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Matthew MacDonald

Matthew MacDonald

, Employee

Salt Lake City, UT

Matthew MacDonald's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Running
Yoga

Matthew MacDonald's Bio

Picture taker; mountain runner.

Matthew MacDonald

Matthew MacDonaldwrote a review of on August 19, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 135 lbs
Size Purchased: Small

Loved this shirt so much I bought it twice! The merino blend regulates temperature incredibly well which makes it perfect for alpine starts or long, cool days in the mountains. The fit, as another review mentioned, is a little long which I didn't mind, but it's certainly not excessively long. Through the chest and torso, it fits slim but not snug and the sleeves are a bit on the short side. Additionally, the fabric can feel a little clingy out of the bag but with a few wears and washes, the shirt softens up substantially. All in all, it's a great piece!

I would wear this shirt on every run if I could - and the merino makes it tempting - but I'll settle for 2-3 times per week. Highly recommend.

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Matthew MacDonald

Matthew MacDonaldwrote a review of on May 8, 2019

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 135 lbs

I am relatively new to running and thus don't have much experience with running shoes. When I tried these out a few weeks ago, it was my first experience with Hoka One Ones and only my third running shoe to wear since I started running. I didn't put them through the wringer by any means, but here are my initial impressions.

1. These shoes were incredibly comfortable. Switching to these from the Salomon Sense Ride was like laying down on a real mattress after sleeping on a foam pad for a week. I noticed less soreness in my knees and feet and felt like I could run much, much farther with less fatigue.
2. Despite the cushion, the SG3 is a responsive shoe. On flat trail or moderate inclines, I felt like I was getting back what I was putting in and then some. I still felt pretty nimble and had no trouble navigating obstacles.
3. These shoes DO NOT shine on technical or steep terrain.
4. The sizing is strange. I'm usually an 8.5 in casual shoes and the 8.5 in this shoe just felt a little too big. I sized down to an 8 which fit snug, but better, however after running a few dozen miles I wished I had stuck with the 8.5. I recently purchased the Clifton 5 for recovery and road runs and ended up having to size up to a 9 in that shoe.

I ultimately did not purchase these shoes, but I can see myself coming back to them this summer for distance runs but will likely look to a brand like Salomon, Sportiva, or Scarpa for a true mountain running shoe.

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Matthew MacDonald

Matthew MacDonaldwrote a review of on May 8, 2019

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I originally wrote a glowing review for this product as, for the first few weeks of use, it was a perfect fit. To clarify, a lot of the positive things I had to say about this belt at first still hold true. It’s a perfect capacity for middle distance trail runs (7-12 miles), easily holding everything you’d need to get out and back safely and comfortably. The front pocket fits my iPhone 7+, the back pocket fits up to a 500ml soft flask and can accommodate a wind shell and headlamp, and the key clip is a really nice touch. The fit on this belt is pretty solid as well and I didn’t notice much bouncing, riding up, or sagging when carrying a moderate load.

This belt has elastic straps on the back for poles which seems like a great idea in theory. However, when I tried adding poles to an already light load (phone, water, gel) the bouncing was unbearable. At that point, it’s worth wearing a vest or carrying your poles in-hand the whole time.

A few complaints I originally had about this belt are the lack of any sort of headphone port (you can pry my wired headphones from my cold, dead hands) and the limited accessibility to the rear pocket. The rear pocket extends all the way around to the reflective panels at the front of the belt but is only accessible from the stretch opening in the center. When loaded with water, it's impossible to get anything else out of the pocket without removing your water first.

After using the belt for a few more months - largely on trail and for a trail half marathon - I have ultimately knocked the rating down another star. As the weather has warmed up, I've started wearing this directly next to skin to allow for more airflow. I noticed a hot spot on my lower back when using the belt a few time, but after using it in a race, that hot spot became pretty painful. The last issue I had (and possibly the most annoying) is that the zipper on the front pocket broke off. If this was the only issue, I would have felt fine sending it back under warranty and requesting a replacement. However, this was the last in a string of complaints (listed above) and it happened 15 MINUTES BEFORE MY RACE.

I ultimately ended up returning this belt and going a different route (handheld bottle), but I think this belt might still be the right solution for some people. YMMV.

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Matthew MacDonald

Matthew MacDonaldwrote a review of on May 2, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

During a multi-day trip in the Grand Canyon this spring, temps hovered around 50º with limited sunshine and I spent a lot of time hiking with my buff scrunched up on top of my head, trying desperately to both keep my ears warm and keep sweat off of my face and out of my eyes. The buff, bulky and cumbersome, is not the best tool for the job.

