Hiking Shoes or Running Shoes?

Hiking Shoes or Running Shoes?

That is the question.

Last weekend (before it turned cold and snowy), a friend and I set out on a 14 mile hike around Buffalo Mountain in Summit County, Colorado. Not sure what shoes would be best, I decided lightweight, trail running shoes instead of my bulky hiking boots that I’m sure would cause blisters all around my ankles.

I was out hiking in another pair of trail running shoes about a month ago at Ice Lake near Durango, and these two men, who were both in their 80s, laughed at my shoes. They thought I needed what they call “real hiking shoes.” They might be right in some cases (still not 100% sure which cases those would be),  but I still stuck with the trail running shoes for Buffalo Mountain.

Normally, I would never suggest getting a new pair of shoes and heading straight for the trail before breaking them in a bit, but I went against my own judgement and set-out on our hike in a brand new pair of Salomon XR Missions.

My first surprise was the unique lacing systems. If you are a cyclist like me, you can compare the lacing to the BOA system, except they stay tighter, for longer (which was always my complaint for my cycling shoes), and the Salomon’s do not use a dial, just a simple cinch.

Next on my list of surprises was the amount of grip on the rocks. I was so used to trail running in my old shoes, and never new any other soles could be more grippy than those! My new soles use Salomon’s Contagrip HA, which uses a combination of different rubber to work best on any surface.

The last and most crazy surprise of them all?! After a 14 mile hike (traversing steep sides of the mountain for many of the miles because we may or may not have gotten lost), I had no blisters! Now, obviously to each his own. I’m sure that all depends on the shape of your foot, but for me, the women’s fit of the Salomon XR Missions are definitely a go-to from now on.

One iconic Salomon shoe to check-out for sure are the Salomon Speedcross Series. Those are some serious trail running monsters. I did not get a chance to test these out, but my hiking friend has just got her first pair and plans to test and review them for me!

What are your favorite trail running shoes? Have you tried Salomon? Thoughts…?

 

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Plaid vs. Flannel – It’s on this Fall

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Fall is upon us. It’s already peaking through here in the Rockies. Last weekend I started spying drops of gold among the aspens, and before we know it, Fall will be in full swing. I’m ready for the crisp, cool evenings by the fire pit, but I just realized my wardrobe is not.

What am I missing? Flannel. I have the sheets, I have the pajamas, but what about my every day/evening wear? Plaid button-ups fill my closet, so I should be good with flannel button-ups, right? Wrong. Even though plaid takes up every square inch of my hanger space, that doesn’t mean it’s flannel.

So what makes “plaid” plaid and “flannel” flannel?

It’s simple. P is for plaid and P is for pattern. F is for flannel and F is for functional material.

Flannel was originally made purely of wool, but gradually became a mixture of great materials like silk, cotton, and other synthetics. Flannel shirts can come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and patterns. Plaid and flannel are commonly used interchangeably causing the belief that both are patterns. Typically, we see plaid used in button-up shirts, and to make a shirt softer, warmer, and more durable for use in the outdoors, the plaid button-ups are made with flannel material.

I’ve picked-out my favorite flannel shirts and listed them below. You can also browse all of our flannel here:

MEN’S FLANNEL HERE >     |      WOMEN’S FLANNEL HERE >

Hobson
The Men’s Marmot Hobson Flannel Button-up is an example of solid flannel. Soft, warm, cozy, and just perfect. SHOP NOW >
womens fjord
The Women’s Patagonia Fjord is seriously soft, seriously. I love the fit and comfort it gives me all day, whether at work, camping, or on the slopes. SHOP NOW >
MH Trekkin
Mountain Hardwear is hard to beat when they created a high-tech flannel with quick-drying and moisture-wicking properties that you find in most technical baselayers! SHOP NOW >

MEN’S FLANNEL HERE >     |      WOMEN’S FLANNEL HERE >

How to Pick a Tent

How to Pick a Tent

Purchasing a tent is a big decision. This tent will become your home away from home. From backpacking the Appalachian Trail to conquering Mount Rainier or Everest this tent will see you through good and bad weather. I bet a lot of thought went into buying your first home and your tent deserves that same consideration. You’ll be surprised at how attached you can become to your tent.

