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Montbell Dynamo Wind Pants – Very Long Term Usage Review

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Hike and author, John Abela, wearing the Montbell Dynamo Wind Pants and Montbell Tachyon Wind Jacket.

Hiker and author, John Abela, wearing the Montbell Dynamo Wind Pants and Montbell Tachyon Wind Jacket.

Montbell Dynamo Wind Pants:

A little over two years ago I wrote an article entitled “Montbell Dynamo Wind Pants – Long Term Usage Review” in which I initially reviewed the Montbell Dynamo wind pants after having used them for over a year.

Earlier today I realized that I had passed the 1,200 days mark of using these pants and figured I would do a follow-up review of these pants.

Yes, I wrote that correctly… 1,200+ days of wearing the same pair of pants… 3 years, 4 months and a few days.

I started wearing them on December 28, 2010 after receiving them from ProLite Gear, who now have them priced at $68.95 – they were priced at $56.98 when I bought them.

Over the last three years I have had countless people ask me questions about them and a whole lot of people have bought them based on my previous article and after my responding back to their questions about these wind pants.

I thought I would take a moment and share some of the Q&A’s I have gotten and replied to over the last few years, regarding these wind pants, as well as post an update on how well they are holding up.

 

Durability:

From a durability perspective I have been crazy impressed with these pants. I have had to have the crotch sewn in a couple of places and have a couple of small holes on the butt that need to be sewn or patched – and considering these pants are made from 12-denier rip-stop ballistic airlight nylon that is just truly amazing.

I have also had the ankle strap of one of the legs pull out about 40-50% but still enough to keep it from being at a point where I just pull it all the out. The stitching has come undone, probably a result of pulling on it while sliding the strap under my feet. The other leg ankle strap does not have any damage at this point.

The leg zippers have never failed. Mud, snow, dirt, rain, crossing countless rivers, crawling through bushes, nothing has been able to keep these zippers from not working.

In my original article I stated about the waist grommets that, “the little metal rings for the draw cords on the waist ripped out of the fabric. I ended up just putting knots on the end of the drawstring and it, mostly, keeps the cordage from pulling in, but it does happen every few months, big whoopie-doo, easy to pull it back out.

All in all, given these wind pants have 5,000+ miles and 1,200+ days of use, to say I am impressed on the durability of them is putting it lightly.

 

Treatment:

Twice a year I have used Sawyer Permethrin on them, applying beyond liberally. I let them sit overnight and go about another 100 days of use until I have reapplied another treatment.

I have not, at any point, applied any DWR treatment to them, as I have reached a point where I do not care if my legs are wet – they are completely ineffective at this point as a water repellent pair of pants, but even brand new they did not seem to be according to the notes I took the first year.

 

Q&A:

To address the most common questions I have received about these pants:

Hanging out under a fallen Redwood Tree and wearing the Montbell Dynamo wind pants during a lunch break to wait out a heavy rain storm.

Hanging out under a fallen Redwood Tree and wearing the Montbell Dynamo wind pants during a lunch break to wait out a heavy rain storm.

How well do they actually do at keeping the wind out?” — Gotten this question dozens of times. Actually very good for the first year or so. The second season they started to loose a bit of wind protection and now at the third year I can start to feel most wind come through them. I am not a fabric specialist so I have no idea the technical terms and such, but I would describe it as the fabric is get thinner and thinner each hiking season. Its very soft to the feel, whereas a brand new pair that I have had sitting in its original package for two years (I bought an extra pair a year after wearing my first pair, just incase montbell decided to discontinue them) is much like the feel of the Montbell Tachyon Jacket, if you happen to know what they feel like.

How durable are the pants? Can I go bushwhacking in them?” — The second most popular question I have gotten. Well I am not a bushwhacker, unless I happen to be trying to get through an overgrown trail, or if I happen to be out building a trail and have no other choice than to go head-first into a bunch of bushes. That said, they have survived a few years of trail and life-at-home usage. They have survived countless encounters with blackberry bushes and 6 foot tall ferns (throughout Northern California), greasewood bushes and nasty cactus of Southern California (Death Valley, Joshua Tree, PCT, etc), and miles and miles of postholing through deep snow. Given all this and the only real damage to the fabric is some pulling of the threads in the crotch and one half-inch hole on the butt, I tend to think they are doing rather well. YMMV of course.

