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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingston

Gearhead

Ketchum, Idaho

Kyle Livingston's Passions

Fly Fishing
Hiking & Camping
Biking
Skiing
Yoga
Snowshoeing
Surfing

Kyle Livingston's Bio

After my college experience on the East Coast I ended up in the backwoods of Idaho, enticed by a craving for mountains and snow. During my six years in Sun Valley I was able to develop my passions for telemark skiing, mountain biking, fly fishing, backpacking, hiking, camping and mountain climbing.

My time in Idaho was not forever and I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to use my experience in customer service to support my travels from Alaska to New Zealand and throughout Southeast Asia over the course of two years. Most recently I have settled in Salt Lake City, drawn by its proximity to the best mountains, deserts, and rivers of Utah.

Contact me anytime with questions about my reviews or if you are interested in me being your personal Account Manager and Expert Gearhead.
Phone: 801-736-4337
Email: klivingston@backcountry.com
Instagram: kandkoffroad

My Measurements
Height: 6' 1.5"
Weight: 185 lbs.
Inseam: 34 in.
Waist: 34 in.
Chest: 39 in.
Shoulders: 18 in.
Thigh Circumference: 24 in.

Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on April 23, 2017

Rugged enough to get married in...
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 185 lbs
Size Purchased: 11.5

I bought these Trask Fiske Shoes for my wedding last summer and could not be happier. I paired them with a dark blue woolen suit from Utah Woolen Mills which solicited many compliments on the big day. Of course, I was the groom so the guests were probably just being nice! Haha. The Fiske's are comfortable, stylish, durable and will keep you on your feet throughout any occasion...even hours of dancing with the bride. And most important of all, the wife approves of them.
Feel free to contact me directly with any questions on these or other Trask shoes, I have a couple pairs.
Kyle L. - Expert Gearhead
klivingston@backcountry.com - 801-736-4337

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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on March 29, 2017

The Crown Jewel of Enduro
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Yeti continues to adapt along with the rest of the mountain bike industry to the Boost hub revolution and the SB5.5 is the crown jewel in my opinion. I first had a chance to ride this bike at a Yeti demo last summer and was extremely skeptical going in. The Santa Cruz Hightower had been my favorite bike of 2017 but let's just say that was before ripping on the SB5.5. I have now been on this bike a handful of times, both in the mountains of Park City and the desert of Moab, and it continues to impress me for a variety of reasons.
Quick note: This Turq-Series frame is slightly lighter compared to the Carbon series frame. Yeti only offers the Carbon series frame on complete bikes.I have ridden both frames and can't tell the difference.
There are a couple key differences between the Hightower and SB5.5. The SB5.5 has a slightly steeper head tube angle (66.5 degrees), slightly higher BB height and longer wheel base. But truth be told the key for me is that a Large Yeti just fits me better than a Large Santa Cruz. I am 6'1" with pretty long arms and for whatever reason I have always felt that Large Santa Cruz bikes are too small (and XL too big). But the Yeti SB5.5 in a Large was built just for me.
I was most impressed with how easily it plowed over everything put in front of it. If there was a plowability rating I would give it 6 stars out of 5. It handled steep, technical terrain with ease and cornered surprisingly well for a 29er considering the added lateral stiffness from the wider Boost hubs. This bike had solid pop off of jumps and was smooth in the air which I did not expect but should not be surprising considering the tech behind the Switch Infinity Link.
If you are looking for a new super bike and are considering the Yeti SB5.5 do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions. I would be glad to help you build this bike from the frame up.
Kyle Livingston - Expert Gearhead
klivingston@backcountry.com - 801-736-4337

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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on March 19, 2017

