Loading...

Follow Dirtbag Dreams | The Outdoor Prolink Gear Revie.. on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid

A warm, dry, and light sleeping bag might be the most essential piece of gear when you are winter camping. I recently put the Therm-a-Rest Oberon 0°F winter sleeping bag to the test, as I camped in the White Mountains of New Hampshire in snow, rain, and everything in between.

I wanted to be sure to test Therm-a-Rest’s Oberon 0°F in conditions close to zero. On an early December weekend in New Hampshire, a friend and I loaded up our backpacks and set off to spend two nights in the White Mountain National Forest. We were camping underneath the rainfly of my winter tent. It was a high of 20°F that day, and it was forecasted to dip to 4°F at night. Our second night was only slightly warmer, with a temperature of 10°F. With temperatures like this, I knew I was pushing the limits of the Oberon. Despite being so close to the temperature limit of the sleeping bag, I was warm, comfortable, and dry all night long. For my second test, I wanted to put the 800-fill Nikwax Hydrophobic Down to the test. Fortunately, or perhaps, unfortunately, there has been no shortage of cold rain lately in New England. On one such rainy weekend, I once again went out to spend two nights in the Oberon, this time in a bivy sack in the Green Mountains of Vermont. The mercury did not dip that low, only to 35°F, but these weather conditions allowed for me to put the Nikwax Hydrophobic Down to the test. Once again, Therm-a-Rest’s Oberon thoroughly impressed me. Despite plenty of condensation on the inside of my bivy sack, the Oberon continued to insulate and the inside stayed dry.

Therm-a-rest Oberon 0 Sleeping Bag

Product Description: For those that take their adventures into the heart of winter or into colder climates, the Oberon provides the crucial protection you need. We engineered the Oberon to protect athletes from extreme conditions during extreme pursuits, meticulously designing every gram to add warmth and security for the user. Certified by the Responsible Down Standard, the bag's 800-fill Nikwax Hydrophobic Down repels moisture and stays warm in damp conditions. Get better rest while keeping the cold at bay with the Oberon. Storage sack and compression stuff sack included.

Price: MSRP: $469.95 - $509.95

  • Comfort
    (5)
  • Features
    (5)
  • Style
    (5)

Summary

All in all, the Oberon is my new go-to sleeping bag for winter excursions. This sleeping bag does it all. It compresses well and is extremely lightweight, while still being incredibly warm. The SynergyLink Connectors ensure that you won’t slide off your sleeping pad in the middle of the night, and the Toe-asis Foot Warmer Pocket keeps your toes warm all night long. The only area for improvement with the Oberon, isn’t actually about the Oberon itself. The compression sack could be made smaller so that it will compress the sleeping bag further. Overall, the Oberon scores 5/5 in my book. It’s an excellent sleeping bag, nice work Therm-a-Rest!

Overall 5

Pros

  • Toe-asis foot warmer pocket
  • SynergyLink Connectors

Cons

  • The included compression sack is too big

Fit/Comfort

The Oberon’s fit was spot-on. I am 6’2” and 180 pounds, and the long fit me really well. One thing about the fit that I loved was the cinchable hood. I have used several winter sleeping bags that claimed to have cinchable hoods but never actually cinched as tight as I wanted them to, resulting in my face being extremely cold at night. The Oberon has a hood that will cinch down to the size of a quarter – the best I’ve ever seen.

Look/Style

I like to think that I choose my gear based on functionality and not on looks, but let’s face it: looks matter. In this category, like so many others, the Oberon excels. The oranges and yellows are bright and attractive, but not overbearing to my eye. The colors constantly fade into one another, which is a look I really enjoy.

Features

The Oberon has two unique features that I absolutely love, and have never found on another sleeping bag. The first is the Toe-asis Foot Warmer Pocket. I am someone who suffers from consistently cold toes, and this feature was a lifesaver on those cold winter nights. Therm-a-Rest created a foot box at the base of the Oberon so that there is warm down insulation on both sides of your feet, and not just at the base. In addition, Therm-a-Rest has added additional down at the very bottom of the sleeping bag to increase warmth in the foot box. The second feature of the Oberon that I loved was the SynergyLink Connectors. These are small, lightweight, elastic straps that connect your sleeping pad with your sleeping bag. They hook onto the bottom of the Oberon and wrap around any size or shape of sleeping pad. I tested the SynergyLink Connectors with my Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol and they worked together seamlessly. The SynergyLink Connectors are incredibly small and lightweight and easily fit in the small pocket built into the Oberon’s external zip pocket.

Weight/Packability

The Oberon is unbelievably lightweight, coming in at only two pounds, ten ounces. The regular and small weigh three and six ounces less than the long, respectively. I have had summer sleeping bags that weigh twice as much as the Oberon. Once again, the Therm-a-Rest Oberon impresses. The 800-fill down and included compression sack ensure that the Oberon will pack down to something not much larger than a baseball cap. The one small downside to this sleeping bag is that the included compression sack does not compress the bag far enough. Even at maximum compression, the included compression sack does not compress the Oberon as far as some of my other compression sacks.

The Final Word

All in all, the Oberon is my new go-to sleeping bag for winter excursions. This sleeping bag does it all. It compresses well and is extremely lightweight, while still being incredibly warm. The SynergyLink Connectors ensure that you won’t slide off your sleeping pad in the middle of the night, and the Toe-asis Foot Warmer Pocket keeps your toes warm all night long. The only area for improvement with the Oberon, isn’t actually about the Oberon itself. The compression sack could be made smaller so that it will compress the sleeping bag further. Overall, the Oberon scores 5/5 in my book. It’s an excellent sleeping bag, nice work Therm-a-Rest!     

Shop the Therm-a-rest Oberon 0 Sleeping Bag on Outdoor Prolink. Not a member? Apply today!

Sam has spent his entire adult career working on trails throughout the United States. Starting at age eighteen with the US Forest Service in California, Sam transitioned back east to work for the Appalachian Mountain Club’s White Mountain Professional Trail Crew. After four years with the AMC Trail Crew, Sam moved back west to work for the City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks Trail Crew. During his winter’s, Sam has worked as an ice climbing guide and hut caretaker, but he has recently found a home as a ski patroller. When not rolling rocks around the woods, Sam can be found building furniture in his woodshop, volunteering with the local fire department, or hiking in the woods with his partner.

The post ProView – Therm-a-rest Oberon 0 Sleeping Bag appeared first on Dirtbag Dreams - Gear Reviews.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Being active outdoor requires some level of comfort. I have learned many lessons the hard way that quality garments will aide in that comfort. Darn Tough socks were recommended to me and I was excited to try them. Is it not too much to ask for my feet to be cocooned in bliss?

I leaped at the opportunity to test these socks out because, in my world, comfort reigns supreme. When you search for durable sock brands; Darn Tough is a top contender, and for good reason. It is quite literally, darn tough. I had quite a few trips planned where I traveled across varying landscapes to test its namesake. These socks touched the ground on sandy shores and scree fields. They’ve cozied up in sleeping bags in near-freezing temperatures, and relaxed by toasty campfires.

