Daniel Oates

Reviewer of the Month: June 2014 , February 2016

2,900 reviewer rep
256 forum posts
joined Jul 9, 2013

I am a: backpacker
Location: Florida
Occupation: Air Force Officer

Affiliations: I am a member of the Trailspace Review Corps. I have no professional or personal relationships with any other outdoor industry manufacturers or retailers.


Trail running
Adventure racing
Disc Golf
Ultimate Frisbee


Torso Length18 and 7/8
Boot/Shoe Size9
Jacket/Shirt SizeM
Pant Size32x32

I'm a 28 year old (2015) and enjoy hiking, playing disc golf and DIY projects! My outdoor experience began in high school when I ran cross country.  This has since transitioned into trail running and backpacking.  For me trail running isn't just about getting the distance in, but also enjoying the views.  Taking pictures is often part of my trail runs and hikes, you never know when you may need it.

I've always been a hands-on person and love to build things from scratch and taking pride in what I've accomplished.  Since spring 2014, I've started making some of my own gear and accessories.  Well worth it and one-of-a-kind! My next project for Winter 2014/Spring 2015 is a karo-step top quilt for ground use.

Finished project...just as tax season 2015 gets going...it'll have to wait until after April :( More detail on it is located here

IMG_4455.jpg  IMG_4458.jpg

In addition to camping and hiking, I love to play disc golf and Ultimate.  A few years back I came across the adventure of Geocaching; check it out, it's a great way to get the family outdoors and working together!

I went to college in the mountains of NC and that's when I took more of an interest in hiking, primarily day hikes in the Smoky Mtns and Appalachian Trail. Personal favorite spots in NC (piedmont to mountains) are Panthertown Valley (mtns), Raven Rock State Park (piedmont), and Linville Gorge (mtns).


So why did you join Trailspace?

It all started with a great backcountry hiking trip in August 2013. I had plenty of hiking and car camping experience, but didn't have as much knowledge about backpacking. The trip was to Glacier National Park and I was with three of my college roommates.  We got back together for a 4-year reunion (of sorts) and it was a blast. I saw amazing views, trading great stories, crossed various wildlife, and got memories that will last a lifetime. 

Trailspace came into the picture in the months preceding the trip. I was buying new gear and wanted thorough advice since, for me, my gear is an investment and I want to be confident in what I wear and use.  I enjoyed the interaction between members on the Trailspace forums and helpful reviews on gear. It was an easy decision for me to join in July 2013 as a member of Trailspace.

Below is a picture of that trip to Glacier.  All four of us are at the top of Red Gap Pass on our way down to Elizabeth Lake (Many Glacier region of the park).  It pretty much sums up the trip, the breathtaking view and "what's next?" feeling of the park.


So how do you review?

My reviews come from the gear that I have either borrowed for an extended period of time or currently own.  I'm glad to pass on my experience and feel free to add any comments or questions that you think may help others. These are some good tips to keep in mind.

I think taking pictures from all angles, out of the box, and while using in the field benefits other members extraordinarily.  We can all see the basic pics from the manufacturer's website, but we want to get the reviewer's actual experience. I  have also included a handful of videos to show other aspects of the gear that may be difficult to portray in the narrative or pictures.

My reviews are written from my background of an outdoor enthusiast, trail runner, and hiker. Anyone with other experience like climbing, canoeing/kayaking, or biking are more than welcome to comment on any review as your approach can aid in the helpfulness of my review!

Thanks for reading and see you out on the trail!

Gear Reviews (57)

