Free 2-Day Shipping on Orders Over $50
dannew

dannew

dannew

dannewwrote a review of on September 8, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

My kids argued over who would get this one.

We looked at lots of packs in this size, and this was the standout. Nearly as comfortable as the Marmot Tool Box and Patagonia Refugio, and as sturdy as the TNF Borealis, this is by far the easiest daypack to load. The pictures up top don't show it, but its single main compartment opens so wide that you can take a big item (like a 14" binder) and just place it inside, instead of fitting each corner then sliding it down. And it still has good organization for smaller items, including a laptop sleeve, all accessed through that wide-opening main compartment.

Winner. Well done, Osprey.

(0)

 

0 Comments

dannew

dannewwrote a review of on September 8, 2019

5 5

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

We loaded up a lot of packs in this size (the sweet spot for holding our middle-schoolers' books, lunches, and water), and this was the standout for comfort. The waist strap is a welcome addition missing in similar packs.

It also has by far the best stuff-it pocket: slim when not in use, but highly expandable, with a smart closure clip at the top. Love it. If the 26L runs too tight for you (as it for us - just a weee bit too small), consider the 30L.

Nitpicks: side-pockets lack places to clip a water bottle, but then again, they're so deep you may not need them. This is a quality pack.

(0)

 

0 Comments

dannew

dannewwrote a review of on September 8, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This stands out over other packs in its size with how well it carries when loaded when loaded. It's not a frame pack, clearly, but it hauls heavier loads better than most daypacks thanks to the stiff sheet in the back.

It's easy to load and has deep side pockets for water bottles. The laptop sleeve is easy to access and works for large books, too.

As another reviewer noted, it doesn't stand up on the ground, so if that's an issue for you, consider the Patagonia Refugio, Marmot Tool Box, or Osprey Quasar.

(0)

 

0 Comments

dannew

dannewwrote a review of on September 8, 2019

4 5

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

This is a classy bag, worth 5-stars if it suits you. It's well-made, spacious, and comfortable.
4-stars because it could suit a lot more people with a longer zipper in the top compartment. That pocket is big enough to hold items 14-inches wide (like our son's binder) and even wider, but you can't get them through the top.
A longer zipper would fix the problem, stretching down the seam several more inches, as in many BD top-load packs. That would also make it easier to find items if you've stuffed several smaller things into the main compartment.
If the loading isn't an issue for you, then this is a winner.

(0)

 

0 Comments

dannew

dannewwrote a review of on September 8, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This bag is comfy, roomy, and easy to load. Of the bags we tried, it's most comparable to the Patagonia Refugio 28L, and the advantage here is the bag shape: the Refugio (also a good bag) is wider at the bottom, while this is wider at the top, making it easier to stuff in those last items.
That shape means it doesn't stand up when placed on the ground, so if that troubles you, consider the Refugio or the excellent Osprey Quasar. If you don't mind laying it flat and want a pack with a good laptop/hydration sleeve accessed through its own zipper, this is a great choice.

(0)

 

0 Comments

dannew

dannewwrote a review of on September 8, 2019

5 5

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

This pack is especially comfortable in this sweet-spot size (perfect for our middle-schoolers' daypacks). Only the Marmot Tool Box felt as good (and the TNF Borealis, if you're loading it heavy). This pack carries beautifully and has a roomy laptop compartment that works well for oversized books.

Nitpicks: the front zippered pocket would be more useful if not so slim, and the biggest space in the main compartment is at the bottom of the bag - part of the reason it carries better than top-heavy alternatives - but that makes it hard to stuff in a lunchbox or pair of shoes after loading other items. The comparable Backcountry 27L Daypack is the opposite shape, and easier to load stuff at the top, but that shape means a bit more weight higher and further from your back, so this pack has the edge in comfort.

(0)

 

0 Comments

dannew

dannewwrote a review of on August 10, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I can't say enough good things about this glove.

So here are a few: warm in cold temps, forgiving on warm days. Dextrous. Quick to dry. Durable.

I've now used these on snow more than any other glove, bumping my old BD Guides. The main difference I appreciate here is the integrated insulation. Granted, you can't pull out the liners for drying, but I love not having to fuss with stuffing my hand the right way into a damp liner.

It isn't fully waterproof - I haven't found a winter glove that is - but it does as well in damp as anything I've tried.