The Phase AR Headband, however, excels at those tasks. It's lightweight, wicking, breathable, and provides just the right amount of warmth without causing me to overheat when things warm up. Some notable features: It's shaped slightly around the sides which means it will cover a lot of ear without creeping down over your eyebrows. This is doubly handy for runs or hikes in variable conditions where you might face a rogue cold wind when summiting a peak or traversing a ridge and need to cover your ears but don't need the coverage once you descend to lower altitudes - just fold up the sides and you've got a traditional headband. It's also crafted of an incredibly soft material and the seams are thoughtfully placed so as not to cause any discomfort.

I know it's silly to geek out over a piece of kit as menial as a headband but this just might be the best piece of trail running gear I own.

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Matthew MacDonald

Matthew MacDonaldwrote a review of on April 25, 2019

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

My dog - a pit/lab mix - has incredibly sensitive paws. So much so that we rarely take him on trails without his Summit Trex boots. While the Summit Trex alone offer adequate protection, I have run in to two major issues with them. The first is that the velcro can fail and they can slip off in mud and snow. The second is that, should my pup injure his paw on the trail even with the boots on, they can be incredibly uncomfortable for him (nails can grab, material can rub). The liners have so far remedied both of those problems. They offer some extra support and cushioning that helps prevent injury when used with Summit Trex boots and they can facilitate a more secure fit in wet conditions. If you own the Summit Trex, these are a necessary addition.

Beware of the sizing. I would consider my pup to be medium sized but he wears an XXS in boots and an XS in liners. Be diligent in measuring your dog's paws and you should be in the clear!

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Matthew MacDonald

Matthew MacDonaldwrote a review of on April 7, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Literally all you need in a stove. Boils water quickly and efficiently and packs down small enough fit inside a 700ml pot with a small fuel container and room to spare. As with most Snow Peak products, this stove is bombproof and will probably outlast most other pieces of backpacking gear I own. And at 56 grams, it's less than half the weight of the Gigapower stove!

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Matthew MacDonald

Matthew MacDonaldwrote a review of on April 7, 2019

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 135 lbs
Size Purchased: Small

Picked this up for hiking and running and so far it has excelled at both. Perfect wicking shirt to wear under a wind shirt on cool weather hikes or as a standalone in hot weather. Breathes well, looks good, and fits comfortably. It does start to develop a stink after a few days so beware of going too many days between washes. Otherwise a solid piece of activewear!

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Matthew MacDonald

Matthew MacDonaldwrote a review of on April 7, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've used hand-me-downs and secondhand bags for as long as I've been camping and backpacking. My last bag - a synthetic, 35º TNF bag purchased secondhand nearly five years ago - no longer had much warmth value and was incredibly bulky and heavy for it's rating. When I finally treated myself to my first "nice" down bag - this Western Mountaineering UltraLite - it was like crossing through the pearly gates of backpacking sleep after toiling away in restlessness purgatory for short of eternity...or whatever.

A few specific things I love about this bag: the down is responsibly sourced, the draft collar truly traps heat, it's lightweight and packs small, and the bag is incredibly easy to zip (super important!). The 20º rating is pretty spot on - I had this bag out on a trip where I cowboy camped in nighttime temperatures between 15º and 45º. I was warm down to 20º and started to feel a chill below that. I also started to slow roast around 45º but your mileage may vary.

A final note about size: I'm pretty slim so the narrow shoulders of this bag suit me well but if you've got a broader chest/shoulders, consider the AlpineLite. Otherwise, buy this bag and experience true backcountry bliss.

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Matthew MacDonald

Matthew MacDonaldwrote a review of on April 7, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Replaced my inflatable pad with a Z Lite and I'm never looking back. It may not be the most comfortable sleep system, but like others have said it's so, so durable and so, so quiet.

A little hack: I lopped two panels off of my Z Lite to use a back panel in my frameless pack and, since I'm a side sleeper, I use these as extra support under my hips while I sleep.

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Matthew MacDonald

Matthew MacDonaldwrote a review of on April 7, 2019

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

When you come across an alpine snowfield, hit ice on the ascent during a trail run, or just need some extra traction for a slippery hike, these are the spikes you'll want. Wearing these is like walking on felt with velcro shoes - it almost feels like cheating. Plus, they're totally bombproof.

My one and only complaint is that these are a bit heavy if you're counting grams but the added protection is 100% worth the weight.

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Matthew MacDonald

Matthew MacDonaldwrote a review of on April 7, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

These pots are somehow both ideally sized and ultralight. The pot is the perfect capacity for simmering ramen, cooking oats, or boiling water for backpacking meals and the cup, though a little on the large size for a cup, is plenty spacious for coffee and can easily boil enough of water solo meals. The lid fits both vessels so you can use it to keep your coffee warm while you cook breakfast or pack up camp and the handles are an invaluable yet oft forgotten feature on backcountry cookware. Best of all - they nest! A small fuel container and canister stove fit neatly inside the large pot which fits neatly into the cup which all stows tidily inside a mesh storage bag. And it all weights under 200g (even with Hot Lips!).

