Gear Pass or Fail

Info on gear, conditioning, and preparation for hiking/climbing.
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nyker
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Gear Pass or Fail

Post by nyker » Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:03 pm

** Gear Pass or Fail **

Thought I'd start a thread and contribute some thoughts on my experience with some gear that was particularly good or particularly bad, which might be helpful for others.
I am sure others will have similar experiences with their own gear use. Maybe a manufacturer might even see this and take some hints...
Would love to hear others people's experience.

To start it off-

Leki trekking Poles - 4-5 different models - all Pass, with flying colors. 5,000+ miles and counting over 18 years and always reliable, maybe not the lightest, but bomber and never broke.
Conclusion - don't change anything Leki, keep making good stuff.

Black Diamond Z poles - Ultra/Distance Fail miserably - Somewhat surprisingly, 3 pairs broke on me in under 200 miles of normal/light use in two months in a summer a few years back. Awful poles, connector material came out and never was able to be put back -
Folks at EMS and Patagonia and REI were perplexed and couldn't fix them. BD censored my comments on their site making me lose some respect for them, seems they only want good reviews there.
Seeking something lighter, I thought these would be great and was excited to get them but were a huge disappointment, especially when one broke at 3:00am a mile into the Mt Whitney trail under completely normal, light use.

Eastern Mountain Sports zip off hiking pants - Pass, admirably. Older versions (pre 2012) were better and a bit looser with deeper pockets, but still love the fit, weight, feel and water resistance

Eastern Mountain Sports techwick shirts - OLD versions Pre ~2010 - PASS - Awesome, lightweight, comfortable, quick drying, true fit and well made, felt light to wear
Eastern Mountain Sports techwick shirts - NEW versions Post ~2011 - FAIL - terrible feel, stiff, uncomfortable, weird cut, visible and seams that scratch skin, feel stifly to wear
Conclusion: EMS - please go back to the drawing board and retool back to the pre 2010 material and fabric!

Sawyer water filters PASS - awesome, light, effective, easy, durable and packable, easy to maintain

Steripen - FAIL - high maintenance, delicate, often ineffective requiring very diligent watching and darker conditions to ensure light is actually on, fragile

Grivel Ice axes - Nepal SA type models and older models with classic head/pick style, Air tech Evo G Bone. PASS. Very well made and never had an issue.

Grivel G12 steel crampons -PASS. Very well made and never had an issue. Would be nice if they kept sharper longer, but thats an issue with most all crampons.

Osprey Packs - specifically Atmos 65, Atmos 50 and Stratos 40 - PASS. great packs, took beating after beating, well thought out. The 65 was especially good since it cinched down to be able to be carryon then expands when filled up nicely. Good axe loops.

Powerbar - the original. PASS - still one of the only foods I can eat right before and during exercise that doesn't cause any digestion issues.
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jaymz
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Re: Gear Pass or Fail

Post by jaymz » Fri Mar 22, 2019 10:28 am

I'm sure I'll think of others...

Petzl Sarken Leverlock Crampons - PASS - I've taken these ice climbing and up steep couloirs, and the T-shaped front points do very well on both (better on ice than steep snow, where I'm more comfortable with a traditional horizontal front point than these, but these do fine). The cool thing about these is that they come with front strap bindings AND toe bails, depending on if your boots have front welts or not. My current boots don't, and it's nice to know that if and when I upgrade them to boots that do, I don't have to go out and buy brand new crampons.

Petzl Corax Harness - PASS - A nice trad harness that has two adjustment straps on the belt, so the buckle's not off to the side; a lot of harnesses have this, and it makes getting a good fit much easier. I've rappelled and top-roped in it, and it's very comfortable; of course, I was always used to the minimalist alpine harnesses that crush you where it counts. But I could hang in this one for a long time and be just fine. Haven't taken a fall in it yet, so can't speak to that. It's also fairly light weight (not like the BD Bod or Couloir, but still light enough) so I'd have no problem taking it on longer climbs.

