We've seen solar panels, battery packs, and kits in all shapes, sizes, and prices. Usually the completly contained units are not large enough to power more than your phone, or they're too cumbersome to truly be considered 'portable'.Read More
As an Explorer of all things cold & steep, skiing & riding Lake Tahoe has always been high on my bucket list.Last week the Williams family got to check that one off at Heavenly Mountain Resort.Read More
Looking for something a little more amazing than your local MTB track this summer? Why not ride from Durango, CO to Moab, UT?Read More
The Jetboil Flash in the latest innovation from Jetboil. Like the Jetboil Personal Cooking System (PCS), the Flash is an integrated cup, stove, and heat exchanger. The integration of all the components make the Jetboil systems extremely efficient. According to Jetboil the Flash will boil two cups of water in an amazingly fast two minutes. The features and specs from the Jetboil website:
- 1.0 Liter FluxRing® cooking cup with insulating cozy, featuring Flash color-change heat indicator
- Adjustable stainless steel burner with push-button “through-cup” igniter
- Drink-through lid and insulating bottom cover/measuring cup
- Tripod base for added stability
- Available in Gold, Violet, Sapphire and Carbon
- Weight: 14 oz (397 g)
- Volume: 32 oz (1 Liter)
- Boil Time: 16 oz (1/2 Liter) = 2 minutes
- Water Boiled: 12 Liters per 100g Jetpower canister
- Dimensions: 4.1” x 7.1” (104 mm x 180 mm)
On initial inspection, the differences between the Jetboil PCS and the Flash seemed fairly cosmetic to me so I inquired further. Ric Pratte from Jetboil's PR firm gave me some more in-depth information on the updates.
The technical difference between PCS and Flash is in the burner. [The] Flash burner control is a wire "bale", which is easier to access and operate than [the] knob on the PCS. The Flash igniter is low profile and comes up through the burner head, which means its less likely to be damaged than the PCS igniter. The burner head is solid stainless steel, as compared to the mesh head on the PCS, which is subject to shrinking over time and then falling out. Also, the Flash comes with a tripod stabilizer, which is a $10 retail value.
The Jetboil Flash is a pretty impressive piece of equipment. Stowed, all components fit within the Flash's 32oz. cup for easy transport. The Flash is a bit heavier than the homemade alcohol stove I currently use for warm weather pursuits but the Flash's simplicity and quick boils will no doubt be key during the colder months. In the couple boils I did to test the Flash did indeed get water to a boil very quickly, and the heat indicator on the side is a nice (though not altogether necessary) touch -- it turns orange when the water reaches 140°F. I look forward to giving the Jetboil Flash a good workout in the coming months.
With the Jetboil already being used by many of the top mountaineers on some of the highest peaks in the world (see Peter Whittaker mention the Jetboil as a mountaineering game changer) we anticipate that the Jetboil Flash will be an asset on our backcountry endeavors in slightly less demanding conditions.
Found this pretty funny video of Backpacker Magazine editors interviewing the designers of Eddie Bauer's First Ascent clothing line. Included are Ed Viesturs, Pete Whittaker, and others. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRKyqYeutyY
Along with my Patagonia Primo Jacket and PantsI received an R2 jacket to serve as my insulation layer. Like I said in that article I have gotten a late start in testing my new ski gear but I plan on giving it a run for it's money in the coming months. Before we get too involved let's take a look at the R2 jacket features from the Patagonia website:
- Highly technical R2 fabric is light, stretchy and compressible, with great breathability
- Insulating long fibers alternate with dense, supportive short fibers to optimize insulation and reduce bulk
- Directional knit wicks moisture and speeds dry time
- Inner collar lined with R1® fabric (made with recycled polyester) for next-to-skin comfort; collar and protective chin flap lined with R1 fabric (made with recycled polyester) for next-to-skin comfort
- Low-bulk R1 fabric cuffs
- Pockets: one chest and zippered handwarmers; zippers all welded and reinforced with Supplex® for snag-free operation
- Shoulder seams set forward for pack-wearing comfort
- R2® shell: 7.4-oz Polartec® Thermal Pro® 100% polyester (40% recycled) fleece. R1® panels: 6.5-oz Polartec Power Dry® 93% polyester (60% recycled)/7% spandex. Recyclable through the Common Threads Recycling Program
- 419 g (14.8 oz)
- Made in Colombia.
The first thing I noticed when I pulled the R2 jacket out of the box was how light it was, even for a fleece. The high loft of the soft polyester fleece seems ideal for great compressibility while providing great insulation qualities. It's quite soft too! It is a shame that Patagonia hasn't been able to get a lightweight fleece such as the R2 with wind resistant properties like the R4 but I suppose that's the trade-off. That said, the R2 jacket seems to be constructed to the high standards that is common of Patagonia. I did have a few issues when I wore the jacket around the neighborhood for the first time. The fit seems to be a little weird with a tight fit in the shoulders and arms. Perhaps I was wearing a bulky sweater, but it still struck me as odd. The second problem I have is similar to the many jackets sporting a napoleon pocket: when reaching to unzip the jacket I tend to grab the pocket zipper instead. It's really a love hate relationship with napoleon pockets in general. Otherwise there seems to be no problem with materials, design, or construction.
In the next few months we will be testing the Patagonia R2 jacket under hard shells while skiing both downhill and AT, on it's own while climbing in the Gunks, and of course we will be wearing it around town after a day of hiking. We expect the R2 jacket to perform as advertised with it's light weight, compressible, insulation goodness. Make sure you subscribe to out RSS Feed so you don't miss the final review.
