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APPLICATION - RedLedge Elite Parka and Pant - Greg Mehojah

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  • gcmehojah
    I can t make any promises about rain (its been a bit dry this winter), but you never know what the weather will deal us in New Mexico. We do have an ample
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1 9:48 AM
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      I can't make any promises about rain (its been a bit dry this
      winter), but you never know what the weather will deal us in New
      Mexico. We do have an ample "monsoon" season here during the test
      period for the Pants and Parka which generally brings predictable
      afternoon rain showers into our area. Regardless, I would
      completely understand being passed over for this test given the arid
      nature of my local climate.

      Please accept my application to test the RedLedge Elite Parka and
      Rain Pant. I have read the requirements in the BGT survival Guide,
      Ch 5 (v. 1202), and will comply with each and every requirement
      detailed therein, including the four-month test period. My signed
      Test Application Agreement is on file with Stephanie. If chosen for
      this test, I would need a size XL in both the Parka and Pant, to the
      extent possible, prefer the cinder/smoke color as my color of choice.

      Biographical Information:

      Name: Greg Mehojah
      Age: 34
      Gender: Male
      Height: 6' 1" (1.85 m)
      Weight: 210 lb (95 kg)
      Waist: 40" (110 cm)
      Email: gmehojah3@...
      City, State, Country: Albuquerque, New Mexico

      Backpacking Background:

      I began backpacking last year to reintroduce myself to the outdoors,
      and introduce my 10 year old son to backpacking. My trips have
      typically been 1-2 nights with my son and 2-3 nights when I solo. My
      first season has taken me through desert terrain and high-altitude
      meadowlands throughout New Mexico, as well as day hikes of the
      foothills and ridgeline trails of the Sandia Mountains in
      Albuquerque. I tend to carry most of the gear when I hike with my
      son, so I am not a lightweight hiker, but plan on moving that
      direction as my son gets older.

      -------------------
      Field Information:
      -------------------

      Whenever I hike, be it overnight, multinight, or just a local day
      hike, I always, ALWAYS take a rain jacket. The weather here changes
      so rapidly especially during the summer monsoon season that you can
      nearly always bet on getting caught in a passing rain storm. The
      local Cibola District of the National Forest strongly recommends
      taking a rain jacket, and even a warmer fleece jacket, when entering
      the Sandias or neighboring Monzano mountains. I have been on the
      Sandia crest trail during the summer when a beautiful blue sky has
      turned into a torrential downpour, and even snow in a matter of 30
      minutes. Because of the combination of altitude and dry climate, a
      rain storm can easily drop the temperature 30 degrees without
      warning. Its times like that when I am glad to be able to reach
      into my pack and pull out my trusty rain jacket.

      During the four month test period for the RedLedge Parka and Pant, I
      have the following primary trips already planned:

      First, In late March, I will be taking a three night hiking trip to
      Bandelier National Monument. This trip will involve a range of
      climate zones and temperatures. Ponderosa pines, lush underbrush
      and flowing streams are found in the many finger canyons of
      Bandelier. There are a lot of stream crossings and slippery/icy
      banks (where the mud is still frozen) that sometimes lead to
      dunkings of gear in the water. My trip last year sold me on using
      dry bags for my sleeping bag! The mesa areas of Bandelier are
      standard high desert plains, with scraggly brush, and interspersed
      with juniper and pine trees. The climbs out of the, and into, the
      canyons are strewn with scree, loose sand, and gravel, making them
      slippery and prone to seat slides. Unfortunately, the Park Service
      does not have the manpower nor the resources to adequately remove
      downfall from all the trails, requiring hikers on most trails to
      crawl over, under, and around it to continue on your route. While
      this is a high desert climate, the canyons of Bandelier are blessed
      with flowing streams which leads to surprisingly damp and
      condensation prone climates. The temperatures will range from 15-20
      degrees F at night and 40-60 degrees during the day. Even though we
      have had an unusually dry year, it is not uncommon to get drenched
      in an unexpected downpour. I left Bandelier last year in March, and
      on that same day, the Park received 2 feet of snow!

      Additionally, in mid May, I plan on hiking into the Gila National
      Forest in southern New Mexico for a two night trip with some friends
      from work. Depending on the water conditions, the streams and
      rivers can really rage during the late Spring, and early Summer.
      The trail conditions are very overgrown and lush, so it will be dark
      earlier than usual. The temperature ranges for this trip will be
      about 30-40 degrees F during the evening and 55-70 during the
      daytime (if not a bit warmer given the temperate winter we have had).

