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Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Lee

Southwest U.S.

Szu-Ping Lee's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Climbing
Running

Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Leewrote a review of on April 11, 2019

5 5

Tenaya is my favorite brand. If you haven’t tried them, you should know that they are generally narrower, precise, and comfortable. Mundaka is their newest performance flagship, which means it is very soft and downturned. In fact this is the only Tenaya that has a split forefoot and heel, and the deletion of midsole. Very sensitive and well suited for those delicate foot works. Fitwise, I wear 11.5 or 12 street shoes and 11 in these is comfortable. I remember someone said these are sized differently from other Tenaya shoes, but I disagree. They are the same sizing to my other 4 pairs of Tenaya shoes. Probably can go 10.5 but I feel no need to do it. My big and second toes are about the same length. The heel, like many have mentioned is deep so it feels baggy to me.

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Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Leewrote a review of on March 20, 2018

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

These are nicely constructed, fairly rigid, moderately down-turned shoes good for sport climbing that demands technical edging. One thing I don't believe any of the reviewers mentioned: they are very wide in the forefoot. I own mostly Tenaya shoes (all narrow) and have 2 pairs of Scarpas (Vapor and Instinct lace). These are at least 3-10 mm wider than my other shoes. Eventually I got use to inside and outside edging in them. But be aware if you are coming from narrower shoes.

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Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Leewrote a review of on February 25, 2018

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs large
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 175 lbs
Size Purchased: US10.5

The general product description is accurate. The EVA (foam commonly seen in running shoes) midsole makes this shoe really good at absorbing shock. But these still have reasonable rigidity for edging. In terms of climbing performance, these are not as good as La Sportiva Boulder X, but are a bit more comfortable and lighter. The rubber is not as grippy as some specialized compounds but still reasonable on dry rock. Don't believe the advertised "wet grip rubber", these are as slippery as any other shoe on wet, polished rock. One thing to keep in mind is that the GoreTex lining makes these a bit warmer.

The other reviewer is correct that they run large. I am usually 11 or 11.5 for approach shoes, but wear 10.5 in these.

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Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Leewrote a review of on November 21, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: Runs small
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 180 lbs
Size Purchased: 44

This is a great pair of technical approach shoes. Sticky, stable, and burly. It fits slightly small but stretches with use. I am usually 45, the 44 I got gave me black toe nails at the beginning, but now it is fine. I climb 5.7 in these shoes.
The one complain I had is that the shoe laces keep coming undone. Mostly it is because the texture of the laces is too smooth. It is an easily fixable problem, though.

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Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Leewrote a review of on October 1, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I have a bit of a fetish when it comes to sleeping bags, and bought this quilt because it was from a quality company and on sale for a deep discount. My thought was to use this quilt to supplant our WM Megalites (32 degree) when doing shoulder season backpacking in 15-20 degree weather. This quilt also doubles as my daily comforter at home. It will serve these 2 purposes I think. However, I have to caution anyone who thinks this is a legit 15 degree sleeper all of its own. First, it is indeed very light, well-made with quality materials. As the other reviewer mentioned, it is incredibly soft. But it is also very short (74 inches) and narrow (40 inches at the shoulder). The loft is more comparable to a 30 degree bag, not 15. Therefore, it is unlikely to provide adequate coverage or warmth in true sub-freezing temperatures unless you are 1) no taller than 5 feet, 2) not a side-sleeper and not moving much when you sleep, and 3) a super warm sleeper with sleeping head gear. I read somewhere that the number "15" in its name actually refers to the amount of fill in ounces, not its temperature rating.

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Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Leewrote a review of on December 7, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs large
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 180 lbs
Size Purchased: 11

I am a Tenaya fanatic. I owned Masai, Inti, Iati (2 pairs), and Tatanka. The Iati fits quite differently from the others. The toe box is large and the shoe fits large too (I am 11 in Iati, 11.5 in everything else. If I really want I can probably do 10.5 in Iati). As a result, Iati is not as good at edging. It is worth keeping in mind this shoe is probably designed for pockets, toeing, and hooking.

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Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Leewrote a review of on September 12, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 180 lbs
Size Purchased: 11.5

I bought the Tatanka, thinking that it will be a little more aggressive than Masai which I have used for several months and liked. It turns out they are almost identical. The main difference is that Tatanka's closure system provides more side support (the orange straps). When outside-edging it feels more stable than the Masai. Otherwise the fit is just about identical which is not necessarily a bad thing. These shoes are quite comfortable. For those who are interested in Tenaya shoes, you need to know that they are narrow. Much narrower than my Scarpa Thunder and Evolve Shaman and Astroman. But interestingly, they are not uncomfortable, likely due to the very supple upper that don't put pressure on your toe knuckles when they are curled. The narrowness of the profile contributes to edging precision and security. The length seems to be true to size. I wear 11.5 or 12 street shoes and order them in 11.5 and don't need to size down.