Saturday I took a day trip to Okemo Mountain in Vermont without having to drive a single mile. The latest way to get to the slopes from Brooklyn is the Brooklyn Ski Bus. Departing from Park Slope at 5am most Friday, Saturday, and Sundays, the Brooklyn Ski Bus will take you to many ski resorts in the area while you relax and sleep it off. The bus deposits you back at the pick-up point about 8pm. With prices ranging from $89 to $109 including transportation, lift ticket, and snacks and drinks (non-alcoholic) the Brooklyn Ski Bus is a good value and certainly saves a headache or two. Check out http://www.brooklynskibus.com/ for more information and a calender of trips.
I received my Patagonia Primo Jacket and pants the other day and although I am getting a late start with my ski gear, I plan to give the Primos a run for their money in the coming weeks. With trips planned to Vermont, Utah, and Colorado I'll be sure to test to the Primo Jacket in some challenging situations. The Primo jacket also comes in a down insulated version (not reviewed here as I am not a big fan or insulation and shells combined). Let's have a quick look at some of the features of the Primo Jacket from the Patagonia website:
- Lightweight, yet durable 3-layer 4.2-oz stretch-woven nylon with H2No® waterproof breathable barrier and Deluge DWR finish
- Fixed helmet-compatible hood with single-hand drawcord pull
- Drop collar with high neck to provide protection from winds and snow
- Coated, water-repellent zippers for center front, hand pockets, and pit zips
- Pockets: left chest with electronic pocket inside, two handwarmer, two interior drop in
- Pit zips
- Fully featured, zip-off, stretch powder skirt with webbing loops to attach to pants, and pass window
- Shell: 4.2-oz 50-denier 100% stretch-woven nylon with a waterproof/breathable H2No® barrier and Deluge® DWR (durable water repellent) finish. Powder skirt: 2.3-oz 100% all-recycled polyester plain weave
- 652 g (23 oz)
- Made in Vietnam.
- And the features for the Primo pants from the Patagonia website:
- Lightweight, yet durable 3-layer 4.2-oz stretch-woven nylon with H2No® waterproof/breathable barrier and Deluge® DWR (durable water repellent) finish
- Snap-closure waistband
- Interior waistband and adjustments lined with soft, brushed tricot
- Pockets: two handwarmer, one right thigh with coated water resistant zippers
- Scuff guards to protect pant cuffs
- Fully-featured gaiters with gripper elastic, adjustable cam buckles and integrated drawcord
- 3-layer, 4.2-oz 50-denier 100% stretch-woven nylon with a Deluge® DWR (durable water repellent) finish
- 485 g (17.1 oz)
- Made in Vietnam.
The quality of the Primos are nothing less than what we have come to expect out of Patagonia. All seams are perfectly taped, the stitching is top notch, the zippers work perfectly, in fact there doesn't seem to be a single blemish on the jacket or pants. The Primos are certainly on par with the best ski/snowboard clothing currently on the market. As a plus, when we put the Primo jacket (small) on the scales it came in at just 21 3/4oz and the Primo pants (medium) came in at 16 3/4oz. both on par with advertised weights.
For the premium that is charged for the Primo jacket and Primo pants we expect them to perform superbly in very tough conditions. We'll be on the slopes in Vermont and Utah, late season AT skiing in Colorado, climbing in New Mexico, and torturing ourselves with downpours in between. We're expecting the Primo to keep us protected from the elements as well as allowing water vapor from our sweat to escape so as to not create a sauna inside the shell. All of this is expected of the Primo in widely varying conditions. It's a tall order, yes, but that is the reason the Primos were designed. Make sure you subscribe to out RSS Feed so you don't miss the final review.
While traveling over the holiday season I, like many others, experienced a lengthy flight delay. I did, however find what may be considered an upside to such delays. Other delayed travelers. Weary travelers are a great source of entertainment. The three of us were waiting for a flight form La Guardia that seemed to be delayed two minutes for every minute passed. Leaving Shanghai three days earlier, after a six week music tour, Tony was only two relatively short flights from home in Greensboro South Carolina. Darcy was home for the holidays from college and making a quick weekend trip to see her boyfriend in Virginia. And delayed we were. Because of a fierce weather storm that had passed through Philadelphia the day before, flights were delayed in and out. Philadelphia was our connection. The three of us sat at the bar, drank, and chatted. But mostly we chatted. Where we were from, what we did, where we were going, and of course the 'joy' of air travel. Of course, it was also pointed out, as recently as just over a hundred years ago it would have taken days for Darcy to get to Virginia and months for Tony to get home from Asia. So really it wasn't as bad as one could imagine, in particular because we were all in it together. Even if just in passing.
Check out the new Avalanche Safety Application from Mammut. The application allows you check the slope angle, slope face, and altitude but I think the avalanche bulletins are the best feature. Get bulletins from around the world to help keep you safe. http://www.mammut.ch/en/safetyapp.html
Just got back from seeing Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk give a photo and video clinic at the Wired Store in NYC. I would call it more of a showcase than a clinic but it was great to see their work and hear their thoughts. They also shed some light on how expeditions are picked and how The North Face strives to strike a balance between brand goals and athlete goals. Check out their sites for some inspiring pictures and video. Jimmy Chan (http://www.jimmychin.com) Renan Ozturk (http://www.rockmonkeyart.com)
Check out this cool video from Steve Casimiro, the west coast editor of National Geographic Adventure. After you watch his video be sure to check out "Behind the Lens" on the National Geographic site. http://www.theadventurelife.org/2009/12/want-to-be-an-outdoor-writer-or-photographer-national-geographic-goes-behind-the-scenes-with-adventure-life-editor/ http://www.nationalgeographic.com/behindthelens/