Author: Kevin Glover

Kevin Glover lives, climbs and backpacks out of Spokane, WA. Originally from the Nevada high desert, he moved to the PNW ten years ago and has worked as a glacier and rock guide in the Washington Cascades. When not testing gear, he is a medical student at the University of Washington and will gladly check that rash out for you.

Springtime is just barely beginning to poke its head around the corner up here in Spokane. The mountains and resorts got nearly a foot of powder last week, which was all the more reason to continue enjoying the Black Diamond Cirque 35L Pack that I’ve been testing this winter. Black Diamond Cirque 35L Features: SwingArm™ shoulder straps, stretch-woven hipbelt pocket and single gear loop Unique CINCH closure opens or closes with a single pull Integrated avy tools pocket with drain holes Tuck-away diagonal ski carry and A-frame carry, stowable helmet flap Ice-tool PickPockets™, tuck-away rope strap and quick-deploy piolet system…

Read More

In my mind, when I think of Patagonia I think primarily of warm days fly fishing, or hot days on steep slabs, or backpacking. The touring season here in the PNW started slow but really ramped up through February, and the Patagonia Descensionist carried the load throughout a ton of fun. Made with durable CORDURA® nylon for puncture and abrasion resistance Asymmetrical spindrift collar opens wide for easy packing; drawcord simultaneously cinches collar and closes lid for a secure seal; side zipper for easy access to main compartment High-density foam back panel gives pack structure and helps to support heavy…

Read More

I can’t think of many things that say ‘dialed’ better than a top-to-bottom Arc’teryx powder outfit. I’ve been throwing down throughout what’s become an increasingly good winter here in the PNW in the Arc’teryx Sabre LT Jacket and Sabre Pant. Are they any good? Oh you bet they are. Arc’teryx Sabre LT Jacket and Sabre Pants Features: Sabre LT jacket features Gore-Tex C-knit backer Sabre pant features 3L Gore-Tex Pro. Fully seam-taped with Arc’teryx’s signature micro-seam allowance. Both top and bottom feature Recco locators Snow skirt works with Slide ‘n Loc technology to seal onto pants Jacket features helmet-compatible storm…

Read More

Ah, wintertime. Sure, there is plenty of fun to be had out in the snow, but it’s also the time of year to curl up by the fire with a good book. That means that you need a good sweater, and the Patagonia Woolyester Fleece Pullover has got your back with warmth, style and sustainability. Patagonia Woolyester Fleece Features: Quarter-zip with zip-through collar Rib-knit trim on cuffs and hems 6.2oz 46% recycled wool/46% polyester/4% other Fair Trade Certified sewing MSRP: $139 More than one reason to feel warm and fuzzy Wool is a classic material. I still have some of…

Read More

You know what gear you probably haven’t taken a good look at lately? Your ski poles. If you’re anything like me, you’re using a pair of rickety, noisy, increasingly unstable poles look like they’ve been drug behind a truck. Or maybe that’s not you and you’re just looking for a good upgrade. In either situation, the MSR DynaLock Explore poles have a lot to offer for the backcountry traveler. MSR DynaLock Explore Features: Light, high-strength 7075 aluminum lower sections for increased durability. DynaLock™ adjustability with tool-free tensioning; anodized aluminum lever provides lasting durability. Extended EVA foam grip for comfort while…

Read More

It’s Fall, and that means it’s time to dig out your best sleeping bag for cool, wet weather. In the northwest, a synthetic bag is essential for those inevitable wet weather trips. The Big Agnes Picket SL 30 is a high-tech, high-performing sleeping bag whose generous cut makes it especially comfortable to sleep in. Big Agnes Picket SL 30 Features: Primaloft® Gold Insulation Active in the stretch side panels Low profile cordlock lets you un-cinch the hood with one hand Anti-snag draft tube is soft and prevents heat loss along the zipper Zipper garage Interior fabric loops for sleeping bag…

