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Richard Bryan

Richard Bryan

Richard Bryan's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Snowshoeing

Richard Bryan

Richard Bryanwrote a review of on August 13, 2019

3 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
Fit: Runs small
Height: 5' 9"
Weight: 187 lbs
Size Purchased: XL

The jersey in among the nicest of the fabrics I've handled so far for this sport. It's not that 100% polyester sandpaper, or with 2% spandex. I don't know that I'd wear this lounging around the house, but it's a really big improvement in comfort. The muted color scheme is also nice versus the sometimes garish jerseys which are so common. What continues to drive me up the wall is the sizing is so far off it's frustrating and annoying and now getting expensive for returns. I'm going to stop buying cycling clothing online. I wear men's medium t-shirts, for example. And understand for cycling jerseys I need to size up to XL, at least. This particular shirt, even in size XL, I could hardly get past my bicep, and the zippered front barely came around the side of my body. At first this Asian sizing for cycle wear was frustrating; now it's annoying. Really wasting my time. Sellers need to wake up and put some thought into their product descriptions. I may as well purchase from my LBS and pay 25% more and save myself the aggravation.

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Richard Bryan

Richard Bryanwrote a review of on May 7, 2019

4 5

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

I think these are great shoes for what they are. Meaning shoes which are close to hard shoes like the guys use for racing, but still flexible enough to walk around. And the cleat is recessed so you can hardly hear it clack when you're walking on the street holding your bike. The tread is really aggressive and I can see how people would use these shoes for grabbing through mud. Very aggressive tread. I wear typically size 11.5 sneakers and the size 44.5 was just 1/8 inch too small, and the size 45 the same amount too large. I would have kept the shoe anyway and just a slightly thicker sock. Nevertheless I'm returning the shoe because I really don't like the style (color combination). The BOA lacing system is most excellent in my opinion. I have this on my Winter Mountaineering Boots and also my snowshoes. Quick and easy to tighten quickly and evenly as tight or loose as you want.

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Richard Bryan

Richard Bryanwrote a review of on May 5, 2019

5 5

The first 100 miles were torture and then I removed the foot bed and cut one of the green super feet insoles to size and then I went out today for another 20 miles and the boots were perfect. I got these specifically because the Scarpa list for their winter boots fits me perfectly whereas the last 40 bucks and other manufacturers have a narrower last. these have a nice wide toebox which is what I was looking for I don’t like my toes squishy even when I have on my summer weight hiking socks. Hopefully someday the BOA lacing system will come to the backpackers’ boot market and make it easier to dial in the exact tension you need. Between these and my Salmon 4 GTX are a tossup right now I’ll report back later in the year.

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Richard Bryan

Richard Bryanwrote a review of on April 17, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 9"
Weight: 185 lbs
Size Purchased: Large

This shirt is fantastic! So soft and kept me comfortable on a hard bicycle ride. I'm sure this will be my favorite hiking shirt going forward. I want to see if this is available in long sleeve to keep the sunburn away. Runs true to size in my opinion in so far as it's tight enough to not hang down loosely when you're at the gym in a plank position, for example, or even in a hand stand the shirt isn't going to fall down around your head. And it's also loose enough to be comfortable around the house, and stylish enough to wear if you're going out, if that's your style. I'm a collared shirt guy so I wouldn't go out with a t-shirt, I know other guys do though.

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Richard Bryan

Richard Bryanwrote a review of on April 17, 2019

4 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
Fit: Runs small
Height: 5' 9"
Weight: 180 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

I like the fabric and how it's cut not so long. So it's not going to come down many inches below your hip belt. Plus the shirt has a mesh back. I think this would be perfect for hiking or working out. Minus one star because most definitely the shirt runs a bit small. Just a little bit, unless you like your shirts skin tight, which I don't. I'm 5' 9" and 185 pounds with some belly and the medium was too small for my liking. I'll return and get a large.

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Richard Bryan

Richard Bryanwrote a review of on February 7, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This product is absolutely fantastic! When used with a thin foam pad as a ground layer, I was able to sleep on top of this Exped and felt no cold at all coming from the ground. I was able to sleep on my back and on my side in real warmth and comfort. It's not light though. And the internal hand pump inflation system works well in your living room or backyard or in three seasons: it doesn't work in the Winter when you can't keep your hands out of your gloves for more than 20 or 30 seconds at a time. Not happening. So you have to use the blow up valve. Nevertheless I'm glad I spent the hefty money on this quality product.

