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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 rest of the MS Team
Mike Lewis spent 58 nights in the Patagonia 850 Down Sleeping Bag (19°F/-7°C) and slept well enough to award it five stars. He noted that there are some features that could be improved but he is otherwise impressed with the company's first sleeping bag designs.
Derek Franz stepped into the new La Sportiva Kataki rock shoes and is impressed with their performance on "tiny little nothings." He found that the shoes functioned well for their intended purpose of climbing vertical to moderately overhanging terrain. Five stars.
Mike Lewis used the Boreal Stetind boots for six weeks of guiding on snowy mountains in the Pacific Northwest and reports that the boots have some significant shortcomings in technical terrain. In this review he explains in detail why he awarded them two stars out of five.