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Michael Levine
(Trout) - F

Locale: Long Beach
UL issues on 11/14/2012 12:07:27 MST Print View

So I want to start this off by saying I've really done a lot of work getting my pack weight down (40-45 -> 10). When I did the JMT last year I was at 10lb. or so with a big bear can. This year I upped my pack weight to about 12 with a can, 10 without to do both the JMT (again) and the GR-20 (another 2 week'ish route). The reason for this was mostly comfort, I can't sleep with closed cell foam so I went with a big inflatable, and I love my solong tent, things like that. I had some problems though and some unhappiness about UL items that I'd like to voice. Perhaps someone can shed some light on my issues or personal failings, or perhaps someone can get some understanding from my issues.

1) Shoes. I've tried La Sportiva Wildcats (last year). They developed holes in the outer toe area, which quickly spread out and ripped apart, by the end I was sewing them daily to get to the finish line. I loved their light weight and breathability. I was told by REI that I was an idiot and that those shoes aren't meant for what I did with them. Fine, whatever. This year I upped my protection with the La Sportiva Raptors which I thought was a fair shot at fixing the durability issues I experienced. I had a similar problem in which the sides developed a hole, then that hole spread. I didn't have to sew them necessarily, but ended up doing it for fear of further spreading. Also when having to jam my foot under a rock to get a hand hold, they got ripped open on top of the toes by a sharp rock. This was a bummer and kind of a freak thing, but I expected them to hold up to a sharp rock. REI again tells me I'm an idiot, but then has some sympathy when I say these weren't even used 400 miles. I think the uppers and the toe area need to be completely sealed off with more durable material, mesh doesn't cut it, and boy I've tried to believe it does.

2) Pack (SMD Swift). I've used a SMD Swift for about two years. The mesh keeps getting ripped up, part of it seems to happen when manuevering through something where the water bottle holders (with a bottle in them) scrape up on a rock surface. That's one. I also had the stays actually go through the bottom of the pack where the stay holsters end. They poked through the pack and began rubbing the crap out of my skin until I was forced to stop using the stays. Third when I first got the pack the plastic bits holding the hip belt rubbed welts into my skin, as there were sharp edges on them. Once I hand sanded the edges of those round it helped fix the issue. Fourth the "no sweat" back material sure didn't help the swamp effect on my back, this was a lot worse than my old Osprey Atmos, but I do realize the Atmos spent a lot of weight to achieve that using mesh and curved stays.

3) Ti Trowel (big dig). I liked this item a lot until it started bending backwards on use. I guess it needs to be thicker, or I need to use it for less workhorse digging (so not to uproot small roots).

4) Windpants (Montbell). I had expected to be able to sit on these, not on sharp rocks, but on wood benches, things like that. They quickly shredded on use, a tiny rip that cascaded into bum-less chaps.

5) Down jackets without windstop or cinch cords (Montbell). I really disliked mine because man, that thing is useless in even the smallest wind because it lets a breeze through. Pair it with a windshirt you say? I do, but it's a bummer to need to. The windshell is also needed to bring in the bagginess around the wrists and waist. Improper fit.... as it turns out yeah, but it's the right size, it just needs stupid cheap easy lightweight things incorporated into it (wrist cinch, waist cinch) to be so much warmer.

6) Quilts (Katabatic, but probably generic issue). I'm a fidgetty sleeper and that has let to some quilt problems. I find quilts wonderful when it's warmer out and it's easy to kick them off or drape them. The problem I have is when I really need that temp rating. I have an issue with any configuration tying them to my pad, because it lets air in, which can be fixed by making it extremely tight, in which case I can't move which just doesn't for me. If I put it strictly to my body, whenever I move air flows in and I'm cold again. I think I'm headed back to bags.

