Winter Gear Guide—The Best Boards, Skis & Gear
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Paul C.

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Paul C.

Paul C.wrote a review of on December 26, 2020

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 190 lbs
Size Purchased: XL

I’m a big Arcteryx fan. Mostly for the design and fit.
I have several of their hard shells which are awesome.
(Alpha FL and Beta LT) .
If I could, I’d give this jacket a 3.5 star rating.
The fabric on this piece (and the hooded version I also have) is only ok. Kind of course to the touch.
Not smooth like my MH Ghost Wisperer, or the Pertex Quantum fabric in some other down jackets I wear such as the llbean 850 Ultralight jacket. In fact, other than the fit (too baggy) the llbean jacket might be superior- equal quality down (but treated for moisture) and nicer feeling fabric and $100 cheaper. Not as light though. Count me as a skeptic with the “mapping” use of synthetics. If I wanted synthetic insulation, I’d buy a jacket with it. In my opinion it’s just a way to use less down and save manufacturing costs.
No complaint on the zipper-most all super lightweight pieces have these small zippers to save weight. Nearly impossible to work without taking off your gloves.
If you can buy it on sale, I’d recommend.
It’s certainly not worth $350 in my opinion. But, there is the cache of wearing the Arcteryx brand.

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Paul C.

Paul C.wrote a review of on November 19, 2020

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 190 lbs
Size Purchased: XL

I’m not typically a big Patagonia fan. They’re usually somewhat baggy for my taste.
This fits well- almost like Arcteryx. Surprised at amount of down inside.- it’s quite warm. So if saving a couple ounces is important to you, go for the Arcteryx SL or the MH Ghost Whisperer . Otherwise, this is a great choice and less expensive!
I highly recommend.

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Paul C.

Paul C.wrote a review of on April 16, 2020

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 190 lbs
Size Purchased: 54 ( 37”)


I’m a huge Fjallraven fan and have many of their shirts, pants, hats, bibs etc....
All are extremely well made with innovative fabrics. I literally wear the Vidda Pro pants every day at work.
Last forever!
These are a slimmer fit and more suited for warm/hot weather. Zips on the sides vent well. There are stretchy parts behind the knees and in the abdomen area. Really comfortable. I also have them in shorts.
Fjallraven stuff is expensive but are so well made, they are well worth it.
I almost always buy em’ on sale.

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Paul C.

Paul C.wrote a review of on March 15, 2020

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 180 lbs
Size Purchased: Xl

This is a quality product. Usually, I buy Arcteryx, but I’ve had this now for a couple months.
Fairly warm but it’s mesh areas allow heat to escape. That’s great for active pursuits but not for really cold weather. I’m 6’3 and 180 lbs and the XL fits great. I get a lot of compliments on this pullover.
Highly recommend.

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Paul C.

Paul C.wrote a review of on January 11, 2020

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 195 lbs
Size Purchased: XL

High quality cotton, tightly woven.
Clean, neat stitching.
The fit is roomy compared to the “trim” fit of my Arcteryx jackets but I prefer tee shirts a bit roomy. This is also long in the body and arms.
Not tight in the sleeves and kinda wide at the cuffs. I wash in cold water and dry on low. Also, the logo is subtle-doesn’t scream at you.
You might think $40 is a lot for a tee shirt but not when you see and feel the quality of this fabric. This is FAR better quality than a tee you get at a concert or the beach resort.
Highly recommend!

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Paul C.

