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benderob7

benderob7

Colorado Springs

benderob7's Passions

Skiing
Biking
Running
Climbing
Hiking & Camping

benderob7's Bio

I'm benderob7, and the mountains are my home. I'm originally from the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, and I now reside in the Front Range of Colorado. I am passionate about the items listed above, and you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who is more passionate about them than I am. If there's a mountain, I'll find a way up it and down it in the most ethical and stylish way possible. I'm a huge gear junkie, constantly staying up to date on the latest and greatest equipment on the market. If you like my reviews, feel free to check out my gear in action on Instagram @benderob_7

benderob7

benderob7wrote a review of on January 27, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

The Brooks-Range Drift 15 sleeping bag is simply the best ultralight mummy sleeping bag anyone could ever want. I have owned the Drift 15 for about a year now and have used it on the order of 8 nights here in the Colorado Front Range, and I honestly can't complain about anything. For starters, the Drift 15 is, as the name implies, a bag rated for "15ish" degree temperatures. I can absolutely confirm this is not an inflated rating. I've used it into the 20s several times and stayed toasty warm, so I would be comfortable using the bag probably even past 15 degrees. The Drift 15 has 22.5 ounces of 850 fill down, which is more than literally every other bag in the same category; however, the Drift 15 still remains to be just as light as the other bags. The 15-denier fabric is the perfect thickness for an ultralight bag while remaining supple and doesn't have the "crinkle" sound of other bags. The vertical baffles do allow for some down shifting, but it’s easy to fix by worming the down into the less-filled areas. The Halo hood is an ingenious design, and I've never felt cold air coming in through the collar. The zipper is, of course, rather flimsy, but it comes with the weight savings. The zipper is not especially "catchy" if you take care to run the fabric out of the way of the zipper pull as you move it. There is a small Velcro pocket (4"x4") on the inside of the bag, which is good for small items like contact lens cases or lip balm. The Drift 15 packs down per the manufacturer's stated size, but you can get it about half of that length (about the size of a cantaloupe) by using a compression bag. One thing to note is that the tighter you compress the bag, the longer it takes for it to fully loft. If you've been on the trail all day, I'd personally suggest laying it out for the down to loft as soon as you get to camp. Sizing note – I’m 6’2” and the Regular Drift 15 is just long enough. For anyone taller, I’d recommend the Long. Overall, the Drift 15 is a standalone sleeping bag. I wouldn't be surprised if this sleeping bag line took over as the new industry standard for lightweight sleeping bags.

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benderob7

benderob7wrote a review of on January 26, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This pack is so light, airy, and comfortable that it will literally cause you to not mind carrying more than you should. The Osprey Exos 48 is the perfect hybrid ultralight framed pack that literally packs all the features you could ever want or need. For starters, I call the Exos a "hybrid" pack because it blends the best of both worlds of ultralight frameless packs and traditional internal frame packs. If this pack were made without a frame, it could probably be considered an ultralight pack due to the consideration Osprey took to make the rest of the pack light as well. In my own experience, it seems as though internal frame packs (with a metal frame) tend to be too "beefy" in terms of fabric strength and construction. However, the Exos 48 is still able to have a metal internal frame AND be in the same category as ultralight packs.

I've used the Exos 48 in conditions ranging from scorching heat on the Barr Trail on Pike's Peak to freezing conditions with skis attached in the Sawatch. Yes, it is possible to attach skis in the a-frame configuration using the side compression straps, but it is not very practical and should be avoided (as such). In terms of weight capacity for this pack, I wouldn't recommend carrying more than 25 lbs, as it can begin to cause bruising on your hip bones due to the flimsy-ish hipbelt (again, not an issue because it isn't meant to carry more than a light load). The skis on the side I would consider an emergency-only case. Under normal weights, the hipbelt is super comfortable and not an issue.

There's not a feature on this pack that I wish it had, and there's not a feature that I wish it didn't have. The removable top lid is great, especially for those bare-bones overnighters or long day hikes which require less and more gear, respectively. The accompanying FlapJacket is great. The ergo-pull hipbelt feature is perfect, and makes normal hipbelts feel bad about themselves. The mesh pockets are really stretchy, and the side ones hold 1L Nalgenes well. The mesh is not impervious to ripping, so avoid using relatively sharp objects in the mesh pockets with a full pack because it can rip. The mesh backpanel works great, and affords a lot of breathability on hot days. All other standard features are great.

If you're looking for a lightweight internal frame pack but don't want to go full frameless, the Osprey Exos 48 is for you. With 48 liters of capacity, it is perfect for luxury overnighters or ultralight week-long fastpacks. Whatever your style, you can't go wrong with this one. It's good.

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benderob7

benderob7wrote a review of on January 25, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

With the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm, you will be catching Zs all night long. Never once will you be woken up in the middle of the night feeling the cold of the ground conducting through the compressed insulation of your sleeping bag onto your back. Never once will you go to bed exhausted from the trail, only to be woken up hours later with a sore hip on the ground due to the air in the pad cooling and compressing. The days of a bad sleep in the backcountry are over. The NeoAir XTherm is simply the best air pad on the market. With an R-value of 5.7 quilters will laud the warmth supplied by the pad, and side sleepers (as myself) will never wake up again with their hip on the ground. The 2.5 inch thick pad is thick enough to be able to let some air out of the pad to really dial in the comfort and sleep on a cloud. The internal horizontal baffling of the XTherm is genius - the pad doesn't bounce around like an air mattress when shifting weight. I'm 6'2" and I got the Long size so that I wouldn't have to put my pillow off of the pad - great decision and well worth the extra 2-3 ounces. The pad is definitely louder than probably other air mattresses, but it's never been an issue to fall asleep for me in the 8 times that I've used it. Can't put it any more plain - if you are tired (pun intended) of not getting a good night's sleep in the backcountry, order this pad. It will change your whole view on how great sleeping in the backcountry can be.

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benderob7

benderob7wrote a review of on January 25, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

The Black Diamond Chaos harness is quite possibly one of the best all-around performance-based harnesses in the product line. There are harnesses that are cheaper, lighter, more comfortable, and have some better features, but the Chaos harness is simply the best combination of all of the aforementioned qualities. The Chaos is designed for Trad climbing, but I've found that it excels at every climbing discipline (sport, TR, etc.). The Chaos is extremely comfortable, due in part to the ergonomic hip design as well as the elastic leg loops; therefore, I have no problem wearing the harness around all day in the gym or crag. Others have also noted this, but the Chaos does not have ice clipper slots (as it is not intended for ice climbing) but the ice clippers come with an attachment that make them compatible with any harness. However, you can still wear it ice climbing so long as you are not leading on ice and you put the harness on before you don crampons. I wore it all day for three days in Ouray recently, and it was comfortable on top of several layers as well as under jackets, etc. Overall, this is a great harness, and it is well worth the extra $$$ for any serious climber who plans on being in their harness all day. Great product, BD.

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