Darn Tough Hiking Socks

Product Description: Built to withstand the rigors of the trail and come away smiling on a layer of cushioned comfort. This humble sock has earned a hallowed place in the hearts of many a discerning thru-hiker. Discover the trail legend for yourself.

Price: $25.00 MSRP

  • Durability
    (5)
  • Fit
    (5)
  • Features
    (4.5)

Summary

We have all experienced a time or two where our socks didn’t hold up during an outdoor adventure, leaving us aching or limping our way through. These aren’t those socks. These socks are fantastic for anyone; whether you are lounging fireside in camp trying to keep warm or tackling hard trails where your feet are going to be put through tough conditions. They’re a lightweight yet tried and true tough, durable sock that can take on the world.

Overall 4.8

Pros

  • Not too tight
  • No bunching in the boot
  • Breathable

Cons

Performance

As soon as these socks are on, you feel like they were designed to mold to your feet. I am not a fan of socks being too tight due to swelling when hiking nor am I a fan of socks being too big and the extra fabric filling up space in the boots effectively making the fit of the shoe uncomfortable. With Darn Tough socks, it molds to the shape of your feet, ensuring a near perfect fit every single time. They are blended with nylon, merino wool, and Lycra spandex. This unique blend provides sweat-wicking, warmth and cool as well as thickness to ensure durability, no bunching, and no blistering. You can trust these socks to hold up.

Fit

I was able to test out the hiker boot sock full cushion and a micro crew cushion. The only noticeable difference between the two tested were the lengths of the socks. The full boot sits mid-calf while the micro crew peeks just above the hiking boot. One was not more comfortable over the other; the length really is buyer preference.

Versatility

Both of these socks are meant to keep warm when conditions demand it as well as keeping cool in the heat of the day; it is a well-rounded sock that can be worn across varying types of weather and varying landscapes. Their versatility was highlighted when I was able to roll out of my sleeping bag and putt on boots to hike a strenuous uphill trail scrambling over large chunks of rock and scree. I was comfortable and warm. There is no terrain in which the sock performs better in than others.

Look/Style

Sometimes, comfort doesn’t always translate to a garment or a piece of gear having style. Darn Tough has a wide range of designs and colors to give you a bit of flair.

The Final Word

We have all experienced a time or two where our socks didn’t hold up during an outdoor adventure, leaving us aching or limping our way through. These aren’t those socks. These socks are fantastic for anyone; whether you are lounging fireside in camp trying to keep warm or tackling hard trails where your feet are going to be put through tough conditions. They’re a lightweight yet tried and true tough, durable sock that can take on the world.

Shop the Darn Tough Hiking Socks on Outdoor Prolink. Not a member? Apply today!

Chelsea Sedlak is a weekend warrior and an ambassador for two outdoor women’s hiking groups where she hosts monthly events for women to get together to explore in Northern California. During her spare time, she is backpacking, hiking, trail running, and traveling. Find her on Instagram, @clsedlak.

The post ProView – Darn Tough Hiking Socks appeared first on Dirtbag Dreams - Gear Reviews.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

If dirtbags are one thing and one thing only (aside from dirty of course) we are a resourceful bunch. When things go wrong out in the wild, it’s always best to have a little fix-it kit at your side. We asked fellow dirtbags what were some of their best MacGyvered moments and came up with the ultimate lineup of DIY, fix-it tools you need to have on hand for your adventures.

1. Duct Tape

Duct tape can truly fix almost everything, even if it’s just for a little bit. Wrap several feet of it around a water bottle or trekking pole to take with you on the move. We were miles from anywhere while in Nepal and our third water filter failed us. Instead of purchasing disposable bottled water (which is simply burned in villages here), we duct taped our filter back together. It held up just long enough to get back to civilization. It was a win for the environment and a win for duct tape.

2. Zip Ties

Who knew that these little plastic do-daddies could be so useful in a pinch? It turns out, zip ties are a quick substitute for nearly everything, from a thread to attaching ski skins. Pro tip: Carry a few different sizes, from the bigger eight-inch ties all the way down to the thinner, four-inch variety.

Outdoor Pro Greg C. busted open a seem on his ski gloves during a backcountry hut trip. He used zip ties and a knife to “sew” the glove back together. He’s also reattached a skin tail with zip ties in the field, so he could keep on earning his turns.

3. Shoelaces

So you may want to carry a rated thin cord, such as 7mm cordelette if you indulge in any vertical activities, but shoelaces make super convenient ties, loops, sunglasses leashes, dog leashes, and more. Resident dirtbag Pro Kerr A., created a tag line from shoelaces and cut slings. Although we don’t recommend following in his footsteps, that’s a pretty fantastic (and scary) use for extra laces.

4. Climber “Tat”

Climbers use all sorts of weird slang to describe whatever it is they are talking about (sometimes even climbers don’t know what other climbers are saying), but tat refers to cut lengths of nylon webbing. Even if you don’t climb, a few extra nylon straps can really come in handy should you need ’em. Aside from creating safe climbing anchors, you can use these bad boys to rig a sling for a hurt arm, tie down extra gear to a broken backpack, and more.

5. Dental Floss

So you know how the dentist always gives you extra floss for your visit? Throw some of that goodness in your emergency fix-it kit! Madeleine B, an Outdoor ProLink member, fixed her glasses with dental floss. I’ve used dental floss to fix broken flip flops and whip up a sunglasses leash while rafting in Costa Rica. You’d be amazed at the power of this stuff, especially when it’s wrapped or braided. Bonus? It’s minty fresh too!

6. Hair Ties

Forget your hairbrush? No problem. Stop nappy dreads by braiding your hair and tying it off with hair ties. Did an elastic go out on your pack, shoes or pants? Hair ties can fix that. These handy, glorified rubber bands work well to put a temporary bandaid on a problem with different straps and cords. Wanda R, an outdoor Pro, once fixed her snowshoes with elastic hair ties.

7. Ski Straps

Ski straps combine the best things we love about zip ties and elastic hair ties into one incredibly useful item that goes beyond the slopes. Use a ski strap to attach gear to a backpack, Strap together pieces of a broken trailer, or be like Mark L, resident Outdoor ProLink member, and re-attach skins that have lost their stick. Ski straps are rubber, durable, and have buckles to help you really cinch down something tight and snug.

Photo courtesy of Mark L. 8. Key Ring

Key rings are an excellent way to reattach pieces of broken metal, especially in a chain (think crampons and microspikes). Although you should only trust your body weight to a rated carabiner, key rings are awesome at fixing things where you need something to be durable, like when Wanda R. needed to fix a broken link in her microspikes.

9. Other  Handy Items

This list isn’t comprehensive. We’ve found that having a few additional items in your fix-it arsenal can go a long way in the event that something breaks. Here are a few other items we always like to carry on hand:

  • Waterproof matches or a magnesium fire starter
  • A knife – it doesn’t need to be big, but something that’s sharp and ready to cut
  • Tenacious Tape
  • Extra batteries (no one wants to use a dead headlamp)
  • A few rated, wiregate carabiners
  • Superglue

Who else has MacGyvered something great in the outdoors? Do you have a handy item in your emergency kit that has been useful to you? Let us know in the comments below.

