JHyperswrote a question about Rab Xenon X Hooded Insulated Jacket - Men's on May 20, 2014
Is this an updated version of the original Xenon jacket, or is it a totally separate product?
Is this an updated version of the original Xenon jacket, or is it a totally separate product?
There appears to be no such thing as a truly anti-fog lens, especially where -30F is "situation normal." No matter what kind of coating is applied, and even with a double lens, at such low temps any vapor will freeze as it accumulates trying to rise and transfer out of the foam. The result is a top-down frosting.
I was a bit skeptical about the photochromic lens, but it works well and is very useful in flat light conditions (also common in Alaska from late Nov. - Jan.).
I used these for a season+ of backcountry skiing a year ago, and ended up returning them from where I got them (not here). The holes worn through on both the index fingers and thumb were impressive, and I was refunded simply because I was dissatisfied with the gloves' weak fabric. I am finding similar problems with other liner gloves as well, so I think it might be attributed to thin fleece simply wearing away under constant abrasion, kind of like how your socks get after a while. In any respect, I expected to get more life out of these gloves, and was not satisfied.
Anybody who thinks spending the extra $100 to give your tele bindings a free-pivot touring mode isn't worth it...clearly has never used them before. My ONLY gripe against these bindings is that the plastic bottom of the toe plate does not make for easy on-off. The beaver tail on the cable aleiviates some of the frustration, but not enough to give these bindings a full five stars. Other than that, the bindings are nothing short of excellent. They are easily adjusted depending on contitions and desired stiffness, which is a huge advantage over having to purchase seperate cartridges. And to be honest...it's great to see such a phenomenal piece of equipment made in the U.S. by a couple of ski bums in Idaho. Great work...and maybe next year you can tweak that toe plate.
Five stars for perfect execution of intended use, and beyond. No person claiming to spend ample time in the mountains anywhere should be without this windshirt, or an equivalent from another brand if it exists. The Ion holds up in steady alpine winds, scoffs at the occasional flurry, and offers great breathability for those in-between moments when you need a shell, but know that your GORE-TEX is overkill.Starting with a lightweight base layer (capilene 2 or equivalent), adding a Power Stretch jacket or R1 hoody, and topping it off with the Ion...you are seriously set for any high-exertion activities in most weather above treeline in any season. Steady precipitation and gale force winds call for more-durable shells, but the Ion gives you comprehensive protection on those "iffy" days. Plus it packs anywhere, and weighs almost nothing.
The only knock: slightly too short at the waist...or you could say my power stretch mid layer is too long. Your choice.
It's hard for me to give anything a perfect score...but this parka is extremely ideal for places that are both cold and wet...which is the definition of Alaska.
Unless you are scaling peaks in the dead of winter up here...or spend a load of time in the dry arctic...this parka is the way to go. The PrimaLoft insulation lives up to it's name...and is perfect for a gnarly day of ice climbing. Down jackets sell like hotcakes up here, but most don't leave the city of Anchorage. Up in the mountains, you want to eliminate any possibility of gear failure that you can. Are there warmer parkas? Of course, but that being said, the DAS is extremely warm by itself, and will stay as such in less-than-ideal weather...which in Alaska, happens far more often than not. Also, the DAS is fairly lightweight and compresses very well.
Seriously, if you're considering an Alaskan adventure...take one step towards avoiding misadventure and invest in this parka. I know several folks up here who are avid mountain adventurers, some of them professionally. All of them wear the DAS.
I would like to explain the situation surrounding the Bear Vault cannisters and their clear inadequacy in the High Peaks Region of Adirondack Park in NY State. What I am about to say was posted in a forum by a representative of the Bear Vault company, and they themselves do not recommend using their 2008 or earlier models in this region, and here's why...
Rangers from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation have concluded there is a bear active within the Marcy Dam area and the John's Brook Valley (i.e. the High Peaks Region) that has a clear genetic attribute which allows it to bite these containers open at the lid. The plastic locking points do not hold up against this specific bear's jaw, and there are several reports of this cannister failing in this region, including one which I know about first-hand (I've seen the cannister, teeth marks and all). This bear ripped it open and ate all the food with relative ease.
