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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.
Clint Helander lives, works and climbs in Alaska, where the risk of bear encounters is a regular hazard. He tested the BASU eAlarm and found it to be a versatile and helpful device.
Mary Harlan, an AMGA-trained rock, ice, snow and ski guide, compares the new Hilleberg Nammatj 2 GT to the Hilleberg design she used on Denali in 2012. She and her husband stayed comfortable in the tent on a spring backcountry ski trip but would have liked to have had more interior pockets. Four stars.
Alpinist contributor Whitney Clark tests the durability, warmth and water-resistance of the Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hoody. It did its job but she longed for a built-in stuff sack that would have allowed her to clip it to her harness. Four stars.