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John

John

Washington State

John

Johnwrote a review of on August 10, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I had an old pair of REI brand poles that were OK, but nothing special. They worked for snow, and didn't see much action other than that.

I recently realized my backpack was getting too heavy with camera gear, and I needed to ease the suffering of my poor feet and legs. To be honest, the Trail Ergo poles look goofy in pictures, but I gave them a try anyway.

Now, with a heavy pack, I don't have to fight the weight of the pack pulling my down and backwards. The poles give a nice push behind my steps to push me forward using the best possible leverage point up at my arms. I can double my speed on flat ground and uphill without straining my muscles. Or I can go at a regular speed and just coast for miles and miles without and soreness.

The ergo handle is also pretty crucial. I was worried that it would make it awkward to hold the tops of the poles cupped in my palms, and it is actually kind of weird to hold them that way. It also causes the poles to bend because of the off-center point at the top. BUT. I don't ever need to cup the tops of the poles like I would on straight handled versions. With the bend ergo design, I just extend the length of the pole if I need to and hold the handle just as usual. The 15 degree angle makes it easy to hold even when pushing down from the top of the pole.

Also, mine came with powder baskets. Pretty huge ones at that. I also got my poles on discount, so maybe mine were from a previous model year that came with powder baskets?

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John

Johnwrote a review of on May 22, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

With the current clearance sales, this bag is great for the price. Full price of over $200 is crazy steep for a summer synthetic bag, especially when its getting into the realm of down bags in terms of price.

I really like the center zipper. Makes the bag feel like a puffy jacket and makes it nice to open up the middle or top to vent or adjust the fit. It would have been nice if they used a lighter-duty zipper that went maybe 6 inches longer down the bag. The zipper on my bag is vastly overkill in weight, so shave off some grams there. I could also possibly pull my knees up and get out of the bag without scooting my butt, if the zipper went just 6 inches or so farther down. No big deal, but when you have smelly underwear after days of hiking, rubbing it all over the area near your head isn't the most ideal of situations.

One problem people have had with this bag is that the insulation compresses and loses warmth after a few uses where the bag is rammed into the stuff sack. Honestly, the bag is so compact in just a lightly stuffed stuff sack, that I don't see much point in compressing it down to a rock-hard softball sized unit. If you have the room, don't use the compression sack that comes with the bag. It will just ruin the bag in less than a year, easily.

Hopefully, MHW comes out with a new version of this bag. I'm not sure why it's being discontinued unless being replaced. It's the best Ultra-Light synthetic on the market right now, IMO.

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John

Johnwrote a review of on May 22, 2019

5 5

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

Several years ago, before this pack was redesigned, I was shopping for a backpack that could haul loads of 50+ pounds. The old design had a horrible back panel, bulky hip belt, and thin shoulder straps.

The new one has fixed all of that. It's even better than my Gregory Baltoro, which I bought in 2016 because it was one of the best at the time.

I also like how the Aether Anti Gravity system allows for changing hip belt sizes. My Atmos AG has a fixed belt that can't be swapped.

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John

Johnwrote a review of on May 20, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I needed something between my 35L Lowe Alpine and 85L Gregory. I had tried the previous version of the Atmos and found it did not handle heavy loads well over 35lbs or so. The new model went on sale so I jumped all over it and picked it up due to positive reviews on how well it carries heavy weight.

Simple answer is that this backpack is a total dreamboat in every way. Looks good in gray, perfect features, and unbelievably comfortable suspension.

As a previous reviewer pointed out, this pack works great for skinny guys with no hips. I'm really tall and have around a 33 inch waist. The medium fits my waist perfectly and I am just barely inside the back length with it fully extended up for the shoulder straps.

Even without the excellent suspension, this pack is still tops in terms of features. When carrying heavy loads, it's not fun to have to stop and take the pack off in order to get an item. My Gregory pack can handle 60 pounds no problem, but it has the most pathetic hip and side pockets ever. The Atmos seems to be designed by someone who actually likes to access items without even stopping or taking off the pack. The two hip pockets are plenty big for snacks, tools, phone, etc. The side pockets are easy to access and stuff up to a 32 ounce water bottle in each.

Compared to the older version, I think the hip belt holds tighter and the shoulder straps seem to be much thicker and more comfortable. I would say the new version probably holds weight better by about 10 pounds. So 45 pounds in the new version feels like 35 pounds did in the old one.

