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Archive | Footwear

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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Severe maceration after the 2009 Alaska Mountain Wilderness Classic, in which we raced 180 miles across the Eastern Alaska Range in 4 days

Footwear & Footcare: Would you suck on these toes? || SD LIVE (July 22, 2015)

Live recording Footwear and Foot-care from Sierra Designs on Vimeo. Pre-episode teaser During the next SD LIVE event, I will discuss Footwear and Footcare. Tune in tomorrow: Wednesday, July 22, 11:30am PDT. The program will run 30-45 minutes. Topics will include but are not limited to: Shoes Socks Gaiters Maceration Blisters Calluses This is intentionally a live […]

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backpacking-in-the-rain

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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Air-drying on the summit of Green Mountain after a 2,650-foot climb with a 45-lb backpack full of bricks (prototype Sierra Designs pack, not yet a top pick). Wearing Salomon Light Short, Salomon Eskape Aero, and Simblissity Levagaiters. Clearly I haven’t spent much time in the weight room recently.

Backpacking training: Three top picks

For the first time since March, I’ve been home for an entire month straight. It’s been awesome, with much more time to spend with Amanda, to take care of the business’s backend, and to run and hike in Boulder’s open space. In specific regards to the latter, I’ve been climbing Green Mountain (8,144′) several times […]

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Where a When a fabric "wets out," it

Breathability: an explanation of its importance, mechanisms, and limitations

Outdoor fabrics are frequently described as being “breathable,” and this is (except in one case) a desirable characteristic. My observation based on clinics and online writings is that the concept of breathability is generally understood, but usually superficially. Further, there is some confusion about how it relates to “ventilation” as well as some unrealistic expectations about […]

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In wet conditions, such as those in the Wind River Range in July, wet feet are inevitable despite best efforts to avoid them.

Why “waterproof” shoes will not keep your feet dry

Here’s a reality check: if you are backpacking in wet conditions—which could entail prolonged rain, dew-soaked grass, melting snow, un-bridged creek crossings, or even just high humidity—your feet are going to get wet. So-called “waterproof” footwear will not keep your feet dry. Advertisements and marketing that makes such claims are false and disingenuous, and they […]

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