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Equipment reviews after Dec. 2017 trip.

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Offline mule ears

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Equipment reviews after Dec. 2017 trip.
« on: January 12, 2018, 06:23:18 AM »
This is from my Mule Ears to Mariscal and back trip.

New equipment notes-  I had 4 new major pieces of gear that were mostly 100% brilliant.  The biggest change was to a new brand and model of trail shoe.  For over a decade I have been wearing Keen Voyaguer low shoes with a pretty burly sole, part leather and part breathable panels but with a really good protective toe cap and wide toe box with lots of room for the toes to wiggle and swell.



 I not only wore these shoes for hiking but they were my everyday shoes and I have been through at least a dozen pairs.  I am convinced that they have changed them in several ways but the biggest thing is they just were falling apart too fast and especially on the inside of the heel lining.  I was also consistently having some blister/hot spot problems on the bottom/side of my heels.  Generally my feet are tough as nails and I really havenít had any blister problems since I moved away from full boots (I never really had troubles then either).  After the really hot Arroyo Venado trip with Robert and Mitch where all the problems were magnified on a fairly new pair I began to look hard. 

There are number of brands of trail shoes that the serious Thru hikers or ultra-marathon folks consistently use, Altra, Hoka, New Balance, Innov8 and others that have good soles with rock plates to protect the bottom of the feet but generally the uppers are very thin with not much side protection.  Fine for trails but not so good for the rocky and spiny conditions in a place like Big Bend.  La Sportiva has maybe the most models and best all-around following but most of their uppers are also not protective enough.  I tried on several like the Ultra Raptor, the Bushido and the Akasha that had good under foot support and wide toe boxes but I could see them falling apart faster than I could accept.



I finally found several reviews of the La Sportiva TX3 which is classed as a climbing approach shoe and so off the normal trail shoe radar.  These reviewers were doing lots of off trail backpacking and canyoneering in places like the Grand Canyon and said they had finally found the perfect shoe.  Great underfoot support, a huge wrap around protective rand but a fully breathable top (no goretex, which I donít want) with a wide toe box.

Of course no one close by had them in stock so I had to order two sizes to make sure and good thing I did as my normal 10.5 was too small, had to go to an 11.  Since spring I have used them as my everyday shoes with lots of walking and standing on concrete and on 3 backpacking trips and I would say they are nearly perfect with the exception of 4 minor things.  First the tongue is only attached/gusseted on one side so even with low gaiters tiny gravel/sand can work its way in and I had to stop several times a day, sometimes every hour when wash walking to empty them out, this has not been a problem on trails here in the East.  On this trip after the second day I had to tape the balls of my feet because there were hot spots starting from too much crap in the shoes.



Second because they are climbing approach shoes the rubber on the front of the sole is fairly soft supposedly for better grip (and they do grip well) and so wears pretty quickly.  On my first pair the front lugs have already worn flat but I have worn them a lot on concrete.  The third is with the high wrap around rand they donít dry as fast as other trail shoes with thinner uppers that go to the sole, they dry pretty fast but not the same and generally not an issue in the desert.  The fourth and less important is they only come in bright blue or orange, a bit garish for my taste but I have learned to live with that.  I can say this last trip was a great test with so much off trail and the really rough limestone of Mariscal Mtn. they look unfazed.



The second big change was the improved version of the Elemental Horizons Kalais pack, same one DesertRatShorty is now using.  I have been using the old model since 2013 and wrote about it in my Search for the Perfect Pack piece (which I am trying to get around to updating).  I have really loved it short of a few things mostly around the design of the lumbar area.  He has totally redesigned the suspension with wider shoulder straps on a height adjustable yoke, the stay is now directly connected to the hip belt for maximum load transfer to the hips which includes the improvements to the lumbar area that I wanted, the padding has been beefed up all around and the hip belt has also been stiffened up some.  He now claims a 45 pound maximum and I can attest to that in training walks. 



