Free 2-Day Shipping on Orders Over $50*
Maia B.

Maia B.

Planet Earth

Maia B.'s Passions

Climbing
Snowboarding

Maia B.'s Bio

Always looking to take it to the next level.

Maia B.

Maia B.wrote a review of on February 27, 2017

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I've used this pack for maybe 15 or so days of backcountry touring since I got it in November. I love so many things about it but I'm very frustrated by a few design flaws.

The love:
- Fits well and very comfortable to ski in
- Whistle on sternup strap
- Love the external helmet carry!!!
- Roomy dedicated skins pocket (not sure if it's waterproof)
- Dedicated avy gear pocket
- Diagonal carry, side A-frame carry, and snowboard carry, with really beefy reinforced straps
- Ice axe carry strap
- Love the big velcro grippers for the ski pole carry, fits around my folded Z-poles
- Roomy hip belt pockets can actually fit my snacks
- Hydration bladder and Avalung compatible

The hate:
- Hydration bladder is not stored on the back door flap
- The avy gear pocket takes too much volume from the pack, and yet isn't tall enough to fit BD's own Deploy 7 shovel unless the pack is totally empty. If you have a medium-large shovel, packing around it and then repacking it if you want to use your shovel to dig a snowpit is ridiculous.
- The pack is already breaking after 3 months of use. The helmet High-Carry mode has two tabs sewn onto the panels of the shoulder straps; hooking straps into these tabs wraps a holder over your helmet for the climb. These tabs are about to rip off on my pack. I contacted BD to get it fixed or replaced under warranty, and was told that a fix wasn't feasible and it could not be replaced because they had no more stock in this pack. Very frustrating that one of my favorite features broke almost immediately.

This pack has all the killer features for me. I can live with the avy gear pocket being an awkward size; though it is frustrating, I could just get a smaller shovel. But I'm really disappointed that the helmet high-carry feature is already broken after 3 months, and that there's no recourse for me even under warranty.

(0)

 

0 Comments

Maia B.

Maia B.wrote a review of on February 9, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I bought these because I liked my BD Virago mittens for their durability and waterproofing; but they are only midweight and I had nothing truly warm for the New England backcountry.

While ski touring in 0F and below temps, when my hands got cold, I just popped these babies over some merino liner gloves and within a few minutes my fingers were back in business, no handwarmers needed. I didn't even have to take them off to transition my splitboard from ski mode to ride mode thanks to the dexerity---good thing too, because 60mph winds are no joke!

As far as I'm concerned these are the king of gloves. Super durable and comfortable; great powder skirt; clips to clip them together as well as loops on the ends to clip onto a biner; completely waterproof; pretty good dexterity; and great warmth.

They do seem to run small. I got them in the same size as my Virago mittens, which are very roomy and accommodate a thick liner glove, but found these gloves felt a whole size smaller. I would consider going up a size if you want to wear thick liners. They will accommodate thin liners (and pack out a little after some use) regardless.

Love these gloves!

(0)

 

0 Comments

Maia B.

Maia B.wrote a review of on February 6, 2017

Didn't fit my boots
3 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

I replaced the older Karakoram Prime straps with these hoping to use them as "toecap" style straps, but they didn't fit my boots right. The top half of the strap wouldn't contact the top half of my boots. Also, I had to crank the toe ratchet almost all the way down even after I'd adjusted the toe slider to center on the boot's toe.

Strap looked really great, I wish it would have fit!

I have size 8.5 boots in the medium sized Women's Prime.

(0)

 

0 Comments

Maia B.

Maia B.wrote a review of on February 6, 2017

5 5

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

I've put at least 25 days on these pants now, and a few weekends were I lived in them and slept in them.

They're awesome, with all the right features and none of the wrong ones.

Things I love:
- Freedom of movement! The AK series is targeted for touring and I have been splitboard touring in these a bunch. They definitely give you movement range to freely skin.
- Integrated gaiter/cuff to keep snow out of your boots
- Awesome zippered pockets including beacon-sized zippered thigh pockets
- Thigh zips (no mesh) for ventilation
- Goretex is impervious to water and resuscitates after being washed
- Right level of protection without insulation in a thick shell
- Velcro tabs in the waistband to keep it on your hips
- Jacket interface loop on the back waistband
- Belt loops!
- Have been bombproof in durability
- Dark blue color is attractive but not too boring

Love these pants! They have been worth the price to me many times over now.