What is the advantage of the Dynamo pants over the Nike wind pants?” — I have gotten this question three times and each time I have had to say “I have no idea”… never had to buy another pair of wind pants :-D

Pulling on the ankle straps tighten the pants around my legs but there is no way to keep them tight. Do you think they forgot to include toggles?” — Gotten this question twice. The ankle straps go under your feet and inside your shoe, to help keep the pants tightened around your legs, as well as keep them pulled down to prevent wind gusts from pulling them up. ;)

How do you layer under your dynamo wind pants at different temperatures?” — Also a very popular question, and one I really like. Unless it is really cold outside I just wear the pants over a pair of exofficio briefs… be it sunny or raining or in snow or whatever. If there is some crazy cold wind that has the potential to screw with my thermoregulation than I will put on a pair of thermals underneath the wind pants. Simple as that.

Do they feel more breathable during windy conditions versus the ZPacks Rain Pants?” — Looks like I have gotten this question three times. Each time I responded that I felt the Montbell Dynamo performed better. It has been sooo long since I wore the ZPacks Rain Pants that I just have very little performance results between the two. There has to be some really cold wind/rain for me to put on a pair of rain pants – I only remember putting on the ZPacks rain pants once (maybe twice?) in the last three years. Sorry, this is a question I just do not have enough usage to be able to properly answer – pretty much the same as with the Nike wind pants.

Thoughts on the difference between the Dynamo and the Versalite pants?” Looks like I have gotten this question three times. My response each time has been “one is a rain pant the other is a wind pant – enough said.

What are your thoughts on wearing these over shorts for when a cold breeze comes up?” — Very likely the most popular question I have gotten. My typical response has been “go for it!” At 79 grams you are likely not going to find a better option if you are a hiker that likes to wear shorts yet needs something for when the cold wind picks up. The compactness of them allows them to be stuffed into some really tight spots in your pack. They are also nice to have for trail towns when you are washing your clothes.

Do they get really hot in the sun? Do they stick to you if you start sweating?” — Another really popular set of questions. They can get hot in the sun, they are black after all. Do they stick to your legs? I cannot ever remembering a time when I was hiking and had them stick to my legs, even when hiking through Death Valley – before I smartened up and started wearing sun pants.

Hey John, I bought a pair of the dynamo wind pants based on your recommendation – just thought you’d like to know!” — dozens and dozens of such emails – I appreciate you taking the time to let me know, it means a lot!!

 

Closing Thoughts:

Of all the pieces of hiking gear I have bought, the Montbell Dynamo wind pants have got more miles and more days of use than any other piece of gear.

On a hike with Scott "Shroomer" Williams and Joshua "Bobcat" Stacy, wearing the Dynamo pants while hiking up a frozen river.

On a hike with Scott “Shroomer” Williams and Joshua “Bobcat” Stacy, wearing the Dynamo pants while hiking up a frozen river.

Recently have been using them on-and-off while I have been testing the Sun Precaution Ultra Athlete Sun Pants, as well as the Salomon EXO S-Lab Twinskin Shorts as I have been doing some running, but when I am not wearing either of those the Dynamo pants are what I am wearing – my original pair that I bough over three years ago.

Whether you plan to use them as full time pants, as I have, or just as a pair of super light wind pants, the Montbell Dynamo wind pants should be at the very top of your list.

So long as I have some needle and thread, I see myself getting a lot of more miles from my original pair of these pants. Another thousand days? Hmmm….

 

Thank you,
+John Abela
HikeLighter.Com


In accordance of USA Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255: I hereby declare that as of the day of publication of this article I am a sponsored hiker of Montbell AmericaBlack Rock Gear, Suluk46 – and that I bought these pants with my own money.

