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Gabi Fulcher

Gabi Fulcher

Seattle, WA

Gabi Fulcher's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Snowshoeing
Climbing

Gabi Fulcher's Bio

I am an avid adventurer. I venture to the mountains every weekend to explore new places or revisit old favorites. I prefer peaks (and the challenge it takes to get to the top) and of course the rewarding views but nice relaxing day by a mountain lake will do too.

Gabi Fulcher

Gabi Fulcherwrote a review of on May 18, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

I first tried the midweight version of Injinji toe socks for running and after that I quickly graduated to the liner for hiking as well.

Just like the midweights, the liner socks take little more effort to put on but when they are on they stay on. Regular liner curls under my toes as soon as my feet get sweaty or wet from elements (which is often uncomfortable and can eventually lead to hot spots and blisters) while the toe socks stay put and comfortable the whole time.

I use them under smartwool hiking socks and it's a combination hard to beat.

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Gabi Fulcher

Gabi Fulcherwrote a review of on May 18, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

I was little skeptical about toe socks at first. Once I tried them I grew to love them. They take little more effort to put on but when they are on they stay on. Regular sock would curl under my toes as soon as my feet get sweaty or wet from elements while the toe socks stay put and comfortable the whole time.

The midweight Injinji's are great for hiking, running or as an everyday sock.

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Gabi Fulcher

Gabi Fulcherwrote a review of on March 13, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

When it comes to backpacks I put my trust in Osprey. Backpacks is what they do and they know their trade well. I bought my very first Osprey day pack in 2005 and it endured thousand of miles on three different continents, rain, shine, snow, and hail; whatever condition the nature can throw at a hiker, the pack seen it all. After 9 years of service the zipper on the top lid started wearing out but otherwise the pack was still in a decent shape. I sent it to Osprey hoping they will be able to replace the zipper but for one reason or another they decided the repair was not worth it and offered me a new pack. They do not make the Stratos 40 anymore which is a shame because the backpack was just perfect for my 4 season adventures, and I found myself on a hunt for a new model. Considering overall fit when fully loaded and features I narrowed it down to two packs, the Kestrel and the Exos.

Many people we met during our JMT thru hike carried the Exos and I heard nothing but positive feedback so naturally I turned to this pack first. The pack was light and worked well for me with a medium load but when I increased the weight I could feel the shoulder straps and harness dig into my skin more than I was willing to accept. I am not too cushy in those areas and I suspect that?s why I found it a bit uncomfortable. The pack had an ice axe loop which is essential for me as many of my winter adventures take places on steeper snow, and side pockets which I like for carrying tripod, shovel handle, map and a bottle of water but it lacked horizontal compression straps in the front which I frequently use to attach snowshoes. And while we did not hear about any issues with durability from the summer JMT users I was worried the material could easily be damaged when carrying crampons or microspikes. After this evaluation I turned my attention to the Kestrel.

The first decision I had to make was regarding size. The 38 l version would be closer in volume to my old Stratos; however the pack is constructed differently and I found out that my gear, and again especially my winter gear which is bulkier and heavier and more plentiful fits in the 48 l more naturally. I like the pack for several reasons.

- The torso length is easily adjustable. All you have to do is peel the back, adjust to where it feel right and stick it back. It holds well, I never had problems with it slipping out of the place.
- The shoulder straps and hipbelt are not as padded as you see on some others Osprey overnight packs but the pack carries comfortably even if loaded. I tested it with my snow scrambling gear - about 23 lb. total pack weight and it felt good the whole day.
- Two ice axe loops and and stretchy tie offs make it easy to carry the tools. My shovel blade fits in the front mesh pocket. There is not much space left, especially if the main compartment is full but it fits.
- The compression straps let you cinch down the sides or can be clipped as horizontal straps at the front of the pack.
- Multiple pockets and separate compartments make it easy to keep gear organized. There are two compartments in the top pouch, two small pockets on the hip belt, separate sleeping bag compartment and inside you can find storage for water bladder. Some people might see this as unnecessary weight. I like it and it played an important factor in my decision making. I used this pack primarily for day trips and the externally accessible sleeping bag compartment is perfect for stoving rain gear. The pack comes with rain cover; however living in the PNW I do not put my trust on a rain cover entirely to keep my gear dry and I always line the main compartment with a trash bag to ensure my items will stay dry. If a sudden shower surprises me, I have a quick access to my rain gear without opening the main compartment and exposing the rest of my gear to the rain.

continued in comment bellow:

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Gabi Fulcher

Gabi Fulcherwrote a review of on December 9, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

Thank you Backcountry.com and Brand X for hand-selecting me to review this piece of gear for the benefit of the backcountry.com community.

