Category Archives: Gear Reviews

subscribe to the blog - email address

Review of the Atomic Tracker 16 WTR Bindings

by Vince Hempsall, September 24, 2013


“What’s the 16 stand for?” I asked when I was first handed the Atomic Tracker 16 WTR bindings. The reply was that it referred to the Tracker’s DIN setting, which ranges from 7 to 16, and I immediately thought of that scene in Spinal Tap when Nigel describes his new speakers with the volume control […]

Review of the Chrome Kursk Pro & Storm Kursk Bike Sneakers

by Vince Hempsall, August 9, 2013


My Grandfather said there are two things in life you spend good money on – a bed and a pair of shoes, because if you’re not on your feet, you’re lying down. Of course, I highly doubt my grandfather would ever be caught rocking a pair of Kursk sneakers because a) he doesn’t bike and […]

Review of the Chrome Buran Messenger Bag

by Vince Hempsall, June 18, 2013


There was one point while reading the “manifesto” of Chrome Industries when I couldn’t help but scoff. “Chrome is not about fashion” the all caps prose read, “We make gear that protects people and their things from the elements without looking like you came from the mountains. Tools for living the city (sic).” Well, I […]

Review of the Atomic Charter 186 Skis

by Vince Hempsall, April 18, 2013


This year Atomic got into the backcountry market in a big way with a quiver of offerings that included the Drifter, the Charter, and, their big boy, the Atlas. In this review we take a closer look at the Charter, what Atomic says is their answer to an “all-mountain touring ski,” as well as the […]

Review of the Voilé Charger and Voilé Charger BC Skis

by Vince Hempsall, March 20, 2013


Despite a name that incorporates an accent aigu, Voilé is not from France. In fact, they’re a small company based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and they’ve been making backcountry specific hard goods since 1980. Today, they manufacture five different kinds of skis and three splitboards and in this review, we’ll be looking at two […]

Review of the Exped 40L Mountain Lite Backpack

by Vince Hempsall, December 26, 2012


Exped’s tagline is “Maximum outdoor experience with minimal means” and their Mountain Lite backpack series definitely lives up to the mantra. These packs eschew any of the bells and whistles in favour of the bare essentials wrapped into a comfortable hiking pack. Before I continue, however, I should be clear that while the Mountain Lite […]

Review of the Exped Ultralite 500 Down Sleeping Bag

by Vince Hempsall, December 26, 2012


In 2009 Exped completely changed my backcountry sleeping experience. Until that time I had endured innumerable nights on a well-known brand name sleeping pad, which was like sleeping on a slice of tissue paper. No matter how tiny the rock, root or rodent underneath me, I could feel every poke and prod the second I […]

Review of the Five Ten Freerider Danny MacAskill Shoe

by Vince Hempsall, September 7, 2012


Since his sleeper hit debut on YouTube in 2009, Scottish freerider Danny MacAskill has become a household name. If by some rare chance you haven’t heard of him, then you obviously are not one of the 31 million people who have seen his Inspired Bicycles’ video where he rides a chainlink fence and pops inverted aerials off […]

Review of the Five Ten Anasazi Arrowhead Climbing Shoe

by Vince Hempsall, August 30, 2012


Before I begin this review I’ll confess that I’m an Anasazi aficionado. I’ve worn Five Ten’s VCS version of this shoe for the past six years and used it on everything from overhanging sport routes in Kalymnos to multi-pitch alpine epics in the Valhallas. The VCS is, in my opinion, the best all-around climbing shoe […]

Review of the SteriPEN Freedom

by Vince Hempsall, May 28, 2012


When I got my first SteriPEN four years ago I was so excited I almost gave away my old-school, pump filter system. Never again would I have to lug the ungainly pump with all its tubes and parts into the backcountry, I thought. Sadly, I was mistaken. I owned the SteriPEN Classic and on my […]