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Koly Swistak

Koly Swistak

Gearhead

SLC, UT

Koly Swistak's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Snowboarding
Yoga
Climbing

Koly Swistak's Bio

I am a Midwesterner transplanted to Utah by way of Montana. I currently live in Salt Lake City for the proximity to the mountains and In & Out.



I grew up snowboarding on a *literal* trash pile called Canonsburg and learning how to fall gracefully on ice. Since then, I've boarded all over Utah, Montana, Colorado, and the Spanish Pyrenees.



I love being in the backcountry whether its on a splitboard, snowblades, or my own two feet. As long as there's no uphill biking involved, I'm there. Sometimes I even bring my cat along.



Backcountry.com’s Gearheads are your instant connection to gear knowledge. They’re passionate outdoor experts hell-bent on helping you find the right snowboard, tent, or rope. Follow their adventures and exploits.



Let me know if you have any questions you can always give me a call 801-204-4694 and I work Monday-Friday 9am-5pm. Follow me to learn about the gear I use. If you would rather skip the phone call, you can reach me at my email, kswistak@backcountry.com


Instagram: @kolyswistak

Koly Swistak

Koly Swistakwrote a review of on April 13, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs small

Moving to the So iLL Runners from the more expensive Miuras, I expected a slight downgrade in performance. But after a fair amount of climbing, I have to say I’m really impressed with these shoes.

I was worried about the quality of the rubber, which they say comes from Navy Seal technology, but I found them to grip really well. On par with the Miuras, no doubt. I was plenty confident with my purchase on tiny, sloping footholds.

They’re comfortable and I like the balance these shoes find in their aggressiveness—not too intense, but you get enough of an edge to confidently climb through an overhanging problem.

I thought they looked awesome in the pictures, and in person they’re as bright as advertised. It’s definitely a way to stand out at the gym, for better or worse. Pretty much every time I climb someone will ask me about these shoes.

Overall, So iLL is a cool little company and they’ve made a pretty nice mid-grade shoe in the Runners. If you want everyone to watch you at the bouldering wall, buy these. Then again, if you’re not the strongest climber, maybe that attention isn’t what you want.

As far as sizing go, I ordered a half size up from my street shoe and the fit is perfect.

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Koly Swistak

Koly Swistakwrote a review of on April 10, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Last year as I was investing in my split set up I wasn't able to afford new bindings so I went with the plate set up and tested out the Light Rail bindings a couple times. After using these bindings on one tour I am a changed splitboarder. Say goodbye to pins and say hello to the ease of popping in and out of touring mode. My transition time went from 10 minutes (I'm a goon that gets cold hands quicky) to 2. I was back in downhill mode before my friends had their AT skis ready to head downhill!

These bindings are far superior to the Light Rail and the plate set up. No chance of lost pins and 4x faster! The weight you lose the and the responsiveness you gain with this set up is well worth the cost.

Updates for 2017:
Heel Lock Down - No more Tele Turns (check out #telemarksplitboarding on instagram)
Upgraded touring bracket - the original version of these bindings had an affinity to snap under too much pressure in the cold. Voile virtually eliminated this problem by upgrading the plastic in the touring bracket to a Nylon material.

Feel free to give me a ring if you have any questions on splitboarding set ups! 801 204 4694 or shoot me an email at kswistak@backcountry.com

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Koly Swistak

Koly Swistakwrote a review of on April 10, 2017

Essential Gear
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Do you have Karakoram bindings? Nah, you're too cool for all that mechanical engineering. You've chosen to stick with the OG puck sliding system. These pucks are essential to any Voile binding or Spark R&D binding system.

Set up is straight forward. I would recommend getting some locktite glue so they stay secure all season long.

If you're having a hard time sliding your bindings on and off I'd recommend getting some sandpaper and sanding the edges down a bit. When Voile manufactures a big set of these puppies, you can get a bit of extra plastic on some.

If you have any questions on your new splitboard set up, please reach out to me with questions. As a gearhead I'm here to be your personal expert to get you ready for an awesome season in the backcountry.

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Koly Swistak

Koly Swistakwrote a review of on April 6, 2017

Ultimate Backpacking Comfort
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 6"
Weight: 130 lbs
Size Purchased: 9

I had the Vasque breezes for 2 backpacking seasons in Montana and a semester in Kenya. I was so sad to retire them. They are comfortable from the get go, run true to size, and are great for all summer romps. The ankle support is great for long backpacking trips and the mesh allows for better ventilation than your standard full leather boot. If you don't plan on diving through piles of jagged rock, you should plan to have these babies for a long time! The Goretex is a great feature for spring hikes and not having to dance around puddles. The photo below is from a hike during rainy season in Kenya. Paired with Gaiters my feet stayed dry on our day hike.

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Koly Swistak

Koly Swistakwrote a review of on April 5, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

My customer got this jacket for his dog to go hiking in the PNW and it has been working very well! It keeps his pup nice and dry on short to medium distance hikes. The only complaint on the product is it can sometimes be difficult to clip the leash into the harness due to the protective storm flap.

His dog weighs approximately 30 lbs and ordered a Small.

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Koly Swistak

Koly Swistakwrote a review of on April 4, 2017

More Please
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 6"
Weight: 130 lbs

This shirt is so comfortable! The fabric is soft and silky and falls well on the body. As you can see from my photo, maybe not the best pairing with a black bra but other than that I have no complaints! If you're a bigger chested gal and want to wear the buttons all the way up, I'd order a size up.

