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nate oakes

nate oakes

Denver, CO

nate oakes

nate oakeswrote a review of on March 22, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This simple little lantern is great! I've taken it on about a dozen camping and backpacking trips, and have liked it so much I bought a second one. The thoughtful design of dimming the brightness by holding down the button is very useful. The button action/placement is solid - I haven't had it turn on accidentally in my pack, nor have I ever had trouble turning it on or adjusting the brightness when I wanted to do so. I don't tend to leave the light on much in general, and the battery usage seems about right. I've found I rarely need to use it on its brightest setting. It's easy to hang in a tent, or from a tree or your pack. Very handy and useful.

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nate oakes

nate oakeswrote a review of on July 6, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I was given this headlamp as a gift last December. I've owned and used a number of headlamps from Black Diamond and Petzl, and this one is my favorite so far.

This headlamp can get very bright! The reactive lighting feature works well and saves eye strain when moving from bare ground to snow to campfire, and I've noticed that it's less bright when there's a full moon (as it should be). Aside from outdoor activities, I use this headlamp while skating around town at night and it works well near traffic too. The knob on the side of the headlamp that you rotate to turn on the light and cycle through the modes is easy to use even with gloves on, and the action is responsive enough. I've used the headlamp with beanies, ball caps, and a helmet, and had no trouble with fit or keeping it on my head. Though it's not the lightest headlamp, it's nicely balanced and hasn't felt cumbersome on my head while wearing it. The battery life is good (I rarely use the brightest setting) and the USB recharging is a nice feature.

I haven't tried to use the programmable features with this headlamp, so I can't comment on the usability of the app or Bluetooth or whatever. It seems a bit silly to me to program a headlamp.

My only complaint is that, when you turn the headlamp off, the light automatically blinks on and off once or twice to confirm shutoff. I'd like the ability to turn off this feature - admittedly, it may be something I can turn off by using the app programming.

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nate oakes

nate oakeswrote a review of on April 19, 2017

Great for Mountaineering
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I picked up these crampons after experiencing a fit issue with a different brand, and I'm pretty happy I did. The crampons were easy to adjust to the correct length and they fit my Koflach Degre mountaineering boots (US size 11) great. The crampomatic system makes them easy to put on and take off with gloves on. I've taken them up a few alpine climbs and some easy-to-moderate vertical ice, and they haven't let me down yet. They appear to be solidly built and durable - no surprise, as in my experience Grivel makes great products. They're a great crampon for mountaineering and easy-to-moderate ice.

My only minor complaints are that I don't have an easy way to tuck away or otherwise secure the additional strap length after they're fully attached. It would be nice if there was a clip or something along the strap to tuck it away - I've been tying the strap back on itself but that has come loose a few times. Also, it would be nice if the crampons came with a bag.

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nate oakes

nate oakeswrote a review of on February 2, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 195 lbs
Size Purchased: XL

I bought this shell to wear over my puffy in adverse weather and for extra warmth while mountaineering, resort skiing, AT, and camping. I got it in late fall and haven't had a chance to test it out without the puffy, though it seems like it would work great for fall and spring conditions.

I really like this jacket. It keeps wind, snow and freezing rain out completely, even in a blizzard. This jacket is definitely a shell - it's not insulated, and doesn't provide much additional warmth, but it does a great job at keeping out wind and moisture while breathing well. Combined with a puffy, mid-weight and base layer, I've stood out in the elements for an hour at -10* F with wind and snow, and was comfortable.

The jacket is well-designed and I like the features. The hood is shaped well, adjusts nicely, and fits over both my climbing helmet and ski helmet. The brim is nice and sturdy without being too rigid. The pit zips come in handy, and I like that they each have two zippers to pull. The seams are sealed well, and the main zipper works great, with two zippers to accommodate your climbing harness or make it easier to take a leak. The waist and hood cinch and loosen easily, even with big winter gloves on. Side pockets are placed nicely high for when you wear this jacket with a harness or pack with a waist strap. Wrist closures are easy to adjust, and I like the sturdy panel on each velcro flap, it makes it easier to grip with bigger gloves. I have not had a problem fitting the wrists over my winter gloves, though there isn't a lot of room left over when you pull the untightened sleeve over the glove.

My only complaint is that it would be nice if this jacket came with zipper pulls on the small interior pocket and pit zips (similar to the pulls on the side pockets). Those zippers can be hard to grip with larger gloves on. This is not an issue for either of the main zippers, one of which has a zipper pull and the other doesn't. However, since zipper pulls are easy enough to make yourself, this is a minor complaint.

When I bought it, I was about 30 lbs heavier, and ordered the XL based on its more athletic fit and to fit over a puffy jacket and base layer(s). It fits very well over a size XL Mountain Hardwear Compressor puffy jacket. At my current size, I'd definitely go down to a size L. Now that I'm smaller and will need to replace this jacket for fit reasons, I'll definitely be getting another one.

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nate oakes

nate oakeswrote a review of on February 2, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I picked up a pair of these on a super steep sale elsewhere (since they're last season's model) and even though I measured my palms and consulted the OR sizing chart, they were a size too big. So maybe order a size down, depending on the shape of your hand.

The gloves are great! I use them for skiing, alpine touring, camping, and just getting around on any really cold days here in Denver. I've used them alone in temps into the teens with no problem, but my fingers do start getting cold around 10* F. I've used them with a glove liner down to about -10* F and been fine. The touchscreen compatibility works great, and I was pleasantly surprised that it still worked with my touchscreen-compatible glove liners on underneath. The leather and stitching seem to be well-constructed, though I've only used them for a month. The elastic leash/cuff works well. OR's lifetime warranty is a big plus.

The only complaint I have is that it would be nicer to have a longer velcro across the wrist, and swap out the leather between the end of the velcro and the strap with a thinner material - maybe similar to the elastic cuff material. I tend to cinch the wrist velcro pretty tight, and the leather between gets folded over a bit and can get in the way of the velcro adhering. Since that leather is being covered up by the leather strap anyway, it seems redundant for the purposes of warmth etc. This is a minor complaint, though.

Though I've only been using them for about a month, all signs point to these being great gloves that I'll use until they wear out.

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nate oakes

nate oakeswrote a review of on February 2, 2017

Careful on sizing
3 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

Due to a sizing problem, I didn't get a chance to try these crampons out. The adjustable sizing doesn't fit my Koflach Degre boots at size US 11/EU 10.5, it's just about 1/2" too short when fully tipped out. The product description reads "One Size" and US 11 seems pretty standard. To my eye, it looks that these max out at roughly size US 10.5. Luckily, Backcountry has amazing customer service and sent me a replacement model lickety-split with a discount, free shipping.

That said, if you're looking for aluminum touring crampons and the sizing isn't an issue, these look like a pretty decent pair of crampons. Rating is based on this impression, no actual field usage.

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