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Thread: Backpacking Gear and Techniques

  1. #71
    Senior Member Array giegs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011


    One note on 'biners:

    If you're not using them for load bearing purposes, why waste your money on climbing rated biners? As a climber this endlessly amuses me. Those damn things cost good money to fulfill a very specific purpose.

  2. #72


    Quote Originally Posted by giegs View Post
    Why are you wearing runners in those conditions? I'm all about wearing my inov8s with some gaiters when it's decent out, but once it's consistently below freezing I've got a proper pair of boots on. My Scarpa SL M3s would be a minimum there. Generally I've got a genuine mountaineering boot on... If I'm really out there a plastic boot or Nepal Evo.

    Not a judgement, I just don't think of runners for winter use unless I'm actually running.
    I agree that boots are necessary sometimes. I have a pair of Salomon all-leather GoreTex boots which are similar to those Scarpa's. Up until a few years ago, I wore them a few times a year in winter or cold/wet conditions. They have some advantages, but I prefer a non-waterproof (mostly mesh) trail runner because:

    1. I prefer the sole of my foot to be able to flex some while walking and maneuvering.
    2. I prefer my ankle to be free to flex.
    3. Flexing my foot and ankle and using the small foot muscles some improves blood circulation, which keeps my foot warmer.
    4. Being able to flex the foot and ankle improves maneuverability and traction.
    5. I think GoreTex socks are a better solution to waterproofing than GoreTex-lined footwear because they can be easily rinsed and dried on the trail (dirt reduces breathability), they're easier for manufacturers to seal correctly, and they're easier to find and fix leaks. Mostly mesh trail runners match well with them because they maximize exposure to air for more breathability than most GoreTex footwear.
    6. Trail runners are generally around a pound lighter per foot than boots, allowing me to go farther and faster with less fatigue.

    I use trail runners while snowshoeing too, but not all bindings are comfortable enough. The hard plastic Crescent Moon bindings were uncomfortable, but I like the bindings on the Atlas 12 series.

    Last winter, I hiked a trail with some steep, icy sections using trekking poles, trail runners, and cheap rubber traction devices which relied on short metal screw heads for their grip. For $8 a pair, they worked surprisingly well. The problem was that they only lasted one hike. Whenever the screws would hit solid rock at the right angle, they'd pop out along with the special washer. They can't even be repaired by putting a new screw in. Some runners screw these screws directly into the soles of their shoe, but I don't like the idea of leaving behind metal screws on the trail when they pop out. I was thinking about getting some Kahtoola Microspikes for conditions like that, but I might just get some steel crampons.

    Kahtoola Microspikes:

    Kahtoola KTS Steel Crampons:

  3. #73


    I enjoy and learn from stories about people who are lost in the wilderness. Next on my reading list is Lost in the Wild.

    Jason Rasmussen, a third-year medical student who loved the forest’s solitude, walked alone into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness on a crisp fall day. After a two-day trek into a remote area of the woods, he stepped away from his campsite and made a series of seemingly trivial mistakes that left him separated from his supplies, wet, and lost, as cold darkness fell.
    It's rare that people document their experience while lost on film!

  4. #74
    Anew Leaf


    If you go to Minnisnowta this winter you may stop by my hosue for a cup of hot cocoa and a view of the great outdoors from the even greater indoors.

  5. #75


    Thank you, @Saturned. I'll take you up on that offer after I'm rescued.

  6. #76
    Senior Member Array giegs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011


    Interesting about the runners... I'm still skeptical but I'll give it a shot once we've got some snow on the ground.

    The Kahtoolas are money well spent. In more "mixed" terrain you'll beat the hell out of them and they won't last terribly long, but for trudging around on ice and hardpack they're great. I almost always bring a pair hiking in the Canyon in winter. They improved confidence is worth carrying them and not often needing them. Proper storage and care is key to keep the rubber from drying out, but I really like mine. There's another similar version out there with springs stretched across the bottom instead of spikes, but they don't work nearly as well or last as long from what I've seen.

    I'd suggest trying out real crampons before diving in on the purchase. I've spent a good amount of time in them and they're complete overkill for most non glacier/climbing applications. Clunky and a bit annoying at times as well.

  7. #77


    Thanks @giegs. Good to hear the Kathoolas work well. I really just need something for the occasional icy slope, but if the trail is all ice, I might be walking on them constantly. I think I'd get annoyed with crampons in that case.

  8. #78


    These trip reports, gear lists, and videos are interesting and informative, especially the winter ones:

    They have me thinking about a softshell jacket for winter to cut down on wind and slight warmth. I have a cotton anorak (2.5 lbs) I plan to wear for temps below 10-20 F, but it would be an extra 1-1.5 pounds extra to carry in the backpack when I'm not wearing it compared to a lighter softshell (1 lb). The Patagonia Ready Mix looks nice, but is no longer available. The new similar Patagonia Guide doesn't have adjustable sleeve cuffs, which is a significant issue to me in windy conditions.

    I might just stay with the cotton anorak.

  9. #79


    My current gear list for late summer

    I'd been considering a trip with something extremely minimal like just a knife and a poncho. I decided that would be too much work and not much fun because I'd have to spend most of my time building a shelter instead of hiking. With this gear, I can hike as long as I want during the daytime. I have a small coin-cell light for around camp, and I'd need to bring either a headlamp or a fire torch (too risky due to forest fire danger) if I wanted to hike at night. I'm cooking over a fire and not filtering or purifying water.

    I suspect there's a slight chance that the organizer of the group trip I'm going on will refuse to allow me to go on the trip due to "inadequate gear." That would be hilarious, since I consider this fairly luxurious gear because I'm carrying nearly all of the essential things I need.

    Pack liner
    Sleeping bag
    Sleeping pad
    Ground sheet
    Fleece hat
    Rain jacket
    Water bottle
    Food bag, cord, biner for hanging food away from bears
    Total pack weight: 4.95 pounds (not including food and water)

    T-shirt, polyester
    Pants, nylon
    Lens cleaning cloth
    Fire kit
    Light, LED coin cell
    Total carried/worn clothing and gear: 3.25 pounds

  10. #80
    4x9 Array cascadeco's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    4 so/sp


    This food is **REAAALLLY** good for healthy, quality, tasty dehydrated food. And the packaging is really convenient for backpacking excursions (cook in the packaging, and packaging seals very well/compresses for packing the waste out). Just need a little stove to heat the proper amount of water. Instructions are very easy and clear.

    I can give specific meal recommendations of the ones I've tried and really like.
    "...On and on and on and on he strode, far out over the sands, singing wildly to the sea, crying to greet the advent of the life that had cried to him." - James Joyce

    My Photography and Watercolor Fine Art Prints!!! Cascade Colors Fine Art Prints

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