The top lid is actually very useful compared to my other packs. First, it's pretty huge once it's stuffed full. I can fit my entire camera bag into it, which contains a Sony interchangeable lens camera and two lenses. On top of that, the access is from the shoulder side of the pack, so the lid is easy to access when the pack is leaning against a tree or on the ground with the zippers facing up.

Weight limit? Well, it is a 65L bag, so unless you're carrying gold bars, it's hard to fit enough into there to hit uber heavy weights. I tested it out with 5 gallons of water in the pack, and weighed around 45 lbs overall. Opsrey lists the Atmos as being able to carry up to 50 lbs. I think this is totally possible to hit 50 for short distances. Say, for example, you are carrying 40 lbs, but need to carry an extra gallon of water for a ways, you would then be a bit over 48 lbs. It would be far less comfortable, but totally doable. I would not want to carry 50 lbs steady for a week straight using this pack. Something like the Aether series would be better suited.

The negatives? They are actually positives! I don't like the flappy jacky thing that gets in the way every time I need to open the top of the pack. I'm going to cut it out of there for a nice weight reduction. I also don't need the SUPER long waist straps and can cut them down by about a foot each. Yes, A FOOT EACH!!! There are more things I don't need on the pack that can be cut off. Why is this cool? I can get the weight even lower than listed without losing any feature I need/want. I could really hack at this thing and do some sewing to easily drop 1/2 a pound of weight. I obviously don't care about the warranty. haha

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John

Johnwrote a review of on May 3, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Size Purchased: 44.5

First of all, the stock insole is pretty weak, so toss it and put something in like Soles or Superfeet, whichever you like.

With Sole Medium (rubber bottom version) insoles that I cut to shape and heat molded with the oven, I can use these shoes for mostly anything I would have used heavier boots for in the past. They also cover my scrambling and beach use as well.

Here's a list of all the different modes I use with these shoes:

1. Standard mode with Sole insole and Smartwool PhD Light socks with the laces tied just tight enough to pull in any loose areas. Perfect for walking around town, driving, and easy trails with any weight of pack.
2. Easy trail, hot weather mode. Same as #1 but with laces untied and loose all the way to the toes. Wears like a flipflop and airs out well.
3. Rainy day mode with same setup as #1 but with oven bags or silnylon booties over socks.
4. River fording mode with socks removed, and possibly insole. Drain and either walk to dry with or without socks back on in addition of oven bags.
5. Cold water and/or sand mode with insole removed and sock replaced with 2-3mm thick neoprene bootie. Insole may be retained if room to spare.
6. Snow mode using dry neoprene booties, oven bags, and wool socks together, with insoles removed or swapped for thinner insoles.
7. Mountain mode using same as #1 but with ultralight gaiters and tighter lacing for scrambling and scree thrashing.
8. Mountaineering trail-runner mode of any combination combined with strap-on crampons for low angle slippery stuff.

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John

Johnwrote a review of on March 10, 2019

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

First of all, I wear a size 44.5 La Sportiva boot that fits great on the forth hole away from the end of the extension bar that came with the crampons. I read many reviews that the bar was super short, but for simple hiking/approach mid boots, they are plenty long. A size 44.5 snowboarding boot might be pushing it.

GRIP:
They hold well to all snow and ice conditions that I have encountered so far. They are probably the least grippy in steep slush, as the front spikes aren't quite enough to make up for the lack of horizontally placed spikes under the ball of the foot that are sometimes present on snowshoes.

DURABILITY:
Time will tell I guess. I had to walk on and off repeatedly over snow and rocks on one hike. The metal spikes look like they got chewed up pretty good on the tips. Crampons are not collectors items and are designed to be used until they are no longer useful. As long as they don't fall off my feet at a bad time, I'm fin with the wear and tear.

FIT:
They fit great on my TX4 Mid GTX approach boots. It's almost like the boots were designed to take strap crampons, as the heel locks into the strap in a way that will likely never come undone, and the toes have enough protection to keep from getting rubbed hard. While it's preferable to have a stiffer boot for crampons, the TX4 Mid has enough ankle support that combines with the low height of the sole and wide footbed to make it more stable than a pair of lightweight mid boots should have any right to.

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John

Johnwrote a review of on December 28, 2017

Soles falling apart very quickly.
1 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Size Purchased: 44.5

I was very eager to love these boots. They look great and have a very high level of precise construction. It also seemed like I had finally found a true do-it-all boot that would work great for a mixed bag of tasks when trekking through the alpine backcoutry..