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Koly Swistak

Koly Swistakwrote a review of on April 4, 2017

Perfect Jeans
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 6"
Weight: 130 lbs

I love these jeans! I tried on the 27 and 28 and while the 27 fit on my body movement in them was slim to none so I went with the 28's. They're comfortable like a pair of leggings but have the structure and fit of a great pair of jeans. When I was looking for a new pair of jeans it was a toss up between these and the prAna Kara denim pant and these ones won my choice because the jean material is thicker and more structured than the Kara's.
As for length, these things can fit over my heel and halfway down my foot. Good news is they look super cute cuffed and shrink a bit in the wash.
I hope in the future Patagonia thinks about making different lengths and washes in these pants because they're the perfect pant for travel/climbing/going to the pub/basically everything. The wash is dark and fades to a truer blue color over time.

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Koly Swistak

Koly Swistakwrote a review of on March 23, 2017

Great Adventure Skirt
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 6"
Weight: 130 lbs
Size Purchased: Small

I bought this skirt for my trek to do the Three High Passes in Nepal and I am so grateful I did! You might say, "Koly why would you ever wear cotton on a trek?" To which I say, because it's damn comfortable. I only wore this 3/21 days to hike in because it was quite balmy in the lower elevations and it was so fabulous to have the breeze. Outside of those hiking days, I loved being able to wear this over my leggings for modesty in the villages and huts we visited deeper into our trek. It was also nice for privacy between changing leggings! I look forward to wearing it more in the summer here in Salt Lake. I think it will be great for going to work and grabbing a beer afterward in. I weighed 125 when I bought this and have put on some 5-8 lbs since (sadly not walking for 5 hours a day anymore) and it still fits fine.

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Koly Swistak

Koly Swistakwrote a review of on March 23, 2017

2 more please!
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 6"
Weight: 130 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

These are my favorite pair of summer shorts for desert adventures and river floats. They dry quickly, they're super cute, and you have a ton of freedom in them. The shorter inseam is very flattering. Personally, I think the longer inseam baggies balloon out and make my legs look ridiculous. Would recommend for any summer adventures in hot temps or involving water sports!

I ended up going with a size Medium on these although I normally wear a Small. I think the Small would fit just fine but the Mediums definitely don't fall off of me. The draw cord at the waist is so nice! I like my adventure shorts breezy.

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Koly Swistak

Koly Swistakwrote a review of on March 20, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I gave it as a gift but have feedback to share

My girl Lauren got this pack a few weeks ago and gave it a spin in Shenandoah National Park and had some feedback to share:

We hit some of the AT and falls. Pack worked great for day hike! Enough room for the essentials and extra layer for cold and rain, food, and snacks. The suspension system in the Mira is great and cuts down on the feel of the weight you are actually carrying. Very comfortable and I have been recommending the Manta and Mira.*


The Manta is the Men's version of this pack. The sizing for back length is the same from M to F versions but the women's packs have straps that cut back to the pack sooner -- to get out of the way the chest and giving ladies a better range of motion.

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Koly Swistak

Koly Swistakwrote a review of on March 8, 2017

MFI + Magnetic lenses for the win!
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Integration: I wear these goggles with my Smith Maze helmet and there is no gaper gap.

Lens Tech: I am in love with the magnetic lens system! On variable days I carry my extra lens in my chest pocket and can change the lenses in under 10 seconds on the lift. It's also super nice to share lenses with friends who have the same goggles to test them out. Next year Anon will be carrying tech lenses that I'm super stoked to try out!

Face Mask: The magnetic face mask is a feature that really sells me on these goggles. On powder days you don't have to worry about wearing a snorkel, just magnetic up your mask and breathe easy! Snow's not going to sneak into the mask with the seamless integration.

Fogging: Next to none! The only time I've had fogging happen is when I'm looking down and breathing into my face mask. For example: getting stuck in powder and having to dig myself out. It defogs pretty quickly, especially if you pop the lens out and let if breathe for a moment.

I have the blackout and blue/yellow low light lenses and they're a great pair. I think next year I will invest in a pair of lenses for partly cloudy days. The blackouts are pretty dark and I want something that will be better for touring.

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Koly Swistak

Koly Swistakwrote a review of on March 7, 2017

Perfect Pole
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I love these poles and use them every week of the year. They've saved my knees on 2K foot descents in the Himalayas, they've gotten me some fabulous winter peaks on my splitboard, and my mom loves to use them when she comes to visit the mountainous west.

If you're not sure which pair of poles will work best for your needs, please reach out! As a gearhead, I'm here to give you personalized service to get you ready to go for your next grand adventure.

*picture below crossing a glacier on the way to Gokyo, Nepal featuring emergency duct tape on the pole.

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Koly Swistak

Koly Swistakwrote a review of on March 7, 2017

Solid Hiking Pant
4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: Runs large
Height: 5' 6"
Weight: 130 lbs
Size Purchased: 4

These are a great basic hiking pant. Durable material, fit a little on the larger size for good movement. I like the stitching on knees and the pocket placement. The legs are a straight fit and I would wear these to the bar after a good day hike. Not as soft or quiet as other pants on the market but still a great choice for a 3 season hiking pant.

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