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mister.soda2268756

San Diego and Forests and Mtns of the SW

mister.soda2268756's Bio

My outdoor spirit was conceived running 1/2 marathons and born in the Grand Canyon. Since then I've taken to triathlons, trail running, rock climbing, snowboarding, mountain biking, surfing, and zoning out in meditation in the most remote, beautiful places I can find.

mister.soda2268756's Passions

  • Hiking & Camping,
  • Snowboarding,
  • Running,
  • Biking,
  • Climbing.
mister.soda2268756

mister.soda2268756wrote a review of on July 20, 2020

2 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 170 lbs
Size Purchased: M

DISCLAIMER: This is my first running vest, so issues with this vest MAY plague all vests, and I might just not be used to them. I can only speak specifically to this vest.

The material of this vest is light and thin and soft and stretchy. The vest itself is very comfortable. There are a couple of compartments in the back where you could probably stuff a super thin and small wind shell, and maybe some extra snacks. I did a test run with this vest empty, just to see how it felt, and if it would cause me to overheat. It didn't. It was actually quite pleasant and comfortable.

The issues I had with this vest revolve entirely around the hydration system and capabilities.

After my empty test run, I filled the bottles to max fill, and took off for a nice 11 mile run. As soon as I started running, the full bottles and chest instantly started bouncing. This bouncing went away after ten minutes or so, and drinking a little bit. At the end of this 11 mile run, I felt like I had small bruises on my ribs and/or costal cartilage where the bottom of the water bottle sits and hits.

If you're unfamiliar, most of the water bottles are made out of a soft plastic, more of a bag than a bottle. The top is a hard plastic, to maintain the bottle top shape, but the tops aren't an issue. The bottoms of these bottles are kind of in between hard and soft. I believe they're called "shaped", and I believe they're "shaped" for easy insertion into their pockets.

The issue is that these harder end-caps then bounce up and down, battering my ribs. Ten days after the first battering, I thought the bruises were gone, so I strapped the vest back on and took off for another 10 mountain miles. I was wrong: the bruises were not gone. I tried only filling the bottles to 85-90%, but they still bounced quite a bit, and at the end of this second run, my ribs feel quite abused. I'm not sure I could handle another 10 mile run.

Salomon DOES make similar flasks withOUT the harder "shaped" plastic end-caps for sale separately. If these were included with this vest, I probably would have tried to give it 3.5 stars. Maybe even 4. As is, this vest may be good for fast-hiking, or quick outings, as the vest itself is very comfortable. But I wouldn't recommend running in this vest, which is what I thought it was designed for, so only 2 stars as a running vest.

(Also, just as a sizing note, I'm 5'8", a lean 170lbs, with a 40-42" chest, and a size Medium fits well, though a size Large may be more recommended.)

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mister.soda2268756

mister.soda2268756wrote a review of on March 19, 2020

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 170 lbs
Size Purchased: 10

Make yourself a hot chocolate, and tuck yourself in with a blanket for a long bed-time story. I tromped around in the snow and slush for a couple hours just to test these, and I have opinions!

TL,DR Summary: A great warm boot that will probably last a few years, but definitely targets narrow feet. Haven't decided if I'll keep it yet. Shout out to BC for having amazing customer service!

First: the fit:
I typically wear a 10-10.5, rarely an 11, depending on brand. I got these in a 10, and they were the right length. I specify LENGTH, because salomons typically run narrow, and these are no exception. Right out of the box they hugged my foot like a sock across the forefoot, from the arch to the toes. I have slightly-wider-than-average feet, but mostly average. If you have wide feet or fat feet, or like wide toe boxes, start thinking about moving on.
I also had a small amount of heel lift or heel shifting. Not really enough to instantly cause problems, but enough to make me think about the potential for blisters.
Now, all those fit notes aside, they were actually pretty darn comfortable and pretty warm, without being sweaty foot ovens.

Next up: Testing!
I went and tromped around in a big wet snow here in CO for a couple hours. I stood in gutters with 2-3" of standing ice water. I made sure to really test the waterproof-ness. Not only did my feet stay warm AND dry, but when I walked inside, a simple wipe of my hand and these boots were magically dry.
This is a good thing and a bad thing. As you can imagine, this means that they shed water excellently. My fear is that this also means that some of the waterproofing is a superficial treatment and not a true WP membrane. superficial treatments or surface membranes tend to breakdown and fail within a year, while true interior membranes can last a decade or more. I can't comment on which this shoe has, or both. But I can say that it is fantastically waterproof! And warm enough to keep my feet toasty in freezing snowy wet temperatures!

