Monthly Archives: August 2011

Gear Review: Salewa Firetail GTX Hiking/Scrambling Shoe

August 31, 2011  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , ,   |   1 Comment

Salewa Firetail GTX

Hiking/Scrambling Shoe
Salewa Firetail GTX
$149, 1 lb. 15 oz. (men’s US size 9)
Sizes: men’s 7-12, 13, women’s 6-10, 11

I’ve long observed that expecting “approach” shoes, made for technical scrambling, to be comfortable for hiking more than a few miles is a bit like expecting your road bike to handle riding on rugged trails. But the Firetail nails the hard-to-find balance between performing as an excellent scrambling shoe while remaining surprisingly comfortable on long hikes. Continue reading →

August 31, 2011

In the Footsteps of John Muir: Finding Solitude in the High Sierra

In Backpacking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

By Michael Lanza

I’m slogging up a long ramp of beach-like sand toward Cox Col, an off-trail pass sitting a few ticks over 13,000 feet in California’s John Muir Wilderness. The high-altitude sun feels like a blacksmith’s forge hovering right above my head. My breaths come faster than my steps, and I feel lightheaded. But I’m thinking mostly about the pass ahead of us—and whether there’s a safe route over it. Continue reading →

Gear Review: REI Flash 30 Daypack

August 16, 2011  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , ,   |   Leave a comment

REI Flash 30

REI Flash 30
$80, 1 lb. 6 oz. (medium)
Sizes: Medium 30L/1,830 c.i., Large 31L/1,892 c.i.

Unless you can afford a quiver of packs, you expect a daypack to be many things: lightweight and compact for when you don’t need to carry much, spacious and comfortable when you do need to haul a fair bit of stuff. Not many daypacks are that flexible—but the Flash 30 is. On a recent trip to Oregon, I used it on Columbia Gorge dayhikes by myself and with my family, and even a quick morning ski up to 10,000 feet on Mt. Hood. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Brooks-Range Cirro Hoody Puffy Jacket

August 16, 2011  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

Brooks-Range Cirro Hoody

Puffy Jacket
Brooks-Range Cirro Hoody
$189, 13 oz.
Sizes: S-XL

I looked at this puffy jacket and thought, “Not gonna keep me warm. Too thin and light.” Wrong. From Washington’s North Cascades to Oregon’s Grand Ronde River and Idaho’s City of Rocks, I was toasty on windy, cool mornings down to the upper 30s. The lightweight, Primaloft One insulation doesn’t look Michelin Man fat, but is tops at trapping body heat. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Marmot Plasma 30 Sleeping Bag

August 16, 2011  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

Marmot Plasma 30

Sleeping Bag
Marmot Plasma 30
$419, 1 lb. 6 oz. (regular)
Sizes: regular (6’), long (6’6”)

I don’t have room in my life for a heavy, bulky sleeping bag. If I’m backpacking with my young kids, carrying most of our food and gear, or loaded down for a multi-day climbing trip, I need to cut ounces everywhere possible. If I’m backpacking without my family, I want to go as light as possible. The newest bag to raise the superlight bar—or lower it, if you will—is the Plasma 30. I used it recently for five nights on the Ptarmigan Traverse in Washington’s North Cascades, and earlier this summer camping at Idaho’s City of Rocks and rafting Oregon’s Grand Ronde River. Continue reading →

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