I'm a 29 year old outdoor gear head stuck working an 8-5 desk job. So every minute I'm not at work, I am paddling, biking, hiking, skiing, running, or playing with my daughter outside!
The cube shape definitely makes it the easier piece of the packing puzzle.
Fits everything you need except your bike!
First off, I'm super stoked that backcountry.com and Mountainsmith gave me the chance to do a review of this gear bag for the Backcountry community!
Now let me be honest, when it comes to gear storage, my garage is full of shelves covered with rubbermaid storage bins. Each one is labeled in Sharpie with what hobby the contents belong. And inside those bins, everything is just thrown in and mixed together. If I am looking for something small, it may take a while to find. So when I received the Bike Cube, I saw a light at the end of the rubbermaid tunnel.
This bag is labeled as a bike bag, which it definitely succeeds, but really you can used it to store just about any type of gear. I have all my bike gear in it currently, but did use it as a travel pack for a recent road trip. I stored my bike gear, camping gear, some food, and dirty clothes. It's very multi-functional.
Performance and Fit:
I love the layout of this bag! It has 3 individual compartments that open fully across the top and wrap all the way down each side so you can really open them up and see whats inside. There is plenty of room inside each of them for shoes, helmets, hydration packs, jerseys, shorts, etc. Inside each of the 2 outer compartments there are smaller pockets on the inner side, that work great for stuffing smaller items like glasses, multiple pairs of gloves, cycling computers, etc. Inside the center compartment there are a couple other pockets that are larger than the small ones I just mentioned. These work well for those items that are just a tab bigger.
The bag is big enough that I have completely replaced my "cycling" rubbermaid and use the Bike Cube for both my road and mtn bike gear. I keep shoes and gloves for the road on one side and the same for mtn on the other and then in the middle I have both helmets and I also throw in my jersey and shorts for the after work rides. And with all that, the bag still has more room for more gear if I need to throw in a couple extra things for a long weekend of fun.
Build and Quality:
It is made of a very durable ripstop fabric which feels like it would be pretty tough to tear. The zippers are of good quality and have shown no signs of binding and getting stuck like a lot of bags do. It has two strong straps that velcro together with a padded handle for carrying. It also has a longer strap with padded sleeve for clipping on the sides and throwing it over your shoulder. One of my favorite features is the mesh vents in the top of each compartment. These are very nice when you open up the bag after stuffing all you sweaty gear into it 3 days early. They definitely help let the funk escape. Also the inner parts are mesh, so even those small items can get some air movement.
The Bike Cube is unique compared to other bags because it is a cube! When piling a week worth of gear for 3 guys into the back of a Subaru, you are reminded of the game of Tetris. Luckily the cube made at least one move easy and would always fit very nicely compared to the long round bags.
Also after seeing pictures and video of the Cubes online, I can definitely see how having multiple gear cubes could make packing a whole lot easier when everything fits together. Very neat and well developed concept by Mountainsmith.
Well after years of using rubbermaids and spending way to much time searching for gear, I believe Mountainsmith has changed my ways. I love how I can go straight to the compartment, slide my hand into the pocket, and pull out exactly what I was looking for. I love how I can just throw the strap over my shoulder or grab the handle and head out the door. I love how it still fits on a shelf and does not look like it will fall off like overstuffed duffle bags. I love how my gear can still breath once packed away. I guess I just love this bag! And I will be definitely looking into upgrading some of the other rubber bins to Mountainsmith Cubes!
Works great under a drysuit when you are running The Numbers at high water and stoke to have survived!
First off, I'm super stoked Minus 33 and backcountry.com gave me the chance to review some great gear for the Backcountry community!
The moment I took this shirt out of the bag, was my first introduction to Minus 33. I had never heard of them before. I also hadn't had much experience with Merino wool so I really had no idea what to expect. But after surfing around their website, it seams like they know quite a bit about the Merino wool and have been in the industry for a long time so I was excited this would be a good intro to both.
Use & Performance:
When I first received this shirt, it was just starting to heat up here in the south, So I was a little nervous about testing a long sleeve layer when it wasn't cold. On my 1st day, I decided to go ahead and throw it on for a little trail riding. I was surprised, even at temps in the low 70's I was very comfortable. After a couple hours, I never felt overheated and amazingly never felt like I was soaked with sweat. It kept me dry and was very breathable.
After a few more rides and hikes with very similar results, I put it through the real test. I made this my go to layer for a week long kayaking trip in Colorado. It was a good decision! This time of year in CO the air is very warm but the water is very cold so I needed something that works for both. The shirt provide just enough warmth as my only layer under my drysuit. Even with the snow melt water, my arms were comfortable after a couple hours of paddling. Then when I needed to hike in or out, or scout, I could remove the top half of my drysuit to around my waist, exposing just the shirt and I was comfortable in the CO sun.