When choosing the right shell I find the fit extremely important. What I am looking for is a jacket that provides maximum freedom of movement without being too boxy or baggy, yet has enough space inside to accommodate a layer or two. The Torsun jacket has a flattering, somewhat relaxed cut that allows my arms to move freely without lifting the hem or pulling the cuffs when I raise my arms. There is ample of space for a mid layer. I tested it with Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic insulated jacket and a heavy fleece and I was happy to find the midlayer does not create bulge nor does it tamper with the overall fit of the jacket. As a matter of fact, the Thermostatic jacket slides underneath with such ease it felt like they were made for each other.
The sleeves are nice and long designed with an asymmetrical cuff which means that the top of your hand stays protected from element while mobility of your hand is not compromised. I noticed this feature made a difference especially while using tools such as ice axe or poles which are much easier to handle without the sleeve getting in a way. The cuffs adjust with velcro tabs. These tabs hold the sleeve cinched down when needed and are easy to adjust even if wearing gloves.
The hood can be adjusted in three ways. There is a cord in the rear to cinch it down, hidden cord to tighten around the neck area and moldable wire brim. The hood works best if used with helmet. It feels a little too spacious without one and even when cinched to the maximum, strong headwind caused the hood to slip off my head twice when I was not wearing helmet. I also found the rear adjustment cord not to be the easiest one to work with when wearing gloves or if my fingers were numb from cold.

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Gabi Fulcher

Gabi Fulcherwrote a review of on November 24, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

Thank you Backcountry.com and Brand X for hand-selecting me to review this piece of gear for the benefit of the backcountry.com community.

The main reason to buy insulated jacket is to stay warm so when the mountain forecast predicted a plunge down to 25 degrees I got excited about the opportunity to put the Thermostatic through a real test.
I put it over a heavier weight base layer in the beginning of the hike, thinking I’ll take it off once I warm up. We hiked over moderately steep terrain with light variable wind at the base which became stronger as we got higher. Temperature varied from 37 degrees at the base to 23 degrees on the summit. While moving, the jacket kept me warm, without overheating so that I ended up keeping it on all the way to the top. It also did a good job keeping me warm during our short (5 minutes or so) water/snack breaks. I get cold easily and during this time of the year any stop longer than couple minutes normally gets me dig in my pack for an extra layer. For once I could enjoy my snacks rather than fuss with my gear which was really nice.
Once at the final ridge and summit block, the wind picked up considerably and the cold eventually started sneaking in. I opted to throw a top layer on, a three season down jacket, and that kept me cozy enjoying the views during the whole lunch break.
I also used this jacket as a mid layer during a cold coastal photo shoot. We faced strong biting winds, and were not moving much, good insulation was crucial. I layered Mountain Hardwear Thorsun jacket over the top for wind protection. I was impressed. The only spots that got cold during the two hours on location were my fingers that I had to occasionally expose to operate the camera.
These examples are just two of many uses I see for this jacket. It’s great warmth to weight ratio and packability make it the perfect “just in case” jacket to bring along on all outdoor adventures, and thanks to the stylish feminine cut, it is more than suitable to wear

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Gabi Fulcher

Gabi Fulcherwrote a review of on November 12, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

This shirt is made of quality heavy flannel which guarantees to keep you warm. I am 5’7 and 120 lb, size 4 fits me well. There is enough room underneath for base layer on extremely cold days and the shirt hides under a coat without creating bulk. It looks good worn on its own or combined with a west.
I really like the cut, flattering and well designed. The shirt falls few inches past my hip bones and stays there. I can make wide range of arm moves without the shirt riding out. Same goes for the sleeves which don’t restrict movement and are covering my arm just to about my wrist. Perfect length.
This shirt is so cozy you won’t want to take it off.

