Tested Equipment

…to the point of failure and what you should do about it.

Boots and Shoes

Asolo Stynger

I had gotten years of use out of these wonderful boots. They needed to be resoled a few back so they have been sitting in my garage. I guess the worse thing you can do for boots is let them sit around and not be used. Overtime they suffer from something called hydrolysis. I just mailed them to Dave Page a cobbler in Seattle who specializes in mountaineering and hiking boot repairs. If you fall in love with a pair, sure they can be resoled. Asolo guarantees this for up to 5 years if you save your receipt. Mine are about 15 years old.

5 Star Rating

Snowshoes

MSR Evo

Many times I get asked what is my favorite snowshoes. My favorite snowshoes, I’ve owned for twenty years. They are MSR Evo. They are tough and are on the small side so easy enough to walk in. There are floatation fins that can attach if you are breaking trail. They haven’t failed me yet.

Summer Soft Sole Hikers

Ahnu Sugarpine Hightops

Probably my favorite day hikers. The Ahnu Sugarpine original and II. I use the Superfeet insole for a bit extra arch support. I go through a pair each season. Think of these as running shoes. The tread wears down and they do break down in a season if you put 100’s of miles on like I do but they are the most comfortable by far of all my boots.

Running Shoes

There’s a reason Brooks has made it with “Run Happy”

I’ve run in the Brooks Adrenaline line of running footwear for about 20 years or more. The foam cushion, toe box and comfort factor hit the wow factor. I always feel stable and comfortable in them. Run happy changes things around occasionally however. The 2019 were very soft compared to the earlier models. I switched to the Ghost for a year and also added the Superfeet insole for these. Our kid that is a professional runner, coach and works at a running store could tell you why.

 

Washington Weather Tested Jackets

Over the past several years I’ve had the opportunity to test a number of so-called, water resistant “Gore-Tex” jackets. Each one of these jackets cost well over $100 each but only one out of the three truly did not “wet-out”.

Living in the pacific northwest gets challenging for hikers and backpackers when it comes to waterproof jackets, pants and shells. The Mountain Hardwear (red) was the most expensive, Columbia (white) was next, The North Face (pink heather)  and then followed by Marmot (blue turquoise) being the least expensive. 

I wore all these jackets all seasons with layers underneath. Three of these did not perform and one came out on top. If you are testing a new jacket, I highly suggest you bring a cheap plastic poncho because you will be shocked at the lack of results for the price you pay for all but one of these jackets. Keep in mind I hike in all kinds of extreme weather. Rain that soaks, completely soaks, is not uncommon in our neck of the woods.

Want to make a guess which one performed in the worst conditions?

Then click picture to find out which one worked.

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Sometimes you don’t get what you paid for and in this case, always carry a $1.49 plastic poncho. I call it the 10 essentials +1 for Washington State.

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