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Bill Porreca

Bill Porreca

Wasatch, UT

Bill Porreca's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Skiing
Snowshoeing
Climbing
Running
Biking

Bill Porreca's Bio

Backcountry.com’s Gearheads are your instant connection to gear knowledge. They’re passionate outdoor experts hell-bent on helping you find the right ski, saddle, or pro. Follow their adventures and exploits.

Let me know if you have any questions you can always give me a call 1800-409-4502 my extension is 4181 and I work Monday-Friday 9am-5pm. Follow me to learn about the gear I use or articles I have written. If the phone is not your thing feel free to email me at bporreca@backcountry.com.

Bill Porreca

Bill Porrecawrote a review of on September 3, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I gave it as a gift but have feedback to share
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 200 lbs

Girlfriend is always an 8, and these were no different. Perfect fit right out of the box, no break in period.

She was constantly rolling her ankle and we needed to find something with ankle support, plus she wanted it to be light. When you first take these out of the box you will be surprised with how light they really are, its pretty insane.

If you have anymore questions feel free to send me an email or call!

Bill Porreca
bporreca@backcountry.com
801-736-6398

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Bill Porreca

Bill Porrecawrote a review of on September 3, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I gave it as a gift but have feedback to share
Fit: Runs large

The stars given for something that didnt fit dont make a ton of sense. I really wanted my girlfriend to love this shoe. She needed something with ankle support but, with an approach shoe grip. Really tough to find for women.

This is the closest thing I could get to and it would have been perfect but, they were big. We had bought 2 different pairs and since these were big, she went with the Ahnu Sugarpine which is lighter but, doesnt have the grip these do.

She said size down about .5

If you have anymore questions feel free to send me an email or call!

Bill Porreca
bporreca@backcountry.com
801-736-6398

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Bill Porreca

Bill Porrecawrote a review of on August 25, 2015

Might Ruin Your Climbing Trip
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

When Western says they only make quality products they are not lying. After 6 years of owning another down bag which was -20, I sold it an splurged on this one. How do you go from -20 to 20 and still intend to do mostly the same activities? Let me try to explain.

People tend to get hung up on the temperature ratings and this can create a lot of confusion. Instead I try to focus on the amount of down used, the quality, and how much room is in the bag. With Western its fairly easy because they only use good 850+ down. From there I look at competitors. Top quality competitors are using around the same amount of down to achieve this "20 degree" rating, 19 0z of down fill, some even get lower then 20 degrees with same amount of down fill.

More room = more comfort which also means its harder to heat and keep the heat in that dead space. I am a wider person by nature and therefore I needed this bag versus the other 20 degree bag from Western called the Ultralite. So the Ultra Lite has less room (shoulder circumference of 59" versus 64" with the Alpinlite) which means its easier to heat up but, not comfortable for someone my size 5'8" 200 lbs.

So around 19 oz of fill and a shoulder circumference of around 64" at 6' long because I need to be able to dry out extra clothes at night inside the bag, and or boot liners. This formula puts me in a comfortable bag that I can roll around in and within the temperature range I really want to use it in which is 0-40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Now which bag weighs the least and packs the most? On any camping trip where the tarp and sleeping bag are being used weight is instantly an issue. Add climbing ropes or skis and my poor little 35 L climbing/ski pack is crying at the site of my gear splay which I fully intend to stuff inside that bag. Look at a few other competitors out there in the same temperature rating, fill weight, and price point. Its almost impossible to find one that has the same shoulder circumference, can use only 19oz of down, and keep the weight under 2lbs. This is why Western bags cost a little more and in my opinion are the best out there.

So how do I plan to use it on 0 degree nights? By various layers and sleeping pads.
1. If its 0 degrees you have an insulated jacket and a fleece most likely. Wear that inside the sleeping bag and instantly its warmer in there. If it is a big belay parka then I would drape that over the bag as opposed to going inside as it will compress the down in the jacket and bag losing loft. Why waste all that weight to only use those layers on the climb or hike? Boot liners also great to toss in there. Sure you lose some of the comfort promised but, you get to use a lighter 20 degree bag in 0 degree temps.
2. Sleeping pads MATTER! On warmer nights I only roll with my Z-Lite foam pad, colder nights in the snow I use the NeoAir XTherm air pad and on really cold night, I use both.

