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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 February 14, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I think I picked up my pair of Arsenals either in 2007 or 2008? And they don't seem to have any huge updates that make these a whole different binding from what I've got.

These are a hidden gem that I'm legit excited about.

But at $189, these are a steal for that price considering bindings can cost over $300+ now a days. So if you're not looking to break the bank but still want a solid binding that'll perform well, I'd recommend spending some more time considering these.

After 9-10 years on them, I've definitely put a solid amount of use on them and ridden them pretty hard. But they've still got a ton of life left in them. I've replaced the ladder straps twice now in that 9-10 year span. The next thing is probably replacing the ankle and toe cap strap in the next 2-3 years. Keep in mind I say 2-3 years as these bindings are on one of my powder boards that doesn't normally go out more than 10 times a year.

The other place these would be great for is the guy that is looking to get a second set of bindings to start building out a quiver and doesn't want to have a ton of money locked up in a snowboard set up.

All in all, I love these bindings, the price, the longevity and the service that Rome has provided me over the years.

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Jared Downs

Jared Downswrote a review of on January 30, 2018

Performs Really Well
5 5

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

So at first I was a bit skeptical of how well this jacket could perform since it was so new to the market and other synthetic jackets like the Arc'teryx Atom LT or the Patagonia Nano-Air have long been two of the jackets setting the standard.

This jacket has earned a spot as my go-to and bumped my other jackets out of the gear closet. I think The North Face hit a home run with this one. And I'd highly recommend taking a look at this over the other options out there. Plus you can get a really great jacket and still save some money.

I'm super happy with this piece. And I'll probably get the hoodless version to go with it.

Breathability:
This was the part of the jacket that made me the most curious since I haven't found too many synthetic jackets that perform too different from one jacket to the next. But I decided that the best option for the jacket would be to head out with the dog and go for a run on some local snow covered trails. This way I could build up a sweat and see how well the jacket performed. I was definitely pretty soaked and it wasn't like the jacket was wicking moisture away mega fast but it was pretty impressive to see moisture on the outside of the jacket while I was running and even though I was sweating, I never felt like I was over heating or melting. That was the big part I liked. When it gets warm, it felt like the jacket dumped heat real well.

Wind:
It's not windproof. But for a layering piece, I don't need it to be and I don't expect it be. If I had to list a "con" about the jacket, it might be that. But being upset about that would be like being mad that your Ford F-150 doesn't get the fuel mileage of your Toyota Prius.

Sizing:
I'm wearing a Large in this jacket. Normally I go between a Medium and a Large for jackets/shirts. The Medium does fit me but is real snug throughout. Larges are normally big on me but this Large fits perfectly (see photos). I'd say the description of this being a "slim" fit is pretty accurate. I might modify it and call it a "slim/athletic" cut. The issue I have with most other brands "Larges" are that they feel like they're cut for someone with a much bigger waist. So the shoulders/sleeves normally fit really well for me. But the waist feels like I have a ton of room. I've got a Patagonia Nano-Air in a size Large and seldom wear it because it's so much bigger in the waist/mid section area and I had the excess material.

Jacket Comparison:
Arc'teryx Atom LT - 60grams of insulation for $259
Patagonia Nano-Air - 60grams of insulation for $299
North Face Ventrix - 80grams of insulation for $219.95

It may look apples to oranges for the 60 vs 80 grams of insulation but I'm not sure why someone would want to pay more for less?

My Measurements:
Height - 6'
Weight - 180lbs
Chest - 42.5"
Waist - 32/33"
Jackets - sometimes Medium, sometimes Large
Bottoms - always Mediums

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Jared Downs

Jared Downswrote a review of on January 23, 2018

Pretty Dang Awesome
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I picked these up last summer for a trip and bad weather kept us off our objective. The reason I went for these was I was after a tool that climbed water fall ice real well and allows you to cane with ease while in the alpine.

This past weekend I ventured down to Ouray for the ice fest and brought my North Machines with me to try out on some harder ice and I'll confirm what everyone else below is stating: These things are awesome.

