Author: Kevin Glover

Kevin Glover is an outdoorsman living, climbing and biking in Spokane, WA. Originally from the Nevada high desert, he moved to the PNW for its mild winters and allergen-free summers. He has guided throughout the Cascades and Enchantments for Peak 7 Adventures.

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…

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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:…

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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…

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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…

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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®…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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:…

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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……

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Wintertime means things like ice climbing, skiing, and enjoying the snow. Versatile insulation is a must, and happily Westcomb’s Alta Sweater is a thoughtfully designed, very warm puffy for wintertime exploits. I’ve been testing the Alta through the wet Spokane winter’s (short) ice climbing season and (so far so good) ski season. Westcomb Alta Down Sweater Features: Polish 900-fill goose down Pertex Quantum ultralight fabric (1oz per 0.9 square yard) Primaloft Gold 200 synthetic insulation in moisture-prone zones 2-way center zipper Water-resistent / DWR Elasticized cuff Elasticized hem Mandarin collar Stuff bag YKK® VISLON® zipper Zippered hand pockets MSRP: $380…

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You know Thule. You know the Thule SnowPack. Now, meet the Thule SnowPack Extender. It is, probably, the coolest ski rack on the market right now. It’s been on my whip all season, ferrying skis and boards up and down the mountain roads. Thule SnowPack Extender Ski Rack Features: Extendable for easy loading and unloading, without having to stretch over the car roof Rooftop rack designed to carry all types of skis and snowboards Holds skis and snowboards securely with ultra-soft rubber arms that grip without scratching the surfaces Easy to open and close while wearing gloves thanks to oversized…

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My favorite ride lately has been the Raleigh RXM cyclocross bike. It’s a fun, vintage-inspired steel bike that has the chops to be ridden hard on gravel or the course. It’s an ideal adventure bike, peddling durability for a lifetime of pedaling. Here’s our take on a really fun bike. Raleigh RXM Features: A versatile bike for cyclocross, gravel and more Steel gives a ride that’s durable yet responsive Carbon fiber fork to dampen the trail Double chainring provides a wide range of gearing Shimano 105 gruppo with TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes Front and rear thru-axles increase stiffness and…

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A good alpine glove is essential for keeping those digits functional in cold weather. Whether you want to to slay waterfall ice or blue glacier ice, the Outdoor Research Project glove may be a great fit. In fact, these gloves are so good that some bum stole them from me at the base of a climb last year in Banff. I liked them so much that I snagged a new pair for 2018, so consider this a *very* long-term review. Outdoor Research Project Gloves Features: Gore-Tex Grip insert for waterproof/breathable performance that’s ultra-tactile Pittards® Oiltac Leather Palm Enduraloft and Primaloft…

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We all need a good puffy jacket for wintertime, but they’re not all created for the same purpose. Some are ultralight dilettantes which rip if you look at them wrong, others are burly cotton big-baffled puffies which leak goose down with every movement. And, of course, some of them are more well-rounded. Sitting happily at the top of the well-rounded category is the Arc’teryx Cerium LT hoody. This puffy has been my go-to for early season backcountry skiing and has been perfect for day-to-day use in wintery Spokane. Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody Features: 850-fill goose down is light and compressible…

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What happens when you try to package all of the features of a premiere backcountry shell into a lightweight, highly-packable jacket? Well, something very similar to the Black Diamond Liquid Point Shell, featuring Gore-Tex’s PacLite fabric. It’s been my go-to backcountry ski shell for the PNW winter thus far. Black Diamond Liquid Point Shell Features: Adjustable, climbing-helmet-compatible hood Two-way armpit zip vents Two zip hand pockets Custom-molded cuff tabs Drawcord hem Primary fabric is bluesign approved Weight: 415 g/15oz GORE-TEX® PacLite 2.5L, 75d plain-weave face with DWR finish MSRP: $249 Take what you need, and nothing you don’t Ultralight shells…

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The Outdoor Research Ascendant Hoody has been impressive — and not just from one of us, but two independent reviewers agree that it’s a remarkable mix of everything we look for in a jacket. This review has two takes on the Ascendant (from reviewers Kevin Glover and Eric Miller) and both confirm that this one is a keeper and one of the best we’ve tested. Outdoor Research Ascendant Hoody Features: Pertex® Microlight 100% nylon 20D ripstop stretch woven shell Polartec® Alpha® Direct Insulation 100% polyester @ 95 g/m2 Adjustable Helmet Compatible Hood Internal Thumb Loops Zip Chest Pocket Dual Hand…

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Attention, world: Patagonia has a new puffy jacket out. Not to be confused with the Nano Puff Pullover or any of the other various Puff’s, Air’s and Micro’s that Patagonia has put out over the years, we now have a new, and very exciting, Micro Puffy Hoody from the folks at Patagonia. They tout it as the best warmth-for-weight jacket they’ve yet to build, and that’s definitely been a promise kept over the course of my testing. Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody Features: Ultralight nylon ripstop Pertex Quantum® shell PlumaFill insulation replicates the structure of down in a continuous synthetic insulation…

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