I will say take this review with a grain of salt as temperatures and what is comfortable or acceptable is different for everyone. If it gets really cold, I might have a cold night which would suck but, its worth it to me to find that perfect balance and push the limits of the bag. Because it compresses so small and is so light, the chances of a successful climb go way up. With a smaller compressed bag, I can still use my lightweight climbing pack which means I dont need to carry two packs, a summit pack and the 60 L to carry everything to high camp. It being light matters a lot in regards to how my legs feel the next day. To push these limits of temperature ratings and what I can get out of 19oz of down I feel you can only use the best which is Western.

Picture is taken from CMC Camp with Grand Teton in the back round. The West is on fire and it produced a bunch of haze obscuring much of the landscape.

If you have anymore questions feel free to send me an email or call!

Bill Porreca
bporreca@backcountry.com
801-736-6398

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Bill Porreca

Bill Porrecawrote a review of on August 25, 2015

Might Ruin Your Climbing Trip
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Part 2! Site wouldnt let me finish my essay in one review!

Side notes about the company. Bags are made in the USA! They will re-stuff the bag full of down after years of use for a nominal fee. They will also over stuff bags to boost the warmth rating, and can be specific about where that extra down goes, like in a foot box . The re-stuffing of the bag after 20 years of use sold it for me, its not a heavy price tag at that point, its an investment into years of successful climbs and skis descents.

Definitely invest in a dry compression sack. My favorite is http://www.backcountry.com/sea-to-summit-ultra-sil-event-compression-dry-sack at 6' it requires a Small size. Another option is http://www.backcountry.com/outdoor-research-airpurge-dry-compression-sack which Is what I used in the picture, 8L. The ODR ones are tough to stuff though as the opening is really small compared to the Sea to Summit.

The bag comes with a stuff sack (not compression) and a storage bag. Dont keep the bag stuffed while at home, use the storage sack it comes with, keeps loft of the down longer.

So how will it ruin your climbing trip? Woke up at 3am for an alpine start, couldnt bring myself to get out of the bag. The bag was just too comfortable, even on just a foam pad. Told my climbing partner that I was going to lay down real quick after my bowl of oatmeal and fell asleep for another 2 hours. I was in charge of the alarm.

If you have anymore questions feel free to send me an email or call!

Bill Porreca
bporreca@backcountry.com
801-736-6398

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Bill Porreca

Bill Porrecawrote a review of on August 25, 2015

My New Insulating Layer
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 200 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

There is a lot of hype around this jacket and for good reason. After adopting a light and fast approach to climbing mountains an active insulation piece like this is essential.

I generally wear a large in everything and the medium in this fits. It fits a little tight over the R1 but, doesnt max out the stretch by any means and its how I like to wear this layer.

Ive lived and died by my Polartec Alpha insulated jacket. When ski touring and or climbing people dont realize how much time is wasted in putting on and taking off layers. Breathability is key in these types of aerobic activities. Polartec I knew and trusted for its breathability. I have to say that the Nano-Air exceeds my expectations for breathability. A lot of companies botch an attempt at trying to mimic brands like Vibram or Gore-Tex but, not Patagonia. Just like their H2No shell fabric I trust Patagonia's in house products but, had to give this jacket a try for myself.

From the moment we hit the ridge and the wind picked up I needed an insulating layer. Keeping true to its slogan "Put it on and leave it on", I climbed the entire route with this on never breaking a sweat or allowing myself to get cold. This meant that 2 things:
1. I didnt need to bring another layer, with the temps in the 50's and possibility of wind this was a lot of trust to put in the jacket.
2. I didnt waste a second taking the jacket off and making my friends carry it while I led, nor did I have to carry a pack while leading to worry about this.
Used it in conjunction with a Capilene 1 T-shirt and the infamous R1 Hoody. At this temp with the R1 and an insulating layer you would expect some sweat, none.

