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Jared Downs

Jared Downs

Gearhead

White Mountains (NH) - Little Cottonwood Canyon (UT)

Jared Downs's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Climbing
Snowboarding
Biking
Snowshoeing

Jared Downs's Bio

East coast born and raised, but in the fall of 2013 I packed up my Ford Focus and drove west.

It was time to break away from that bland office life I constantly found myself in. I was in need of some time with the outdoors finding powder, going for hikes and building up some climbing skills.
If you've got questions that need answering or details that need examining, give me a call. I'll do everything I can to help you get the right gear.

Instagram Handle: @jared.downs

If you see any of my product reviews and they're garments, here are my measurements to give you some context:

Height: 6'0" (Just under)
Weight: 185ish LBs
Wing Span: 6'3"ish
Chest: 43"
Waist 32-33"
Inseam: 31" ish

Shoot me an email anytime you have questions!

Jared D.
Expert Gearhead
801.736.4336
jdowns@backcountry.com

Jared Downs

Jared Downswrote a review of on June 15, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This is what I'm rocking on my SB6 and I've been loving the Eagle 12 speed drive train a ton. I've had no issues and the climbs are easy thanks to the range of gears.

I went ahead and picked up a spare chain just in case. I tend to like to have spare parts around for key items that I don't want to have crap out on me while on a trip.

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Jared Downs

Jared Downswrote a review of on June 15, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This is what I'm rocking on my SB6 and I've been loving the Eagle 12 speed drive train a ton. I've had no issues and the climbs are easy thanks to the range of gears.

I went ahead and picked up a spare chain just in case. I tend to like to have spare parts around for key items that I don't want to have crap out on me while on a trip.

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Jared Downs

Jared Downswrote a review of on June 13, 2017

1 5

Mine broke at the hinge. The design of the hinge isn't great and the plastic is super thin where the arms meet the frame. It didn't take much for mine to snap.

Native wants $30 in order for me to have these warrantied even though Native markets these as having a Lifetime Warranty. Really sad since I own multiple pairs of sunglasses from Native.

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Jared Downs

Jared Downswrote a review of on May 31, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've got this in the black color for mtn biking and love the thing. Really happy to get this after a long search to find the right lumbar pack while riding.

Storage (Main Compartment):
This thing can hold a good amount of stuff for the size. I used this on a jortski day at Snowbird and had about 0.75 Liters of water in the bladder and 4 cans of Coors Light held nice and secured without any stress on the zipper.

But for biking.... I can fill the 1.5L bladder and then put in a hand pump, spare tube and other goodies for my rides.

Storage (Zippered attached to Main Compartment):
These are pretty nifty but my only complaint is that some of them are mega small. On the small ones that is where I put my tire levers and multi tool or some energy foods, or sunscreen.

Side Pockets (Zippered and Non Zippered on Belt):
I like this since they're not tiny but also not huge. I store my keys in the zippered belt pocket and some energy foot in the non-zippered pocket (that way if it were ever to fall out while riding I'd lose a $1 worth of stuff at most).

Hydration:
This might be the area where I'd say they need to improve this the most. The magnet on the end of the hose is a little weak and if it were about 50% stronger then it'd be great. But my major complaint is the lack of a fitting joining the hydration hose to the hydration bladder. So filling the hydration bladder is a little bit of a pain since you either need to pull the hose (and reroute it when you put the bladder back in the pack) or fill the water with the pack right next to the sink/water source.

Movement:
I cinch the waist belts down pretty tight and that keeps the pack in place while pedaling or riding down hill. There has been a little movement in the pack at times, but when that happens I just tighten the belt a little more the next time I come to a stop.

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Jared Downs

Jared Downswrote a review of on May 31, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've got this in the black color for mtn biking and love the thing. Really happy to get this after a long search to find the right lumbar pack while riding.

Storage (Main Compartment):
This thing can hold a good amount of stuff for the size. I used this on a jortski day at Snowbird and had about 0.75 Liters of water in the bladder and 4 cans of Coors Light held nice and secured without any stress on the zipper.

But for biking.... I can fill the 1.5L bladder and then put in a hand pump, spare tube and other goodies for my rides.

Storage (Zippered attached to Main Compartment):
These are pretty nifty but my only complaint is that some of them are mega small. On the small ones that is where I put my tire levers and multi tool or some energy foods, or sunscreen.