The post 8 Items Every Dirtbag Needs in Their Emergency MacGyver Kit and How to Use Them appeared first on Dirtbag Dreams - Gear Reviews.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

The Thermarest Space Cowboy 45 is a good summer backpacking sleeping bag. It’s small size and light weight make it easy to carry. It’s a synthetic-fill, ultralight sleeping bag designed for summer use. The list price for the bag ranges from $129.95 to $149.95 depending on the size.

Therm-a-rest Space Cowboy 45 Sleeping Bag

Product Description: The feather-weight Space Cowboy is built with eraLoft synthetic insulation to endure the rigors of backpacking and cowboy camping in variable conditions. Designed with innovative Therm-a-Rest features like SynergyLink Connectors and Zoned Insulation, the bag is among the lightest and most packable in its class. The mummy-style bag compresses down to take up minimal room in your pack and comes in two outdoor-inspired colors. Whether exploring the western frontier, bike packing through the desert or wandering through the wild, the Space Cowboy has you covered. Storage sack and compression stuff sack included.

Price: MSRP: $129.95 - $149.95

  • Quality
    (4)
  • Features
    (3)
  • Fit
    (4)
  • Durability
    (5)

Summary

The Thermarest Space Cowboy is a lightweight bag for warm temperatures. It’s good for ultralight backpacking during the summer in warm climates.

Overall 4

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Small size in stuff sack

Cons

  • Temperature range is limited

Weight

The manufacturer says the bag weighs one pound, four ounces, and packs down to just a little larger than an insulated liter water bottle. When I weighed it at home in the stuff sack I found it weighed 1 pound, 7 ounces. That leaves plenty of room in your pack for other gear or lightens your overall load. As an ultralight backpacker, I’m used to sub-3-pound bags, but this one packs down pretty small.

Look

In keeping with the space theme, the bag’s colors are “ether” (light blue) and “galactic” (purple). I tested the galactic version of the bag.

Features

One of the first things I noticed about this sleeping bag was the presence of a draft tube, which many manufacturers remove in their quest to save weight, though there is no draft collar. You control heat loss by opening or closing the drawstring on the opening. Also, there’s a plastic snap to secure the side zipper. I prefer this to the Velcro closures on other sleeping bags as the Velcro gets caught on hair and clothing. The eraLoft synthetic insulation seems thinner than that in other 45-degree bags I own. The bag uses zoned insulation, putting more of it around the torso and less around the legs. I was a little concerned as I first examined how thin the bag was, but this one seemed better made than others I have encountered. I was pleased by the quilted design, which keeps insulation where you want it. Maybe it was just the draft tube, but it still felt warmer than those other 45-degree ultralight bags. That said, the insulation appears that it may bunch up with continued use. We’ll see.

The material is durable. I’m not worried about its tearing.

Features

A feature I haven’t experienced with other bags is the Synergylink connectors designed to keep the Space Cowboy attached to a sleeping pad. I tried it out and it seems like a fine feature for those who sleep on their backs. As a confirmed side sleeper, I preferred to be able to move the sleeping bag with my body, which is hard when using the connectors. Thermarest says the connectors hold the pad in place while you roll, but I felt they confined my movement, so I stopped using them after the first night. With their hook-and-loop design, it’s easy to take the connectors off.

I recently took the Space Cowboy on a trip to southern Utah. Conditions varied, but overnight temperatures ranged from 40 to 50 degrees at night.

The lightweight sleeping bag was nice, shedding a couple of pounds from the average backpacking load. This sleeping bag packed down smaller than other ultralight bags I use. There was plenty of room for my tent and other items, which is important when backpacking with family because I end up carrying a lot of communal gear.

The bag is rated to 45 degrees. My experience was that the comfort level in the bag was closer to 50 when I was wearing thermal underwear and a beanie. By increasing my layers, I could sleep well in the mid-40s, but at 40 degrees, I was shivering and had to find extra blankets (for me that means begging extras from my wife who was using my 20-degree backpacking quilt and didn’t need the extras she brought). In their defense, Thermarest does say that the bag is intended for summer camping, but I was pretty cold at night on our early spring trip.

I’ll be adding the Space Cowboy to my summer camping gear, but I’ll stick to colder-rated bags for shoulder seasons when I might encounter overnight lows in the 40s or below.

Shop the Therm-a-rest Space Cowboy 45 Sleeping Bag on Outdoor Prolink. Not a member? Apply today!

Shem Flitton grew up exploring Utah’s West Desert, camping, hunting, and riding horses. He is an avid ultralight backpacker, hiker, and endurance road cyclist. He has climbed the highest peak in each of Utah’s 29 counties and explored many national parks, slot canyons, and other trails.

Shem has introduced many people to the wonders of the backcountry both as a Boy Scout leader and as a guide for his friends. He has run marathons, relays, and an ultramarathon. He has ridden several biking events and relays. He’s a wilderness first responder and serves as a team lead on the Timpanogos Emergency Response Team. He lives along the Wasatch Front with his wife, five kids, and Enya, his mutt dog.

The post ProView – Therm-a-rest Space Cowboy 45 Sleeping Bag appeared first on Dirtbag Dreams - Gear Reviews.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

“Thermarest? Don’t they just make sleeping pads? How would they know anything about a good sleeping bag?”

Those were my thoughts when I first heard that Thermarest had released a newly-designed “Fast and Light” line of human warmth burritos (sleeping bags as some may call them). I was filled with skepticism that Thermarest could match some of the titans of the bag industry. However, after several months of good use in late fall and winter conditions, my skepticism has been smashed down like a good boot pack. Although there is room for improvement in Thermarest’s Parsec bag, I was happily surprised with the quality and performance of the wide-use bag.

Therm-a-rest Parsec 20 Sleeping Bag

Product Description: Engineered for your fast and light adventures, the Parsec delivers lightweight and packable warmth. Just like an alpinist precisely selects his rack or a skier carefully chooses her line, we took the time to dial in the small details that create comfort and security in the mountains. After you break camp, the mummy-style bag uses a compression sack to easily fit into your pack without weighing you down. Designed with high-quality materials and Therm-a-Rest performance features, the Parsec easily handles three-season bivys and long pushes into the backcountry. Bottom line, those that need their sleeping bag to go further choose the Parsec. Storage sack and compression stuff sack included.

Price: MSRP: $369.95 - $409.95

  • Comfort
    (5)
  • Features
    (4)
  • Style
    (3.5)
  • Durability
    (4)

Summary

Overall, I give the Parsec four starlit bivvies out of a possible five. It’s size and weight, durability, and warmth make it one of the most versatile sleeping bags I’ve used. The bag is just as useful in the back of a Sprinter van as it is on a springtime alpine bivy. Future iterations of the bag will benefit from a darker color scheme and a more durable and smoother zipper.

