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Nicholas Comtois

Nicholas Comtois

Salt Lake City, Utah

Nicholas Comtois's Passions

Running
Biking
Hiking & Camping
Snowshoeing
Skiing
Climbing

Nicholas Comtois's Bio

I'm an avid mountain biker, backpacker, hiker, and skier living in Salt Lake City, Utah. You can usually find me enjoying the Wasatch mountains here in Salt Lake or the red rock desert in southern Utah.

Nicholas Comtois

Nicholas Comtoiswrote a review of on September 5, 2016

An on route pack you'll use everywhere
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I was envious of a friend's previous generation Bullet Pack, so when it was time to decide on an on route pack to carry essentials on all day multi pitch routes the Bullet was in my top three packs to consider.

The size (16 liters) is just large enough to fit the essentials, a shell, water, phone/keys, and a snack for instance. It's small enough that it basically goes unnoticed while climbing and sits high enough that it doesn't get in the way of grabbing gear off your harness.

The pack is very svelte, so there's not a lot to get caught on rock or gear. The materials, like the burly over sized zippers, and bombproof face fabric, are meant to take a ton of abuse. The hip belt is a straightforward nylon strap which I feel is adequate, it's also easily removable, and stowable. The shoulder straps are wide and well padded for the size of the pack and fit a larger chest very well. The should straps and hip belt stow easily in the back panel of the pack so that it can easily be hauled up chimneys without getting caught on anything.

Other features include a removable foam back panel, a small exterior pocket, and a small interior mesh pocket inside the main compartment with a key clip. There's also a hydration port. This pack does not have loops or any attachment points on the outside aside from the top grab/haul handle. If you're looking for a small on route pack that will also carry your rope on top or one you can lash gear to look elsewhere.

If you are looking for a purpose built, streamlined, and tough-as-nails on route pack, look no further. You'll enjoy it so much you'll want to use it as your everyday around town pack.

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Nicholas Comtois

Nicholas Comtoiswrote a review of on August 26, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

It's happened to all of us, were on the trail when we realize we need that one tiny crucial item. You know you packed it, you just don't know where it is in your pack, so you start digging. Before long 80% of the contents of your pack are spread all around you before you finally find the tweezers.

If this sounds familiar this organizer might be for you. Sure it's a little extra weight that's not absolutely necessary but in my opinion it's worth it to know where every small item is. I've filled this with all my essentials and transfer it around from my day pack, overnight, and climbing packs.

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Nicholas Comtois

Nicholas Comtoiswrote a review of on August 26, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

If regular Stan's is plain old Campbell's soup then this stuff is the Chunky version. I've always been extremely impressed with Stan's and am inclined to really push my luck leaving it in for a whole season or more so I don't mind spending a few extra bucks for the good stuff. Stan's is awesome in a bottle, I don't think you can go wrong with either this or the regular version.

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Nicholas Comtois

Nicholas Comtoiswrote a review of on August 26, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This pack works well for it's intended purpose, bike commuting, it works equally well as an all around everyday carry pack as well.

The cycling specific design and features are well thought out and don't detract from the bag when it's used off the bike. There's Osprey's lid lock feature that can carry a typical vented helmet, a place to attach a light, the pack doesn't come up to high so it's comfortable to wear with a helmet even in an aggressive cycling position, and it's Airscape panel does an ok job at venting your back. I think my favorite features is the zippered pocket on the shoulder strap with a retractable key holder so you don't have to remove the pack and dig through to find keys to your house or lock.

There's a ton of organization in this pack. It features a large padded laptop sleeve with a zippered pocket in that compartment. A large compartment with a zippered pocket, a divider, and 3 little pockets to dump smaller items. There's a small pocket up front for small essentials and another place to clip keys. There's also two zippered side pockets.

My main complaint about this pack is the stiffness of the zipper, I'm hoping they break in over time but the shielded zippers can sometimes take two hands to open and close. Other than that it's a comfortable, adjustable pack with smart features, a decent look, and a really nice top handle. Organization freaks will really like all the internal pockets in this pack.

