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Robert H

Robert H

Robert H

Robert Hwrote a review of on August 7, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This bag is my new favorite piece of gear! It is incredibly light weight, packs down TINY, and is incredibly comfortable.

Being about 6 ft 2, I went for the long option... That being said, I'm confident I would have comfortably fit in the regular size... There is loads of space for me in the long when I am stretched out all the way... Enough space for extra clothing/snowboard boot liners.

Included with the bag is a compression stuff sack which is extremely effective. The long bag takes a little effort to stuff into the bag, but once stuffed the compression straps synch it down until it cannot be synched no more. You are left with an incredibly dense bag that fits inside of a mesh trucker hat. I have so much space in my pack now compared with my old bag that I"m considering getting a smaller pack... I just don't know what to do with all the extra room!

The 1/2 length zipper was a concern of mine after reading a few other reviews. It turns out it is not a hassle at all. I'm no super flexible yogi, and at my height there is no fumbling to get in or out of the bag at all.

I have only been using it in summer time, and it is quite warm. I have not tested the low end of the temperature spectrum, but I am quite excited for some late fall/early winter backpacking now. The bag is almost too warm for camping out in the summer heat- consider the SPI or SPII if you are looking for an even smaller, lighter bag.

The only negative that I can think of is that the foot box is a little bit tight. My former bag was a Big Agnes, which had excessive amounts of room to spread your legs and bend your feet. The SPIII limits me to spreading my feet just narrower than shoulder width due to the taper of the slim fit. It is not claustrophobic, however- just slightly restricting. Worth it for the packability in my opinion!

The biggest problem is the thing is so damn comfortable, I have a hard time getting out of it in the morning! I am sincerely looking forward to some cold weather camping in this sucker! It is small enough and light enough that I would consider taking it on long day ski tours as an extra safety buffers should I get stranded. (I'm willing to bet that this bag compresses smaller than most 650 fill down puffy coats and bulky synthetic coats!

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Robert H

Robert Hwrote a review of on February 11, 2017

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: Runs small
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 180 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

I would be so stoked on these bibs, but in the classic bout of Patagonia craftsmanship, their fit is totally bizarre.

No qualms with the construction, or the materials chosen. They are all durable, functional, and top of the line.

The fit is super weird, however- According to the dimensions in the fit guide, I should be a dead ringer medium at about 6'2, 180, 32 in inseam. (I wear a medium patagonia jacket, and the fit seems to be reliable for the uppers)

The crotch of the inseam feels way high. I have to sag the bibs a bit to keep from a constant wedgie.
However, the chest is so slim, that it constricts around my body. The buttons always are popping when I bring my knees to my chest. The thighs of the bibs are also super tight, and they limit my range of motion.

This would be all and well, but the large bibs I absolutely swim in.

It seems like Patagonia needs a size in between the medium and large bibs.

Next year, I will be shelling out for the Arcteryx bibs. The cut on those is articulated for dynamic movement, and they don't ride too high or constrict motion.

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Robert H

Robert Hwrote a review of on February 11, 2017

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I totally love how this boot rides, and how the fit feels, but there are some flaws in design holding it back.

I sized down 1/2 size, as I usually do with snowboard boots. The fit feels great, and the heat moldable liners are super comfy. This being said, there is a thick nylon seam running down the back of the heel on the outside of the liner. The seam has caused me some significant comfort problems, generating crazy hot spots and occasionally, spikes of severe heel pain. I believe that when the seam is forced into the shell of the boot on hard toe side turns, it is creating a major pressure point. It seems to be only on firm snow, and on the toe side edge- where you'd be forcing your heel against the back of the boot. I've had to call it quits early a few times because of it, and I went ahead and cut the seam out. This seems to have solved the problem.

The other major issue I have with the boot is durability. I've had the boot for less than a year. I got it in April of 2016, and by the end of December 2016, the shell has had major wear spots. The wear spots are where the high back hits the heel of the boot, and where the boot sits in the binding , on the inside and outside of your heel. The damage on the back of the heel is so severe, it has almost cut through the shell of the boot! It would be one thing if I got a full season of riding out of it, but 2.5 months of riding with summer in between really seems like it wore out prematurely. There is no wear on the sole.

Bottom line:
The ride is awesome, the fit is ok, but they won't hold up as a daily driver. Usually I can get 2 seasons out of a boot, but this seems like it will be toast after a season.