I was very pleased with the way it performed out there.
I also want to mention how well the merino wool held up to funk!
Let's just say after a week of boating with 3 guys living out of a car, things things were not smelling very well. But out of all our gear, this one was the best of not holding on to odor compared to our other layers of capilene and neoprene, even when it had been packed away with all the other wet gear. After letting it sit in the sun for a bit to dry out, you could throw it back on for another day of boating and still be approachable to strangers!
I am a pretty standard Large in most all brands and I am the same for Minus 33. It fit just like all other shirts designed to be layered. Slim fit, not to tight around the neck but not to loose, and hangs just a tad below the waist line. It did have a nice elastic band in the wrist so the don't stretch out over time.
But the only original dislike I had with the shirt was the sleeves were very short on me. My arms are pretty normal in length in most brands but this shirt only reached the upper side of my wrist. When wearing this as the only layer while hiking, I didn't like the short sleeve, I like the sleeves to completely cover my wrist. But with more use, I found out that they weren't that bad. When biking with long sleeve, I always find myself pulling them up and these were at a length I didn't find myself doing it so often and when I did they stayed in place. And the best use of the shorter sleeves were when I paired it with my drysuit. They were the perfect length so that they were out of the way of the wrist gaskets. I didn't have to bunch them up or worry about them sticking out of the gasket and soaking up water.
The fabric is very soft and does feel thin, but I haven't had any problems with tears or holes. After a month of pretty heavy use, the shirt still looks very good.
I was very impressed with this shirt. It was exactly what I needed for my kayak trip and has worked well for other activities. I'm looking forward to getting more use out of it on the bike and in the water this summer, but very interested how it works as a layer in cooler weather of the fall. I will definitely keep my eye on Minus 33 when layer shopping and will let you all know how this one holds up for the long run!
So as a gear junky I had heard and read all the hype that came out before the Nano-Air hit the market. It sounded pretty awesome, so it definitely was put on my list of gear to think about. Well after having some leftover Christmas cash, I finally pulled the trigger, and man I wish I had sooner. This jacket deserves all the hype!
Use: It has became my go to layer no matter what my day holds. It's advertised as a layer for cool days that you plan on spending some energy. And it does just that. I have spent many days outside where the temp is in that range where you are cold standing and warm moving. It breaths great and really keeps your core comfortable. Getting to the summit or standing around taking in the views, this jacket is perfect for those days. I have also used it quite a bit as my midlayer while skiing. Add a layer of capilene and throw a good shell on top and this will keep you warm even on the coldest days. And just as a bonus, it looks great so it even works for the casual in town adventures like getting to work or taking the wife for a night on the town!
Fit: I'm pretty average size wise and it fits me great. I can comfortably wear a couple capilene layers underneath. I can also put a shell layer on top and not feel bunched up like the marshmellow man. I still have all the range of motion I need for skiing the trees! I agree with the note that it is slim fit, it's not baggie and does not hang loose anywhere. The waist line is right where I like it, just below the belt line. The arms fit me great, but my wife tried one on and they were super long on her. She has a short torso but I have read others have had the same problem. When zipped, fits right up to the chin and not to tight around the neck.
Build: It is made of a soft, light fabric that has plenty of stretch. At first it does feel like the material is pretty fragile but it holds up. I've put some abuse on mine and I haven't had a problem yet. The main zip is your standard zipper that are easy to use and doesn't get stuck. It has your standard hand pockets on the side and a single chest pocket that zips on the outside. It has an elastic strap around the waist that tightens up with a spring tab. I love the color options that are available. They are pretty true to the pics.
Cons: The only downside of the Nano Air is that on a windy day, you'll need a little extra. The wind cuts right through. But because on the breathability, it is understandable that the air can move easily both ways. Good thing that throwing on shell will fix this problem pretty easy!
Also my biggest concern before my purchase was hood or no hood? I'm glad I went without. If you plan on using this as a midlayer at all, its nice to not have to worry about the hood getting in the way. Pretty much all shells have hoods, so I've never been in a situation where I wish I had got the hooded version.
Final Thoughts: I love this thing! It lives up to all the hype and praise it got from the beginning. There is a reason those guys get to test stuff early, they know what they are talking about. If you have any interest in the Nano-Air, just pull the trigger. You will not be disappointed!
Very pleased and highly recommend.
Holds up great when wrestling the pup in the snow.
Map reading on a windy day.
First off, I want to say thanks a ton to Backcountry.com and Rab and that I'm stoked that they selected me to review this jacket for the backcountry.com community!
Next, I'll be honest and say before I received this jacket, I had never owned or had ever seen any Rab gear. Yes I had heard of them but have never had the opportunity to see or use any gear in person. I'm glad I got to test this jacket, because I was missing out.
