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Norvan Jacket

My trusty MEC Outtathere jacket, purchased on clearance sale using my annual dividend in preparation for Fat Dog 120 ’16, has seen me through a lot of adventures. Its cheerful orange is highly visible, and it packs down into a tiny package. However, its fit is not very sleek, and the Pertex fabric is quite delicate – the lumbar region …

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MSR Pocket Rocket

There are few things better at the end of a solid day of fast-packing than to cook up a hot meal… and then brew a strong cup of coffee to get going the next day. There are few things worse about fast-packing than trying to fit a stove and pots into your pack. Two products which really help with this …

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Altra Lone Peak 3.0

I’ve been running in Altra shoes for about a year and a half, and they have revolutionized my running. There are two characteristics which set Altra apart from other shoe brands: The Altra range is split, broadly, into road and trail ranges, each with low, medium and high stack-heights (degree of cushioning). My very first pair of Altras were second-hand …

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SOL Emergency Bivvy

SOL (“Survive Outside Longer”) has a pretty clear mission – provide modest-cost items to improve safety in the backcountry for recreational and light-and-fast users; emergency blankets and bivvy bags, along with first aid kits, are their bread-and-butter. They don’t provide the bomb-proof bivvy bags alpinists would want, but that isn’t their target segment. Their blankets range from $7 heavy duty …

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Black Diamond Storm 2017

The Storm has filled an important niche in the Black Diamond line-up for several years now: reasonably powerful, pretty small, and reasonably long battery life – the Goldilocks option between the light-weights like the Ion and the heavy-hitting Icon. I wrote favourably about it in my original headtorch review, suggesting it might be the best option for almost all runners …

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Arc’Teryx Base Layer

May is the time of year that I prep for the Vancouver 100 – one of the harder 100km races, despite being within sight of downtown Vancouver for most of its length. This year, there is a lot more snow than in past years, but the temperatures at low elevations are fairly warm; add to this that I am planning …

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Gear Review: Petzl Tikka

The Petzl Tikka was probably the first highly successful LED torch when it came out in 2000. Since then, the Tikka range has expanded from the basic unit ($26, 85g powered by three AAA cells) to the RXP version, costing $121, weighing 115g and powered by a USB-rechargeable and offering reactive light. This review will focus on the basic version. …

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Gear Review: BD Icon head torch

When I needed to get a new light for Survival Run Nicaragua in early 2016, I spent quite a bit of time looking at the current options, and decided that the Black Diamond Icon is hands-down the best for what I do….18-36 hour runs and some mountaineering. (You are referred to my earlier article for a more generalized discussion of …

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Gear Review: Head Torches

A perennial question going around ultra-running circles is which light-source to use. As with all things ultra, the answer is an absolute “it depends”! The main metrics to consider are: Carry type Brightness Burn time (both at maximum brightness and, more importantly, at the brightness you will generally use for running) Battery type (primarily replaceable vs rechargeable) Quality of light …