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-   -   Mega Gear Review Ė Firstgear, Klim, Fox, HJC, Garmin, Ogio, HT, Big Agnes, Kelty, etc (

hyperboarder 08-26-2010 04:06 PM

Mega Gear Review Ė Firstgear, Klim, Fox, HJC, Garmin, Ogio, HT, Big Agnes, Kelty, etc
Just got back from my first real ADV ride (report is here) and I figured I’d throw up my review for my gear. I bought a lot, and I’ll try to review it all, but I’ll probably forget some. I’ll do one piece per post (except for the bonus reviews) to keep it broken up. Disclaimer: I took none of these pics, so if they're yours, sorry, just wanted to put up representations of what I'm talking about. First the bike stuff:

2010 Firstgear Rainier Jacket (the one with the D3O armor)

Let me start with what I don’t like, the stupid 3D logos on the arms. They’re already peeling off, not gonna last.

Now what I didn’t get a chance to use, the liner. It’s a softshell material, pretty comfy and looks damn near normal (minus the zipper for the flap to attach pants). I’d happily wear it out during colder months, but it was never cold enough to wear it on this trip, so it stayed in the pannier the whole time.

Finally, the jacket itself. Bloody fantastic. I paid about $300 for it (MSRP is like $500) and I was a little apprehensive, never spent this much on gear before. I came from sportbikes and a trifecta of Icon jackets (I quite like the Timax, but it’s not overly functional) that I got second hand. This thing has at least 13 pockets without the liner, one could argue too many, but not enough to get in the way. I think I used 5 total and did just fine. My favorites were the two security ones (wallet and paperwork) and the key pocket on the left arm.

It appears to fit true to size (I wear a large shirt and the large jacket fit great) and is so comfy. The D3O is CE approved and very low key, much more flexible than the hard stuff. I didn’t get to see how well it worked thankfully, but assuming it’s as good as they say, I’m not at all worried about my safety. They claim 100% waterproof and aside from the exhaust vents I forgot to close, I have to agree. The hood in the collar worked great, it cooled me down a bit (forces air down your back) but 100+ miles of rain and I came out dry. As far as adjustability, there’s a lot, enough to make it fit well with or without the liner in. Two on the arms, one in the torso, and an elastic cinch at the bottom.

The venting was adequate, two exhaust, two chest, and two arm (on the wrist). The only time I felt truly hot was through Nevada, when the temp was above 100, and even then I wasn’t too bad. Not horrible for a non-mesh jacket. I’m confident this will do well down to at least 40F, much lower with heated gear. The styling was good, not a true ĺ length (looks too goofy imo) but long in the back and still overall a little longer than a standard length, which was helpful in the rain. One other small thing I’d change is the collar, it’d be nice to have something like the Rev’It collar restraint, it does flap a bit. A camelback helped to tuck it away nicely.

That’s about it, looks great (I have the brown one) and I have very miniscule complaints. Worth every penny in my opinion.

Bonus Review: 4 year old Alpinestars S-MX 2 Air Carbon Gloves

I can’t believe these are still going. The silicone on the fingers is gone and the Velcro is dying, but at the end of the day, I wore these the whole trip and left my brand new Frank Thomas XTi gloves in the panniers. God I love these gloves, comfy, airy, and pretty protective with a great feel and control. That’s all, just plain awesome, saving to buy another pair right now.

hyperboarder 08-26-2010 04:11 PM

2010 Klim Dakar Pants

These were an impulse buy. I got carried away at Happy Trails and decided why not. Got the Silver/Gray ones in a 36 regular and they fit great (I wear a 36 regular or long in jeans) as a standard pant (tight as an overpant). Very MX styled with added ADV aspects (venting and pockets). Super comfy sitting or standing, nice leather panels in the inner lower leg, and great functionality. Tucked on the bike they sit on the boot without riding up much. They sell these in a longer length but the standard was enough for my 33Ē inseam.