I thought I had a jacket for every type of adventure I could come up with, but I was wrong, there was a hole in my quiver, and the Ventus fills it nicely. This jacket works great on those cool days when you are gonna be staying active enough to create plenty of body heat but still need that extra layer of protection from the sun and especially the wind. Key word is wind! I use it for hiking, biking, and trail running.
My first impression when I took it out of the bag was "Man this thing is thin." But after getting it out and using it, I will say I am impressed. It keeps the wind out! One of the test days was on the balds of Roan Mtn and the wind was ripping and I never felt any chill on any skin that was covered by the jacket. As for breathability, I also hiked at least a 1000 ft of vertical that day with a toddler on my back, and I never got overheated or wet from sweat.
-The material is a super soft and stretchy. It feels more like a midlayer than a jacket.
-The zippers and seams are solid, they keep the wind from sneaking through.
-One of my favorite parts was the hood. It is made to fit your head and not a helmet. It covers all the way to your forehead and stays there until you decide to remove it. I loved that I can just throw it up and not worry that it will fall down if I move the wrong way. Plus it breaths better then any toboggan.
-It has your two standard zipper pockets on the side. They zip easy and are big enough to get your hands in. The nice feature of the pockets though, is that they are made of a mesh material. I assume this was done to help vent when your are working super hard and I'd say it reduces weight just a tab. I will note, the holes in the mesh are very small, so you can store your tiny valuable in them and not worry about them going missing.
-I have never been a fan of the thumb holes because they always are uncomfortable to me and seam to stretch the arm to much and reduce range of motion. But these actually worked for me. The holes are just a slit just a bit in from the cuff and fit comfortably around your thumbs and there is still enough stretch in the fabric to let your arms move.
-There is an elastic band around the waist that you can adjust on the right side to tighten up.
-The cuffs are not adjustable but they fit nice and do have some stretch to them.
-The color is pretty spot on to what the product images show. I have the oxide and it looks like it does in the pic.
-I wear a L in other brands, and a L worked for me here too. But this is a slim fit . If I wear anything with a little bulk to it underneath, it makes the jacket feel a little tight. Paired with short & long sleeve base and mid layers, it feels great , but having a button up shirt on make things tight. But this is made for performance outside, not to wear back and forth from the office.
-As for length, it's a bit longer then most and extends a bit below the belt line which I liked.
-When zipped all the way, the collar extend to cover the tip of your chin but still has enough room so its not tight on your neck.
-I've only had it a month so I can't say much yet, but after already quite a few days of use, it still looks like it did when it came out of the bag. I'm looking forward to abusing it more over the next couple of months and making sure it last.
-As of right now I am very happy with the Ventus and it has performed great. And now that I have used a Rab product, they will be on my list next time I'm in the market for new gear
I bought this dress for my wife as a gift and she wanted me to post up the review she wrote:
"This is a versatile, comfortable dress that can be worn for anything from run errands to hanging out at the local brewery. The color is very rich and true to the picture. I have a large and I am glad I did because the dress does have some minimal shrinkage with repeated washing and a couple dryings. I am a size 8 to 10 in pants , 36B, medium to large in shirts. I would say this dress runs a little bit small because I can normally wear a medium in dresses, but the large in this fits perfectly. The length is right above my knees, I am 5'4". This dress is wonderfully warm and I love to pair with a vest for even extra warmth and style. It washes really well, I have no pilling after repeated washings. I don't put it in the dryer anymore to avoid any more shrinking. Honestly the minimal shrinking it has done has only enhanced the fit. I would describe myself as pear-shaped and think this dress has enough of an A-line that it looks good on girls with hips. The quality is great and I anticipate wearing this dress for many years to come!
Also works great with a Nano Air underneath on those cool, super windy days when you spend a little extra time up top to take pictures.
First off, I actually own two of these jackets, so I will say I like them pretty good. I bought a brown one quite a few years ago and found a great deal on another color so decided to mix up the jacket selection a bit and added a red.
This is my go to jacket in the fall and spring even if there isn't a chance of rain. I hike, bike, and wear it walking down the side walk. It's just enough for those cool windy days to keep you comfortable while doing whatever you have planned outside.
It also repels rain! It's kept me dry during all day hikes in the mist to those hours from the car deluges that seem to end only when you make it back to the trailhead. If mother nature wants to throw the wet stuff out, this jacket will keep you dry.
As for fit, I bought these when I weighted about 50lbs heavier, so I own XL. They fit great then, now they are a little baggie. But they still don't feel huge on me so they still work great.
They have your typical jacket features, two zip up pockets on each side and an adjustable hood. The hood fits nice and doesn't swallow your head like some do. The zippers aren't the waterproof kind, but they do have an extra flap of material over them that keeps them from having to be. It doesn't have a chest pocket like most jacket do. It does have zelcroed straps on the cuffs so you can tighten them up to keep the elements out.