(0)

 

0 Comments

Maia B.

Maia B.wrote a review of on February 6, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I've used this bag a few times now and I'm pretty pleased. I have the 35L and it has a nice wide shape that makes it easy to load up. The rolltop has a plastic bar inside to make it easier to fold and clip. I also really appreciate how there's a grip strap on the bottom to hold while you pull contents out of it. The fabric feels and has been durable and waterproof. I have the Glacier color and I really like it.

It also has a daisy chain sewn on the side but I have not used it.

The 35L feels pretty cavernous---I put 3 sleeping bags in it last weekend, no problem!

(1)

 

Maia B.

Maia B.wrote a review of on February 6, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I ended up getting these after trying to keep up with some skiers on difficult side-hilling.

At first I was kind of mad because the price seems really high for what you get---a special piece of plastic that fits the back of your binding, another special piece of plastic that goes against the boot, and a string. You also just mount them by slipping the string under the ankle ratchet screw, which seems very kludgey.

However, they do make a *big* difference when it comes to being able to exert force on your edges! When I forget to flip them on and do it mid-hill, I can feel the additional stiffness kick in and start to help me put pressure on my edges. I can keep up with the skiers much better.

As much as I still feel like I paid a lot of money for a string...they do work!

(0)

 

0 Comments

Maia B.

Maia B.wrote a review of on February 1, 2017

2 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I've only had this bag for a few weeks, I've been using it to transport a down sleeping bag while ski touring.

First of all, I have the 15L, and the shape of this particular dry sack is too long and skinny; my sleeping bag keeps getting stuck before I get it all the way to the bottom. This probably isn't an issue if you are putting smaller items (e.g. jacket) in the bag.

Second, the bag has already ripped. While stuffing it I accidentally grabbed the webbing on the side and one of the bar tacks ripped out.

Not super pleased. I have gone back to my indestructible Sea to Summit rolltop.

(2)

 

Maia B.

Maia B.wrote a review of on January 10, 2017

Pretty disappointed
1 5

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

I got the gloves in gray, which I think is really pretty.

Pros:
- The merino is quite nice, it's soft and pretty warm for its weight.
- Touch fabric is knitted onto the finger*tip*, not just the fingerpad. When it's just the fingerpad, using the on-screen phone keyboard is nearly impossible.

Cons:
- The gloves are really thin. As in, I can see my skin color through the knit.
- No grippy stuff on the palms or anything, so they are slippery on a steering wheel, your phone, etc.
- Durability seems really bad. I've had them for two weeks and already I've got some major pulled threads in the fingertips; the OR logo on one of the gloves is peeling off the back; and when I reached in my pocket to grab my car keys a key actually pierced through a hole in the notch between index and ring finger.

Neutral
- My pair (bought direct from OR) didn't have the little black clip to attach them together. It makes them more stylish but easier to lose I guess.
- Touch capability works well sometimes and not at all other times. I have a glass screen protector on my phone.

My last pair of knitted touch gloves had grippy palms and knitted touch fingertips, lasted nearly 4 years, and I paid $4 for them. Pretty disappointed with these gloves already.

(0)

 

Maia B.

Maia B.wrote a review of on January 2, 2017

5 5

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

I picked these up to replace some aging mid-tier Smith goggles and I'm really impressed.

Face foam is super comfortable, notably softer than the Oakley Flight Deck XMs I tried on. Fit is large on my tiny head (55cm circumference) but not large enough to make me look like The Fly. They also felt lighter than the Flight Decks.

Optical clarity is great. Huge peripheral vision on par with Oakley Flight Deck XM and Dragon X2s. I got the Whiteout model with the Burn Reflect lens and I'm pleased with the look as well.

The lens change system is simple and quick if not particularly sophisticated.

Biggest wow factor for me was how impervious these things seemed to fog---I had them on and off my face all day while touring, getting snow on and in them, and every time they went back on my face they remained perfectly clear.

The only criticism I can make is that the burn reflect lens has an internal reflection or glare that bounces back from down around the nose area. It's only noticeable when my goggles ride up and I look right at my feet, though.

I'm very pleased and looking forward to more days on the snow in the Smartefy. I'm thinking about picking up the contrast boosting lens as well...

(0)

 

0 Comments

Maia B.

Maia B.wrote a review of on December 16, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I got these as my first set of skins because odds are I'm going to ruin them somehow in the first 2-3 years of ownership, so let's not break the bank.

