Tag Archives: hiking gear reviews
Osprey Zip 25
$60, 25L/1,526 c.i., 1 lb. 8 oz.
One size, not adjustable (fits children age 8 to 13)
For my family’s seven-day, hut-to-hut trek through Italy’s Dolomite Mountains, I wanted a daypack for my 13-year-old son that’s comfortable, has the capacity and good organization for his water, clothes, and personal items, and that’s streamlined and stable so it wouldn’t encumber him too much. So I had him test-drive a Zip 25. Continue reading →
Bioskin Compression Shorts
$95, 7 oz. (medium)
Bioskin Calf Skin Sleeves
$65/pair, $35/one, 3 oz. (XL pair)
Sizes: S-XXL (The size range fits calves with a widest-point circumference of 11 to 20 ins.)
Opedix Knee-Tec Tights
$225, 10 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL, women’s XS-XL
Well into the descent off 9,860-foot McGown Peak in Idaho’s Sawtooths—a dayhike of about 11 miles and more than 3,300 vertical feet, mostly off-trail with 1,000 feet of third-class scrambling and steep scree running—I turned to my climbing partner and said, “My legs feel great.” I’d like to believe that’s because I’m in such incredible physical condition that climbing a rugged peak does not even begin to fatigue my leg muscles. But the reason I felt so fresh at that point was because of what I was wearing below the waist: Opedix Knee-Tec Tights. I’ve been using compression apparel—shorts, tights, socks, and calf sleeves—for a few years, and I’ve found I can trail run and hike farther before getting tired, and feel better that evening and the next day. Clothing that does that almost seems like cheating—but I’ll take any advantage I can find. Continue reading →
L.L. Bean Day Trekker 25 with Boa
$100, 2 lbs. 2 oz. (M/L)
Sizes: S/M (1,422 c.i./23L) and M/L (1,620 c.i./27L)
Tradition meets modern technology in Bean’s Trekker 25 with Boa compression. On dayhikes from Idaho’s City of Rocks National Reserve to the Needles District of Utah’s Canyonlands National Park, the Trekker 25 gave me plenty of space for extra clothing and food for my kids and me, carried quite comfortably with up to 15 pounds, and offered the kind of organization that makes an obsessive-compulsion person like me feel all warm and fuzzy. But the deal closer is the pack’s two Boa compression systems, with internal wires that are cranked tight and released with an external knob (think: ski and snowboard boots), that snug undersized loads against your back so well that the pack never shifts, even when scrambling rugged, off-trail terrain. Continue reading →
Mammut MTR 201 10+2L
$90, 9.5 oz.
How can the lightest hydration pack on the market be stable enough for trail running and mountain biking, yet have the capacity for a big dayhike? When that pack morphs into a different animal with the pull of a zipper. From mountain bike rides of up to five hours and numerous trail runs of up to 20 miles and 3,600 vertical feet in the Boise Foothills, to dayhikes in Italy’s Dolomite Mountains, the MTR 201 10+2L proved unusually versatile and carried surprisingly well for being lighter than any hydration pack I’ve reviewed. Continue reading →
[Note: Both reader questions below are similar, so I combined them into one post.]
I recently came across your website. It’s a fantastic resource—thank you!
I am looking for a breathable (i.e., not waterproof) shoe for long, fast dayhikes (with occasional downhill running) on rough, rocky terrain (on and off-trail). Reasonable performance on third-, fourth-, and low fifth-class terrain is a bonus, but 95 percent of the shoe’s use will be on rough, non-technical terrain. The two main shoes I was considering were the Salewa Firetail EVO and the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor. You give both of these shoes high praise, for similar applications (e.g. 22-mile, 5,000-foot vertical hike with the Firetails; 28-mile, 8,000-foot vertical hike with the Raptors). Which do you prefer? Which do you think would be best for my intended applications? Are there other shoes you think I should consider? Continue reading →