Bill Porreca

Bill Porreca

Gearhead

Wasatch, UT

Bill Porreca's Passions

Yoga

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 July 27, 2016

Still Love it
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

After last years fall I had to replace the helmet. Still the same great helmet with one improvement that I really like. Now the helmet has two back head lamp clips not shown in this picture. I had someone run to the warehouse and check our stock, and its the new one!

I know the picture isnt perfect but, I circled the clips in white if you wanted to know where they placed them.

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Bill Porreca

Bill Porrecawrote a review of on July 27, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

It's a great durable saddle bag. I havent really had to chance to beat it up yet. I did have it hit my back tire constantly when my rear shock fully compressed and you could see some scuffing but, it didnt rip or anything. Easily can fit a phone, keys, extra tube.

The velcro is strong and I appreciate the 3 straps so I dont have to worry about it falling off while I am riding.

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Bill Porreca

Bill Porrecawrote a review of on July 27, 2016

Update 1 Year Later
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 190 lbs

Shoe is still going strong! I cant believe I dont need a re-sole yet, that is pretty exciting. Will probably get one after this season though.

I do have some updates on fit. Normally I am a size 43 in running shoes, mountaineering boots, etc. I got this shoe in a 42.5 and it felt great. The Scarpa rep goes a full size down to get even more sensitivity. My toes are ever so slightly curled but, the top suede allows it to be pretty comfortable. I wore them climbing the Grand this past weekend and they seriously hurt by the end of the trip. My feet were swollen which is why but, I think if I was going to get another shoe like this I would get a 43. The 43 climbing shoe would fill that void where I cant really get away with climbing in an approach shoe but, dont need a shoe that is as sensitive as the 42.5 is for me which is generally great on more technical climbs.

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Bill Porreca

Bill Porrecawrote a review of on July 27, 2016

Go To in the Alpine
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This harness is unbelievably light, I know we all know that but, its worth mentioning again because it really is insane.

Its really a great harness for ski mountaineering. It does not have actual gear loops so if you only need it for rappelling which is more common in skimo than actually climbing its perfect. You can wear it from the car because you forget its there.

To use it rock climbing you need to make a few adjustments on how you carry your rack. The two small gear loops, aka the little nylon loop on each side cant really hold a full rack, not because of weight but, because its too small. I have been taking a non locking biner and using that as the actual gear loop. Then you also have your two extra non-lockers on the harness should you need them. I still dont put my protection or rack of slings on there. Usually hanging my belay device and anchoring materials. So the big change that was needed is you pretty much have to use a shoulder sling to carry the rack.

I use two shoulder slings, on one all the protection, on the second, I rack my slings. There are some products out there that make this type of racking easier, specifically the Metolius Big Wall Gear Sling which we dont sell yet! Soon though. This way does make transferring the rack a bit easier but, thats just me, everyone has their own way. Just wanted to point out that you wont be putting your alpine rack on this harness.

You could also tie some accessory cord to each loop going around your back to get a loop which is easier to hang gear on. I tried hanging directly on the harness and that didnt work well.

It should be noted that some of the Alp Race competitors are not fully CE and UIAA certified. This harness, though its light, can take a fall just like any other harness out there double, or triple its weight. Is it comfortable to fall or hang in as other harness, no. Its comfortable to hang or rappel in when its layered over a jacket or two but, sometimes I just wear it over a t-shirt and I can feel it but, that's expected.

I've scraped this through sharp rock, and beat the crap out of it just like every other harness I have owned. It shows no more or less wear than anything else which is impressive considering its weight.

Camp USA also came out with a slightly more robust version of this, with actual gear loops. http://www.backcountry.com/camp-usa-flash-harness? . Its double the weight but, you get the four gear loops, normal tie in's and belay loop, plus its a bit more comfortable. The guys over at Camp USA climb in the Flash full time pretty much.

33-34" waist and the XL fits a little too big when I dont have layers under it, I might grab another one and get the large as I will be able to cinch it down when not wearing it over a bunch of jackets.

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Bill Porreca

Bill Porrecawrote a review of on July 27, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Saw a bunch of my friends grab fanny packs, and wanted to give one a shot. If I was going to spend this much on one, I needed it to have dual functionality, running and biking. The famous Dakine pack used by bikers which has a small hydration bladder inside of it was a little too big for me to run with so I jumped on this.

The belt sits really flat, tight, and comfortably on your waist. I do prefer to wear it over my shirt but, if I was travelling its comfortable enough to wear under if you wanted some more security. The adjusting of it is a bit awkward, you have to make sure the velcro doesnt engage when sliding it. Can take a minute so take care of that before you head out.

