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2 5

I thought the silk would perform better than my cotton money belt (with breathable mesh backing), but this pouch was significantly larger than my old money belt. On a trip to Australia (during their summer), I found the silk much too warm -- and with it spread across my hips/lower abs, it was just too much to bear. I went back to my old, worn out money belt and was much happier for the remainder of the trip.


4 5

This is a useful, basic (passport) size for a hidden travel wallet. I have worn out my moneybelt and have been in the market for another -- or another option.

Unfortunately, I rarely wear a (pants) belt when travelling. However, with some modification, this can work with pants/shorts buttons (attached through the button with the wallet flipped back into the pants) -- or even attached with a safety pin as I saw on another website's review.

Additionally, women could wear this attached to their front-closing bra or even attached through the bra strap and then tucked under the band. Both of those options could work well for me, as sometimes I get tired of wearing a money belt on my stomach/hips.

This "undercover hidden pocket" is a convenient size that I wish more moneybelt/pockets/wallets used. It's a far more convenient size than Eagle Creek's silk undercover Bra Stash.


4 5

Durable fabric, though on the stiff side. Positive zipper -- not flimsy. The handles are soft vinyl, but they look a little cheap because of the sheen.

Inside there are three open pockets on one side, one of which has an elasticized top, and there's one zippered pocket on the opposite side. The main compartment has a full zippered closure. The exterior has two magnet-closure side pockets.

The Ava Purse is plenty roomy -- more roomy than I need for a purse, but there are plenty of other larger purses one the market. What I like best is that it can be a practical, everyday purse; I won't feel like there isn't enough room and it can be tossed into the car or the gym locker without fear of damaging it or getting it dirty.

I ordered this in the Houndstooth style, but contrary to the photo shown on the site, there really isn't much contrast in the pattern. It oftentimes looks like it is solid black. The bright, high-contract lining (lime green, pink flowers) is fun, but I'm glad it's not more prominent (i.e., featured as an accent on the outside of the purse).

** Updated on 11/14/2011 **
Finally decided to return this. I got tired of the cheap feeling (and slippery) straps slipping off of my shoulders -- and I have broad shoulders for my frame! Also, it turns out there can be too much of a good thing, and I mean roominess. This is just too large of a bag for me to use as a purse.


4 5

I was looking for a well-made, lightweight, packable jacket with hood that would be good for slight drizzle or sudden downpours while hiking at home in the Pacific Northwest or out on my travels. After much research, I settled on the Marmot Minimalist and have pretty much not been disappointed.

The Gore-Tex Paclite membrane is so thin, so protective and, yes, so wonderful! The whole jacket can wad up or pack nice and flat, yet the Gore-Tex membrane keeps rainwater at bay. I HATE the feeling of sweat and moisture buildup in my jacket on a rainy day, and the Minimalist keeps me dry AND breathes well so I can avoid feeling sticky and just plain icky.

If considering this jacket, do pay attention to the sizing chart. Unfortunately, I fall in between sizes. At a petite 5'3" and 120 lbs., my measurements fell smack dab in between small and medium. To be safe, I sized up to the medium. The fit is less than ideal as it does feel a bit too big, but I am more comfortable with the fit when I'm wearing several layers underneath -- though no matter what I'm wearing, the sleeves are too long.

If, like me, you are in between sizes, Chat with someone from Backcountry and they can arrange to have both sizes sent; they will include stuff to return the one that you choose not to keep (you pay for both, but know that one will be returned and refunded).


5 5

Have two of these (one purchased on Backcountry, one was a gift -- also from Backcountry) and I chose them because they were supposed to be like the TKA 100 Glacier MicroFLEECE pullovers. They are a bit softer and they appear thinner/lighter, but still keep me nice and warm, the perfect temperature. It is still fleece; it is not like those velour tops of yesteryear. :-)

The fit is similar to the microfleece, perhaps a smidge roomier and longer. The sizing chart is fairly accurate. I'm 5'3" and 120 lbs. with an athletic frame and I find the Medium to work well. It's a little loose if worn alone, but there's room to layer underneath for greater flexibility.