The 4-way mechanical stretch was perfect and something I almost always look for in any layer. If its not going to move with me it will bind me creating problems and slowing me down. Also helps with the durability of the jacket. I firmly believe that adding some stretch lets the jacket snag a little before tearing. This allows you to feel the snag and move away from it.

Loved the two hand warmer pockets. Used the think they were a waste of weight but, it sure was nice to stick my hands in there at the belays while the guys were setting up the ropes and racking me up.

I do hear some chatter about the durability of the jacket. Ive only been able to use it on a week long climbing trip so its tough to say what it will look like after ski season. I did rip the back left shoulder, small tear. What was I doing? A chimney move up in between sharp granite, no surprise it ripped, not sure if anything but a hardshell would have survived that. In my quest to get on the http://wornwear.patagonia.com/ site, I embrace this tear and meticulously cut a circle piece of duct tape to fix it. Always know Patagonia will take the jacket and repair it professionally, though this is rarely necessary for their pieces, in my experience anyway.

My other insulating layer is 477 grams versus the Nano-Air which is 385. Not a big deal? Losing 92 grams on the jacket means that I can carry another .5 C4 Camalot which weighs 97 grams still keeping my overall pack weight low. If you go into your layering system with weight in mind, you will find a lot of ways to purchase the right gear that allows you to take more comfort gear, like a .5 or another Pro Bar @ 390 calories weighing in a 85 grams.

Side note but, important piece is that the hood fits OVER a helmet, definitely key. Fits a little tight but, stays up there without messing with the draw cords or anything like that which I like.

Sleeves also can stretch over glove, or be pulled up arm.

The Capilene 1, R1 Hoody, Nano-Air Hoody, and Camp USA's Magic Jacket (comparable to the Alpine Houdini) are my go to layers for any outing where the temps will stay above 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

The picture was taken mid West Ridge Climb on Forbidden Peak. Around 5,000 ft of elevation gain before we even took out the ropes. Every gram counted to make this alpine climb a success

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Bill Porreca

Bill Porrecawrote a review of on August 25, 2015

The One for Me
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 200 lbs
Size Purchased: 43

I am a 43 in Scarpa's mountaineering boots and a 42.5 in the Force X climbing shoe. Went with a 43 in these. I almost thought they were a little big when I tried them on in my living room. There was about a half inch of space in the toe. Kept in mind that half the day a tight shoe would be great but, walking down would be down right miserable, definitely learned this the hard way with prior footwear choices. This space works for me really well. When I am about to go on lead, I push my foot forward just a bit and use the lace system to hold it there, this way I can still generate edging power from little nubs in the rock. When walking downhill my toes are pushed right up against the toe box, this is where I am thankful for the extra space, I dont need to lose toe nails after the hard stuff is over! Definitely had some hot spots on the back of my heel at the end of the day but, this is normal in almost any boot/shoe for me after 8 hours of walking. Pretty calloused over so didnt create any blisters, just could feel the rubbing. If I took the time to tighten the laces when I changed terrain I am sure this wouldnt have been an issue at all. I encourage people to try their normal mountaineering boot size then a half size down. If you can get away pain free while walking downhill with a smaller size, you have an even better technical climbing shoe. Me maxing this shoe out at 5.6 I dont need it to be that tight, if I do, Ill just wear my climbing shoes. For people wanting to climb harder than I in this shoe, definitely try a few sizes (I'll hook up free return shipping).

My favorite part of this shoe is the rubber piece of the Vibram Vertical Approach Sole that goes from the 4th toe around and past the big toe (Ill get a picture up). Its a flat piece of the sole that allows you to get a lot of rubber on the rock creating a sense of security. You can use the tip and the inside of the big toe on small edges, this is clutch. On slab you can use a lot more of that piece and even engage some of the shapes that are on the sole. No PU mid-sole right at the big toe which also helps transfer energy/power better.