I tend to like my pants baggy, and these were great. They matched the Rainier well and with a pair of athletic shorts underneath, fit perfect. You could definitely tuck them over boots and/or knee or shin guards. I walked all over in these and did great, never got overly hot and stayed super comfy. Awesome pockets, big enough for a lot of stuff and the right one has a key loop.

They are definitely a summer pant, not waterproof and probably a bit chilly, even with heated gear (the exhaust vents donít close), but thatís what I wanted and I think theyíre great at it. The two long front vent zippers are great, huge, and can go either direction, which is great while opening/closing during a ride. The crotch is like another vent, open your legs a bit on the highway and youíll lose a few degrees almost immediately.

I paid retail ($160) but itís nice supporting a local company (Klim is from Idaho where Iím from) and these are more than enough to keep me coming back. I wish they sold a better cold weather pant, guess Iíll have to stick with Firstgear there.

Bonus Review: River Road rain suit pant

No pic, they're boring

Got these cheap and decided why not, my legs were the weak points in my waterproof outfit. Very simple rubbery overpants, black with a couple pockets and the XL was enough to fit over my Klimís. They also had stirrups to hold them over my boots and snaps and Velcro to hold them closed at the bottom. I wore them for a couple hours total, and though they fit awkward, what can you expect for a cheap rainsuit. They did their job, kept me dry, and earned their place in the pannier. I have the jacket too, but with the results from the Rainier jacket, I donít think Iíll ever use it. Check the Flea Market, might be up FS soon.

Bonus Bonus Review: Jockey GoMesh underoos

Tried to stay cheap without sacrificing my butt, ended up picking up 4 pair of GoMesh for $30 or so at Kohls. I love the seamless butts, very comfy on the seat all day. They wick moisture fairly well and staved off Monkey Butt for 6 days, which is all I asked for. The only ones that got really funky were the ones I hiked in, and even those werenít bad. Exactly what I needed, thanks again ADV inmates!

hyperboarder 08-26-2010 04:14 PM

HJC FS-15 Terror Helmet

The bike I bought came with an Arai Profile, but it was too narrow and I just don’t trust used helmets. I had an AC-11 before and loved it, so I went and tried this one on at a local shop. Fit great, so I found the cheapest print (Terror, which doesn’t even look all that bad) and ordered it up. I think it was $120 or so, not bad for a DOT/Snell helmet.

The snap on the strap was great, keeps it from flapping, a welcome improvement from my AC-11. I pulled the chin and nose covers, but they’re nice features to include. I wish the shield had more detents, but I survived with the 4 they give you (full open, half open, cracked, and closed) and usually left it cracked, which leads to my first gripe. I don’t know if it was the shield or the lower vent, but the airflow totally dried out my nose. I’m still recovering a week later, but it’s a manageable issue.

The venting was decent, permanently open lower and exhaust vents and open/close top and chin vents. I had them open almost the whole time and they kept my head reasonably cool. Even in the rain, they only leaked when the rain got really bad. I like the Coolmax liner, it’s nice seeing higher end features in a mid range helmet. The ear pads are also loose enough to allow fairly comfortable use of earbuds.

One of my favorite things about HJC is their use of the same shields almost entirely across the boards. They’re cheap and readily available and the included one locks closed and accommodates pin-lock shields. On that subject, the stock screen does alright in terms of fogging, I was in a dry part of the country with minimal cold mornings and humidity, but I never had an issue.

The price was right on this and I’m glad I got it. The Arai would have been too tight and I really think HJC is the #1 helmet producer for a reason. I’ll definitely keep shopping with them and hope the release a dual sport helmet soon.

hyperboarder 08-26-2010 04:16 PM

Fox Comp 5S Boots

This was another decision I agonized about. I wanted ankle coverage and support without going to a full MX boot. I also wanted to not spend an arm and a leg, so Sidi and Alpinestars were probably out. I was pretty much left with some off brands, a few Icons, the Thor 50/50, and the Foxes. After reading a ton of reviews, I took the plunge and got them. I wear a 13 shoe and the 13 fit well, if not a tad loose. They are made to be on a bike, my foot slides back a tad while riding and make them fit like they should.