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Nicholas Comtois

Nicholas Comtoiswrote a review of on August 20, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

Sure no one looks good in a boonie hat but when you are spending serious time in direct, vengeful, burning, burning, sunlight you'll just be happy your ears and neck aren't burnt to a crisp. The brim on this hat is substantial enough to not flop down while the top is super thin and lightweight while still maintaining a UPF 50 rating. The strap is easily removable and there's a pull cord just above the brim to really cinch the hat down around your dome.

I wear this hat at work which is always in direct sunlight (installing solar panels) and it works flawlessly where a baseball cap just wouldn't cut it. After awhile the cap did get sweaty and stinky so I just threw it in the washer, I'm not sure if that's manufacturer recommended but it seems no worse for the wear and smells like lavender. I highly recommend this to anyone who needs serious sun protection in a lightweight and packable hat.

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Nicholas Comtois

Nicholas Comtoiswrote a review of on August 2, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I bring this 64oz hydro Flask to the job site with me where it keeps ice all work day in 100 degree temps, and in heat like that there's nothing better than ice cold water. After work I swing by the brewery and have it filled with my favorite beer. It does an excellent job keeping it chilled and carbonated. As an added bonus you can swap out the included screw top insulated lid with a flip top straw lid for water, or a flip top coffee cup lid for those who like to sit down and drink a pot of coffee in one sitting.

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Nicholas Comtois

Nicholas Comtoiswrote a review of on July 27, 2016

Good insulation even for alternative use
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I can speak to the insulating properties of this pad. While I'm not using it to keep me comfy and warm while sleeping outdoors it is serving an equally important purpose. It keeps my PBR cold! That's right I cut this pad up and used it as additional insulation in an old cheap cooler. It has served this function well I get 3x longer ice retention than before.

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Nicholas Comtois

Nicholas Comtoiswrote a review of on July 25, 2016

Better Than Naked
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: Runs small
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 180 lbs
Size Purchased: Large

This is a great t-shirt for daily wear in hot sunny weather. It feels cooler than going shirtless, and you get to avoid the whole lobster red look and, you know, skin cancer.

Lightweight is an understatement, the fabric is so light and thin you feel like the tag, which is thankfully not placed behind the neck, is as heavy as the rest of the shirt.

This piece works great as a standalone piece in hot weather and as a base layer in cooler weather. I am between sizes so I opted for the larger size to use as a daily wear t-shirt, if I was looking for a lightweight base layer for cooler weather I'd go with the medium in the long sleeve version. On a side note I have the long sleeve version of this exact shirt that I use while in the sun all day installing solar panels to protect me from the sun and love it even in 100 degree weather.

Durability is impressive for this lightweight of a piece. It stands up to washes and daily use without showing wear but doesn't like to be snagged by thorns or scrapped against asphalt roof shingles repeatedly.

I'd recommend this wholeheartedly for warm weather or those among us like myself that are exceptionally sweaty and need something that really wicks moisture away, but if you'd like a similar option check out the Ether shirt from Arc'teryx.

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Nicholas Comtois

Nicholas Comtoiswrote a review of on July 16, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

The Aether Demon is a solid performing rechargeable tail light. The unique flashing modes will be sure to catch the attention of motorists. The light is primarily visible from behind but can also be seen from the sides for added visibility. The mount has been adequate so far but leaves a lot to be desired, I had to really tighten down the screw to prevent the light from drooping on rough rides and the plastic doesn’t feel super solid. All in all a good value and a very effective light.

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Nicholas Comtois

Nicholas Comtoiswrote a review of on July 16, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Height: 5' 9"
Weight: 180 lbs
Size Purchased: Large

You never get to work in the shade when you’re installing solar panels. When you spend 6-10 hours a day in the scorching summer sun you need a shirt that’s cool but also offers excellent protection from the sun and this shirt nailed it. The fabric is extremely thin yet still blocks out the sun enough that I have had no issues with sun exposure wearing it day after day. I’m usually between a medium and a large and choose to go with the large since I’m not looking for a tight baselayer like fit. This shirt is comfy, looks good, and offers great protection from the sun. It’ll stand up to a little abuse but as you would expect from something so light and airy it’s far from indestructible.