      I am in the process of planning a thirty mile loop in June of the
      Pecos Wilderness. My brother will be flying in from Kansas for his
      first taste of backpacking, which gives me a great excuse to sneak
      away for three days to an area of the Pecos I have not hiked to
      before. The Pecos Wilderness is located in Northern New Mexico,
      which generally receives more precipitation and snow than the lower
      elevations of Albuquerque. The temperatures are also a great deal
      lower than are experienced in central to southern New Mexico.

      In addition to these already planned trips, I intend to throw in
      multiple overnight trips with my son to close-by locations as well
      as organize an end-to-end hike with some friends of the Sandia
      Mountain Crest Trail system, which is in excess of 10,000 feet above
      sea level. I also day hike at least once per week in the Sandia
      mountains. Even when the lower elevations of Albuquerque do not get
      measurable precipitation, the crest trail of the Sandia and Monzanos
      receive a great deal more. The difference in altitude leads to a
      great deal more opportunities for precipitation, and a better chance
      that the Parka and Pants will get to see some wet weather. During
      the test period, if chosen for this test, the Park and Pants will
      join me on every trip, including my local day hikes.

      -------------------
      Test Plan:
      -------------------

      Comfort:
      --------

      As a general matter, I would ultimately like to determine whether
      the RedLedge Parka and Pants are up to the challenge of keeping me
      dry, warm, and not overly heated when I hike in the rain. I also
      would like to determine how comfortable the Parka and Pants are to
      wear. Specifically, with respect to comfort:

      * Are the Pants and Parka sizings correct?
      * Do the sizes that are stated to fit me really fit?
      * How much room do I have in the length and girth of the pant legs?
      * Is there enough room in the stated size for the pants to freely
      and naturally move with me?
      * Do they bind during normal use? I have tried on a number
      of "sturdy" rain parkas that bind under my armpits (where the
      stiffer pit zippers are located). Does the RedLedge Parka similarly
      bind under my armpits?
      * When I need to jump across an obstacle, do the pants "give"
      enough to prevent constriction in critical areas? Do the
      articulated knees actually help with ease of movement while wearing
      the pants?
      * Are the seams and stitching well thought out?
      * How well do they breath on hot, humid days when I have to wear the
      Parka and Pants for prolonged periods?
      * How well do they insulate from the wind and cold? I fully intend
      to use both as my wind barriers on colder nights at higher
      elevations. Do they both perform well at this task?
      * Do the pants stay in place or do I need to constantly adjust them
      by either pulling them up or down?
      * Do the velcro adjustments on the sides of the pants keep the pants
      in place?
      * Are the elastic sections of both the Parka and Pants supple enough
      that they do not cut off circulation? Do they give enough to be
      comfortable while still performing their primary function?
      * Can I adequately adjust the wrist sections of the Parka without
      leading to any binding or reduction in comfort?
      * How comfortable is the hooded section of the Parka to wear for
      prolonged periods of time? Do I need to constantly re-adjust the
      hood so it stays where I put it? Does the hood cinch down
      comfortably around my head and face?


      Compatibility with other clothing:
      ----------------------------------

      Pants:
      ------

      * Can I wear the RedLedge Pants with my base layers? Is there
      enough room for my thermal underwear and hiking pants?
      * When it is really cold I also wear fleece pants under my hiking
      pants. Is there sufficient room in my size to do this?
      * How easily can I take off my boots/socks while wearing the pants?
      Do the full length zippers of the pants provide for easy access to
      my hiking pants pockets or removal of boots?
      * How well do the elastic cuffs keep foreign matter out of my boots,
      and off of my socks?
      * Do the cuffs prevent any water from entering my boots when I cross
      smaller streams?
      * How easily can I take the pants off when going to bed at night and
      put them back on in the mornings while in my tent?
      * Does the waistband or belt interfere or make uncomfortable the
      hipbelts of my packs?