After a few weeks of use, I am not so sure Scarpa delivered on some important aspects of what this boot could have been. Also, while I have not "put it through the wringer" literally in terms of a full season of use, I have enough miles on them in mixed terrain to know how they perform. I've used them more than several times, that is for sure.

Losing rubber and lugs:
At first I noticed that the soles of the boots were loosing rubber at a very rapid rate, even within the first 6 mile easy hike on level trails. The toe area was already shaving down quick and foaming up. This didn't appear to get too much worse as I did easy break-in hikes on dirt trails. Once I started to hit some more rocky trails with some rock scrambles, the rubber just shredded away like it was made of cheese. I think if I lived in an area with only soft soil and no sharp rock, I would have never noticed this problem and the boots would have lasted a long time. But they are designed as an alpine trekking and light-duty mountaineering boot, not a day-hiker for the local dog park.

Bipolar traction:
On one hand, the traction with these boots is amazing in loose dirt, snow, scree, sand, etc. They even grip pretty good on dry rock that has a rough surface. But once they hit any wet, smooth rock, they don't have any grip at all and become rather dangerous to use anywhere with exposure.

Incredibly waterproof:
One thing is for certain, these boots are perfectly waterproof. They shed off water and the gore-tex extends very high up the ankle. But, when they get saturated from sweat inside, they can take a very long time to fully dry out. Much more so than any other GTX boot I have owned before.

Lightweight:
For such a solid and stiff boot, they are really impressive for how light they are. My size 44.5 boots weigh 2.7lbs with the stock insoles.

Stiff sole:
The stiff sole is highly resistant to bending and provides excellent isolation from standing on sharp rocks. While this seemed like a great feature at first, I find that the lack of support in the ankle, along with the rigid heel cup, can put too much pressure and friction onto the back of my heels. If you have boney heels like me, then these boots might cause some serious pain on the back of the heel and on the tendon. Even just scrambling up short, steep sections, my heels are on fire with these boots, no matter how I lace them up. There just isn't enough leverage in the ankle collar to overcome such a stiff sole. If you have meaty heels and thick ankles, then you might have much better luck than myself.

Tight instep:
When these boots are actually put on, they have a decent amount of room for a high instep. But getting them on in the first place can be difficult for my moderately high insteps. The sock-fit system might reduce bulk, but the tongue just does not open up much for sliding the boots on.

I also notice that the tongue itself is not quite wide enough to stay folded under the ankle collar at the top. Mine constantly pull out from under the collar overlap and bunch up under the top laces. This causes the ankle lacing to become loose and makes it a bit uncomfortable.

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John

Johnwrote a review of on December 22, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Size Purchased: 44.5

This is my second pair of these boots that I have purchased. These are very well-designed boots. They fit similar to a Salomon Quest 4D2 crossed with a Salomon X Ultra Mid 2, but with a better lacing system and vastly superior traction over slick surfaces. My go-to boots for hiking, bushwhacking, backpacking, and light rock climbing/ scrambling. I would recommend these boots to anyone looking for a lightweight hiker than has better traction than pretty much every one of the highest rated mid-height hiking boots on the market.

Break-in Period:
It's very important that you give these boots a couple of miles before having any idea of how they will finally fit. They come out of the box very stiff and tight, but loosen up and stretch more than any boot I have owned before. Mine were brutally tight around the balls of my feet like a climbing shoe and then after just 2 miles or so on the trail, they loosen up to where I had to retie them from being too loose.

Traction:
This is the highlight of the TX4 boots, as you will see in every review of the La Sportiva TX series. They grip like magnets to any hard surface, even if wet and slimy as snot. I find them to be close to how the Five Ten impact MTB shoes grip to stuff like wet roots and slick rock slabs. Just incredible and confident. While they do not hold to steep and loose dirt and mud like a boot with taller lugs, they do well enough if you have strong feet and can kick the toes into the hillside hard.

The uphill traction is great, but the downhill traction is even better. The heels just dig in and hold like mountain goat hooves. When the boots are tightened down, they provide a crazy amount of multi-directional control and hold onto loose and firm surfaces no matter how slick or steep.

Comfort:
These are more comfortable than my Salewas or any of the highly rated Salomon boots. In fact, I think they feel better than other boots, especially when tied down tight for technical footwork. No pressure points and just an even and firm hold over the entire foot, except for the tips of the toes which still get to wiggly in freedom.