With the soft flask completely filled I can still easily fit 2 Pro Bar Chew Packets in there. On the smaller pocket which is also zippered I can fit my phone, keys, and usually a small multi tool. I have put a 26" 2.4 MTB tube in the big pouch where the water bottle goes. Doesnt easily fit in there and is bulky but, its possibly. The stretchy material allows it to fit more than you might think in there.

Huge fan, now I bring water on every ride and run. Easily can listen to my music now with a set of wireless headphones and stash other important gear in there.

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Bill Porreca

Bill Porrecawrote a review of on July 27, 2016

Perfect Chalk Bag
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I used to be apart of the crew that didnt really think you could invent or design a chalk bag better than others. Just bigger or smaller. Then I gave the Aperature a shot and it really is different, totally worth the extra $ versus other more generic bags.

The Aperature or twist feature not only eliminates chalk from falling out but, it packs down smaller in the pack. Or it packs down smaller on your waist when you are not using it like when rappelling, not a huge deal but, does help keep it out of the way if you need to grab a biner off the back of your harness.

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Bill Porreca

Bill Porrecawrote a review of on July 27, 2016

Update - Still Love it.
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 190 lbs
Size Purchased: Large

Finally got a small tear in the jacket. Was "chimneying" up a rock climb and using my back as a form of friction. Easily fixed it with some Tenacious Tape and were back to no holes and back to totally water/wind resistance. The shape of it when packed into its own pocket really does make a difference when hanging it on a harness. It doesnt get in the way of everything else on the harness like protection and slings. That makes it quicker, and easier to grab that gear while climbing, noticed it a bit at first but, really was thankful for it in the Teton's this past weekend.

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Bill Porreca

Bill Porrecawrote a review of on July 7, 2016

Easy, Durable and Versatile
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've owned some other tough duffel bags in the past and this one has got to be my favorite. The best part is that the bag easily sits erect while empty. You dont need to push the corners out, or make sure you are using all that space on the side, the walls are a bit more sturdy.

I travel with it, use it as a gym/adventure bag. Picture shown has a full face Bell Helmet to give you a frame of reference.

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Bill Porreca

Bill Porrecawrote a review of on July 5, 2016

Versatile and Super Handy
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

These bags are awesome, find a million different ways/reasons to use them.

I generally use the small one for a personal toiletry bag. Also have used it as a small medical kit.

The medium for snacks, and electronics such as camera and cell phone.

The picture for the large doesnt do it justice. I was able to fit 12 quick draws, and PAS under one mesh side. Harness and chalk bag in the other mesh side, then close it up with my shoes inside. It easily lashes to the outside of my rope bag making storing and travelling with my climbing gear incredibly easy.

My favorite part about having separate sturdy bags like this is you can keep them packed, then just grab and go. The nylon is durable and can repel some light snow or moisture.

Let me know if you have any questions!

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

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Bill Porreca

Bill Porrecawrote a review of on July 5, 2016

Versatile and Super Handy
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

These bags are awesome, find a million different ways/reasons to use them.

I generally use the small one for a personal toiletry bag. Also have used it as a small medical kit.

The medium for snacks, and electronics such as camera and cell phone.

The picture for the large doesnt do it justice. I was able to fit 12 quick draws, and PAS under one mesh side. Harness and chalk bag in the other mesh side, then close it up with my shoes inside. It easily lashes to the outside of my rope bag making storing and travelling with my climbing gear incredibly easy.

My favorite part about having separate sturdy bags like this is you can keep them packed, then just grab and go. The nylon is durable and can repel some light snow or moisture.

Let me know if you have any questions!

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

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Bill Porreca

Bill Porrecawrote a review of on July 5, 2016

Versatile and Super Handy
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

These bags are awesome, find a million different ways/reasons to use them.

I generally use the small one for a personal toiletry bag. Also have used it as a small medical kit.

The medium for snacks, and electronics such as camera and cell phone.

The picture for the large doesnt do it justice. I was able to fit 12 quick draws, and PAS under one mesh side. Harness and chalk bag in the other mesh side, then close it up with my shoes inside. It easily lashes to the outside of my rope bag making storing and travelling with my climbing gear incredibly easy.

My favorite part about having separate sturdy bags like this is you can keep them packed, then just grab and go. The nylon is durable and can repel some light snow or moisture.

Let me know if you have any questions!

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

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Bill Porreca

Bill Porrecawrote a review of on June 15, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This was my first foray into wireless headphones. I was nervous, ha. They work great, easy to connect and disconnect. Sound is awesome, couldnt be happier.

If you have any questions, shoot me an email. I'd love to be your gear consultant!

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

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Bill Porreca

Bill Porrecawrote a review of on June 15, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I love Pro Bars, still eat them regularly but, its really nice to change things up a bit. Also really fun to cook these together with a group, or your climbing/hiking/whatever partners.