With both pairs of shoes, my biggest complain is the bagginess of the heels. Maybe I have narrow heels but I also read other people sharing the same comment. On the other hand if you have fat heels (and narrow forefoot), these will be perfect for you. That being said, these are not marketed as bouldering shoes, and my occasional heel hooks were not too insecure. I use these shoes mostly in the gym. I climb at 5.11 level.

Update:
After wearing the Tatanka for a month, I discover that the support is quite a bit more than the Masai due to the side straps. This translates to even more secured edging. Also, the arch is higher and softer so it is a little easier to claw than the Masai. I would give this shoe a 4.5

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Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Leewrote a review of on September 4, 2016

A well designed ultralight tent
4 5

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

I bought the Carbon Reflex 2 with the intention of cutting my tent weight in half (from 4 lbs). Sure it is light, very light. MSR achieved such low weight with wispy-thin materials all around, including the carbon fiber poles that are thinner than a pencil. The ceiling height is low (36 inches) and the tent is not free standing. With these limitations out of the way, how does it perform? I am just back from a 3-day trip in the California Palisades and have to say that the tent performed beyond my expectation. It is longer than other 2-person tents I have used. I am 6'2 and have at least 5 inches at both ends. When staked properly, it is also surprisingly stable and wind resistant. We encountered 30-40 mph gusts and the tent barely shooked. Primarily, this stability comes from that the tent is low and streamlined. It is also surprisingly warm, allowing in very little breeze. The few other things that potential buyers need to be aware of:
1. The ceiling is low, very low. My wife is only 5'5 and she can't sit up without touching the ceiling. If you have bad neck or back, this tent is not for you.
2. The inner tent is all mesh, so blowing sand easily goes through.
3. Because ventilation is limited, condensation can be an issue in humid or rainy conditions. But we didn't have any problem in the relatively dry environment.
4. Unknown durability, especially the poles.
If you can live with these (potential) issues, this is an awesome ultralight tent. My shoulders certainly appreciated it.

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Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Leewrote a review of on August 15, 2016

4 5

The packaging and Backcountry.com's description both said 6 oz for the pad, which is obviously impossible for a full length pad. I bought it with a good discount to see if there is any magic involved. Alas, it weighs 16 oz not 6. Still a solid CCF pad, just not magically lightweight. Compare to Thermorest Zlite Sol, this pad seems slightly thicker but perhaps not quite as warm without the reflective material.

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Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Leewrote a review of on June 3, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 180 lbs
Size Purchased: US11.5

I have asymmetric foot shape (big toe about the same length as the second toe), and slightly wide. The front part of the shoe fits great. All the praises about its edging ability is correct. My toes are together and powerful, there is no dead space at the front. It is also comfortable, I can wear them for 2 hours before my left foot start to get a little sore around the big toe. I think it stretches about 1/4 to 1/2 size.

The problem for me is the heel shape; there is a large air pocket on both sides of my heel which hinders heel hooking ability. I consider my heels pretty normal, but this shoe is designed for those with large calcaneal protrusion (fat heels).

The material doesn't breathe well so I often have sweaty feet, which is something I have not experienced in other shoes (Scarpa Thunder, Evolv Astroman and Shaman). Initially the heel band (the rubber rand that pushes just below the Achilles tendon) was a little tight, but it is now okay after about 2 months of climbing 2-3 times a week.

Sizing: after wearing it for several months, 11.5 is good, which is also my street shoe size. I can probably fit into a 11 but do not want the pain. My other shoes sizes are: Scarpa Thunder and Evolv Shaman US12, Astroman US13.

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Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Leewrote a review of on September 1, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I owned the BaseCamp stove for more than a year now, bought it from the store the week it came out. It was a great concept that provides heat, electricity, and light all in one package. In operation, very small amount of fuel (dried branches) was required to make a very hot fire. The fire is so hot it boils quicker than propane or white gas stoves. You do need to tend to the fire more frequently because the fire is so intense. The ventilation unit was very effective at increasing the efficiency of the burn. Very little debris remains even after a burn that filled the stove with wood. However, the branches need to be somewhat small (wrist thick at the largest) and not too long to fit into the stove. I bought a hand ax which solved this problem.

Two minor limitations:
1. The battery capacity is too small, 2200 mAh was not enough for most modern cellphones.
2. When transporting the stove in a car, the pieces would rattle and make really annoying noises. The worst comes from the thin metal plate that sits on top of the stove. It will be nice to make that collapsible so it can be stowed in a pouch.

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Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Leewrote a review of on March 30, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

The fit and stretchiness of the material of these pants enable exceptional levels of mobility and comfort. They look good enough for work too (better than Carhartt work pants). Another good thing is that they don't wrinkle too much.
The canvas is thick and durable, however it is not a pair of pants for hot/humid weather.