user rating: 4.5 of 5 Arc'teryx Elaho Shirt LS 2/12/2016
user rating: 3.5 of 5 Therm-a-Rest Z-Shield 1/30/2016
user rating: 5 of 5 Arc'teryx Men's Atom SL Hoody 1/19/2016
user rating: 4 of 5 Toaks Titanium 850ml Pot 1/12/2016
user rating: 5 of 5 Black Diamond Men's Deployment Hoody 11/21/2015
user rating: 3 of 5 Terramar Men's Helix Crew Tee 7/19/2015
user rating: 4.5 of 5 ProBar Bolt Energy Chews 7/18/2015
user rating: 4 of 5 Vargo Bedrock 1/4 Zip 7/11/2015
user rating: 4.5 of 5 Vargo Slag Short-Sleeve Shirt 7/09/2015
user rating: 4.5 of 5 Montane Super Terra Pants 1/24/2015
user rating: 4.5 of 5 Helly Hansen Odin Minimalist Rain Jacket 11/15/2014
user rating: 3.5 of 5 Brooks Men's PureGrit 3 10/10/2014
user rating: 2.5 of 5 Perky Jerky Original Turkey 8/12/2014
user rating: 5 of 5 Morakniv Companion 8/06/2014
user rating: 4.5 of 5 Kind Fruit & Nut Bar 7/12/2014
user rating: 5 of 5 Trailspace Trail Runner Cap 6/27/2014
user rating: 3 of 5 A3 White Lightning Marshmallow Bar 6/25/2014
user rating: 4.5 of 5 Lansky Blademedic Knife Sharpener 6/24/2014
user rating: 4 of 5 Goal Zero Lighthouse 250 Lantern 5/23/2014
user rating: 4.5 of 5 MSR Mini Groundhog Stake 5/14/2014
user rating: 5 of 5 MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2P 5/13/2014
user rating: 4.5 of 5 Osprey Exos 58 5/10/2014
user rating: 4.5 of 5 Sea to Summit Wilderness Wash 3/23/2014
user rating: 3 of 5 Columbia Bug Me Not Cachalot 2/27/2014
user rating: 4.5 of 5 Pro-Knot Outdoor Knots - Waterproof Plastic Fan Pack 2/21/2014
user rating: 5 of 5 Trailspace Innate Motus Top Reviewer Water Bottle 2/15/2014
user rating: 4 of 5 Chaco Men's Z/1 Unaweep 1/29/2014
user rating: 3.5 of 5 Eagles Nest Outfitters Twilights 1/12/2014
user rating: 4.5 of 5 Platypus plusBottle 1/10/2014
user rating: 4 of 5 MSR Alpine StowAway Pots 1/07/2014
user rating: 5 of 5 Nikwax Down Wash 1/07/2014
user rating: 3 of 5 Granite Gear Kahiltna 29 1/07/2014
user rating: 4.5 of 5 Gander Mountain Guide Series Thundercloud II Rain Jacket 1/07/2014
user rating: 5 of 5 Snow Peak GigaPower Auto 11/10/2013
user rating: 3.5 of 5 Terramar Men's Helix Half-Zip Shirt 11/10/2013
user rating: 4.5 of 5 REI Flash 62 10/27/2013
user rating: 3.5 of 5 REI Half Dome 2 10/27/2013
user rating: 4 of 5 Klymit Static V 10/03/2013
user rating: 2 of 5 Backpacker's Pantry Chana Masala 8/31/2013
user rating: 4 of 5 GoLite Jam 50L 8/31/2013
user rating: 4.5 of 5 Teva Men's Toachi 2 8/02/2013
user rating: 5 of 5 Spyder Dolomite Jacket 8/02/2013
user rating: 4.5 of 5 Columbia Cool Creek Stretch Pant 8/02/2013
user rating: 3 of 5 Kenyon Grizzly Kenyon Quick Dry Shirt - Long Sleeve 8/02/2013
user rating: 4.5 of 5 OllyDog Dog Pack 8/02/2013
user rating: 4 of 5 Adidas adizero Hagio 7/29/2013
user rating: 4 of 5 Mountainsmith Spirit 7/29/2013
user rating: 4.5 of 5 New Balance MT610 7/20/2013
user rating: 4.5 of 5 Native Eyewear Lynx 7/19/2013
user rating: 2.5 of 5 Merrell Men's Moab Waterproof 7/16/2013
user rating: 4.5 of 5 Nike Men's Daybreak Hat 7/16/2013
user rating: 4.5 of 5 Arc'teryx Men's Covert Cardigan 7/11/2013
user rating: 4 of 5 Energizer 6 LED HeadLight 7/11/2013
user rating: 3 of 5 Mountain Hardwear Men's Stretch Typhoon Jacket 7/10/2013
user rating: 3.5 of 5 Vibram Men's FiveFingers Sprint 7/10/2013
user rating: 4.5 of 5 Mountain House Chili Mac with Beef 7/09/2013
user rating: 4.5 of 5 Salomon Men's Quest 4D GTX 7/09/2013

Trip Reports

Smokies - Newfound Gap to Davenport Gap September 19, 2014

Forum Posts

Congratulations, Top Gear Reviewers of 2016 March 24, 2017
Congratulations, Sebastian, our Hilleberg Tent Winner September 30, 2016
Hiker, DIY Gear Maker, Air Force Officer: Meet Daniel, Reviewer of the Month February 17, 2016
Titanium Cookpots to Cast Iron Skillets: Meet Randy, Reviewer of the Month January 27, 2016
Congratulations, Top Reviewers of 2015 January 20, 2016
Pictures of tents in the backcountry March 18, 2015
Cool photos from my sea kayak near Atlanta December 13, 2015
Caving Last Weekend December 13, 2015
5 days on the AT in Virginia November 21, 2015
Beach & coastal hiking tips November 7, 2015
Compact Outdoor Camera October 27, 2015
Newbie with shin pain questions October 13, 2015
Congratulations, Lynn, Winner of Source Outdoor Gear October 2, 2015
Reviewer in Training July 6, 2015
Get to Know the Unknown Caver, Reviewer of the Month July 3, 2015
Erich June 27, 2015
Sleeping pad advice June 6, 2015
Waterproofing 101: Seeking Advice June 9, 2015
Where oh where have all the short shorts gone! June 2, 2015
Bear canister/vault now requiredShining Rock Wilderness Area - Pisgah National... June 2, 2015