Read More

If the word ‘baja’ conjures images of beautiful days with laid-back friends, then I think you’re thinking along the same lines of Outdoor Research with their new Baja Down Pullover. It’s a piece that balances the fun and the functional, and it definitely will make your buddies jealous. Outdoor Research Baja Down Pullover Features: Water- and wind-resistant nylon face fabric, 10D face 20D liner 800-fill responsibly sourced goose down Fleece-lined kangaroo pocket Left-sided zip for easy on/off Low-Pro binding elastic cuffs Elastic drawcord hem Average weight size L: 9.2oz. MSRP: $249 Half the zip, twice the fun I should state,…

Read More

You know who knows how to make a great jacket? Fjallraven. The quality of their outerwear and lifestyle garments. So when the brand set out to design an eco-friendly shell technology that would still match up to their performance standards, I was interested. Shell technology is one of the most environmentally harmful parts of the outdoor product world, so any attempt to improve here is welcomed. The Keb Eco-Shell is a stellar product move in a positive direction. Fjallraven Keb Eco-Shell Features: Made from stretchy Eco-Shell fabric Helmet-compatible hood preserves peripheral vision Two-way, fully waterproof zipper with storm flap and…

Read More

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been four years since I covered the original Backcountry Bed. At the time, I loved the product for its stunningly innovative design and its high weight-to-performance ratio. It was a lightweight, comfortable down product – but it also cost around $400. Coming in hot for Fall 2018 is the updated Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed, weighing in light on the scale and in the wallet. Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 700 / 35 Degree Features: 700-fill power insulation Patent pending zipperless design / no zippers = more comfort Oversized integrated comforter / all the comforts of your…

Read More

I have to admit, I’m frugal when it comes to my own cycling gear, and I use things far beyond their reasonable lifespan. My old shoes were some ancient Velcro creations that were comfy, but neither light nor efficient. So the Bont Riot+ were an awesome shoe for me to test; this despite the fact that they are ‘entry level’ in Bont’s lineup. They’ve been my workhorse through a summer of riding. Bont Riot+ Features: Carbon composite sole with microfiber upper 3-hole cleat mounting configuration BOA IP1 dial and Z-form Velcro strap Ventilation holes through upper and mesh inserts Weight:…

Read More

I like reviewing packs and, I really like reviewing really good packs. The Phantom 50L, part of The North Face’s Summit Series, is a really good pack. It’s been my go-to option for anything extended in the alpine recently, whether that’s skiing in the spring or climbing volcanos in the summer. Here’s our review after a summer of fun. The North Face Summit Series Phantom 50 Features: 50 liter capacity for lightweight alpine climbing Part of the Summit Series lineup Removable PE frame sheet Detachable, flip-forward lid Tool keepers with covered tips Reinforced ski loops for A-frame ski carry Reflective…

Read More

I love the tagline that Black Diamond has for this jacket – “There’s a fine line between splitter blue skies and afternoon thunderstorms in the mountains.” That is so true, and anyone who’s spent a season in the hills has a story of being caught out by unexpected inclement weather. That’s why it’s nice to have an ultralight, versatile shell like the Black Diamond FineLine.  Black Diamond FineLine Stretch Jacket Features: Built with BD.dry waterproof/breathable/windproof solution Stretch shell fabric increases durability and comfort Underarm gussets for added mobility Adjustable, climbing-helmet-compatible hood YKK Reverse coil PU coated center front zipper Stows…

Read More

The North Face has been on a roll with great footwear recently. We’ve covered their wintertime Thermoball Versa boots, their Endurus GTX’s (a personal favorite) and the Endurus TR trail runners. And that’s just within the last year or so. Well, The North Face is continuing their roll forward with the Ultra FastPack III GTX’s. I’m testing their mid-height version, because I’m all about ankle support even in ultralight boots. The North Face Ultra FastPack III GTX Features: Sole: PrUpper: TPU-coated woven mesh protects against trail debris Welded eyestay and quarter underlay combine for lightweight midfoot support Waterproof, breathable GORE-TEX®…