The pack bag is now a bit larger and the side pockets are much larger along with a taller back shove it pocket.  I didnít really need any more volume and I prefer the older back pocket design but this is minor.  The part I donít like is the weight also increased 10 oz. to 41 oz. before adding hip belt pockets.  This puts it close to the same weight range as the Seek Outside Divide which el hombre now has and I debated buying that instead but for me the Kalais fits and carries so well that I stayed in the family.  I donít ever seeing carrying over 40 pounds again and if so, then only for very short periods of time (think huge water loads).  Scott used my old Kalais on this trip and liked it too.  Old in green, new in blue



The third major change was using the Katadyn BeFree water filtration bottle, I have posted about this one before so you can read about it there.  I have been a devout Aqua Mira chlorine dioxide user for over a decade and a full set of drops weighs about the same as this whole bottle!  To be able to fill the bottle and have a liter of clean water in seconds (much faster than any of the other similar filters like the Sawyers) is amazing.  Especially with sources like the Rio Grande where I would wait the required 4 hours before drinking.  We backed it up with chlorine dioxide tablets just in case it clogged but never thought about using them, having a backup is not a bad idea and it only added .7 oz. to the pack.  If they come up with a way to backwash it, I think it will be bombproof.

The last item is not nearly as important or sexy as shoes, pack and water but I finally bought a new light weight tarp.  I have been using my over 40 year old rainfly from a North Face Mountain Tent and it has obviously been reliable but it did weigh 19 oz. with stakes and lines.  Most of the new lightweight tarps and tarp type tents are just stupid expensive (many are made of cuben fiber fabric) and are only a few ounces lighter than what I had.  Even non cuben fiber tarps are starting over $200 and cuben fiber $400 and up, for a frigginí tarp, you can buy the best quality goose down sleeping bags for less!  I could never justify that dollars/ounce weight savings cost. 

I had been eyeing the Gossamer Gear Spinn Twinn tarp for years as a cost effective alternative and when Robert and I did our cloudy and wet trip in 2016 he carried his and I was impressed.  Gossamer Gear discontinued it for a few years but reintroduced it last year in a new fabric and called it just the Twinn Tarp and I was able to get it for $160.  It weighs 12.5 oz. with 6 stakes, lines and stuff sack.  Brilliant, fast to put up and I love the lineloc adjusters on each line so when is sags or moves you can tighten it up from inside!  It is the same size as my old tarp (covers the same square footage) and I shaved a nearly half a pound!



So the new pack has pushed my standard warmer desert pack base weight up to 12 pounds but I think the comfort and durability is worth the bit extra, with rain coat I would have been a half a pound higher.  This was the first time I have carried 7 days food and dialed it in to 1.5# a day plus bourbon  ;).  I had just enough warmth for the lowest temperatures (29-46 degrees).  Other than leaving my spare camera battery behind everything else worked as expected, nothing failed and essentially every last piece of gear was used.
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
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Offline dprather

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Re: Equipment reviews after Dec. 2017 trip.
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2018, 04:52:35 PM »
Excellent reviews - thanks
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Equipment reviews after Dec. 2017 trip.
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2018, 05:25:49 PM »
Excellent reviews - thanks
Thanks dprather, I hope you saw the part of my trip report about the route through the area north of Cow Heaven mountain.  It was inspired by you.

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« Last Edit: January 12, 2018, 06:24:42 PM by mule ears »
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Equipment reviews after Dec. 2017 trip.
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2018, 12:13:11 AM »
ME, I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the idea of ultralight trail shoes. Especially non-waterproof ones. Clearly they work for you and you pull off amazing trips with them. But what happens when it rains heavily, or snows? Don't your feet get soaked? And cold? Do you carry a spare pair (or two) of socks to change into, at least for sleeping?

And the Kalais pack looks tempting. And, again, it clearly rocks for you.  You carry everything you need and rack up big miles comfortably. But it lacks a top pocket, and for me, that makes it a non-starter, just because of the idiosyncratic way I pack and move. That was one of the same problems I had with the equally-tempting Seek Outside Divide 4500. I wish I could trim all the bells-and-whistles from my Osprey Aether and lighten it by 8 or 16 ounces. I might have to get more serious about that.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Equipment reviews after Dec. 2017 trip.
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2018, 07:46:17 AM »
ME, I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the idea of ultralight trail shoes. Especially non-waterproof ones. Clearly they work for you and you pull off amazing trips with them. But what happens when it rains heavily, or snows? Don't your feet get soaked? And cold? Do you carry a spare pair (or two) of socks to change into, at least for sleeping?

And the Kalais pack looks tempting. And, again, it clearly rocks for you.  You carry everything you need and rack up big miles comfortably. But it lacks a top pocket, and for me, that makes it a non-starter, just because of the idiosyncratic way I pack and move. That was one of the same problems I had with the equally-tempting Seek Outside Divide 4500. I wish I could trim all the bells-and-whistles from my Osprey Aether and lighten it by 8 or 16 ounces. I might have to get more serious about that.