So those are my gripes from my experiences backpacking multi day treks these past two years. I have to say they make me want to buy boots, which I hate as they're swampy, a more durable pack, which I hate because it's heavy, and a better jacket. I think I'm over the windpants, though man did I love 'em back when they were pants. Trowel I think I'm okay using a more durable rock for scooping.

Edited by Trout on 11/14/2012 12:42:51 MST.

Michael Levine
(Trout) - F

Locale: Long Beach
UL issues on 11/14/2012 19:36:42 MST Print View


Edited by Trout on 11/15/2012 09:36:29 MST.

Alex Eriksson

Locale: Austin, TX
Re: UL issues on 11/14/2012 20:02:10 MST Print View

I can't speak to really any of the direct issues you bring up with any authority, but I can at least contribute some multi-sport insight, and if nothing else add to your thread so you don't feel like the fat kid left out of kickball (I was that kid once, plus red hair, so I can make those kind of comments!).

Being new to the "scene" as it were, the UL mindspace, I've had to treat it like any other sport that invariably becomes a bit obsessive about weight. In my case the most experience I have is with mountain bike racing where I see some similarities in ethos. To wit, I was never elite class, nor were people I spent time with racing. However borne out of racing (perhaps a similar parallel to timed-AT hiking, or adventure racing?) comes this desire to squeeze every last drop of performance out of the gear and cut weight. However, what works for a race, or what's a calculated risk taken over the course of a competitive endeavor, often (if not frequently) doesn't translate into a great time or the most bang for the buck on a recreational level. Hell, even on an amateur racing level I saw people's weight-shaving choices and mechanicals related to the durability of their gear lead to DNF (did not finish) versus a time a few tenths slower (maybe) if they had used a heavier more durable piece of equipment.

Moreover, frequently we're talking about amateurs whose fitness level (and this doesn't seem to be a similarity to you per se if you're capable of long distance hiking a few times a year) isn't going to afford them to the same operational margin with less than comfortable gear. Frankly, as someone who has been going back through a lot of the trip report threads packed with beautiful pictures of places I'd love to see, posted by people whose accomplishments in getting there and back can't be challenged, I still see plenty of people who are far from the peak of physical fitness. I'll be the first person to put myself on blast, to cast the first stone at myself, and say before I can in good conscience start counting grams (or even singular ounces) I should honestly do myself a favor and simply get in better damn shape and lose some weight around my chubby exterior.

Regarding gear specifically, I think a lot of people will talk themselves into believing A) the hype, B) their own rationalized purchases, and C) do so quietly or at least without looking stupid. I'm not saying we all go back to 40-60 pound packs, but I can guarantee I'm happy to buy a puffy with a cinch waist and #5 zippers that's a whole 1-2oz heavier. In fact, last night I did the math to figure out how much I'd be paying per pound of sh*t I'm not carrying on a simple puffy. The Golite puffy on sale for $100 right now was rated as "not good enough to take backpacking" by BPL's reviews, and a number of alternatives for 70-100% more money that were into the arbitrary range of acceptably BPL lite (so light I drop the G and H). The outcome? A staggering $560 - $800 per pound!

So the question is, at least in my mind, if I make that judgement call to carry an extra 2oz, eight times, and have $560-800 in my pocket, would I be happier without the money or would I be happier spending the money to go on a number of trips toil *sarcasm* with my heavier gear in comfort? I think the decision is pretty clear (for me).

In conclusion, be realistic and question everything, both in favor and against the UL mentality. If stuff is breaking on you I don't think a reasonable person could fault you for going to sturdier gear. If you're miserable, cold, annoyed, or physically beaten down by the failings of your gear by all means, spend less money, get sturdier and likely heavier stuff!


Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Re: UL issues on 11/14/2012 20:05:23 MST Print View

1-fitment is king on shoes, but you might want to try Montrails Sabino Trail or AT, very sturdy (but still pretty light), I've been getting 500 miles out of them and they still look almost new- 500 seems to be a general consensus when to ditch trail runner (don't actually ditch them they just relegated to other duties)

2-pack- if you want lightweight and a frame, try the ULA Ohm- it's probably the most comfortable pack I've worn- if you need larger, look at their Circuit

3- I use a MYO pvc trowel, maybe not as light as Ti, but has proven rather tough

4-I have the old MB windpants that have some lycra in them, they've proven tough, but they aren't as light as the UL ones (probably why they are tougher :))

5-I recently purchased a MH Ghost down jacket- has a hood and waist cinch cord- 8 oz in Large, it's a dandy

6-not everyone is cut out for a quilt, I like them for "summer" use, once it gets to shoulder season/winter I go back to a bag

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: UL issues on 11/14/2012 20:37:23 MST Print View


Maybe the wrong gear for the job/conditions/use?

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
UL issues on 11/14/2012 21:38:20 MST Print View

You may need to realize your gear selection may need more care since going so light. I have the Montbell I guess liner down jacket that I bought used here. Love it. I can see that it is all I need for summer trips in the Sierra, no vest needed as extra warmth. I have a 4oz. silnylon anorak if needed to stop wind. The ti trowel, I have the regular model, I can see it would take only a moderate action to bend if used as a pry tool, its best useage seems to be stabbing the ground to dig a hole. If rocks get in the way, you may have to pull it out by hand. Just my one summer observation on my two new pieces of gear. Second season for my Caldera Cone, loved it, uses so little fuel, I only need to bring less than 4 oz. of alky for it and would still have fuel after a week trip. I'm jealous though of your being able to get away for extended length trips, maybe when I retire in <7 years, I can do something.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: UL issues on 11/15/2012 00:44:32 MST Print View

1. some of these UL shoes arent meant to be "durable" for rock use ... thats life ... you can help the life by seam gripping the stitching and seams ... but there IS a reason why approach shoes often have the entire front toe covered in rubber ...

2. if you are using a pack with mesh, especially a UL one ... youll wear it out when the said mesh meets rock or bushwhacking ... as to the stays popping out, sometimes you pay for that weight in durability ... you can always reinforce the area with duct tape or other suck, which will of course add to the weight ... thats the tradeoff which not too many here talk about ...

3. same ... if you want something that doesnt bend, get something more durable and less UL

4. either buy the very cheap windpants others have posted up ... or get a pair of light softshell pants from somewhere like EB, OR or somebody else with a killer warranty ... some people will insist on how light their windpants are and how durable ... i use softshell pants the last longer, i would destroy windpants very quickly

5. thats the price you pay for all that UL goodness ;)

6. another thing some people here dont tell you ... quilts can get drafty when cold ... get a bigger quilt or a bag ... remember just because someone who praises something in mild conditions, doesnt mean itll work for ya in marginal ones ...

you just need to choose what you want out of yr gear ... it has to do the job you want, last the time you want, cost what you can afford and be reasonably light ...

i always suggest not getting overly caught up in the fancy gear ...

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: UL issues on 11/15/2012 01:08:48 MST Print View

[EDIT: Eric beat my post, and is far more succinct than I am so you can ignore my post if you want]

I'm going to second Nick on this. A lot of your problems seem to stem from improper use of the gear, that is using the gear in ways unintended. Going light requires more mental skills and technique than just a simple swap of gear to maintain equivalent comfort (or potentially learning to accept discomfort while still staying well within the bounds of safe). Going lighter should be a function of hiking smarter, not of improving gear. Specifically I'll address your points in reverse order.

6) For your sleep style, your quilt is too narrow. A wider quilt (or a bag) would solve all your problems. This is unfortunately a hard one to suss out without taking the plunge into quilts head first. More research and experience may or may not have steered you away from the quilt route. Many, due to cost and simplicity, start with warmer weather quilts to see how they sleep. Also many abandon quilts for sub freezing temps. Wearing insulated clothing (like a down jacket) may help mitigate the shock of drafts as you sleep.

