Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody Long-Term Review

Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody

For an easy insulating layer, it’s hard to beat the Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody. 

Patagonia’s Nano Puff Hoody has become my Old Standby, but that’s not the way things started out.

When I resolved to “get back out there” after nearly two decades away from the outdoors,  I knew it was time to retire my mid-1990s REI three-in-one Gore-Tex-shelled down coat.  My trusty blue coat had carried me through winters in the U.S. mountain west, in China and Russia, and on the U.S. East Coast.  But twenty years on, I found that the waterproof shell would leak in heavy rain and the zip-in down liner was showing its age.  And that ’90s styling. . . . Continue reading “Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody Long-Term Review”

Patagonia R1 Hoody Long-Term Review

Patagonia R1 Hoody

Preparing for a trip, the routine of weighing—figuratively and literally—every item of clothing and gear to balance weight with safely and, ideally, comfort is an accepted fact of life. How cold will it be? How hot? Will there be rain? Bugs? Will we need to climb snow or rock? With all the considerations to be had, it is great to have a few pieces that one knows will come along, no matter what. No thinking required. For me, the Patagonia R1 Hoody is one of these.

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La Sportiva Nepal Evo GTX Mountaineering Boot Long-Term Review

La Sportiva Nepal Evo GTX

“Are these warmer than the Nepals?”  “Do they front-point as well?”  Lighter?  Heavier?  More or less supportive?  As durable?  What about the price?

From climbing blogs to message boards, it doesn’t take long to find someone making a comparison to the La Sportiva Nepal Evo GTX boot.  And it should come as no surprise that La Sportiva’s Nepal Evo is one of the most popular mountaineering boots of all time; a combination of rugged, supportive 3.2mm Perwanger leather, classic lacing system, lugged Vibram sole with rigid midsole, all lined with insulated Gore-Tex to keep a mountaineer warm and dry (elusive conditions, to be sure) add up to a serious boot that may not be the best at any one thing, but proves consistently strong across the board.

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enLightened Equipment Revelation Quilt Review

enLightened Equipment down quilt

For years as a Boy Scout I struggled to keep cool enough in my sleeping bag to sleep well. More often than not, I ended up with the heavy synthetic-fill mummy bag unzipped as far as it would go—to my knee—and my leg closest the zipper outside on the tent floor. It wasn’t until years later—and after many discussions with my wife concerning optimal nighttime thermostat settings—that I realized I was by nature a very warm sleeper.  Of course, everything is relative; camping out in Southern California is a completely different game from anyplace that gets truly cold. Nonetheless, my foray into sleeping quilts has proved a remedy to nearly all my outdoor-sleeping idiosyncrasies.

What is a sleeping quilt?  Essentially, a sleeping bag with a large part of the bottom removed.

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Darn Tough Boot Sock Review

Darn Tough Socks

The lowly sock.  It’s battered, stretched, soaked, wrung, rolled, crushed and worn through.  It is one of the least expensive pieces of our wardrobe, but has perhaps the most significant, sustained contact with the body, whether on the trail, the mountain or the slope.  A good sock is remembered only when donning and removing, while a bad sock is at best an annoyance and at worst can jeopardize a trip or even one’s health.

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