Interesting that many of the recipes are rice based. Scratch Labs informed me that if its oatmeal based your body needs to use water to digest it. With rice, the water is already included, so it doesnt hydrate you but, you dont lose water at least.

If you have any questions, shoot me an email! I'd love to be your gear consultant!

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

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Bill Porreca

Bill Porrecawrote a review of on June 15, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Perfect cordage for guying out a tent. Relatively light and if you need to cut lengths off or run out of the tension clips easy to tie a Prusik on itself so you can easily tighten them down without it.

If you have any questions, or want to know how to do a Prusik on itself for an easy way to tension, shoot me an email. I'd love to be your gear consultant.

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

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Bill Porreca

Bill Porrecawrote a review of on June 15, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Bought this for my WM Alpinlite Bag and the medium was perfect. Was able to squeeze in some other things as well like my down jacket I didnt wear that much but, wanted just in case.

I like how you can un-clip two of the straps, makes getting the lid oriented easier as well as getting the bag out of it.

If your curious what size you should get for your gear, let me know, just shoot me an email. I'd be happy to be your gear consultant!

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

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Bill Porreca

Bill Porrecawrote a review of on June 15, 2016

Finally Found a Perfect Pair of Sunnies
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 190 lbs

The lens on these is what makes them in my opinion. I used to use interchangeable lenses but, this is so much easier. This lens has worked for me on the Glacier as well as canyoneering or biking. Biking and ski touring is especially nice as the light is changing as you might move through forest to open areas where the light is constantly changing. If you were going to be on a glacier for a while the Spectron 4 Lens might be a better option but, the Camel Lens does a pretty good job while having the versatility of being used in lower light situations.

I love the included strap on these. Glasses throughout the day will fall down my nose a bit, especially after sweating. Easy to just pull the stopper on the strap and tighten them right up.

The arms are adjustable which is nice. You can match the fit around your ears to the glasses. The removable sun shields hit my cheek bone a bit, I dont really use them, nor feel the need to. Again if I were on a glacier for a while and wanted to use these I would definitely toss them on there and adjust the fit of the glasses so the shield would miss my cheek bone.

The glasses did fog on me. Then I realized every pair of glasses I have owned fog on me. EXCEPT when I wear my buff or a hat to catch the moisture. So its not so much the lens is fogging but, moisture from sweating ends up on the lens. Just wear a buff or some type of hat and you wont have that problem though.

On Shasta the other day I was feeling extremely tired right after sunrise. I tossed on my glasses and instantly felt better. I was pretty amazed at how much I was straining my eyes which was causing me to be tired I suspect. Not sure if this is completely factual, its not scientific but, anecdotal.

If you are in the market for some new sunglasses and have questions or want to compare a few models just shoot me an email! Ive been able to use a lot of what we have on the site and would love to be your personal gear consultant.

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

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Bill Porreca

Bill Porrecawrote a review of on June 13, 2016

Durable For It's Weight
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I was pretty skeptical of the tent, anything this light I assumed couldnt really be that durable. I generally use my Limelight when car camping, or a MSR Twin Sisters tarp for everything else, this was my first foray into a lightweight freestanding tent.

When we first set it up, I couldnt imagine 3 people fitting in this. I know it should be a cramped 3 as shaving weight is the most important feature on this tent but, there was no way. Then as we set it up, and took it down multiple times we learned how to make it a bit more spacious and realistic for three people. We had to stake out one corner in the front, then the other corner in the front had to be pulled pretty hard to stretch the floor out as much as possible, repeat on the other side. Also there are two little clips on the side of the tent, be sure to clip them to the fly. When you guy out the fly, it pulls the side of the body of the tent out providing some more space.

On our trip we saw this tent quite a bit. A few things I noticed. One person had set up this tent but, did not guy it out. If you do not guy out this tent, do not expect to stay dry if it rains. Guying out the tent is essential or the fly will lay on the body of the tent and water will drip right inside. The cords it comes with are awesome, easy to tighten and loosen. I tightened them as much as I could never had a tearing problem.

Another place I saw this tent and was impressed was half way up Rainier. If you guy it out properly, set up some snow walls, I am pretty confident the tent would hold up in some serious wind. It's not a 4 season tent so if its 60 mph winds on a glacier for a week probably not but, one or two nights, you could probably get away with depending on your perception of comfort.

The durability of the tent seems to be the big talking point. We used it more or less car camping. Its light, I know it would be great to split with 3 people backpacking but, car camping tests the durability of a tent better. We set this up and took it down at least 7 times. Slept without a ground tarp, and at Smith Rock's I was sure the sharp basalt would rip the floor but, did not. I did only use the tent for a 10 day trip so cant really speak on the durability over time. If I was going to continue to use this tent car camping I would definitely get a cheap blue tarp to put under it to help keep it from getting holes. I would say you should definitely be careful, no dogs inside without some type of fabric covering the floor, and be sure to check out the area. Something like a small tree could catch the tent and rip it if you just grabbed it and moved it for instance. Where my Limelight would not do that but, remember that tent weighs double this one.