Plowability Factor is Through the Roof
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Yeti continues to adapt along with the rest of the mountain bike industry to the Boost hub revolution and the SB5.5 is the crown jewel in my opinion. I first had a chance to ride this bike at a Yeti demo last summer and was extremely skeptical going in. The Santa Cruz Hightower had been my favorite bike of 2017 but let's just say that was before ripping on the SB5.5. I have now been on this bike a handful of times, both in the mountains of Park City and the desert of Moab, and it continues to impress me for a variety of reasons.
Quick note: This is not the Turq -Series frame but the slightly heavier Carbon series frame from Yeti (only available on complete bikes). I have ridden both frames and can't tell the difference.
There are a couple key differences between the Hightower and SB5.5. The SB5.5 has a slightly steeper head tube angle (66.5 degrees), slightly higher BB height and longer wheel base. But truth be told the key for me is that a Large Yeti just fits me better than a Large Santa Cruz. I am 6'1" with pretty long arms and for whatever reason I have always felt that Large Santa Cruz bikes are too small (and XL too big). But the Yeti SB5.5 in a Large was built just for me.
I was most impressed with how easily it plowed over everything put in front of it. If there was a plowability rating I would give it 6 stars out of 5. It handled steep, technical terrain with ease and cornered surprisingly well for a 29er considering the added lateral stiffness from the wider Boost hubs. This bike had solid pop off of jumps and was smooth in the air which I did not expect but should not be surprising considering the tech behind the Switch Infinity Link.
If you are looking for a new super bike and are considering the Yeti SB5.5 do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions. I would be glad to help you build this bike from the frame up or get you set up with this stock X01 Eagle build.
Kyle Livingston - Expert Gearhead
klivingston@backcountry.com - 801-736-4337

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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on March 19, 2017

Plowability Factor is Through the Roof
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Yeti continues to adapt along with the rest of the mountain bike industry to the Boost hub revolution and the SB5.5 is the crown jewel in my opinion. I first had a chance to ride this bike at a Yeti demo last summer and was extremely skeptical going in. The Santa Cruz Hightower had been my favorite bike of 2017 but let's just say that was before ripping on the SB5.5. I have now been on this bike a handful of times, both in the mountains of Park City and the desert of Moab, and it continues to impress me for a variety of reasons.
Quick note: This Turq -Series frame is slightly lighter compared to the Carbon series frame from Yeti . I have ridden both frames and can't tell the difference.
There are a couple key differences between the Hightower and SB5.5. The SB5.5 has a slightly steeper head tube angle (66.5 degrees), slightly higher BB height and longer wheel base. But truth be told the key for me is that a Large Yeti just fits me better than a Large Santa Cruz. I am 6'1" with pretty long arms and for whatever reason I have always felt that Large Santa Cruz bikes are too small (and XL too big). But the Yeti SB5.5 in a Large was built just for me.
I was most impressed with how easily it plowed over everything put in front of it. If there was a plowability rating I would give it 6 stars out of 5. It handled steep, technical terrain with ease and cornered surprisingly well for a 29er considering the added lateral stiffness from the wider Boost hubs. This bike had solid pop off of jumps and was smooth in the air which I did not expect but should not be surprising considering the tech behind the Switch Infinity Link.
If you are looking for a new super bike and are considering the Yeti SB5.5 do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions. I would be glad to help you build this bike from the frame up or get you set up with this stock X01 Eagle build.
Kyle Livingston - Expert Gearhead
klivingston@backcountry.com - 801-736-4337

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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on March 19, 2017

Scarpa No More
5 5

Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 185 lbs
Size Purchased: 45.0

I have been a big fan of the Scarpa Crux for many years, in fact I have owned and destroyed 3 pairs. But after wearing the Boulder X Approach Shoes on my recent trip to California, I am leaving Scarpa behind for La Sportiva. Enough said. I wore the Boulder X every day during my "State of Gold" road trip (see the Backcountry homepage). They have more cush out of the box compared to the Crux due to the soft EVA in the footbeds and were super comfortable as my daily footwear. I also wore them bouldering, scrambling and rock climbing in Joshua Tree. The Vibram Idro-Grip V-Smear sole made me feel like a gecko through it all. I am a true 11.5 US and the size 45.0 were the perfect fit. I cannot recommend the Boulder X enough as an approach shoe, hiking shoe, or your daily driver.
Feel free to contact me directly with any questions on approach shoes or La Sportiva products.
Kyle L. - Expert Gearhead - klivingston@backcountry.com - 801-736-4337

