Month: December 2013

Arc’teryx Delta LT

Arc'teryx Delta LT Arc'teryx Delta LT

I stopped by Sports Basement with a 20% off coupon a few days ago with the sole intention of picking up my Western Mountaineering sleeping bag and some Christmas presents. But then I walked by the display of Arc’teryx things. Then curiosity got the better of me and I tried on the Delta LT. And it all went downhill from there.

Yes, I have only had it for three-ish days, but if you have the cash to spend and the spot for it in your closet, this lightweight fleece is a must have. If someone took the world’s comfiest pajamas and made it into technical outdoor apparel, you have the Delta LT. At 9.3 oz with high breathability, it’s great for hiking, backpacking, climbing, and more. It’s also great for every day wear and lounging around the house. It’s that versatile.

This jacket is made with Polartec® Classic Micro Velour small Grid, and the best part is it’s full-zip jacket, complete with pockets. Two zippered hand pockets, and a zippered sleeve pocket! Oh, and the hand pockets are located so you can get into them with a harness or a hipbelt on, which is awesome in my book. It’s incredibly lightweight and breathable. I’ve been hiking with it on in 50-70 degree weird, sunny California holiday weather paired with a baselayer, no sweat. Get it? Get it? Bad joke. But really, it does a good job of helping me stay warm and cool. Comfortable, like the description on the Arc’teryx website. It dries quickly, too. No sweaty pits or backpack straps lines for prolonged periods of time.

I’m a fan, big, big fan so far. No complaints here. I just hope that after excessive use and washing, it doesn’t pill and it maintains its shape.

Buy through Arc’teryx for $129.

Desolation Wilderness: Pyramid Peak via Rocky Canyon

Hike: Pyramid Peak via Rocky Canyon
Where: Desolation Wilderness
Trailhead: US 50 after Twin Bridges, but before Strawberry. Look for a mile marker that says 50 and a giant tombstone looking thing that says 43. The trail is directly across HW50 from this point.
Level: Strenuous
Duration: Too long
Length: 6.6 miles out and back
Fitbit Steps: Approximately 29,000
Gear: CamelBak Women’s Aventura 100oz Hydration Pack, UNIQLO Heat-Tech leggings, REI Sahara Convertible Pants – Girls’, Icebreaker Women’s Oasis Crewe, Sierra Designs Women’s Tov Down Jacket, Outdoor Research Women’s Valhalla Hoody (review here), Ahnu Women’s Montara Waterproof Boot, Outdoor Research Women’s Longhouse Glove, Black Diamond Ultra Distance Trekking Poles (100cm)
Cost of Parking: Free along the side of HW50.

Pyramid Peak via Rocky Canyon… oh boy. This one is a tough one with approximately 4,083′ of elevation gain. The boyfriend and I huffed and puffed  our way up and down this one. The altitude, elevation change, and a wicked hangover (Just me. Whoops. Not a good idea to go peak bagging after a party bus team event.) were not my friends.

This hike was done mid-November with some snow on the trail, a little bit more snow on the peak, and freezing cold winds on the peak. This hike gives you a little bit of everything: little creek crossings, redwood forest, scrambling up talus. Unfortunately, can’t comment much on the view from the top. The day started off with a cloudless sky, but a giant cloud quickly descended upon us. It looks like it was gorgeous, what bit we could see, but with an 80% chance of snow, so we scrambled down pretty quickly.

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Triple Aught Design Ares Half-Zip

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I picked up one of the last Triple Aught Design Ares Half-Zips left in existence at the Dogpatch Warehouse Sale last weekend. For 2014, they are taking the Ares and combining it with the Merino Half-Zip and making it 10 times better.

The Ares is a 270-weight half-zip made out of 100% merino wool making it a great midlayer for winter or an outer layer on a cool spring or summer day. It comes with two shoulder zip pockets, and thumb holes.

I haven’t had it for very long, but I’m pretty in love with it already. Took it for a lovely jaunt in the San Jose hills (Almaden Quicksilver County Park, to be exact) on a brisk fall day and it kept me toasty. This doesn’t fare too well with wind, but toss on a shell and you are golden. It’s also a  great layer for climbing. It fits well under a harness and keeps you warm while you’re on the wall and making moves.

Pictured above is the Ares in a men’s XS. On me, it’s fairly roomier fit but it still gets the job done. I suspect the boyfriend might be stealing this from my closet in the future (for once).

This is no longer on the Triple Aught Design website, but you might be able to find it on eBay.

A Quick Look: Huckberry Holiday Home

Bay Area folks are in for a little treat this holiday season! Retailer Huckberry is renting a house to display all of its highly curated manly wares for guests to play with and purchase. Everything in the house is available, from the furniture, to the clothing, to the 1965 Porsche 365 C. The Porsche will set you back approximately $70,000 though.

Guests walk around dim-sum style writing down which items they want and how many they’d like, and voila! The items are procured from the back and into your hands. Featured brands are Poler, Taylor Stitch, Aether, Triple Aught Design, Tellason and more.

My favorite items are the Columbiaknit confetti beanie ($22), Triple Aught Design merino wool scarf ($60) and GORUCK GR1 ($295).

If you haven’t gotten the chance to check any of these brands out, it’s worth venturing out to the Mission to check out. The Huckberry Holiday Home is located at 3180 17th St, between Van Ness and Shotwell, next door to Mission Bowling Club and Shell. Their doors are open from 11am to 5pm until Monday, December 16.

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Outdoor Research Valhalla Jacket

Outdoor Research Valhalla Review Outdoor Research Valhalla Review Valhalla3 Outdoor Research Valhalla Review

The Outdoor Research Valhalla is the first softshell I have ever owned. Within one month of testing, it has easily become one of my favorite jackets.

The Valhalla softshell is created from GORE WINDSTOPPER with a roomy and stretchy fit that allows you to layer underneath. My favorite combo is with a Sierra Designs Tov Hoodie and the Triple Aught Design Artemis Hoodie for ultimate warmth and protection from the wind. It’s a formidable opponent against most weather. The softshell fabric allows for a quiet, dynamic range of motion.

This jacket comes with two full-length pit-zips, in case the WINDSTOPPER fabric isn’t breathable enough. The jacket also has a plethora of pockets: two outer hand zips accessible above hip belt or harness, two chest zips, inner mesh pocket and an inner phone pocket with a headphone slot.

The GORE WINDSTOPPER sheds light snow and rain. This does not do well in torrential downpours. After about 30 minutes of constant rain, you will be soaked.

As awesome as this jacket is, there are a couple cons:

  • The zipper pulls on the pit zips have both fallen off. Once, I managed to find one on the ground and re-attach it, but it detached itself again. Granted, this is only the little OR logo on it, but it still decreases the surface area to pull. When you have bulky gloves on, it makes it difficult to ventilate properly.
  • The zipper abrasion on the fabric area in the pit zip area is not pretty. When the zips are open, the teeth rub against the fabric causing it to rapidly pill and wear. Luckily, it’s under the arm, so it’s not as noticeable, but regardless, I’m pretty anal and I like to keep my gear looking as pristine as possible.

At 19.3 oz, it’s not a big chunk of weight to be lugging around while hopping around windy peaks. And it’s great protection for windy and cold commutes as well.

 

The Outdoor Research Valhalla Jacket is pictured above summiting Pyramid Peak in Desolation Wilderness. Full hike review to come shortly.