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utspoolup's Passions

Hiking & Camping


utspoolupwrote a review of on October 15, 2011

Great layer
5 5

I own the Atom LT, Atom LT hood, and Atom SV. I find myself wearing the Atom LT hood the most. Everyone already knows Arcteryx makes some of the best outdoor gear, and this jacket is no exception. I am 6'0" 220lbs, with a 46" chest, and 40" waist. IE not that small of a guy. With everything of Arcteryx I own, they are all XL in size. I do a good deal of hiking, a bit of hunting, and just enjoy the outdoors. I just returned from the elk hunt where I wore this jacket exclusively over a set of smartwool microweight and midweight shirts. Temps ranged from 9 to 40F, typical activity temp was around 28F. Between the smartwool and this jacket my body core never got cold. On several of the hike I found it easy enough to vent the jacket by just undoing the front zip, but I wish they had pit zips, even short ones on this jacket. During periods of snowfall I would jsut zip up my Arcteryx LEAF ALpha jacket which I like since its cut bigger than the traditional Arcteryx jackets to accomodate body armor/ chest rigs, and found I can easly wear a utilty top, with the Atom LT, SV, and alpha without compressing any one piece that much.

Things I really liked. The subdued color (totem) blends nicely with Multicam and the outdoors, the fit of the garment, the warmth, weight, packabilty and price since I got it on sale here at

Things I do not like or would like to see improved. So be it the jacket is subdued in color, the blue piping around the hood and blue zips are annoying, been thinking about taking it to the base alteration shop and see what they can do. The hood could use a drawsting like that of the SV. Short pit zips would be nice to help vent during periods of activity.

Other than these few minus's this jacket is great and I highly recommend it.




utspoolupwrote a review of on December 11, 2009

5 5

The Golite Shangri-la 3 (Use to be called the Golite Hex) is a great tent but it is not for everybody. It is a floorless tent unless you want to spend the extra on cash and weight on the nest or the floor, which depending on your weather and location may urge you to do. I have already been told I am getting the nest for Christmas (so I don’t buy it for myself) which means in a few months I will write a review for it and if I remember I will update this review as well. Back to the tent, this is a shell only. It’s very similar to a teepee except for its smaller, lighter, and depending on your setup preference has only one pole. I like floorless tents, however they can take some getting use to but the benefits out weight the cons in my books.

The pros, you do not need to remove your boots before going in, just unzip and walk in. You do not have to worry about a hole forming in the floor. You do not need to police your camp site for sticks, stones, or the like prior to setup, just worry about other critter entrances before setting up. They are LIGHT weight, take little pack room and typically have no poles to worry about breaking, really a bombproof little shelter.

The cons, depending on weather you may setup on wet ground that will stay wet even after your setup, tey if you have the floor your fine. The stability and all the strength comes from a solid ground staking, IE this is not freestanding. I do not like the stakes at all, they seem to just disappear if you put one down, I like to use Ti sheepherder stakes or MSR Al stakes similar to the ones that came with the shelter since they are bright red and the hole and cord makes it easier to retrieve due to how I like to set it up, see the setup instructions below. You may also share your sleep space with little bugs, if you have the nest your fine OR don’t worry about it (me). Some people, my girlfriend included, do not like this whole floorless tent idea, but honestly it’s hard to beat it after you have tried it.

A few shortcomings of the Golite Shangri-la 3 are that the vents cannot close. As mentioned earlier you can stuff them with other camp items, like your poncho or what not. Some do not like that they do not have a gear loft of hooks to hang lights, Ill talk about this more later. It takes some getting use to on setting up to get a good taunt pitch, which is required if you receive high winds otherwise the wind bearing side of the shelter will turn into a sail and may un anchor itself which will end with the tent flying. Again this style of tent requires a solid staking.

Both my Golites are green. I chose this color to better blend with the surroundings and to date my only bright yellow tent is a Eureka Alpenlite 2XT, which I have also written a review for. A few additions I made to my setup is with 2 pieces of 24” long 550 cord. I can tie the ends of each together with a square knot then using prusik knots I secure them to the center pole the bottom one I secure the bag that bundles the tent and use it for a gear loft. The top one I attach my Glotoob light from to illumination. I have started carrying one of the Golite’s in my car in the GHB (get home bag) for shelter since I liked it so much due to its versatility and light weight.

A few tricks about the golite and the hex. Setting up can be a pain more so if you have never done it before and you are already in the back country. To resolve this, you should ALWAYS setup or check all gear at home prior to heading out, but even doing this you will learn that there is a trick to it and that the half page of instructions are not adequate at all. To resolve this I am writing what I do to set it up. It may seem like a lot but it is easy to remember and after doing it a few times you can get it done quickly, I could probably have mine set up within 5 minutes from doffing the pack. The shelter is constructed with lightweight silicon impregnated nylon that is durable yet light, the pole, which is similar to your dome tent poles, in that is has 4 sections of approx 1” metal tubing that is held together by and elastic band ran thru the pole with the last section which is adjustable in approx 1” increments, but even if the elastic band were to break the tent could still go up fine. They also sell an adapter that will allow you to use a hiking pole for and the adapter for the center pole to save weight, just be sure you boot up the end of the trekking pole to preserve the top of the shelter.