The Vibram Sole itself is definitely top shelf on par with any of the competitors out there. Everyone knows and trusts Vibram and its nice to see Scarpa utilizing their product which is tried, trusted, and true.

Holds when slightly wet (how wet and how steep is a variable. I just noticed that I walked through a stream and then continued uphill on a slab and they didnt slip). Sticks to rock when traversing, every time I felt like it was slipping I just moved my knee downhill and engaged more rubber. Walking downhill on slab was also great, was able to quickly move straight downhill instead of the normal routine for me which is traversing left and right.

As far as overall comfort I cant complain. The PU mid-sole makes them as comfortable as carrying a 35 lb pack around for 12 hours can be. Of course my feet were sore at the end of the day. After that much walking I am not sure if any shoe would be comfortable and you would not be psyched to get into your sandals.

Two little known features that I always forget but, unconsciously love are:

1. Made in Europe still. These shoes still have a lot of actual hands go on them before you put them on your feet, helps ensure the quality.
2. They have a liner that helps deal with the constant moisture build up and general funk in your foot. If you have used a shoe without this, you would know the difference real quick, or someone living with you would.

Picture is of a friend in the Vitamins on our down climb on the West Ridge of Forbidden Peak. These shoes excel at trips like this. Its a long approach and you want to be weight conscious so bringing one shoe is definitely a benefit there. Used them a few times in the Tetons on routes like this too, long approach, moderate climbing, they were perfect.

If you have any questions feel free to send me an email or call!

Bill Porreca
bporreca@backcountry.com
801-736-6398

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Bill Porreca

Bill Porrecawrote a review of on August 3, 2015

The Absolute Best Layer
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 200 lbs
Size Purchased: Large

So they made some changes to the R1 this year. The zipper is not asymmetrical anymore, and its a little shorter. They are also using an updated fabric that provides more breathability. The symmetrical zipper I thought was terrible at first, still has a fleece flap on the inside though so the zipper wont freeze to your lips. The shortened length isnt that much shorter and makes the overall garment lighter which I like.

I am 5'8" 200 lbs and I wear a large in everything, same for this. Fits a little snug but that's how its supposed to fit. Makes it great for climbing as there isnt a lot of excess fabric flapping or getting in the way of anything.

I use this layer in almost every sport I partake in. I climb in it, ski, ski tour, and even RAFT! The Hood is my favorite part, no need to carry an extra beanie and keep track of that. The hood can zip up over your mouth and if you are belaying you can tuck your nose into it as well but, expect some fog on your glasses if you do this.

Patagonia also has the best repair center, they will fix anything. They added some fabric to my wrist on this piece after years of tearing it apart. Was tough to send in for the few weeks but, I lived without it for a little while... Barely.

I am in the orange R1 on the front of the boat, not scared of the water in the slightest.

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Bill Porreca

Bill Porrecawrote a review of on July 21, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I use these running and biking and they are great. Stay in my ears just fine. You do hear a little feedback or bouncing sometimes but, thats normal in every pair of headphones Ive tried over the past few years. I can talk on the phone while riding my bike to work no problem, awesome and dependable feature.

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Bill Porreca

Bill Porrecawrote a review of on July 21, 2015

My New Belay Device
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Always used a BD Guide, was what everyone else had. I then had a few friends pick this up, saw that it "locks" or "catches" and was sold. Always liked the idea of a Gri Gri but, its not really functional for multi pitch climbs, you need to bring something to rappel with. This is the answer.

At 200 lbs when I take a whipper my girlfriend gets flung, if she has a small moment of inattentiveness to her belay stance (we all do at some point) there is a small chance the rope could slip, this device considerably lowers that chance. I know that in a perfect world, and with a perfect belayer who is staring at the climber in the ready stance wouldnt need help or an auto catch but, I realize it happens and this gives me a better peace of mind.

Like any new belay device it takes a few routes to get used to feeding rope out to the climber. I think it works best when you put your thumb in the green loop. When the rope gets wet, it gets much harder and the rope will sometimes catch or lock up in there when you dont want it to.