I've used these skins a several times over the past year in temperatures from 20F - 35F or so, in ice, rain, and powder.

They have ok grip and ok glide. I haven't had them gum up with wet snow yet. I've also had no problems with the glue so far and the tip/tail clip works great for me.

I think maybe the nose clip might work better with some snowboard shapes vs. others. I have a Prior Brandywine 154cm split and without very careful alignment the skin will wrinkle near the nose of the ski, but with a little finagling I can smooth it out and get the skin nice and even.

The skin trimming tool is nice but I had issues with it gumming up and making ragged cuts during my trimming process. Be careful during trimming, take your time, and make sure there are no wrinkles in the skin for best results.

All in all I'm quite pleased with what you get for the price.

(0)

 

0 Comments

0 Comments

0 Comments

Maia B.

Maia B.wrote a review of on August 3, 2016

Not your daddy's Pythons
4 5

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

I bought these shoes intending to use them as a replacement for the Python---as a softer, versatile, comfortable, low-cost gym shoe. After fitting them and handling them, I'd recommend them more as a less-aggressive, all-around alternative to the Solution rather than a sensitive replacement for the Python. I have not climbed in my pair extensively (not sure I will keep them) but I wanted to provide initial impressions. I'm comparing it a lot to the Solution here because its features and feel lend it toward that comparison instead of to its predecessor, the Python.

I love about 80% of this shoe. The toebox is wider than the Solutions (go down 1/2 size from Solutions) and felt more comfortable out of the box, but there's not really the same baggy feel of the Python. The shoe is also softer than a Solution but nowhere near something like a Futura or Python; it's a nice middle ground that should be capable on a lot of terrain. The toe is a little more blunt and less asymmetric than the Solution--it's built on the PD75 last (same as the Miura and Futura).

The heel is less bulky than the Solution and feels more precise---heel hook stability is achieved by adding a little stiffening rib (the s-heel) instead of a huge tumor of rubber.

However, the 20% of the shoe I do not love is the design oversights around the closure. Whereas on other LaSpo shoes, the closure area is thoughtfully cushioned by a soft sock (Solution) or a rim of leather (Futura, Mythos), on the Skwama it is rimmed by this sort of stiff, plastic-y faux leather material that feels like it will rub you raw after the first pitch. The achilles area suffers from the same flaw, and I know based on how much my Solutions dig in that after a long pitch the Skwamas will have me bleeding. (In the photo I posted, you can see the Solutions have a white semicircle cutout of soft leather to cushion the achilles, which the Skwamas lack.) I don't know if this plastic-y stuff will eventually soften up and be no problem, but I don't want to shed the blood to find out!

I think these shoes have a bunch of awesome tech and that they genuinely have some thoughtful improvements to make a comfortable, all-around version of the Solution. But the major oversight in the uncomfortable closure area is enough of a dealbreaker for me to look elsewhere.

(2)

 

0 Comments

Maia B.

Maia B.wrote a review of on July 26, 2016

Runs narrow
3 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
Fit: True to size

I tried a pair of these on as a possible replacement for an older pair of Guide Tennies (ca. 2013, before they were beefed up).

They are light and felt comfy out of the box, and their party trick of strapping together with the heel elastic is cool, but they don't pack down nearly as well as I expected---I can squash my old worn-out Tennies down to a more compact blob. The Vibram lugs on the bottom seem more pronounced than the dot rubber on the Tennies so I expect it might last a bit longer and grip a bit better in loose terrain.

They run pretty true to size---I tried on my street size and a half size up. My street size was snug and probably more of a climbing fit, half a size up was a nice looser hiking fit.

However the shoes are very low-volume, and I cannot even tie the laces. The asymmetrical tongue (attached along one side) lets my sock peek out on one side! I can't imagine how much dirt would get in my shoes on a sandy scree approach. Maybe I will try the men's version, if I can find it in my size.

(0)

 

0 Comments

Maia B.

Maia B.wrote a review of on July 21, 2016

This is the best helmet.
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This is the best helmet. It is also the ugliest!

I've owned it for about 1.5 years. I bought it after taking an inverted fall that cracked my old hardshell/foam combo helmet right down the back. I was scared at how little protection my helmet had against that kind of fall and I wanted something better.

