You UL guys are going to convert me yet...

5:57 p.m. on November 22, 2011 (EST)
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So I am thinking of trying something new(to me) this year during the warmer seasons.

Trail runner/walker footwear thingamabobbers.

I am a die hard boot fanatic. This is going to be uncharted territory being I even wear boots for dayhikes. 

I ended up snagging up the Lowa Argon GTXs and am honestly terrified I am going to blow an ankle(with my recent luck its justified.)


I am wondering if I should keep my pack weight limited for awhile to build up my ankle strength or should I go for broke?

...Maybe I shouldn't have said that. 

If you see my pack weight at times it may be a good idea to start out small and get to my 70lb+ weights I cruise with at times...

Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated. I don't have weak ankles that I know of. 

Who knows where this will lead. Maybe a pair of VFFs with a fully engorged Osprey Argon 110?

6:39 p.m. on November 22, 2011 (EST)
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Personally I'd start out hiking wiht no extra weight and then build up very slowly. If you've been using boots with ankle support your ankles will be weak and will need time to build up to be able to carry weight. I'd start as wearing them as daily shoes and then add small amounts of weight along the way.

6:44 p.m. on November 22, 2011 (EST)
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I work out a great deal as well as run. I have never had problems with my ankles when doing squats, etc. I was wondering if this would correlate onto the trail.

I wear running shoes at the gym. So there is no ankle suppor to really compensate for the loads I am placing on my shoulders. Then the whole lateral stability thing came to mind being I am not doing my squats on an uneven surface.

This is where my confusion lies. Then again with the leg injury I am getting over its making it all that more confusing.

6:52 p.m. on November 22, 2011 (EST)
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I'm not asking for medical advice. Just for a few ideas on what would be a solid approach to trying something different.

I just wanted to be clear on that.

7:01 p.m. on November 22, 2011 (EST)
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Oh no Rick your going to the lite side!

Stay on the dark side Rick, we have the power! Heavy boots, heavy packs, heavy tents. We crash through the bush stomping wildflowers into the recesses of our Vibram Montagna Block soles.

Okay just joking of course.

I personally feel that ankle support is a little over stated as an attribute of boots. For me good overall foot stability comes from  proper fit, rigid construction providing lateral support, a good footbed with a good heel cup, and paying great attention to foot placement in rugged terrain, especially on ice - haha.

I do dayhikes in light hiking boots, shoes, sandals, or even barefooted, I guess I'm a hybrid of sorts.

Follow your gut and do what you feel is safe; as always, shakedown trips to test things out are advisable as you know. You certainly don't want to re-injure the leg.

Almost forgot, congrats on the new shoes, let us know how it goes.

7:31 p.m. on November 22, 2011 (EST)
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I'm going for the lighter footwear. But never has had a problem with my feet or legs. Lucky me. Just picked up a pair of palo altos from high-tec. and a pair of Soloman XA pros. My thinking is that the lighter the foot wear the lighter your load on your feet. I might be all washed up on that though.

7:46 p.m. on November 22, 2011 (EST)
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I figured I have a UL tent, UL poles, light bag, light stove, you get the pic. Maybe I am missing something here as far as my habits in the warmer seasons.

Then again when one is humping a week+ worth of provisions it can be a bit hard to stay light. At the same time I don't see why I would need to use my Scrapa battleships year round.

On the shoes above I could not find any reviews on them or anything else for that matter. Then again I don't know many who would shell out $175 on a pair of trail runners trail walking thingamabobbers. I didn't and I wouldn't.

I would just like to cut down on the impact on my body. I am starting to experience wear and tear so this may be a good thing.

Don't get me wrong, late fall thru early spring you will find me with my normal gear. 4 season tent, heavy boots, bag, blah blah blah(70lbs+)

I just want to look at alternatives. My biggest fear as I stated above is I will end up blowing an ankle on trail and be in a very precarious position.