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Matthew MacDonald

Matthew MacDonaldwrote a review of on April 7, 2019

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I've been looking for the right running sock for a bit and recently decided to give these a try after reading some rave reviews. I'm prone to blisters during long runs and hikes and was really hoping toe socks were the solution - and they were, kind of. I ordered these as well as the Lightweight version and ended up only wearing the Lightweight but my review applies to both.

During my first long trip with the Injini Run Lightweight sock (a near-50 mile hike through the Grand Canyon) I didn't get a single blister between my toes thanks to these socks. However, because the extra fabric between my toes caused my toes to splay more than usual, I ended up with excruciating blisters on the outsides of my feet. For reference, I run and hike in Salomon Sense Rides and while they fit fine with traditional socks, they do not play nice with toe socks.

As far as overall performance, these socks are great. They're comfortable, they're wicking, and they do help prevent blisters between the toes, but I would highly recommend trying these with your running shoe first before committing.

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Matthew MacDonald

Matthew MacDonaldwrote a review of on April 7, 2019

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I've been looking for the right running sock for a bit and recently decided to give these a try after reading some rave reviews. I'm prone to blisters during long runs and hikes and was really hoping toe socks were the solution - and they were, kind of.

During my first long trip with the Injini Run Lightweight sock (a near-50 mile hike through the Grand Canyon) I didn't get a single blister between my toes thanks to these socks. However, because the extra fabric between my toes caused my toes to splay more than usual, I ended up with excruciating blisters on the outsides of my feet. For reference, I run and hike in Salomon Sense Rides and while they fit fine with traditional socks, they do not play nice with toe socks.

As far as overall performance, these socks are great. They're comfortable, they're wicking, and they do help prevent blisters between the toes, but I would highly recommend trying these with your running shoe first before committing.

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Matthew MacDonald

Matthew MacDonaldwrote a review of on March 18, 2019

4 5

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

Bought these as a gift for my partner and here's what she had to say: “I was looking for simple, tech-friendly liners and these work great. The tight wrists work well for me because I’ve got pretty narrow hands (I sized sized down from a S to and XS and was really happy with the fit). The only negative for me is the thumb length. I’ve never worn gloves with such disproportionately long thumbs and it makes texting impossible, which is a bummer but not a dealbreaker for me.”

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Matthew MacDonald

Matthew MacDonaldwrote a review of on March 18, 2019

5 5

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

Bought these as a gift for my partner and here's what she had to say: “These goggles fit perfectly with my Smith Maze helmet and offer great visibility. The only difference between these and the regular Chromapop goggles is the artwork on the band and the addition of the hard case, which I love. I got the Jake Blauvelt/Storm Rose Flash and I’m super happy with them.”

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Matthew MacDonald

Matthew MacDonaldwrote a review of on March 18, 2019

4 5

Familiarity: I gave it as a gift but have feedback to share
Fit: Runs large
Height: 5' 4"
Weight: 115 lbs
Size Purchased: Small

Bought this as a gift for my partner and here's what she had to say: "I typically layer this jacket under my hoodless puffy on snowy days and like that I can keep it on once I get to the office without overheating.
Pros: super soft, lightweight and stretchable material, thumbholes, good-sized hood.
Cons: runs a bit large and long (I should have sized down to an XS but it was sold out), and in my opinion the unlined inside looks bad.
Overall, this is a pretty good casual jacket and I’m sure I’ll get plenty of use out of it."

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Matthew MacDonald

Matthew MacDonaldwrote a review of on March 18, 2019

5 5

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

Bought these as a gift for a friend and here's what he had to say: "Darn tough makes a darn good sock. I like the high length (rests just below the knee) and the medium thickness of the material. These socks have kept me warm and dry all season. If your feet are prone to poor circulation or get cold easily, go with the thicker option if it works with your boot."

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Matthew MacDonald

Matthew MacDonaldwrote a review of on March 18, 2019

5 5

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

Bought these as a gift for a friend and here's what he had to say: "I’ve used these goggles everyday this season, and find that they work well in low and high light situations. The vents, strategically placed below the lens on each side, work well. I have only fogged up once this season—and was quickly able to remedy the issue by stretching the goggles out to provide more airflow. These will meet the needs of most riders, and at an entry level price point."

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Matthew MacDonald

Matthew MacDonaldwrote a review of on March 18, 2019

4 5

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

Bought this as a gift for a friend and here's what he had to say: "The Smith Scout provides most of what I need in a helmet: solid construction, warm insulation, and a compatible design for most goggles. I haven’t had any issues with the lining retaining moisture or the clip in the back not keeping my goggles secure. This helmet is a bit bulky—so if you are going for something aggressive and streamlined I would go with one of Smith’s more advanced models."

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