5) I have small wrists/waist, sized up from usual fit and my MB UL jacket fits great. Not sure why you're having so many issues, but I love mine. Mine also blocks a lot of wind but I rarely wear it unless stationary, at which case I have the time and opportunity to layer accordingly (if windy and cold, but I'm not too sweaty I'll throw a hardshell on over all my insulation).

4) I never use wind pants. I find a good pair of supplex pants provides adequate wind protection and is very durable. My arc'teryx rampart pants have survived plenty of thorn scrub and rock climbing while still looking virtually brand new a few years later. Wind pants are pretty much only good for well groomed trails, and a ginger tookus placement.

3) A thin piece of rolled sheet metal (titanium or otherwise) really isn't designed for your usage. Good for cutting into the ground and loosening dirt, but not for prying/levering the dirt up. Titanium is flexible, if you feel the trowel flexing you're probably putting too much force on it already.

2) Sweaty back is the name of the game. Aside from a few Osprey packs virtually EVERY pack will give you sweaty back. Deal with it. Durability issues: mesh is weak and falls apart when bushwhacking. The HMG Windrider has a "SouthWest" model that specifically drops the mesh for woven fabric because in the SW we have so many thorns and rocks that mesh gets shredded. Again you have the wrong pack for your intended usage (a lot of UL gear is aimed at long TRAIL hiking and many "trails" outside of the desert are fairly nice hikes where gear never touches anything but your back or the ground). The other issues just sound like an improper fit or just poor manufacturer quality. The stays wearing through prematurely could also be from overloading the pack before you fully went UL, you can rule that out based on when you bought the pack.

1) Shoes are a tough one. Your hiking style may just be too rugged for trail runners. Maybe La Sportiva just has durability issues (they're climbing shoes are top notch but some are hit and miss on long term durability). I'd recommend finding a new brand that first fits you great, and second offers more durable solutions. I use Inov-8s (roclite 315s) like many others and the shoes have handled all the abuse the SW desert has to offer with minimal durability issues. I've had heavier and supposedly beefier vasques fall apart on me with minimal use on the rocky trails out here.

It may seem that a lot of this is the gear's fault, but because the same discontent is spread across several disparate pieces of gear I have to say the issue lies with you. Either you are demanding too much from gear or you haven't experimented with enough setups to find solutions that work perfect for you. When I go on adventure hikes (peak bagging and canyoneering usually) I tend to take burlier gear that won't break down on me. If I want to just cover miles on trail then I switch to the more UL oriented gear. I've also spent a ridiculous amount of time researching my gear, evaluating how my gear works as systems, and field testing my gear in safe but demanding situations (like my failed experiments with a WPB sack in all night rain, that was a long cold hike in the dark back to my car haha).

You have a lot of nice gear that you should pleased with, I think you just need to spend the time to figure out what situations of outdoor fun it works best for. I hope you do find a system that eventually does work for you well.

Edited by upalachango on 11/15/2012 01:12:04 MST.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: UL issues on 11/15/2012 05:29:26 MST Print View

UL gear by nature sacrifices a bit of durability to get the job done. UL gear will wear out a bit faster than non-UL gear. Example, packs: I have a 40 year old Tough Traveler, 2600CI pack. I use it every day on morning hikes. It weighs 2#2. I buy UL packs at 8oz to save 1#10. But these only last about 5-6 years. For the trade off in weight, I pay in cost (buy 6 packs instead of one.) I know they will eventually die, even if they get good maintenence.

Durability has little to do with reliability in the field. Whatever you decide to bring needs to be a bit more reliable, because, UL demands multi-use where possible.
Example: The older Impulse lights are great, but over a few trips the light seems to reduce from all the scratches on the lens. I can stand on it, dip it in water, it always works, but maybe not as well as it used too. I used to carry two lights (two old double AA lights) because I dropped one and watched it "explode" on some rocks. Bulb, lens cover, and case shed pieces. The little Impulse is far more reliable.

