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chad prudhomme

chad prudhomme

Arkansas

chad prudhomme's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Climbing

chad prudhomme's Bio

I think humans have an innate need for adventure. Perilous treks into strange and unknown places were once common from prehistoric times through the settling of the new world right up to the 20th century when Mt Everest and Antarctica were conquered. Today our lives tend toward comfort, repetition, and boredom. Hiking for me is an escape from that. It's another world out there in the remote wild. Every hike is a magical thing that when completed seems so surreal as to have perhaps been an illusion that never happened. Every single day my mind turns repeatedly toward whatever hike is planned next. So long as I can walk there will always be a multi-day hike on my calender.

chad prudhomme

chad prudhommewrote a review of on February 15, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I gave it as a gift but have feedback to share

I bought this for my wife and it has turned out to be a great pack. It sports a lot of pockets which the wife much prefers to the stripped down packs that are to my liking. Despite all the pockets it is actually a light weight pack at 2.7 pounds.

I'm not sure this pack would be comfortable hauling heavy weight, but in the 20 pound range my wife finds it quite comfortable.

No complaints so far. Kelty always seems to turn out decent gear at a good price and sometimes remarkable gear for the price. This is one of those sometimes.

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chad prudhomme

chad prudhommewrote a review of on January 17, 2018

2 5

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

We own several good quality headlamps with representatives from all the major manufacturers. This is the first from Black Diamond.

In most regards this light is typical of a good head lamp. It does all the typical things and at 200 lumens is fairly bright. What I noticed right off the bat is the head band. It somehow stretches with not too much tension. It's perhaps slightly more comfortable to wear than our Petzl lights and is unequivocally more comfortable than our B grade lights from Energizer and Field and Stream.

Update: after using this light on 2 trips and a little bit around the house it has malfunctioned.

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chad prudhomme

chad prudhommewrote a review of on December 5, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I gave it as a gift but have feedback to share

This bag has to be the best bang for your buck. I bought it as a gift and so far it has gotten great remarks. It's not too expensive, not heavy, not too bulky, and not too slim. There are many bags that beat this one, but not for anywhere near the price. The zipper across the feet is a nice bonus.

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chad prudhomme

chad prudhommewrote a review of on November 20, 2017

5 5

The down in my bag was tested at 920 fill. Maybe they're using the most flattering test methods available, but I think it's safe to say that it's well above 700 by any measure. Every lot varies so who knows what will turn up in your bag. The water repellent down adds a bit of fill power of course, but that's actually a good thing.

This bag is roomy. It includes a mesh storage bag.

The material on the inside feels decent. It isn't the silkiest feeling bag I own, but it's nothing disappointing.

I haven't had this thing in the field yet, but I will update my review in a couple of weeks after a December hike.

Oh yeah, did I mention the 920 fill?

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chad prudhomme

chad prudhommewrote a review of on November 17, 2017

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 11"
Weight: 220 lbs
Size Purchased: large

Umm, I've got Fruit of the Loom t-shirts thicker than this "sweater".

Had it been advertised as a shirt it would have easily earned 5 stars. The collar is sweet, the fit is nice, and the American quality is evident.

It's just that in my mind a sweater is by definition thicker than an average shirt. This isn't.

If you're looking for a high quality fashionable yet functional shirt I recommend this product. If you're looking for a sweater I'd move along.

As it happens I very much like my new SHIRT so I'll happily be keeping it.

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chad prudhomme

chad prudhommewrote a review of on November 12, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I thought I'd try something besides the Smart Wool socks that I love and depend on. I'm not disappointed. These are my new favorite socks. The polyester helps these socks feel soft. I wear them to work and at the end of the day I can pull my boots off and within just a few minutes these socks feel dry. This as opposed to my all wool socks that feel damp for 30 minutes or more from just a little sweat. I have no idea if these socks have anti-microbial additives, but I've worn them for 2 rough days hiking in the Ouachita mountains and my feet didn't feel or smell funky at the end. A+ socks.