1. The first thing you need to ask yourself is how many people will be sleeping in this tent? If the number is high do you need a tent with two doors and vestibules-for those of you who don’t know a vestibule provides extra space before the door where you can stash gear without worrying about it getting wet-instead of only one? In other words, how bad do you want to be elbowed or kneed when someone crawls over you to get outside? If you have a youngster or light sleeper in the family you may want a tent with jingle-free/noiseless zippers. It’s no fun when someone wakes up on the wrong side of the sleeping bag.

2. Now ask yourself what are you going to be using this tent for? Are you a weekend warrior going out for one night of camping? Are you a seasoned backpacker going out for a week or a month? Are you a car camper or hunter setting up a base camp? If you’re going backpacking and plan to camp in a new location every night you don’t want a heavy tent. You’re probably going to want an ultralight backpacking tent. If you’re only hiking in for a weekend you’ll be okay with a little heavier backpacking tent. If you plan to set up camp near your vehicle then get a big, luxurious tent. Who cares if it’s heavy? You don’t have to lug it even a mile into the backwoods. There are even tents out there with two rooms! A word of advice: if you’re backpacking and a lot of people are going to be sleeping in your tent don’t backpack a six-person tent into the woods. Break it down and have a couple of people hike three-person tents in. Unless you’re the hulk, and then I imagine you can handle a six-person tent.

3. And for the next question…When do you do most of your camping? Most tents are three-season. Will that work for you or do you need a tent that can withstand snow? If so, you need a four-season tent.

4. And finally, the question you’ve been agonizing over. What is your price range? This is the beauty of camping. Tents don’t have to be expensive. Becoming one with nature is relatively inexpensive. Tents are durable. They’re a good investment. When looking at a tent’s price look at the accessories included. For example, is the footprint included or sold separately? On average a footprint costs around fifty dollars. Keep in mind, with a tent you get what you pay for. What kind of poles does the tent come with? DAC poles are stronger and lighter than other aluminum poles. Do you expect high winds? Is this something you need? Do you want shorter, fourteen inch, poles so your tent packs into a cube instead of a cylindrical shape? Does the floor of the tent have a bathtub construction to better protect you from the rain? Do you expect to sleep through a torrential downpour? On that same line of questioning do you need a tent with an awning over the door so you don’t step out in the morning to a free shower when you zip the door closed behind you? (Because, after all, your tent is still not a barn.) Do you geek out over new technologies? Do you want a tent pre-equipped with lights or a tent with a center entertainment loft for your ipad? Is your dog more than just a pet? Is he/she family? Do you need a pawprint sheet to lay down inside the tent to better protect the floor? Are you new to camping? Do you need a tent with color coded clips so you know how to set up your tent?

No matter the kind of tent you’re looking for it’s out there. Just make sure to get the right size, weight, and seasonality in your price range equipped with all the accessories you need.

Starting a Campfire for the Amateur

Starting a Campfire for the Amateur

1.Build a ring of rocks to contain your fire.

2. Find some grass.

3. Find small sticks.

4. Find larger sticks and logs.

(Feels a little like Easter doesn’t it?)

5. Build a teepee with the small sticks.

6. Place the grass flat on the ground through the breaks in the teepee so it makes a carpet of sorts, but keep some grass for later.

7. Take the grass you set aside for later and light the end on fire.  Now light the grass under the teepee.  (Using the grass as a sort of longer match keeps you from burning yourself so easily.  Ladies, nail polish is flammable.)

8. Repeat step 7 as necessary, collecting more grass as needed until the small sticks catch fire.  (If the grass isn’t doing the trick try toilet paper.)