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Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Leewrote a review of on February 23, 2014

4 5

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

I own all 3 (hoody in Atom LT and Nuclei, jacket in Aphix). If you are considering a light synthetic insulated jacket, Arcteryx makes some of the best. If you are considering Aphix jacket specifically, here is what you need to know.
Aphix is part of Arcteryx's "white line", meaning that it was designed with snow sports in mind. What make it a good snow sport jacket?
1. The cut is longer, quite a bit longer than the other two. It goes down to my hip, providing greater coverage.
2. It is thicker, and feels thicker than the other 2 because of the 80g/m^2 coreloft vs. 60g. This difference is most significant in the arms. It feels slightly warmer than Atom LT.
3. The face nylon fabric is more "wrinkly". It is not the tissue paper textured material like in the Atom LT.
4. The arms feels much longer than the other 2 in the same size because (a) it is longer, (b) there is no stretch material at the wrist cuff, so the cuff tends to slide down.
5. All the way from the wrist to just above the hip, a hard-face fleece material provides breathability. I haven't try Aphix in high exertion mountain sport yet, so cannot comment about this. It will be mad if it breaths better than Atom LT, because Atom LT is amazingly breathable. Aphix is definitely more breathable than Nuclei.

Overall, I give the jacket 4/5. It is a nice looking jacket and fits well. The worst part is the cuff. I plan to use this jacket for general hiking in colder climate, and snow shoeing.

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Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Leewrote a review of on February 19, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

Like many others, I am comparing the Nuclei to the gold standard of synthetic insulated jacket that is the Atom LT. A bit of background, I owned my Atom LT for 4+ years now, I am basically wearing it everyday when a little warmth and wind protection is needed. The great thing about Atom LT is you basically don't have to take it off, it hits the magical trifecta of "warm, windproof, and breathable" to a level that is great for 3 season use. My main activities are hiking, backpacking, and climbing.

Comparing between Nuclei and Atom LT, the biggest difference is in the arm pit area, Atom LT has the power stretch fleece material, while Nuclei is nylon fabric throughout. This makes Nuclei warmer, perhaps a little lighter, but not as breathable as Atom LT. I went snowshoeing last weekend in 35-45F, no wind weather, wearing a long sleeve base layer, a thin First Ascent fleece hoody, and Nuclei. Immediately I overheated on the uphill section (2000 ft. in 3 miles)and have to take Nuclei off. Because of its all nylon construction, there is no exit for the sweat vapor to go. I can see this as a good thing on a windy day, but if you tend to sweat a lot when moving, this can cause problems. My synthetic base layer stay wet on the downhill bit because I put the Nuclei on when I got to the top. I know that if I had my Atom LT, I will at least be dry by the time I got back to the trail head.

I plan to use my Nuclei for belaying and hiking on windy days, and as a cold weather around-town piece. It is still a wonderfully crafted jacket, but in my opinion not as versatile as the Atom LT.

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Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Leewrote a review of on July 22, 2013

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Have to admit that this pot/bowl set was an impulsive purchase when browsing the local outdoor retailer. While the set is acceptable, I should have spent a little more to get a better system. Problems with the Trail Lite Duo:
1. The pot holder is a snap-on design, basically a T stick that is held by an U attachment. However it is very easy to pull the stick out of the attachment if you are not careful or don't know how the joint works and try to force the matter. The problem with this thing is that it also works as the retainer of the lid. So basically you have to take it on and off at least twice when you use the pot. Once the stick is off, it is a pain to stick it back in.With only one weekend of use, the attachment is already coming loose. I can't imagine it last a year. MSR's Quick and Alpinist pots use a different mechanism that may work better.

2. The lid of the mug is difficult to use. It is not easy to open (which can be a good thing). When it opens, it keeps falling into the mug. I was doing this in summer without a glove one. It is most-likely not going to work well in winter.

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Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Leewrote a review of on June 29, 2013

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I bought the XL size of this twin-bag out of curiosity. I thought it will be a good idea to have separation of dirty and clean, or shirt and shorts.
In the end, the quality of the product is top notch, but even the XL is too small for more than a few days of supply of my summer underwear/baselayer. It might be better suited for girls though.

I am perplexed about how to use this bag. Maybe as an organizer inside of a larger stuff sac?

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Szu-Ping Lee

Szu-Ping Leewrote a review of on March 30, 2013

5 5

Just came back from a spring mountaineering trip up to 10000 ft. with TNF Assault 2 tent. The tent handled sustained 30mph alpine wind very well, only using the 4 corners and 2 tie-downs. The sleeve system distributed the wind pressure well; the side wall did get pushed in but is expected.
No condensation issues even with everything zipped up but an 1-inch hole in the back window. However it is probably due to the windy condition that the air flow is good.
I am 6'2, and I had no issues with the length of the tent. I share the tent with my wife who is 5'6. The space worked, but was not spacious (boots outside, packs inside). If you absolutely don't want to come in contact with the tent wall or want to "stretch out" inside of the tent, then this is not a 2-person tent for you. For light and fast alpinism, it can work well with the exception of rainy conditions.

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