Repairability is another thing. If I puncture a Neoair in the field, I cannot repair it. There is a 100% failure. Locating a leak, patching it, and getting it to hold air are not things I can do easily, so I do not consider it field repairable. Example: Duct tape repirs to the bottom of the pack got me out after ripping the entire bottom out of the pack (I slipped down a steep slide in the ADK's tearing the bottoms out of both pouches and the pack after a rock step broke.) It worked well enough to complete the trip.

You might to spend more time with maintenence with UL gear. "I also had the stays actually go through the bottom of the pack where the stay holsters end." sounds like a good area for a heavy duty patch. While a bit of duct tape will get you out, OK, a more permanent repair can be made with a bit of sewing. Maybe you need a piece of strapping sewn in there? My overall philosophy on patching a pack is I do NOT want to have it fail *twice* in the same spot. Soo, my overall repairs tend to be heavier than the origonal. Example: The G5 had some stretching issues where the shoulder harness buckle was mounted on the shoulder strap. So, I added a piece of silnylon cloth on both straps after removing the buckle. I added a longer mounting strap and sewed the buckle on. It upped the weight about a half ounce, but I never worried the buckle/strap mount would fail again. Heavier than designed, but far easier than having them fail in the field.

Shoes are another area where I tend to stick with more durable, ultra reliable gear. I have tried many trail runners. I destroy them, somehow, in three to four weeks on the trail. My mid hikers, I have had for many years. Indeed the soles are nearly worn smooth after 7-8 years. I have far fewer problems, the soles have never delaminated, they remain water restant for deep puddles (2-3"), have soft rubber for gripping on rocks, a fairly stiff sole for walking on pointed rocks, and have a rubber toe cap for kick-stepping in snow. I have gone through 8 pr of trail runners, yet always go back to the mids every other trip.

Lately, Skurka has gotten the concept of "Stupid Light" across to most UL'ers. It sounds to me that if you must bring a trowel, you likely need another one that will take your usage. The one you have clearly does not if you have trouble using it.

Down jackets are real good as wind shells. But they *do* need cinches. A few years back, Eddie Bauer started to make good down sweaters and jackets... At around 12-13 ounce, they have several features you might be interested in.

Bags or Quilts...always the question. I tried quilts but found them to be less versitile than a bag. Mornings I unzip the bottom and walk around in my bag, for instance. The hood I like for keeping my head warm (uhh...balding head, I would add.)
I toss and turn a lot...with quilts, every toss and turn is accompanied by a blast of cold air. I could never get used to them. So after several tries, I went back to a bag.
As a comparison(using about a 32F system):
$385(Bag) + $30(NightLite pad) = ~415
$240(Quilt) + $150(Xtherm) + #30(balaclava) = ~420

1#11+10 = 2#5 (combined weight sleeping bag and pad)
1#1+15+2 = 2#2 (combined weight, quilt, better pad, balaclava)

It doesn't really matter when everything is evaluated in use. It all goes into the backpack, somewhere as weight.

Edited by jamesdmarco on 11/15/2012 05:40:09 MST.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Your UL Issues on 11/15/2012 05:48:41 MST Print View

One specific comment and two general
1) on the wildcats I also developed holes in three size 12.5 that I hiked with last year. The two size 12s did not. Find another shoe.
2) in general this shows perfectly that UL is as much about knowledge as it is gear. Many of the issues you described have been overcome pretty easily. I also have the same issues with a quilt but it's not a problem because I use a bivy.
3) yes, you have to be more careful with lightweight fabrics.

Learn from your experience and adapt.

Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
another 2 cents on 11/15/2012 06:09:40 MST Print View

Hey Michael. I haven't read the other replies--I just wanted to jump in and give you my perspectives because your OP has some interesting issues, to me anyhow. Hope they are helpful.