9. Once the small sticks are blazing throw on bigger sticks until you have a good campfire, and then add wood as long as needed so you stay warm during the night and in the morning.

Warning: You may smell like smoke at the end of your camping trip.

Cooking tip: Everything tastes better with a little ash.  Especially, marshmallows.

Marmot Lobo’s Pant

Marmot Lobo’s Pant

It’s hard to find a great pair of bottoms that fit right, don’t tear, dry quickly, and look good.  Normally, when hiking, I wear athletic shorts, but that’s not always ideal in the spring and fall, and even in the summer at 14,000 feet with the wind blowing it’s chilly.  When I do wear longer pants they’re usually capris and cotton.  Don’t judge me.  Shopping is not my thing.  But Marmot has a smaller, relevant clothing line.  They don’t try to fluff their line with unnecessary pieces that you don’t need.  Shopping for clothing that works across multiple activities is simple. The women’s Lobo’s pant has a boot cut design and when it gets hot in the afternoons they roll into capris with a button just below the knee so they don’t fall and you don’t have to constantly readjust them.  Trendy thread pop reveals itself along the seam when you roll them up to add a little bit of flavor.  With a zippered side pocket you can easily stash any valuables.  They’re so lightweight and comfortable you forget you’re wearing pants.  And they’re warm, too.  In the spring evenings my legs don’t get cold. Durability is a huge factor for me and these pants didn’t disappoint.  When my friend’s dog jumped up on me her paws didn’t snag my pants.  When I was sliding down rocks my pants didn’t tear.  And when I was maneuvering through shrubs and trees the thorns and branches didn’t rip my pants. I wore them for three days straight on my last backpacking trip, even sleeping in them and they didn’t wrinkle.  With their great stretch they move when I do.  Totally worth the $70!  And they dry quickly so when those afternoon showers come in or the dew from tree branches rubs off you’re set. Lobo’s is offered in three colors: desert khaki, dark steel, and cinder.  I personally went for the dark steel and love them.  At 5’7″ and 130lbs size 6 fits fantastically.  They weren’t too short, but they didn’t drag the ground either, and I didn’t need a belt.  From the trail to town you can totally dress these pants up.  They’re that diverse.  If you’re like me then shopping for hiking pants is a huge ordeal so skip the stress and order a pair of Lobo’s  You won’t regret it.  And no worries.  They’re super easy to wash and they don’t shrink during wash.  Wash in cold water using powdered detergent and no softener.  Technically you can tumble dry low, but I just air dry them.  They’re quick drying anyway so it doesn’t take long.

http://www.rockymountaintrail.com/Marmot/Women%27s_Lobo%27s_Pant/69310/detail

Ring in the New…Spring? with Camping!

What better way to celebrate a new season of fresh beginnings, longer days, and sunshine than with a campfire, tent and some friends.  Yes, it’s that time of year again.  Camping season is upon us!  Enjoy it!  Put your favorite playlist in, hit the road, and find that perfect camp spot.  The temperatures are mild, and some of those reptiles and arachnids you don’t want to come across aren’t out yet.  So get out there and take advantage of all that spring has to offer.  There are plenty of places to camp that aren’t snowed in.  If you don’t believe me I have a picture to prove it.  🙂  Stop waiting!  Go find your adventure!

Yampa River
Yampa River

Women’s Day

From Sacagawea to Amelia Earhart we all have a hero to celebrate this International  Women’s Day, March eighth.  Nellie Bly made a trip around the world in seventy-two days.  Mildred (Babe) Didrikson, an Olympic athlete with talent as diverse as her personality, is most known for her track and field, golf, and basketball accomplishments.  Valentina Tereshkova, the first female to fly in space, worked hard to educate herself while simultaneously helping to support her family.  Junko Tabei, the first woman to summit Mount Everest, started climbing at the age of ten and went on to form a climbing club for women.  So women, go out there and do what you’ve always wanted to do.  The only person holding you back is you.