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Peter D

Peter D

Niles, MI

Peter D's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking
Paddling
Skiing
Snowshoeing
Snowboarding

Peter D

Peter Dposted an image about on May 15, 2018

April 2018 North Country Trail MI

April 2018 North Country Trail in Manistee Forest MI

I've had the tent for over a year and used it on several backpacking trips and car camps, it has worked flawlessly in that time.
I originally bought the tent based on price, interior size and having seen one on display in a shop whilst on vacation.
I am 6 foot 2 inches tall and about 270lbs, with a Long/Wide sleeping pad and bag I am often a little cramped in the average tent. So I wanted one that would accommodate my height and gear.
The Marmot tungsten's are well made tents and so far the tent is holding up very well indeed. The only downside is that the tent is a bit on the heavy side at around 5lbs but when you consider the weight, the price, durability and interior space I don't see many alternatives out there, especially with an included footprint.
Definitely glad I got this tent and would recommend it to others if you are in doubt.

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Peter D

Peter Dwrote a review of on April 2, 2018

This bag is awesome!
5 5

Being a bigger guy (6’2” and 270lbs) I find a lot of the average or run of the mill sizing for outdoor gear a little tight for me and my older cold weather sleeping bag, bought some time ago when I was a tad thinner was a getting bit too tight for comfort. So I started looking for New sleeping bags and settle on the Big Agnes Park series. At first I wasn’t looking for a down bag but the synthetic parks are a bit heavy for backpacking so I decided to go with the Down Park 30. After getting it, I went away camping for the weekend to test it and it was awesome. Although rated to 30F the overnight temperature in the tent got down to 24F. I was wearing a thin base layer and was warm enough. I do sleep a little warmer than most but this bag will perform well down to its rating from my experience. It compresses very well, is very roomy, my long and wide sleeping pad (Exped Synmat 7 LW) fits the sleeve perfectly, the ‘sleep system’ works very well and I especially love the pillow pocket as it keeps my pillow in place. No more rolling off the sleeping pad in the night, no more losing my pillow off the end of the sleeping pad, overall a much better sleep experience than I’ve ever had camping.

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Peter D

Peter Dwrote a review of on January 18, 2018

Initial impressions are good
4 5

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

I ordered both a medium and large bag (14L and 20L) mainly as a tester for compressing sleeping bags for my family and myself on backpacking and camping trips.

My sleeping bag is a mummy style and pretty large as it fits my 6'2'' and 265lbs frame. It is also about 20 years old so not as high tech as today's offerings. Which means it's heavier and bulky compared to a current 3 season bag.

I use 3 season as a rating because when I bought it 20+ yrs ago that was how they were rated them as best as I recal. As a guide I have slept in temps down to about 45F and been warm enough if that helps with a comparison to today's sleeping bags.

Anyway, the compression sacks straight out of the box seem pretty decent, they are very lightweight and the eVent system works pretty well indeed. With nothing in the sacks I sealed them and squeezed out the air, just to test things. It was much easier to squeeze than I suspected it would be.

The attached pictures show my sleeping bag, the compression sack and a standard Nalgene bottle for scale.

I squeezed my sleeping bag into the Large (20L) sack and it was a struggle, I think I need the next size up to fit it properly but it did compress down a fair bit and it was pretty easy compressing it using the straps.

As long as you are a standard size and/or don't have a very cold temp rating on the sleeping bag the large (20L) compression sack should fit your bag.

I haven't tested it's waterproof capability so can't comment on that but will say that I have dry sacks I use for kayaking that are waterproof but are much, much heavier than this compression sack and for my intended use of compressing my sleeping bag to carry in a backpack it certainly looks like it will keep my sleeping bag compressed and dry so I can now dispense with my kayaking dry bags for these compression sacks.

I rated the bags as 4 star as I have yet to test them for being waterproof or see how they hold up to repeated use in the field, when I have that data I will come back and update the rating.

Finally, thanks to my gearhead Nicky Rosado for help and guidance along the way to the purchase, I do like the fact that Backcountry has gearheads to ask questions, a big thumbs up in my mind.

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Peter D

Peter Dwrote a review of on November 25, 2017

A great jacket
4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: Runs large
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 255 lbs
Size Purchased: XL

I have had this jacket for just over a year now and used it in many different weather conditions and different activities. It is exceptionally breathable, which for me is a big deal as I tend to overheat easily. It is partially windproof and marginally water resistant. If it’s a fine misty rain for a short duration it will be fine but anything heavier and you will get wet. Similar with the wind too, it’s good for keeping out the light breeze but if the wind steps up you will feel it. For me though this jacket is a great compromise between breathable, windproof and water proof. I find the fit a tad on the large side but that gives me layering options and with its flexibility it makes for a comfortable and functional jacket. Glad I made the purchase.