I should also say that I am somewhat new to the UL game too. When I started posting here a few years ago I had like 22lbs and I thought that was pretty light back then. I have since not only gone UL nearly all the time, but also often go SUL, and even have a few XUL trips under my belt too. Nearly all of my lightweight trips during and after my transitions to present day have been awesome and/or opened new doors. I am very glad I kept an open mind and went out and experimented and found systems of gear that really work for me.

If you are interested in my current favorite system (this changes month to month it seems), here she blows:

1. Shoes. I ditched the boots and went hardcore barefoot shoes with a pair of Merrel Bare Essentials that I wear most of the time. I recently ordered a pair of Trail Gloves and look forward to them. I have tried my best to kill my BE for the past 8 months or so, including lots of off trail hikes, along with urban use too. They are still going strong, much to my surprise. I even figured out how to get rid of the stink too! So I highly recommend these shoes, but you have to be willing to go all out barefoot--not sure about the shoes that you were using, but to have them break down like that sucks, and you should look for better lightweight options.

2. Your pack. I have read mixed reviews of your pack on here. Get a pack with no mesh. I have a custom Zpacks Zero that is all solid hybrid Cuben, including the back pocket. It's amazing stuff. I do a lot of off trail hiking. There were several times bushwhacking that I heard a nasty scratch or poke from brush, sticks, rocks, etc. and I thought "Well, this is it, time to patch up my pack," but to my surprise no holes or any major damage. There was one time my shoulder strap buckle broke, but that was mostly my fault, as I was climbing down the side of a cliff and jumped down the last few meters, which caused the buckle to snap in the middle from the stress of the impact. Joe was nice enough to mail me new buckles to fix it. The back sweat thing is part of the game, but that said, I have to say I guess I am either lucky no to sweat much there or not notice, because for me this is a pretty much a non-issue. It has only slightly bugged me on a few occasions in the middle of a hot summer day.

3. Trowel. Ditch it. Get a stick. Can't find a stick, use a tent stake, or just dig with your hands. Remember that you have to wash your hands afterwards anyhow, so what's a little dirt on them mean?

4. Wind pants. I bought a pair of Nike running pants on sale for cheap (10 bucks I think) last spring, put them through the grinder, and was pleasantly surprised how long they lasted for only about 160g weight. I took them off trail on several trips, then put over 150km of marked trail use on them until they finally got a small rip on the backside back in August. This was good timing, as in the fall with cooler temps I went back to a pair of generic nylon hiking pants. Next spring I plan on buying the same or similar pair of running pants and doing the same thing as this past year. Maybe I got lucky, don't know. I always keep a sewing kit with me anyhow, and if worse comes to worse I don't mind hiking in my base layer pants and/or rain pants to the next town or back home to get a new pair of pants.

5. Down jackets. I only own one, and it is the first one I ever had, and I am very happy with it. It is also a MB. I only wear it when temps go under freezing at night, otherwise I stick to fleece plus a windbreaker (and rain jacket over both of those if needed). Why not try switching to a fleece? If it is not warm enough, could also include a vest (down or synth--I use a synth one that is only 190g).

6. Quilts. Never owed one, not sure about trying them either. I move around a lot in my sleep, plus I have found two great bags for warmer and colder temps. For me this is a "if it ain't broke don't fix it" kind of thing. My base weight next spring will be 7.35lbs with a 30f/-1c bag, and that's fine by me. Between 6 and 9 pounds base weight I find not much of a difference on my body. If you are happy with bags go with bags. What is tempting for me is a twin quilt from Zpacks, because my wife also likes to backpack too, but the price holds us back--and this is a different situation where you share heat with someone.

Anyhow, good luck to you. If you want to add weight, and you are still happy out there, then go for it. Remember that the whole UL (and SUL and XUL etc.) game is entirely arbitrary. There is no essence of lightweight backpacking. :)

UL on 11/15/2012 06:34:34 MST Print View

Sounds like you should try a different brand of shoes, or keep buying them from REI. I dont have any complaints about Innov8 yet. Except Id like them to dry faster.