He actually makes a lid for his packs if you want one, adds 4 oz.  If you think you will be needing to carry a pack raft and goods then one might consider the big brother pack the Aquilo it is 78 litervs. 62 liters and a few extra pockets too.

As to the shoes I am in the camp of waterproof breathable shoes are only for colder/snowy conditions and not slushy snow otherwise they just wet out and then are even harder to dry.  On snowy trips here in the east I where a pair of Keen Mids that are WPB.  Otherwise shoes are going to get wet and you need to accept that.  I do carry very warm designated sleep socks and generally dry my walking socks in the bag at night.  On long trips (6-7+ days) I carry a spare pair of socks too.  When it's warm and wet no big deal and you can usually walk the shoes dry in an hour or so, cool/cold and wet I can resort to plastic bag liners if I have to.  Some folks will carry gore-tex socks for this purpose. This is a good discussion by Dave Chenault on the subject.  There are also several good articles on Backpacking Light but you have to have a subscription to read them.  It is a state of mind partly but most of the long distance hikers wear breathable trail shoes to keep their feet as cool and flexible as possible.  When I did two trips in the Paria river canyons where we essentially walked in water in very breathable shoes for days and day and had no foot problems the light began to come on.  Here in the Smokies for instance I have done cool season trips where we had to wade creeks 20 times in an afternoon, just plow through with the non-waterproof shoes and walk them dry.  Night time foot care is essential to this system too, here is Skurka's take on it.

As to the TX3's they may not dry fast/well enough with the high rubber rand but I want that protection in a place like Big Bend,  for eastern really wet trips and I am looking at the Topo Terraventures for that.
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
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Offline DesertRatShorty

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Re: Equipment reviews after Dec. 2017 trip.
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2018, 09:09:13 AM »
ME, I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the idea of ultralight trail shoes. Especially non-waterproof ones. Clearly they work for you and you pull off amazing trips with them. But what happens when it rains heavily, or snows? Don't your feet get soaked? And cold? Do you carry a spare pair (or two) of socks to change into, at least for sleeping?

And the Kalais pack looks tempting. And, again, it clearly rocks for you.  You carry everything you need and rack up big miles comfortably. But it lacks a top pocket, and for me, that makes it a non-starter, just because of the idiosyncratic way I pack and move. That was one of the same problems I had with the equally-tempting Seek Outside Divide 4500. I wish I could trim all the bells-and-whistles from my Osprey Aether and lighten it by 8 or 16 ounces. I might have to get more serious about that.

He actually makes a lid for his packs if you want one, adds 4 oz.  If you think you will be needing to carry a pack raft and goods then one might consider the big brother pack the Aquilo it is 78 litervs. 62 liters and a few extra pockets too.

As to the shoes I am in the camp of waterproof breathable shoes are only for colder/snowy conditions and not slushy snow otherwise they just wet out and then are even harder to dry.  On snowy trips here in the east I where a pair of Keen Mids that are WPB.  Otherwise shoes are going to get wet and you need to accept that.  I do carry very warm designated sleep socks and generally dry my walking socks in the bag at night.  On long trips (6-7+ days) I carry a spare pair of socks too.  When it's warm and wet no big deal and you can usually walk the shoes dry in an hour or so, cool/cold and wet I can resort to plastic bag liners if I have to.  Some folks will carry gore-tex socks for this purpose. This is a good discussion by Dave Chenault on the subject.  There are also several good articles on Backpacking Light but you have to have a subscription to read them.  It is a state of mind partly but most of the long distance hikers wear breathable trail shoes to keep their feet as cool and flexible as possible.  When I did two trips in the Paria river canyons where we essentially walked in water in very breathable shoes for days and day and had no foot problems the light began to come on.  Here in the Smokies for instance I have done cool season trips where we had to wade creeks 20 times in an afternoon, just plow through with the non-waterproof shoes and walk them dry.  Night time foot care is essential to this system too, here is Skurka's take on it.

As to the TX3's they may not dry fast/well enough with the high rubber rand but I want that protection in a place like Big Bend,  for eastern really wet trips and I am looking at the Topo Terraventures for that.
Another key aspect of switching from boots to trail runners is switching from thick socks to thin socks. Otherwise they won't dry quickly. The combination of a ventilated shoe and a thin sock also means your feet sweat less, meaning fewer blisters.