As everyone learned in geometry class a perfect hexagon is 6 equilateral triangles, or a triangle with all 3 sides that are the same length, that come together so that each triangle has one corner at the center point. So to build this, first take 1 of the 6 pegs and lightly peg where you want the middle of your shelter to be, then remove and assemble the pole, and extended the pole adjustment 2 more holes (should be in the 3rd hole). Lay the pole on the ground with 1 side touching the center stake and stake the 2nd stake at the end of the pole. Then turn 180* (straight across) from the center stake and place the 3rd stake. This is your center line. Now return to the center stake again and come off of it at approx 60 degrees. Then hold the stake where the pole ends and turn the pole to the nearest outside stake you place on step 2 or 3. If you are good the pole should be able to pivot off of the stake you are trying to set and you should be able to touch both the end and center pole, thus creating the equilateral triangle mentioned above. If not adjust the stake accordingly. The move over towards the other end stake on your centerline and do the same. Move to the other side of the center line and do the 1st triangle just as you did before. Now you are out of stakes and still need one to finish the hexagon. Take the pole and place it at 60* to the center stake and pull the stake, then do like you did before but instead of pivoting to touch center and end stake of the centerline, pivot it approx 120* to touch the end stake of the centerline and the last stake you just set.

Once the staking is done you are almost complete. Determine where you want the door and find the adjustment strap at the bottom of the door and run loop on the adjustment strap from the tent body around the stake, then walk around the stakes attaching the remaining anchors to the stakes, then push/ pound the stakes in, then open the door and crawl in, insert the pole to the cup at the center of the teepee and push up. The shelter will take its form almost immediately. Once up, go around the outside and tighten the adjustment straps and adjust the center pole as required for a taunt shelter.

Please note that if using the nest or floor you can skip the one anchor of the nest or floor at the door and push this area up into the tent, the nest will work just fine but it gives you a little room for boot storage outside of the main tent area, but also outside of the elements. I also like to pound my stakes in below the ground surface so that there is no gap at all between the shelter body and the ground, if REALLY bad weather is coming I can wakl around the outside of the tent and kick leafs dirt, snow, or whatever around this seal to really weatherproof the bottom, and I carry a small piece of Tyvek a little bigger than the sleeping pad (Ors exped 9’s are GREAT in the snow) to place under the pad when wet ground could be expected. Your results will vary. Here is a video that I found the demonstrates this test setup really well.

All in all its a great lightweight minimalist shelter that can be rigged with a rope via a little loop if needed for more room or what not, however if using the nest you need to use the pole.





utspoolupwrote a review of on June 4, 2009

5 5

I will be putting this to use first on fathers day weekend in the Uintas with my family. However I will state this. So far so good. I purchased it yesterday after asking for the "3rd" dimension that even kelty does not mention it on their website. After I took it apart and repacked it, it still measures the same as it did when I pulled it out of the box.... 32x19x6... I was surprized at this... Measured it several times, even placing it against a flat wall and for a reference to make sure, but it is only 6" wide. WOW. Is that nice for packing up. Setup is easy takes just minutes... most of it is attaching the velcro tabs around the cabinet.

As for repacking.... Randy had issues repacking theirs. I always try to pay close attention and usually take photos incase I space it on repacking alot of items like this or my springbar tent. Try this, but if you need, post a question asking for more help and Ill host pictures or do a youtube video or something.... For this, remove the windscreen and cabinet. Then pop off the 3 table surfaces. Slide the legs on the bigger (right, as you stand at it) side table up into the themselves. Then fold them down. Next fold down the small (left as you stand at it) side table. NExt fold the middle section together. Just before it closes up, take the 2 table tops from the middle of the kitchen (the ones NOT marked with the fancy "kelty" logo across the top) and clip the smaller one on the top upright inside on the left (against the folded legs of the larger table extension) and the other on the right (next to the small table extension). fold it up the rest of the way and face the little table up

Take the cabinet and fold it up like a accordian, straight down, as it sat in the kitchen. Tuck it under the small table extension. Flip the unit over and roll the "kelty marked table top" up so that 2 slats are folded over on each side. Then clip it into the upright you see on top. Take the windscreen and fold it up, and lay it on top.... this prevents the last table top from unrolling and curling up in the bag. Then just lay the bag down infornt of it and slide it all in. You have plenty of excess in the bag... atleast I did.

Features I liked. I like how there is a bungy under the small table extension to secure a roll of papertowels. It also presses the roll "up" into the bottom of the table surface to prevent them from unrolling in the breeze, however it may make it a pain to use in the wild. Ill find out soon. Windscreen is nice, but my colemans already have one so it is overkill. But this is for car camping, what is 10 oz more with no "real" extra space requirement? The size.... WOW again. I own a Cables Deluxe camp kitchen and while it is GREAT it is also a dam BEAR. Packed up it is 42x24x14 and weighs more than the canvas on my 7 person springbar... @60lbs or so. So less than 1/4 the weight, and many inches on all 3 axis... WELL worth it to me. Last is Backcountrys AWESOME service. Ordered it yesterday at 3PM it was here this morning at 11AM... @ 20- hours later for free... yes 20. And yes they are local but did not have in the shop/ local warehouse for me to pick up.

Things I do not like... the price. They could cut off a few dozen dollars IMHO. The cabelas kitchen I bought approx 2 years ago for $90, it is now sitting large at 180. But as stated is bigger and "better" in many ways more so on week/ multi week long hunting trips. Wish they would come down on it a bit. The little fishnet cubby between the center table and lower shelf. It is streched to the max. It actually wants to unvelcro itself from the unit. I hope it will strech some overtime, we'll see.

I will repost after the first real use of this kitchen but it appears to be a great item. Watch back for this review in about 4 weeks.