Side Pockets (Zippered and Non Zippered on Belt):
I like this since they're not tiny but also not huge. I store my keys in the zippered belt pocket and some energy foot in the non-zippered pocket (that way if it were ever to fall out while riding I'd lose a $1 worth of stuff at most).

Hydration:
This might be the area where I'd say they need to improve this the most. The magnet on the end of the hose is a little weak and if it were about 50% stronger then it'd be great. But my major complaint is the lack of a fitting joining the hydration hose to the hydration bladder. So filling the hydration bladder is a little bit of a pain since you either need to pull the hose (and reroute it when you put the bladder back in the pack) or fill the water with the pack right next to the sink/water source.

Movement:
I cinch the waist belts down pretty tight and that keeps the pack in place while pedaling or riding down hill. There has been a little movement in the pack at times, but when that happens I just tighten the belt a little more the next time I come to a stop.


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Jared Downs

Jared Downswrote a review of on May 31, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I'd highly recommend that the climber and the belayer both, read and re-read the instructions to make sure the belayer is standing the proper distance from the wall and you have a good idea for how to use it. Rigging it is pretty easy/straight forward but the belayer needs to be a little more attentive to their distance from the wall and the angle that the rope makes when going through the device.

To give some context, I'm a 180lb climber and my girlfriend is 125/130lb climber.

I think this is definitely money well spent for the climbers out there where there is a big weight difference between the lead climber and belayer. I've almost butt slapped a light weight belayer a few times before and it's definitely not something I'd want to subject a belayer to.

Rigging:
Super easy if you've used other devices like a grigri where you need to open a pivoting plate to route the rope through the device and then close the plate to secure the rope in place.

Clipping:
Best way is to pre-rig it on the ground and then rack the Ohm on your harness like its a regular quickdraw or piece of pro. And then when you're at your first piece, just unclip from your harness and place it on the wall.

Rope Angle:
Definitely read the manual to make sure your belayer is aware of this. But the angle the rope makes will affect the amount of friction that is added to the system because of the Ohm. If you're standing directly under the Ohm and the climber takes a leader fall, the Ohm won't really add that much friction to the system. It'll add a little more than if a just a quickdraw was clipped. And if the belayer stands too far away from the wall and creates a really sharp angle in the rope, then there will be an increase and friction and make it harder for the climber to clip their next piece of pro.

Lowering:
I found that the Ohm really helps add some friction to the system and makes it safer for my girlfriend to lower me. I've experienced it before where a 115lb belayer is lowering me (180lbs) and they slip and I go for a quick lower until they catch me again. Not exactly the type of situation I want to ever be in, so that is where the Ohm reduces the chances of that, which is nice.

My Dislikes:
It does add enough friction to the system that pulling up rope while leading can be a little tougher sometimes and not exactly what you want while you're cruxing or getting pumped. This can normally be mitigated by having the belayer be able to walk back and forth paying close attention to the rope angle, but on certain climbs that isn't always an option (when a climb has a lowish angle ramp to the first bolt or piece of pro like at the Orangutan Wall in Maple Canyon).

My other dislike is that this thing is fairly hefty weight wise. But I fully realize I'm being ultra nit-picky here.

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Jared Downs

Jared Downswrote a review of on May 23, 2017

3 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

I returned this and never used it. The grip on the handle is a little awkward. With the cutout on the handle (for you to access the blade) it just makes it really weird to hold when the blade is out for use.

I instead opted for the Petzl Spatha for a my climbing knife . It was a few extra bucks but its also a tiny bit lighter. Plus it feels nice in the hand.

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Jared Downs

Jared Downswrote a review of on May 18, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

It's definitely an exciting time to be a climber. The variety of cams on the market is better than ever and this is definitely one of the best cams out there.

If you want to chat cams, trad gear or other climbing gear, drop me an email at jdowns@backcountry.com

We can debate the best cam, which is the lightest, this that and everything. But here are my 2 cents on this cam paired in with the rack I'm currently rocking.

I picked up a set at the end of last season but didn't climb on them until recent. Since they're a hot item and sell out quickly I decided to get a full set when they were in stock.

Current Rack:
C4's 0.3 - 4 (doubles)
UL Master Cams 00 - 8
Master Cams 00 - 6 (for when I need doubles)
Totems 0.5 - 1.80
BD Stoppers 1 -13
DMM Offsets 7 - 11
Tricam Evo's 0.25 - 1.50

Placing:
These are much easier to place than any other cam I've used. I liked how its super easy to look at and see whether you're starting to over cam it and then you can stop and save yourself from a fixed piece or a headache. The lobe design doesn't resemble the lobe designs on other cams. My biggest gripe with cams like the UL Masters are the "range finder" for a "good" placement tends to be on the edge of being camed perfectly to over cammed.