I use Darn Tough merino wool thin socks, although many people wear even thinner socks.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2018, 12:42:13 PM by DesertRatShorty »
I roamed and rambled, and I foller'ed my footsteps
   To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
   And all around me a voice was a'sounding
   This land was made for you and me

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Offline elhombre

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Re: Equipment reviews after Dec. 2017 trip.
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2018, 09:27:58 AM »
They make a topper for the Seekoutside pack too.   https://seekoutside.com/backpack-top-lid-gray/

I did the Paria river trail following the same route as ME a few years ago.,  I used the rub on stuff at night also to keep my feet from getting water logged too.  Worked great.  But I used light weight shoes, wool liners, and neoprene socks for the water parts.  My feet hurt for almost 8 months later because of walking in the river with very the light weight shoes.  That trip was the first time I ever had used light weight trail shoes.  Never again.  I require real boots.

Great Hike!  Gonna take the old lady on it some day after I retire.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2018, 09:45:33 AM by elhombre »
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Offline Homer67

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Re: Equipment reviews after Dec. 2017 trip.
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2018, 12:23:04 PM »
I added two new packs to my line up recently.  I just fell in love with our Osprey Child carrier and its AG suspension, so I invested in a comfortable pack - Atmos 65, 4.69 lbs, 50+ lbs max, and a 'UL' pack - Exos 48, 2.4 lbs, 40 lb max. I like how well Osprey hip belts work and the AG suspension is very comfortable. I'm a big fan of buying from smaller outlets, but this time I had to go with Osprey.

I'm also going to try out my new Salomon Quest 4d II GTX boots in Feb. I hope they measure up; I'm a heavy guy and I crumble lesser hiking boots in no time.
Ah Big Bend, we will soon return to reacquaint ourselves in our ritual of blood, exhaustion and dehydration. How can we resist the temptation to strip ourselves of the maladies of civilization?

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Equipment reviews after Dec. 2017 trip.
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2018, 01:09:56 PM »
ME, I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the idea of ultralight trail shoes. Especially non-waterproof ones. Clearly they work for you and you pull off amazing trips with them. But what happens when it rains heavily, or snows? Don't your feet get soaked? And cold? Do you carry a spare pair (or two) of socks to change into, at least for sleeping?

And the Kalais pack looks tempting. And, again, it clearly rocks for you.  You carry everything you need and rack up big miles comfortably. But it lacks a top pocket, and for me, that makes it a non-starter, just because of the idiosyncratic way I pack and move. That was one of the same problems I had with the equally-tempting Seek Outside Divide 4500. I wish I could trim all the bells-and-whistles from my Osprey Aether and lighten it by 8 or 16 ounces. I might have to get more serious about that.

He actually makes a lid for his packs if you want one, adds 4 oz.  If you think you will be needing to carry a pack raft and goods then one might consider the big brother pack the Aquilo it is 78 litervs. 62 liters and a few extra pockets too.

As to the shoes I am in the camp of waterproof breathable shoes are only for colder/snowy conditions and not slushy snow otherwise they just wet out and then are even harder to dry.  On snowy trips here in the east I where a pair of Keen Mids that are WPB.  Otherwise shoes are going to get wet and you need to accept that.  I do carry very warm designated sleep socks and generally dry my walking socks in the bag at night.  On long trips (6-7+ days) I carry a spare pair of socks too.  When it's warm and wet no big deal and you can usually walk the shoes dry in an hour or so, cool/cold and wet I can resort to plastic bag liners if I have to.  Some folks will carry gore-tex socks for this purpose. This is a good discussion by Dave Chenault on the subject.  There are also several good articles on Backpacking Light but you have to have a subscription to read them.  It is a state of mind partly but most of the long distance hikers wear breathable trail shoes to keep their feet as cool and flexible as possible.  When I did two trips in the Paria river canyons where we essentially walked in water in very breathable shoes for days and day and had no foot problems the light began to come on.  Here in the Smokies for instance I have done cool season trips where we had to wade creeks 20 times in an afternoon, just plow through with the non-waterproof shoes and walk them dry.  Night time foot care is essential to this system too, here is Skurka's take on it.

As to the TX3's they may not dry fast/well enough with the high rubber rand but I want that protection in a place like Big Bend,  for eastern really wet trips and I am looking at the Topo Terraventures for that.

