Gear Review: Marmot Isotherm Half-Zip

Gear Review: Marmot Isotherm Half-Zip

Posted by on Jan 30, 2016 in Gear Review & Blog | 0 comments

My favorite pieces of gear are the ones I just wasn’t on board with in the beginning: maybe I don’t understand the function it, maybe I don’t buy into the gimmick (the Airvantage jacket anyone?), or maybe I’m just feeling vain and don’t like the look of a thing. This was exactly the case when I got my hands on a Marmot Isotherm Half-Zip. In my eyes, it had the aesthetics of my grandfathers windbreaker, and had a claim that (at the time) was relatively new to a lot of us: breathable insulation. I was skeptical. And (spoiler) I was wrong. Polartec Alpha, as many of us now know, is a “breathable insulation,” meaning its not designed to be your main, sitting-on-belay puffy, but rather is meant to be put on and left on all day. This is just an extension of a notable trend in outdoor gear of late which is to look for moisture management and breathability as key components to a piece being your backcountry best-friend versus a closest-stuffer. Temperature and moisture regulation, not full-on control, is the name of the game. Its a fine idea, but does it really work? I was hesitant, but as http://www.viagragenericoes24.com/viagra-super-active-plus someone who was constantly shedding layer on my High Peaks hikes I figured “what the hell.” FEATURES (or, a healthy lack-there-of) I went with the Half-Zip over its more burly, and more insulated Full-Zip and Hooded brothers, believing (correctly) that it weighed a lot less and that I likely wouldn’t need that much insulation. Now, the confusing thing was I couldn’t actually tell if the different pieces had different amounts of insulation, but the weight savings between the other jackets and the half-zip was a full 8 oz’s. Unlike Primaloft, which often comes with how many grams of insulation the piece has, I was left to estimate, but I believe my assertion is correct. Unlike its brothers, the Half-Zip is significantly paired down. No cool soft-shell shoulders, no hood (which I honestly never use): a light Pertex shell, a thin amount of Polartec Alpha insulation, a mesh liner (not like your dad’s old windbreaker-mesh–it’s a tighter knit), napoleon zipper (packs into itself), drawcord hem, and a partial elastic cuff. That’s it. And that’s all it needs. I chose the no-hood option because it was undoubtedly going to get layered under or over other things, and the last thing I needed was another errant hood flapping in the breeze or curling up against my neck, whispering “Why have you forsaken me again, father?” The jacket is impressively compressible. It fits nicely into its own pocket without having to cram it in and stress the seams, and has a gear loop to attach it to a harness (great for ice climbing…if you even have to take it off). The half-cuff elastic is absolutely awesome too: I’ve been able to slide it on and off over my thinner ice-climbing and...

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Outdoor Communities

Posted by on Mar 25, 2015 in Gear Review & Blog, Local Resources | 0 comments

Tired of heading off to the woods alone? Looking to make some new friends in the great outdoors? Then check out some of these great local communities! Finger Lakes Running Club  Looking for some motivation to run up all these brutal hills we have? Look no further than the Finger Lakes Running Club, a community of local runners who take to the countless beautiful roads and trails that this town has to offer. Whether you’re looking for casual outings, races on trail or road, or track events, the FLRC has something for you. Made up of everyone from amateur enthusiasts to veteran athletes, you’ll be happy running with this crew no matter where you end up in the pack. Looking to do some races with them? Sign up to be a member! It’s totally worth the price of admission. Cycle CNY For those looking to crank through Ithaca’s many forests, IMBA’s Cycle CNY chapter is the group for you. Group rides, trail maintenance days, http://www.viagragenericoes24.com/donde-comprar-viagra and fun and informative events https://www.acheterviagrafr24.com/viagra-en-france/ will make you feel like a part of your biking community quickly. Cornell Outing Club Don’t let this group’s prestigious Cornell-ian title scare you–everyone’s invited to participate in this club! A dedicated community of fellow fun-loving adventurers, COC is a great group for those looking to share their favorite activities with others, or for those looking to learn an entirely new set of skills. Backpacking/hiking, cycling, canoeing/kayaking, climbing/ice-climbing, scuba diving, caving, xc-skiing–they do it...

