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Matt Schroer

Salt Lake City, Utah

Matt Schroer's Bio

A little bit about me: I was raised in the rolling hills of Kentucky and learned to appreciate the great outdoors on my Grandpa's 100+ acres. I moved to Utah in 2010 to study biology and explore the mountains, and I've never looked back! I'm an avid ski patroller in the winter, and mountain biker, backpacker, river runner, climber, and fisherman in the summer. Feel free to contact me at mschroer@backcountry.com or 801-523-4046 if you have any questions!

Matt Schroer's Passions

  • Biking,
  • Paddling,
  • Fly Fishing,
  • Hiking & Camping,
  • Climbing,
  • Skiing.
Matt Schroer

Matt Schroerwrote a review of on December 13, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I use this duffel every week. It's excellent for packing a change of clothes for the office after a dawn patrol ski run before work. I really like the separate compartment for keeping wet items or shoes away from your nice clothes. The backpack straps are really handy for keeping your hands free for other items. It's very well made - I feel like it will last me for decades of travel. If you are doing a bigger trip, go for the larger sizes. I find the 40L to be perfect for day to day life (gym, office, etc.) and up to 3 or 4 day weekend trips.

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Matt Schroer

Matt Schroerwrote a review of on November 11, 2019

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 175 lbs

I've been testing this out a few times on some early season ski tours in Utah. It's a nice layer that is perfect for aerobic activities in cooler weather. I do wish it had more than just a chest pocket, though. I've also learned I'm just not a big fan of pullovers. Nothing against this one, though - it's well made and functions great. I'm definitely a fan of R1 level from Patagonia thanks to this layer...I'll probably end up going with the full zip, though!

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Matt Schroer

Matt Schroerwrote a review of on November 11, 2019

Best of both worlds
4 5

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

I've used this glove on a few fast and light romps getting ready for the upcoming skimo season in Utah. They fit great, have excellent grip on ski poles, and the touchscreen pads work just fine (better than other touchscreen gloves I've used, actually). I used them in some pretty warm temperatures (low to mid 40s) and didn't find them to be too warm without the mitten deployed. On a dawn patrol, when the temps were colder, in the 30s, the deployable mitten was great to have - it definitely added warm for the downhill! All in all, I think these are a great glove for those who like to move fast and light in winter.

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Matt Schroer

Matt Schroerwrote a review of on September 17, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Sure, having a filter is nice to get rid of the floaties when you come across a source with lots of CPOM or FPOM (that's coarse and fine particulate organic matter for you non-science types). But, if you spend most of your time in areas with pristine flowing water (like I do), there really is no need for a filter. These tablets nuke Giardia, protozoa, bacteria, and even viruses (unlike most filters). They do have a taste, but it is very subtle compared to iodine/potable aqua tabs. These are my 1st line of defense. And my backup. And my backpacking buddy's backup when his filter breaks on day 5 of seven. Just have some.

Pro tip: If the water is really cloudy/murky, you can always strain it through a hankerchief (I always have one) or a coffee filter (weighs nothing), first.

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Matt Schroer

Matt Schroerwrote a review of on September 17, 2019

Titanium on the cranium (#metalhead)
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Once you throw down the money for a titanium cooking pot, there's no going back. Soon enough, you'll be dropping 500+ on cuben fiber packs and shelters. Just you wait...

But, seriously - one of the easiest ways to drop some ounces in your backpacking kit is to go titanium with your pot. This is a great choice. The 700mL volume is perfect for 1 person meals. I cooked rice for Indian dishes, noodles for Asian-inspired soups (aka Ramen; duh), cous cous, and instant hash browns in this thing, no problem. It also served as my coffee mug for my latest trip, and it did just fine. Does what it is supposed to do. Two minor things: 1) the pot lid hanger doesn't seem necessary to me, and it is just odd enough in shape to catch on things in your pack if your don't pack it in a strategic location; 2) I wish the handles were longer rather than taller - this would move more of their mass further away from the pot, so they wouldn't get hot when you are cooking. Just be sure to always grip with a hankerchief or shirt first, and you'll avoid any nasty burns to your digits.

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Matt Schroer

Matt Schroerwrote a review of on September 16, 2019

3 5

This solar panel does the job of charging things. Note - it does not hold a charge, as there is no attached battery. You will have to charge up a separate battery if you want to store energy. Otherwise, for charging phones, gps units, or other small appliances, it does the job. If you are backpacking or on a climbing expedition and worried about weight, this is the size you want. If you aren't, go with the next size up, as the larger panels will charge your devices quite a bit faster.

I knock a couple stars off because of durability. The panel is made of nice enough material, and is really slick, but the glue used to keep the built in stand and storage area for the cords comes apart easily. I've seen 3 now with this issue. Eventually, it all falls off and you have a mess on your hands. Probably easy to fix with your own epoxy, but for $100 MSRP and a name on it like GZ, it should last longer in original condition than it does.