One of my main gripes about the KLR is the footpeg arrangement, itís set up for someone with a size 8 foot. I rotated my shifter up a notch, and though it took getting used to, they worked well. A pair of slightly lower pegs would make it all work perfectly, but real moto boots would not work at all, especially for long distances.

I canít remember reading anything saying theyíre waterproof, but they appear to be at least tenaciously water resistant. Lots of rain, no wet feet. No complaints. Theyíre also pretty comfy compared to MX boots, I walked at least a few miles in them and they werenít much worse than my Keen hiking boots. The buckles were good, easy to adjust, but as others have said, the Velcro is kind of annoying. It would be better as a 3<sup>rd</sup> buckle, but meh, itís easy to get over.

The other gripe Iíve heard is the odd ankle guard on the inside of the boot. Yeah, it looks dumb, but thereís a plastic panel running from the sole all the way up it, and I didnít notice it after the first couple miles, so itís fine by me. I wish they came in not-black, but again, minor inconvenience, Iíll get over it. At the end of the day, it was definitely $120 well spent.

Bonus Review: Omni-wool socks

After hearing that merino wool was a great way to go, I stumbled upon a 3 pack for $15 at Sams and picked them up. Aside from a few hours in sandals and sleeping times, I had a pair of these on the entire trip. For the most part, I straight forgot I had them on, which is about the highest marks I can give them. No stink, and though my feet often came out of boots (hiking or riding) sweaty, I really couldnít feel it while they were on. Like much of the gear, they only got hot while in ludicrous weather (108F), which is acceptable. Theyíre also easy to find, cheap, and Iíll happily wear them year round. Money well spent.

hyperboarder 08-26-2010 04:19 PM

On to the parts section!

Garmin Nuvi 500 and associated accessories

It was a toss up between this and the 60cx (or 60csx, canít remember which I liked more). I liked how similar it was to a car GPS without the Zumo price, and the fact that it came with preloaded street and topo maps. Plus the RAM mount was cheaper and works better, so I went Nuvi. Still not sure about this decision.

Itís a very easy interface that works well, even with gloved fingers. One button push to get to a trip odometer, three to get to a screen that shows you elevation (used it a lot). I honestly donít know if it speaks street names because I had it muted the whole time (I think it doesnít), but it was good about clearly displaying directions on the screen and never led me astray. I took it through rain and the KLR shook the bejesus out of it and it never skipped a beat, so thatís nice. Glad it lived up to itís specs.

As many have said, the topo was pretty meh. Itís a cool feature and I hope to use it more in the future, but not amazing. It also claimed that 67 was unpaved and the maps were obviously a bit old, but new enough to get me around. It seemed to have fairly up to date city maps though, it had new streets in my neighborhood. OddÖ

The RAM mount lived up to their reputation, easy to mount and position (I had it so it barely blocked my neutral light). It transmits every vibration to the GPS, but what can you expect? The actual cradle holds the GPS in a way that you usually press the power button when taking it out, but I got used to it. You also have to put the GPS in the cradle before plugging it in, but thatís a minor inconvenience. For some reason my charging plug bent a bit, really not sure what from, but it wasnít enough to damage anything, just something to note.

Overall Iím still on the fence with this purchase. Iím happy itís usable in a car and quite burly (this will be my traveling GPS in the future) but Iím not 100% sold. Knowing me Iíll pick up a 60cx in the future and run a trip with both of them because Iím a giant nerd :D.

hyperboarder 08-26-2010 04:24 PM

Ogio Tanker Tank Bag

I was seriously eyeballing Wolfman stuff (heís less than 10 miles from me as I type this) but was already a tad over budget. When I found a used Ogio for $35 shipped I jumped on it. First things first, this thing is a monster! I never filled it over halfway full and didnít even think about expanding it to get more room. Itís definitely big on the KLR, probably better suited for a cruiser or maybe a sportbike, but I made due. Luckily it wasnít overly wide, I never really noticed it between my legs.