Overall 4.1

Pros

  • Size
  • Weight
  • Durability
  • Warmth

Cons

  • Zipper sticks
  • Color shows dirt easily

Thermarest has called it “perhaps their most effective and well-rounded sleep system to date”, and I would have to agree. It’s sort of the jack-of-all-trades of sleeping bags. I think it would be insufficient for more committed alpine adventures, and it’s probably a bit much for casual summer outings. But it performs incredibly well in all other situations, and really is the most versatile bag I’ve owned yet.

Warmth

Being a bit more grounded to the Midwest than usual due to medical school, I knew I wanted a bag that had versatility and warmth but wasn’t completely useless outside of winter or mountain environments (like my Mountain Hardwear 0 Degree Bag). I took the Parsec on several backpacking and climbing trips in the Midwest, using it in my car and tent as well as doing some backcountry bivvies. The bag’s 20-degree rating was comfortable across a wide temperature range and I found myself just as comfortable during 50 degree nights as I did in fifteen degree nights – depending on how I layered my sleepwear. Temperatures in the midwest can swing wildly during the night, and with previous sleeping bags I’ve found myself either terribly cold in the middle of the night, or far too hot in the morning hours. The Parsec managed these temperature swings surprisingly well, and I found that the dual zipper on the bag was perfect for opening a small window to allow some ventilation on warmer nights.

Also, I can’t fail to mention the warmth of the foot box. I often find that the foot box is a neglected area of many sleeping bags. Usually, it is too constrictive and lacks the same concentration of insulation compared to the rest of the bag. In the Parsec, my toes are as warm and happy as a baby joey in a kangaroo’s pouch. There is enough room to move my feet around but not so much that I feel I need to stuff other clothes there for insulation as I do in my other bags. The fit of the foot box (and the whole bag, honestly) – is one of the better combinations of comfort and warmth that I’ve experienced.

Size and Weight

By far my favorite aspect of this sleeping bag is its weight. Down will always have a weight advantage over its more dense, synthetic cousins, but it’s rare that I find any sleeping bag that doesn’t make me feel like I’m weight training when carrying my backpack. The Parsec achieved that and more. When I used the included compression sack, the bag shrank to the size of about two Nalgene bottles. I found that using a third-party stuff sack, like a Sea-to-Summit compression sack, can compress the bag even further. Usually, a sleeping bag takes up the entirety of the bottom of my pack, but I found with the compressed Parsec, I could slide my sleeping pad in next to it, and save some serious room for extra socks, trail mix, and a few beers.

The actual weight of the bag officially clocks in at two pounds, which is roughly the weight of one full Nalgene. When I held both the compressed bag and a full Nalgene in my hands, I honestly think the bag weighed less. For the first time in a while, my sleeping bag was not one of the heavier items in my pack.

Durability

The exterior of the bag is a very slick and seemingly thin synthetic layer, and I was immediately concerned about tears and holes if I used the bag on some rocky bivvies. Several times I would hear the bag run across a rock or a tree branch and think that I had just sliced it open, but every time I was relieved and impressed to find the bag unscathed. The material is more durable than it seems, I promise. The zipper seems to be holding up well, which is a contrast to my other sleeping bags where the zipper stitches seemed to be fraying and crumbling after only a few uses. My only beef with the zipper on this bag is that it CONSTANTLY gets caught on the surround sleeping bag material. Almost every time I zip up the bag, I have to un-jam the zipper. This is not a dealbreaker by any means, but I’m worried that this will eventually lead to tearing and loss of down. it seems like some simple design changes in the next iteration of this bag could easily solve this problem, such as a wider stitching base around the zipper, or the inclusion a longer leash on the zipper.

Look

Another slight complaint is how easily the bag gets dirty. Although the “White Heat” color scheme definitely looks sleek, it’s already starting to brown and show aesthetic wear after just a few months of use.

Waterproofing

Against my better judgment, I decided to bivy one evening in the Red River Gorge. Even in fall and early winter, the Midwest is infamous for its humidity and condensation. Well, I woke up at 5 am to find the Parsec bag completely saturated in dew. But, I quickly realized that I didn’t feel the same chill that I have in the past when my synthetic bags have suffered the same fate. The hydrophobic coating on the 800 fill Nik-wax down works. Period. The warmth inside my bag was still considerable, and I was able to sleep for another hour or so until sunrise without much discomfort.

What was more impressive than the bag’s ability to retain heat was it’s drying time. I hung the bag up on a clothesline during breakfast, and the bag was completely dry by the early afternoon. For a down bag, that’s simply incredible.

Overall, I give the Parsec four starlit bivvies out of a possible five. It’s size and weight, durability, and warmth make it one of the most versatile sleeping bags I’ve used. The bag is just as useful in the back of a Sprinter van as it is on a springtime alpine bivy. Future iterations of the bag will benefit from a darker color scheme and a more durable and smoother zipper.

This bag was my first foray into Hydrophobic down, and after being a strictly synthetic bag user for years, this bag has fully converted me to the church of waterproof feathers.

I have several trips to the mountains planned this spring, and from what I’ve experienced thus far, I feel confident that the Parsec can match my wildest alpine dreams.

Shop the Therm-a-rest Parsec 20 Sleeping Bag on Outdoor Prolink. Not a member? Apply today!

Sean has worked as a climbing guide and outdoor educator for the past four years and is also youth climbing coach at Hoosier Heights Indianapolis, as well as a Search and Rescue Technician. He spends most of his time in the Midwest, but has climbed in Mexico, Chile, Canada, Spain, and all over the United States. When not coaching or climbing, Sean is probably buried in his textbooks as he moves through medical school.

The post ProView – Therm-a-rest Parsec 20 Sleeping Bag appeared first on Dirtbag Dreams - Gear Reviews.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

As a premature baby with struggling eyes for all my life, vision is something I don’t take for granted. Having lost it twice in my life, it’s something I appreciate fully down to the smallest details. Taking in every view, every cliff, tree, and vast expanse I can. The Catamount from Native Eyewear is an excellent vessel to do that with. These glasses provide a comfortable, durable platform in which to experience and view the world around us.

Native Eyewear Catamount Sunglasses

Product Description: Understanding the need to be spontaneous is not to be overlooked. With this in mind, the Wells is designed with a square-shaped lens, streamlined temples, and a face-hugging fit that won’t let go, even during the most unplanned of situations. Constructed of plant-based resin and finished with precision-cut metallic foil logo detailing, this frame only leaves to the imagination what adventure to embark on next.

Price: $119.00 - $139.00 MSRP

  • Quality
    (4.5)
  • Features
    (4)
  • Fit
    (4.5)
  • Style
    (4.2)

Summary

A synergistic blend of style, comfort, and performance is the epitome of an active pair of sunglasses. Attach an attractive price that doesn’t make you lose your eyesight and you’ve got yourself a great pair of eyeglasses. Native Eyewear accomplishes this more than adequately. For a beautiful price point, elegant style, and aggressive performance you are hard-pressed to find a better pair of sunglasses out there.

