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Gear: MSR Snowshoe Review
Tuesday, February 26 @ 08:47:22 PST by drew (6046 reads)
All you ever wanted to know about gearsttjones writes "
I love these snowshoes, despite their price. 2011 marks the fifth winter I've used them. Look for these snowshoes on clearance when the winter season is ending.

These snowshoes come in two sizes, 22 and 25 inch. Everything is a compromise and snowshoe size is no exception. In many parts of the country the snow can be wet and heavy and these snowshoes excel in those conditions. If you travel in deep powder often then you would probably want the longer model. I've used several brands of snowshoes, including rawhide snowshoes, which have an aesthetic appeal.

I've made my own snowshoes out of PVC pipe and inner tubes for the do-it-yourself appeal. I have the 25" model and the actual weight is 3# 4.5 oz. In contrast, I have a 30" pair of Yakima snowshoes that weigh 5# 3 oz. I look for snowshoes to be rugged and reliable. Pay close attention to snowshoe bindings.

If any one part of the binding breaks or fails, can you still make the binding serviceable? Are there enough straps so that if one breaks can you still walk back out to the trailhead? Can you get them on and off while wearing thick gloves? Do the bindings look like they may rub against another part of the snowshoe and squeak during use?

Think of strapping a can of green beans to your feet and walking around all day. Now think about two cans of green beans on each foot. That can be the difference between brands of snowshoes. Lighter is supremely better. When you strap your feet in, they stay where you put them and don't slip sideways in the bindings. The binding pivot is limited enough so you can step backwards, but you do have to pick your feet up a lot. The snowshoes are sturdy enough you can jump off across ditches without warping the snowshoes. These bindings also allow you to side-hill without your foot twisting or the snowshoe trying to match the angle of the slope. The teeth all around the snowshoe hold fast in all but loose snow on steep hills.

The aluminum and synthetic decking material combine to provide a fairly quiet backcountry experience. Compare these to snowshoes with plastic decking on icy snow for noise level. As with any snowshoe, care should be taken when walking over rocks because that will dull the points. The points on these snowshoes can be easily sharpened with some filing.

The MSR snowshoes are well constructed and thought out. The binding is the best I've seen on the market. With winter gloves on, you can get in and out of the bindings and make adjustments. You can also undo the two bootstraps and step out of them then later step back into them without having to readjust the heel strap, though this is best done between short trips in camp. The bindings are sturdy and wet snow doesn't stick to the bindings and decking. These snowshoes offer great traction on almost any surface. You'll appreciate the small amount of snow the tails kick up as you walk. Weight is an important factor if you intend to walk more than a couple of miles a day and I believe these are the best combination of weight savings, durability, and functionality on the market.

The only wear I can see on these snowshoes is the exterior paint finish is chipping off in places. This doesn't decrease the functionality of this snowshoe since the frame is of an aluminum alloy and doesn't rust.

MSR now makes a tail extension for the Ligntning Snowshoe but it doesn't work on the older models. If the top of the metal rim is smooth then the tail extensions won't work.

My snowshoes are finally showing some wear. The decking is splitting at the back heel rest and I'll be sending the snowshoes for repair.

Switchback Steve


(Read More... | Score: 0)

Gear: What new gear did you get your hands on?
Wednesday, February 16 @ 18:45:35 PST by drew (5140 reads)
All you ever wanted to know about gearJust thought I would put out the question to everyone.
Just curious who has a new piece of gear, what it is, and what you like about it. Feel free to write a review and have it posted right here. I have a one I am working on, it's the Foretrex 101 GPS, and so far I really like it.
Look for a review soon!

(Read More... | Score: 0)