      Parka:
      ------

      * Can I wear the Parka with all of my base layers? If lucky enough
      to be chosen for this test, I would fully intend to use the Parka as
      my shell for the cooler evenings when I wear my fleece jacket for
      insulation. Is there enough room in my size of the Parka to do this?
      * Can I easily pull the hood up over my hiking hat? Do I need to
      take my hat off to adequately employ the hood in unexpected rain
      storms?
      * Should I need to wear fleece gloves, how well do the cuffs adjust
      to work with them? Can I easily adjust the cuffs to cover the ends
      of my fleece gloves?
      * How well does the jacket fit under my various packs? Are the
      pockets and pit zips well thought out so that I can access them
      while wearing my pack, or do the pack straps get in the way?


      Function:
      (unless otherwise specified, the following statements apply to both
      the Parka and Pants)
      --------------------------

      * Ultimately, in addition to the specific intended test issues
      listed below, I would like to generally determine whether both the
      parka and pants keep me dry and not overly warm.
      * Do the zippers operate properly/smoothly even if they have been
      exposed to prolonged rain and even mud?
      * can I easily clean the zippers should they get impacted with dirt
      or small pebbles?
      * Can I operate the zippers one-handed?
      * How easily do the pants adjust throughout the day?
      * How quickly do the pants and parka dry when soaked by rain?
      * Does the fabric easily stain? Can I wash them without needing to
      baby them?
      * How useful are the pockets? I like to carry a GPS and a compass
      with me during my hikes. Can I carry them in the pockets in a
      useful manner? Can I also carry my digital camera in the pockets
      with the assurance that it will not get ejected unexpectedly?
      * Are the zippered pockets secure on jogging descents?
      * Do the zippers adequately keep water from entering the interior of
      the pants and parka?
      * When venting (i.e. pit zips and mesh pockets open), how much rain
      enters the interior?
      * Do the Parka and Pants vent well? What about the breathability of
      the fabric? Do I easily overheat even when all venting options have
      been employed?
      * Does the hood move freely with my head when I look from side-to-
      side? When I do turn my head, do I end up looking at the inside of
      my hood because it does not move to accommodate my head position?
      * How well does the hood prevent rain from dripping into my face?
      * How well do all the draw cords operate? Do they move freely? Can
      I adjust them with one hand? With my pack on? Do the draw cords
      provide sufficient adjustability as they are intended to do?
      * How well does the DWR hold up to prolonged use/washings? Are
      there instructions indicating proper care of the DWR finish should
      it begin to "wet out" after prolonged use?
      * How well do both the Pants and Parka pack into my pack when not in
      use? Do they take up too much room in my pack? Can I stuff them
      into other odd items (cook pot, etc.)?


      Durability:
      -----------

      I like to hike off trail quite a bit (within reason of course) to
      explore secluded areas and find where those elusive springs
      originate. Bushwhacking and rough desert terrain will give me a
      great opportunity to test the durability of both the pants and parka.

      * How durable is the fabric in critical areas? Do the knees of the
      pants unduly wear? If I do not wear them out, do they wear thin?
      Do they wear at all? Can they take the abuse of sliding down hills
      or steep, gravel laden descents when worn during rain storms?
      * How well do the pants and parka ward off pulls, tears, etc. when
      hiking off trail?
      * Does the Parka wear or pull where my pack straps rub? Does the
      back of the Parka handle my pack rubbing against it when worn all
      day?
      * Does the elastic stretch, or does it maintain its ability to
      rebound after prolonged use?
      * Do any of the stitches or seams come loose? Does the fabric fray
      at any locations? Does the fabric pull or easily snag from regular
      use?
      * How much noise do the pants and parka make while walking on
      secluded and silent trails? Will they annoy my hiking partners?
      * Do the zipper-pulls hold up to regular use? Do they come apart
      easily? Do they catch on scragglies or anything else on the trail?
      Are they constructed in a way that I can easily access the zippers
      by using the pulls? Are the pulls too short/too long?

      If chosen for this test, I hope to answer each of the above
      questions concerning the use of the RedLedge Parka and Pants, and I
      have lots of hiking and backpacking opportunities to do so.

      Reviews Completed:
      -------------------

      Owner Reviews:

      I have completed two Owner Reviews:

      Marmot Eiger 36 Pack
      MSR MiniWorks EX Water Filter

      Both reviews can be seen here:

      http://www.backpackgeartest.org/tester_reviews/NM%20Newbie

      Completed Tests:

      Outdoor Research Prism Cap - Not Yet Received.

      Ongoing Tests:


      Thank you for your consideration of my application to test the
      RedLedge Elite Parka and Rain Pant. I do hope it meets with your
      favor.
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