Overall 4.2

Pros

  • Comfy fit
  • Durable
  • Detailed lens

Cons

  • Offer different sizes

Fit/Comfort

I have a small face, there I said it! It’s constantly a struggle to find glasses that both complement my boyishly good looks while maintaining function, performance, and fit. The Catamount is a small to medium frame that fits me well. The adjustable cushioned nose pads can be custom fit for those of us that don’t quite fit the cookie cutter mold of general consumerism.  The weight and rigidity of the frame works with you in every setting you can place it in. Whether it be casual, athletic, or a combo, this model excels at comfort.

Look/Style

The first thing I noticed when I opened the box was the attention to detail with these glasses. A nice case coupled with interchangeable lenses neatly packed away waiting for countless adventures means Native eyewear cares about the details. Much like my perspective related to my eyesight; the attention is in the smallest details. Crisp lines and an attractive modern sleek design work in harmony to create a nice pair of glasses that complement a vast spectrum of faces and people.

Function/Performance

I am an animated human being, conveying my messages through exaggerated body movement and spasmodic head movements. Consequently, my glasses fly through the air. Then, I subsequently either step on them or they tumble down rocks and trails. Needless to say, I beat my products up. Having ear pieces which “cam” as Native eyewear calls it is handy. They spring and lock into place and give an attempt to cling to my head as I offer them every chance to peel off.

The lenses handle being dropped quite well on the ground. After several times of inadvertently trialing this out, they have yet to be scratched. The polarization is sharp, reducing all the glare the sun throws at it.  This model of eyewear fit me well and was quite comfortable while running, biking, climbing and relaxing.

Room for improvement

Being as small faced as I am, these glasses are still almost too big for my personal stylistic preferences; I’d like to see possibly see a smaller size be offered. Honestly, beyond that, I’m at a loss for ‘room for improvement.’ They’re well designed, built with quality materials, and offer options as a standard package. Everything you want as a consumer.

The Final Word

A synergistic blend of style, comfort, and performance is the epitome of an active pair of sunglasses. Attach an attractive price that doesn’t make you lose your eyesight and you’ve got yourself a great pair of eyeglasses. Native Eyewear accomplishes this more than adequately. For a beautiful price point, elegant style, and aggressive performance you are hard-pressed to find a better pair of sunglasses out there.

Shop the Native Eyewear Catamount on Outdoor Prolink. Not a member? Apply today!

Joe Anderson is an ardent enjoyer of life who showed that by coming into this world at 24 weeks of life. Born nearly the size of a beer can at 1 lb 11oz, he has a zest for life that is insatiable. When not working as an ER nurse or Flight Medic, he can be found most often climbing around the SW region of Colorado looking for the next best pitch. Have you hugged a premature baby today? Give it a try

The post ProView – Native Eyewear Catamount Sunglasses appeared first on Dirtbag Dreams - Gear Reviews.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

I woke up in complete darkness to the sound of my border collie, Riggins, panting and shifting around in my sleeping bag. Unzipping, I helped him emerge from the down cocoon and got smacked in the face by the odor of dog poop. Assuming he lost control of his bowels inside my sleeping bag, I did what anyone would do. Trying not to move, lest I encounter the mess in the dark, I shouted for my partner to wake up.

It was New Year’s Eve, in the wee hours of 2018. The three of us, Aaron, Riggins, and myself, were sleeping in the back of Aaron’s truck in the parking lot of Anthony Lakes Ski Area. It was negative-something degrees and puking snow outside. Everything was frozen — our 7-gallon jug of water, our 6-pack of beer, our food, contact solution, and toothpaste.

Aaron flicked on his headlamp. The inside of my sleeping bag was somehow dry, but the smell was overwhelming. Aaron gagged. I lifted Riggins’s tail and saw a brown pancake stuck to his bottom — poor guy was probably trying desperately to hold it in. I flung open the tailgate and Riggins jumped out, disappearing into the snowstorm.

What does this have to do with Rumpl? Just this: Ever since that stinky 2 am wake-up call, Riggins has been delegated to the cab of the truck, with his own dog-sized sleeping bag and several Rumpl blankets to keep him warm.

Rumpl Puffy Blanket

Product Description: The Rumpl Puffy Blanket uses the same technical materials found in premium sleeping bags and insulated puffy jackets. Whether indoors or outside, the Puffy blanket is designed to provide optimal warmth in any environment. Utilizing a weather-resistant 20D ripstop nylon shell with DWR treatment, the blanket resists water, dirt, odor, pet hair, and other debris. The Puffy fits easily in an included stuff sack for quick storage or taking on the go.

Price: $130 MSRP

  • Durability
    (4)
  • Features
    (4)
  • Quality
    (5)

Summary

I know, Rumpl blankets aren’t dog blankets. They’re go-anywhere blankets that accompany us to and from the house, into the truck, into the tent, onto the couch, and on top of the bed at home. My Rumpl blanket wraps my dog up like a burrito when we leave him in the cold car while we go find an actual burrito. It warms my legs and makes a nest for my cats at home while I cradle a mug of tea and a good book. It keeps me warm enough to enjoy an apres ski beer during the spring corn cycle when the sun sinks low in the evening and a chill returns to the air. It the depths of winter, my Rumpl blanket adds an extra layer of insulation wherever I’m sleeping.

Overall 4.3

Pros

  • Cozy
  • Warm
  • Odor-free
  • Easily cleaned

Cons

  • Can be ripped by sharp objects

I know, Rumpl blankets aren’t dog blankets. They’re go-anywhere blankets that accompany us to and from the house, into the truck, into the tent, onto the couch, and on top of the bed at home. My Rumpl blanket wraps my dog up like a burrito when we leave him in the cold car while we go find an actual burrito. It warms my legs and makes a nest for my cats at home while I cradle a mug of tea and a good book. It keeps me warm enough to enjoy an apres ski beer during the spring corn cycle when the sun sinks low in the evening and a chill returns to the air. It the depths of winter, my Rumpl blanket adds an extra layer of insulation wherever I’m sleeping.

Over the years, I’ve acquired three Rumpl blankets: my first was a turquoise one-person-sized Original Puffy, followed by an ultralight Down Puffy, and most recently, the El Puffy throw. Rumpl blankets are designed to function like sleeping bags: They’re warm, water- and odor-resistant, made with durable performance materials like ripstop nylon and DWR coating, and they pack into their own stuff sack. They also come in a wide variety of styles and patterns. The El Puffy, inspired by traditional Mexican blankets found along the coast of Baja, adds a pop of bright color to the snowy environments in which I often find myself.

What I love most about Rumpl blankets is that they don’t stink, even after you wrap your blanket around a snow-covered dog who recently pooped himself, and they’re easy to clean with either a shake or a toss in the washing machine. There are multiple sizing options: the one-person and throw sizes have been plenty large enough for camping, but I would consider a larger size if it were to remain more permanently on my bed at home.

