ADK mtns/NH whites, shawangunks
I picked this tent up in a store and man was it heavy! I couldn't fathom how a single walled two person tent like this could weigh almost 5 lbs. There are tons of tents that are single wall for two plus people that weigh under 4 lbs. There are some under 3 lbs! What a failure this tent it. If one were to want a single wall shelter they could spend less and get a hell of a lot lighter weight out of it. The only reason to sacrifice your double walled breathability is for ultra light weight. Save yourself the weight and the money and look for small cottage manufacturers to fill that need. TNF could really have done better here.
^^ Don't got by a suggestion like that. I wish people would not answer when they don't know the answer. You don't want to "just guess" when it comes to your comfort or safety outdoors. The ratings are always available from the companies that produce the gear - don't just ask and let random people tell you what they "think" when the info is out there for you to find.
Correct, if you take care of it, no leaks. I'm on the 4th season of my original pad now, it has seen at least 12 solid multi-day outings over the last few years and barely has any stains, let alone leaks or issues. The pad will sag if you inflate it with your warm lung air, because once that warm air cools it will not have as much volume. So basically on cold nights you might have to blow one or two more puffs in if the temp drops too much, but I can tell you from major experience this isn't a leak! Its simple contraction/expansion of air in a controlled space based on temperature. The only reason it isn't as noticeable on the other thermarests that inflate themselves is because of the support from the foam core inside...
Ok so let's start with the good - I bought these to replace a pair of the same boots from the previous series. They were great, but I had worn them through some insanely rough muddy hikes and wore out the goretex. I had them 2 years and this was the time they stated the gore tex was good for, so I guess I can't complain. I bought these to keep the level of comfort, they are insanely light, extremely comfortable, and help you move fast. I particularly love the well cushioned footbed that allows me to walk on hard ground without discomfort. But these boots fail in a few places, and hard. First off, these things were just not waterproof. Like the last pair, these wore out. But unlike the last pair, it happened during the first hike! 2 days in and one second stepping in a stream and the water soaked right through around the sides of the front of both of my feet, where the toes meet the foot. That was game out for me, and these boots prove that the trade off for comfort and light weight is durability. Second, the extremely flexible rubber sole means that if you hike on rocks or extremely rocky/sharp trails regularly you will absolutely feel the pain in your feet. Finally, the little stretchy pouch on the tongue of the boot that holds the pull tab for the laces came unstitched on the first day. It appears that it will continue to come unstitched until it actually comes apart. Solomon has a great idea for a boot here, very light and nimble, but they really have to do something about this problem of durability and waterproofing. I'm concluding that these boots are for very casual light hikers who really don't need to worry about heavy or long term use. The real thing that is making me return them is the waterproofing though, because there's just no excuse for that. I'll research and maybe try a more durable and heavy pair of solomons next, I want to give them a fair chance and I like the level of comfort.
I spent a good 5 months searching for and trying on different winter boots. I found that for peak ascents and more serious hiking and backpacking in the northeast, that a double plastic was way overkill, yet a boot with support and proper stiffness is important. Most insulated boots cause feet to sweat way too much. The danger is then that the boots may freeze overnight, or just be uncomfortable during the day. Nothing worse than sweating through your boots, even if they are "breathable." After much research and ordering and returning of different boots, this was the absolute best choice. These boots are really well made, and are definitely waterproof (had them covered in snow for hours, the outer layer eventually got wet, but no moisture made it through to my feet.) They are also the most breathable winter boots I've ever used. They are rather sturdy, allow just enough flex for comfortable winter hiking, and take crampons and snowshoes quite well. They are also a good deal lighter than many similar boots I tried, and you notice it on the trail. Nothing like really feeling your footing rather than feeling like you are walking on a plastic platform. I went up a whole size, and use them with mountaineering socks and wool liners. My feet were almost too warm when the temps approached 30. In the 20's my feet were warm the whole time. These boots have enough room in the toe box for me, and are cut on the same footbed as the salewa mtn trainer gtx, so you can go to your local ems and try them on to see how they fit before ordering these. The last point is that these boots have an amazing little feature - a two layer footbed which can have one layer removed. This is awesome both because it allows for more volume if you are in-between sizes, but also allows for adjusting your level of sockage based on the weather. Want one thick pair? Leave in both parts of the footbed. Want layered socks? Take one piece out. Definitely recommended for winter use on the trail. Also recommend for general mountaineering on lower peaks and where a double boot is overkill. There is a great little approach section on the shoe, and without the crampons these make great scrambling shoes, and will do really well on exposed rock. I'd say they are too heavy for summer use, but if you really wanted to make it happen I think it would be fine.
