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3 5

The performance characteristics of this jacket are spot-on. The warmth factor is high for its weight, the hood is very functional, and it seems quite durable. It’s also quite wind-resistant and water-repellant, and withstood light precipitation (rain and snow) in the Alps.

Where it missed the mark for me is the fit. I’m 6’2”, 175 lbs and purchased the large. The body and sleeve lengths are about right, but there is enough room in the body of the jacket to fit a pot belly or a LOT of layers. Backcountry’s description lists the fit as “active”, which in this case means "very loose." The extra room results in a lot of dead space your body has to heat up.

In the end I sold this jacket on-line. I just can’t buy into an “active” fit jacket that is this loose-fitting. But if the fit meets your expectations I think you'll be very satisfied.

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3 5

I own three of these, the medium, large, and xlarge. They are great gear haulers and the features of the bags are very useful, but their durability is over-stated. The XL bag didn’t survive one climbing trip through Ecuador – when I arrived home the bag had actually worn through in four places. It was only loaded with 45lbs and all sharps (crampons, ice axes, etc.) had protectors on the points.

Airlines can be hard on luggage, but I was disappointed this bag was basically unusable after one 2-week trip. Wear is not covered under TNF warranty, but they did offer to sell me a new one at half price. Note I have a Patagonia Black Hole Duffel of slightly smaller size and it’s survived multiple trips.

One suggestion – be sure to purchase a light color (mine are red or yellow). Light colors make it easier to find your stuff in the bag.

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5 5

I was looking for a light, comfortable, versatile pack to take on the Tour du Mont Blanc multi-day trek in the Alps. This pack fit the bill perfectly. I was skeptical at first that a pack this light and with a flexible frame could offer the required performance, but the Speed Lite 30 was a very pleasant surprise.

The pack is light (1 lb 15 oz on my scale), yet provided just enough support for loads in the 10-20 lb range. The compression straps cinched the pack down very effectively on small load days yet allowed sufficient expansion for multi-day loads. The mesh side pockets fit a Nalgene and my z-poles just about right, and the top pockets are roomy enough for those essentials you want to get to quickly. My rain gear fit nicely in the rear pocket. Most importantly, the Speed Lite carried very comfortably for a pack of this weight (or any weight). The pack fit my 6'2" frame just right.

This will be my pack of choice for multi-day treks. Be aware it is only 30 l capacity, so if you're looking for a multi-day pack to carry all your gear plus a sleeping bag and tent this might be a bit small unless you're going ultra-light. I will not replace my alpine pack with the Speed Lite because of the lack of effective ice tool attachments. But for spring, summer, and fall outings requiring a 30 l capacity, the Speed Lite is my new favorite.

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5 5

This is my go-to shoe for trail runs, hikes, treks, and even moderate scrambling.

Performance: the sole is very grippy, giving excellent traction on almost all surfaces. Cushioning is well balanced and support is typical of a trail running shoe. The mesh upper breathes well. If you're looking for a torsionally-stiff hiking shoe or boot the Raptor may not be your best choice.

Fit: I wear a Brooks Adrenaline 11.5 for running roads and the Raptor 45.5 is a perfect fit. The toe box on the Raptor is wide but rather thin. I have a narrow heel and a wide, flat forefoot, and the Raptor is a great fit for my foot. If you have a particularly "beefy" foot or a high arch requiring substantial support, the Raptor may not work as well for you.

Application: I've run mountain ultras, completed multi-day treks in the Alps, scrambled Class 4, hiked slot canyons, and backpacked in the Ultra Raptor - they are clearly my favorite shoe for these applications. In the Alps we encountered several days of snow, and my only regret is I wasn't wearing the Gore-Tex version. Their traction, cushioning, running shoe "feel", and fit (for my foot anyway) are a hard combination to beat!

Ultra Raptor in Zion Narrows.

All-time favorite shoe

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3 5

I own four of the short sleeve version of this shirt and use them for just about everything, from running to hiking and climbing. The fabric is great, breaths well, and is very soft and comfortable. My only concern about the fabric is that it tends to retain stink a bit more than other fabrics I've worn. It's also somewhat shiny, but that doesn't bother me.

I purchased the long sleeve version of this shirt for cooler temperatures but returned it due to size issues. While the body fits great, the sleeves are just too long in the size large (for reference, I'm 6'2", 170 lbs with a shirt sleeve length of 34-35). The sleeves hung down to my knuckles and were not tailored at all, but rather baggy. I returned the shirt due to poor fit of the sleeves.

I don't know if Marmot is having quality control issues as the short sleeve shirts I own all fit a bit differently. Perhaps a different copy of the shirt would fit differently.

If you don't mind long, baggy sleeves this is a great shirt. Otherwise, I'd suggest looking elsewhere.

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5 5

This is a very good back country pole with one major improvement over the previous model. The FlickLock Pro system is a significant upgrade from the old FlickLock system. No more having to worry about adjusting the tightening screws - they are fixed with no adjustment, plus the stainless steel grips well and seems a bit lighter than the old plastic. The flip lever seems a little light which raises a concern about durability; however, no problems so far. I bought these after having the previous model stolen and am pleased. Overall, highly recommended for back country skiing and snowshoeing.

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