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Peter D

Peter Dwrote a review of on November 25, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have several pairs of these socks for hiking, the light cushion and full cushion micro crew. They are simply brilliant socks, they are comfortable, let my feet breath easy and keep me warm without overheating. I find the light cushion socks stick to me like a second skin to the point I don’t notice they are there. I Can’t say much about longevity as I’ve only had them a year or so but so far they are looking good.

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Peter D

Peter Dwrote a review of on November 25, 2017

3 5

I have had these boots for about 18 months and hiked simple short dog walks in the park to multi-day hiking trips. I would say my usage has been easy to moderate in terms of Miles and conditions the boots have experienced. Out of the box they are pretty comfortable and require minimal break in time. They are supportive and lightweight but the laces come loose even when knotted multiple times. It is a good job they have the lace lock to keep the tension in the lower half of the boot. The laces have roughened up over time so do not loosen as much as they did new, it could be sorted with new laces though. The big downside for me is that the boots have not lasted well and are now leaking. Initially they were waterproof but somewhere between 6 and 18 months they started leaking. Ive given them 3stars, knocked off one star for not that great durability and one star for leaking after a while...for the price, I would have expected better but they do have potential to be an awesome boot, just not quite there yet in my experience.

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Peter D

Peter Dwrote a review of on August 22, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I've done a few hiking trips with this filter and I really like it, the more I use I the more I like it.

The water I've filtered has tasted great and I've had no ill effects from it.

I find the pump rate acceptable and only slows when filtering water with a lot of sediment.

I like the fact it screws directly onto the Nalgene bottles and the clean outlet from the filter is mostly kept protected from any exterior contaminants. It does seem like they put some thought into how the filter will be used and how to design it so to minimize contamination risk from unfiltered water.

I do worry about cracking the cermanic filter from something like a fall or dropping it but you could carry a spare filter.

The filter itself is heavy but overall I don't see it as excessive...I could shed a few lbs to make up for the extra weight of the filter.

I'd seriously consider buying this again but I know filter technology is always progressing but I do rate this filter highly, four star in fact. I dropped one star for the weight and the concern about breaking the ceramic filter so if that doesn't bother you then boost it to 5 stars.

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Peter D

Peter Dwrote a review of on August 22, 2017

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I use this rack a lot and have between one and four bikes on frequent basis. All bikes are hardtails.

I find it works very well for an older mountain bike frame geometry but not the modern mountain bikes, especially with the wider forks and tires.

For my kids bikes, which are proper small adult mountain bikes, I find the frames are too small to fit so I hd to buy an adapter to go between the seat and handle bars to get them on. Something I didn't expect to have to do.

When fully loaded with 4 bikes they all rub against each other chipping paint, cables wear, pedals push through the spokes on the wheels etc, basically they are all crammed together and it's a nightmare getting them on and off the rack. Much more hassle Thant I was expecting and minor damage to the bikes every time I use it fully loaded.

3 bikes is better than 4 but frankly it is just a 2 bike carrier as more than 2 the bike interfere with each other too much.

I do like the tilting options to bring the arms down so they don't stick out and as I have a pickup I like being able to drop down the whole thing to access the bed with the gate down.

I like the ability to lock the whole thing into the hitch and the stowable security cable but it could be a bit longer as when loaded with 4 bikes I need to thread it through them carefully to get it secured properly.

I find that when the arms are down when it rains they collect water and when you bring them upright it pours all over you.

It is pretty heavy too and cumbersome to carry around and store when not actually being used.

Overall I gave it 3 stars, it does work but there are too many compromises so I'd consider alternatives if I had to replace it.

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Peter D

Peter Dwrote a review of on August 17, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I do like these water shoes and have used them a fair bit kayaking.

With my big feet, I find space inside of kayaks is pretty tight so big cumbersome footwear won't work. These shoes are a comfortable fit and offer a nice blend of protection without being cumbersome or intrusive.

I only gave them 4 stars as I find the drawcord and toggle on the back can get in the way depending on which kayak I am using (I have several different types). I also find that I can't seem to get the top to fit just right, it is either too tight or too loose and leaks regardless.

