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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.
Chris Van Leuven compares the new DMM Dragon cams to other brands and finds he likes to mix and match for optimal weight and size-runs, awarding them four stars out of five.
Andrew Councell awards the La Sportiva Nepal Cube GTX boots four out of five stars for their lightness, warmth and versatility on rock and snow.
Corey Buhay finds the Montane Hi Q Lux Pro Pull On jacket to be a versatile piece of equipment for staying warm and dry in the mountains. She awards it four stars out of five.