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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on March 19, 2017

Might have skimmed the wrong pack...
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

When I was presented with a large tote of backpacks on my recent trip to California (see "State of Gold" on the Backcountry homepage), I ended up choosing the Skimmer 22. Seems like I should have chose the Skarab and given this one to Rachel or Kate! Haha. My mistake. Even though I ended up choosing this women's pack, I was impressed with the Skimmer's performance on the trail. I hiked with it in Death Valley, Joshua Tree and used it as a beach bag in San Clemente. I really liked the non-scratch pocket for sunglasses and the ability to use a 2.5-liter bladder (I drink lots of H2O). Plus the BioForm harness had enough adjustment for me at 6'1" with a 34" waist even though the waist hipbelt was pretty far up my torso. Ideally you want the waist hipbelt on your hips obviously. I would still recommend this pack to any woman or man looking for a versatile, comfortable hiking pack for the summer. Osprey knows what they are doing even if I don't sometimes!
Feel free to contact me directly with any questions on Osprey Packs.
Kyle L. - Expert Gearhead - klivingston@backcountry.com - 801-736-4337

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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on March 19, 2017

Blend of Comfort & Cool
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 185 lbs
Size Purchased: Large

I picked up the Prana Crew T-Shirt in the Raisin color for my recent road trip to California (see "State of Gold" on the Backcountry homepage). I ended up wearing this shirt more than any other. Why you ask? It is super soft despite the polyester/cotton blend and managed to keep me cool even while hiking in the heat of Death Valley (albeit it was only around 80 degrees). I wore it off and on for a couple days and it continued to smell somewhat clean but I stress the somewhat. After a couple washes now, the shirt is still soft to the touch and has not shrunk. Great choice for a great price. Buy one.
Feel free to contact me directly with any questions on summerwear.
Kyle L. - Expert Gearhead
klivingston@backcountry.com - 801-736-4337

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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on March 19, 2017

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 7"
Weight: 125 lbs
Size Purchased: 6.5

I bought these for my wife, who was looking for a sporty sneaker that she could wear while walking around in Europe on our honeymoon. My wife usually wears a 6.5. The 7.0 was too roomy in the toe, and the wide-toe box made the look too casual for her to keep these.

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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on March 19, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I gave it as a gift but have feedback to share
Fit: True to size
Size Purchased: 3T

I bought these as a gift for my niece's third birthday. The Dancing Bunny/Birch White print makes her fit right in in the forest, and they keep her warm in the snow. If adult clothes were available in this print I would probably buy them.

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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on January 25, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

What happened to the Volkl Gotama? Many folks are wondering since Volkl discontinued the Gotama in lieu of the 100Eight (great ski but definitely not the same thing). The Gotama was one of my favorite skis, for both alpine and tele, and I was sorry to see it go along with the Shiro. The Gotama was extremely versatile in what it could handle: crud, corn, powder you name it and best of all it was easy to ski and turned on a dime. But the good news is the Gotama lives on in the Nunataq, albeit you can consider this ski the Gotama-Lite. The Nunataq is reinforced with fiberglass laminate which makes it lighter weight but a little more chattery in those truly icy conditions. But like the Gotama, the Nunataq stands strong in its versatility and capability in the backcountry. Smear it, carve it, charge it and you almost feel like the Gotama is born again. I would highly recommend this ski to anyone looking for a new backcountry crusher.