I am not sure what one considers UL for a week on the trail but I am thinking 20-30lbs max for me is ul.

8:01 p.m. on November 22, 2011 (EST)
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How about these or something like them for a compromise?


I can't tell from your pic if yours are Mid-height, but these are essentially "high-top" trail runners.

I think what would get you would be a miss-step.  My wife sprained her ankle when she wasn't paying attention to where she was placing her feet and stepped on the side of the trail which was a rut and when she came down on her foot, it slipped and she sprained it. 

8:31 p.m. on November 22, 2011 (EST)
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I actually had a pair of the Moabs, as well as the Chameleons(the stretches are seriously comfy.) Their lifespan was some what short. I am pretty hard on my gear. 

I am pretty much done with footwear purchases.... and tent purchases(just bought a Hille and am amped) for that matter. Next on my radar is another pack. Need something more suited for winter weight for a week+.

So far its between an Argon 85 and a MR 5000.

11:16 p.m. on November 22, 2011 (EST)
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I have had good luck with my Moabs, in fact they are my go-to shoes for light duty use, but I don't see myself carrying a 70lb (or even 50lb) pack with them.  It's not about the ankle support.  In spite of being taught since I was a kid that "boots provide better ankle support, I just don't buy it".  More times than I care to recall, I've had various makes & models of heavy hiking book fold under me when I stepped ... causing my ankle to bend with it.  If anything sometimes I feel like I'm *more* at risk for ankle injury when wearing big boots, because the step is higher (because the sole is thicker), so the ankle is more likely to fold under me.

That having been said, I do appreciate a more solid boot (than the Moab, etc) for heavy packing, but for a different reason.  For me it's more about protection from what's underfoot.  When I (day) hike with the Moabs, my feet feel tired after a while because of the rocks etc poking up from below.  A heavier boot (read: with a more solid sole) boot protects my feet & they feel less tired as a result.

I guess I'm being the contrarian here, on the ankle issue, but that's how it's been for me...

Anyway, Rick, I'd be concerned about carrying a 60lb pack with light hikers.  I see lots of people in the Sierra using light hikers backpacking, but from the looks of it (and from their frequent comments about how heavy my pack looks), they're all ultra-lighters...

11:19 p.m. on November 22, 2011 (EST)
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My transition from "heavy" to "light" was slow.  I first started by reducing pack weight.  I then carried lightweight ~25lbs weekend loads while still wearing boots.

As I consider the possibility of wearing trail runners or sandals with the lightweight loads I first started doing gym workout exercises where I stood on only 1 leg.  About 1/3 of my exercises involve standing on or alternately working one leg only. 

After one year of adding these exercises to my routine did I start wearing lightweight footwear.  And then started with dayhikes, worked up to weekends, and finally to week/2 week long treks.  And the last couple summers have added x-country travel into the mix.

Now I use trail runners pretty much in any situation.  Even winter hiking (in Arizona) I will pull on microspikes and hike in AZ snow/icy conditions.  Boots are pretty much limited to mountain hikes in snow/ice.

In all it took me 5 years to make the full transition from boots to trail runners.  My biggest concern prior to the transition were sprained ankles, of which I've had none during or since my switch.  To which I credit the strength/balance workouts and a slow/cautious transition.  Now, having made the switch, I'll never look back.

11:33 p.m. on November 22, 2011 (EST)
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Like I said max pack weight I am shooting for is 20-30lbs.

11:43 p.m. on November 22, 2011 (EST)
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Sorry, my response was based on your first post where you talked about a 70lb pack ... I didn't catch the "20lb" note further down.

11:52 p.m. on November 22, 2011 (EST)
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I was joking about that one. Too many small bones in the footsies. That would be asking for it.

I may even give a hammock a whirl in time lol.