Gear is a consumable, just like your car. It wont last forever, it isnt supposed to. Its called wear-and-tear. You already know light wt sacrifices durability, support, comfort above certain weight, and dry-backs.

That said, I have bushwacked thru stuff that literally shredded a CCF pad on outside of pack, without so much as a nick left on my ULA packs. OK, maybe a small burr on the stretch pocket on the OHM, but nothing in the sturdy mesh of the circuit.

I think you chose to omit those features on your down jacket. Heavier models have them.

I dont have any problems with my quilt. Perhaps you need a wider quilt. I dont strap it to pad, at most if strapped its cinched up to keep it around ME ,not the pad ,that creates dead air space.

Michael Levine
(Trout) - F

Locale: Long Beach
Re: UL on 11/15/2012 13:14:48 MST Print View

Well, consensus seems to be that what I have doesn't suit my needs. I couldn't agree more. Shoes do seem to have this issue in general, or perhaps that's a big part of fitting them.

I agree on repairing gear. The backpack I'm just surprised had the issue in the first place.

I am pretty demanding on gear in some instances, shoes namely. Others like backpacks I just don't expect to not withstand some super minor abrasion. I'll be checking into packs with no mesh for my next. Or maybe a ULA Ohm, as Mike recommended.

I'm going with a wider quilt, thanks for that advice. As Dustin said it's pretty hard to buy your first knowing all there is to know about them, and I'd say summer trips aren't even enough to tell necessarily.

Yeah I'm with you Alex, back to being a bit heavier in a few regards.

Thanks for the input all!

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: UL issues on 06/10/2013 11:57:09 MDT Print View

Michael would you do another JMT with the Raptors? I just ordered a pair after reading the advice to use them on the JMT on another thread. I have the Wildcats but may return them, just got them yesterday.

I'm doing my 6th JMT this year and am tempted to use trail runners for the first time doing a Sierra long distance hike. Have used things like Keen Mid-Height Targhee or Lowa Renegade GTX boots in the past.

Roleigh Martin

Eli Zabielski
(ezabielski) - F

Locale: Boulder, CO
My thoughts on 06/10/2013 12:22:03 MDT Print View

1. Shoes. I am on my third pair of La Sportiva Electrons, which have been discontinued by La Sportiva, but are still in stock on Amazon. They have a suede-ish outer over the mesh. So far, the uppers have outlasted the tread in all three pairs. The tread is not durable. But there are plenty of good brands besides LS.

2. Back Sweat. When your pack is light enough on a trip, you can walk with your pack on one shoulder for a little ways to air out your back. Then switch shoulders to get the other side. Then put it back on both shoulders until you get too sweaty again. If all else fails, I found the Osprey Exos super comfortable. What about the Zpacks Arc Blast?

3. Trowel. What environments are you in that require a trowel?

4. Windpants. The lighter gear you get, the more care it requires in general. Montbell Dynamo pants are really light.

5. Down Jacket. MHW Ghost Whisperer?

6. Not everyone likes quilts. Hike your own hike, blah blah blah...

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Good down jacket on 06/10/2013 13:23:02 MDT Print View

My Eddie Bauer Down Sweater (in my avatar) has lightly elasticized wrists and bottom hem. In summer you can likely find them on sale.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
re: UL issues on 06/10/2013 13:52:56 MDT Print View

On the quilt: Check out ZPacks quilt/bag. Essentially a quilt, but they also come with a zipper if desired. As a side sleeper who flips back and forth all night, I find I can use it like a quilt in warm weather, and zip up in cooler temps. Very nice!

Josh Brock

Locale: Outside
you got it on 06/10/2013 15:06:09 MDT Print View

You pretty much nailed it. Those are the draw backs of UL gear