Plugging these in odd cracks (flaring) is where I really noticed the difference. Since each pair of lobes are operating on their own stem, the entire cam won't (or at least hasn't) walked on me the way I've been able to get other cams to walk in.

Cleaning:
This was beyond easy. With a great placement and easy access to the trigger, it was super quick to pull these out of the wall.

Weight:
This seems to be the hot topic. If you're worried about the weight of these cams and need to bust out your excel spread sheet to compare grams. Do your self a favor and stop. If you're worried about the weight these will add to your rack, consider wearing shorts on your climb instead of pants. Skip that post climb beer or burrito....that way you are lighter next time. Get a hair cut. Get a rope that is a 9.5mm instead of a 9.8mm.

Those things will have a bigger impact on you and you'll have some peace of mind when you have a more versatile cam on your rack.

The only time I personally see the benefit of the weight conversation is on alpine climbs or climbs with uber long approaches. That's where these are a nice item to supplement my rack for other climbs. I'm not big on a "one size fits all" approach for climbing gear.

In the end, it's hard comparing weights and sizing across brands and different cam models. That to me is something that is welcomed. It means we've got options. This way we're not seeing a bunch of climbing companies all making cams with the same lobe sizing.

But just for fun...

UL Master Cam #6
32.5 - 48.0 mm
3.3oz

Totem - Red (1.50)
31.6 - 52.2 mm
4.6oz

BD C4 - #1
30.2 - 52.1 mm
4.8oz

Racking:
I didn't think these were the smallest cams to rack with. Compared to my UL Master cams or a set of C3's, Aliens, or Totem Basics, these definitely take up the most space. But That doesn't really bother me since I can fit just as many cams on the gear loop. But if you've got a single set of these to supplement the rest of your rack, the space they take up is worth it because of the ease of use. I save them for desperate times.

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Jared Downs

Jared Downswrote a review of on May 12, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

So I've pretty much gotten rid of every other harness except for my gym harness and my Flash harness.

The Alpine Flash is my favorite of the bunch and the one that I'm logging the most pitches on.

Waist:
I've got a 33" waist and opted for the size Medium on this harness. The fit between this and the Flash will be the same. The Large could work for me but I'd have to tighten it as tight as possible and I'd still have just a little wiggle room.

Leg Loops:
this is part of why I'm in love with the harness. The medium leg loops on the Flash (fixed leg loops) are a bit too tight for my quads. But the adjustable leg loops on the Alpine Flash are awesome. Plus if I'm hiking in the harness and want to loosen the leg loops even more, I can do that.

Gear Loops:
This has 4 regular gear loops, plus a 5th in the back plus the loop for my chalk bag. The thing I love about the 5th gear loop is it gives me options to store seldom used items like a quicklink, tibloc, hollow block on a locker, or any other items I'd be utilizing in a rescue situation.

Ice Clipper Slots:
This was another big reason I wanted this harness, I wanted a harness I could sport climb, trad climb and ice climb in. The ice clipper slots make this possible.


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Jared Downs

Jared Downswrote a review of on May 4, 2017

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: Runs large
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 180 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

I've got a couple of these. I was after a shirt that is solid colored and in a material that is durable, comfortable and something i could wear to work, as well as climb in or travel in and be comfortable.

Over all I like the shirts a lot, my main dislike of the shirt is the neck opening. It's a little big and feels loose.

On the sizing, I like how the Medium fits (every where but the neck opening) but when i look at sizing chart, it says I'm spot on in the Middle of a Large.

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Jared Downs

Jared Downswrote a review of on May 4, 2017

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: Runs large
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 180 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

I've got a couple of these. I was after a shirt that is solid colored and in a material that is durable, comfortable and something i could wear to work, as well as climb in or travel in and be comfortable.

Over all I like the shirts a lot, my main dislike of the shirt is the neck opening. It's a little big and feels loose.

On the sizing, I like how the Medium fits (every where but the neck opening) but when i look at sizing chart, it says I'm spot on in the Middle of a Large.