Paul C.wrote a review of on January 3, 2020

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 195 lbs
Size Purchased: XL

Like all my Arcteryx jackets, this “Trim” fit
works well for me. I’m 6’3” and 195 lbs. This is an XL.
The fabric is a bit heavier than my Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer, yet very lightweight compared to most. It’s warmer than the GW as well. Depending on the temperature and/or the nature of the exercise, I might use this rather than the GW. As a stand-alone piece, this works better in my opinion. As a midlayer, the Ghost Whisperer might be the better choice as it’s 3-4 oz lighter and almost as warm. For what it’s worth, I have the “older” Ghost Whisperer with the 7-8 denier outer fabric.- it’s thin as tissue paper, yet very durable. I notice now that they’ve changed it to 10 denier like the Cerium LT.
Although the Arcteryx arms are long enough, (barely!) the GW’s arms are at least 2 inches longer which I prefer. Both layer well under my Arcteryx Alpha FL or Beta LT shells.
No feathers escaping yet and the zippers work well to this point.
Both are quality pieces and fulfill slightly different needs.
I gave this 4 stars because I think the sleeves could be 1” longer. For some, they’re probably just right. I like a minimum 37” sleeve. The hem length is perfect- the dropped back covers your butt!
The addition of the hem cinching pulls is perfect!
I highly recommend this piece. I’m a hopeless Arcteryx fan.


****UPDATE****

Zipper holding up well but impossible to use with gloves. Other than the slim fit which I love in this Cerium, the llbean Ultralight Down hoody is a better product. Fabric feels softer, down is better-water repelling and slightly more of it) and an adjustable hood. Also a WAY better zipper and chest pocket. And only a bit heavier. And less expensive!

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Paul C.

Paul C.wrote a review of on December 31, 2019

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: Runs small
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 195 lbs

Typical Fjallraven high quality. Impeccable stitching and materials. Four stars because of one issue: the short sleeves are too short!
Need to be another inch long. True in the 2 sizes I have- XL and XXL.
Also, size up. I’m 6’3 and 193 lbs.
XL is a bit too small on me.

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Paul C.

Paul C.wrote a review of on December 20, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 195 lbs
Size Purchased: Xl

This is a true base layer. Wear it next to skin for optimal effect. The high elastane (spandex) content makes it really stretchy and allows great motion. For cold weather, layer over with a fleece mid. Also, it’s quite long in the body if you choose to tuck it in.
Looks great under a shell too.
Note well: it won’t hide any rolly-poly areas if you catch my drift.
I wear it in XL and I’m 6’3 and 195 lbs.

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Paul C.

Paul C.wrote a review of on December 4, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 4"
Weight: 190 lbs
Size Purchased: XL

I have several Arcteryx jackets. It is the design and fit that sets them apart. You can get Gore Pro from many companies, but they don’t fit properly. Too baggy etc.... Not Arcteryx. Slim fit around the belly! Perfection!
Be aware that the “Pro” fabric is noisy-“crinkly”.
After a while, I don’t notice it, though.
Recommend this highly

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Paul C.

Paul C.wrote a review of on December 4, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 4"
Weight: 190 lbs
Size Purchased: Xl

Typical Arcteryx quality. I have several Arcteryx jackets and what sets them apart is the design and fit.
Any company can throw a Gore Pro fabric at you. But many of them are just square blobs.
Spend the extra $$ and go Arcteryx. You won’t be disappointed. Note that the “Pro” fabric is more noisy or “crinkly” than some of the other versions such as the C knit. I don’t mind it and after a few minutes you don’t notice it.
I also have the Alpha FL which is superb as well.

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Paul C.

Paul C.wrote a review of on August 23, 2019

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs small
Height: 6' 4"
Weight: 190 lbs
Size Purchased: 13 (47eu)

. Grippy sole. Tongue stays put after lacing
Build quality seems excellent after 3 months.
But....runs small. I bought a 47 (13 US) and after several hours my toes start to hurt.
Matched up to several of my other trail runners, these are clearly smaller. Again, ok first few hours but as feet swell/expand, you might have problems. Size up a half size at least.
3 stars because of bad sizing!

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Paul C.

