View Full Version : Boots and Backpacks

Matt Pincham
09-19-2003, 09:43
Hello all,

Sorry to pester you with yet another question! Just starting to buy my equipment at the mo and two of my most essential purchases are coming next. Luckily, this week my girlfriend landed a job in her local outdoors activity store (Snow + Rock, UK).
Just wondered if people could recommend their favourite brands so I have an idea what to go on. Luckily with my girlfriends job we can get 30% off so I'm willing to spend a bit more than before.

My pack of preference is probably going to be an Osprey but I'm not sure which type/size.

Any recommendations/comments will as always be welcomed with great big open cuddling arms :D :D :D

09-19-2003, 10:27
I would say if you are going for a commercial pack, osprey eather 60.

But I really love my gearskin. www.moonbowgear.com

Gravity Man

09-19-2003, 11:51
I second the Aether 60. I'm using it in 04 and have found it comfortable to wear and it will hold all I need.

09-19-2003, 17:29
If you look around at other thru-hikers, you should quickly realize that there is no clear consentious on which brand of gear is best. Everyone has their own preferences on what works best for them.

When I started, I thought that everyone carried a Nalgene for water. I quickly figured out that some had the hard bottle, some had a flexible camel back or platypus, some used drink bottles, and some used the old style canteens. So, many different choices for carrying water.

For packs, my suggestion is to try on many and see what works be for you. There are several good brands out there.

For boots, my advice is to avoid the traditional heavy all leather hiking boot. It seems that anyone who starts with this type of boot switches to something lighter.

09-19-2003, 21:30
My advice on boots is that the most important factor, before brand, is fit. The best made, most popular boot in the world is garbage if it doesn't fit you properly. So test out boots at the end of the day when your feet are all swelled up. Make sure they have enough room in the toebox so that your toes aren't crowded together. You should have enough arch support, but not too much. Your heel should be ALMOST immobilized in the heel pocket once the boots are laced up, and you should not be able to easily kick your toes into the toebox with the boots laced up. With the boots unlaced and your toes kicked forward in the boot, you should be able to fit two fingers (or the equivalent) behind your heel. The boot should flex where your feet flex. Those flex points are typically engineered into the boot, so if they don't match up with your feet, no amount of wear is going to make them match up.

Waterproofness is, for a 3 season AT boot, a non-issue.

I am a convert to lightweight ankle high boots. My current favorite is the Merrel Chameleon Ventilator. I wish I had them for my thru-hike in 95, but alas, they weren't made at that point and I was thoroughly entranced with my Montrail Moraines.

I would recommend a pack that is advertised as being for long weekend trips. Load-monster expedition packs are so big that they allow you to carry too much stuff. Carrying a smaller pack makes you make tough choices about what you really NEED, and helps you keep your packweight down.

09-19-2003, 21:44
I really love my gearskin too...dont just overlook it just becuase its different. It really works.

Future thru-hiker 2013

Matt Pincham
09-20-2003, 10:20
LOL had to admit I looked at the gearskin on that website link and thought 'Erm...no thanks'.
I expect it does do the job but I think I want the stability a commercial pack offers. Sidepockets and easy loading, plus a goof hipbelt is what I'm looking for. The Aether 60 looks promising and it's not gonna break my bank.

With regards to boot I'll definitely take my time trying them on etc. Just needed a few brand names to check out so I have an idea of the good ones.

Thanks for the help once again guys.


09-20-2003, 21:38
I originally liked my REI Valhalla pack, but returned that and bought a Kelty Haiku 4250 Wmns because it was almost a pound lighter and I got 650 cubes more space to stash rice krispie treats.

I also originally had Asolo FSN GTX 75s (women's) because they had great reviews in all the mags, from my friends, etc. They hurt my feet. In fact, during the break-in period they gave me hot spots so bad (everthing from the arch of my foot forward) that I had to switch to something more comfortable as soon as I got off the trail-- a beat to hades pair of discontinued montrail somethings... and it hit me. I LIKE my montrails... so I returned the asolos and got a pair of Torre GTX. I love them. The asolo boots are probably good for someone else, but they don't work for me.

09-21-2003, 01:28
the aether 60 is a good pack. used it this year. i wore out two packs in the first 800 miles, the stays wore through. each time osprey made good on replacing my pack. i had to haggle with the rep the second time, but he ended up sending a new pack to me overnight. if you buy osprey A60, look for the word "composite" stiched on the side. it lasted me to katahdin and still looks new.


09-22-2003, 15:10
First time poster here and I've really enjoyed reading everyone's thoughts. Great forum. I used to hike and camp a lot with my Boy Scout troop for years but that was in the 80's. I've sparked my hiking interest again and am somtimes overwhelmed at the change in technology and gear. I've been doing day hikes locally with my eye on the AT in a year or two.

But my first of many questions (lol) is pretty basic. Anybody ever try any of the newer shoe cushions like the Dr. Scholl's Gel. You know the commercial, "You gellin'?" Curious how they will last on the trail and if there is a big difference when using them?

Thanks all.

09-22-2003, 16:35
My wife used the Aether 60 and loved it. It lasted the whole thru-hike with no problems.

I prefer the Mountainsmith Ghost for a pack.

As far as boots - go with what fits your foot well. Everyone has a different shaped foot so even if you love the features of a certain brand, if it doesn't fit your foot well, it is worthless to you. My feet liked the Asolo Fushion 95 gtx, but I quickly switched to a running shoe made by New Balance and I liked them far better. I also tried a pair of Merrels and they destroyed my feet. They are a great brand but didn't fit my feet well.

There are a bazillion posts on shoes vs. boots so I don't want to go into detail about that other than mentioning that shoes are an option to consider.

09-22-2003, 20:27
Seeing you are in the UK and you want a pack that will last the whole trail try www.macpac.co.nz.

I have never regretted the Torre but it was a little to big for the trail.

I echo what the others have said about boots. At least half a size to big before you start. You can always wear another pair of socks but if your feet swell then it is pain city!


Mike Drinkuth
09-24-2003, 16:02
Hey bjorkin, in my humble opinion, steer clear of gel inserts or any other overly soft insert. They do more damage on the back than almost anything. Go to an outfitter and ask for "Superfeet". They are kinda pricey but WELL worth it. You might be suprised at first on how they feel in your shoes but give em a chance and you'll swear by them. I certainly do.

09-24-2003, 22:57
my husband has had problems with his shoes forever because one foot is bigger than the other...he has more shoes than i do!!

and then he discovered SUPERFEET...he slips it into the shoe that cramps the bony thingy above the toes...it raises the foot in such a way that it actually 'fixed' his problem..he uses it only for one feet...i havent figured out the actual science behind it..but its a miracle! really..SUPERFEET is amazing!