Fit: ideal slim, long fingers like mine. I fall between M and L by Rab's sizing (and Marmot's and BD's), and for this snug cut, L is right for me. Have wider fingers? Consider Marmot's Ultimate Ski Glove, which shares a lot of this glove's good qualities.

Easy 5 stars, no question.

(0)

 

0 Comments

dannew

dannewwrote a review of on August 10, 2017

5 5

The Phantom is the little brother of DMM's Shadow. Smooth gate and lock, slim nose (narrow enough to unlock the DMM Pivot, though not the Mega Jul - need a Petzl Spirit or Edelrid Pure Screw for that).

The Shadow is close in size, weight, and profile to several other good offset D's, including Petzl's Spirit, Mammut's Wall Micro, Edelrid's Pure Screw. But the Phantom sneaks past them all as the smallest and lightest.

How light? 10 grams less than the Shadow may not sound like much, but you can feel the difference. This has the 'Whoa! That's light' effect when you pick it up.

If the size suits you, the 'biner will.

(0)

 

0 Comments

dannew

dannewwrote a review of on August 10, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

A great go-to for anchoring, with a versatile shape, including its low-profile nose.

Similar options include the DMM Shadow (a wee bit wider), Mammut Wall Micro (locks in fewer turns), Edelrid Pure Screw (a wee bit smaller), and DMM Phantom (4 grams lighter and a good bit smaller). All are close in weight. Like the Spirit, the Pure Screw also has a slim nose to pair with auto-lockers (see John Stewart's photo, below, of the Spirit with the Mega Jul).

But for its size, this is the lightest by a few grams, and it's the staple of my rack for anchoring.

(0)

 

0 Comments

dannew

dannewwrote a review of on August 10, 2017

5 5

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

This is a lot like the DMM Shadow and Petzl Spirit locker offset D's. I've long used the Spirit and could easily see putting this in the rack instead. This isn't an H-frame like the other two, but it's close in weight and profile.

Here are the picky details, since climbers have a right to be picky: this is a little narrower than the Spirit and the gate spring is a bit softer. But the biggest difference is the screw: aggressive grip here, and I can spin it shut in 2 turns (vs 4 for the Spirit and 5 for the Shadow).

(1)

 

0 Comments

dannew

dannewwrote a review of on August 10, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Quick comparison of three lightweight lockers:
DMM Shadow
Petzl Spirit
Mammut Wall Micro

All are offset D's with similar strength, weight, and profile. They're 'normal' sized - smaller than BD's Vaporlock and larger than DMM's Phantom Screwgate. I've used the Spirit the most (along with the slightly smaller Edelrid Pure Screw), but I can easily see going with any one of them.

Since personal preferences change with little things, here are the details: this has the widest frame at the top, with a more gentle angle than the Spirit, and firmest gate spring.

BD's Positron is in this general group, too, though it's a tad heavier and stronger, with a slightly wider gate.

How else to choose? Maybe from their multilingual pictogram instructions.
• Clearest: Petzl. A few words go a long way.
• Best rebus puzzle: BD. 'Check for signs of wear before clipping into a clothesline'?
• Most amusing pictures: DMM. 'Never, ever use your carabiner to build a sandcastle.'

(1)

 

0 Comments

dannew

dannewwrote a review of on August 10, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Puns aside, this has long been my favorite 'biner for belay. Works smoothly with an ATC in guide mode, is big enough for a munter, is small enough to take on an alpine climb. Love it.

It's similar to the Edelrid HMS Strike, which has a profile even more like the Petzl Attache. Same weight as the Edelrid, same screw lock, 2KN stronger for BD (main axis). This has a flatter frame, and while it's hard to describe gate feel, BD's has a more steady 'push' while open; I like it.

Personally, I find the ample gate opening and wide frame so good that I don't feel the need for a bigger carabiner, like the RockLock. This hits my sweet spot of size and function.

Compared to BD's Vaporlock, this is a wee bit larger, with a straighter spine, and 3 KN stronger. Both are great, and while I prefer this for the size, the weight-conscious may want to save half an ounce with the Vaporlock.

