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REI Revel Cloud Vest (2011 edition)

I have vested interests in this. 

Specs

  • 11oz (xl)
  • DWR coated nylon shell, Primaloft Eco insulation
  • Packable beast of a garment.
  • $70-120

http://www.rei.com/product/844349/rei-revelcloud-vest-mens


Initial Impressions

I had my eye on these for a long time. Having just come back from Guadalupe Mountains and desperately wanting something light, cheap, and warm I came across the Revel Cloud on sale (and it's often on sale) Enjoyed it. Came with a tiny stuff sack. Fit well. Has hand pockets on the front. Headphone compatible. Good length.


Performance

This was my go to layer. The down sweater is warmer, but for hiking, sweating, and general harshness, I went to the Revel Cloud. The Revel Cloud has been around a good while. Through the years, it looks like the only change has been the color options. Basically you're looking at a synthetic insulated layer that comes in a range of options. Vest, Jacket, Hooded jacket.

Insulation is Primaloft Eco which is partly recycled. It does all the good things synthetics do (fairly light, warm, insulates when wet) and it packs down very small. I had no qualms about sweating all the way through the vest. Over Mather pass and a few other spots it performed admirably when saturated.

I opted for the vest so that I could have an in-between layer. I knew I wouldn't want to wear a full length fleece or pussy jacket. I'd get to hot.


Last Words

The lightweight fabric held up well to the weight of pack straps and general thuggery I put it through. Sizes may run a bit large in REI Brand stuff so check that out. There are some fancier synthetic pieces out there- nanopuff, thermoball to name a couple. For price, function, and toughness, I like the revel cloud. And at about $70, hard to turn it down.  

Overall Arbitrary Trail Score (OATS)

9 for its versatility, durability, reliability, usability, and use-as-a-pillowability

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Bear Vault BV400

It's not a vault to put bears in... 

http://www.rei.com/product/768902/bearvault-bv500-food-container

Specs

  • 2lbs 9oz
  • Polycarbonate
  • 700 cubic inches
  • $80


Initial Impressions

We first bought these in 2008 when we planned on doing the trail. It's a large nalgene made for food pretty much. They're solid, sturdy, and simple. It's a plastic can.


Performance

Bear can did what it was made to do. There are lighter options out there. There are bigger options out there. For all of our needs and plans of a 3 week, 10 mile per day thru hike of the JMT, the BV400 was the answer.  I wrapped mine with a few bits of reflective tape thinking a bear might come and roll it down a hill and I'd have to find it. Never happened.

They aren't smell proof, they aren't shatter proof, and in Vermont with at least one bear, they aren't bear proof. But for the shattering and bear opening, these are extreme and rare cases.

It's a solid container that Sierra bears can't open, and it's approved by park agencies. Worked awesome as a stool/camp chair as well.

If rodents, animals, and creatures are a problem in other camping trips, the bear can is very helpful. I'd not hesitate to use it on some Texas trips where creatures have a habit of getting my food.


Last Words

Bears are smart. They'll try to get your food. Don't let them. Don't make the bear die. At the end of the day they're an inconvenience to carry because of all the room they take up and how much they weigh, but they're a must. There are lighter, larger options out there. And you can also rent them if you don't want to buy for life. Or there's craigslist...

Overall Arbitrary Trail Score (OATS)

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7.5- Heavy, cumbersome, but mandatory. 

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Patagonia Down Sweater

I had my eye on these for a while. I'd never owned a proper down insulating layer but for the weight, packability, and warmth, I knew I'd have to get one.

On a whim at the Round Rock REI, I found last year's model on sale ($120) and walked out with a size Large.

http://www.rei.com/product/770806/patagonia-down-sweater-mens

Specs:

  • 11 ounces (avg)
  • 800 Fill power
  • Polyester shell, down fill
  • $220 retail. $100-200 on sales. 

Initial Impressions

Loved the lightweight and loft. Color was eh (sky blue) but it got the job done.

Performance

800 fill goose down provides great warmth in a small package. It's not hydrophobic, probably because the down treating process is killer on the environment and this is a Patagonia piece. Outer shell is light weight and treated with water repellant coating. Baffles are sewn well and stuffed full of down. Hand pockets are in a perfect spot and are large enough to be comfortable.

Size seemed pretty true, if a touch big. I'm hard to size, though.

This was my go-to piece on the trail for hanging out in camp, setting up on cold nights or cold mornings, and breaks. Blocks the wind well. Shed light rain well. I did rip a tiny hole in the shell on a bolt sticking out of Muir Trail Ranch's gate. Put a tiny patch of Duck tape on it and haven't messed with is since. Still wear it weekly.

Love the performance, features, and capabilities.

Last words

Down with the Down Sweater

Down with the Down Sweater

For light weight, pack abilit\, and loft- it's gotta be down. There's lighter weight pieces out there but for all around versatility I've been a fan of the Down Sweater. 

Overall Arbitrary Trail Score (OATS)

8.9

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REI Flash 45

This is a test post. I'll write useful stuff here. 

 

 

Ps the Flash 45 by REI is a bad pack. Crap foam sheet, bad hoop stay. Uncomfortable, doesnt carry loads well unless full, outer mesh pocket is also the water bottle holder. Horrible design idea. 

Do not like it.

 

That said, i'll sell you mine...$1 per liter. 

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Best since Day 1.