Written by John Abela

May 5, 2014 at 7:18 pm

Posted in Gear Reviews

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Sun Precautions Ultra Athlete Shirt and Pants

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Author (along with his father) wearing the Sun Precautions Ultra Athlete Shirt and Pants on the PCT near Big Bear California.

Author (along with his father) wearing the Sun Precautions Ultra Athlete Shirt and Pants on the PCT near Big Bear California.

Greetings Bloggers,

Earlier this year I set out to find an alternative way of hiking in the hot sunny weather of Southern California. Something that did not involve me getting sunburned or carrying the heavy 8.11 ounce GoLite Umbrella that I and many other long distance hikers have used for years. Granted I turn a rather nice shade of golden brown when I get a nice bit of sun on me, but living under the Redwood forest canopy of Northern California for the better part of two decades has not allowed me to keep that nice suntan that I always had while growing up in the Mojave desert. Recently I have been hiking different sections of the PCT in SoCal, and spending time in Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley, trying to find the best route for my Highest to Lowest trail/hike I am planning.

I was able to find a number of different companies claiming that they provided SPF clothing that was in the 15-30 range, but the real stand-out in the sun clothing world was a product line called “Solumbra” from a company called Sun Precaution. This is a company that designs and makes all of their clothing in Seattle Washington USA.

What really makes their clothing stand out from the rest is that their clothing is 100+ SPF.

As most of my longtime readers know, I rarely write reviews on pieces of gear (clothing, shelters, backpacks, whatever) that I have not tested a lot and for a long time. I will typically spend an entire hiking season (or sometimes three or four) before I contemplate writing a review for a piece of gear – this is what makes me stand apart from other authors and gear reviewers in the outdoor community, along with the fact that I traditionally only focus on SUL/XUL hiking. There have only been a few rare exceptions when I have broken that rule of mine, and I think with this clothing from Sun Precaution it is going to be one of those times — the reason being: sometimes a product just proves itself from the very get-go, and this clothing proved itself to me within the first two weeks of me using it. Truthfully, it proved itself within a matter of hours, but I gave it a good three or four days before I allowed myself to whisper to myself “wow, this stuff actually works!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by John Abela

August 7, 2013 at 4:16 am

Montbell – A New Sponsor

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Montbell - Light & Fast

Montbell – Light & Fast

Greetings Hikers,

I received word yesterday from the North American Operations of Montbell that I have been accepted as a sponsor of Montbell. This is a very exciting new sponsorship for me. Montbell is one of the leading companies in ultralight hiking gear and to be accepted by them is truly an honor and I want to extend a huge thank you to those involved in this decision at Montbell.

I have never made it any secrete that I have a special place in my hiking heart for Montbell. I have done extensive testing and publication on their gear over the last few years and their gear has continued to stand up to all that I have demanded of it.

One of the most popular articles I have written has been on the Montbell Dynamo Wind Pants – a truly amazing piece of gear that I have worn for over two thousands miles of hiking. Dozens and dozens of hikers have read my article on these pants and bought them and sent me an email saying thanks, and I have even come across a few hikers on youtube that have mentioned my article when talking about them buying these wind pants. I can honestly say that I have never encountered any other pair of pants I would prefer to be out hiking with… be it sunny and hot, raining like crazy, or even in the snow. These pants have been with me everywhere.

I have also written a Long Term Review: MontBell U.L. Super Spiral Hugger – a sleeping that I have over 250-nights of use with. I recently bought my second U.L. Super Spiral #1 sleeping bag and have been using it over the winter season with a huge smile on my face.

Just before the start of the 2012/2013 winter season I purchased the Montbell Alpine Light Down Parka. It has been one of the best parkas I have ever purchased. I acquired mine just before their Mirage Parka came out, so I look forward to giving it a go over the 2013 hiking season. Those I trust the most have been telling me the Mirage is a dream come true jacket for them.

And of course my long time readers know all to well my long standing love with the Tachyon Wind Jacket. It was the wind jacket that introduced me and a lot of other hikers I know to the fact that wind jackets have a serious place in a UL/SUL/XUL hikers backpack. Their new 2013 version has hit the scales at an insane sub 50 gram mark.