5:13 a.m. on November 23, 2011 (EST)
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You will love it

8:02 a.m. on November 23, 2011 (EST)
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I have been wearing boots for about 30 years, Started with cowboy boots and then military boots, now it's hiking or work boots.  Normal 6" boots offer no or very little in ankles support.  The only boots that I have found to help your ankles are full support boots, like the 8" or 9" boots, and even these will not stop your ankle from rolling, they just allow you to tighten the boot to act as a brace and keep moving.  This is the main reason the military uses the high boot design, that and tradition.

I also have issues with my ankles, i seem to roll them a lot, I have got to the point that I can keep walking, unless it's real bad and then I just wrap it up tight and get the boot back on before the foot swells to much.  Probably not the best practice but it seems to work for me. 

As for converting to trail runners and lighter shoes in general, I am much more worried about the thin soles then support.  Walking on rough trails and roots, rocks, etc. my feet need a heavy sole or my feet start to cry. :)   Although, it may help to train yourself in foot placement and how you walk.  That my be a good thing, as apposed to just stomping through like I do.  :( 

I would start out with lighter loads and day hikes and proceed from their.  There are a lot of people wearing lighter shoes, so it must work, but a lighter load would be better.


11:48 a.m. on November 23, 2011 (EST)
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I started wearing trail running shoes to hike in a few years ago. I was a diehard boot wearer all my hiking career since 1977. My first hiking boots were actually steeltoed boots I had bought for a lumberyard job before I decided to hitchhike 8000 miles around the USA in 1977 at age 21.

I have a pair of running shoes (name slips my mind) that I bought used at a second hand outdoor shop in Flagstaff in 2009. I have worn them on every hike and bike tours since, In fact till recently they were my only shoes. My only others are some of the FiveFinger Vibram sandals.

My ankles have conditioned now to hiking in lowtop running shoes. I have gone for as long as a two week hike in them and have never had any foot or ankle problems.

12:15 p.m. on November 23, 2011 (EST)
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I started out with just tennis shoes. Went to boots and my feet and legs would tire faster. So back to the light weight shoe. The only differance is I have gotten better shoes than I had before. Not ready to review them yet but so far I'm very pleased with them.

5:23 a.m. on November 24, 2011 (EST)
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After converting to "barefoot" shoes for running, day hikes, and overnighters with up to 30 lbs, I sprained my ankle quite badly this summer -- wearing hiking boots and a day pack. I switched back to boots because of snow, was coming down fast, jumped off of snow onto a rock, and rolled it. That was a move I would never try in light shoes, but I also think you feel the ground better and are more likely catch a roll in time.

But here in Norway trails aren't so much built as marked out and worn in. They can be muddy, slippery, rooty, snowy, rocky, and loose, all the more so for off-trail peak bagging. So I'm still not too sure about going light in some of those conditions, even with a hut-to-hut pack. In converting to running in 5 Fingers and Trail Gloves, I banged up my toes pretty bad a couple of times, but I also seem to have gotten better about foot placement.

Definitely a good idea -- but take 'er easy at first.

5:58 a.m. on November 24, 2011 (EST)
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I have used my Zamberland Trekker boots for years, but last year I wanted to try trail runers so I bought a pair of Vasque Breeze's on sale. Got them at the REI clearance outlet for i think 30-40$.

It was a love hate relationship. I did not notice any issues with my ankles as the weight of my load did not change. If anything they were a little better because my ankles had a better range of motion. Contrary to popular belief most ankle injuries are a result of boots and not from a 'trail runner/tennis shoe'.

Like I said, it was a love hate relationship. When the weather was warm and fairly dry I absolutely loved them. My feet breathed so much better and my overall comfort level was much higher than with boots. I didn't feel the need to take them off or otherwise loosen laces in camp. They were my camp shoes and hiking shoes.

In wet weather however I grew to despise them. It was very very easy to get my feet soaked just from walking through damp vegetation etc.Stream crossings almost always resulted in soaked feet unless I could rock hop it. The upside is they do dry fairly quickly, but not quick enough to outweigh my desire for boots.