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Gear Review: Mountainsmith Mountain LT Shelter

Gear Review: Mountainsmith Mountain LT Shelter

Posted by on Feb 6, 2015 in Gear Review & Blog | 0 comments

Here’s a quick rule of thumb for gear: there’s light-weight, there’s effective, and there’s cheap–and you can normally pick two. Normally is the operative word for this review. I like to find gear that falls somewhere between all these points, and while it’s hard to do, on occasion a certain piece will shine. For me, one of those pieces is Mountainsmith’s Mountain Shelter LT. Now, normally Mountainsmith is not a brand that comes to mind when I think “light,” the brand normally instead conjuring up bombproof, and relatively affordable gear–just not the lightest stuff. However, the specs speak for themselves: The Stats (Copied from their site, ‘cuz I’m lazy)   Capacity: 2 Person Features: Three season tarp Zippered single door, two person layout Sets up with 2 standard trekking poles – 53″H at Front / 40″H at Back Rear ventilation window Reflective guylines with tensionlock cord adjustment Guyout attachment points (top two guyouts enable overhead tree set-up instead of dual trekking pole set-up) Reinforced V-stakes Stuffsack included Details: YKK® Zippers 3M™ Reflective Cord Set-up instructions printed on stuffsack Materials: 40dx244T Nylon Storage Sack 7075 Aluminum V-Stakes -13pcs Tarp: 40d Sil-Nylon Rip Stop PU2000MM F/R Dimensions: 142″ x 54″ x 84″ (360 x 137 x 213 cm) Floor Area: 54 ft² / 5 m² Vestibule Area: Spacious front door area behaves as vestibule Peak Height: 4′ 6″ Trail Weight: 1 lb 15.5 ozs / 0.89 kg Packaged Weight: 2 lbs 1 oz / 0.9 kg Now, while 2lbs (slightly less if you bring your own tent stakes or just use sticks) isn’t the most ultralight, for a shelter it’s pretty good, especially at it’s $129.95 price tag. So, we’ve got affordability and weight dialed in, but what about the effectiveness?   Field Testing    I’ve been using the Mountain Shelter LT for a little over a year now, using it first in winter conditions and later in the spring and summer months. Honestly, the majority of the testing I’ve done has been overnights and test-runs in local woods, as I normally bring the Shelter along as a back-up when I’m hitting lean-tos in the Adirondacks. In a way, though, that’s a great remedy for a common scenario many of us face on more traveled trails: you’re 90% sure you’ll be in a lean-to, but you know you can’t risk the 10%. When traveling with a partner makes a bivie sack ineffective, the Shelter is a great option. Now, setting it up: Mountainsmith gives you easy instructions printed on the stuffsack, but you can swap it out for a compression sack once you practice a few times: stake the back 3 tabs down, place the rear trekking pole, stake the front 3, place the front pole, stake the side tabs, and adjust. Mountainsmith wisely prints the pole measures right onto the side of the shelter, but weirdly–and I hope I’ve got a misprinted tent (someone from Mountainsmith feel free...

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Gear Review: Olicamp Kinetic Titanium Stove