Definitely a good shoe and I would buy them again although these days I tend to just use water sandals instead.

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Peter D

Peter Dwrote a review of on August 17, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I love the Anti Gravity (AG) on Osprey's packs, the breathability and comfort is fantastic. They are pricey but good.

I have the Manta 34 AG, an ATMOS 50 AG and recently purchased an Aether 85 AG.

The Manta is my go to pack for anything to vacation wandering, day hikes and long dog walks. I can easily carry enough water, jackets, snacks and assorted bits and pieces for the family of 4 and the dog.

It is simply a well thought out pack and for me hits all the bases with comfort, features and the like.

I have had it for about a year now and will say it still looks in good condition and think its long term durability appears pretty good.

I am definitely happy I made this purchase.

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Peter D

Peter Dwrote a review of on August 17, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I've used this pad on several camping trips now and I have to say it is way more comfortable than any other I have slept on outdoors. Although, in the interests of full disclosure my 'old' sleeping pads were quite dated and today's tech has clearly advanced somewhat.

Being a larger chap (6'2'' 255lbs) I opted for the long and wide (LW) size and it definitely fits me perfectly, with room for the pillow on the pad as well.

However, it is a pretty tight fit length wise in my 2 person tent and turning it over is a bit of fight after inflation, but with a slightly larger tent this would not be an issue.

Inflation I find tedious with the integrated pump, I usually half inflate the pad then use the pump for the rest of the inflation or for fine tuning inflation.

It is well made and the materials seem pretty durable so I expect it will last a decent amount of time.

I gave it 4 stars, docked one for the slow inflation with the pump and it is a bit on the pricey side but it is definitely a comfortable sleep, good quality and I'm glad I made the purchase.

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Peter D

Peter Dwrote a review of on August 17, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have used this stove on several different trips, walking with the kids making winter hot chocolate on the trail, backpacking for a few days and a kayak/camping adventure and it has worked perfectly.

It boils water in no time at all, very efficient indeed.

I gave it 4 stars as the sleeve was a bit finicky and the plastic lid and container don't seem to fit securely, They haven't come off unexpectedly but I just don't get a reassuring snap as the lid goes on.

In my case I think the heat over time has misshaped the lid a little and maybe that's why it doesn't snap on.

Their is no igniter so you need to bring something to light the stove with. I did buy the MSR piezoelectric igniter but it won't light the stove, don't waste your money on it. A built in igniter would be a good addition.

Although these are minor issues and I am more than happy with this stove.

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Peter D

Peter Dwrote a review of on May 16, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I used this pack a few times now and it's pretty good. Features are good but the best part is the 'Anti Gravity' suspension. Not only is it the most comfortable pack I've worn but the mesh is extremely breathable adding to the comfort. I'd buy another without hesitation. In fact I have the 50 and I'm considering adding the 65!

Update 8-17-17

Since writing this initial review I have gone on to buy a Manta 34 AG and Aether 85 AG, these are awesome packs and the AG system is double awesome.

I will say though that one limitation of the AG system is that it doesn't carry 'heavy' loads, to be honest though most folks won't carry a 'heavy' load but for the Aether 85 they did modify it somewhat as it is a large pack and I don't find it as comfortable as the smaller packs, still good though.

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Peter D

Peter Dwrote a review of on October 17, 2014

Pleased With My Purchase
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I have several different kayaks and wanted a 'Companion' kayak as this one is described.

I wanted to be able to bring along the dog (my kids are older and drive their own kayaks now) or offer the ability for me to solo paddle hauling some gear.

This kayak suits that criteria perfectly. There is enough space for me and the dog/small child and/or a good load of gear.

Whilst not being a high end tricked out kayak is does have basic features which make it a good value for money kayak. Sealed rear compartment, soft carry handles, reasonably comfy/adjustable seat, foot pegs, reasonable quality etc.

In terms of performance, this isn't an large open water or poor weather boat, the cockpit is too large and the deck seems a little lower than my other kayaks. This makes for easy ingress/egress for dog and children but not so great at keeping water out in rough conditions. However, for smaller inland lakes and rivers this boat is more than adequate.

It tracks and turns well, the compromise between the 2 competing criteria is nicely balanced. It is reasonably stable which is good for when my dog moves around.

The only negatives I have found, and these are minor are the position of the foot pegs and the child seat.

With the seat as far back as it goes and the front set of foot pegs as far forward as they will go I find it is not enough distance for my legs. I am 6'2" so tall but not excessively so. My fix for this will be to remove the foot pegs and just use the other set of foot pegs.