Like most of Patagonia's gear, the color are bright and last. No fading after lots of use. Durability wise, it has taken lots of abusive, from dragging on rocks, bushwhacking through rhododendron thickets, to having backpacking buckles rub on it for days on end, the material still looks great.
My only cons are that it doesn't breath super well. If it's a warm muggy day and you are active, you will sweat. The pit zips do help but you will get sticky. Also the DWR coating didn't seam to last very long and once it wore off, the jacket really soaked up the water. But I've added an aftermarket coating and it works just as good as it did new. If the DWR would have lasted longer, it would be a 5 star product.
Overall I have really been happy with my Torrentshells. On most trips from March to October, I have one in my pack or car just in case. They have provided me with hours of extra time outside when conditions weren't pristine and have kept other in!
No matter if your day calls for making turns in 8" of fresh, hiking or biking your favorite trails, or even getting dressed up, this vest works for it all. It is the definition of multi-functional.
I received this vest for Christmas this year (I was pretty high on my hint list so it wasn't a total surprise).And since then I have worn it just about ever other day. It works great as a layer on a cold ski day, by itself on an active cool day, walking into the office on a long Monday, or even over a polo on Friday night date with the wife. (I got the black which looks nice with most all multi-colored shirts.)
Fit wise, it is pretty standard to Patagonia's sizing. I am 6'-3" 185ish and I own the large. It is cut so that it fits over a good midlayer or button down and doesn't feel constricting or have a tight to small look. But at same time, you can throw a jacket over top and you don't get that bulky feeling that can drive you crazy. As for length, it extends just a bit below my belt line, which keeps a gap from forming and letting the cold air hit your under layer when you extend to the limits of your range of motion while loading skis or boats. When zipped all the way up, the collar reaches to the chin to again keep that cold air from sneaking in from the other direction. Just like most of Patagonia's jackets and vest, it has your two standard zip pockets at the sides for your hands, and that extra inside chest pocket to put your valuables in. The main zipper is good sized with a rubber pull tab to allow you to grip it even with gloves on. The main zipper is actually a different size then the ones for the pockets which is a nice feature, I guess to reduce weight or be lower profile. Whatever it is, it's a nice touch.
It's very light weight, so you don't have to worry about it messing up your packing list for the long days.
Like others have noted before, this isn't a super warm down vest. It's made to be part of a layering system, with the proper other layers of gear, it will keep you warm on even the coldest days. It's a great a piece to have in your quiver of layers that you will be pulling from the closet very often (that's if you stop using it long enough to put it in the closet to begin with!)
So for my final thought: "Throwing this under a hard shell, over a layer of Capeline, or even over your favorite polo, this vest is up for any adventure you can come up with!"
So I am half way through my first season with these and I can say that I am very happy with the way they have performed. I have used them in a wide range of weather conditions, from 15 degrees w/ a windchill in the negatives and dumping snow to 40 degrees and raining. I'm happy to say they kept the wind out and kept me dry.
At 6'3" and 185 I bought the large and they are just a bit baggie but that is the way they were designed to be. They have a nice elastic Velcro waist band inside to fine tune the fit to you. Also have belt loops to throw on a belt for that extra support. I keep most of my stuff in my jacket pockets, so I can't comment much on the pockets but I will say they have plenty and they all have the watertight zippers to keep the water out. They also have a more durable layer at the inside bottoms to protect them from your freshly tuned ski edges which I can testify work great after a couple good falls.
I usually just wear a layer of Capilene 3 under them and that's all I need in most conditions. I can say on that bitter cold day with negative wind chill, near the top of the long lift ride I wished for a little bit thicker layer, but that would be easily fixed if I invested in some Capilene 4 or just add another thin layer.
I have gone through lots of ski pants over the years and I'll have to say that these are at the top of the list. Plus on top of the great performance they look great! You may not be the best skier on the mountain but with these at least you can be the best looking!
These are your do everything, go anywhere, at anytime sure thing shorts. They are made for any summertime adventure you can dream up. I wear them for hiking, swimming, boating, running, lounging, and everything else. Plus they come in all the colors of the rainbow, so there is no excuse to not own a couple pairs!
They are super comfortable and extremely durable. The 7" are a good fit and don't show too much of your upper leg. The 5" are a little short for my taste for everyday activities but are a good length for running or if you are just feeling confident that day! They dry quickly and don't suck up water so they don't gain weight after a mid hike dip. They do have the internal mesh liner, so commando is the way to go, boxers just bunch up and make things bulky. There is a simple drawcord on the inside to keep them tight.
Best all around shorts on the market! These are a classic and there is a reason they have been around so long.
Side by side comparison of the Karma Large and the Karma Unlimited.