School's closed today because of bad weather that didn't quite materialize. Their loss, my gain. I have the day off to surf BBC.

I've been thinking about this thread for days now. Shoes and packs.

I still can't quite see myself going for light trail shoes in lieu of light boots. I think back on Day 5 of my 2016 cross-park hike, when I had to make the connection between the Stuarts Peak ridge and the Sue Peaks ridge: downclimbing several hundred feet and then climbing up another several feet of brutal, heavily-vegetated and loose-rocked slopes. I just don't see myself doing that in anything less burly than my Oboz Bridger boots. Or, similarly, Day 15 of my 2018 cross-park hike attempt, with all that snow and temps in the teens. In my experience, the November-March weather in Big Bend is too variable and unpredictable for me to feel comfortable in anything less robust than my boots. Now, I might be open to a low-cut waterproof boot like one of the Keens. In more forgiving terrain and weather, I could definitely go with something lighter and more permeable. When I hiked the Gila Wilderness a few summers ago, I did it in open Keen sandals and quick-drying socks, knowing I would be making many, many stream crossings. I've done the Wichita Mountains in southwestern Oklahoma, and multiple hikes in multiple states in the Four Corners area, and lots of hikes in Latin American jungles, in spring, summer, and fall in tennis shoes and in light approach shoes. But I think for the thorny, rocky Bend, or any true alpine area, I'll have to stick with boots for now.

It's probably just a matter of personal preference and insecurities. But the boots make me feel good and lighter shoes make me feel vulnerable. But, hey, my Oboz Bridgers are waaaaaaaay lighter than my old Vasque Glaciers with Norwegian welts which I used to think were indispensable.  :icon_lol:
« Last Edit: January 16, 2018, 01:17:41 PM by House Made of Dawn »
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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Equipment reviews after Dec. 2017 trip.
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2018, 01:14:57 PM »
As far as packs go.....I think we've each dug down deep to find the pack that works best for our own very personal styles.  My Osprey Aether 70 has been really, really good for me, but I know it's too heavy and has too many bells-and-whistles that I don't need. I almost bought the Seek Outside Divide 4500, and I've looked hard at the Kalais. But, in the end, I think I'll probably wind up going with the Seek Outside because I still see myself carrying loads over 45lbs not infrequently. I'm very close to pulling the trigger on that one, but there are still a few questions I need to answer. I'll pursue those in elhombre's post on his new Divide pack.
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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Equipment reviews after Dec. 2017 trip.
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2018, 01:16:30 PM »
The Katadyn BeFree is, I think, definitely a player in my near future. If not for the Bend, most definitely for almost everywhere else.
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Offline mule ears

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Re: Equipment reviews after Dec. 2017 trip.
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2018, 02:46:12 PM »
ME, I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the idea of ultralight trail shoes. Especially non-waterproof ones. Clearly they work for you and you pull off amazing trips with them. But what happens when it rains heavily, or snows? Don't your feet get soaked? And cold? Do you carry a spare pair (or two) of socks to change into, at least for sleeping?

And the Kalais pack looks tempting. And, again, it clearly rocks for you.  You carry everything you need and rack up big miles comfortably. But it lacks a top pocket, and for me, that makes it a non-starter, just because of the idiosyncratic way I pack and move. That was one of the same problems I had with the equally-tempting Seek Outside Divide 4500. I wish I could trim all the bells-and-whistles from my Osprey Aether and lighten it by 8 or 16 ounces. I might have to get more serious about that.

He actually makes a lid for his packs if you want one, adds 4 oz.  If you think you will be needing to carry a pack raft and goods then one might consider the big brother pack the Aquilo it is 78 litervs. 62 liters and a few extra pockets too.

As to the shoes I am in the camp of waterproof breathable shoes are only for colder/snowy conditions and not slushy snow otherwise they just wet out and then are even harder to dry.  On snowy trips here in the east I where a pair of Keen Mids that are WPB.  Otherwise shoes are going to get wet and you need to accept that.  I do carry very warm designated sleep socks and generally dry my walking socks in the bag at night.  On long trips (6-7+ days) I carry a spare pair of socks too.  When it's warm and wet no big deal and you can usually walk the shoes dry in an hour or so, cool/cold and wet I can resort to plastic bag liners if I have to.  Some folks will carry gore-tex socks for this purpose. This is a good discussion by Dave Chenault on the subject.  There are also several good articles on Backpacking Light but you have to have a subscription to read them.  It is a state of mind partly but most of the long distance hikers wear breathable trail shoes to keep their feet as cool and flexible as possible.  When I did two trips in the Paria river canyons where we essentially walked in water in very breathable shoes for days and day and had no foot problems the light began to come on.  Here in the Smokies for instance I have done cool season trips where we had to wade creeks 20 times in an afternoon, just plow through with the non-waterproof shoes and walk them dry.  Night time foot care is essential to this system too, here is Skurka's take on it.

