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Dr. Ann

Dr. Ann

Dr. Ann's Passions

Hiking & Camping

Dr. Ann

Dr. Annwrote a review of on October 6, 2013

5 5

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

Just bought this bag and "field tested" it at a High Sierra lake last night. It's a zero degree bag that would probably actually keep me warm down to zero. I'm used to layering up clothes in my sleeping bags because I sleep cold. Last night I was taking things off. It didn't get down to zero, but it probably hit fifteen. I also like all the space in it. I'm a small person (5'2" and 115 pounds), but most bags feel cramped. This one didn't. Granted, there's a bit of a weight penalty, but this bag weighs less than my -5 Marmot Aiguille and that bag is a "short."
Bottom line: It probably won't appeal to the minimalist crowd out there, but I love bag. I've had other clothing products made by MontBell. They've all held up exceptionally well, so I'm expecting this bag will also.

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Dr. Ann

Dr. Annwrote a review of on October 3, 2010

3 5

I originally bought these to do the Muir Trail. Wisely, I took them on a 14 mile day trip before and decided to stick w/my La Sportiva Trango Treks. Yesterday, I took the Keens out again for a shorter day. The foot part of the boot is fine; but don't buy them 1/2 size bigger like Keen suggests. Since Keen doesn't do widths, their sizes seem to adjust both length and width, with the width increasing more than it does for other manufacturers. Thus, the larger sizes are not only longer but also noticeably wider. If you have a low volume foot, don't size up. The issue with these boots seems to be the ankle, at least for me. And, it may be a QC issue for Keen. I started w/a pair of size 7s and the ankle on the left foot (outside) dug into me very painfully. Interestingly, the right boot didn't have that problem. Sizing down to a 6.5, the entire boot seemed to fit better and the ankle issue diminished, but returned after a mile or two on the trail. Reading a review on Trailspace, the reviewer mentioned the same issue where one boot created a deep bruise on one of his ankles that took forever to heal. I think Keen should use memory foam or some similar material to line the ankles. What's in there is very unforgiving. However, since my second wearing was better than my first, I haven't given up. Whatever the lining material is in the ankle may eventually break in. If nothing else, they'll make a good winter "go to the store" boot since they're very warm and the waterproof liner really does keep my feet dry.

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Dr. Ann

Dr. Annwrote a review of on August 29, 2010

4 5

I should preface this review by saying that I've always been a "boot" person. You know, a nice, sturdy boot that will protect my toes in case a block of talus lands on them. And, I love Keen sandals. So, the Targhee was an experiment. Just got back from a weekend trip (30 miles, 4000' of gain some off trail) and, after I got over the initial feeling that something was missing, I really enjoyed these litle boots. They performed just fine w/a 30 pound pack and clung to the rocks like limpets when I ventured off trail to scale a steep talus face. And, I really, really enjoyed the fact that they weigh about 10 ounces less than any other boot that I own. Plus, it got cold in the Sierra last night (below freezing and it snowed) and my feet stayed warm. In fact, they were about the only part of my body that did.

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Dr. Ann

Dr. Annwrote a review of on August 29, 2010

2 5

There are actually a couple of good things about this pack. It is a generous 60L (packs as much as my Osprey Ariel 65) and, for the most part, it seems to carry weight well, just not comfortably. I just got back from about 30 miles and 4000' (some off trail) and I have many nitpicks. The pack is best off trail, but the problems are noticible there as well. On trail there is no way to get the shoulder straps off your shoulders. Oh, you can move the pressure points from the tops of the shoulders to the front, but the load leveler straps do NOT move the weight of the pack off your shoulders. This gets tedious after awhile. Also, there aren't any lash points on the pack. I had my thermarest pad hanging off the ice axe loops which was fine since I didn't have an axe with me. But, for any sort of long journey where, say, you had to carry a bear cannister or something else large that needed to be outside the pack, there's no place to attach it. Also, I spent time all weekend adjusting the pack. Finally, when I was about 2 miles from the car I stumbled on a combination of shoulder straps, load levelers and torso length that was bearable, but not truly comfortable. One of the other issues is that the "open air" back panel is not ergonomic, so it hits against the throacic vertebrae unless you loosen the shoulder straps which makes the pack sit on the tops of your shoulders. I think BD needs to go back to the drawing board with this one. I'm 5'2", weigh 115 and have a relatively long torso for my size. If Backcountry won't take this pack back, I'll put it up on EBay or sell it locally at the used gear exchange.

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Dr. Ann

Dr. Annwrote a review of on July 7, 2005

2 5

I love Lowa boots; they fit my feet like gloves and the Vertex was no exception. They have bedroom slipper comfort right out of the box. I do, however, have two major complaints.
1. They are billed as a backpacking boot. They would only work well on a trail. They just aren't rugged enough to survive many hours of talus scrambling. Too many seams.
2. They are billed as waterproof. When I put my foot (briefly) into a swollen Sierra stream (water barely over the foot part of the boot -- and I had gaiters on) the water came oozing into the boot from all around the foot section. I thought the entire purpose of Gore-Tex boots was their "wonderful" waterproof feature. My old leather Lowa Scouts perform many times better upon immersion into water. At least then my feet had a significant chance of staying dry. When I took off the boot the toe portion of both socks was soaked! Good thing I was on a day trip.

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