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Richard Bryan

Richard Bryanwrote a review of on February 7, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I am so happy I spent the money on these mittens. Normally I do not go Winter backpacking in places where a mitten this warm would be necessary. However when the prediction of the Feb 2019 'polar vortex' was reported I panicked at the thought of -25 degree temperatures. While it didn't get that cold in the Adirondack Mountains in New York State, it was ten degrees below zero and I was so thankful I decided to spend the money on these mittens. I got a size larger (XXL (11)) than needed to double layer if needed. While on the trail in snowshoes and generating lots of heat, the liners themselves were more than adequate when the temperatures were in the teens. At camp with mostly standing around I was glad to slip my hands into the mittens and immediately feel the warmth build. The mittens have wrist leashes which means no more lost gloves in critical situations (touch wood). The leather parts of the gloves care, and a small amount of the leather conditioner is provided by the manufacturer. I have spent over the years hundreds and hundreds of dollars on gloves and mittens to prevent cold hands and these Hester mittens are worth the cost of all other products. Hands down.

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Richard Bryan

Richard Bryanwrote a review of on February 7, 2019

Almost perfect
3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 9"
Weight: 180 lbs
Size Purchased: 11

I purchased these boots for a week long Winter Mountaineering School in the Adirondack State Park in New York, in the Lake Placid area. I am a novice at 'Winter Mountaineering' in hard sole boots. This was the first week of February, 2019 when a 'polar vortex' was forecast to move into the region with temperatures expected of -25 degrees. I had previously purchased (and returned) at least a half dozen brands and models of Winter mountaineering boots before settling on these North Face boots. These boots are made in Romania, not Italy, and I was not unhappy at all about that. Some of the points which caused me to keep these boots, and which I found beneficial on my trip, were firstly that based on my physical examination these boots would keep my feet warmer than the other boots I tried (almost all available models with a removable inner bootie). Specifically, the removable inner bootie is thick and heavily padded (and has a quick lace system), and the boots also have a non-removable, and thicker, insulating lining which is attached to the outer shell. So based on this I concluded these boots must, due to the total thickness of the insulation, be warmer than the other models I examined. I wore, in zero degree (F) temperatures, wading through deep snow, only a thin liner sock, a vapor barrier liner, and no outer sock. My feet were warm at all times, except perhaps when standing still in camp for several hours at that temperature. So from that standpoint I am very satisfied and would recommend these boots highly. For me that was and is the most important criteria in choosing a Winter mountaineering boot. Also, the boots were entirely comfortable to wear for ten hours and fit my standard width size 11 foot perfectly. After ten hours, yes I wanted to get out of the boots, but was never in discomfort. Some additional points are that the boots seem to be waterproof, but are marked as water resistant. Also, I was able to walk around camp and hike without snowshoes very comfortably. I was quite surprised on this point. When fully tied and zippered, the boot fits perfectly, with only the tiniest bit of toe pressure when going down steep (60 degree (+)) grades for several miles on snowshoes. However, and perhaps because the boots are still new, they were very difficult to get on. The soft removable bootie, with its rubber-like bottom, caught on the rear of the boot itself and would not easily slide into place. The video I have attached is not fair insofar as I'm holding my iPhone with one had and putting on the boot with the other, nevertheless I think you can see what I'm referring to. Also, the tab at the end of the velcro closure is too small and its very difficult to thread through the metal ring; impossible with gloved hands. And the metal ring itself, you can see in the video, is improperly attached to the boot so that the velcro closure does not nicely pull the boot closed. Note also the placement of the velcro strap interferes with the zipper; the velcro strap creates a bump which the zipper must be pulled over. In fact, and this is the reason I will return the boots as defective, is that the zippers used on these boots are not robust enough for their intended purpose. You can see here a photo of where the zipper actually separated. Fortunately when I pulled the zipper down to the bottom, and back up, the zipper re-seated itself and appears fine. However when that happened in the lodge, just before heading out to the mountain, I thought my trip was over before it began. And each time I put the boot on for the next five days, and had to pull on the zipper with extraordinary effort (to get past the bump at the velcro closure), I was fearful of the zipper pulling apart again, and this time not in the lodge, but in camp with temperatures just above zero degrees. I used some beeswax and the zipper is functioning much better now after its been worked a lot, however I am still very concerned it will fail at the worst possible time.

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Richard Bryan

Richard Bryanwrote a review of on December 3, 2018

5 5

There are snowshoes available which are a fraction of the cost of these model Tubbs. Personally I was so glad to have spent the money primarily because I had my snow shoes off and on in a matter of minutes while everyone else was struggling for 20 minutes with the bindings on their snowshoes. This was most especially important when it was so cold you weren’t able to have your hands outside your gloves for more than 60 seconds at a time. And these snowshoes have The steel points around the entire perimeter of the snow shoe and that makes for a much more aggressive and reliable tool which provides so much confidence. What I will say though is to be cautious not to get a size too lengthy. Specifically, for me, during hikes in the Catskill Mountains of New York where the trails are twisting and turning with every footfall I was constantly tripping over the back edge of the snowshoe because I had purchased a model which was simply longer than usable for the train I was on. Yes I Purchased the length because of my weight and the weight of the pack I was carrying however I believe I could have gotten away with a few inches shorter and not have the problems with getting the snowshoes caught on themselves then tripping quite frequently which is frustrating and tiring. Otherwise, if you have the money, purchase this product and you’ll have no regrets.

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