AGAIN...I want to stress that this is literally the ONLY place where the Bear Vault cannister has failed during tests...even ones conducted by the Bear Vault company. It is certified basically everywhere else, as noted in other posts, so if you are NOT venturing into the Adirondack High Peaks Region, go ahead and buy this cannister (unless it doesn't fit your fancy).
I just think it's funny that all of this commotion is being caused, they think, by one single bear.
If you want a pack that's comfortable, compact, top-loading, and can carry virtually all the winter gear you'd need in a day, this is the pack for you. For anyone wondering, this pack will fit a pair of 10x36" snowshoes on the back with relative ease. My only gripe is that there's no water bottle pockets, though I see the reasoning since it's a winter pack. Carabiner those nalgenes in the OR water bottle parka on the outside and you're good to go. I would even argue for this pack's use in the summer. It's versatile enough to get the job done.
In terms of what you'd want in a belt for your hiking pants, this is exactly what you'd be looking for. Its simple, and synthetic which means if you sweat, it will dry quickly and won't stain your pants like leather. Unfortunately, when you're carrying a full pack, the polyester webbing can cause a lot of friction when pressure is applied by your pack's hipbelt; enough to cut the skin. I suggest you wear your pants lower than your hipbelt level to avoid this from happening, as it can be quite annoying and painful at times.
Despite the fact that the collar is huge, and the fact that venting gussets substitute for pitzips, this jacket is phenomenal at both casual and performance wearage. I believe I have the Spring '08 model, sized medium. At 5'10"/150ish, this jacket fits me perfectly. There's even enough room for a base layer and a light, form-fitting fleece jacket underneath. I've worn it outside in fall temperatures just walking around, and it does the job. I've also worn it while hiking in the mountains in near-freezing temperatures, and it does the job. When you sweat, it doesn't build up too much, and it dries very quickly. I zipped the hood right out of mine and really don't plan on using it unless absolutely necessary, but the roominess in the collar does not bother me at all. Pitzips would be nice, but again the material is so breathable and dries so fast that the gussets aren't a bad substitute. Plus, you can't go wrong with WINDSTOPPER...that stuff does what it says.
I'm 5'10" and about 160 lbs. and bought these in a medium, and I have to say they fit fairly well for a hard shell designed to go over multiple layers. However, if you decide to wear only a light base layer underneath them, pick up a pair of the suspenders while you're here. The built-in belt only tightens to a point, and Outdoor Research, for whatever reason, manufactures their garments too big for the respective size. They need to reconfigure their sizing chart.
I've been eyeing this jacket for a while, and it seems to be a good mix of Paclite and Pro. Depending on your style and what you prefer, you may want to consider the sizing options. I have a large, and this jacket fits more like a parka, which is good if you wear thicker layers (like me). At 5'10" and about 160, I probably could've fit into a medium perfectly, but as I said I prefer a looser fit on my outer layer. I have yet to fully test all the abilities of this jacket, but so far my opinion is good. I'm sure it will hold up fine in all 4 seasons.
I've had these boots for over a year, and I've punished them to say the least. I've taken them on the FLT in New York, as well as in the Adirondack High Peaks. Overall, these boots perform best in light-duty hiking, and should be paired up with heavyily cushioned socks to aid in comfort. As for waterproofness...well let's just say they hold up under short-term wet conditions, but in an all-day downpour, you'll have to change socks. They offer great support for rocky trails and summits, but comfort can become an issue if your socks aren't up to snuff. I would suggest SmartWool Trekking and Mountaineering socks for these (or any) boots. As far as backpacking goes...look elsewhere. If you're on a weekend excursion they might hold up, but for extended trips with a full pack I would look elsewhere. You'll need much more comfort within the boot than the sock can account for, and better shock absorbtion will be necessary for carrying heavy loads.