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Nicholas Comtois

Nicholas Comtoiswrote a review of on July 16, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 9"
Weight: 180 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

Shorts isn’t the word I would use to describe these more like underwear. They are perfect when paired with unlined cycling shorts but wouldn’t cut it on their own. That being said they stay put thanks to a good design and rubberized grips around the leg openings. There’s an appropriate amount of padding for 2-4 hour rides and the fit prevents these from shifting or moving around. These paired with my Club Ride baggy shorts are my go to for XC and AM riding.

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Nicholas Comtois

Nicholas Comtoiswrote a review of on July 16, 2016

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This tire has low rolling resistance, and decent grip in dry conditions. True to their name they are best suited for XC riding, I have been using them on my all mountain bike but would recommend something with more aggressive tread for those who are focused more on the descent. I didn’t run into any issues mounting this tubeless (I always set the bead using a CO2) and the sidewall seems to be stiff enough to feel predictable even at sub 30 psi pressure. I bought the 26” 2.4.

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Nicholas Comtois

Nicholas Comtoiswrote a review of on July 16, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

I purchased the Dash XP in Maple Tort with the Brown lens and use them for daily wear, hiking, and mountain biking. I have a slightly smaller than average head which these glasses fit securely on without causing any discomfort, unlike many other glasses without rubber around the arms I can wear these all day. The venting along the top of the frame does an excellent job to prevent fogging. These glasses fit best when worn flush against my face, this provides more protection but took some getting used to. The nose pads are comfortable and do an excellent job preventing these shades from slipping. The lenses are just as clear and crisp as any pair I’ve used and a low light lens is included which is a big plus. I’d recommend these to anyone who wants a straightforward pair of do it all shades that look casual but are just as at home on the trail as around town.

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Nicholas Comtois

Nicholas Comtoiswrote a review of on February 13, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

My initial impression when pulling this light out of its custom zippered carrying case was its size. On further inspection the build quality, high grade materials, and attention to detail really started to impress me. The weight is reasonable for the light output, not heavy enough to really effect anything but not completely unnoticeable. Mounting is straightforward, it was refreshing to see the mounting hardware made out of high quality aluminum instead of plastic like most mounts.

This light is bright! While commuting I’ve had cars flash their brights at me. I found that the lower setting was ample for most night road riding. This is marketed as a road specific design due to the light pattern but I’ve used it night mountain biking and found it did a more than adequate job of lighting up the trail.

The battery life is good, expect only a few solid hours on high more than enough for any night ride I’ve done, and a lot more if you are on a lower setting or flash mode. I don’t use it daily but I’ve had it for a couple years and haven’t seen any noticeable battery life degradation. You can charge with the included wall outlet charger or the USB cable that’s included. I’d also like to note that there’s a wired switch you can mount on your handlebars and plug into the light to control it. I’ve never messed around with this, the button on the back of the light itself has always been convenient enough for me and one of my favorite things about this light over one with an external battery pack is how simple taking it on and off is. I plan on keeping this light for years to come.

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Nicholas Comtois

Nicholas Comtoiswrote a review of on February 13, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

The perfect binding is the one you forget about. I’ve put the Solomon STH 12 through four seasons of abuse, and while it looks far from new it functions like the day they were mounted. The DIN adjustment is about as easy as you can get just a few turns with a flat head and the indicator shows you exactly what DIN you’re at. Engagement is solid and the release lever is easy to find and push with a pole. I trust these bindings to keep my skis attached when I want, and to release when I need them to.

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Nicholas Comtois

Nicholas Comtoiswrote a review of on February 13, 2016

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I was skeptical that the lid would stay securely on the cup using just friction from the rubber around the lid but it actually works really well. The design is interesting, there’s a hole for a straw as well as a coffee mug style hole to sip out of. The top spins to cover up this opening. Unfortunately this does nothing to stop liquid from coming out. I didn’t expect to be able to turn it upside down but it doesn’t do much to stop even minor splashes contained. I do think the lid is a great addition if you want to use the pint glass as a coffee cup while driving but expect it to perform on par with a Starbucks cup.

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