TNF Hedgehog GTX hiking shoes - FAIL - Footwear is always subjective, but these things always felt like I was wearing them on the wrong foot. Gave 'em one more shot on a hike and ending up limping for about a week.
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polar
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Re: Gear Pass or Fail

Post by polar » Fri Mar 22, 2019 10:34 am

nyker wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:03 pm
Powerbar - the original. PASS - still one of the only foods I can eat right before and during exercise that doesn't cause any digestion issues.
This, more than anything else, impresses me.

Here’s my contribution to the thread:

Sawyer mini water filter – so small, so cheap, so useful. Definitely a pass in my book. Outside of winter, I always bring one with me when I’m out hiking. I use mine with a hydration bladder, so I don’t need to carry as much water with me because I can fill the bladder on the go. I have also used it as a gravity filter on solo backpacking trips. Just hang the bladder on a tree and let the water drip through the mini. It’s not fast, but works for one person. I just wish I had come across it before I bought a second pump-style water filter that now just sit in my gear bin.

Sun shirt/hoodie – not any particular brand or model, just this concept in general is a pass. I’ve always hated the greasy oily feeling of sunscreen, so when I tried to use a lightweight hoodie as a sun hoodie a couple of summers ago I was instantly a convert. Many companies are making sun hoodies now but they’re kind of expensive for what they are. Any lightweight and light colored hoodie will do, I just get whatever is on sale.
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Re: Gear Pass or Fail

Post by JaredJohnson » Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:08 pm

NeoAir XTherm - PASS. So warm. So durable. Barely any heavier than the xlite or even the new uberlite thingy which are both not nearly as warm.

Enlightened Equipment Revelation Down Quilt - PASS. Quilts are probably not for everyone but the combination of price, weight, and versatility has been perfect for me

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer down jacket - PASS. So light. Okay not the absolute warmest but together with other layers and a hardshell I haven't found myself needing anything warmer on winter 14ers yet, and at home I use it in all seasons except summer. Also surprisingly durable.

Prana Zioneer, Stretch Zion, and Hale pants - PASS. All from stretch zion material which is so durable, so comfy, and water-resistant-enough. And they don't look weird so they're literally the only pants I ever wear anywhere always.

Smartwool NTS 150 boxer briefs OLD - FAIL. 100% Merino version fit wonderfully but wore out super quick. Then they redesigned with 13% nylon for durability but screwed up the fit.

Smartwool NTS 150 boxer briefs LATEST - PASS. Finally durable and good fit. the best fitting wool undies.

Icebreaker Tech Lite short and long sleeve base layers OLD - FAIL. Same durability issues with 100% Merino.

Icebreaker Tech Lite short and long sleeve base layers NEW - PASS. 13% nylon for mostly a durability win. Rather than get anything thicker I like to just layer the short sleeve over the long sleeve in colder conditions. Long sleeve is usually just fine in the summer and makes sunscreen less important.

Burt's Bees Lip Balm - PASS. The only lip balm I use and I take it every time now.

Kind Bars - PASS. Expensive but just so tasty on the trail.

Nalgene Wide Mouth 32oz - PASS

Hydro Flask Wide Mouth 32oz - PASS

Sawyer Micro Squeeze - PASS. The new one is as light as the mini but squeezes EVEN FASTER! I even got the gravity filter just for the wide mouth 3L bladder and the hoses to hook up to the micro squeeze instead.

Sawyer Micro Squeeze bladder - FAIL. Pick up a classic bladder or bring along your old ones. The extra-light one broke my first time out.
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shelly+
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Re: Gear Pass or Fail

Post by shelly+ » Sat Mar 23, 2019 8:00 am

anything wool: cashmere or merino (alpaca and lambswool are good, depending on the gear). i'll replace a petroleum-based polyester with a wool item whenever possible.
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nyker
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Re: Gear Pass or Fail

Post by nyker » Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:41 pm

...."Patagucci ".... LOL :lol:
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LetsGoMets
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Re: Gear Pass or Fail

Post by LetsGoMets » Sat Mar 23, 2019 8:45 pm

Nutrition:

Tailwind Endurance Fuel. I pack a handful of trail mix or a Cliff Bar, but I drink 95% of my activity nutrition and have been using Tailwind exclusively for the last year and a half or so, be it running or climbing.