Rumpl blankets are great anywhere you could use a little extra coziness. I don’t leave for a camping or road trip without one. Just like your puffy coat or sleeping bag, a Rumpl will tear. My Original turquoise blanket got snagged on my bike cassette during a road trip. Since it was ripstop nylon, the fabric didn’t unravel beyond the tear, and I was able to stitch it, giving it a nice, lived-in scar. Rumpl sells wash and repair tape on their website, so I’m guessing I wasn’t the first one to get a little careless, however, I learned to pack my Rumpl blanket back into its stuff sack during transport. And though they pack nicely in their stuff sack, I stick with a traditional sleeping bag for backpacking trips.

So how did the poop story end, you ask? A thorough investigation turned up just one turd sitting on top of Aaron’s sleeping bag. He let out a noise of disgust and flung the turd toward the opening to the outside. It landed just short of the edge of the tailgate and promptly froze in place.

Shop the Rumpl Puffy Blanket on Outdoor Prolink. Not a member? Apply today!

Alli manages content and social media for Ruffwear in Bend, OR. She regularly skis before work with her dog Riggins and spends the spring season climbing and skiing the Cascade volcanoes. When the Pacific Northwest ski season winds down in early July, you’ll find Alli running trails and climbing at Smith Rock.

The post ProView – Rumpl Puffy Blanket appeared first on Dirtbag Dreams - Gear Reviews.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

I’m a big guy that loves light gear and often times those two things don’t go together.  At 6’1”, 225 lbs (and being a side sleeper who actively rolls from side to side at night), I can easily become the guy that keeps people up at camp with my constant shifting around on a noisy insulated sleeping pad trying to get comfortable.  After testing the Big Agnes Anvil Horn 15 Degree Down Sleeping Bag and AXL Air Insulated Pad in the high desert of Moab Utah, I may have just found a solution for that. 

Big Agnes Anvil Horn 15 + Insulated AXL Air Sleeping Pad

Product Description: Big Agnes System bags with DownTek insulation offer a roomy, rectangle-shaped sleeping space with an integrated Flex Pad Sleeve on the bottom. With technical fabrics and construction, compressible insulation and tons of comfort features, these comfortable sleeping bags are designed to be lightweight enough for backpacking but cozy enough you'll want them in the campground too. The streamlined silhouette and Flow construction increase the thermal efficiency keeping you warm from head to toe. The Flex Pad Sleeve unites easily with your pad, and as you change positions over the course of the night, will keep you from rolling off your pad.

Price: Sleeping bag: MSRP: $269.95 - $319.95 Pad: MSRP: $159.95 - $249.95

  • Quality
    (5)
  • Features
    (4.5)
  • Fit
    (4)
  • Durability
    (4)

Summary

Big Agnes has created a sleep system with the Anvil Horn 15 and AXL Air Insulated that is both fully featured and extremely comfortable to sleep in when used within its limitation to temperature and environment. 

Overall 4.4

Pros

  • Build quality
  • Comfort Level
  • Thoughtful Features
  • Ease of Use

Cons

  • Temperature Rating

Most of my testing took place in the high deserts of Moab, Utah just outside Canyonlands National Park.  I spent eight days this April testing the sleep system in varied conditions which ranged from 20 degrees to around 45 degrees Fahrenheit for nighttime sleeping. I used the gear to both cowboy camp and tent camp however for the purposes of this review most of the results are from my nights tent sleeping.  The weather was just too cold for anything else. 

So a little bit about me. I currently reside in Denver, Colorado where I moved after about 11.5 years working as a Producer and Commercial Photographer in Los Angeles.  I specialize in travel, outdoor, and adventure lifestyle photography.  I spent most of my childhood summers exploring and camping with my family on road trips across the USA.  My parents being educators had their summers off and what better way to show my siblings and I the country than to explore it through car camping.  As a child, I was obsessed with stories of wilderness survival, camping, and exploring.  As an adult, I spent a year working as an Adventure Guide in South America leading tours which involved everything from rafting in the Amazon Jungle, to trekking in the Andes.   In 2015, I hiked 550 miles from France all the way across Spain on the Camino de Santiago documenting the journey. In 2018 I was named by The Dyrt as one of the Top 70 Outdoor Instagram accounts to follow which has made me feel entirely honored to be recognized by the outdoor industry in such a way.  Due to the nature of having to carry often larger weight because of my profession I have become obsessed with the idea of ultralight and lightweight travel and backpacking items.  When everything you need to live has to be carried on your back, each item needs to be tried and tested so you know it will perform how you need it.  One thing I have learned over the years is that each trip adventure that you go on calls for different gear.  When testing gear you try your best to match a variety of scenarios to give a more well-rounded review of the items being reviewed.  The days I spent with the items in this review allowed me to have that range of temperatures so I am confident with what I found based on the amount of time spent using them. 

Fit/Comfort

I am a broad-shouldered and taller guy so finding a sleeping bag and pad that fits me can sometimes be a problem.  I would have to say from a fit and comfort perspective the Anvil Horn 15 is one of the most comfortable bags I have slept in due to its more rectangular design and spacious foot box.  Often times when I slip into a mummy style sleeping bag I feel like a sausage smashed into a casing that is too small, ready to burst at any moment, this was definitely not the case (no pun intended).  The free range hood I found to be very comfortable to sleep with. It was ready to be synched down if needed but open enough to let your head move around without constriction of the moment.

My one note on fit is that personally, at 6’1” I feel like I could have fit better in the regular size bag as opposed to the long.  I did find that there was almost too much room in the foot box. In my backpacking tent, the length made it a little tricky as it would touch the walls of the tent and condensation would get on the bag (the DownTek insulation did help in this instance).  I know lots of people like to stuff a warm water bottle or their clothes for the next day in the foot box area as well, however, so if you are that type of person you would have plenty of room.  Overall, a big guy fits comfortable in this bag with no issues. 

In terms of the AXL Air Insulated, I can honestly say that I have never felt as comfortable on a sleeping pad as I did on this one.  The center of the pad is a luxurious 3.25” and the outer edges measure 3.75” which functions to keep you nestled in the center and not rolling off the sides.  This pad coupled into the Flex Pad Sleeve of the Anvil Horn 15 worked extremely well together.  This was my first time using a sleep system like this and I would have to say it was quite comfortable and not once did I come close to slipping off. 

If had one note on the pad itself in the fit category it would be similar to the that of the sleeping bag.  I had a Long Wide pad which was luxurious no doubt, but I found slightly less practical in a backpacking tent as you essentially had the pad from wall to wall.  A regular wide would have been the perfect fit for me personally.

Look/Style

I found this sleep system to be really aesthetically pleasing. The red zippers and the blue bag coupled with the red sleeping pad had a sharp look to it.  I found the more rectangular cut of the bag to be extremely appealing as well as the rectangular shape of the AXL Air.  I prefer this shape particularly in a sleeping pad as opposed to the mummy shape of other pads. 