Pros:
- This helmet is SO LIGHT. I forget I am wearing it all the time, wear it the whole descent, and get back in the car and start driving before I notice it bumping the car ceiling. It's also very breathable...for a helmet.
- Initially I heard a lot of concern about the durability of this helmet, but I have no complaints. I don't particularly baby it, but I do make sure that it's not underneath a bunch of heavy stuff when I pack it in the car, and I always pack it on the very top in my pack, dome up, to prevent it from being squashed off-axis. That's it. It's got some scrapes and scratches but it'll easily last several years more.
- It provides the excellent side and rear protection for your head, and its elastic foam material doesn't break on impact: it cushions and bounces back.
- I really like the magnetic buckle, which you can do one handed when you remember it's not buckled fifteen feet off the ground.
- As it gets dirty the orange color is a little less heinous. Plus, once it's on your head, you can't see how ugly it is! Unless your partner buys one too...

Cons:
- The straps are kinda thin and prone to twisting.
- The buckle can pick up magnetic dust and sometimes needs to be cleaned (quick brush of the thumb) to buckle.
- Ugly.

I paid full price for this helmet and I definitely feel like it was worth it---the comfort and protection it provides are the best out there right now. I'll buy one again even if they only ever make it in orange.

(0)

 

0 Comments

0 Answers

Maia B.

Maia B.wrote a review of on July 20, 2016

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I bought a single Trango Amphibian---the yellow one---to pair up with my single rope as a tagline and for parties of three. It's gotten the job done, especially since it's a great bang for the buck, but there are nicer half ropes out there.

Pros:
- Really lightweight especially for the 8.1mm diameter
- Dry treated
- Middle is marked!
- Satisfactory durability (~1.5 years of moderate use)
- Flexible, low bend radius, knots well

Cons:
- Dry treatment didn't seem to be very high quality (caught in rainstorm with brand new rope)
- Significant sheath slippage(~1/2" on 60m rope)
- A qualitative thing, but myself and my partners feel like this rope feels "flimsy" and tangles easily---which has earned it the nickname "Noodle"

Overall, I think the disappointing dry treatment, the sheath slippage, and the "flimsy" feel are enough to make this rope one I wouldn't buy again. Next time, the mental reassurance a solid, well-made rope provides is worth the extra coin to me.

(1)

 

0 Comments

Maia B.

Maia B.wrote a review of on July 20, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I got this 'biner more as an experiment than anything else. I like it a lot, but its limited versatility and the confusion it inspires in my partners means that it doesn't get off the ground much.

I'd say it's worth getting for a specific purpose---like a belay/rappel biner---but that if this is one of your first lockers, get more versatile "normal" lockers.

Pros:
- It's lighter than most other HMS lockers
- Bomber, elegant twingate mechanism is pretty much impossible to accidentally open
- Nice rounded stock shape is great for rappeling and belaying
- Super duper strong 'biner!
- With a little practice, clipping/unclipping from ropes/other round cord is a cinch and one of the easiest/fastest locking mechanisms out there

Cons:
- Even with practice, clipping/unclipping from webbing is annoying (webbing doesn't press the other gate open very far and tends to snag)
- Sometimes awkward to use because it takes a little more of a controlled motion to clip/unclip--e.g. if it's already clipped to something (like the anchor) and you want to clip another thing to it (like the pack)

(1)

 

0 Comments

Maia B.

Maia B.wrote a review of on July 20, 2016

1 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I bought this carabiner more than a year ago because (1) I have a thing for weird lockers, and (2) it seemed like the perfect locker to use with a Grigri, since no point on the biner is too wide to pass through the device.

However, by the time I'd had this carabiner for a year, I had relegated it to the bail pile.

After only a year of mostly indoor use, the locking tab on this carabiner was so prone to jamming that the gate would not snap shut on its own when released from the open position (not to even mention auto-locking). As an open-gate carabiner is significantly weaker than a closed-gate biner (regardless of locked or not), I didn't feel safe using this biner.

I performed the manufacturer-recommended cleaning and lubrication, but the gate still closes unreliably. None of my other lockers or auto-lockers, which are older and dirtier, are finicky like this.

In addition, activating the slider tab to open the gate is really tough if your hands are sweaty or greasy, which happens a lot while climbing.

I definitely would not buy this biner again and though I'm sure it will make a great bail locker, it's so tough to open that I feel like leaving it to stump the next climber is a cruel prank.

(2)

 

0 Comments