Tools I've Used:
X-Dreams (my favorites)
Nomics
X-All Mountains
Quarks
Tech Machines
North Machines
X-Monsters
Cobras (my least favorite)
And a few others I can't remember at the moment.

Other Tools:
My main set of tools is a set of X-Dreams which require more wrist flick than shoulder swinging and I'm a big fan of these tools. I take them every where....but now the North Machines have earned a spot for certain climbs.

North Machines:
These are my second favorites on harder ice climbs and climb real well. I found that I needed to ease up on the wrist flick and swing more from my shoulder to change the geometry of how I got the pick to drive into the ice. It wasn't a huge issue, just took a little getting used to. These climbed so well that I'd definitely use them on hard ice climbs.

Vertical Ice:
On one of the climbs I did with these there was a section of ice that was vertical for about 25 feet and I never felt any issues while climbing that. And i didn't feel like I was getting pumped out or any wrist pain. I think the worst part was the poor quality of the ice but the tools climbed it real well.

Delicate Ice:
On another climb i did there was a real delicate ice pillar that if you kicked a crampon in or swung a tool it'd have broken off. So with the lightest taps possible, I gently placed my picks and was able to climb through without breaking the pillar before i was able to get to more solid ice and then I sunk my picks and pulled through that section of ice.

Weight:
The one thing I might do is pick up a set of picks that don't have the mounts for the Hammer/Shovel for when I'd like to cruise some routes when I know that I won't really need a shovel/hammer and want to drop some grams from these. This isn't at the top of my priority list since these tools are already so light weight, but something I'm considering.

Cons:
The second hand grip doesn't really have a trigger/trig rest feature and I'd probably need to tape that area for added grip.

Pros:
Easy to get some solid hold in ice.
Easy to clean
The shovel (adze) works insanely well and can chop ice real easily.

Big Hands:
So I've gotten messages from folks with XL - XXL hands that are struggling to find an ice tool that fit their mitts. I'd say that the North Machine should be one of your first considerations since the handle isn't enclosed at the top.

Alpine:
Given I've only used these at the Ouray ice park and not in the alpine yet I can't really go into great detail about how they cane or perform in the alpine. But I'm pretty confident they'll be the perfect tool for the alpine.

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Jared Downs

Jared Downswrote a review of on January 17, 2018

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've got a pair of these and I think I've got 2 full seasons of touring in on them. These are one of my favorite gloves. And I now use them for warmer weather ice climbing while not at a belay station.

I'll confirm that mine have broken down pretty fast. Mostly in the wrist area. The durability isn't a problem with the fabric, just the stitching closer to my wrist. The seams started opening up around day 4 or 5 of use. And I think since then I've put another 50 days of use on them.

For me, the stitching issue isn't a deal breaker since I'm stoked they've lasted this long. But I can see how it'd be an issue for most folks.

I've also started wearing through the touch screen material on the finger tips. But again, I'm not too concerned. After 50 days, I've gotten more than my fair share of use out of them. And I expect I'll get another 30-40 days before total failure.

If Arc'teryx can fix this issue, then these would be the best glove on the market.

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Jared Downs

Jared Downswrote a review of on December 21, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've had one of these for about 3+ seasons and like the pack a lot. There aren't a lot of pockets which is why I like it. There are some pockets on the sides which are great for keys, sunscreen , snacks, etc. And then one pocket inside the pack. After that, you can put all your gear inside.

I can put my whole trad rack, shoes, harness and helmet in it. Keep in mind I use a super small harness that packs super small (CAMP USA Alpine Flash)

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Jared Downs

Jared Downswrote a review of on December 21, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've had my XLC Nanotech crampons for about 3 or 3+ years now and they're going strong. I primarily use these with my ski boots for when I need some extra purchase on steeper sections or volcanoes that are icier up top.

These are incredibly light and are easy to get on. I prefer the ankle strap to how most other straps on automatic crampons are used.

