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Shannon G.

Shannon G.

Shannon G.

Shannon G.wrote a review of on September 2, 2019

5 5

This is the perfect daypack for medium to long day hikes. It's comfortable, lightweight, carries well, and has capacity for pretty much everything you might need for a long day in the mountains while not feeling like overkill for shorter outings. It's also totally usable as a commuter/travel backpack, although it's not quite so ideal for that (the lack of a flat bottom makes it liable to fall over if it's leaned up against a wall/desk/etc--not so great if you absent-mindedly set it down with a laptop.)

I'd say the ideal use case is a long day hike with variable weather. I've carried 4L of water (3L camelbak plus 1L bottle), lunch/snacks, poles, several layers (shell, down jacket, fleece), and accessories in this with room to spare. The belt pockets are just big enough to hold items like a normal sized smartphone and sunglasses (although you might struggle to fit a really large phone in there). The dedicated knife pocket on the left shoulder strap is a nice touch too. I have not used the ice ax attachment point on the rear for its intended purpose, but it does provide a nice alternative spot to lash on trekking poles if you want to keep them out of the way. The mesh pocket in the back is great for stashing a light shell, hat/gloves, buff, etc (it's also a nice spot to stow a book if you're using it as a carry-on).

The durability of this bag is really impressive--over the past five years, I've used it for hundreds of days of hiking and bike commuting and as a carry-on on dozens of flights, and the only signs of wear are stains/marks and very minor fraying on a few straps. I expect I'll get many more years of use out of it.

The only (extremely minor) critiques I have are ergonomic details. The waist belt pockets could be just a little bigger to more comfortably fit modern smartphones. The hydration pack sleeve can be a little tricky to load a full 3L bladder in and out of and requires a bit of wrestling to get all the way into a loaded pack. And while the side pockets for water bottles are just big enough to fit a standard 1L Nalgene, it's nearly impossible to securely re-stow one back into the pocket while wearing the backpack--the side straps tend to get in the way. While there's a little room for improvement on these things, they're really minor for how I use the bag and shouldn't dissuade anyone from buying it.

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Shannon G.

Shannon G.wrote a review of on March 31, 2019

4 5

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

Picked up the 2017-18 version and used for a busy 2018-19 ski season plus a few hikes. The Goretex Pro shell material is bomber and stands up to all weather conditions plus yardsales into deep powder while breathing very well. It feels quite a bit sturdier than standard Goretex and has held up to skiing through trees without so much as a scratch. It's not an ultralight jacket, but rather a really solid balance between performance, toughness, and weight.

The material is quite crinkly when new and while it softens up over time it remains more noisy than the average hardshell. Sizing runs a bit large in the torso if worn over just a baselayer, but this works well to permit easy movement with multiple insulating layers. Pit zips and pockets are thoughtfully designed with lots of storage space.

The one big downside is that the ergonomics of the zips feel totally out of place on such a high-end jacket. After dozens of days of use, both the main zip and pit zips remain very stiff and prone to jamming--the main zip jams nearly every time try to zip it up. The zip pulls are very small and difficult to grasp with mitts or gloves--I get that light weight is the goal, but I would gladly sacrifice an extra gram or two for a more substantial pull. The zips are billed as watertight and they do perform well in this regard, so perhaps that treatment keeps it from zipping smoothly. Regardless, something as simple as the zips on a premium jacket at this price point should just work, not require a wrestling match.

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Shannon G.

Shannon G.wrote a review of on April 1, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Picked these up barely-used from someone who didn't like the fit at my gym and they quickly became my hands-down favorite out of the 5 or so pairs of climbing shoes I own. I've used them several times a week in the gym as well as outside on limestone, sandstone, and granite for 4-5 months.

Fit-wise, it's similar in shape to the Solution but slightly tighter, and a little bit wider in the mid and forefoot than the Katana Lace. I took it 1.5 sizes down from street shoes and they're aggressive enough for hard bouldering and comfortable enough for longer sport routes; a full 2 sizes down might be better if you're primarily bouldering in them and like your shoes tight. Regardless, the balance of performance to comfort is excellent.

I know some folks aren't big fans of no-edge shoes, or at least felt that they required some adjustment and getting used to, but for me they've been fantastic from the get-go. The fit puts your big toe in really direct contact with the front of the shoe while holding everything in place, so you get great sensitivity and power. Compared to traditional shoes I found that it's a little more intuitive to hit both smears and small edges accurately (and get tactile feedback when you've placed your foot poorly). The heel feels very secure and solid on hooks, especially if it's laced up tightly.

There are a couple very minor downsides: The laces are not so sturdy--both blew out after about 4 months of use. Big deal--laces are cheap. In my experience they're also a little less ideal for hard toe hooks than some top notch bouldering shoes e.g. Solutions, which have a bigger patch of toe rubber than the Genius can fit around the laces. (I might just suck at toe hooking though.)

If they fit your foot well and you haven't been turned off by the no-edge design, they're outstanding and totally worth the small cost difference vs. other high-end shoes.

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