Paul C.wrote a review of on December 21, 2017

2 5

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

I have the Black Diamond “Soloist" finger mitt at half the price and, on the whole, a better bet.
The Guide glove runs WAY too small. I bought the XL which is fine using just the outer shell but when you reinsert the liner ( a royal pain, so DONT remove it), the glove is too tight.
My XL Solo mitt is much more comfortable and warmer. Just came in from a 15 minute walk.
( only 15 minutes!!). It's 10 degrees.
My feet in my Solomon Speed Cross 4 cross trainers with medium weight hiking socks: warm.
My legs in thin power stretch Fleece tights: warm.
My upper body in my Absolute Zero MH down jacket: toasty.
My fingers in these gloves: frozen!!
Maybe gloves just don't work below a certain temp. Maybe mitts are the only way to go, but I wear gloves for more dexterity, or so I thought. These gloves are stiff and cumbersome. Palms and back of hands were warm but the fingers were like ice- I was using hiking poles.
Also the Soloist had great DWP on the outer shell- leather included. The Guide glove had NONE. What's up with that?
Sure, I sprayed it with Nikwax for the nylon shell and treated the leather with the supplied cream, but it's never as good as factory DWR.
I would not buy these again and don’t recommend them. Honestly, save your $$ and buy a mitt if you're looking for warmth when it's really cold and wear much less expensive gloves when it's warmer. These were a total waste of money.

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Paul C.

Paul C.wrote a review of on December 12, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 4"
Weight: 200 lbs
Size Purchased: Xl

My first Arc'terx. Wanted one for long time!
This is the earlier version-Gore with Tricot waterproof hood, shoulders and front. I'm 6'3 and 200 and bought XL. I was concerned it would be too tight due to its "slim fit" designation. But it works well with a base layer and my Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer down ultra light hoody underneath. This is one of those jackets that just feel and look great when you put it on. Nice and long through body and arms. Stretchy due to the panels on back and under arms.
Hood works way better than my Patagonia Refugative jacket, but that jacket has that great Goretex with the new C-Knit backer fabric. This runs true to size- the Refugative runs big. The poisidon color gets lots of compliments. Overall, a really nice piece. I think an Alpha or Beta SV might be next!

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Paul C.

Paul C.wrote a review of on November 29, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 4"
Weight: 200 lbs
Size Purchased: Euro 54. ( about a Size 37 waist)

I just received my latest pair- I now have 4 of these as well as 2-3 Keb versions.
These are in a beautiful deep sky blue with Navy as shown on seat and knees. ( they call it Night Sky) This may be the nicest color yet. Just beautiful.
I wear these pants for everyday use- work and play. Yes- great for hiking: durable and comfy. If weather looks suspicious, I throw on a little more wax. It comes like a bar of soap. Simply rub it on, and heat to melt in.
You may say: "Wow, these are expensive!" Yes, they are but they wear like iron. Hang them to dry but just put them in a HOT dryer for 3 minutes to melt the Greenland Wax. Lots of compliments with these pants. So tell everyone where to buy a pair!

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Paul C.

Paul C.wrote a review of on January 20, 2017

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Small and rechargeable. Those were my criteria.
It has a couple different settings for output. Plus allows only light from the bottom if you choose to hang it above you in the tent. On a table, it shines out the sides. Collapse it down to a hockey puck shape- hence the name- and it cannot light up which prevents accidently discharging the power.
One draw back: you need to take it apart to change the battery. A bunchs of screws to open and 4 more to remove the battery from the circuit board. Hopefully, it'll work for years on the rechargeable battery that came with it before you'll need to replace it.
Another issue: If you close it all the way, it often doesn't want to slide open. Gotta really yank it up! Also, it's surprisingly heavy. Guessing 10-12 oz.
Cree bulbs which are the best brand. Plus, came with wall/USB charger.
Find it on sale or buy something else.

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Paul C.