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chad prudhomme

chad prudhommewrote a review of on November 12, 2017

5 5

I've had a lot of freeze dried food and the majority of it is somewhere between disgusting and barely edible. In other words I'm not a freeze dried food kind of person (but keep your hands off my chilli mac).
This meal is actually great. Hands down one of the best 2 or 3 I've ever tried.

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chad prudhomme

chad prudhommewrote a review of on November 12, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I originally bought this pillow for my daughter in small. I bought myself a larger pillow in another brand. Mine was too soft and mushy for me while this pillow was too firm for my daughter. We made a trade and are both quite pleased now. So if you like a firm pillow this might be one of your better options. Small is definitely too small for my big head though.

This reminds me of the night we made our pillow trade. I did not notice the fire ants that I set my tent up 6 inches from on the second night hiking Eagle Rock Loop in Arkansas (the first night we set camp in a copperhead den). They engulfed my tent, but somehow only about a dozen made it inside. Fire ants bad. This has nothing to do with pillows, but is a better tid-bit than you might find in a fortune cookie.

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chad prudhomme

chad prudhommewrote a review of on November 12, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I like a firm pillow. This pillow is not firm. Otherwise it seems fine. I traded it off to my daughter who had a firmer camping pillow. We are both very happy now.

I went ahead and gave it 4 stars because it does seem like a good pillow and I reckon lots of folks don't have so big a head as mine and might like a softy pillow just fine.

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chad prudhomme

chad prudhommewrote a review of on October 9, 2017

1 5

The peculiar spices ruined this meal. I just got back from a 4 day hike and this was the worst meal I had. I know this is all very subjective as we all have different tastes, but that choice of spices used by the maker is just way off.

I forced about a third of it down before giving up and turning to a pop tart. After lunch was done I was packing up and couldn't bring myself to lick my spoon clean because I didn't want that taste in my mouth again.

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chad prudhomme

chad prudhommewrote a review of on October 4, 2017

5 5

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

The fit is wonderful. They look like they fit a bit snug (not tight, but a fitted look) due to their cut, but they seem to move well and don't bind. The elastic band is a welcome change from the zippers and buttons I'm used to. The polyester has just a slight bit of stretch.

I got the brick red. It's what I imagined the color "brick" would be which is to say a tad darker than the image might suggest.
I'm stoked about these shorts and expect they'll be my new favorite hiking shorts.

UPDATE: Ok I've worn these shorts on some backpacking trips and must add that the elastic waist might not be too great. The shorts constantly get pushed down by my tent which is lashed to the bottom of my pack. Not too big a deal, but an annoyance.

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chad prudhomme

chad prudhommewrote a review of on September 30, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

It's a cup.
It weighs nothing and costs much less than unobtainium cups. I haven't tried cooking with it though I suspect in this regard unobtainium might work a tad better. If you do try cooking with this cup drop me a line and let me know how that works.

I like it enough that it stays in my kitchen cabinet at home and gets used regularly. Its dimensions feel good in the hand. It is rigid and seems durable. In photos it looks like it has a lid, but as mentioned by others it doesn't.

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chad prudhomme

chad prudhommewrote a review of on September 30, 2017

Solid buy
5 5

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

I bought this for my wife, but because it is several ounces lighter than my own pad it is now my pad of choice when the wife isn't on the trail with me.

The first thing I noticed upon initial inflation is that the material seems quite durable. This pad is a bit thicker than our other ones and is remarkably comfortable. It does self inflate.

It is a tad heavy. My daughters pad is much, much lighter and is also much less comfortable and durable. My pad is heavier due to not being tapered and being longer. Mine however, is less comfortable and appears to be a bit less durable based on how the materials look and feel. So the pro4 wins out amongst our sleeping pads.

That's not surprising. You get what you pay for and the pro4 is a mid grade pad from a well regarded company. A solid choice.

I said it was a tad heavy. I base that on comparative weights against other pads. Really though it feels light to me. I'm a light hiker, not ultralight. Weight is always on my mind, but my family's packs are plenty light so a few extra ounces for a comfortable and durable big 4 item isn't a problem to me.