Read More

Adventure sunglasses, lifestyle sunglasses – why choose? The best outdoor sunglasses can transition seamlessly from trail to tavern, and the Spy Optic Helm 2 promise to do just that. Spy Helm 2 Sunglasses Features: Happy Lens™ enhances color and contrast, increases clarity, and improves mood and alertness Constructed from virtually indestructible Grilamid® Double injection rubber on the inside temple tips keeps the frame secure on your face all-day-long 6-base polycarbonate ARC® lenses 5-barrel hinges 100% UV protection reduces eye fatigue and long-term sun damage Frame measures 57-19-145 MSRP: $100-150, depending on feature set A strong replacement for an old standby…

Read More

What would a springtime be without a little dead bird in it?? I’ve been toting Arc’teryx’s delightfully lightweight Cerium SL Hoody around throughout a very active PNW spring. It’s been ski touring, mountaineering, and walking through the park with me. Also, at 7.6oz total weight, it is an exceptionally lightweight insulator comparable to the best and lightest on the market. Here’s our review. Arc’teryx Cerium SL Hoody Features: Adjustable hood drawcords Low profile hood Down insulated StormHood™ Down Composite Mapping strategically places Coreloft™ synthetic insulation in areas where moisture may build up and down in areas for maximum warmth Super…

Read More

Every spring, all the big names in the outdoor industry release a new slew of products to take over the world. There are new puffies, pants, shoes and shells – and it’s often the shells that garner the most hype. One of the brightest stars in this year’s constellation of new shell jackets is the Interstellar Jacket, from Outdoor Research. Outdoor Research Interstellar Jacket Features: Movement-Mirroring Stretch Fully Adjustable Helmet Compatible Hood Wire-Brimmed Halo-Hood YKK® AquaGuard® Zippers Dynamic Reach™ Underarm Panels Fabric: Ascentshell™ 3L, 100% nylon20D mechanical stretch ripstop face with 100% polyester 12D backer Average weight: 11.6oz (Large) MSRP: $299 Something…

Read More

It seems to me that duffels have been making a comeback in recent years. Previously they were thought to be un-sexy, the lesser counterparts to various rolling, excessively-strapped ways of toting around a load of belongings. But the new wave of ultra-burly, brand-emblazoned duffels is just as popular with expeditionists as it is high schoolers on spring break. I wanted to test Big Agnes’s offering, the Big Joe 110L.  So, I did – on a trip to Mexico this April. Big Agnes Big Joe 110L Duffel Features: Top-loading zip design allows for ease of access to the entire bag as well…

Read More

Generally I love Patagonia’s gear for how well it works in the mountains. I’ve reviewed so many of their products and had them go on to become favorites that I pull out every trip. What I am not as familiar with, though, is Patagonia’s line of work wear. I’ve never totally understood why they design and maintain this line, so I decided to take a closer look. So, I took a pair of their All Season Canvas Double Knee Pants for a week of framing houses in Tijuana. Patagonia All Season Hemp Canvas Double Knee Pants Features: Made from 9.6-oz…

Read More

Lifestyle jackets can sometimes sacrifice performance in exchange for, well, good looks. The North Face has bucked this trend with their new Apex Flex GTX jacket, which combines the esthetics of a city jacket with the undeniable performance of a 3-layer Gore-Tex fabric. The North Face Apex Flex GTX Jacket Features: Apex Flex combines Gore-Tex® protection with soft shell flexibility Waterproof, stretch GORE-TEX® 3L with knit back that eliminates the need for a liner Attached, adjustable hood Polyurethane (PU) center-front, hand and chest pocket zips Elasticated cuffs Adjustable hem Claimed weight: 22oz MSRP: $229 Look good, stay dry, and streeeeeeeetch:…

Read More

Depending on the type of trip you’re planning, a camp chair can make the difference between misery and relaxation at the camp site. Few enough companies produce a chair as good as the Helinox Chair Zero, which I’ve been testing hard… mostly at soccer games. But still! Helinox Chair Zero Features: Seat sits 11 inches off the ground Anodized DAC aluminum poles Chair Zero is strong enough to support up to 265 lbs. Single shock-corded pole structure makes for easy setup Compact size makes it easy to pack and carry Stuff sack included MSRP: $119 For those who like minimalism……

Read More