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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2014 6:08 pm 
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Lobsterrific, trail runners with stronger soles would work or low hikers. Heavy boots are a pain because of the weight but are good if you're carrying a heavy pack.

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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2014 10:53 pm 
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Lobsteriffic, I'm squarely in the trail-runners camp. Unless I'm hiking through lots and lots of snow, (and even when I'm hiking in snow part of the time) I find tennis shoes work just fine. The old adage is 1 pound on your feet equals ten pounds on your back- I'm not sure how true that actually is, but the idea is valid- the heavier your feet are, the more it can wiegh you down.

I favor really grippy tread, so I make sure whatever shoes I'm hiking in have good tread. And if your ankles are strong, you don't need extra ankle support; that's what muscles and ligaments are for. But as lillianp noted; if you have a really heavy pack, your ankles may not be ready for the weight. So get out and do some day hiking to build up those ankle muscles, and do a gear shakedown before you go. Make sure you have what you need, but pare down non-essentials so the hike will be that much more enjoyable.

My main advice for your first trip is to take it easy! Backpacking can be so much fun. Don't plan too big of miles on your first time out. Many a first-timer has been turned off forever by trying to do big miles with a heavy pack and making themselves miserable.
Plan an easy trip and have a blast!

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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2014 11:01 pm 
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~Sz wrote:

Whatever you do wear, be sure that you have worn the footwear a lot prior to going on the trail. Hitting the trail with new footwear will almost definitely result in blisters.


And yes, whatever footwear you decide on, take Sz's advice!

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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2014 2:32 am 
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Tenacious LD wrote:
And if your ankles are strong, you don't need extra ankle support; that's what muscles and ligaments are for.

I guess your comment was directed towards me, since I mentioned ankle support? I just want to point out, it's not always just an issue of being strong! I have good ankles, but I've definitely slipped down rocky slopes and been grateful for something extra to protect against a broken ankle. My husband is strong but he's also a big dude and a fall for him is pretty devastating, which is why he chooses boots.

lobster, I'm sure you can make anything work fine but I'm uncomfortable recommending trail runners to a first time backpacker carrying a heavy load over uneven terrain, steep climbs, and across streams. Also, you're prob going to get pressure blisters and have sore feet so the thicker soles of boots will make walking over pokey rocks a lot more tolerable by that last day. I don't feel like saving yourself a few pounds on a 3-day trip is worth the risk of injury. But, I've also taken some serious tumbles and had to limp through sprained ankles, which has made me more conservative. The guy I know doing the pct is going through in trail runners, including the sierras. That seems scary to me. Just my 2 cents!

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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2014 5:21 am 
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Thanks everyone! Really good advice and lots to think about. I'm going to go to a few stores and try on some different options. Exciting!

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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2014 2:23 pm 
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There are lighter hiking boots, too.

I have strong ankles, one is even steel reinforced! I just don't like running shoes and I love my boots, so I'll never make that transition. I have a pair of trailrunners and crepe gets in them all the time even out on the street so I wear them out only under duress. I don't want to have to constantly wear gaitors. Anyway, love my boots.


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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 10:20 pm 
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I've hiked in both trail runners and heavyish boots. The trail runners were great in some ways, but they ended up being wet more often than not, which meant my feet were wet (they dried overnight, but got wet daily from dew, rain, trickles of water, etc). The boots were heavier, but stayed drier (until I crossed streams that poured in over the top of the boots). I think I like boots better, but I really like dry feet. And I know you can get waterproof trail runners, but they are still low so you have to be more careful in the shallower water.

I got blisters with both. Get the blister bandaids (that is what they are called). I don't care what people say about moleskin and duct tape and all that nonsense. I tried everything and the only thing that stayed on through sweat and wetness and actually helped were the blister bandaids. Store brand worked fine for me. They are a bit more money, but so worth it.


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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2014 8:16 am 
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couroupita wrote:
Tenacious LD wrote:
And if your ankles are strong, you don't need extra ankle support; that's what muscles and ligaments are for.

