jwo2524989's Passions

Hiking & Camping


jwo2524989 wrote a review of on April 17, 2011

5 5

Just finished 7 days in these boots on the Haute Route. I'm relatively new to ski touring and chose the ZZero's after wavering back and forth between Dynafits and the BD Factors. I was really happy with my choice in the end and these boots were great on the Haute Route.

I want to say that Ski Touring boots do not perform on the downhill like alpine boots- initially at least. The first time down, between the light boots, the bindings, and the light skis, you're going to feel like you've never skied before. This is how I felt going down the Argentiere Glacier from the top of the Grand Montets in Chamonix the first time in these boots. However, all the uphill skinning in these boots was fantastic. At the end of the week, I was stranded an extra day at the Bertol Hut before making the final descent into Zermatt due to bad weather. When the skies cleared and we did get to go down, I had half a meter of fresh powder, and didn't miss my alpine boots at all once I had gotten used the Dynafits.

I want to mention the sizing and fit as well. I had gotten these sized to my feet at a shop in the US, and then took them to Sole Bootlab in Chamonix prior to heading out. John at Sole taught me a lot about bootfitting. Out of the box, these boots killed my feet after being on just two minutes- my arches hurt and my toes were jammed together. John told me this is actually ideal as long as the shell dimensions on your feet are right without the liner. He built me a custom foot bed and thermo-molded the liners for me. The boots felt perfect after he was finished and after 7 days all I had was one little hot spot on my heal that never became an actual blister.

I highly recommend taking them to a bootfitter and spending the extra money to make sure you get the right fit. Liners in AT boots aren't as forgiving as alpine boots due to the extra movement you foot has on the uphill.

I was the considering the BD Factors because I wanted the extra stiffness and alpine style. My guide had advised me to go with the Dynafits instead and that I would be happier in the long-run. I'm glad a took his advice. After you spend a couple days on AT boots and get used to the feel, the only thing that limits you is your ski ability, and I now know from experience that while there is specific gear for specific activities, gear can only make up for your ski ability so much. Every individual has to decide where you want to sacrifice weight and performance.

I will say that after two days of warm up tours before setting out, I found that the weight and shape of my skis was more important that the stiffness of the boots, so after I changed out my rental skis from super light and thin to something a little fatter and heavier, for me I had found the perfect combo. By day 5 in the ZZero's my downhill performance didn't feel sacrificed at all. However, I don't think I would have thought the same if I had stuck with the 68mm waist, 600g each skis I had initially rented.

Hope this helps anyone deciding to buy these boots and just wanted to share my experience....





jwo2524989 wrote a review of on July 26, 2010

5 5

I shopped extensively for the perfect pack for a year long trip to Europe, where'd I'd be doing some climbing and trekking in the Alps, and came to the Altra 65. The pack uses space like no other. I have an old Arcteryx M40 ski pack (40L), and when the Altra 65 came in the box, i pulled it out and it looked smaller than the M40 side by side. Initially I thought I'd been sent the wrong pack cause it was too small. However, I started expanding the Altra 65 out and it was huge. I tell this story to demonstrate the versatility and low profile of the pack. The pack hides stuff everywhere, and expands out to carry massive loads for it's size. It's really well designed from an efficiency and ergonomic standpoint. I really like the hydration system, with hose port. There is a side pocket for your hydration bladder to fit in a separate compartment, but you don't have to use it. If you choose to use, only a 2L platypus or camelbak bladder will fit. Without wasting any space in the pak, I can still run the hose from my insulated 3L camelbak, I just can't stuff it in the specific hydration compartment. I got a 2L platypus bladder for the pack and it fits perfectly in the compartment if you're really anal about having you water completely compartmentalized off and don't just want to make the bigger bladders work by wiring your hose through the compartment and port.
I have a 55L OR dry sack that I use as a pack liner and it seems to work really well.

There is another post somewhere that says the Altra 65 gives up the daisy chain of the Bora line. This is not true, the Altra has daisy chains as well on the sides, just lower profile but still as functional. The only thing I'd add to this pack is an axe loop, with arcteryx sells for like $12-15. I will probably get one.

The pack is extremely comfortable and extremely adjustable to you specific body size and comfort settings. I will say that the Altra 65 and Altra 75's don't fit the same. Initially, I went to REI to buy this pack. The store had Altra 75s in tall and regular. I'm 6'4", 220. I suppose I have a short torso for my height, but the Tall in the 75 was a little big on me and after getting 5 sales reps opinions, they said I should bump down to regular. I originally got a 65 in regular, and it was clearly too small, so I exchanged it for a Tall and it's perfect.

I'm in London on a year long contract with my job. I have a professional job, so for a year I needed my shirts, ties and suits. While in Europe for a year, I get to take advantage of their longer vacation packages and leisure time compared to the US, so I wanted to use a lot of my time backcountry skiing and climbing in the alps. Thus, I had to take both my work wardrobe and some gear. I'll just say that between a moderately sized suitcase and the Altra 65, I easily packed everything I need for Europe for a year.

I'm very happy with this pack and highly recommend it.