Monthly Archives: April 2012

Gear Review: Merrell Chameleon4 Mid Waterproof Kids Boots

April 30, 2012  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

Merrell Chameleon4 Mid WP

Kids Hiking Boot
Merrell Chameleon4 Mid Waterproof
$75, 1 lb. 11 oz. (youth size 4)
Sizes: youth 3.5-7

“These feel reeeally nice,” my 11-year-old son proclaimed the first day he hiked in these boots. “They snug up close so that your whole foot is touching boot and doesn’t slip around to give you blisters. And the padding is awesome.” As a kid who has used many models of hiking shoes and boots—and tells me when he doesn’t like something (maybe too often)—he still felt that way about these mid-cut boots after five days of dayhiking and backpacking in Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park, including several miles of off-trail hiking and scrambling and a technical descent of a slot canyon. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Osprey Atmos 65 Backpack

April 30, 2012  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , ,   |   2 Comments

Osprey Atmos 65

Osprey Atmos 65
$239, 3 lbs. 7 oz. (medium)
Sizes: S 62L/3,783 c.i., M 65L/3,967 c.i., L 68L/4,150 c.i.

When you’re carrying a heavy pack on a hot day, a breeze across your sweaty back can feel like a plunge into a cool swimming hole. That may be the first thing you notice about the Atmos 65 (which also comes in a 50-liter version; the women’s packs are the Aura 65 and 50): the ventilated mesh back panel keeps the pack off of your back, allowing for excellent airflow. But you get more than just a cool back with the Atmos and Aura packs—you get high-end fit and organization. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Westcomb Switch LT Hoody Jacket

April 30, 2012  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

Westcomb Switch LT Hoody

Four-Season Jacket
Westcomb Switch LT Hoody
$430, 15 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL

A more breathable waterproof shell seems to be the holy grail of apparel manufacturers these days, and I’m all for that. Polartec says its NeoShell polyurethane membrane has the durability, ability to block wind, and waterproofing of a hard shell, and the breathability, stretch, and supple feel of a soft shell—while coming in lighter than competing technologies in both categories. If the Switch LT Hoody is an indication of where apparel makers can go with NeoShell, I think we’ll be seeing more and more jackets that can legitimately be called a four-season shell. Continue reading →

April 16, 2012

The Wildest Shore: Backpacking the Southern Olympic Coast

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   13 Comments

By Michael Lanza

On a remote, sandy beach on Washington’s Olympic coast, we stop in our tracks and gaze up. A wall of muddy earth rises some 300 feet into jungle-like rainforest. A thick strand of hemp rope dangles down this steep, eroding embankment. A ladder of wooden steps built into the muddy ground rises in tandem with the rope.

We’re going up it. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Ribz Front Pack

April 16, 2012  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

Ribz Front Pack

Ribz Front Pack
$60, 12 oz. (small)
Sizes: Small (fits waists 26-36 inches), regular (fits waists 32-46 inches)

Backpacks are great. They’re an enormously efficient way to carry a lot of gear. The downside, of course, is that you cannot get at most of what’s inside a backpack without taking it off. For years, I’ve used a chest pack for my camera gear and tried other front carrier packs without really finding a system that I loved. The Ribz Front Pack has now solved one of my most enduring gear dilemmas by being everything I’ve sought: convenient, adequately roomy, comfortable, and entirely unobtrusive. Continue reading →

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