Rocks will aid in wearing these down faster but just make sure to not spend a whole lot of time on rocks.

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Jared Downs

Jared Downswrote a review of on December 21, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I'm a huge fan of the Mach Express draws. I've had a bunch for a few years and continue to pick up a few more every now and then.

I love the Nano22 carabiner on the bolt/gear end and the larger Photon on the rope end.

I think right now I have about 8 of these. These are great for alpine, ice, trad and every now and then on a sport route.

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Jared Downs

Jared Downswrote a review of on December 21, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

CAMP updated this carabiner and its sweet. I've got the previous Photon model and now the current Photon model.

Racking:
I use these to rack some of my cams, right now I think I have them on my Master cams.

Weight:
These are pretty light for how big they are. Which is awesome that they aren't heavier.

Alpine Draws:
I use these on the rope end of my alpine draws since they're super easy to clip.

Ice Climbing/Alpine:
I like these because of how easy they are to use with a gloved hand.

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Jared Downs

Jared Downswrote a review of on December 15, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I primarily use these as a loaner leash to newer partners down at Ouray or the other day on the GWI here in SLC. So while they're not always on me, I'm usually the one that helps my friend with putting it on. But I like them for multi pitch climbs.

You simply girth hitch it to your belay loop and then attach the distil ends to one of your tools. You can use either the carabiner on the end (which isn't rated for a fall.... nor should it be) or you can use the small loops of cord to girth hitch to your tools. You can use one or the other....or both.

Generally if you use this leash and you manage to drop a tool, chances are really good there is some user-error in there.

But in my opinion, these are the best tool leashes out there.

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Jared Downs

Jared Downswrote a review of on December 14, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've got this board mounted to a backer board that I can quickly swap out on my training rig. The other board I've got is the Metolius Project board. The Foundry is the next jump up difficulty-wise.

The Jugs are a little less positive but also a little closer together. This feels more oriented to hangs and less for pull ups.

The other sweet thing is the option for training pinches.

I'd say the pockets on these are harder than the pockets on the Project board due to the pocket geometry.

This board feels like it's for a V5 + climber. And the project board for a V3+ climber.

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Jared Downs

Jared Downswrote a review of on December 14, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Here's an updated review now that I've had it for a long time.

Of the training boards on the market, Metolius is making some of the best training boards out there. I picked up this training board because it is not as tall as the Contact or the Simulator 3D so it's perfect for going above a door that does not have enough space for a taller training board.

Jugs:
Jugs for days! You can hang on these forever and bust out pull ups for as long as you'd like. Plus I like these for offset hangs when working up to harder holds.

Slopers:
These are a tad harder than the middle sloper and smaller width wise.

Middle Sloper:
This is the easiest sloper on the board. But it's one big sloper so if you're aiming to get two hands on it for an easy sloper hang, that can be a bit tough to maintain because of how close your hands are.

Crimps:
The number of crimps across the board is great. There are a couple edges/crimps that are deep 4-fingers, a mid depth 4 -finger and a shallow 3-finger. Great for progressing as you get stronger from training. If you find the shallower holds harder to use, try doing an offset hang to easy up the difficulty.

Inner Rails:
I love the inner rails for offset pull ups or offset hangs and working on general finger strength!

Ease of Installing:
This training board is super easy to install. Eight screws total. I'd recommend attaching this to a backer board with the backer board secured properly into studs.

Chalk:
I've covered mine in chalk to try and remove the greasy feeling that the board has when you get it. Sometimes they use to much mold release agent when making them and they have a greasy feel.

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Jared Downs

Jared Downswrote a review of on December 14, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

CAMP updated this carabiner and its sweet. I've got the previous Photon model and now the current Photon model.

Racking:
I use these to rack some of my cams, right now I think I have them on my Master cams.

Weight:
These are pretty light for how big they are. Which is awesome that they aren't heavier.

Alpine Draws:
I use these on the rope end of my alpine draws since they're super easy to clip.