Gear: Make your own Sil Nylon Sealer
Monday, January 31 @ 12:22:55 PST by drew (13279 reads)
How To tips for your gearSteps for Making Your Own Silicone Seam Sealer Purchase the following items.
They should be are available from most local hardware stores.
    GE Silicone II clear tub and sink caulk - The small tube will make enough to seal several tents. The large tube will make enough to seal everything you own and then some.
    Mineral Spirits - Commonly used for cleaning paint brushes. Small brush to apply the sealer - A 3/4" foam brush works well.
    Electric Drill with Paint Stirrer attachment.
Dilute Silicone In a glass jar, mix one part mineral spirits with one part silicone caulk (1 oz mineral spirits and 1 oz silicone should be enough.)
Using the drill with paint stirrer attachment, mix well. (Hint: You can mix by hand with a regular paint stirrer, but caulk is stiff, so will take much longer to mix.)
When mixture is the right consistency, it will be smooth and milky, and flow smoothly when applied. If it's too thick or lumpy, the waterproofing won't flow well into the seams, or be absorbed by the exposed threads. Sealing Your Tent
Seal the Tent - Working in a well ventilated area, pour a small amount into a paper cup, and close the jar to keep rest of sealer from thickening.
Use a small brush to apply a thin coat of sealer to all exposed outside seams. Spread seams open flat and hold them taut while applying, to ensure even coverage.
If sealer thickens while applying, stir in a few drops of mineral spirits. Use waxed paper to separate overlapping areas of wet sealer.
Strip the Floor - Adding a series of strips with the sealer to the floor of the tent will reduce the tendency of your sleeping pad from sliding around on the silicone nylon floor.
Drying your Tent - Hang your tent, or lay it out flat, and cure for at least 8 to 12 hours after sealing. Hanging with simple wire hooks on the overhead support brackets of a garage door works well, as does hanging over a shower rod with floor sides together.
Once cured, the sealer dries to a clear matte finish that is nearly invisible, and will be both durable and flexible.

(Read More... | Score: 0)

Gear: MH Tempest SL jacket
Monday, February 02 @ 14:17:22 PST by drew (5168 reads)
All you ever wanted to know about gearFeatures:
Soft "vapor-therm" lining
One handed hem drawcord
High rise zip up collar
Lower back waist pull
Napoleon stow pocket

weight 11 oz / 300 g
use Backcountry / Cool weather active
face fabric SL Ripstop
laminate Conduit SL
lining fabric Vapor Therm

(Read More... | Score: 0)

Gear: MH Tempest SL Pants
Monday, February 02 @ 14:08:59 PST by drew (5144 reads)
All you ever wanted to know about gearGreat choice for active endeavors outdoors, from mountain biking in a drizzle, to Nordic skiing in a light snow, to running in the fog.
Waterproof, windproof, lightweight, compressible and breathable pants offer protection in cold, windy, wet conditions.
Two-layer Conduit™/nylon laminate fabric with Vapor-therm microfiber lining offers a soft hand along with good moisture resistance. Full-length side zippers offer versatility and venting; elastic waist with adjustable drawcord and double Velcro® closure. Velcro cuffs are adjustable. Weight. 12 oz / 350 g

(Read More... | Score: 5)

Random Photos
Pine Ridge, WA
To print using Internet Explorer, expand to full size, right click on image, and press Print Picture.
Pine Ridge, WA To print using Internet Explorer, expand to full size, right click on image, and press Print Picture.
From: Pine Ridge, WA

Most of the Lupine and other flowers were already past the full bloom, but some were still hanging around.
Most of the Lupine and other flowers were already past the full bloom, but some were still hanging around.
From: Wonderland 2003 15-24 Aug.

From: Whittier Ridge, WA

From: Wonderland at Rainier pics from Todd

Diamond Creek 3
Diamond Creek 3
From: WTA BCRT Diamond Creek

Previous Articles
Thursday, January 29
· Mountain Hardware Convertible Pack Pants
· Mountain Hardware Transition Pant
· Mountain Hardware Tempest Gloves
· Mountain Hardware Micro Mesh Bivy
· Mountain Hardware eXtend Base Layers
Wednesday, August 27
· Mr. Jones' Granola Bars
Thursday, June 19
· '02 Wonderland Trail gear.
Friday, June 06
· Atlas 1033 Snowshoes
Thursday, June 05
· VauDe Hot Rod Titanium stove
Monday, May 19
· REI Half Dome Plus 2 tent
Friday, May 16
· Mountain Hardware Monkey Man Jacket

One Day like Today...
On October 21, 1960, American viewers were riveted to their television sets for the broadcast of the fourth and final debate between Vice President Richard M. Nixon, the Republican presidential candidate, and Senator John F. Kennedy, Democratic candidate.
On September 26, 1960, the viewing public had tuned in to the first domestic issues-centered debate between Kennedy and Nixon. The debate, broadcast by CBS, provided for eight-minute opening statements from each candidate followed by a series of questions and answers and ended with three-minute closing statements.

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Happy trails! HikingDrew

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