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Matt Schroer

Matt Schroerwrote a review of on September 16, 2019

Solid Pad, arguably the best i've used
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I own the size regular, 70x20x3 inches, rectangular version. I'm 6'1" and 175lbs, major side sleeper. I've owned a variety of pads in the past: Z-lite, Prolite, NeoAir Dream, NeoAir, various knock offs, etc. None provided me what I'll call the "great sleep to weight" ratio of this pad. I'm an ounce counter when it comes to backpacking, and initially had 2nd thoughts about the 15oz this pad weighs in this size. But, I'm glad I eventually went with it for these reasons:

1) The rectangular version is solid and stable. Because it doesn't taper like the mummy, it doesn't sink in along the edges like some mummy pads are prone to do. It's also a more solid platform than a mummy. It's harder for me to move it around in the night and/or roll off it.
2) Thick and soft - 3 inches of cushion allowed me to sleep on my side without my hips hitting the ground.
3) Warm (almost too warm) - I use an ultralight 35 degree down backpacking quilt, so I went with the insulated pad to help with the drafts and inherent issues with a quilt. Turns out, this thing did the job of insulating me from the ground temps almost too well - I was hot, even in the 30 degree nights I slept through (though this may be somewhat due to the insane warmth of my SD Nitro 800 quilt). The little dimples in the dorsal side of the pad work well to trap warm air between you and the pad, increasing the warmth factor.
4) Best inflation bag system I've used so far. The Vortex inflation bag is super easy to fill by blowing into it, and the dry-sack style closure system makes it easy to fold the top over (keeping all the air inside) and then roll the air into the pad. Doing this 3x was all I ever needed to get the pad fully inflated. The 1 way valve on the pad, plus the secure connection between pad and inflation bag, meant you could get the pad very firm just by using the bag (no mouth to mouth resuscitation techniques required). Way better than Thermarest's system.
5) Price - similar pads cost $50+ more
6) repair kit cleverly stashes away in the stuff sack

I can't really think of a downside to this pad. But, I've only used it for 100 miles, so I want to wait until upping the review to 5 stars. Time will tell, but this may be a 5 star product...

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Matt Schroer

Matt Schroerwrote a review of on September 16, 2019

A nice hybrid technical hoodie
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: Runs small
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 175 lbs
Size Purchased: Large

I used this hoodie as my first level above my baselayer in my layering system for a 100 mile through hike of the Uintas this Labor Day. I typically do a 4 piece layering system with a baselayer, insulating layer, puffy jacket, and hardshell. This served as the insulating layer.

Things I liked:
1) Hybrid fabric, with insulation in the front core and sides, and breathable fabric in the arms and back. Makes it nice for warmth but not too much warmth when you're busy hiking or climbing.
2) Hood - has a tight, technical fit, much like a beanie. This allowed me to leave the beanie at home for the trip. One less thing to bring or weigh down my pack.
3) Thumb loops - just a nice little touch
4) Weight - much lighter than my other layers in this category

Thing I didn't like:
1) Fabric seems delicate on the front and side, where the polartec insulation is. I could see this piece not living up to a lot of abuse, which I unfortunately do to all my gear. Held up over the 100 miles, but I typically put thousands of miles under my feet and skis each year...so...TBD??

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Matt Schroer

Matt Schroerwrote a review of on September 4, 2019

This Pack Will Get You There
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I don't just hand out 5 stars on a review, unless a product truly deserves it. This pack falls into that elite group of gear that is near perfect in its design. The Southwest 2400 from HMG is a workhorse of an ultralight pack, and is ideal IMO for the experienced mountain enthusiast who requires going fast and light.

I'm 6'1", 175lbs, and went with the large in white. The white and black options differ in strength/durability of the dyneema used in construction. I chose white for the best weight savings, and found it to be plenty burly for my most recent trip - a 7 day thru-hike across the Uinta Mountains in eastern Utah.

I started with 30lbs of gear on day one, and initially was worried with the pack fit/comfort. I remembered a review that mentioned the pack needs a couple trail days to "break in" and shape to your body, and I found this to be true. By day 3, the pack was honestly one of the most comfortable packs I've ever used in 12 years of mountain travel. Impressive for how minimal it is.

In the mountains, I believe simplicity is king. This pack is exactly that - simple. It has one main compartment with a roll top closure (great because it makes the pack waterproof, so no need for a pack cover), 2 hip belt pockets for frequently-used items, and 3 stretch pockets on the sides and front of the pack that are perfect for water bottles, tent/trekking poles, bear spray, maps, jackets, etc.

Major Pros:
1) SO LIGHT - only 28.6 oz in the size large so ~1.9 pounds
2) Ultra durable for the weight - this thing is tough (dyneema is amazing)
3) quality craftsmanship and made in the USA - big ups to HMG for this!
4) 2 aluminum stays in the back panel provide good stability and carry for an ultralight pack in this category (major reason I chose this pack over others)

Only Con:
1) the back panel is also made of dyneema, which does not breath, so my back got pretty sweaty. Honestly, not a big deal, because I sweat with any backpack, but there was no real airflow behind my back to help alleviate this. Minor IMO compared to how great this pack is.

