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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.
Drew Thayer describes the Valandre Shocking Blue Neo Sleeping Bag as "the Cadillac" of cold-weather sleeping bags. But all the added features increase the weight and the price compared to other cold-weather bags. Four stars.
Yosemite Search and Rescue member Josh Huckaby puts the CiloGear 30:30 backpack to the test and is stoked with the product. He plans to use it in Patagonia this January. Five stars!
Mike Lewis finds that the Tenaya Ra has everything he looks for in a climbing shoe, including a great out-of-the-box fit that doesn't require a break-in period. Five Stars!