Features

One of the most impressive things about the Anvil Horn 15 was that I would consider this to be a fully featured bag with lots of bells and whistles that just make sense.  For starters the anti-snag, locking zipper with zipper garage I found to be very effective at being able to quickly adjust my zipper at night as needed.  The bag has interior feels quite nice against the skin and has fabric loops for a sleeping bag liner to attach as well as exterior loops to hang for drying or storing the bag.  In addition, one of my favorite features was the pillow barn which is a sleeve that you can tuck your pillow in to and it lives inside the hood of the bag.  Also, there is a pocket inside the bag to stuff your cell phone.  I think we can all relate to leaving our cell phones outside the bag with a full charge and waking up to a dead phone in the morning.  This little pocket I found to be such a simple but perfect addition to the bag.  I also believe it would be a good spot to tuck in a water filter at night so it does not freeze while backpacking in temperatures that might dip below freezing and ruin the filter. 

My favorite feature of the AXL Air Insulated pad outside its comfort factor is that the plug that holds the valve snugly closed presses down inside itself to allow for easy deflation without any hassle at all.    

I think at this point in the review it is important for me to talk about the Pumphouse Platinum Inflation Pump. When I first tested the AXL Air Insulated the task of blowing up such a large pad was daunting to me.  I felt like I was blowing and blowing and not really filling the pad up as effectively as I should be.  Enter the Pumphouse Platinum and that all changed.  This simple 1.2 oz. stuff sack and with a nozzle to deliver air into the pad changed everything.  At this weight, it was well worth the penalty to be able to blow up the pad so quickly.  In a pinch, it doubles as a stuff sack as well, although seeing as it is made from ultra-light ripstop nylon I personally wouldn’t want to put any extra stress on it by using it as a bag.  This addition made the whole system way easier to use and I would highly recommend owning one if you purchase this bag. 

Weight/Packability

This category is one that is pretty important for me.  I am a firm believer that that lighter the pack the happier the journey.  The Anvil 15 Long weighs in at just around 2 lbs. 10 oz. which does make it a lightweight option for your everyday backpacker/weekend warrior type backpacker.  It would however not fall into what many would consider being an ultralight thru-hiking weight class. The 650 fill hydrophobic DownTek down is not as lightweight or compressible as some of the higher loft downs that ultra-light bags use. That being said I believe that this sleeping bag was not created for the long distance thru-hiker, so in that sense, it is a perfectly suited backpacking backpack for shorter multi-day or overnight trips into the backcountry.  In terms of the packability, I would also say it packs down to a respectable size in the stuff sack that is provided.  I do believe that with a compression stuff sack the bag could take up even less of a footprint in your pack.  However, for the purposes of this review, I wanted to use just what was provided with the original purpose. 

The AXL Air Insulated packs down impressively small for a sleeping pad of its size.  Also, it comes in just shy of a 1lb., which puts it right on par with its ultra-light counterparts from other brands.   I was also able to fit the Pumphouse Platinum inside the stuff sack for the pad as well which I found convenient.  Overall, when paired with the Anvil Horn 15 I would say this makes for a very acceptable lightweight, compact option for any application outdoors. 

Function/Performance

This to me is going to be my most critical category of the review for a couple of reasons.  The first is that although I find the Anvil Horn and AXL Air Insulated to be one of the most comfortable systems I have ever, on almost every night that dipped below the mid 30’s in temperature, I slept cold.  To put this into perspective, I live in Denver, Colorado and sleep with my window open all year round next to my bed because I am an extremely warm sleeper.  I also keep a thermometer next to my bed (mostly because I’m a gear nerd and want to know these things) to check what the temps are in the mornings in my room when I wake up.  In the winter that temperature can easily be in the high 30’s and I am almost never cold.

Now I am aware that that the rating of a sleeping bag is not something anyone should bet the farm on because so many things can factor into what actually makes a person cold and every human body sleeps differently. In the case of the Anvil, I would have to say that I found to be the temperature rating quite a bit off from the manufacturers rating.  Again, I feel like I want to reiterate that I think this bag is an excellent bag from a manufacturer that cares incredibly about their customer base but as a consumer buying the bag I would rate it more around a 25-degree bag or even 30-degree bag and that is with the AXL Air Insulated. On the night that hit 20 degrees for me, I was extremely cold, even when layered and sleeping on the insulated..

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

The General is a new climbing shoe in Evlov’s extensive line up of high-performance climbing footwear. The General is designed precisely to be your go-to, all-day, multi-pitch, traditional climbing shoe, with features that will stand out to any trad climber. If you’re looking for a comfortable and high performing shoe that you can keep on your feet all day, then this is the shoe for you.

As previously mentioned, this shoe is designed primarily for traditional climbing and long routes, thus my testing grounds would require multi-pitch routes with varied terrain. Fortunately, I live in Western North Carolina where I’ve been climbing for over ten years and guiding professionally for the past five. My testing grounds would consist of the large granite domes, multi-pitch quartzite walls, and single-pitch crags that are scattered throughout the North Carolina mountains. The guiding season is about to be in full swing and I intend to guide in these all-season long.

Evolv The General

Product Description: All day comfort and ankle protection now comes with performance. Featuring Trax® XE edging rubber, The General gives an amazing amount of precision to the toes, making it a technical face climber's dream come true. Add on the cotton lining and leather upper covering the ankles for wide cracks and you have the best "trad climbing" shoe ever made.

Price: MSRP $170.00

  • Function
    (5)
  • Fit
    (3)
  • Durability
    (5)

Summary

Overall, I can say that I have been quite impressed and pleased with the performance and comfort The General provides. It’s a super stylish high-top trad shoe that will keep your feet comfortable for those multi-pitch adventures. They perform well on varying types of terrain but aren’t designed to be a go-to shoe for your 5.13 sport project. Personally, I’ve got a feeling that I’ll be shoving these bad boys into my pack for many adventures to come!

Overall 4.3

Pros

  • Stylish
  • Great on varied terrain
  • Extra rubber over toe and heel

Cons

  • Sizing

  • Rubber has a break in period

Fit

First, I’d like to mull over the fit. I usually wear around a 7.5 or 8 but had to size all the way up to a 9 to get my desired fit. So, you may want to size up a half or a full size if you’re ordering them off the web. Otherwise, I’d recommend visiting your local gear shop to dial in your size.

Features

Now let’s get into the nitty-gritty of these suckers. First off, I’d like to discuss the design and how particular features are an improvement to high-top climbing shoes on the market. The first thing I noticed was that the entire toe box is encapsulated with sticky rubber and has a slight bump where the toes fit. This feature undoubtedly makes these shoes a dream for jamming into cracks (especially hand sized cracks) and also worked well for toe cams and bicycling. That extra bit of rubber feels super secure in cracks but I really noticed how well they performed in flared out cracks where strait-in-jamming just isn’t going to happen.

Arguably the most obvious feature is the high-top design that grants you more ankle protection when wrestling around with cracks, off-widths, chimneys, or whatever you may be groveling with at the moment. Another feature is the presence of more rubber around the heel when compared to other similar models, this undoubtedly aids with heel hooks but is also nice when climbing in chimneys and off-widths. Most climbers will quickly recognize that The General is a meticulously thought out shoe with features designed to enhance its performance without compromising comfort.

Performance

The rubber on these shoes performed pretty well but took a little time to break in as the manufacturers finish sometimes feels slick on your first several outings. I personally prefer the rubber on other brands, but I’m starting to warm up to Evolv’s rubber now that I’ve logged some decent mileage.

