutions and you're climbing. Compared to other stretchy jeans, these also feel like they would be much more durable when scumming against rocks and things, might be good for off width or any awkward climbing. I tried these out on a hot day, and they do not breath particularly well (denim after all). Better for cold days. As for the stretch, while they stretched enough to not limit any movement, I still noticed the pants as I was wearing them. Other people have compared these to sweatpants, but I wouldn't say they are quite that soft. They are thicker and more study than other stretchy jeans I own, but that comes at the expense of fabric stretch.
I wouldn't hesitate to climb in these, and if you want to wear your jeans to work then go straight to the wall or the crag, these would be a great choice. I guess If you never wanted to climb in these, they would also be a great choice for all kinds of activities such as but not limited to walking, sitting or doing any other activity that requires you wear pants. They're comfortable, fit great, and look good. But you probably climb.
I was provided with these pants in order to review them.
I'm currently on my 3rd pair of stretch zions. I've probably spent more days in stretch zions than any other pant, and I intend to spend many more. These are by the far the best pants I've ever climbed in, and chances are if you're reading reviews, you have already gotten that idea.
I don't have much to add to the 200 other 5 star reviews, (yes, the pants are the best pants) but here is some information on the 2016 sizing. For this year, Prana switched from Size (SML) x Length (#) to Waist (#) x Length (#). The length is still the same between 2015 and 2016 pants, but the waist is now confusing. All I can tell with confidence is that the 30 is approximately equal to the S, and I believe the 32 is equivalent to the medium. But I only own two pairs of the small/30 to make the direct comparison.
Also, these pants loosen up with wear. My year old pair have probably stretched 1-2 inches in the waist since I got them (which makes the integral belt even more useful).
I don't have anything to complain about these pants, which would probably confuse my ancestors, as my people's national past time is complaining.
Overall though, if you climb, hike, yoge (what is the noun for do yoga?) or really wear pants, you will love these pants. They are the best pants.
The 1/4 zip Orion is a thin, breathable long sleeve shirt. It is almost surprisingly light weight, to the point where you barely feel it on you. It definitely would feel at home in a yoga studio or bar, though I might hesitate to take it out into nature.
Style: When I first tried on the Orion, I was surprised at how nice it looked. What I mean by that is this shirt does not come off as athletic wear, it looks more like a sweater. There are no visible accent marks, save the subtle red collar liner, and the texture of the fabric reads less as polyester and more as some natural fiber my mom probably knows the name of. That said, I found the cut very flattering, and this shirt makes me look like I have a job. I don't know how to describe colors well, but the blue is like, real nice.
Fit: I have a pretty generic build, though I'm a bit on the slim side for climbing season. I am usually a small in Prana shirts and pants. The medium of this fits me perfectly, which makes me think it might run a little small, but as an outer layer, it might be I just like it a little looser. It's not a particularly tapered cut, but just enough that it follows the body. I have a neutral ape index (height and arm span are more or less equal) and the arm length seems dead on, but I usually push the sleeves up onto my forearms, where it stayed well and seemed unlikely to stretch. I have a large chest and back and I had no problems with the size of the arm holes.
Technical: As someone who spends a lot of time in nature or thinking about being in nature, I tend to evaluate clothes based on how they'll work in the wild. This shirt is very lightweight and incredibly breathable, I wore this on a hike with a pack in 80 degree humidity and it barely felt like it was there, but it definitely kept off the mosquitoes and sun. Obviously as a trade off, this means it won't provide much warmth or do anything to cut down on the wind. The material is plenty stretchy, so I never felt restricted moving in the shirt. My biggest worry is how long it will maintain it's fancy sheer. One of the ways the shirt attains it's weight is with a fairly loose knit, and I was pretty worried about it catching on gear, rocks, or even my tattered calloused hands. There were already a few small pills after a hard weekend. For a shirt at this price, I would be really disappointed to pull a large run in it, so I'll probably be a little gentler with it in the future. I've owned shirts in this genre with a completely different fabric that does not feel nearly as likely to catch or pull. On the other hand, this shirt looks a lot nicer, and I'd like to keep it that way.
Summary: As soon as I put this shirt on, I thought "I look good." The Orion would probably be a step up from what I normally wear to work, and makes me look much more professional when I'm taking pictures; people might think I'm a real photographer. The shirt is comfortable and stretchy and is at home anywhere from work, to the bar, to the yoga studio. I would keep it far from the stress of the outdoors if you want it to last, on the other hand, the next time I go to the desert or to somewhere humid, this shirt is coming with me.