(0)

 

0 Comments

dannew

dannewwrote a review of on August 10, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Want a Petzl Attache but can't find one? The Attache is a common favorite, and OutdoorGearLabs Editors' Choice, but it's not available here on BackCountry. This fills the gap, as it's nearly identical in shape and function. Same nose, same profile, same gate action.
(Very) minor differences for the picky - this one is:
$2 cheaper
9 grams heavier
1KN stronger in the minor axis
1KN stronger in the main axis, gate open
a teeeeeny bit shallower rope notch along the main axis

The biggest difference (though still minor) is the gate screw. Edelrid's is slightly bigger, with grippier teeth. I prefer it.

Great 'biner.

(0)

 

0 Comments

dannew

dannewwrote a review of on September 28, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Good bag, with a top cinch that reliably holds the chalk inside.

But what makes this bag great is the ample zipper pouch. It's easily big enough to hold keys, a wallet, phone, or, in my case, the remote glucose monitor for my daughter (Type 1 diabetes) when we're climbing together. Nice!

(0)

 

0 Comments

dannew

dannewwrote a review of on September 28, 2015

4 5

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

The bag is nicely designed and a great size for day trips. Note that it hangs over the right shoulder, unlike many other sling bags, in case that matters to anyone considering it.

But neither my wife nor I could get it to hang right, whatever the load or strap length. The padded portion of the strap would always ride on edge, making it more like a rope attachment than a pad. Maybe it was just our particular bag?

(0)

 

0 Comments

dannew

dannewwrote a review of on September 28, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

If you've gotta protect your food - and the bears - this is a good way to do it. Rainproof, solid, fairly light.

The most common complaint about Bear Vaults is that they can be hard to open, especially in the cold. More flexible plastic at the 'push' sections of the screw top now make it simple, and I haven't needed a tool in mild freezing temps. Below that, I might still keep a coin or card handy.

How much will it hold? Depends on what you put in there. No problem with 4 days of (freeze-dried or efficiently packed) meals for one person (or 2 for 2), plus toothpaste, soap, etc. I also squeezed in 5 days of solo-packing food , but it sure was tight.

(2)

 

0 Comments

0 Comments

dannew

dannewwrote a review of on September 28, 2015

Fair cost, easy setup
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This bundle makes it simple to set up weight-assisted training, something lots of climbers lack on home boards. For more on the training benefits, check out the info at Metolius or TrainingBeta.

Is this set worth it? The main question is cost, since it isn't hard to get your own eye hooks, rope, and pulleys, and on that count, this is a fair set. The pulleys are SMC CRx and work well. A bit over $30 for pulleys, $4 for cord, and a buck or two for eye hooks = the package price. Fair enough, and this makes it easy. The installation instructions are short, simple, and spot-on.

Be sure to put your center eye hook a few inches off-center! Once you attach weight, the 'biner will pull to the center line.

(1)

 

0 Comments

dannew

dannewwrote a review of on September 28, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Yep, mounting on plywood is ideal, but if you want to put this handsome board directly into studs, you can.
Screw holes are 16 inches apart, for standard stud spacing. That'll cover most homes, even older ones like ours.
Still, not all studs span a 16 inch gap. It's another 2 inches to the thick ridge between the outermost finger holes and the next set in, so you could drill a set 18 or 20 inches apart.
A few old homes have 24 inch studs, and while the board is wide enough, that's so far apart, you'd probably want a plywood layer to start.
Great board! Functional and comfortable!

(1)

 

0 Comments

dannew

dannewwrote a review of on August 28, 2015

Near Perfect
5 5

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

These are the warmest, most comfortable gloves I've found, a nice update to my 12-year-old BD Guide Gloves.

I loved my old gloves and considered a replacement pair, but the additional dexterity of the Rab Guides sold me. I used the pinch test: could I pull the (ridiculously tiny) zipper on my shell without removing the gloves? No problem with the Rab.

The only glove to do better was Marmot's Ultimate Ski, also a great glove. While those are slightly more bulky overall, the thumb shape is key. The round thumb of the Rab (top in the photo) leaves a gap that rolls under a pinch. Marmot's is more, well, thumb-shaped.

So why this one? Marmot's glove has a longer cuff, but otherwise, the gloves are similar. I went with the slimmer profile of the Rab, and I definitely keep my gloves on for more tasks than I did with my old BD Guides.

Hand size: long, slim fingers, size 7.5 to 8. Happy with the size L.

(2)

 

0 Comments