I have since gone back to my boots.

I would not buy goretex trail runners, its kinda defeating the purpose IMO.

6:36 p.m. on November 26, 2011 (EST)
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These are my new shoes.
High-Tec Palo Altos. A flat bottom with a wide box. I have been on a few trails with them. So far so good. Weight 13.9 oz p/shoe


Salomon XA pros. They are water proof for my winter hikes (goretex). But alittle on the hot side. Weight 13.8 oz.

6:52 p.m. on November 26, 2011 (EST)
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I've noticed the warmth factor with the Lowas above as well. Then again I think my socks had a bit to do with that. I think for late fall/early spring the Gore-tex is a good thing. Granted I will be using my Scarpas for this time of year but I really do not feel like wearing them for my dayhikes. It would be complete overkill. 

Summer months gore-tex to me is overkill. 

2:55 p.m. on November 27, 2011 (EST)
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Rick - I wore all-leather Merrell Wilderness boots for years.  Every year I had the ritual of draining the blisters after a hike.  I've been on the move to lighter footwear ever since.  Light shoes work well for me.  I've always questioned the assumption that high top boots provide ankle support (bheiser1 and I agree there).  It seems to me that if you really wanted to support ankles then you would need a much more rigid material.  I've always felt that the most important parts of footwear (in terms of ankle protection) are a good fit and an appropriate sole for the environment.  If neither of these things are present, then the height of the boot-top isn't going to protect your ankle.  To answer your question more directly, you should transition to these shoes gradually, wearing them on a few day hikes first, then bringing them along on trips.  I don't see why it wouldn't take you just a few trips to adjust to them well, if they are a good fit.

I have long heard the adage that "a pound on your foot is 6 pounds on your back," but have never determined the origin of this phrase.  Anyone know?

4:01 p.m. on November 27, 2011 (EST)
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Try this regarding weight on your feet:

I am a big believer in rotating footwear, in effect cross-training. While I love my limmer boots, I also use trail runners, running shoes, and five toe shoes depending on terrain and for training. Believe it or not, training on softer trails in the no-support fivefingers and hills in trail runners (treksta evolution, a fine she) has helped strengthen muscles in my legs that I think have helped me stay injury-free. No question, toting less weight decreases the seriousness of many missteps.

10:11 a.m. on November 28, 2011 (EST)
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On the whole ankle support issue with a boot...

I have to say from my own personal experience I almost rolled my ankle on the last thru-hike I was on. I was towards the tail end of my trip and I was in a very rocky area on a hillside. 

Well the area where my left foot was planted gave way and my ankle rolled. My boot stopped this from happening. I didn't experience any type of injury. 

I have to say if I would have not had my boots on I would have most certainly broke my ankle. I have no doubt. 

Granted I agree to some extent that some boots provide minimal ankle support at best but there are boots out there that provide fairly good ankle protection. Then again alot of this is dependent on how tight one laces the upper portion of their boot as well as what lacing techniques are utilized. 

1:40 p.m. on November 28, 2011 (EST)
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Start with light pack weights, or even just a hydration pack, and go trail running at a slow pace. The increased pace and lateral movements inherent in good trail runs will accelerate conditioning and strengthening of the muscles that support the ankle. I also find that trail running has helped me in my ability to choose efficient lines of travel when on trail - a plus for hiking/backpacking in general. Increase pack weight over time to whatever suits you best. Gym work outs in low-support shoes can't replicate the muscle conditioning one gets on a trail run, although the gym can obviously strengthen you for other rigors of the trail. I've backpacked with

Also, stretch your ankles to increase flexibility, reducing the chances of soft-tissue injury. I roll my ankle quite regularly on fast descents of rocky/rutted terrain, but haven't (thank God) sustained an injury in years.