As to the TX3's they may not dry fast/well enough with the high rubber rand but I want that protection in a place like Big Bend,  for eastern really wet trips and I am looking at the Topo Terraventures for that.

School's closed today because of bad weather that didn't quite materialize. Their loss, my gain. I have the day off to surf BBC.

I've been thinking about this thread for days now. Shoes and packs.

I still can't quite see myself going for light trail shoes in lieu of light boots. I think back on Day 5 of my 2016 cross-park hike, when I had to make the connection between the Stuarts Peak ridge and the Sue Peaks ridge: downclimbing several hundred feet and then climbing up another several feet of brutal, heavily-vegetated and loose-rocked slopes. I just don't see myself doing that in anything less burly than my Oboz Bridger boots. Or, similarly, Day 15 of my 2018 cross-park hike attempt, with all that snow and temps in the teens. In my experience, the November-March weather in Big Bend is too variable and unpredictable for me to feel comfortable in anything less robust than my boots. Now, I might be open to a low-cut waterproof boot like one of the Keens. In more forgiving terrain and weather, I could definitely go with something lighter and more permeable. When I hiked the Gila Wilderness a few summers ago, I did it in open Keen sandals and quick-drying socks, knowing I would be making many, many stream crossings. I've done the Wichita Mountains in southwestern Oklahoma, and multiple hikes in multiple states in the Four Corners area, and lots of hikes in Latin American jungles, in spring, summer, and fall in tennis shoes and in light approach shoes. But I think for the thorny, rocky Bend, or any true alpine area, I'll have to stick with boots for now.

It's probably just a matter of personal preference and insecurities. But the boots make me feel good and lighter shoes make me feel vulnerable. But, hey, my Oboz Bridgers are waaaaaaaay lighter than my old Vasque Glaciers with Norwegian welts which I used to think were indispensable.  :icon_lol:

I get that, I would say that I didn't move straight to the current low shoes in the desert either.  I was a heavy duty Lowa Alpspitz wearer for years,


then a lighter Vasque and finally a pair of Merrill Wilderness still with Norwegian welt (and still in the closet)


Finally a pair of Lowa full leather low shoes (wore these first on my Boquillas to the Basin walk starting with a 48# pack), then leather Keens with some mesh and finally where I am today.  Some of it is getting used to it, some of it is mental, some of it is the feet that to be in shape too.
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
http://40yearsofwalking.wordpress.com/

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Equipment reviews after Dec. 2017 trip.
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2018, 02:47:33 PM »
As far as packs go.....I think we've each dug down deep to find the pack that works best for our own very personal styles.  My Osprey Aether 70 has been really, really good for me, but I know it's too heavy and has too many bells-and-whistles that I don't need. I almost bought the Seek Outside Divide 4500, and I've looked hard at the Kalais. But, in the end, I think I'll probably wind up going with the Seek Outside because I still see myself carrying loads over 45lbs not infrequently. I'm very close to pulling the trigger on that one, but there are still a few questions I need to answer. I'll pursue those in elhombre's post on his new Divide pack.

Also a sound decision, if I thought I would regularly carry over 45# then I would make the same move. 
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
http://40yearsofwalking.wordpress.com/

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Equipment reviews after Dec. 2017 trip.
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2018, 02:54:54 PM »
ME, I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the idea of ultralight trail shoes. Especially non-waterproof ones. Clearly they work for you and you pull off amazing trips with them. But what happens when it rains heavily, or snows? Don't your feet get soaked? And cold? Do you carry a spare pair (or two) of socks to change into, at least for sleeping?