When talking with other hikers I have often said that Montbell is one of those rare companies that exist that have given me the means to reach the weight levels that I have over the last few years. As a primarily SUL hiker I have used a lot of gear over the last few years and there are very few pieces of gear that have made it from one season to the next season — and not because I am hard on my gear, far from it, but rather because so much of the gear made today by companies claiming to make SUL gear, have simply not been able to design, develop, test, and bring to market gear that actually meets the needs of my style of hiking. I can truly count the companies that I consider to be top end companies for SUL hiking gear on one hand. Montbell is among them.

To be granted the opportunity to be a sponsor of Montbell is a huge honor for me. I am going to keep using their gear that I have already proven to be solid, test their new gear to see how it holds up, and I will continue to invest the time to write articles where I share my honest thoughts about the gear I use from Montbell. I have never bought a piece of gear from Montbell where after using it I went “Hmm, I wish I had not bought that“. That alone pretty much says it all.

Again, to those of you at Montbell, thank you very much and I look forward to developing a further relationship with Montbell over the years ahead. Continue to strive to make the gear that you make!

Thank you,

+John Abela
HikeLighter.Com

Written by John Abela

March 14, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Preparing For Shoulder/Winter Season, Clothing

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Hello Hikers,

I figured with it being mid-June that I should probably start putting some thoughts into the 2012 shoulder and winter hiking season. If you have been following my articles for very long you know I am not a big fan of that white stuff that so many others seem to enjoy so much, and thankfully here in the Redwoods of Northern California we do not get a lot of it.

Earlier today I was catching up on some fellow hiker articles and one of my favorite hikers from New Zealand posted a article about his planned base-layer for the rest of the year, and that is what got me thinking that it is getting close to that time of the year where I need to start planning my own setup.

So below I will outline what I am planning at this point in time for my 2012 shoulder and winter hiking season clothing setup. I would love to have other hikers out there who are planning and writing up their own shoulder/winter gear lists drop me a comment with your own setup! Each year the hiking industry is getting larger and larger and I am sure there is gear out there that some of you are using that I have no idea even exists and could be better than what I am planning to use!! Read the rest of this entry »

June 2012 Hike. 5 Days, 115 Miles

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Hello Hikers,

Well I just got back from a 5 day (115 mile) hike and figured I would share a few thoughts and photos and a rather short and low quality video, as so many of you who follow me keep ragging on me for not taking pictures and videos of my hikes in the beautiful Redwood forest. So, this time I carried the additional 137 grams (4.8 oz) and carried along my iPhone. Sadly for reasons I do not yet understand no videos from day 4 or 5 got saved to the device, even though I know the record button was pressed. Sigh/Oh’well.

Gear Thoughts:

You can view my gear list for this hike if you are interested in such things.

My base pack weight was 3.22 pounds, which included the weight of the iPhone which I begrungingly took, otherwise I would have been at 2.91 pounds.

My consumables were 3866 grams (136.3 ounces / 8.52 pounds) of which 7.6 pounds where food, following my standard 1.5 pounds per day rule.

Food for this trip was primarily OvaEasy Powdered Whole Egg and Nido mixed together for breakfast, along with one packet of Nestle Carnation Instant Breakfast Essentials. Lunch and dinner was Santa Fe Bean Co, Instant Southwestern Style Refried Beans (cold lunch, hot for dinner) mixed with Roadkill Summer Sausage and dried cheese. Snacks was fresh fruit (first 2 days) and a combination of more summer sausage and a mixture of Macadamia and Cashew nuts.