When rappelling, turn the entire belay device around so the ropes dont lock up on you. Little trick I learned from a friend and by watching Edelrid's video.

Huge fan, would recommend to anyone.

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Bill Porreca

Bill Porrecawrote a review of on July 21, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Cool little device for anyone to have stashed in their bag or car. The trigger lock is perfect, I think the coolest part of the entire sprayer. Can be used right or left handed.

I bought the red color to try and make it not look like a real gun. It obviously still looks like a gun.

2 shots then you have to buy another one. Really though, if you have to Pepper Spray people that much in your life, whats going on?

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Bill Porreca

Bill Porrecawrote a review of on July 21, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Great case. Allows me to take my phone on any adventure and not have to worry about it breaking due to a small mistake. Was tossed in the pool the other day with the phone in my pocket, worked great. Its expensive but, so is the small computer that sits in your pocket for most of the time.

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Bill Porreca

Bill Porrecawrote a review of on July 21, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I wouldnt call this a pad. This is a straight up mattress that compresses down to fit in your car easier and the pack for a hike into a campsite.

I will admit to sleeping on a conventional air mattress for a few months that I purchased at a big box store and this is by far more comfortable than that. Maybe its just because I used this outside, and sleeping outside tends to be more comfortable if the conditions are right.

The pump bag can take a little bit to fill up the mattress but, it definitely works and beats carrying around and relying on something electric.

Insulation is legit, test your comfort zone with what you can use as far as a sleeping bag with this. Found that I can take an old lightweight comforter from the house and just use that on most summer nights.

It is big and heavy compared to other lightweight options. Just be aware, that's what this is meant to be a car camping or a luxurious backpacking (you might have a guide) sleep experience.

Feel free to hit me up at bporreca@backcountry.com or 801-736-6398.

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Bill Porreca

Bill Porrecawrote a review of on July 21, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I gave it as a gift but have feedback to share
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 200 lbs

My girlfriend uses these Kayaking. Because they are such a low profile, minimalist shoe they fit perfect inside the boat. Should she go in the water they are also easier for her to swim in because they are so light.

Fit is true to size, Kelly runs from 7.5-8 and went with an 8 in these.

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Bill Porreca

Bill Porrecawrote a review of on July 20, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Used to have a Platypus. Needed to find a way to carry water without the big Nalgene. Platypus is super light, folds. Found that over time it breaks down, first few uses it was alright, then I started to worry. If I lose my water the day is over... Picked up one of these in a 2 L, so much more durable. Definitely my new go to. Plus the cap has a squirt feature which makes sure I dont go ahead and gulp the water too fast, ensuring pacing of the drinking. Awesome addition to my pack.

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Bill Porreca

Bill Porrecawrote a review of on July 20, 2015

Hands Down Favorite Trail Shoe
5 5

Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 200 lbs

Altra did it again! Got a hold of their road shoe, the One. Couldnt believe how comfortable they were, these were no exception. Trail running should not be about losing toe nails or being in pain, the searing pain in the lungs is enough for me.

These fit a little different than other shoes. I got the 43.0 which is technically a 9.5 with Altra. Fits perfect, little space between my big toe and the end of the shoe which makes them feel great on the way down. Thats always the test people tend to forget, how do they feel downhill?

The wider forefoot allows my toes to move freely and not binding anything together. I previously ran in the La Sportiva Vertical K size 43 and my toes were constantly killing me. Different shoe but, indicative of sizing and how these are constructed.

Love the idea of Zero Drop. You are totally using your foot muscles strengthening them and not relying on the drop of the shoe to help you along. I know people that also use these on super long runs so not just a short jog that I tend to do.

The sole is sticky and great for trail running. Might be wary when using them as an approach shoe to climb steeper rock where exposure might be an issue. Havent got to really try them on that yet.

The cushion on these is perfect for me. I think I would go with the Superior (less cushioning) to use as an approach shoe, or for just general hiking. The Olympus has the most cushioning which would be great for someone with some knee issues.

Look forward to putting more miles on these! Feel free to hit me up at bporreca@backcountry.com or 801-736-6398.

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