I foresee using this pack not only for UL backpacking, but also for mountaineering/alpine ascents, and even ski touring in the winter. I'm thinking of keeping it packed as a SAR bag for searches in the winter when patrolling - no time to deal with bells and whistles when someone's life could be on the line.

Bottomline: if you consider yourself an experienced mountain traveler, don't need frills, and you are looking for an ultralight pack to accomplish pretty much any objective, this pack will get you to the end of the journey and back.

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Matt Schroer

Matt Schroerwrote a review of on August 14, 2019

4 5

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

It certainly is crazy where technology has taken backpacking gear over the years. I tested the size regular, and let me say, the first thing I noticed was how small and crazy light this thing is. It's kind of insane. It packs down to the size of a 16oz beer can...maybe even a touch smaller. It weighs less than that can of beer, too! It is very similar to the NeoAir pads, just lighter in weight. It does seem a little frail, so you'll want to be very careful with it and pack that patch kit. The regular size was too small for me and my sleeping preferences - the sides kind of collapse under weight, so I rolled off the pad several times. The large would probably be more stable and a better fit for me, and at 12oz, still crazy light (though, I'd possible go with the 13oz, rectangular Tensor pad from NEMO at just an oz heavier, and an extra half inch of comfort and the stability of a rectangular pad...). Bottom line: if you are counting every single ounce, and don't mind a regular mummy pad, this pad in the short or regular size is your ticket!

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Matt Schroer

Matt Schroerwrote a review of on August 13, 2019

4 5

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

This is a lightweight running/hiking vest that allows you to carry some water, nutrition, a light layer, and some essentials like your phone, wallet, keys, etc. The back has a small storage area for a windbreaker, a collapsible dog bowl, things like that. There's a small stretch pocket outside of that for quick stashing smaller items. There's also a small bladder sleeve back there that can hold a 2L bladder, I'd say (a 3L may be pushing it). The front has some stretchy pockets that can hold GU, collapsible 8oz bottles, nutrition bars, and your phone. I didn't really like the chest strap system - I get that they are going for lightweight, but I would have preferred buckles over the hook and loop system they have used. That is really my only ding on the vest, otherwise, great product from a great brand!

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Matt Schroer

Matt Schroerwrote a review of on July 24, 2019

4 5

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

The + model of GriGri is great for beginner climbers who need a little extra control. Honestly, though, if you're well experienced and/or have used the regular GriGri's in the past, you probably don't need to spend the extra money on the added features of the + model. I really didn't notice that great of an improvement in rope feed that justified spending more over my GriGri 2

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Matt Schroer

Matt Schroerwrote a review of on July 24, 2019

4 5

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

I took this on a weekend of rock and ice climbing in Colorado a few months ago. It held all my climbing gear and then some! Pretty basic, just a big bag that holds gear. Seems to be made out of very durable material - couple that with the Almighty Guarantee from Osprey, and you have a great travel duffel for life!

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Matt Schroer

Matt Schroerwrote a review of on July 22, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Should have picked up a pair of belay glasses the first day I ever saw them a few years back. My neck will never forgive me for not doing so. These are great at the gym when you and your partner are putting in lap after lap, and great at the sport crag, too. I haven't used them for multi-pitch, yet, but I imagine they would be OK for it. The fit on my face is excellent and feels very secure (plus they come with a retaining strap). I like this model a lot because I can wear both my sunglasses and these, and both stay on my nose just fine. The sight picture is very crisp and clear on these!

Very minor con: you look rather silly (but more and more people are using them, so you won't be alone).
Very awesome bonus: kind of makes me feel like a submarine captain using a periscope. Imagination satisfied.

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Matt Schroer

Matt Schroerwrote a review of on July 1, 2019

Decent protection without all the bulk
4 5

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

I have finally accepted that I cannot bounce back from crashes like I once could in my 20's, yet I still continue to push the limits of my riding. While usually OK, sometimes this is not a fun combination. Figured I had better get some protection, and protection that I would actually use, not just put in my closet. I like the Roost Tee because it is soft foam, and mostly made of a mesh jersey material, which means it breathes very well and isn't hot. While it doesn't provide the same level of protection as hard plastic, it does give me some added protection over my collar bones and sternum/ribs. Makes me feel a little better about all those Bobsled laps I take. I don't advise this, but I have worn it in 90 degree weather, and faired OK - much better than if I was wearing heavy body armor. It's pretty low profile under a jersey - some of my riding buddies don't even notice I have it on at first. Overall, pretty happy that I can wear this for most rides and not notice it. Plus, it's very easy to stuff into my riding pack for climbs and pull out at the top for the downhill.

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