Some random personal high use gear thoughts:

Bight Solstice Hoody - This is a 365 day a year garment that has been in everything from the alpine to rain forests. Hood won't blow off your head and is perfectly fitted. It's a must own.

Buff ThermoNet buff - Won't freeze from breathing through it. Warm, functional.

Marmot Randonnee Gloves - Solid midweight gloves that serve me well into the lower temps.

Rab Kinetic Jacket - More comfortable/stretchy than the OR Interstellar and just as bulletproof/functional. Ditch carrying both a soft and hard shell in the non-winter months.

Forty Below Bottle Boot - Have carried bottles outside of my pack in temps in the negatives for hours on end without liquid freezing.

Ultimate Direction Fastpack 15 - Best ultralight backpack for day hikes/runs that I've used. Snug to the back, minimal sweating, excellent zipper and packing system.

Trail Running/Hiking Shoes - La Sportiva Mutants and Ultra Raptors for Class 3+. La Sportiva Akyra for backpacking (yes, trail runners for backpacking). Mutants are also a phenomenal long distance trail running shoe. Outside of winter, I haven't worn a "hiking boot" in years.

POC DID Glacier Glasses - After 4 years, they recently failed/broke on me in Ecuador this year and POC would't replace/fix. I wouldn't re-spend the money on them - but they really did serve me well and have a (in my opinion) fantastic look.

Jetboil Stoves - Clutch.

Jack Black Lip Balm - Also clutch. Won't freeze or get destroyed in the wash. Animal cruelty free.


Some layering thoughts:

I typically have been really dialed into a layering system of Patagonia Capilene, R1 and Nano Air for all things winter. Can't go wrong with them. Due to my love of the Bight Solstice Hoody, I gave the Bight Fissure (R1 type layer) and Bight Swelter Jacket (Nano Air type layer) a go recently in some winter climbs and have really liked them as well. Bight gear is really well constructed.

Under Armor 2.0 tops/bottoms are also fantastic as base layers.
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JaredJohnson
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Re: Gear Pass or Fail

Post by JaredJohnson » Sun Mar 24, 2019 1:35 pm

dirtwatson wrote:
Sat Mar 23, 2019 12:40 pm
1/3 the price of boujee name-brands
20 bucks? Definitely gonna pick some up. I'll miss the integrated belt though.

BTW the Zioneer also has a side pocket and I slightly prefer it ove the cargo pocket. Mainly because the cargo pocket has two zippers and given I'm a moron, I'm gonna wind up leaving one open
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Re: Gear Pass or Fail

Post by JaredJohnson » Sun Mar 24, 2019 1:41 pm

Packs PASS:

REI Flash 18. 10oz 18L day pack with ice axe loop and hip/chest straps yes please. Also a perfectly sized pillow. Not the most durable but who cares: they're CHEAP and go on sale often.

Arc'teryx Alpha FL 45. 24oz! Durable. Nearly waterproof. Compactable. Versatile. Rope strap. Perfect for winter and for backpacking. Best if you can keep it packed under 38L so you can keep the roll top rolled inside. Expensive and not the most comfy but I never use anything else for my > 18L needs anymore.
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nyker
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Re: Gear Pass or Fail

Post by nyker » Sat Mar 30, 2019 9:15 am

Point6 merino wool socks - Tactical liner, hiker, and short runner - all PASS

Smartwool black liner socks - Above the calf model discontinued by Smartwool Hi PASS!...but the newer ones which are crew height and shorter keep falling down and are too short for cold weather, Fail in colder weather. Smartwool: bring back the taller ones! [-o<
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Re: Gear Pass or Fail

Post by PBitting » Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:52 am

I'll pile onto BD ski poles. I have the 3-segment collapsible aluminum poles that I got two good years out of, then this year they completely quit on me. This past weekend I broke my third pole section for the season (one of the broken poles was a warranty replacement they sent me this season that never fit well and snapped within a month). Maybe I'm just really hard on poles, but for a piece of equipment designed for touring I find it absurd that they are breaking so easily. Will definitely be looking for another brand next season.
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nyker
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Re: Gear Pass or Fail

Post by nyker » Sat May 04, 2019 4:03 pm

Weird right? I was pretty disappointed in them too.
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