We've only used it a few times. So far there's no negatives to mention. This item is one of the more satisfying gear purchases that I've made.

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chad prudhomme

chad prudhommewrote a review of on September 19, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 11"
Weight: 220 lbs
Size Purchased: Large

I'm torn on this pullover. I got exactly what I wanted and yet I'm not impressed.

I wanted a thin lightweight shirt to stuff in my pack for cool evenings. This pullover is perfect for that.

But there's something about the material that leaves me questioning its quality. Part of that is simply how thin it is. It stretches a lot. You can see through it if you hold it to light. It's soft, almost too soft. It seems that all of its qualities are also its shortcomings.

Still I give it 4 stars...tentatively. The fit is normal for TNF. In anything else I wear an XL, but with this a large fits me perfect.




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chad prudhomme

chad prudhommewrote a review of on September 11, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I gave it as a gift but have feedback to share
Fit: True to size

I bought this for my daughter. We do a lot of backpacking and I wanted to put her in a good technical layering system. This jacket does that very well. It's not a stand alone Winter coat. The insulation is good, but there isn't enough of it to serve that purpose. It's great for temps in the 40s and 50s and it does block some wind. Below those temps this jacket needs a lot of help to keep a kid warm.

I own the same jacket in an adult size. The jackets are absolutely identical in every way. I've worn this jacket in temps as low as 32 degrees while hiking. With a fleece mid-layer, a mid-weight base layer, gloves, hat, and all the standard Winter gear I was just barely able to stay comfortable in camp. I imagine a child would have gotten cold in identical circumstances.

I am nonetheless glad to add this jacket to my daughter's hiking gear. Not only is it a great technical piece in the field, but she can happily sport it at school.

You really need to measure your child and use the size chart. It's the size I would have expected for her, but when ordering online you don't want the hassle of having to return something. My daughter is 4' 11'' and weighs about 90 pounds. The large fits her with enough room to grow that she can wear it this winter and next.

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chad prudhomme

chad prudhommewrote a review of on September 11, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Let me preface my review by admitting that I've not carried that many good packs in the field. Most of us haven't. But I know what I have carried and how they felt.

If I had unlimited funds to buy any pack made this is the pack I'd choose. Apparently a lot of people think the same way because this pack shows up in almost every "best pick" article I've ever read.
The cooling effect of this pack's design is phenomenal. The load handling and comfort is...well, I don't think it could get any better in the 19-26 pound range that I hike in.

The pack is light, but not so light that you question it's abilities. It's probably as close to ultra-light as you can get without running into the issues that ultra-light packs are notorious for. I have not carried 35 pounds in this pack (and likely never will), but I have no doubt that it'll handle it like a champ. It transfers weight to my torso better than any pack I've ever tried on (and I've tried on a bunch with weight bags in local outlets). I mean like all the weight is on my torso. I'm just blown away about that. Being a lightweight pack it doesn't have a bunch of pockets. The compression straps are very thin. I'm sure they'll hold up over time, but I do wonder.

I wish it had a pack cover. Having experienced the weight gain of a soaked pack I endeavored to and succeeded in getting all my gear into my pack rather than lashed to it for the express purpose of being able to use a cover. Now that I have this pack I'm relying on a poncho, which admittedly works. Still I'm fond of a pack cover and may have to splurge for Osprey's premium priced offering. Incidentally, the reason I like a pack cover (a poncho is actually better at keeping my pack dry) is because in the Arkansas heat it's sometimes nice to get rained on. Maybe that's just crazy talk.

Of all the gear that I've ever purchased and reviewed for hiking there is no other item that I can more confidently and enthusiastically recommend than this pack.

Update: So I've had this pack for a couple years now and I've used it for a total of about 175 miles. It has held up, not one problem. I do have a minor complaint about the hip belt. The padded part that sits on my hip is about 2 inches shorter than I'd like. The hip belt works well, but I notice the end of the padded part a lot. It's slightly uncomfortable. It's never caused chaffing or anything, but it annoys me as I constantly feel it.

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