I have some of the skinniest looking ankles you will find on someone my height, but the trail running has equipped me to backpack with as much as 55 pounds while wearing normal trail runnng shoes - without discomfort or pain in my ankles. Conversely, my arms can barely cary their own weight...

Time to hit the Gym for pull-ups and push-ups!

1:42 p.m. on November 28, 2011 (EST)
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Sweet kicks BTW, FunkMaster Rick-Pitt!

2:21 p.m. on November 28, 2011 (EST)
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XterroBrando said:

Sweet kicks BTW, FunkMaster Rick-Pitt!


Thanks. I snagged them up at Left Lane Sports for around $90($175 elsewhere.)

I really didn't necessarily need them but at half price I couldn't pass them up. I could buy alot less for alot more lol. At least that's my logic when it comes to things like this.

They seem like a pretty well constructed shoe... Well at least for what they are being I am use to boots.

4:06 p.m. on November 28, 2011 (EST)
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(Flame suit on) Really want to convert? Read "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall.

Sorry for the thread drift, but it is a somewhat topical suggestion...

4:43 p.m. on November 28, 2011 (EST)
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Hey pillowthread, no worries on the drift. They make the conversation interesting at times. I am always guilty of it... Then again thats the other me coming out to say hi. :p

Kinda funny. I want to go UL and just ordered an 85L pack. 

I'm doing it right lol. 

5:50 p.m. on November 28, 2011 (EST)
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I like where your going with this Rick. The first Ul'er to carry an 85L pack..... empty. It could be used as your bivy/sleeping bag at night, then put it on one leg when you hike during the day and you only have to bring one shoe!

*sorry ul'ers, just havin a little fun with ya!

6:10 p.m. on November 28, 2011 (EST)
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I consider myself to be a hybrid backpacker, I have gear ranging from traditional to ultralight.

I often mix and match gear as I see fit, and take what I feel like taking. I do not care to fit into anyone else's mold or expectations.

I often carry very light stoves, cook kits, shelters, etc. so I can carry additional weight elsewhere (like fishing gear or cameras) while still trying to stay on my weight target.

I have stoves that weigh around an ounce and boots that are around 4 lbs. but it's what works for me.

8:14 p.m. on November 28, 2011 (EST)
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I agree with trout on this. I will go light depending on the season and what I plan to do. But I allways carry a tent that is less than UL. Why? becouse I feel safer that way. But thats me. Most everything else I will go as lght as I can safely.

9:13 p.m. on November 28, 2011 (EST)
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pillowthread said:

(Flame suit on) Really want to convert? Read "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall.

Sorry for the thread drift, but it is a somewhat topical suggestion...


8:59 a.m. on November 29, 2011 (EST)
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Rick that is the perfect size pack for UL!  You just need to find a 30L air bladder and fill it with helium, then your pack will weigh next to nothing!  All joking aside, my pack is 65L (I think) and I don't see how I could go with something smaller, probably lighter and lighter gear, but not much smaller, just to much stuff to haul. :) 

Good luck with the shoes, keep us up dated on how they work out, I am real interested in how the sole thickness works with the heaver pack.


2:36 p.m. on November 29, 2011 (EST)
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I am with xettra on how you condition your ankles with light weight and readjust and add more over time. I also agree with Trout and Mike about gear. I am split down the middle, but I see the benefit of having ul equiptment also..decisions

5:35 p.m. on November 29, 2011 (EST)
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denis daly said:

I am with xettra on how you condition your ankles with light weight and readjust and add more over time. I also agree with Trout and Mike about gear. I am split down the middle, but I see the benefit of having ul equiptment also..decisions

 Yep, decisions decisions.

I go completely light sometimes and sometimes I mix it up.

I guess it depends on what type of trip I'm planning, for hikes where I need to put some miles behind me I can go light, but if I'm hiking in a few miles to camp in one spot so I can explore that area and fish I tend to carry more gear, or some comfort gear.