I guess your comment was directed towards me, since I mentioned ankle support? I just want to point out, it's not always just an issue of being strong! I have good ankles, but I've definitely slipped down rocky slopes and been grateful for something extra to protect against a broken ankle. My husband is strong but he's also a big dude and a fall for him is pretty devastating, which is why he chooses boots.



Not trying to single you out, couroupita, sorry! Just adding a dissenting opinion! Before I did much hiking, I automatically assumed I was supposed to hike in boots. I do understand that some people prefer boots, this thread included. As I've slowly gained experience hiking, I've found that overall, lighter shoes work better for me. Unless I'm mountaineering/need to kick steps all day, or it's super muddy out on a day hike, I prefer tennis shoes with good tread. I thru-hiked in running shoes and trail runners, (the PCT, so this includes snow and passes), and I'm lucky enough to be able to hike once or twice a week here in Idaho over varied terrain. I backpack quite a bit. Some people with dysfunctional/formerly injured ankles swear by boots, and this makes sense. For me, I notice even when I put my lightweight boots on, my feet just feel heavier. If I'm trying to reduce the weight in my pack, it makes sense to try and reduce weight on my feet. However, my experience is my experience only; your mileage may vary.

I will admit if I'm going out for a day or two in really muddy weather, lightweight boots are great. You're right Pi, boots help keep your feet stay dry. But when I'm out for more than a few days, there is a good chance my feet could get wet no matter what. The nice think about trail runners is that they dry really fast! Once my boots are wet, they stay wet, and then they feel even heavier on my feet. If my trail runners get wet, they don't get as heavy, and if it's warm out, they dry out fairly quickly.

At the end of the day, remember to do what works for you. Hike your own hike!

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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2014 8:22 am 
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~Sz wrote:
There are lighter hiking boots, too.

I have strong ankles, one is even steel reinforced! I just don't like running shoes and I love my boots, so I'll never make that transition. I have a pair of trailrunners and crepe gets in them all the time even out on the street so I wear them out only under duress. I don't want to have to constantly wear gaitors. Anyway, love my boots.


Forgot to add that I do have to wear mini-gaitors with my trail runner, or what Sz says happens. Plus one for boots?

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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2014 11:56 am 
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Tenacious LD wrote:
Plus one for boots?


Nah, just +1 for personal preference!

(Scrambling in the desert it behooves me to add gaitors to my boots anyway.)


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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 4:42 pm 
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As someone who counted the number of times she fell on the Appalachian trail (~85 over 5.5 months), I will say that even on bad falls, the ankle protection didn't do much I don't think. I could be wrong. I hiked the first part of the trail in a lot of snow and so the boots were REALLY helpful then (goretex/pre-vegan ahem) but once the weather cleared, I still had some nasty spills in trail runners and low hikers.

As Tenacious LD said, I'm just offering the 2nd opinion. I use light hikers & trail runners for everything these days although if I ever get the nerve to do real winter hiking, I may consider getting some full ankle hiking boots.

For me it was the weight and inflexibility of the boot that lead to really really sore feet at the end of the day. once I switched to trail runners and much lighter hiking shoes, the pain went way down.

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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2014 5:21 pm 
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So I tried on these lightweight mid-boots in store today and I quite liked them. They weren't the right size though and the store didn't carry above a women's size 10 so I'll have to order them online.

http://www.amazon.com/KEEN-Womens-Marshall-Mid-Hiking/dp/B00ALY4WZE/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

They were lightweight, yet they still have *some* ankle support.

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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2014 5:44 pm 
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Those look awesome! I like Keen footwear a lot. They run nice and wide, they are comfortable out of the box. It's a good choice!


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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2014 5:16 pm 
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One thing to be aware of with keen (and this is kind of luck of the draw) if you put them through heavy use, the soles might start peeling away a bit. It happened to me twice while thru-hiking. They were my third pair of shoes and they peeled within 100 miles of hiking. Not enough to be an issue but option was frustrating. I replaced through Rei and the same thing happened.

I just did a quick overnight this weekend with a friend. We were going to do 7-8 in one late afternoon and 14 the next but the trail became really hard to follow and I'd never done the longer section, so we turned around, rather than get more lost than we did the first day. It was gorgeous for the part we did though!