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Gabi Fulcher

Gabi Fulcherwrote a review of on September 23, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This case is on a rather expensive side but if you have an expensive phone, you want it protected, and the Nuud puts your mind in ease. Tough and durable it’s ready for the outdoors, as well as occasional mishap in the civilization.
We use our phone as an additional navigation tool, and also as a reading device, and occasional camera. Being able to touch the screen makes it much easier to operate the phone outdoors, especially when the outside temperature drops and my fingers get colder.
It is also nice not to worry about the elements. I can use the phone in rain without a need for additional plastic bag or at the beach and not worry much about sand getting in.
Once inside, the phone is fully functional, even the Touch ID works.
The downside: Swiping from the bottom of the screen to bring up the shortcut menu can be little tricky but once to get the motion down, you will be able to do so easily and without frustration.
The case is compatible with the standard iPhone charger; however I found out I could not fit an off brand charger through the enclosed area.

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Gabi Fulcher

Gabi Fulcherwrote a review of on September 23, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This spoon is perfect for those who like to enjoy pre-made freeze dried dinners or do their own freezer bag cooking. Long enough it easily reaches to the very bottom of the pouches and scrapes the stubborn pieces from the corners.

It's light and even though long, it's a relatively small item for which finding space in your pack is never a problem.

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Gabi Fulcher

Gabi Fulcherwrote a review of on September 23, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I posted an initial thoughts on this tent after we used it on several trips. This is a follow up review after more extended use.
We took this tent on a variety of trips in the Cascades and most recently on a three-week long backpacking trip of the John Muir trail. During these adventures we encountered large variety of conditions - heavy rain, hail, lightning storms, gusty winds, hot and humid nights.
If staked correctly the Fly Creek handles foul conditions very well. It is important to make the final adjustments and tighten the strings once the tent is set up, especially if you anticipate precipitation. Otherwise the fly will get too close to the tent wall and could possibly dampen the inside of the tent. Between proper set up and using footprint we did not have any water related issues, even after several hours of continuous heavy rain, and on days when the weather did not allow us to completely dry the fly before pitching the next evening.
Proper set up (butt into the wind) and staking also got us through some windy nights. The tent felt steady, the poles held strong without bending.
On the downside, this is not a true 3 person tent. It provides just the perfect amount of space for 2 people. You can place 2 pads next to each other and still have some space on the sides for extra layer or gear you wish to store inside. There is not enough space to fit 3 standard size pads in without significant overlap.
The vestibule has enough space for two backpacks placed one on the top of each other and two set of boots in the opposite corner. With this set up you can still easily enter and exit the tent. I suspect trying to place 3 backpacks and boots in it would make it little too crammed and it would take crawling over gear while getting in or out.
The walls of the vestibule go all the way down and we did not experience any backsplashing during the rainy periods of our trip. The vestibule can easily be zipped and unzipped from either inside or outside of the ten

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Gabi Fulcher

Gabi Fulcherwrote a review of on September 5, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have to admit, I wasn't thrilled with the prospect of additional 2 lb 9 oz of hard bulk in my backpack but ever since I carried the BV 500 along the 211 miles of the John Muir Trail I learned to really like it. It is built to provide a safe, hassle free food storage and that's exactly what it does. You put your food in, turn the lid to lock it, and you can rest assured that animals won't feast on your precious calories while you sleep or explore around camp. And it made a great camp chair where sitting logs/rocks were not available or were drenched after rain.

We found it easy to operate the lid even when raining or when our hands got cold but if you find it difficult to open the lid with your hands, which some people do, piece of sturdier plastic placed between the wall of the canister and the locking teeth does the trick. Credit card or driver's license work well for that purpose. You can also use a key or a stick to push the teeth in and slide the lid open.

At fullest we fit 7 days worth of food in. It was pushing it, toiletries spent the first night hanging off a tree.

I liked the fact I could fit the BV 500 to my backpack (Osprey Ariel 65) both vertically or horizontally without difficulties. Personally I preferred horizontal placement, my pack felt more balanced which helped greatly on uneven terrain or during rock hopping over creeks.

Nowadays I carry my BV on all backpacking trips and I no longer wake up in the middle of the night wondering whether the squirrel/deer I hear snooping outside the tent is out to munch on pine cone seeds/leaves like they sre supposed to or my breakfast burrito. To me that's worth the weight.

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