And the Kalais pack looks tempting. And, again, it clearly rocks for you.  You carry everything you need and rack up big miles comfortably. But it lacks a top pocket, and for me, that makes it a non-starter, just because of the idiosyncratic way I pack and move. That was one of the same problems I had with the equally-tempting Seek Outside Divide 4500. I wish I could trim all the bells-and-whistles from my Osprey Aether and lighten it by 8 or 16 ounces. I might have to get more serious about that.

He actually makes a lid for his packs if you want one, adds 4 oz.  If you think you will be needing to carry a pack raft and goods then one might consider the big brother pack the Aquilo it is 78 litervs. 62 liters and a few extra pockets too.

As to the shoes I am in the camp of waterproof breathable shoes are only for colder/snowy conditions and not slushy snow otherwise they just wet out and then are even harder to dry.  On snowy trips here in the east I where a pair of Keen Mids that are WPB.  Otherwise shoes are going to get wet and you need to accept that.  I do carry very warm designated sleep socks and generally dry my walking socks in the bag at night.  On long trips (6-7+ days) I carry a spare pair of socks too.  When it's warm and wet no big deal and you can usually walk the shoes dry in an hour or so, cool/cold and wet I can resort to plastic bag liners if I have to.  Some folks will carry gore-tex socks for this purpose. This is a good discussion by Dave Chenault on the subject.  There are also several good articles on Backpacking Light but you have to have a subscription to read them.  It is a state of mind partly but most of the long distance hikers wear breathable trail shoes to keep their feet as cool and flexible as possible.  When I did two trips in the Paria river canyons where we essentially walked in water in very breathable shoes for days and day and had no foot problems the light began to come on.  Here in the Smokies for instance I have done cool season trips where we had to wade creeks 20 times in an afternoon, just plow through with the non-waterproof shoes and walk them dry.  Night time foot care is essential to this system too, here is Skurka's take on it.

As to the TX3's they may not dry fast/well enough with the high rubber rand but I want that protection in a place like Big Bend,  for eastern really wet trips and I am looking at the Topo Terraventures for that.

School's closed today because of bad weather that didn't quite materialize. Their loss, my gain. I have the day off to surf BBC.

I've been thinking about this thread for days now. Shoes and packs.

I still can't quite see myself going for light trail shoes in lieu of light boots. I think back on Day 5 of my 2016 cross-park hike, when I had to make the connection between the Stuarts Peak ridge and the Sue Peaks ridge: downclimbing several hundred feet and then climbing up another several feet of brutal, heavily-vegetated and loose-rocked slopes. I just don't see myself doing that in anything less burly than my Oboz Bridger boots. Or, similarly, Day 15 of my 2018 cross-park hike attempt, with all that snow and temps in the teens. In my experience, the November-March weather in Big Bend is too variable and unpredictable for me to feel comfortable in anything less robust than my boots. Now, I might be open to a low-cut waterproof boot like one of the Keens. In more forgiving terrain and weather, I could definitely go with something lighter and more permeable. When I hiked the Gila Wilderness a few summers ago, I did it in open Keen sandals and quick-drying socks, knowing I would be making many, many stream crossings. I've done the Wichita Mountains in southwestern Oklahoma, and multiple hikes in multiple states in the Four Corners area, and lots of hikes in Latin American jungles, in spring, summer, and fall in tennis shoes and in light approach shoes. But I think for the thorny, rocky Bend, or any true alpine area, I'll have to stick with boots for now.

It's probably just a matter of personal preference and insecurities. But the boots make me feel good and lighter shoes make me feel vulnerable. But, hey, my Oboz Bridgers are waaaaaaaay lighter than my old Vasque Glaciers with Norwegian welts which I used to think were indispensable.  :icon_lol:

I get that, I would say that I didn't move straight to the current low shoes in the desert either.  I was a heavy duty Lowa Alpspitz wearer for years,


then a lighter Vasque and finally a pair of Merrill Wilderness still with Norwegian welt (and still in the closet)


Finally a pair of Lowa full leather low shoes (wore these first on my Boquillas to the Basin walk starting with a 48# pack), then leather Keens with some mesh and finally where I am today.  Some of it is getting used to it, some of it is mental, some of it is the feet that to be in shape too.

Awwwww, man....now I'm feeling all nostalgic.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline SA Bill

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Re: Equipment reviews after Dec. 2017 trip.
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2018, 03:43:44 PM »
Who remembers Sno Sealing their all leather hiking boots?  :icon_biggrin:
  Bill
Bill - In San Antonio

Growing old is mandatory.
Growing up is optional.

 


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