Feel free to contact me directly with any questions on the Volkl skis, touring skis or anything ski related.
Kyle L. - Expert Gearhead
klivingston@backcountry.com - 801-736-4337

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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on January 24, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

If you have not deduced from other reviews, these are amazing skis. The Wailer 112's offer the perfect width for skiing powder effortlessly and with control at high speeds. I ruined all that of course by mounting my Tour1's with 22 Designs Outlaw Tele Bindings but don't judge me....I get face shots easier than most. What really surprised me was how well these skis performed on hardpack and variable conditions. The prepreg carbon-fiber laminate is the difference maker and gives the skis a consistent dampening throughout so you don't get the chatter you typically would from a ski with fiberglass in its make-up. That being said, if you can swallow the higher price point then I think the Wailer 112RP2 Pure3's are worth the extra investment as a one ski quiver.

Enjoy my hero video from Powder Mountain on 12/25/16. This is what happens when it snows so much you end up traveling through the White Tunnel until the lifts stop runnin.'

Feel to contact me directly with questions on DPS Skis, telemark skiing or to discuss your next ski set-up.
Kyle L. - Expert Gearhead
klivingston@backcountry.com - 801-736-4337

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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on January 24, 2017

Stretch for your next turn...
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 185 lbs
Size Purchased: 34/Tall

I am a knee droppin', freeheeler so when I saw "supple 4-way stretch fabric" I was sold on the Cassiar Pants immediately. What I am trying to say is that I practice the sport of telemark skiing which requires a lot of leg movement and lunging. It seems that the Cassiar was made for tele.

I was in the market for a new on-piste, resort pant and after trying on almost every pair of ski pants that Arc'teryx makes, I finally settled on the Cassiar. I was between a Medium and Large in every other pant but the Cassiar is sized numerically which was also a deciding factor. I am typically a 34x34 in pants and went with these in the 34/Tall. I will admit that the Tall inseam is a little long for me and the pants hit the ground when I am in street shoes. But with my Scarpa TX Pro Tele Boots on they fit perfectly in my opinion. I have about 25 days in them and counting and they have kept me warm and dry throughout many storms already (what a winter?!). I cannot recommend the Cassiar enough to anyone looking for a versatile ski pant.

Feel to contact me directly with questions on Arc'teryx Pants, other ski outerwear or anything ski related.
Kyle L. - Expert Gearhead - klivingston@backcountry.com - 801-736-4337

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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on January 18, 2017

5 5

Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 185 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

Whether you are touring in the backcountry or skiing in the resort, the Patagonia Reconnaissance Jacket is a great choice for long days out in the snow. It does tend to run a little big and Medium fit me best when I tested it out (6'1" 185 lbs, 34" waist). Check out this video outlining the features of the Reconnaissance.
Feel free to contact me directly with any questions on this or any other ski jackets.
Kyle L. - Expert Gearhead - klivingston@backcountry.com - 801-736-4337

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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on November 22, 2016

Tele Lunges Like a Pro
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Scarpa finally made a boot in cool colors! Unfortunately I have the Halloween black and orange version of the TX Pro's from last year but I did have a chance to ski this years version at the Outdoor Retailer Demo Day last season. The TX Pro's are the most versatile tele boot in the Scarpa line-up and I would estimate their flex at around 120. They are light enough to tour easily with and have a great range of motion in the walkmode. Lock 'em down and turn your skis around and the aggressive flex and consistent feel of the Pebax shell allows you to drive any ski out there. I mainly ski the Volkl Mantra's with 22 Designs Outlaw Bindings.
The TX Pro's are compatible with any NTN telemark binding and are the only option for bindings like the Meidjo 2.0 which have a tech tour mode. Rumor is that more of these lightweight tech-tele bindings are in the works from other manufacturers so backcountry aficionados beware! Tele is making a comeback. If you are a freeheeler looking for the one boot quiver then look no further than the TX Pro.
Feel free to contact me directly with any questions on the TX Pro's, tele skiing or ski gear in general.
Kyle L. - Expert Gearhead - klivingston@backcountry.com - 801-736-4337

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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on November 22, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This ski comes with a stellar reputation as a hard charging all-mountain crusher with enough girth to handle fresh powder (when you are lucky enough to find it). Have no doubt that the Mantra lives up this reputation.

