December 14, 2012

The Ghost Whisperer

The Ghost Whisperer

Think of Mountain Hardwear’s 6.7-ounce Ghost Whisperer as a high-end heat infusion. If you want the best possible warmth-to-weight ratio in an ultralight top, this is it. The insulated Ghost Whisperer pairs 850-fill down with an incredible 7×10 denier nylon—a next-generation fabric developed as part of Mountain Hardwear’s Ueli Steck Project. The fabric’s super-tight weave is naturally down-proof, windproof, and (more…)

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November 24, 2012

Nikon D800

Nikon D800

Perhaps the best way to introduce Nikon’s full-frame D800 DSLR is to note that it is not at all the camera Nikon enthusiasts were expecting. In hindsight, there is a certain logic to the D800′s massive, 36-megapixel sensor—it delivers very nearly the same pixel density as Nikon’s DX-sensor D7000, only spread across a much larger FX sensor. Still: 36 megapixels! What on Earth are we supposed to do (more…)

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November 19, 2012

The Cosmos Conundrum (Updated)

The Cosmos Conundrum (Updated)

Okay, deep breath. First of all, kudos to Lou for breaking this story. Go read what he has to say, and then come back for my thoughts. Good? Good. And now, for my take: sh*t! I wasn’t able to run Lou’s test on the pre-production Cosmos that I skied last winter because I’d already returned them. But my own, brand-new pair arrived today, and I can confirm I’m seeing exactly the same (more…)

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October 20, 2012

Nikon D800 vs. Sony RX100

Nikon D800 vs. Sony RX100

Once again I am updating my Sony RX100 review page. Here’s an amazing admission: I bought a Nikon D800 specifically to shoot video on my then-upcoming Rim to Rim hike in the Grand Canyon. D800 video for natural landscapes is astonishingly good—probably you’ve got to spend car-sized sums to do better. So which camera did I actually carry across the Canyon? My RX100 (more…)

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October 13, 2012

Osprey Talon 11

Osprey Talon 11

Osprey’s Talon 11 gets three key daypack requirements exactly right. It’s light, it’s (relatively) cool against your back, and it’s structured enough to carry loads well. On that third point, I’d say the frameless Talon 11 is easily the best ultralight speed/endurance pack I’ve ever used. You don’t expect an 11-liter backpack to nail its load to your hips, but that’s exactly what the Talon 11 does (more…)

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September 28, 2012

Blizzard Kabookie

Blizzard Kabookie

Blizzard’s Kabookie ski was one of two new Alpine Touring standouts I found at the 2012 SIA show—the other being Garmont’s Cosmos boot. Like the Cosmos, the big news with the Kabookie is its ability to bring the performance and especially the ‘feel’ of your favorite Alpine rig into the backcountry. On my scale, the Kabookie weighs eight pounds, four ounces per pair (173cm). In general I think of eight pounds (more…)

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September 26, 2012

Nikon D600 Video: No Free Lunch

Nikon D600 Video: No Free Lunch

The D600 is arguably the very first affordable full-frame Nikon DSLR, and for many still photographers, it will be nothing less than a dream come true. We Nikon faithful long ago got used to the limitations of DX-sensor cameras, and their 1.5x crop factor, but spend a day shooting with the D600 and it’s like coming home. Here, at last, is 35mm digital photography as it was meant to be (more…)

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September 19, 2012

Garmont Cosmos

Garmont Cosmos

Garmont’s new Cosmos delivers a perhaps unprecedented combination of skiing and touring performance, at a marvelously low weight. I’ll admit it: where Alpine Touring ski boots are concerned, I’ve long considered myself a Garmont man. Their shells have always seemed the most Lange-ish to me, in terms of fit and feel, which remains my gold standard for downhill skiing performance (more…)

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September 10, 2012

Black Diamond Twilight

Black Diamond Twilight

The water-resistant/breathable Twilight replaces Black Diamond’s Winter Bivy as the lightest bivy sack in the Black Diamond collection. The major difference, aside from a color change, is a switch to ‘NanoShield’ fabric (from Epic). We also get the addition of a mesh over-the-face panel for bug protection. What is NanoShield? I believe it is basically a re-branded Epic, with the primary difference (more…)

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September 3, 2012

Mountain Hardwear Direkt 2

Mountain Hardwear Direkt 2

Mountain Hardwear’s new Direkt 2 is a single-wall tent built in the style of Black Diamond’s Firstlight, but updated in a way that makes it both more and less useful. The twin headlines here are a crazy-low measured weight of two pounds, nine point five ounces (tent and poles), plus a completely 100% seam-sealed single-wall body that once and for all puts to rest any worries of waterproofness. The bad news (more…)

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