Ice Climbing/Alpine:
I like these because of how easy they are to use with a gloved hand.

Paired with the CAMP Nano22 carabiner, these two are the perfect combo that I don't see many other companies keeping up with.

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Jared Downs

Jared Downswrote a review of on December 14, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've got a ton of these bad larry's. They're one of my favorite carabiners.

Racking Cams:
I use them for racking certain cams. Currently for my Totems and use to have them on my Metolius UL Master cams. So if you've got a ton of cams to rack, I'd highly recommend getting yourself a set of these. They'll shave a little weight and won't let your cams hang as low since they're not super long carabiners.

Small Size:
Another plus to the small size is the amount of space they take up in your pack for a long approach, etc.

Alpine Draws:
Another awesome use is one some alpine draws for the bolt/gear end.

Clove Hitch:
Another fun little fact is you can get a clove hitch on one of these which I don't think the other carabiners in the same size category can do.

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Jared Downs

Jared Downswrote a review of on December 14, 2017

4 5

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

So I'll start by saying, this was an awesome fleece with a ton of thought put into the construction and design of this. It was a really nice piece that would be perfect for layering with for skiing, touring, ice climbing, mountaineering, etc.

My Sizing:
Only main downside with this was the Large seemed really small. In American brands, I'm typically a medium (current North Face apparel) or a Large. But the issue is when I go for Mediums, the shoulders are too tight and then with Larges, the waist is super loose and huge, but fits in the shoulders. This is where European brands have worked great since the Euro-Larges tend to fit me perfectly. I've got a few fleeces and jackets in Large from other Euro brands that fit perfectly.

Mammut Moench Advanced Top Sizing:
This thing is definitely slim. I felt like a fat kid with out tight it was in spot and how constricting it was. The shoulders were super tight in this. And when looking at the sizing chart, with a 42.5" chest, I'm technically a XL based on that but my waist at 33" is a Medium.

Midweight:
It didn't feel as thick as other midweight fleeces but was definitely a warm fleece that is super nice.

Slim Fit:
If you're a person with a slim build, I could see this being a great item to go for and get.

My Sizing:
Height: 6'
Weight 180-185lbs
Chest: 42.5"
Waist: 32-33" (depending on brand)
Jacket Size: M or L (depending on brand)

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Jared Downs

Jared Downswrote a review of on December 13, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've had a number of these for years and love them. They're a nice durable sling that is supple and holds up well.

I've got the following:
60cm - 6+ of these for alpine draws
120cm - 3 of these for quick anchors and extending pro at roofs
240cm - 1 of these for quad anchors

One of the nicest features is the seam where the two ends are overlapped and sewn together are covered with a sleeve so there is no catching when a biner is sliding over them.

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Jared Downs

Jared Downswrote a review of on December 6, 2017

3 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
Fit: Runs large
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 180 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

I wanted these to work because I would like to have a pair of bibs. But the cut on the Medium was really weird.

Height - 6'
Weight - 185lbs
Waist - 33''
Inseam - 31.5''
Burton Pants - Medium
Prana Pants - 33''
and pretty much always a medium in any pant.

The legs were short and the waist was huge. I also almost maxed out the suspenders (tightening) trying to put the waist where it was suppose to be.

And since I was pretty much maxing the suspenders as small as they could go, the ankles were riding up pretty far and the hips looked huge, I opted to send them back.

Suspenders:
So I'm 6'0'' with a 33" waist and a 31.5" inseam. Based on the sizing chart the Medium should have been spot on. But the suspenders made it seem like these were for a 6'4'' guy with stubby legs. So if you're all upper body and no legs, this could been good for you.

Waist/Hips:
The zippers were really odd because the cut of the fabric where the zippers were attached created this pointy look. I've already got a large butt but even I had a ton of room and then some.

Legs:
These seemed really short and I long have a long inseam. My knees were hitting the middle section of the knee patches when I bent my legs into a tucked position but that exposed a ton of ankle and shin

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