11:39 p.m. on November 29, 2011 (EST)
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This UL stuff is just a conspiracy by the gear companies to get us to buy more gear. Don't believe me?  Just read this transcript from ______ Outdoor Gear company.

Guys gear sales are down again this year and I think we need to take the company in a new direction.  I went on a hike this weekend to do a little hands on research and I learned a few things.

My conclusion is that we've been building our gear too good.  I ran into a guy that had one of our packs and one of our tents.  THE PACK WAS 20 YEARS OLD AND THE TENT WAS 10! How are we supposed to stay in business if we sell gear that lasts that long?  I appreciate that people want things to last, but this is ridiculous.  The guy wouldn't shut up about how well it's lasted. The guy said he owned several of our packs and tents but different sizes will only go so far if they all last like that!  I mean how long do we have to wait to get some repeat business?

Fortunately I ran into this other hiker.  He must have had a weak back or something.  He was all about reducing his pack weight.  He had gone to some extremes. Breaking off his tooth brush handle.  He was using an alcohol stove made from a coke can. Anything to reduce his weight. I didn't mention to him that if he ate a little less and hiked a little more he could drop about 10 pounds, feel better and wouldn't have to worry about trimming the extra length off his shoe laces. 

Now what I think we need to do is come out with an Ultra-Light line of gear. We'll use 20 denier cloth to make our tents instead of 75.  Who cares if you can practically see through it.  People will actually need the foot print.  Right now the only people who buy a foot print are the ones who want to lighten their load and not use the inner tent.  Now they'll buy the $50 foot print to protect the tent.

The same goes for our packs.  Make 'em lighter. Thinner cloth. Thinner straps.  Who needs thick padded belts and shoulder straps when everything is so light and flimsy. 

The best thing guys is that we can charge a lot more for this ultra-light gear that's gonna wear out sooner. 

12:14 a.m. on November 30, 2011 (EST)
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Ocala-I don't know if I necessarily believe this. If this was the case then why would companies like Big Agnes offer lifetime warranties on their gear?

If it breaks down faster then the company would suffer with more repair work and warranty claims which in the end would end up being a substantial loss of generated revenue.

8:17 a.m. on December 1, 2011 (EST)
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Most of my post was meant to be humorous but in all seriousness, I do wonder about the durability of some of the UL gear.

I would imagine that the warranty doesn't cover normal wear and tear or accidental damage and I'm going to guess that you are probably more careful with your BA tent than with your previous tent.

Anyway everybody seems to be complaining about the quality of Chinese made gear. 


8:56 a.m. on December 1, 2011 (EST)
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ocalacomputerguy said:


Most of my post was meant to be humorous but I do wonder about the durability of some of the UL gear.

I would imagine that the warranty doesn't cover normal wear and tear or accidental damage and I'm going to guess that you are probably more careful with your BA tent than with your previous tent.

Anyway everybody seems to be complaining about the quality of Chinese made gear. 


 I thought it was humorous.Most UL manufacturers have a lifetime garantee to include cottage industry manufacturers. It's to the original buyer. Bad part is the textile industry we had is gone and china and a few other countries have it now.I did think it was funny and knew you were pullimg someone's legg.


12:29 p.m. on December 1, 2011 (EST)
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Oh great, so I fell for it? Wonderful. I am becoming more gullable with time at a very high rate. Sheesh.

Just goes to show ya, in this day and age there is aboslutely nothing that would surprise me lol.

1:05 p.m. on December 1, 2011 (EST)
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I just got a quiz from AARP on "what's your scam IQ?" In the question on what group is most likely to fall for scams, the answer was "well-educated men in the 25-40 yo range". Seems that elderly women are among the most cautious.

So where does that put me - I am beyond the 25-40 range, and Barb continues to be 21, same age as when (according to her father) I "robbed the cradle" a few decades ago (remember that, young man - your wife is ALWAYS 21, no matter how many anniversaries of her birth date she has passed). Maybe that makes us invulnerable to scams.

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