Monthly Archives: January 2012

Taking Pounds Off My Back

The shoes on the left are the Merrel Light Hikers that I had bought when I first started backpacking.  They weigh 1lb 13.3oz and to me that seemed really light and compared to a traditional shoe it was.  They are good shoes for anyone who is starting out and whose pack weight still constitute the need for such hefty shoes.  But now that I have gotten my base pack weight down far enough that I decided to make the switch in my footwear.  Last night I went to my local shoe store to finally buy the pair of trail runners I had been wanting for months.  I got them on sale and with a coupon for half of their original cost.

These are my new Adidas Thrasher Trail Runners!  They weight a total of 1lb 5.8 ounces.  That’s a difference of almost a full half pound.  Now this may not seem like a lot but the math says that 1lb on your feet is equal to 6.5lbs on your back.  When you think about it in these terms my little 1/2lb turns into a whopping 3.25lbs off of what I’m carrying on the trail.  Who wouldn’t love to save 3.25lbs with one simple purchase!

I chose these particular shoes for several reasons one of which is the fantastic color!  Now normally I don’t  care about color, I’ll wear anything in the most absurd colors if it is the right fit, right price and right item for me and my gear systems, but when it came to my shoes I had something in mind that I was looking for in the color.  Specifically I wanted a non light color such as grey or white.  This was to reduce the amount of dirt that is visible.  So they are real winners in that category in this beautiful black and purple with hot pink laces.  Some of the other features are the durable mesh uppers that is broken up by several hard surface materials.  This gives it good breath-ability without sacrificing on durability.  Also the tip of the toe has an extended section of the sole wrapped up around it for good coverage and traction in less than flat areas.  The sole itself is covered in all sorts of terrain gripping nooks and crannies that are made out of a mud resistant material to reduce the amount of junk that gets caught up in the sole that can reduce your traction over time.

 So with all these pros in mind I settled on this shoe which also fell into my price range, costing me an absurdly low $40 after a sale and coupon.  I bought a full shoes size larger than I normally would to give good room for when my feet swell.  Not wanting to get so far away from my purchase date that I could not return them if they did not hold up as advertised, I decided to give them a trail test the very next day.  Meeting JJ from Jermm’s Outside Blog at one of our local trails I set off for a test!  It has rained fairly heavily in the last week here and the trail has a lot of tree cover, making this a great time to test how clean these shoes can stay in some soggy conditions.  As the pictures show these shoes really held up.  Now this was only one test but I’ve hiked in better conditions on the same trail and many shoes have not come out nearly as well.

Now as far as their performance in the comfort category, they also came through this with flying colors!  There is a respectable amount of up and down on the trail I hiked and I have hiked it before in my Merrel’s where I have ended the day with sore toes and pain in my shins.  Not once did I feel that my toes were being smushed, neither was my foot bobbing up and down in the heel, reducing overall leg pain.  The shoe and laces held firmly just above my toes without being constricting.  This kept my foot in place in the shoe without sacrificing room in the toe box or room to loosen the laces for longer hikes when my foot is likely to swell.  To be honest I don’t think me feet have ever felt this great after a hike!  If these shoes have a con, I haven’t found it yet, but only time will tell that.  So far these get 5 stars!

 

Next Time On ULB or Bust…

So it’s officially 2012, actually it’s been 2012 for several days now and I’ve been feeling the pressure to post a New Year’s post.  I’ve actually had a bit of a hard time this holiday season and I’ve had a hard time feeling up to posting about anything for the last few weeks.  First, I’ve had to put a TON (like think 4 zeros) of money into keeping my car running, which is essential to my job, but also and possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, I had to put down my dog Dakota three days before Christmas.  It was just the end to a very long process.  I knew it was coming but don’t think I would have ever been ready for it, suffice it to say, he had lost the ability to stand or walk.  He was my first dog and had been my best friend for 14 years.

There was nothing Dakota loved more than being with me unless it was being outside.  I was very lucky to enjoy a childhood filled with outdoor adventures with my big dog.  Needless to say, it’s been very difficult to think about going camping without him.

 

On to happier thoughts.  Things that will be coming up for us this year.  We will have lots of new gear reviews coming including:

1. Mont Bell Alpine Light Down Jacket

2. A Custom Made surprise from Zpacks (you’ll just have to come back to find out what)

3. Fleece Pants – who go fleece and not down

4. Hammock Under Quilt

and more!

I also plan on doing a lot more Make Your Own Gear (MYOG) posts as well as start really digging in on food: what to take, how much to take, how to dehydrate and assemble your own freezer bag meals, snacks, what works, what doesn’t, ect.  I am planning on throwing in several philosophical posts as well, not just what you take but why you go, what do I get out of backpacking and other such queries. So tune in for all this and more coming up on your friendly neighborhood backpacking blog!  Happy New Year Everybody!!!

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