One of my favorite features is the adjustability of the magnets. I pulled the front and rear one and moved them to the sides so it would hold better to the tank. One came out twice and scratched my tank a bit, but thatís alright, it did its job for the most part. Thereís one safety strap at the front that I looped around the fork and it has clips on both sides to make getting to the gas cap easier. After a few tries I got the hang of this, unclip left side, peel bag back, open cap, prop bag up with cap, etc. Works fine, about as good as the Joe Rocket Manta I had on my old bike.

The map pocket on the bag wasnít big enough for my Michelin atlas but served as a good home for the blackberry, ipod, and camera. Itís easy to get into with a gloved hand and is relatively rainproof. On that note the bag has an attached rain hood stashed in a pocket on the front. I used it once, did its job just fine. There are two side pockets, one with a little divider to stash stuff in front of, one rear pocket (I put cash in here) and the big main pocket. The main pocket has a small mesh pocket in the front, great for storing cords and chargers. As I said, plenty big for most users.

Another cool feature was the bag zipped off and left just the base on the bike. Very nice and easy to remove or replace. When the bag is off, you still get a clear map pocket which proved to be a very good place to store paperwork from the campsites. You also get D-rings, so theoretically you could leave the bag at home and strap something else in its place.

Not sure if Iíd pay the $90 or so retail price, but at $35, this was a great deal.

Bonus Review: Stearns ATV Seat Pad

Bought this on a whim, Iíd heard good things and thought why not, itís $18. I didnít bother to modify it, just popped the seat, strapped it on, and finagled it back on. It doesnít interfere much with the plastics, so I didnít modify those at all. While itís nothing amazing, it is a welcome increase in padding. It was odd, my butt got sore on some of the shorter days, but on the long haul home (700 miles in 12 hours) it did just fine.

The thing is a sponge, so keep it covered when stationary with any chance of rain, but otherwise it was a good buy. I want a sheepskin long term, but Iím comfortable waiting for a bit on that purchase as this will do for now.

hyperboarder 08-26-2010 04:28 PM

Happy Trails PD Nerf Bars, Skid Plate, and Rear Master Cylinder Guard

Not a lot to say about these because I didn’t really use any of them. They are well put together and fit pretty good. Install wasn’t as bad as I’ve heard, took me an hour and change with minimal adjustments afterwards. The only interference I’ve seen is on the left side, where one of the bars has vibrated a little notch into the fairing. Annoying, but minor.

The highway pegs are very buzzy at speed. I used them maybe twice. It’s nice to have three options (the passenger pegs put you in a sportbike seating position) but I really only used the main pegs. I think in the future I might pick up some PD panniers, they would be a great place to store soft stuff that wouldn’t get damaged in the event of a tip over.

Bonus Review: HT Adjustable Center Stand

In my opinion, a center stand is a necessity on a KLR, the side stand is worthless with any real load on the suspension. I’d seen the HT in action, so I picked one up. Install is a breeze, maybe 10 minutes. They claimed the stock setting would work well with street oriented tires, but it wasn’t high enough for my Tourances. I pulled it up 2 notches and it sits perfectly, still low enough to get it up quick but high enough to get either wheel off.

The peg to lower the stand is a bit tough to get to in boots, but you get used to it. Like any center stand, it takes a bit to figure out the best method to get it deployed. Mine was grabbing the rear rack and left handlebar with the bike in neutral, pushing the stand down so it touched the ground, then putting my weight on it while pulling the bike backwards. Tough after some long days, but not bad. Getting it off the stand was the reverse of that minus any foot use. Note that the side stand has to be down to use the centerstand and you’re not supposed to sit on the bike while it’s on the stand.

hyperboarder 08-26-2010 04:34 PM

Jesse Odyssey Panniers and Top Case - BMW :D.

These came with the bike, so I didn’t have much choice in the matter. They are the high zoot ones, $1500 new for the set. It’s obvious they’ve been down before, but that didn’t affect their function at all. They’re also really good at holding steekers!

The only issue I had with these was the lock on the top box. The PO obviously stored the bike with everything on it outside for some time and the hardware was corroded. The lock kept loosening and not working, more of an annoyance than anything, planning on hitting it with loctite when I remember.

They kept everything dry during the rain and the locks were pretty secure. The top box buzzed a bit, but not loud enough to hear at any sizeable speed. One of my favorite features was the lids of the panniers, they have little metal things in them so you can store stuff up there. One side had my camp chair, sleeping pad/pillow, camp towel, and first aid kit. The other had my rain pants, sandals, and spare gloves. Great use of space, I wish the top box had it too.

The shape of them make them cavernous, one side fit all of my camping stuff plus some clothing with ease. The other held all my spare parts, more clothing, and some other randomness with room to spare. The top held the rest of my clothes, my books and service manual, my food, and an XD45 in a case with 2 mags. Between the 3 cases I could have done many weeks of travel with ease. After seeing the cheaper options, I wouldn’t pay retail for these, but they’re great when you factor in what I paid for the with the bike, and I’d recommend them to anyone.

Bonus Review: Home Depot Tool Tube (Welding Rod Tube)

Got these after reading the tool tube thread in the Equipment forum. Something like $26 with the necessary hose clamps for a pair, I put one on the inside of my Jesse rack opposite the muffler and the other between the radiator guard and the skid plate. These got more attention on the trip than anything else, everyone asked “What are those red tubes?”

Mounting proved plenty sturdy and there was a lot of space between the two. The rear held an extra liter of gas, a metric hex wrench set, a tube patch kit, and duct tape along with a few rags. The front had the OEM tool kit, some zip ties, more rags, and a can of chain lube. I used both multiple times and have no complaints, they stay out of the way and the pipe clamps held them well. Definitely a good investment.

hyperboarder 08-26-2010 04:38 PM

And finally, camping gear!

Kelty Grand Mesa 2 Tent

I really wanted an MSR Hubba Hubba, but damn theyíre expensive. I looked at a whole mess of 2 man tents before stumbling upon this one. Sized well (short enough to fit in a pannier), taped seams, light, and around $120 with a footprint on sale, good enough for me.

I set it up at home first to get the gist of things. 2 aluminum poles, each attaching to 6 clips and holding the floor taught from a grommet on each corner. The rainfly is attached with clips and color coded, though itís easy to see how it goes. Small vestibule out front and a vent in the rear. Easy enough.

I set it up for my first real camping on a deck, so no stakes. I used the guy lines to hold it in place with pretty good luck. I hadnít yet realized that those were meant for the fly, which meant condensation in the morning, but nothing too bad. When I used it on dirt, I did it right. One stake on each corner of the footprint and the tent (the footprint has pole grommets too), one at the front to hold the vestibule out and one on the other 3 sides attached to a guy line to vent the tent. It was immediately obvious this worked much better. Unfortunately the ground in Zion was too hard to put stakes in, so I didnít get to vent the tent right and paid for it. It gets really hot in hot weather with the fly just lying on it.

Interior space is decent, Iím 6í2Ē and was just a tad cramped. I slept a bit diagonally and had most of my gear with me (tank bag, camelback, helmet, jacket, pants, bags for camping stuff, and random other clothing) and wasnít too cramped. I would not want to use this tent for 2 people, but for 1 itís plenty of room. The vestibule was enough to store 2 pairs of boots and a pair of sandals under without blocking the tent entrance.

Waterproofing was good, no leaks with some very heavy rain. Everything got dirty, but I hosed it off when I got home and all was well. The instructions were lacking (hence my issues with the fly) but itís relatively intuitive. Everything easily packs down into the bag, including the footprint. The zippers work well, I donít think I snagged them at all, and entry/exit isnít bad. Itís small and low, so it could be an issue for an older taller camper, but it was ok for me. I expect this tent to be by my side in future ADV rides and overlanding trips.

Bonus Review: Coleman MicroPacker LED Lantern

Bought this on a whim for $12 at Walmart. $12 well spent, itís very light and durable (I dropped it a handful of times), has a retractable reflector to aim the light better if needed, and a little loop on top to hang in a tent. I just looped my zipper pull through the hanger, worked fine as the lantern is really lightweight. They claim 120ish hours of use on a few AA batteries, I hear it gets dimmer but I never had a problem. It always gave me enough light to read by.

The one minor thing Iíd change is make it more of a hook on top than a loop, the tent has a loop in the center for a lantern but I didnít have an obvious way to connect the two. Otherwise itís brilliant, Iíll be holding on to this one.

hyperboarder 08-26-2010 04:42 PM

Big Agnes Lost Ranger Left Zip Long 15F Sleeping Bag

I should mention that most of my camping stuff came from Altrec. They had a 25% off weekend and I dropped about $700. This bag was part of that, and a mean deal. For whatever reason the left zip long version was cheaper, I think I paid about $135 after the sale, MSRP is like $220. It’s my first real down bag and my first BA bag. If you don’t know about them, they only insulate the top of the bag and put a pocket on the back for a pad. This makes the whole setup lighter and keeps you from rolling off the pad, great ideas in my opinion.

The bag is a “semi-rectangular”, so not giant, but not as tight as a mummy. I don’t like really small bags, this was a bit tight, but not bad. I was apprehensive about going with a low temp bag, but it was worth it the first night. I zipped it all the way up and closed the face hole down and was very warm in the 40 or so degree temps outside. At the Grand Canyon it was a bit warm, but I was comfy with it half zipped. The only night it wasn’t great was in Zion, where it was bloody hot. I wish I had my 45F bag with me, but I don’t think it would have helped, I just slept on top of the bag all night.

Against the advice of BA, I washed it when I got home. I had dumped a lot of sweat in while I was in Zion and it was stanky, so it was worth it to me. Per their instructions, you need a front load machine and drying takes forever (~3 hours). Put tennis balls in to break up the down and all is well, mine came out fine. Also, when storing, don’t use the stuff sac, use the big fabric bag to keep the down poofy. Great bag, I can definitely recommend it.

Bonus Review: Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Sleeping Pad

A quick note, this pad is not at all self inflating. I’ve got two Alps Mountaineering that are, and I’ll admit it’s nice. It takes a while to deflate them though, and they pack down to at least 4x the size of the BA. The pad comes in multiples sizes with or without insulation, so make sure you get the right one for your bag. I could have gotten away without insulation, but it’s nice to have and doesn’t affect the size much. Packed down it’s about the size of a nalgene.

I’ve heard that this pad functions differently depending on which side you have facing the ground. I tried it in both orientations and didn’t notice a difference. The valve is nice, you can keep one end in your mouth while you close it, which makes it easy to inflate. It’s big, so it takes a while to blow up, I’d do a few puffs while setting up the tent and it was ready to go when the tent was up. On the flip side, it empties pretty quickly and easily. I’d open the valve, lay on it for a bit, fold it in half, and repeat until it was ready to pack away.

The bag also comes with a patch kit built in to the lid, a nice feature when you’re out in the boonies and you spring a leak. I’ll admit, it feels a little more fragile than my Alps pad, but the size makes up for that. In terms of comfort, it was great. It takes some getting used to (the baffles are a bit odd feeling) but by the second night I was fine, and I loved that I couldn’t roll off it. Definitely a good investment.

Bonus Bonus Review: Big Agnes Air Core Pillow

This was a coin flip. I think it was $15 after the coupon, but the BA bags have a pocket that you can just shove anything soft in to use as a pillow. I decided why not and got it. Uninflated it’s about the size of a candy bar, so it was easy to slip into the bag for the sleeping pad. Inflated it’s pretty big, bigger than an airplane pillow for sure. The valve is the same as the pad, which makes it easy to get it truly full. Otherwise it’s pretty simple, just a baffled inflatable rubber bag.

It’s small enough that I’ll keep using it, but honestly clothes would be just fine as a pillow. If you have a spare $20 or so and want a cushy pillow, get it, otherwise you’ll be fine without.

And that's it! Good trip, here's the report if you want to read it. Post or PM with any questions, happy to answer as I have time.


PARIAH 08-26-2010 08:40 PM

Nice gear review. Also, read the ride report; well done.

How about the gear review including your camera? Whatever it is the photos turned out very well.

Now, save up for the GS.

Inked 08-26-2010 11:17 PM

Excellent gear review...

hyperboarder 08-27-2010 05:52 AM


Originally Posted by PARIAH
Nice gear review. Also, read the ride report; well done.

How about the gear review including your camera? Whatever it is the photos turned out very well.

Now, save up for the GS.

Took me a while to find it, I bought that camera for my wife well before she was my wife :D. Definitely an outdated model by now, but the new Fujis look solid. Also, already saving for the GS and compiling arguments to convince the wife. My number one reason thus far is "I don't trust the KLR to get me to Alaska," which she accepted. I see an R1150GSA in my garage some time next year...

Fuji Z10FD 7.2MP 3x Optical Zoom Digital Camera

As I recall, I paid less than $100 for it, not bad for 7MP and 3x optical zoom at the time. It's pretty burly, spent most of the time in my tank bag or pocket and shows no signs of damage or wear. Not overly enthusiastic with the menu structure (not as easy as Sonys or Canons I've used in the past) but I made due. Truth be told I left everything on auto most of the time and tweaked things just a bit when I got them on the computer.

It does have a facial recognition feature, which was kind of cool, but saw no use this trip. It also has a mode where it shoots 2 pictures in succession, one with a flash and one without. My wife loves it, good way to get a little insurance when you're not sure whether or not to use a flash. It's pretty good in low light too if you hold it steady, that pic of my bike in the Grand Canyon is no flash, just held against a tree well after sunset.

The other thing I loved was the battery life, I took about 200 pictures throughout the 6 days and the battery still showed full when I got home. Good enough in my book. The only gripes I've heard are from a buddy with a nice DSLR, who was complaining that my white balance was off. He'll likely accompany me on many of these in the future, so the pictures should be much better in those reports. I look at reports like the recent one from GR8ADV and it's obvious he's better with a camera than me, but I think I can get the gist of things across.

My only gripe is the proximity of the lens to the left side of the camera. I often got my finger in the picture a bit, luckily never enough to ruin a picture. Just something to be aware of. Otherwise it's a solid buy.

One more note I forgot to mention, reading material. I have three recommendations for books to bring on trips. The first two are the ubiquitous "Long Way Round" and "Long Way Down" by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. These should be in any ADV riders bookcase and will really put any trip in perspective. Great to slowly flip through next to a fire regardless of how many times you've read them before.

The third is one that has a bit of a religious tone to it, but is another vagabonding book. It's called "Through Painted Deserts" by Donald Miller (he also wrote Blue Like Jazz, which is one of my favorite books) and it's an easy and fun read about 2 friends who make their way from Dallas to Portland in a beat up old VW Van. I'm not overly religious and I love it, but there is a bit in there, just didn't want to catch anyone off guard.

Questor 08-27-2010 07:59 AM

Excellent review.

Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences with us.

For reading materials I would also suggest:
Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon
Desert Solitaire by Edward Abby


graceav 09-07-2010 02:24 AM

Thanks for the review
there is so much bs on gear and it gets crazy.

I have the Rainer and love it but this will be my first LDR trip.

I really like the info on the Klim Dakar pants,

thanks, j

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