Actually the proper way to size an ice axe is to hold it in either hand, relax your shoulders and stand up straight, and letting it hang from your hand, the bottom spike should be reach down to around your ankle.
You should buy a RAB stretch neo soft/hardshell hybrid jacket. The fabric is a "soft" hardshell that breathes better than goretex or other hardshells. its new polartec stretch neo fabric will impress you. light and thin like a shell, soft and breathable like a softshell. best of both worlds. I own the pants and they rock.
This is a beautifully made, very lightweight boot. It has a nice rocker feel in the step, great stiffness, and fits that rare in-between category for those who don't ice climb or go vertical on ice, but need a good winter mountaineering/backpacking boot. I loved the toe box fit, the overall feeling, and the construction. However, there was one MAJOR problem for me and that's why I am writing this review - if you have wide calf area, or your calf extends down farther than the average person on your leg, these boots will hurt you. Look at the stitching in the photo, on top of the neoprene skirt at the top rear of the boot. That stitching does not stretch. It bites into a large calf with every step, causing serious pain. I imagine this will not happen to most people who have thinner lower leg/calf area, I haven't heard of most people having issues. Unfortunately this kills the boot for me, and I had to return it. I'll be ordering the rapace GTX boot instead, since it has no stitched neoprene to bite into my leg.
Ok so let's get the major weaknesses of this tent out of the way from the beginning - this is not really a good 2 person tent. I backpack ultra-light in every way, and alone or with friends, but prefer to sleep in my own tent most of the time rather than share a tent. So that weakness is not a problem for me, I find bivy sacs and smaller solo tents so confining that they aren't worth using. Next, its not truly free standing, and I recommend guying out everything on this tent every time, if you are lazy, this is not the tent for you because if you don't guy out everything and stake properly, it will not work properly. Period. On to why I love this tent so much:
1. So Light!
2. So breathable
3. Extremely waterproof WHEN GUYED DOWN RIGHT and when using the FOOTPRINT. Water ran under the floor, even got between the footprint and the floor, from the rain, and it never went through the tent. I woke up completely dry even though water was all underneath the tent and in between the footprint and the floor. With such thin fabric, I NEVER expected that.
4. So tiny. Between this and the new new air I bought, I can now carry 3+ days of fall and spring camping gear, not just summer, and fit it all into a 48L or smaller pack. Even a big day pack! Now that is awesome!
5. Easy to set up - even though you have to guy it down so it takes a little longer, this is an easy tent to set up. Only one pole technically, so all the work is in the staking and guying.
6. Looks cool. Ok that one doesn't really matter, but I'm happy with that part too.
I have a major issue with backcountry on this item. First of all, I ordered two sizes because I expected one not to fit, and needed the shirt in a hurry. I was prepared to pay to ship the other one back and keep the one that fit. However, when I tried the shirts on, I found the Medium to be just a little too small, and the large too be way too big. So I called them to send them back, and was told that I HAD TO PAY TO SHIP THEM BACK. What a crock! Are you kidding me? Neither size fit, and they expect me to happily pay for shipping? Even worse, the customer service guy took a tone with me that I didn't like. I did not raise my voice, I did not get mad or insult him, yet he still had an attitude. I understand this is a discount site, but if they plan to force us to pay return shipping, that damn-well better be clearly stated, NOT in the fine print. Also, the fabric of the shirt was not soft, and did not feel good against my skin. I normally love Mt Hardwear stuff, so I guess this was not the norm. Moral of the story - know what you're buying before you buy it from these guys. And you know what? I managed a customer service department for a company for two years, and I would never have let this happen on my watch. Pathetic.
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