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Jared Downs

Jared Downswrote a review of on May 4, 2017

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: Runs large
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 180 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

I've got a couple of these. I was after a shirt that is solid colored and in a material that is durable, comfortable and something i could wear to work, as well as climb in or travel in and be comfortable.

Over all I like the shirts a lot, my main dislike of the shirt is the neck opening. It's a little big and feels loose and the tsleeves are super tight.

On the sizing, I like how the Medium fits (every where but the neck opening and sleeves) but when i look at sizing chart, it says I'm spot on in the Middle of a Large.

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Jared Downs

Jared Downswrote a review of on May 4, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This is a super easy to use lock and I don't use it for locking my bike to my car rack (although I should get a second one for that).

I use mine for locking my grill and propane tank to the railing on my front porch. It can stretch out a decent bit and keeps things locked in place. Comes with a spare key which is real nice.

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Jared Downs

Jared Downswrote a review of on May 4, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

It's a chalk ball so there isn't a ton to it. I went with the refillable one since I'm not in love with items that are along the lines of single-use. And its easy refill and its not expensive.

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Jared Downs

Jared Downswrote a review of on May 4, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

We've had one of these for about a year now and it goes every where with us. We do a bit of travelling and out pup goes with us every where so we pack a bag of her toys, leashes, poo bags and other goodies for her and then her kibble kaddie (she travels pretty light!).

Roll Top:
This is one thing that we really love. Super easy access to get to the food and then the closer forms a nice handle. We never have any food leakage issues from the top. Plus the big opening makes filling it pretty easy.

Food Chute:
This is a nice feature but we don't really use it. I think maybe 2 or 3 times in the time we've had it. It's come open once on me but that was because i dropped the bag from about 3 feet high and that was enough for to have the magnets disconnect from each other. Cool feature but for me, I'd want to see it revised a bit before we'd use it. Plus our dog only eats maybe 2 cups of food a day max so we wouldn't need to pour a ton of food out.

Mesh Pocket:
This is nice. We store poo bags here or other random items. Nice little feature for extras.

Grease Resistant Lining:
It is resistant but not proof. The oils from the food have made it through the lining...but it's not really that big of a deal. It's still clean and totally fine.

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Jared Downs

Jared Downswrote a review of on April 24, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This is a really great guide book and is up there as one of the better guide books made for climbers.

It's photo rich and the content is well laid out and easy to understand. I like the maps that of the main areas with the smaller walls labeled well in each area.

The third number labeled like this example (9) is notated on each route and super helpful since it tells you how many draws you need for the route. Finding bolts on conglomerate can be tricky on certain routes knowing how many you need to look for is super helpful. Especially since searching for bolts can pump you out depending on the route.

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Jared Downs

Jared Downswrote a review of on April 14, 2017

A League of It's Own
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

These are my favorite crampons for ice climbing. I've got a pair of BD Cyborg Pro's and a pair of Blade Runners and use the Cyborg Pro's solely as a loaner pair now.

Mono Point:
I'm a big fan of the mono point on these. When I kick ice I don't get as much ice fracturing off in chunks as when I kick ice with the cyborg pros when set up as dual points. I primarily climb with these as a mono point.

Engaging Next Set of Points:
This is where the feeling of security comes in when you drop your heels in these and engage the two sets of points behind the main mono point. This means I've got 5 potential points of contacts compared to 3 or 4 on other crampons or my Cyborg Pro's.

Sizing:
Adjusting the sizing on these is pretty easy. On my last trip we headed to Ouray for a week and letting a buddy or my lady borrow them for the day wasn't a hassle with a massive amount of work to adjust the size. It was super easy to adjust the length of the crampons and nice that the heel piece and linking bar are one piece, so the crampon doesn't fall apart when fiddling around with sizing.

Size 1: Eur 37-46
Size 2: Eur 40-49

Boots:
I've got a pair of Scarpa Alien's that these work well with, I use them with my Arc'teryx Acrux boots, an old pair of Lowa Latok's. These work well with any boot.

I'm a huge fan of these crampons, feel free to drop me an email if you've got any questions!

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Jared Downswrote a review of on April 5, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

We'd gone through a bunch of lights from Amazon trying to see what would work for our dog but this one is winning on the longevity front.

All the others have ended up broken and not working after a few days. This one has lasted a fair amount of time.

The only thing that I don't love about the light is the plastic hook. I wish it were metal because each time I take the light off our dogs collar, it feels like I'm going to break the light. Other than that, its a nice little cost effective light that holds up pretty well.

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