Next up: Insoles
Why do I talk about the insoles specifically in this shoe? Because in this boot, the insole is half the magic, but also half the problem.
Let's take a tangent for a quick minute to talk about how I came to this boot. I've been wearing minimalist and zero drop footwear for the last decade or more. Even my work shoes are zero drop. Basically all my shoes EXCEPT my winter shoes and my mountaineering boots. This is mostly because no one makes a zero drop mountaineering boot, but that's not what we're discussing here.
About a decade ago, maybe more, I grabbed a pair of gore-text salomon shoes. I think the model is something like olius? Solius? oleus? whatever, it doesn't matter. The point is those are STILL my winter and spring bike commuting shoes here in Boulder, CO. I bike in them in sub-zero temperatures, in snow, in rain, ice, slush etc. Any time it's cold and/or weathery, I've got them on. Problem is, they've got some holes in the gore-tex that let's the moisture in. Now, because I prefer minimalist and zero-drop footwear, I've taken the insoles out. They're probably about a 7mm drop.
I've never had a really insulated pair of footwear, and saw these and thought let's give them a shot. I've already talked about how they hug your foot, which is definitely not my speed. So I tried taking the insole out like my old Salomon shoes. Low and behold, ALL THE VOLUME!
Without the insole, these actually become a comfortable wearable shoe! And probably sit around 6-8mm drop. (Thus the comment about the insole being part of the problem.) It also helped my heel shifting issue almost go away!
However, the insole is actually a FANTASTIC insulator. Without the insole it's like sleeping on the cold hard ground with a down blanket but no sleeping pad. So I've played with a few different insole options, and found that most offer more volume but less insulation than the stock Salomon insoles. Trade-offs!

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mister.soda2268756

mister.soda2268756wrote a review of on December 16, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: Runs small
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 170 lbs
Size Purchased: Large

I bought this jacket to fill a "breathable warmth" niche in my adventure wardrobe. I had a pat-y nano-puff, but those things breathe like hefty bags, and were pretty much only good as a wind-warmth layer. I also have a pat-y nano-air-light-hybrid, which is awesome and super comfy, but about as warm as an extra long-sleeve shirt. It's almost just a second baselayer and doesn't provide much warmth.

Enter the Ventrix, with 60g insulation.
WWAAAYYY more breathable than a nano-puff, and warmer.
Way warmer than the nano-air-light-hybrid, but not quite as breathable.
Probably on par with the regular nano air, but a fraction of the cost, and some people have noted that it seems a lot more durable.

Some companies are try to turn their insulating layers into shells with wind-proof, water-resistant outer layers. This drives me nuts because it goes against layering best practices. You want your shell on the outside to stop weather. Your inner layers should be modular so that you can mix and match to meet the demands of the environments. When your insulating layer IS your shell, you can't remove insulation when you're warm without losing your shell, and can't get rid of your wind-layer but keep the insulation if you start to sweat and get stuffy.

This jacket is awesome, and it's what an insulating layer SHOULD be.

The only downside I could note would be that it's not QUITE as breathable as I wanted it to be. I think the DWR coating impedes the breathability a pinch. It's still more breathable than almost all competition, but not quite perfect.

I noted that this runs small, but only just barely. I'm 5'8", 170(ish), have a 40-42" chest, and typically wear a Medium snugly or a Large that's baggy. The large on this is gently snug without being tight, but also not having much room underneath at all. It fits perfectly.

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mister.soda2268756

mister.soda2268756wrote a review of on December 16, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs large
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 170 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

First off, I want to talk about BC's customer service being head and shoulders above the rest. They really went the extra mile in finding the perfect ski touring pant.

Now let's talk about these. I can't talk directly to these wetting out under rainy conditions because I'm using them as a ski touring pant. I can say, for that purpose, as a ski touring pant, these are phenomenal. They check every box and requirement I had.
-Full-length leg zip for unparalleled ventilation. Check.
-Waterproof/Breathable shell. Triple check. These breath better than some softshells I've tried, and so far they've fought off every bit of snowy moisture I've thrown at them.
-Did I mention that these are breathable?