I just picked up a new pair of these as my everyday ski out here in Utah. I skied them last year mounted with 22 Designs Outlaw Bindings and immediately fell in love with this set-up. The titanal laminate adds stiffness and stability at high speeds and in variable conditions while the full rocker profile allows me to make any type of tele turn I want. I can make GS turns on hardpack, tight turns in trees, and still get face shots when conditions permit.

If you made it to the end of this review you are probably asking yourself: I thought tele skiing was dead? As the old tele mantra goes: free your heel, free your mind.

Feel free to contact me directly with any questions on the Mantra's, tele skiing or ski gear in general.
Kyle L. - Expert Gearhead
klivingston@backcountry.com - 801-736-4337

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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on November 14, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

Arc'teryx does not engineer anything half throttle, and with their expansion into footwear and now ski boots the Procline is no exception. I had a chance to test these last season with our Arc'teryx rep and a couple others at Solitude Mountain Resort out here in Utah. I typically wear a size 28/28.5 in most AT boots and that is what fit me best in the Procline. I have a wider forefoot (I prefer a 102 mm last) and this boot was surprisingly comfortable right out of the box. We did some simple tests in the parking lot to test the range of motion including some step cutting into a large snowbank just to get a feel for the boots.

Skiing conditions that day were hardpack with a slight dusting of new snow and I skied the Blizzard Zero-G 95 Skis (Item #BLZ002C) with Dynafit Radical ST Bindings (Item #DNF003I). The first thing that caught my attention was the power I was able to generate in what was supposed to be a lightweight ski mountaineering boot. I was skiing the stiffest combination of shell + liner and that definitely allowed me to ski the way I like to ski. I briefly tested the tour mode outside the backcountry access gate in Honeycomb Canyon while we also checked out the new Arc'teryx Voltair 30L Backpack (Item #ARC00O5). I hope to get back in these boots again this season on a longer tour or ski mountaineering adventure but first we need snow out here in Utah!.

Don't think of the Procline's as simple AT boots, they are much more versatile that that and could be your one-boot quiver if you are looking for a capable ski mountaineering boot. Feel free to shoot me any questions on this boot or any other ski gear.

Pray for snow!

Kyle L. - Expert Gearhead - klivingston@backcountry.com - 801-736-4337

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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on November 12, 2016

This is the One
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

My wife used this pack for nine consecutive days of day-hiking on the Tour du Mont Blanc in France, Switzerland, and Italy. To avoid the cost and complication of having porters bring our luggage around from town to town, my wife packed all of her belongings for nine days into the Manta AG 28. Mind you, this was two pairs of pants, base layers, shorts, several pairs of underwear (for hand washing), sandals, rain gear, gaiters, toiletries, sleeping bag liner, water, and kindle. There was even space to stuff in a packed lunch. With those items, this pack was completely maxed out for space, but my wife did comment that this pack does not lose any comfort with added weight, due to the Anti-Gravity suspension system.

This pack was great on warm days, and when it snowed on us on July 14 in the Alps, the rain cover that is included with this pack kept it dry, and also served as a waterproof butt-protector for impromptu sledding! I can't say enough good things about this pack.

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Kyle Livingston

Kyle Livingstonwrote a review of on November 12, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 7"
Weight: 120 lbs
Size Purchased: 6.5

I purchased these for my wife in black, size 6.5. As with other Frye Boots that she has owned in the past, it took a couple of days for the toe box to break in, but now they fit as though they were made for her. She continues to wear thin Smartwool socks with them, as with her other Frye boots.

The style of this boot is ultra-versatile, and the construction is spot-on, as with other Frye products. The boot upper is wide enough for my wife's skinny jeans to fit inside. Both the timelessness and quality of this boot makes this a great investment.

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