Paul C.wrote a review of on January 13, 2017

5 5

Ok, I admit it. I'm a WM junkie. I can't help myself!
It's only recently that I discovered and started buying this brand.
My son has had a Kodiak for more than 12 years. He's an avid outdoor enthusiast, but I never really tuned in to his bag which he bought while in college. But a few months ago, I bought him some WM booties and a pair of Flight down pants for Christmas.
I was so impressed with the quality of the down, materials and build quality, I bought another set of both for myself.
I just bought this bag in the 7' version. I'm 6'3 and 200 lbs,
so I could have bought the 6'6 version, but wanted the extra room. I can wear my down Flight pants, booties and my HUGE Mountain Hardwear Absolute Zero parka ( "Big Orange") if I need to when the temps get REALLY cold, say well below zero. This bag is so lofty and warm! The zippers have a wide taped area to prevent snags while zipping. I can zip up to the top, secure the hood around my face as needed-something I've had trouble doing easily in my other bags. I'm a bit claustrophobic but this bag solves that nicely. It is really roomy around the shoulders, and then tapers down perfectly to the footbox. The Micro Fiber shell is so light, it allows the down to loft up to its max. Also, although I've yet to try it, the baffles allow you to move the down from top to bottom (or vice versa) for different ambient temperatures.
Also, it's really nice to buy an American made product that is, in my estimation, head and shoulders above most other brands.
I spent more time researching this bag than I did buying my last car. Seriously!
But although I like Feathered Friends too, I settled on this bag. WM offers the 7' version in this model without a special order and backcountry.com had it in stock.
You will be extremely happy if you purchase this or any WM bag. Expensive, but worth every penny.
Also, a shout-out to backcountry.com for being a world class retailer. Customer service is unparalleled in this segment. They shipped 3 hours after I ordered, and I had it in New England 2 days later! If you're like me, you want your order fast and backcountry.com has a new warehouse on the east coast to facilitate things.
Congrats ALL around!!!

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Paul C.

Paul C.wrote a review of on December 12, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 4"
Weight: 200 lbs
Size Purchased: XL

I am impressed with these pants. Typical WM quality.
The fabric reminds me of my Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer down jacket. WM calls it Microlite XP. It is feather light, yet it seems durable enough if you are careful. It is ripstop. The Gore Windstopper on the knee and seat area is more durable but still exceedingly light. Don't think normal Gore Windstopper. This Windstopper fabric is feather weight- not as light as the XP, but incredibly light.
The zippers are a perfect weight/size. The WM website says they are YKK brand. But these use IDEAL zippers, for what it's worth. . The cuffs and waist are are stretchy so you don't need to unzip either unless putting on over boots.
I was hoping they came with a small stuff sack but they did not. There are no pockets.
I'll try to figure out the optimal size ( in liters, I guess) for a stuff sack for these pants. Better to use one than jam the pants loose in the backpack.
There is more than enough down fill, but not so much that they look like clown pants!
They compress really well since the down is high loft and the fabric is light. Did I say these pants were light?!��
I'm 6'4" and 200 lbs. My waist is 37" and the XL work great.
I wanted them big enough to fit over a layer and they do so nicely.
There are not a lot of down pants out there. I considered the Feathered Friends Helios but decided on these due to the Windstopper additions. And, the XL were a bit longer at 34" in the leg length.
I recommend these if you're in the market. They'll definately keep you warm on a cold hike or to extend the limit of your sleeping bag.
BRAVO, Western Mountaineering and to backcountry.com for your continued advice, great customer service and fast shipping. This garment is a true tour-de-force!

UPDATE
I tried one of my small MH compression sacks on these pants and the size is perfect. The sack is labeled 6"x 13", I assume measured flat. When filled with the pants and compressed and tightened, it is about 7" long with a diameter of about 5". Perfect. Actually, you don't really need a compression sack, just a stuff sack to protect them.
The other night, my son borrowed these and they kept him warm at 0 degrees and -25 windchill in his 0 degree WM sleeping bag. He wore them over a pair of light fleece stretch tights. He thought they were "awesome", so I gave them to him as a Christmas present and bought a second pair for myself!

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Paul C.

Paul C.wrote a review of on November 22, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs large
Height: 6' 4"
Weight: 200 lbs
Size Purchased: XL (size 12 shoe)

These are typical WM quality. I would call these more like slippers than booties. Good for trekking around the camp site. NOT good for backpacking/camping since they have a stiff sole. As a result, they do not compress into a small sack.
For use INSIDE your sleeping bag, buy the Flash model, although they don't have much down.
( As an aside, I bought the EXPED brand down booty which compress to soda can size in the waterproof sack included. They are fluffy down but not meant to walk around outside.)
These are really nice, warm and well designed and capable of walking in snow or wet grass etc... Just cumbersome for IN your bag.
Anyway, I have the XL and they'll work up to a size 14 at least!
So, assess your needs, here. Go with the type that works best or buy both! I did and I'm a happy camper (groan)��

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