I have read many review which state the cushioning isn't as thick as some shoes, but I don't find this true at all in my experience. They feel just as well cushioned as any good trail runner with a rock plate. If you've ever worn a hard mountaineering oriented boot , the TX4 will feel like walking on marshmallows in comparison. If you have strong feet, like I do, then you will easily get away with using the TX4 boots for backpacking heavy loads. The boots also flex pretty well compared to standard backpacking boots and make for much happier knees due to a more natural stride.

The toe box has a very nice shape for those of us with more Egyptian shaped feet. The big-toe area goes straight forward and unlike many other boots the TX4 won't push your big toe in and hurt it's joints. It can stick straight out and do its thing.

Lacing System:
The lacing system is strange compared to most shoes and boots, but it isn't a gimmick at all. I'm not quite sure how all of the mechanics and physics are working in this system, but the effect is a very even spread of the lacing tension.

Weight:
These boots feel like slippers and are very light for the support and durability they provide. 2.4 lbs for size 44.5.

Stability:
For a boot that isn't very high up the ankle, the TX4 mid is very stable due to the wider footbed that sits low to the ground. You can hike with the laces loose and still have control over the boot from rolling over on edges.

Durability:
They don't seem like it, but the lacing cord system and rubber rand are much more durable than they appear. Just read the many reviews online. The TX3 and TX4 shoes and boots are very hard to ruin and provide long use for their price.

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John

Johnwrote a review of on December 22, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

This is my second pair of these boots that I have purchased. These are very well-designed boots. They fit similar to a Salomon Quest 4D2 crossed with a Salomon X Ultra Mid 2, but with a better lacing system and vastly superior traction over slick surfaces. My go-to boots for hiking, bushwhacking, backpacking, and light rock climbing were the Salewa MS Firetail EVO mid GTX boots. They are no longer being made, so I have spent the last year looking for something worthy of their replacement. The TX4 Mid GTX boots are not only worthy, but much better in every conceivable way.

Break-in Period:
It's very important that you give these boots a couple of miles before having any idea of how they will finally fit. They come out of the box very stiff and tight, but loosen up and stretch more than any boot I have owned before. Mine were brutally tight around the balls of my feet like a climbing shoe and then after just 2 miles or so on the trail, they loosen up to where I had to retie them from being too loose.

Traction:
This is the highlight of the TX4 boots, as you will see in every review of the La Sportiva TX series. They grip like magnets to any hard surface, even if wet and slimy as snot. I find them to be close to how the Five Ten impact MTB shoes grip to stuff like wet roots and slick rock slabs. Just incredible and confident. While they do not hold to steep and loose dirt and mud like a boot with taller lugs, they do well enough if you have strong feet and can kick the toes into the hillside hard.

The uphill traction is great, but the downhill traction is even better. The heels just dig in and hold like mountain goat hooves. When the boots are tightened down, they provide a crazy amount of multi-directional control and hold onto loose and firm surfaces no matter how slick or steep.

Comfort:
These are every bit as comfortable as my Salewas or any of the highly rated Salomon boots. In fact, I think they feel better than any of those when tied down tight for technical footwork. No pressure points and just an even and firm hold over the entire foot, except for the tips of the toes which still get to wiggly in freedom.

I have read many review which state the cushioning isn't as thick as some shoes, but I don't find this true at all in my experience. They feel just as well cushioned as any good trail runner with a rock plate. If you've ever worn a hard mountaineering oriented boot , the TX4 will feel like walking on marshmallows in comparison. If you have strong feet, like I do, then you will easily get away with using the TX4 boots for backpacking heavy loads. The boots also flex pretty well compared to standard backpacking boots and make for much happier knees due to a more natural stride.

The toe box has a very nice shape for those of us with more Egyptian shaped feet. The big-toe area goes straight forward and unlike many other boots the TX4 won't push your big toe in and hurt it's joints. It can stick straight out and do its thing.

Lacing System:
The lacing system is strange compared to most shoes and boots, but it isn't a gimmick at all. I'm not quite sure how all of the mechanics and physics are working in this system, but the effect is a very even spread of the lacing tension.

Weight:
These boots feel like slippers and are very light for the support and durability they provide. Easy on the knees!

Stability:
For a boot that isn't very high up the ankle, the TX4 mid is very stable due to the wider footbed that sits low to the ground. You can hike with the laces loose and still have control over the boot from rolling over on edges.

Durability:
They don't seem like it, but the lacing cord system and rubber rand are much more durable than they appear. Just read the many reviews online. The TX3 and TX4 shoes and boots are very hard to ruin and provide long use for their price.

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