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Robert H

Robert Hwrote a review of on February 11, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

These are by far the lightest ski that I have! They seem to be the most versatile, too!

The nose rocker helps keep you afloat when the snow is fresh, and just the right amount of camber underfoot mixed with the lightness of the skis gives you a snappy and sporty ride quality.
Martin Volken and K2 nailed it on this one- the flex pattern is not too soft-just right, fun and playful. However, it is stiff enough to plow through chop on your way to the side country.

I have only done a little bit of touring on them, but they fly up hill! I'm constantly amazed at how big of a difference shaving weight off your feet makes on long climbs!

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Robert H

Robert Hwrote a review of on February 11, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

All it took to have me sold on these bindings was making one turn in steep terrain! The Prime system rides way better than any puck based system. In fact, I will argue that these bindings even ride better than your solid board bindings.

They lack heavy accouterments like EVA padding and plastic footbeds exchanged for precise, high performance materials. The thought in design and craftsmanship really show. This is clearly a product designed by engineers that snowboard.

Ride aside, the interface is well thought out and easy to set up and adjust.

Compared to a puck system binding, the changeover on the Prime is effortless, and is more tolerant of snow and ice build up. I definitely have been able to transition faster since buying my Karakoram setup.

I liked these so much, I actually sold my Union bindings and just got Karakoram's quiver connectors. That way, I can use these bindings on My split, my all mountain board, and my deep powder swallowtail. This makes traveling a breeze- I just throw one set of bindings, and my boards stack up like there is nothing mounted to them. In under a minute, I can change what board I'm riding based on conditions!

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Robert H

Robert Hwrote a review of on February 11, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

The BD sport safety kit is a great bang for buck value.

The beacon is among the best on the market. It has good battery life, is intuitive and simple, and has a very fast processor. The multiple burial functionality is essential, and very easy to learn. That being said, the harness can be uncomfortable at times, is difficult to adjust, and gradually slips out of adjustment. This is an area of improvement.

The transfer 3 shovel is a great size for day tours and sidecountry/resort riding. While it is lightweight, the size of the spade is a limiting factor. I wouldn't want this shovel on an expedition or a multiday trip where you'll be digging a shelter or moving loads of snow. The telescoping handle is tall-guy approved. Non telescoping shovel handles are too short for efficient digging, I find.

The probe is a good mix of light, and burly. While not the lightest on the market, it definitely stands up to repeated use. I'm not worried about bending it when punching it through bulletproof crusts and firm buried layers.
The assembly/dissembley mechanism is easy to use and reliable. No issues here

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Robert H

Robert Hwrote a review of on February 11, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

The Pieps DSP Sport is sweet. I don't miss the extra features that the Pro has, and the Sport still has an awesome flagging feature for multi-burials.
(Definitely practice with the multiple burial feature before you have to use it!)

The switch is pretty easy to use- though a little more positive click on the lock button would be nice.

The processing of the unit is faster than you can search, so you're not left standing around waiting while you're searching.

The harness adjustment is pretty funny. the webbing is tripled up between two buckles. After lots of use, my harness will gradually slip out of adjustment, and there is a ton of webbing tail to be tucked away in one nook or another.

A bit of elastic that attaches the beacon to the harness is nice, but it only stretches about 6

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Robert H

Robert Hwrote a review of on February 11, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

The Dawn Patrol is a killer fully featured pack.
The design is well thought out, and everything is easy to use.
The M/L was perfect for a 6'2" long torsoed person. That being said, the shoulder strap adjustment has a seam sewn in. I did away with the seam, and it fits great now.

The waist belt could have a little broader padding- it is hard to get it tightened down enough when you have a full load, or are wearing bulky layers.

The avalung element is super awesome! That being said, if you are a goofy footed snowboarder, keep in mind it will sit on your rearward shoulder. This makes it difficult to ride aggressively with the avalung element in your mouth.

I gave that feedback to Black Diamond, and I'm hoping next year's model with have some additional length!

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Robert H

Robert Hwrote a review of on November 7, 2016

5 5

Fit: Runs large
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 180 lbs
Size Purchased: 10

I'm super excited about these boots! For years, I have been doing long hikes with approach shoes having only owned heavy leather backpacking and mountaineering boots. I've always wanted an ultralight boot with a high ankle for when I'm deep in the wilderness hiking on rough and uneven surfaces. These boots totally fit the bill.