I was provided this shirt by prana in order to review it.
I spent a week in Joshua Tree and decided not to bring my bigger stationary tripod. I spent a bunch of time using small rocks to make tripods to angle the camera for different shots, and by the end of the trip I decided I needed a portable tripod I wouldn't leave behind to save weight/space.
The mini Bendy is exactly what I wanted. The legs fully articulate so they can wrap around a railing or tree branch, and have no problems supporting either of my cameras. I haven't tried a full size DSLR with a telephoto lens, but this has no problem with my MIL camera.
The package is light and no frills, everything is there for a reason, making a small sturdy package. Light and compact so you won't leave it behind, but sturdy enough it will survive your adventures. Snap away!
I often see climbers at the gym with dual channel belay devices capable of belaying a second. When I started asking people why they owned them, the answer was always some variation of the ability to rappel or do multi-pitch, regardless of if they currently did it or had plans to. This seems like the result of gear shop employees trying to up-sell their patrons. If you know you're going to be doing a lot of rapelling and multi-pitch, this device will not satisfy you. However, If you primarily climb single pitch in the gym, or otuside, this device is perfect. The modern ethic for cleaning sport routes is shifting to lowering, at least in many locations east of the Mississippi. Additionally, no one tells you this, but you can absolutely belay a second on multi-pitch with a single channel device using a redirect. It's not optimal, but if you go on a multi-pitch adventure, your belay device won't let you down.
If you're looking to have the best belay device, and only buy one once, get the DMM pivot. If you want to spend a little less money, get an ATC-XP Guide. But the ATC sport is all that most climbers need, and it works perfectly. There is no real reason for most climbers to spend more.
Despite hearing some mixed things about this bag, I am a cheapskate at heart, and couldn't pass up the price after my old rope bag died in a tragic "I actually just lost it" accident.
After spending a weekend giving this bag some TLC, I'm super impressed. I had heard that the bag is prone to opening and unzipping spontaneously, I had no problems over a long, adventurous approach hike. The padded shoulder bar is surprisingly comfortable, and the tarp is huge! Much bigger than what I had been used to. It was easy enough to cart around from route to route, and the tarp folds into the chute with ease. The outer fabric feels very sturdy, and the strap stitching is confidence inspiring.
Perhaps my only complaint is this thing is a little bulkier and more spacious than necessary, I'm pretty sure I could fit two ropes in it. Additionally, I wish the closure were a little more secure, the button does seem like it might be more prone to opening spontaneously after some use. But at the price, it's hard to be worried about it.
There are 30 5 star reviews. I clearly don't have much to add. I wear size 41 Solutions, 41.5 Muira's and my old trad shoe is a size 9 Anasazi Arrowheads, if that helps anyone with sizing. I bought these in size 9 and they are still tight after about 6 weeks of pretty intense breaking in. These shoes are baller on techy face climbs and friction slab. They really aren't bad at overhung climbs but I do not notice a pretty substantial difference on overhangs compared to solutions, obviously. But these are tremendously comfortable to climb in compared to my aggressive downturned shoes and the minimalist slipper makes them perfect for everything from offwidth, to finger cracks.
Picture is me rocking my red moccs in Red Rocks.
Obviously, not a whole lot to improve on as a tube style belay device and rappel device. This works well on a wide variety of diameters, is smooth and sleek and relatively light. However, this is hands down the best device for belaying a second I've ever used. Lowers smoothly and controlled without rigging up cord or jerking your follower. As advertised. Worth every penny.
The only problem I've had is with a relatively fat rope, I could not use it to ascend a rope after rappelling past a belay station. It worked fine with a relatively new 9.5 but I couldn't get it to pull through at all when ascending a fat 10.1, for what that's worth.
This is a great jacket. This and an R1 are my go to layers for temperatures between 30 and 40 degrees. The Nuclei really cuts down the wind and keeps in body heat. It is well fitted and the generous seat keeps it tucked in place under a harness. While not waterproof, it will keep you dry even if you're caught out in some substantial drizzle. I wouldn't reccomend using it in a full on storm though.
This jacket packs really well into it's own pocket, I'm not sure why they went with a separate stuff sack that fits awkwardly in the chest pocket. I untied the included sack and just stuff it into it's own pocket. I wish they had sewn a loop and used a double sided zipper in the pocket though. Also, the hood fits really well over a helmet. Which means it is a little bit on the big side, and there is no draw string to pull it tight. All in all a great jacket.