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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2014 5:43 pm 
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Ya, we did an overnight too. Were supposed to stay 2 nights but I'm still shaking out gear and after we went for the summit we decided to go back down the mountain. It was great. We passed a ton of folks on their way up including a boy scout troop, so we were glad with our decision.


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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 10:28 pm 
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I went on my first backpacking trip last night! Just an overnight as a sort of gear shakedown. We'd like to do some longer trips this summer but we'll see if work allows. My new-to-me backpack is awesome, my sleeping bag is not (way too heavy).

We also need a lighter tent. The one we have was given to us by a friend and is fantastic for car camping, but too bulky and heavy for backpacking. There is a MSR hubba hubba on craigslist and I want to check it out. Has anyone used hammocks much? We have one and are contemplating getting another in lieu of a tent. I sleep cold all the time though and I've heard hammocks can be pretty cold.
This was our campsite last night.
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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 12:20 am 
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Well, my 1 week PCT hike ended up being only 2 days. It was so damn hot up there that it was zero fun the entire 2 days. Plus despite everything I researched about how 6 liters of water should last about 2 days I went through it all after the first day, and that was even rationing myself half way through once I went through the first 3 liter pack. We made it 15 miles to Hauser canyon and luckily for us (my brother also went through his 6 liters in one day) there was a few cups of water left in the cache. The next day hiking out of that canyon in mid 90 degrees with pretty much no water and already getting dehydrated from the day before SUCKED.

When we got to Lake Moreno we just collapsed next to the first campsite faucet and gulped water for awhile. We must have looked a mess because some nice people brought us some sodas. The first soda I have had in over 2 years and holy shiitake was it soooooo good. We both decided that there was no way we could make it to Warner Springs as planned with the temperatures after what we just went through on the first 20 miles. There's a 35 mile stretch with no water and If Im going through 6 liters a day I'd need 2 more full water packs to make that next trip. I guess there's a reason we didn't see any other hikers on the trail. Its just too late and too hot and dry this year to hit the high desert in our fitness level I guess. Lesson learned. We plan on returning in the late fall to finish the rest of the first section.

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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 10:46 am 
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It is late to be doing the desert section, but you got through the first 20 miles! Hurrah!

Have you considered jumping up into the Sierra?


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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 4:17 pm 
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~Sz wrote:
It is late to be doing the desert section, but you got through the first 20 miles! Hurrah!

Have you considered jumping up into the Sierra?


Hah, indeed we did. And it was physically the toughest thing I have ever done, not sure if that says how tough the hike was or how lax my life has been.

Anyone ever hiked the Trans Catalina Island Trail?

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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 4:43 pm 
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It is a hard hike up from the border, no doubt about that. I did the climb from Hauser in a very chilly rain and was miserable, but I thrive in 80+ degree weather. Everyone I was with did great and you would have too in that weather, I'm sure.

I have a vague plan to do the Trans Catalina Trail. This summer is all about the Sierra for me, but maybe in the fall after Rim to Rim. (So many hikes, so little time.)


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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:09 pm 
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lobsteriffic wrote:
So I tried on these lightweight mid-boots in store today and I quite liked them. They weren't the right size though and the store didn't carry above a women's size 10 so I'll have to order them online.

http://www.amazon.com/KEEN-Womens-Marshall-Mid-Hiking/dp/B00ALY4WZE/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

They were lightweight, yet they still have *some* ankle support.


Update: By the time I got around to ordering these online they were no longer available, so I ordered a pair of Merrell Grassbows instead:

http://www.merrell.com/CA/en-CA/Product.mvc.aspx/32670W/80265/Womens/Grassbow-Mid-Sport-WTPF

They should arrive by next week - yay!

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 Post subject: Re: Backpacking! Thru-Hiking! Let's talk about it here!
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 6:27 pm 
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I found another hike to put on my list: Teton Crest Trail http://adventure.nationalgeographic.com ... -hike-map/

Also, the trailer for Wild is out. I loved the book and am giving it a second read-through.


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