Daily mileage was 27, 22, 25, 16, 24, for a total of 114 miles, plus probably another mile for side trips. Total elevation change was around 4200 feet, with one day a bit over 3,000 in elevation change. Decent mileage days consider it is the first 5 day hike for me for the 2012 season. I have done a few two and three day trips so far, but to go out and do a 5 day trip with a three pound setup is always a trial and a fun time to push yourself. With the exception of not having a wind jacket I think that the gear that I took with me was perfect for the trip. Average day time temps were 56-58 (f) and night time temps were 45-48(f) so I was able to get away with not taking a lot of heavy cold weather gear. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by John Abela

June 9, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Montbell Dynamo Wind Pants – Long Term Usage Review

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Montbell Dynamo Wind Pants:

I have been looking forward to writing a review about the Mont-Bell Dynamo Wind Pants for a rather long time. This month I passed the 365-day mark for wearing a single pair of the Montbell Dynamo Wind Pants through snow, rain, hail, fog, beautify sunny days, more fog, and more snow and hail. They have been used as my primary pants on every hiking trip I have been on since 2010, have wore them for well over 1200 miles, and encountered every conceivable type of abuse I could think of to try to destroy these pants.

After 1,200 miles of use, an entire year of wearing them (I am at around 375 days as of today’s hike) they have suffered the following damage:

  • The little metal rings for the draw cords on the waist ripped out of the fabric. The first one happened while I was hiking at Gold Bluff Beach in Northern California (see my video) and the second came off when I was on a trip up into the Trinity Alps (see that video). Nether of there were a rush of the draw cords getting caught on a branch or bush or such, they just ripped off on their own. Thankfully it did not result in any additional rippage of the material and all I did was tie a knot in the draw cord to keep the cord from pulling through the slightly larger holes. This is the only ‘defect’ they have suffered, the below two issues were/are my own fault!
  • A small section of threads came loose in the crotch region at around the 200 day mark. It was my own fault. I had them pulled down right against my shoe (thanks to the elasticize drawstring in the ankles that allow you to pull the ankles tight and than put the elastic down around your foot inside of your shoe – love this feature!) and than I proceeded to sit down indian style and caused the slight thread pulling to happen. Thankfully was not big enough to reveal anything ;)
  • Lastly, one small fire hole happened about four inches from the bottom where an ember from a fire ember somehow got lucky. Now I do not think it is wise to stand in front of a fire in a pair of 12-denier rip-stop Ballistic Airlight nylon, but lets just say that on multiple occasions it has been documented that I have stood right next to a fire with these pants just getting nailed my sparks and such and they took it all in style. Again, I do not advise that, just felt like I should explain why the pants might have happened to suffer a hole from a spark from a fire ;)

I think it is beyond fair to say that I have put these pants through much broader conditions than they were ever designed to be.

They may not be as light as the Mont-Bell U.L. Wind Pants (which are 0.4 ounces lighter) and they are made with slightly less abusive resistant material, but these Mont-Bell Dynamo Wind Pants have more than proven themselves to me. They received my #2 award for my “10 Favorite Pieces of Hiking Gear for 2011” and to be honest, they could have just as easily be listed at #1 and maybe should have been.

I have had them on in 102 degree weather and they did not get clammy on me or start sticking to my legs, which I expected them to do at that temperature. I have also had them on down to 18f with a base and mid layer on and was able to move freely without any problems at all.

I have slide down snow fields, walked through blackberry bushes (probably the worst thing ever for ul/sul/xul hiking cloths), walked through fields of 6-8 foot tall ferns (if you did not know, ferns when they get that big, are about as nasty has blackberry bushes), I have posthold with them, I have crossed raging rivers with them, I have strolled along the beach and even done some bushwhacking with them. I have had to crawl up than down Redwood Trees that had fallen across trail, scrambled up and down bolder granite faces, slept in them, washed them in rivers, and waded through mud and muck that I wish I could forget I had waded through. No matter what I have done these pants have been spectacular. They have totally and completely gone beyond my expectations.

Whether you are a heavy hauler, a weekender, a devoted ultra lighter hiker, or somebody that has moved into the super ultra light and extreme ultra light world of hiking, the Mont-Bell Dynamo Wind Pants receive the highest level of praise I can given any piece of gear I have ever bought.

John B. Abela
HikeLighter.Com
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Written by John Abela

January 26, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Posted in Gear Reviews

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