The picture was taken by my climbing partner Jared. He had used the tent a bunch and wanted to see how tough it was for me to set it up alone. I was able to set it up alone but, made one mistake that I hope I can help you not make. When you set up the poles, you will realize one end is bigger than the other. Make sure the bigger end goes on the door side. It is possible to set up on your own though, just put one corner in the catch hole, then walk your hands to the opposite corner and stick that one in there as well, obviously a second person makes it a lot quicker!

I have been able to demo a bunch of tents that we sell. If you have any questions about this one or others on the site dont hesitate to reach out directly!

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

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Bill Porreca

Bill Porrecawrote a review of on May 31, 2016

A Boot That Actually Breathes
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 190 lbs
Size Purchased: 43

I have stayed away from boots for the last few years as they are pretty heavy, and cannot breathe enough for use in really warm climates like a desert. The ALP Flow defies previous assumptions/thoughts about boots.

I used them for a few days in the desert, temps were in the 70's. Not really hot but, not cool either, we were sweating walking. You can actually feel the extra breathability you get with the Gore-Tex Surround feature, its not just a marketing gimmick. Using them in those temps my feet were a comfortable temp all day.

Ive had the opportunity to demo a lot of boots and these would fall into the lighter end of the spectrum. I didnt feel like they were clunky at all. They are not stiff but, they are not meant to be. Not a great boot for backpacking with a lot of weight but, if you need the ankle support/guard from the mid to use on hikes without a lot of weight they are perfect. I cannot really speak to the durability of these, only got to use them a few times but, I cant imagine they would fall apart. With footwear I have found they either fall apart the first few times of use or last for years.

If you have read some of my other Salewa reviews, I will say I always thought they were for narrow feet. Some of their footwear is but, not the Alp Flow. These are not narrow by any means but, not wide, they fit me perfect out of the box. I am almost always a 43 and got the same size in these.

If you need a boot for hiking or light backpacking this one fits the bill! Its breathes really well, so avoids moisture build up from the inside and the Gore-Tex blocks it from the outside as well. Really pleased with Salewa's new line up this Spring. They have a lot of SKU's all with little differences so if you have questions about Salewa or other brands please reach out.

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

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Bill Porreca

Bill Porrecawrote a review of on May 20, 2016

Comfortable and Sticky!
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 190 lbs
Size Purchased: 43

Been eyeing a new approach shoe and wanted to see what Salewa had to offer. I know they come from a footwear back round and knew they made really technical shoes. I had always assumed they were for narrow feet, key word assume.

So these fit me perfect right out of the box. I do not think I have a narrow, or wide foot, working with a lot of fitters and reps they all unanimously say I have an average width male foot. I was expecting something really tight, particularly in the toe box. Not true though, they were fine. Messed with the lacing a bit to remove any heel slip. Also at times when things were looking a bit more technical I tightened up the toe box just a bit to ensure my foot did not slip in side.

As far as durability goes, I only got to try them a handful of times but, I used them in the most formidable activity that generally ruins my gear, canyoneering. After I cleaned the mud off of them I didnt see anything wrong, not even a ton of scratches. I know it was only 2 days of outings but, I felt like it was at least some indicator of how they would hold up over time.

As far as stickiness goes, they are awesome. Was able to chimney easily, and use the flat stiff rubber underneath the big toe to edge effectively on small nubbins. My normal approach shoe is the Scarpa Vitamin and I feel like these climb almost as well. I bet if I used both pairs equally over the next year you would find more wear on the Vitamins but, I know the Vitamins will jam in cracks better when climbing, just a tighter shoe. I would put the Firetail right behind the Vitamin in terms of climbing 5th class but, above it in terms of comfort on the trail. Depends on what you want to get out of the shoe, please reach out with any questions you may have regarding this.

On the first day we were forced into a pot hole full of water. Obviously soaked the shoes. Didnt feel that much loss of grip which was surprising. I removed the insole to let them dry. By morning they were pretty much dry so was pleased with the time that took as I didnt need to put on a soaking wet shoe in the morning.

Please note the wire that goes around the heel does not actually tighten but, when you tighten the laces it provides a more secure heel lock than other options without it.

I am a 43 in running shoes, mountaineering boots, and the same goes for the Salewa Firetail.

Overall I felt extremely stable, comfortable, and confident with the shoes ability to throw anything at it minus really heavy pack loads. Is a great shoe for those that find themselves in 4th and low 5th class climbing situations though.

If you have any questions regarding this approach shoe or others please feel free to reach out directly.

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

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