June 4, 2011 Arcteryx Motus Crew Gear

Arcteryx Motus Crew

When it comes to clothing, I tend to bounce back and forth between synthetics and wool. Arcteryx’s ultralight Motus Crew makes a strong case for the synthetic argument. First of all there is its almost-not-there weight: 3.9 ounces in a men’s small, long-sleeve (measured). Then there is the Motus Crew’s extremely sheer construction, which makes (more...)...

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June 2, 2011 Mammut Creon Light Gear

Mammut Creon Light

Mammut’s Creon Light backpack offers us a significant ultralight achievement: a load-worthy backpack weighing less than two and half pounds. Traditionally with backpacks you must choose one or the other—total weight or carrying ability. The Creon Light lets you enjoy the best of both worlds. The frame is very stiff, matched with an effective suspension (more...)...

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May 24, 2011 Eureka Casper Gear

Eureka Casper

Think of Eureka’s Casper as an economy-class sleeping bag with higher aspirations. At roughly 1/4 the price of a high-end down bag, the Rteq™ synthetic 15°-rated Casper is designed to be light enough to carry and warm enough to be worth carrying. Backpacking-oriented features include a standard-size, fully-closable mummy shape, a soft, slightly-textured polyester lining (more...)...

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May 19, 2011 Panasonic TM700 Gear

Panasonic TM700

Panasonic’s TM700 hi-def camcorder offers us the technology equivalent of a Faustian bargain: you get something extraordinary, but it comes with an unexpected cost. The good can be summed up in a word: sharpness. The TM700 shoots 1080-60p video, the first consumer camera to do so with any competence, matched with not one but three (more...)...

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May 17, 2011 Gear

Sony HDR-CX160

Sony has been one of the worst offenders when it comes to resisting the inexorable shift toward progressive-capture in consumer camcorders. It is therefore no small surprise to find Sony offering 60p capture in its new camcorders (at last!), including the ultracompact HDR-CX160. In the interlaced versus progressive ‘debate’, there is very little that you (more...)...

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April 28, 2011 Gear

Sony NEX-5

Sony’s interchangeable-lens NEX-5 is both an oddly compelling and an oddly vexing digital camera. Despite its flaws, however, once you start using an NEX-5 it’s hard to stop. I have a vision of what cameras of the future are going to look like: they’re going to be small. They’re going to be light. And they’re (more...)...

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April 22, 2011 Dalbello Virus Tour ID Gear

Dalbello Virus Tour ID

Much like its singularly-unique lead designer, Glen Plake, Dalbello’s Virus Tour ID ski boot is both an innovative and unusual inhabitant of the Alpine Touring universe. The Virus’s patented ‘Bio-Stride’ tongue adds an additional point of articulation to the cuff, resulting in dramatically enhanced range and ease of motion. When a clasp is released, the (more...)...

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April 13, 2011 Black Diamond Quadrant Gear

Black Diamond Quadrant

Some relationships define themselves immediately. Others refuse easy explanation. That’s about where I find myself with Black Diamond’s stubbornly-ambiguous Quadrant A/T ski boot. In terms of niche the Quadrant competes directly with Garmont’s excellent Radium, seeking to offer high performance at a tour-competitive weight. It’s easy to quantify the Quadrant’s weight—seven pounds, four ounces per (more...)...

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April 12, 2011 Marker Tour F12 Gear

Marker Tour F12

Visions of an Alpine Touring binding from a heavyweight Alpine manufacturer like Marker have been dancing in the dreams of A/T skiers for many years now—mine included. Those dreams seemed to come true with the 2008 release of Marker’s touring-capable Duke, but spontaneous performances of the Hallelujah Chorus proved a little premature (more…) (more...)...

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April 8, 2011 Salomon Shogun Gear

Salomon Shogun

Salomon’s Shogun moves away (slightly) from the powder specialization of big-brother Czar toward a more classic all-mountain design, modernized with just a touch of rocker. Compared to the Czar, sidecut is deeper and turn radius is tighter. You’ll notice this right away on groomed snow, as the Shogun brings a nice, traditional feel to your (more...)...

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When there is snow, SierraDescents is Andy Lewicky's California backcountry skiing and mountaineering website. Without snow, sierradescents becomes an ill-tempered hiking and climbing blog.

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