I think everyone has had that argument with themselves. What does 20% chance of rain mean? We'll probably be off the wall by the time the storm gets in, who wants to carry a rain coat anyway? Also, you know bringing a coat is going to mean it doesn't rain no matter what the forecast says. With the Helium II, you never have to make that choice again. It weighs nothing, and packs up tiny. Throw it in your pack, clip it to your harness and forget about it. If you do get caught in a downpour it's easy to pull out and the full zip makes it quick to put on. I have walked through torrential downpours and it sheds water like a champ.
This is not the rain coat you most want if you're doing a 15 mile rain forest hike. It's not the wrong one, but it has a couple drawbacks. The lack of pockets means cold water will be running down your hands, and the hood is a little big and awkward since it's designed to fit over a climbing helmet. But I have worn this for hikes and it performs well enough, but I like to have a heavier shell when I know I'm gonna get dumped on.
This thing really excells for those 20-30% chance of rain though. You don't regret bringing it with you if it doesn't rain and you'll be damn happy if you did. It also excels in the alpine. Coupled with a fleece hoody or light down jacket turns it into an excellent layer for cold weather or windy climbs. The material is surprisingly durable for how light it is, but take care to avoid abrading it against the rocks. It's not super breathable, but on the other hand it does work great as a wind break. Overall, couldn't be happier with it.
The sizing is a bit on the slim side, but for me it is perfect over a fleece like the R1. I can fit it over a full down jacket, but I feel a bit like the Michelin man. Also, the first one I bought, the hood pull cord wasn't fastened properly and snapped, but since then, the replacement jacket (thanks backcountry) has been put through it's paces and is still going strong, so must have been a one off.
I've been wearing these as my miles shoe to save wear on my higher end shoes and I am really happy with them. They edge great and give me the sensitivity and power to climb pretty much at my limit, but these are not as good as the Muira VS. And they're not as expensive. They are very similar to the Muira's with a slightly more relaxed fit and less aggressive toe profile, but certainly enough to still climb hard overhung problems. Honestly, I love having these as my training shoes, they are occasionally on sale for super cheap and they keep my redpointing shoes from being wasted on gym walls.
There are some durability issues, especially if you have sloppy feet or tend to drag your toes, the rubber seems to wear there faster than other shoes I have tried. Speficially the left toe seems worse on my and several of my friend's shoes. Additionally, while these climb cracks really well because of the narrow toe profile, they really aren't designed for that, and the bulky velcro closure will quickly be chewed through by too much jamming in hand cracks.
Although very painful at first, they stretched enough that they are now pretty comfortable, it took perhaps a week of hard climbing. That being said, I still take them off after each pitch, but I could force myself to wear them for longer, I actually find these slightly less comfortable than the Muira's because the muira provides more room for my toe to curl. For reference, I wear a 10.5 street shoe and a 41.5 Muira, 41.5 Katana, 8.5 Anasazi and an 11 Atroman.
I got these because I was spending more time climbing trad and wasn't happy about all the wear I was putting on my high precision and price sport shoes, not to mention the fact that I liked to have my toes not be in complete agony after 30 feet of climbing. I've been wearing them for about a month and I'm thrilled, the suede leather and stiff shoe makes these great for standing in hand cracks and heel-toes like a champ. In smaller cracks, I've found that the wide toe box and thick rubber allows you to torque just the rubber pretty well into finger cracks without really crushing your toes. It's sort of hard to describe but it works well. The shoes edge adequately, but the toe profile makes it hard to feel really precise with the footwork. The stiff shoes make it easier to stand on small (but not microscopic) edges, and as they have loosened up the sticky rubber makes them great to smear on. These shoes are much more flexible than I would have thought based on other reviews.
My only complaint about the shoe is they're meant to accommodate a wide foot, and where the front of the shoe comes together it puckers into a little ridge when I cinch down on the laces. This ridge is wearing away rapidly but won't affect the rest of the shoe as it tears off I don't think. The rest of the shoe seems really durable so far. I purchased a size 11, and wear a 10.5 street shoe. It was pretty uncomfortable for about a week, but now it is comfortable enough to wear pretty much all day. I might have gotten a 10.5 if I wanted more technical fit, but the 11 is still plenty snug and I appreciate the comfort.