The removable seat whilst a nice idea is an aftermarket seat that doesn't fit between or on top of the ribs that run the length of the boat. Again this can be worked around but really should have been considered at the design level.

Overall, I think this is a great value for money boat and fits my 'Companion' needs perfectly. I have rated it 4 stars, knocking off 1 for the minor cons I mentioned but could be 5 stars if they don't concern you.

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Peter D

Peter Dwrote a review of on June 7, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I bought a set of Mako Saddles about 10 years ago now and they have performed brilliantly.

They have been used on several cars with different bars, meaning I have a box full of adapter hardware for them. I like that Yakima provides adapting hardware for them so I don't have to buy a complete new set when I change cars (not that I do that often) or cross bars.

I load up my kayaks, usually by myself and I put the bow on the rear rack and slide the kayak along the saddles. Once loaded I tighten up the straps, double check all is good and drive off. Simple.

The kayak does bounce around a little but I find the saddles hold it firm and actually provide a bit of spring to cope with rough roads. The straps press onto a rubber pad which grips the kayak quite well. I once drove from Houston to south west Michigan with a 12 ft rec kayak on top and the straps didn't loosen nor did I have any issues at all.

After 10 yrs the paddles are a little faded and starting to wear out somewhat but I am very happy with their performance, excellent value for money though and I'd buy them again without hesitation.

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Peter D

Peter Dwrote a review of on June 6, 2014

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have an Old Town Vapor 12XTS and have used it over the last 4 years. In that time my paddling skills have increased but I still have a soft spot for this kayak ie I haven't outgrown it yet.

The biggest negative for me is the hatch, it need improvement in my view. It doesn't hold much and the cover is neither a secure fit or water tight. Also being black the contents get really hot in direct sunlight.

However, if you are aware of these issues, use a dry bag, don't leave valuable stuff or food in it then you'll get some use out of it.

The seat is basic but surprisingly comfortable. It's not the plush affair you see on the higher end kayaks but like I say, it's surprisingly comfortable.

As for handling in the water, the hull is pretty decent. I can get good straightline speed, it turns and tracks well. At first I thought the bow was a bit big and it seemed bouncy in waves but when I hit some bigger swells 3ft waves that bow was just right. The boat isn't really designed for big waves or serious open water but if you get caught out in some tricky weather on a big lake like I have a couple of times the boat does cope well.

It's also not too heavy and isn't too difficult to handle on your own (I'm 6'2" 260lbs) loading and unloading or on portages. I pop it on one shoulder and lift it on and off my roof top carriers without much effort.

On balance I'd say the kayak is great for a beginner and would offer some appeal to those a bit more experienced. In short you won't outgrow it quickly.

I have other kayaks I use now and my vapor mainly gets used by my wife and kids as they are all learning to paddle. My kids are 7&8 and maybe a bit small for it but in nice weather the kids handle it fine.

As for durability, it looks in pretty decent shape. The only think that failed was the rope that held the seat back in place, but that happened after 3 yrs. I just went down the local hardware store and got some new rope and withing 15mins had it fixed and working again.

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Peter D

Peter Dwrote a review of on June 1, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I bought this kayak through the winter (I live in Michigan) and thus started using it over the last couple of months once the ice melted. I have several kayaks of different sizes but they are all sit ins so this tarpon 140 was my first sit on.

It does feel different and exposed initially but after a few mins you get used to it. Then when you've used it for a while you really see the benefits of sit ons over sit ins.

It's easy to get on/off, easy to adjust seating position, easy to hang my feet in the water, with the side handles easy to carry but a bit on the heavy side. Smaller folks may find the weight a bit of a handful especially getting it on/off the car on their own but if you've got a buddy, no problem.

In terms of performance, I have an Old Town Vapor XTS, 12ft sit in and this 140 handles pretty similar to that. The differences are there but small. Overall, pretty stable, tracks well and allows for decent straight line speed. It's not got the speed of a sea kayak but for a recreational boat on calm lakes or easy going rivers this is ideal.

The Wilderness kayaks aren't cheap but they offer a lot of useful features and the boats are well made. I got mine outlet, last years model and very happy with the boat for the price.

This was also my second kayak from backcountry, both were shipped and arrived as stated without any issues. The kayaks were well wrapped and protected and I'd buy another this way without hesitation.

All in, great kayak, great service and a happy customer.

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