Posted by on Oct 14, 2014 in Gear Review & Blog | 0 comments

While the Jet Boil (check out Ryan’s review here) and the MSR Pocket Rocket have been the tried-and-true reigning stove champs, I always look for underdogs: maybe it’s the hipster in me, but I love those excellent pieces of kit that fly under the radar. Enter Olicamp’s Kinetic Ultra Titanium Stove, a $40-50 investment that strikes the perfect balance between ultra-light, super simple, and affordable.   Construction The Kinetic works just like the canister stoves you know and love: screw it in to an isobutane canister, crank up the gas, flick your lighter, and blast Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” as you go into full over-drive. However, what makes it stand out from other stoves is it’s weight; being constructed from titanium (with an aluminum burn-adjuster), the Kinetic weighs a paltry 1.7 oz’s, making it nearly half the weight of the 3 oz Pocket Rocket. The only thing lighter is the Kinetic’s little brother, the award winning Ion Micro, which shaves .2 oz’s at the cost of some stability. Field Testing The Kinetic’s small size let’s it pack away easily, whether in your cook kit or riding up in your pack’s brain, stowing it away is never an issue. It comes with a plastic carrying case, but I ditched it, instead wrapping mine in a handkerchief; when packed away inside a cook kit all snugly with utensils and sponges and spices, I never have to worry about it getting damaged. Beyond that, the Kinetic http://www.laviagraes.com/viagra-efectos-secundarios performs just like your average canister stove, bringing .5-.8 liters of water to a rolling boil at around 3:30 minutes (give or take depending on conditions). If you’re like me and use a filter to purify water, making a full-boil unnecessary, you’ll be able to save some fuel and time by getting hot enough water for tea and instant meals in about 2:30-3:00 minutes. If you’re a real back-country chef who needs variable burn, you can adjust the flame easily with a turn of the burner-adjustor. The only real downside to the Kinetic is that you have to be careful with your pot: the small arms on the stove don’t make it the most stable platform, so tipping is easy, especially with larger pots. That said, I’ve never actually tipped a pot on the Kinetic, but I definitely am careful with how it sits. If you’ll be doing multi-pitch or multi-day climbing, where your stove will be perched on narrow spaces, stick with a Jetboil. Since the Kinetic uses canisters, it won’t be your go-to for cold weather camping. http://www.viagragenericoes24.com/nombres-de-viagras Since the fuels separate at colder temperatures, you’ll find the Kinetic getting sluggish in the mid 30’s and down; at 20*, it’s like it’s on simmer-mode even when cranked to full burn. There are tricks to get canisters to work at lower temperatures–some of which can turn your stove into a bomb–but I recommend just switching over to a white-gas stove when you...

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Gear Review: Evolv Cruzer Approach Shoe

Posted by on Oct 14, 2014 in Gear Review & Blog | 0 comments

When I’m going out for a day of climbing at a crag, I really don’t like wearing socks. The act of sitting in the dirt while trying to keep your feet, climbing shoes, and socks all free from dirt is just not doing it for me. I was really looking for a shoe that I could wear without socks, and is designed to be without socks, but was more stable than a pair of Sanuks, and until Chaco makes a Z/2 with a vibram dot print on the bottom, I’ll have to settle with something else. Enter the Evolv Cruzer. I noticed a co-instructor wearing these and was immediately interested. I picked up a pair before this years season started up and so far so good. The Cruzer maintaining traction on some descents.  Build: Weighing in at 7.7oz, this shoe is made fully of canvas with a microfiber lining. The laces are actually a stretchy material so when you tie it once, you can slide it on easily and it expands then contracts to the exact tightness you originally tied it at. The footbed is made with microfiber covered memory foam. It has a rubber wrapped heel and toe box similar to other approach shoes. The bottom is a continuous piece of Evolv’s TRAX rubber with an edging platform. Top/Bottom view Performance: I wore these in the New last weekend pretty much the entire time other than actual climbing. As a hiking shoe, it managed the 5-30 minute approaches very nicely. It managed rolling trail and steeper scree very well. Traction was maintained the entire time and not once did I lose footing or feel insecure. I didn’t climb rock in them, but I really felt that I could handle some east to moderate climbs in them. Previous approach shoes I’ve owned  performed well enough to lead 5.8 in North Carolina, and these felt like I could do the same. The have a great feel and fit to them. I can see these being absolutely ideal on long multi-pitch routes. They’d weigh nothing on a harness and are easy enough to slip on for a descent. Fit: These shoes are true to size. Now when I say true to size, I mean that they fit pretty snug, as a good approach/climbing shoe should. I’ve seen quite a few reviews online saying that they are too tight, but if you’re looking for a shoe to wear mostly casually, that can perform a bit when you need it to, size up. Otherwise the size you are will make this shoe perform to the level it needs to, while maintaining wear-ability outside of a climbing/hiking situation. The Cruzer checking out some good water, reading the guidebook, and looking at climbs that are way out of our league.   Overall: After a busy weekend with this shoe, I am thrilled with it. It performed where it needed to and...

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