They weigh about the same as my old La Sportiva Boulder X approach shoes, but they are more breathable, more water-resistant, and have exponentially better ankle support. It's a no-brainer. The one thing the Sportivas had is a Vibram sole.

I've noticed that in cold weather wet hiking that the sole on the Ultra Trek hardens and looses a little bit of traction, they feel a little slicker in these kinds of conditions.

Despite not having a harder climbing style edge and sticky rubber, these have been a confidence inspiring summer boot on scrambles with low 5th class moves. However, in inclement weather and colder temps, I would be more conservative given the properties of the sole's durometer.

I usually wear a 10.5/11 and found myself purchasing a 10.

I've got a few hundred miles on these boots, and they are still looking like they will be around for another few hundred next summer!

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Robert H

Robert Hwrote a review of on November 7, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 180 lbs
Size Purchased: 32x30

I was reluctant to spend this much on a pair of pants, but I'm sure glad that I did. They are extremely light weight and breathable.

The pockets are a little tight, and the fabric bulges revealing what you've got in them, but this is not a deal breaker.

Before the first wash, the scotch brite finish does an incredible job of repelling water, however this water resistance was not long lived. That being said, these pants dry out incredibly quickly whether you're wearing them or not! My first choice for soggy hikes.

They are a great spring/summer/fall hiker, but they do not perform in cold weather. The breathable fabric lends itself to warmer climates, and humid days.

The slimmer cut on the brions will keep you looking sharp in the city, but are backcountry functional.

The stretch is awesome for activities like climbing, hiking on talus, biking, and doing yoga!

If you're looking for a baggier fit, try the Zions, if you're a little lankier, you'll feel more at home in these!

I wish Prana would make a double-kneed pant with this material for a little extra durability! I'll definitely be buying more of these for summer, and a pair of the lined pants for winter time.

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Robert H

Robert Hwrote a review of on November 7, 2016

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

The pack is a fully featured ski pack with thought out features.

The Osprey "Wet Zone" avy tool storage and skin pocket works great, and keeps moisture out of the backpannel-accessed "Dry Zone"

My two biggest problems with the pack are the buckles on the shoulder straps, and the helmet carry functionality.

In order to fully access the "dry zone" through the back panel, you have to unclip the straps and secure them at the end, adding fidgety extra steps to your transition. (Though the buckles do work well with gloves on!)

The helmet carry functionality prevents you from accessing your avy tools while your helmet is attached.

The Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 32 has a different design that eliminates these two problems, and I ended up with that pack. The Osprey pack weighs a substantial bit more, but may have proven to be more durable in the long run.

The Kamber does have a felted goggle-specific storage feature that is a huge plus.

It is pretty similar to last year's Kode line of packs.

The construction quality is exactly what you would expect from Osprey, they definitely take pride in their work! Their lifetime warranty for their products is the best in the industry, and I have had them repair multiple packs in the past.

Overall it is a very comfortable and functional pack, however I decided to go with the BD pack because of the aforementioned features.

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Robert H

Robert Hwrote a review of on November 7, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: Runs large
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 180 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

The Refugitive is a great, lightweight alpine coat. It's light enough and extremely pack-able- adding to it's versatility. It makes a bomb proof rain coat year-round, and is just as handy a tool in the snow.

The Gore-Tex C-knit fabric feels much better against bare skin compared to the Gore-Tex Pro material, so this jacket can be worn with minimal baselayers in warm-but-windy situations.

The breathability is exactly what you would expect from a Gore-Tex product!

The fit runs a bit large; I typically wear a large, but sized down to a medium. The sleeves are still a little long, but everything else is great.

The coat does have a small strap to attach it to Patagonia snow pants and bibs, however, it does lack a powder skirt for those deepest days!

I expect that I'll buy another one of these when I finally do wear this coat out!



Season update:

I have found the medium fit to run a little tight when wearing a beacon in addition to a puffy vest.

The hood design is actually pretty poor- The single draw string pulls the hood back. You can see, but the sides of your face are exposed to wind and moisture.

The coat exterior proves to be durable. Lots of tours and sidecountry on this one- no rubbing wear from pack shoulder straps or waist buckles.

However, the c-knit material inside the coat seems to be less durable. There is obvious wear where the pack is pressed against my back by the backpack. It seems like the Goretex Pro material is more durable.

The water resistance membrane seems to have held up. Shoulders and arms still bead water. The ares where the pack sits soak with water, but it hasn't seeped through yet.

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