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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.
The Black Diamond First Light Hoody does its job but it's bulky for climbing and some features could be improved. Chris Van Leuven gives it three stars.
The Dynafit Yotei GTX Pants proved to be a versatile piece of outerwear for Mike Lewis, an AMGA-certified alpine guide, who reports that the pants work well for ski-touring and ice climbing while accommodating comfortable space for avalanche beacons and field books. The pants became his go-to option after testing them in Chile, Wyoming's Grand Tetons and Canada. He awards them five stars.
The Arc'teryx Alpha SV Jacket is a specialized piece of clothing built for the harshest climbing situations. Drew Thayer put it to the test on a month-long expedition in Alaska and awarded it five stars.