During my testing, I really wanted to see how well these shoes performed on long climbs with varied terrain. One of the first places I took them after breaking in the rubber was Stone Mountain. If you’re not familiar, Stone is known for some pretty serious runouts (think 40-90 feet between pro) on stellar granite and is known as friction climbing. So, if there’s anywhere you want a shoe to give you a mental edge it is Stone. Once I broke in the rubber and dialed things in, I felt comfortable on some pretty long runouts in the 5.9 to 5.10 range. I was soon scampering up pitches with ease and without second-guessing the rubber. I was also able to climb at Whiteside Mountain where the rock is extremely coarse and gritty and can report that the rubber stuck to even the tiniest of edges on steep rock.

Comfort

The Linville Gorge was another a testing ground and is known for its long multi-pitch routes on quartzite and varying degrees for metamorphosed sandstone. The Linville Gorge has some unique rock and consists of slab, techy faces, steep roofs, cracks, etc. I spent several days guiding in Linville which consisted of long days climbing multi-pitch routes with lots of downtime at belays. I’m pleased to report that my feet were happy the entire time and I never felt the need to take my shoes off. Though my feet did get a little toasty by the end of the day.

The Final Word

Overall, I can say that I have been quite impressed and pleased with the performance and comfort The General provides. It’s a super stylish high-top trad shoe that will keep your feet comfortable for those multi-pitch adventures. They perform well on varying types of terrain but aren’t designed to be a go-to shoe for your 5.13 sport project. Personally, I’ve got a feeling that I’ll be shoving these bad boys into my pack for many adventures to come!

Shop the Evolv The General on Outdoor Prolink. Not a member? Apply today!

The post ProView – Evolv The General appeared first on Dirtbag Dreams - Gear Reviews.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

William O. Douglas recalled fondly of his friend Roy Schaffer in his book “Of Men and Mountains,” “He slept in a bed with white, clean sheets and commented, ‘Never slept inside but what I caught a cold. Wish I had brought my sleeping bag. Then I’d sleep on the back porch. It’s much healthier outdoors.’” No truer words have been spoken. There is little that can compare to a good night in the mountains for feeling refreshed and reset. Conversely, a bad night’s sleep due to an overtaxed sleeping bag can cause serious issues for the next day’s activities.

EXPED Lite Sleeping Bag

Product Description: The Lite -5C/23F is the perfect all-rounder. A full-featured 3-season bag with countless details and a comfortable fit. The snug fitting draft collar is great on cool nights. Low weight and compact size when packed are a bonus.

Price: MSRP: $349.00 - $369.00

  • Durability
    (4)
  • Comfort
    (5)
  • Features
    (4.8)
  • Style
    (4)

Summary

The EXPED Lite is a well-designed sleeping bag, intended to be a “sophisticated all-rounder” as the company says. Light enough to backpack, warm enough to do high elevation adventuring, and packable enough to take with you anywhere, it definitely fits that bill.

Overall 4.4

Pros

  • Temperature management
  • Durable
  • Thoughtful features

Cons

  • Stuff sack is large for backpacking

The sun was just starting to chase the darkness from my tent, but it was still too early to bring any warmth with it. I blinked my eyes and exhaled slowly, watching the condensation from my breath cloud in front of my face. I bravely reached an arm out of my sleeping bag and grabbed my watch. The thermometer said 28°F inside the tent. As I unzipped the door, frost fell from the ceiling onto my bag. Thanks be to the mountain gods for a down bag that was able to keep me warm on a night this cool.

One of my buddies recently contacted me with no small amount of excitement to tell me that he had drawn a coveted permit for the Enchantments Core Zone in central Washington State. Fortunately for me, his invite immediately followed. I was not going to miss an opportunity like this, so even though the permit started October 15th and we knew the weather could be pretty cold, I committed to the trip. It was also my good fortune that I had just received the EXPED Lite -5°C/+23°F sleeping bag to test and review.

The EXPED Lite is a well-designed sleeping bag, intended to be a “sophisticated all-rounder” as the company says. Light enough to backpack, warm enough to do high elevation adventuring, and packable enough to take with you anywhere, it definitely fits that bill.

Features

The features are thoughtful. I first noticed the mesh storage bag that came with it (don’t store your good sleeping bags stuffed). Secondly, I was pleased to find that the stuff sack was a fully waterproof dry bag – an excellent feature when backpacking in the notoriously rainy Pacific Northwest.

The sleeping bag itself was well-designed, with features that were subtle, but noticeably helpful. I didn’t notice that the zipper pull glowed in the dark until I was searching for it in the middle of the night. Once I figured out where the drawstrings for the chin and hood portion were, I was able to snugly cinch them down, keeping significantly more heat in the bag with me. The drawstrings and spring toggles that held them were also completely unobtrusive, and I never noticed them while in the bag, even when rolling around. There is a small zippered pocket inside the bag which serves as a good storage place for earplugs, a midnight snack, or anything else you might need close by. A full-length baffle protects against zipper draft and another baffle circumnavigates the bag at the neckline. This neck baffle has a drawstring and a snap to allow you to really trap heat inside and keep the cold out. When unstuffed, the bag noticeably lofts and it does not seem to have any dead spots or a lack of down.

Performance

Although we expected cold weather on our trip to the Enchantments, we were extremely fortunate to have near perfect fall conditions. That said, the nights were still pretty chilly. On at least three nights, the temperatures were cold enough to freeze water inside our 4-season tent. Still, when paired with a good pad and cinched down properly, I was cozy-warm inside the EXPED Lite. Although other members of the group were using 0°F bags, I didn’t feel ill-prepared with what I had. I also carried it over 20 miles and was happy to have it be as light as it is. Fortunately, the waterproof aspect of the stuff sack was never needed, but anyone with a down bag in an area where it can rain knows how great of a feature that is.

Room for Improvement

Overall, this is an excellent sleeping bag. The only feature it lacked was the ability to compress it more in the stuff sack. While I loved that the stuff sack was fully waterproof, when stuffed it still took up a fairly significant amount of space in my pack. If some type of compression strap were added to the stuff sack it would help this issue. With that being my only grumble, I can easily recommend this sleeping bag as an excellent three-season cocoon for whatever adventures you can throw its way. I’m pretty excited to take it on my next one.   

Shop the EXPED Lite Sleeping Bag on Outdoor Prolink. Not a member? Apply today!

Adam is a firefighter/EMT living in Seattle, Washington. He has worked in the outdoor industry in both Colorado and Washington since 2013. While he loves summertime rock climbing, mountain biking, and backpacking as much as the next dirtbag, his true passion is winter adventure. When ice starts forming, he gets a distant look in his eyes and obsessively sharpens his tools. When powder falls, he gets as giddy as a schoolkid at Disney Land. He is currently making snow angels and hoping La Niña will be back with a vengeance next October. He can be found on Instagram at @adambracchi_outside.

The post ProView – EXPED Lite Sleeping Bag +23F/-5C appeared first on Dirtbag Dreams - Gear Reviews.

Read Full Article

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
close
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview