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The Alpinist Mountain Standards reviews apply Alpinist's tradition of excellence and authenticity to gear reviews by providing unbiased, candid feedback and anecdotal commentary to equipment tested (hard) in the field. Our panel is comprised of climbers who use the gear every day as part of their work and play. Only the gear they would actually buy themselves, at retail price, qualifies for the Alpinist Mountain Standards award. The five-star rating system is as follows:
One Star = Piece of junk.
Two Stars = Has one or more significant flaws, with some redeeming qualities.
Three Stars = Average. This solid piece of gear is middle-of-the-road on the current market.
Four Stars = Better than most comparable gear on the market. It has one or two drawbacks, but still 90% positive.
Five Stars = Is there such thing as perfection? An Alpinist Mountain Standards award-winner.
For me, a good mountain boot not only has to climb well, it has to get me to the climb. I'm not carrying a boot on my back, I'm going to wear it all day, there and back. I checked out the Vasque M-Finity on the 13,770-foot Grand Teton during the early part of last summer.
I am psyched that winter is on its way, so I can start using the Marmot Lithium Sleeping Bag again. Before I received this sack, I had been using a negative 20-degree option lined with a waterproof shell, from a leading competitor. When I first tried the Lithium from Marmot, I was amazed at how warm it kept me, at almost 2 pounds less in weight.