Downside:
Think back to the eVent days of a decade ago. eVent was a much better waterproof shell than GoreTex. eVent was roughly twice as breathable, and better at moisture management. The downside of that extra breathability and extra moisture management was that eVent shells were slightly less wind proof and not quite as warm as GoreTex shells. The same is true of these pants. When the wind is really whipping, you can tell. You can feel the cold, and these pants aren't as warm as other shells. Personally, that's a tradeoff I'm willing to make to keep the swamp out of my pants. I tried a pair of softshell / hardshell half-and-half hybrid touring pants that only had a thigh vent last year, and my legs turned into a sweaty mess. So far these pants are head and shoulders above those.

My only tiny qualm about these pants is that the stretchy fabric in the back could sit a fraction of an inch higher. These tend to slide down my butt just a little bit, and I wind up pulling them up from time to time.

For reference, I typically wear a 32" waist pant, but I can fit into a 31" waist comfortably if the pants have thigh room. I went with a Medium, and think a Small MIGHT have been a better fit. MAYBE.

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mister.soda2268756

mister.soda2268756wrote a review of on September 2, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 172 lbs
Size Purchased: Large

It's exactly what you expect. I have a 41" chest, and usually fall between a medium and a large. I got a large here, and it fits just a pinch loose: exactly as I expected and hoped. It's super soft, super comfy, and does everything it promises. I love it.
I will say that most polyester smells after just a day, maybe two tops. I wore this for 8 days in a row while on the water (about 4-6 hours a day) during a recent river trip, and much to my surprise, it was never smelly. Sometimes, I would catch a whiff of a different and interesting smell, but it never got the terribly BO smell I usually accompany with Polyester.
I would recommend this shirt to anyone. It's awesome!!!

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mister.soda2268756

mister.soda2268756wrote a review of on April 30, 2019

3 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
Fit: Runs small
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 170 lbs
Size Purchased: Large

I really wanted to love this jacket. This was the one I wanted. Right up until I realized it wasn't.

Pros: Light. Breathable. Comfy. Comfy under-helmet hood.
Cons: Difficult to get on and off. Standard Patagonia weird cut. Small arms. No full-zip option. No hand-warmer pockets.

I first tried on a Medium, and thought I was going to tear it apart taking it off. I went with a large, but had to return it because it was still too small...kind of. The chest fit in an athletic snug fitting kind of way. The arms on the Large were tight, which probably means not as warm as they should be. But there was PLENTY of room in the belly. You can tell from the pictures that the waist is cut wider than the chest. Weird for the layer this jacket is supposed to be.

I might be convinced to take on one of these jackets if the arms were cut larger and they made a full-zip version, but the half-zip pull-over is just not for me. Who wants to struggle to get their jacket on and off when it's hot or cold? And who wants to have to take off their helmet and glasses or goggles to do so? Not me.

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mister.soda2268756

mister.soda2268756wrote a review of on April 30, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 170 lbs

I really love this jacket. It's super comfortable, breathes amazingly, and is actually cut with a great shape (unlike most of Patagonia's jackets...) I'd recommend it to anyone as a high-activity layer, and in combination with an out shell as an extra layer.

Pros: Lightweight. Extra Comfy. Extra breathable, looks great, big pockets. Great shape and cut.
Cons: Not particularly warm. A tad smelly if you sweat into it for a few days. No chest pocket. Longest name ever.

I would say it's about as warm as an R1, but my R1 is super snug, so I use it as a baselayer on cold days. On those cold days, R1+nano-air light hybrid is about as breathable as you can get, moves moisture faster than almost anything, and is more modular and adjustable than a baselayer and a regular nano-air.

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mister.soda2268756

mister.soda2268756wrote a review of on April 30, 2019

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 170 lbs
Size Purchased: Small

So, I'm going to start by saying I really like these pants, and would recommend them to anyone.
I had a pair of 3L stoic shells whose zipper hit a snag (get it?). They lost a lot of functionality what with not being able to zip one side closed. BC has AMAZING customer service, and warrantied them for me. I would have loved to pick up another pair, but they just don't make 'em anymore, so I went with these instead.

Pros: Breathable durable softshell uppers. Durable waterproof lowers. Removable suspenders. Removable gaiters. Zipper pockets galore. Big upper-leg vents.
Cons: snug "athletic" fit on the legs makes most pockets good for little more than a phone, wallet, papers, etc... (Thin things.) None of them really fit a beacon without it being uncomfortably tight. No venting in the area that needs it most: the non-breathable waterproof shell. Cheap uncomfortable suspenders.
I'm 5'8", 170, with a 30"+ waist and 21"+ thighs. I went with the small because I was in between small and medium sizes, and the small was all BC had. The fit snugly, but are comfortable enough. I probably should have gone with a medium, but didn't want to be swimming with a loose waist.
The suspenders are thin, tough, course, hard fabric that will probably be very durable (and uncomfortable). I took them off immediately. (As noted, they were totally unnecessary for me.)
Because of the slim fit, the pockets won't really comfortably fit a beacon. Bummer. But I did love and appreciate all the pockets. It was great to have an option on either leg for my phone, and it's nice that all the pockets have great zippers.
The softshell uppers are soft, comfortable, and breathable. The vents are almost unnecessary, but still very much appreciated when heading uphill.
The Pertex Shield+ lowers seem durable and waterproof, but what I can tell you the most is that they're about as breathable as any other hardshell, which is to say, not really breathable at all. While skinning uphill, my thighs did fine with the vents open, but from about 3" above my knee to my ankles were just a wet swampy mess. I would up removing the gaiters and rolling them up. This helped a little, keeping my shins and calves a tad drier, but doubled the unbreathability around my knee, making things worse from 2" below my knee to 2" above my knee. It'd be great if the vents went all the way down, or if there was a second set of vents from the knee to the ankle. Maybe on the back or inside of the leg?

All in all, great pants that I would recommend to anyone looking for touring pants, especially if you DON'T have muscly athletic legs.

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mister.soda2268756

mister.soda2268756wrote a review of on April 30, 2019

2 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 170 lbs
Size Purchased: Large

Pros: Blocks wind well. Packs small. Will resist a couple minutes of light sprinkle. Looks nice.
Cons: Not very warm. Not breathable at all. Clamy and uncomfortable against skin.

I can't really recommend this jacket. Due to it's poor breathability, it has a very narrow niche use. If you're standing around, it's probably good down to about 55F, maybe 50F. Any colder than that, and this jacket isn't warm enough. I can't recommend it for physical activity, as its poor breathability makes it damp and clammy on the inside in just a few minutes. It's only slightly more water resistant than a cotton sweater, but is slightly warmer (though less comfortable) when wet. It will resist a smattering or a light sprinkle for a few minutes, but if it's enough rain to make a cotton hoody wet, this jacket won't fair any better, and it will feel gross and clammy against your skin.

The only place this jacket shines is in cool (but not cold) windy conditions where you might have to have a light jacket packed really small. Otherwise there is always a better layer than this, and it's usually just a softshell.

The cut is also kind of awkward: very square and a little big. If you're on the cusp of two sizes, size down. I'm 5'8", 170, with a 42" chest, 31" waist. I'm usually on the cusp of a Medium and Large. Mediums are usually snug and have an athletic muscly fit while larges are typically a little too big and roomy. This jacket is no different, with the Large leaving PLENTY of room, especially around the midsection. The cut seems to be for someone with a belly, if you know what I mean. Definitely not for athletic or slim builds.

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mister.soda2268756

mister.soda2268756wrote a review of on July 10, 2018

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 175 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

Summary:
It is what I expected it to be: a cheap thin shirt for wearing to the office on hot days.

It is what it is. It's a short sleeve button down shirt.

The fabric is thin, which is what I was looking for. I'll wear it on hot summer days at the office. But you should also read "thin" as "made out of cheaper materials". It's not the softest cotton. It's a little stiff and starchy, but it's brand new, so maybe that will wear away. I don't expect it to last forever, but I'd say you get what you pay for, and this is probably a $20-25 shirt. If you pay $40 for it, you've over paid.
As for sizing, I'd say it's reasonably true to size. I'm typically half way between a Medium and a Large. I really like Medium shirts with stretch, but stiff shirts and shirts without any stretch I have to size up or they restrict my motion. I've read that this shirt runs a little large, so I went with the Medium. I don't really regret that, but it's a little snug across the shoulders, and has no stretch to it. Then again, I'm 5'8", 175, and have broad shoulders, so that's to be expected.
I got the blue one, which isn't bad, but is a bit different than the color pictured. The pictured color is kind of a denim. The actual shirt is a bit lighter (not as dark). Also, it has these little light speckles throughout that look good, but you can't really see them in the picture. Overall, it looks good.

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mister.soda2268756wrote a review of on February 1, 2018

3 5

I put a pair of these on my road bike and absolutely love them. I loved them so much that I spent hundreds of dollars to put one on my commuter. Worst decision ever. I throw my chain ALL THE TIME. It varies. Sometimes I'll go a whole week without throwing the chain. Today, on my 2.5 mile commute, I threw the chain three times, which is what spurred me to write this review. I've had the bike professionally tuned and adjusted twice. It doesn't help. If anything, it makes it worse.

AB's customer service on the issue wasn't helpful either. They acknowledged that their rings aren't designed to keep the chain on "but we're working on it" they said. In the meantime, they suggested taking a link out of the chain to increase the tension. If anything, that only made it worse.

I might recommend these for a road bike with a tight derailleur, but not on anything else. It's a shame. I do love them on my road bike, and conceptually, they SHOULD be awesome on a MTB or cross bike where they would improve traction. Hopefully you'll have better luck than I did.

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mister.soda2268756

mister.soda2268756wrote a review of on January 28, 2017

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 170 lbs
Size Purchased: X-Large

I've used gloves for skiing, snowshoeing, and winter activities for... Well... All my life. I always wanted the dexterity that comes with gloves. but my fingers were always cold. Always. ALWAYS.
After trying some of the warmest gloves I could afford, and always being disappointed, my fiancé talked me into these. The "shared heat" effect of having your fingers together is warmer she said. She may be right, but I'm afraid these mittens don't prove it. The big advantage to mittens, at least these, that I've found is that the hamdwarmer can be down in the end of the mittens with your fingers (where it does the most good) instead of at your palm or the back of your hand. But in temperatures in the high twenties with a hand warmer, my fingers are still frigid in these.

Now, these may be enough warmth for "normal" people, but if you have cold hands and fingers or Raynaud's, you best look elsewhere. Which is really a shame, as the dexterity in these mittens is pretty great... For mittens.

Also, an interesting sizing note, I got the X-Large because I have fairly large beefy climbers hands. The mittens fit great, but the thumbs are a little tight (thus not as warm). But the liner gloves are just too big. I'd say the X-Large mittens are between a L and XL, but the liner gloves with them are between an XL and a XXL.

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mister.soda2268756wrote a review of on April 28, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

The individual loops give you the versatility of a Daisy Chain, without the potential problem of Daisy Chain failure. It also makes coiling for short storage easier than with a DC. And the price is right for this guy too. One of the best prices, for an awesome piece of gear, that does the job great. What's not to love?

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mister.soda2268756wrote a review of on April 28, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

These biners are great. They are impressively light. I won't claim that they're the lightest among their competitors, but if not then they're pretty close. The only downside here is size. These biners are partially so light because they're smaller than the norm. But they're also partially so light because CAMP did an amazing job with them. They're big enough to clip into even large ropes, but not with quick and comfortable ease. Still, the gate's are gorgeous, and I find plenty of places in my rack for plenty of these. Mostly nuts and 'draws. The next 'draws I invest in are going to be CAMP's Mach Express draws which utilize one of these on one end for clipping into gear, and a Photon wire gate on the other end for clipping the rope. The photons are a larger biner, with a larger gate opening and a deeper basket, but are still unbelievably light.

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mister.soda2268756wrote a review of on April 28, 2014

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

BD Neutrino Biners are good biners. They're smooth. They're appropriately tensioned and sized. They're strong and durable. They're great for color coding to BD Camalots. That's probably their biggest strength. But frankly, they just fail to impress. They're amazingly ordinary. Incredibly unremarkable. Average. They're not particularly light. They're size is middle-of-the-road. They're gate opening isn't happily large or sadly small, but acceptably average. The basket too is best described as common.

When I build my complete rack, I will go with biners that are both lighter and have a larger opening. But these will do, and they're perfectly color coded to BD Cams. So....yay color coding!

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mister.soda2268756wrote a question about on April 7, 2012

How's the waist band on these? I've got a couple pair of Icebreaker 150's, and the merino is nice, but the waist band is this sharp nylon/elastic type material that chafes and cuts into my skin a bit. Fine if you fold the waistband over, but then they don't fit right, and want to fold back.

Also, how's the anti-stink on these? I'm always nervous that the artificial anti-stink additives will wear off after a few uses/washes.

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mister.soda2268756

mister.soda2268756wrote a review of on July 8, 2011

3 5

Got this dress as a gift for my girlfriend. She's 5'3", 115, and usually wears an extra small in anything, sometimes a small. Got this one in an extra small, and it was very large. Too large. XS looks like a M. Fit like a baggy night shirt, and the built in bra was useless. Otherwise the dress looks like it would be great, but we'll never know as it'll have to go back. Don't think Isis makes a XXS.

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