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The black rubber around the perimeter is very durable, and the colored rubber is more sticky. The flaw is the strip of foam between the rubber compounds -- the shoe would fall apart here first.

Long-term gear reviews: Product insights after a 100-day Appalachian Trail thru-hike

Intro by Skurka. After his recent 100-day thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, Garrett contacted me with some gear reviews, some about products I have written about previously. I thought his insights were valuable, due to his extensive use and to his unbiased viewpoint, and asked his permission to share them. If you have questions for Garrett, leave a comment. […]



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Ascending the snowfield on Thunderbird's north ridge. So long as the snow has not frozen hard overnight, it could be done comfortably in trail runners. But the precipice below the run-out is good motivation to wear crampons.

Notes for next time: Gear, logistics, & snow travel || Glacier Divide Route

For my next trip on the Glacier Divide Route, what should I remember from this past one? Logistics The drive to Glacier National Park from Colorado is intimidating — about 15 hours, depending on the final destination. But it wasn’t terrible, and it’s eye-opening to know that I can reach Glacier in 1.5 days even if I’m […]



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Goat Crest Saddle, the final of many passes on a thru-hike of the Kings Canyon High Basin Route

Long-term review: Sierra Designs Long-Sleeve Pack Polo

It’s back! After it was disappointingly dropped for the 2015 season, the Sierra Designs Long-Sleeve Pack Polo is in stock again, creating the perfect opportunity for a review. This is my go-to shirt for 3-season backpacking in sun-blessed locations like the Rockies, Sierra Nevada, and Southwest. Its optimal conditions: Daytime high temperatures above about 55 degrees F Abundant sunshine No or low bug pressure A […]



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My most popular & favorite posts of 2015

To close out 2015, I’d like to share my most popular posts. My method in creating the list was only partially scientific — I started with total page views for 2015 in Google Analytics, and then I loosely accounted for publishing dates, since posts released earlier in the year have had more time to be viewed than those released […]



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Which side one? The hype: You need a $300 GORE-TEX jacket when outside. The truth: A $300 shell won't keep you dry, especially with long-term use and in extended wet conditions.

Why I’m hard on GORE-TEX, the King of Hype ™

When I discuss waterproof-breathable fabrics, a category that was invented and has been defined by GORE-TEX, I admittedly get worked up. In an early draft of yesterday’s post, for example, I called outright its marketing department know-nothings or liars, or both. And in multiple places I have forcefully explained the technological flaws of GORE-TEX and other […]



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The inside of my waterproof-breathable pants after a multi-hour rain storm. The DWR-treated face fabric wetted out, and moisture began to move inside the fabric, soaking me. This is typical of the performance of modern WP/B fabrics, especially with long-term use.

Speculative thoughts on new GTX Active & Outdry Extreme

For years I have been arguing that modern waterproof/breathable fabrics — including every version of Gore-Tex and eVent, plus proprietary fabrics like Patagonia’s H2No, Marmot’s NanoPro, Mountain Hardwear’s Dry.Q, and dozens of others — are technologically flawed. (Read this, this, maybe this, and The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide.) Relative to the marketing hype, these fabrics earn a […]



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Insulation geekiness: specs, pros & cons, optimal uses || SD LIVE (September 8, 2015)

Live recording SD Live: All Things Insulation from Sierra Designs on Vimeo. Episode overview In the September edition of SD LIVE, we focused on the insulation materials most commonly used in outdoor apparel and sleeping bags, specifically fleece, down, and synthetic fills. Frank Kvietok, who manages the Advanced Development Center at Exxel Outdoors and who was the […]



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Backpacking in the rain: helpful gear and skills|| SD LIVE (March 31, 2015)

In last month’s SD LIVE event, I discussed multiple ways to help maintain a relative level of comfort and safety when backpacking in the rain. Some methods are simply a matter of packing differently or packing more: sleeping clothes, camp shoes, breathable footwear, group tarp, down insulation, and a pack liner. Other methods are techniques: […]



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And here, too? I think it is.

Core Backpacking Clothing || Check lists & systems for 3-season conditions

With just a 13-item collection of hiking and backpacking clothing, is it possible to be comfortable here? And with that very same kit, also here? And here, too? I think it is. Earlier this month I introduced the Core 13, a tight collection of hiking and backpacking clothing that can be mixed-and-matched to create appropriate systems for every […]



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