Archive for the ‘Gear Review’ Category

Illustration by Jamie Givens

It’s this simple: sore feet and neglected shoes lead to poor performance. Climbing your best means paying attention to footwork before the rubber touches rock. Revive your footwork in three steps: get the right rock shoes, treat those shoes like your firstborn, and give your feet some TLC along the way. See? Your edging is looking better already.

Choosing rock shoes is about as easy as getting up 5.14. Every company uses different lasts (the molds used to give rock shoes their fi nal shape), as well as different sizing. Some shoes will stretch and conform to your foot over time, while others won’t. Add to that the array of fi ts for the various types of climbing, and you have quite a puzzle on your hands… er, feet. Before shopping, first decide what type of climbing you plan to do most in the shoes. Then, get a good night’s sleep, hydrate thoroughly, and prepare to spend an afternoon trying on numerous pairs and brands of shoes, while asking the store rep many questions. For crack climbing or all-day routes, fit on the comfy side and pick a shoe designed to let your toes lie relatively flat. For hard face climbing on short routes, go for a tighter fit and a shoe that coaxes your toes into a crunched position, which will give you more power to push off small edges and pockets. Color sometimes matters, too: If you climb long routes in the hot sun, think twice before buying a dark-colored shoe. And “cut your damn toenails before you try on rock shoes,” says Winston Voigt of Neptune Mountaineering. In fact, carefully trimmed toenails always make climbing feet happier.

Once you’ve picked the perfect rock shoes, don’t stand around in the dirt in them. Dirty rubber soles lose their stickiness and wear fast, so, at the very least, give your shoes a wipe between burns. Tote a hand towel or carpet scrap in your pack to lay out like a doormat below routes. At home, wipe down the soles with rubbing alcohol on a rag to revive the rubber’s grip.

“A rotten, nasty smell can be an indication that the leather is actually decaying,” says Eric Pauwels, owner of Rock & Resole in Boulder, explaining that this often happens when moisture builds up under the rand. Don’t stow sweaty shoes in your pack when you get home. At the crag, take off your shoes between climbs to let feet and shoes dry. You can even take off shoes at belays on multi-pitch climbs (clip them in!). If it’s hot, don’t leave shoes out in the sun, and keep your feet shaded while belaying. Cool feet are comfortable feet

Before your next crack attack, Pauwels suggests painting a bit of “rubber putty” onto worn spots of your shoes. Made of liquid urethane and rubber particles, the putty (such as Five Ten Stealth Paint) helps shoes weather the shredding that crack climbing unleashes. The same product can be used on the shoe’s upper; keep some putty in your pack to doctor impromptu blowouts.

Despite your best efforts, the repeated act of forcing your feet into tight shoes may take its toll. “The biggest foot problems climbers have are associated with compression and friction,” says Dr. Thomas Shonka, attending podiatrist at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine. Spot-stretching can help climbers with these and other issues (such as swollen nerves caused by repetitive movement) made worse by restrictive shoes. Any shoe-repair or ski-boot shop should be able to make the modifi cations. Dr. Shonka also recommends silicone pads to alleviate pain caused by hot spots. “You want to be sure to put more pressure around a pressure point than over it,” he says. In other words, encircle problem spots in little doughnuts of relief.

It’s only natural that hot feet stuffed into airtight rubber tombs will start to smell like dead animals, but having your $150 rock shoes turn into a potential health hazard is no fun. Rock & Resole, which deals with stinky rock shoes on a daily basis, uses an odorcide spray to make less-than-pleasant shoes bearable. Anne-Worley Moelter, owner of Movement Climbing + Fitness, relies on an antifungal powder spray to keep the rock gym’s rental shoes sanitary. For shoes with really bad odor problems, Moelter runs them through the washing machine. Moelter’s final tip is to stick dryer sheets in your shoes to keep them smelling Downy fresh. Your friends will thank you, and maybe they’ll start climbing with you again.

Kate Nelson, a Boulder-based freelance writer, used to have a foot fetish until she started hanging out with climbers.
By Kate Nelson / Illustration by Jamie Givens

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The Boy Scouts of America is considering introducing a Boy Scout shirt made by Under Armour.  Boy Scouts could wear the shirt while doing activities such as service projects, hiking, camping, and other troop activities.  

This shirt is made of fabric similar to other Under Armour athletic wear.


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Ultra Lite Toothbrush

colgate-wisp1I’m always looking out for new way’s to go lighter when backpacking, camping, or just hiking.  I have found something new. Colgate Wisp. A very small lightweight toothbrush with toothpaste built in with a toothpick at the other end.  I take 3 to 6 these in my pack now depending on how long I’ll be gone. Six together weigh and take up less room in my pack as opposed to a traditional tooth brush and toothpaste. After eating  just brush, no water, no mess, then pack out and dispose of later.

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Today, we started locating all our gear for next week’s week long excursion to Buffalo Trails Scout Ranch.  In doing so, I realized that a couple of our lids and straws to our beloved Camel Bak Water Bottles had perished.  Off to the internet I went to seek out locations where I could replenish our supply.  To my delight, I happened upon a website called trailspace.comWho knew that the lids were designed to fit other bottles. With this knowledge, I can outfit our other bottles with the anti-leak protection I’ve come to depend on.  Go check out the site and see what you can learn about.

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It’s time to gear up for summer camp and I just got a whammy of a notice in my inbox.  One of my favorite online stores, Al’s Sports, is running a spectacular deal on 5 degree mummy bags for less than $25.  Go through the link to see this great deal and then take a stroll through the website to see what else they have to offer.  At a very low minimum, you get free shipping too!

One must have that I recommend looking into is  a good water bottle.  My personal recomendation is the Camelbak bottle that comes with a straw.  We have four, one for each of us, and they’re always being used.  These things just don’t leak.  You can get either 24 or 32 ounce bottles, several colors, and best of all, they have a loop at the top so your scout (or you) can run a carabiner through it and hook it onto a beltloop for easy transport.  Granted, the Camelbak’s are a litttle more expensive, but you’re paying for quality here.  Trust me.  I’ve bought many, and I’ve thrown away many.  These are keepers!

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Hopefully, you all exercised properly yesterday and shopped the great deals at your local sporting good stores for scout worthy equipment.  Goodness knows we all ate far too much Thursday and can use all the help we can get.  I did.  I braved Walmart just long enough to pick up a pedometer and off I went to laugh at the shoppers.  See, I don’t partake too much in the Black Friday mania, but I will go to the biggest mall in Houston to take a good walk (since it was threatening to rain) and amuse myself watching everyone with their arms full of bags trying to make it through the crowd.  I’m proud to say I logged over three miles and left the mall without a single purchase.

In all seriousness scouters, Monday is Cyber Monday and as much as it may pain you to shop, there will be fantastic deals to be found online.  I can’t urge you strongly enough to scroll down the page and look to the right where you’ll find many links under Outdoor Gear.  They’re all in one place for your ease of use and you can bounce in and out of this blog on Monday to check out all the online sites and the discounts they offer.  Think of it.  No traffic.  No screaming kids (unless it’s our own on a sugar rush, or worse, crash), and ease of checkout.  Whether your fancy is camping, hiking, climbing, canoeing, gear collection in general, etc… I bet you find a great deal or two on Monday.  Feel free to come back and comment on the scout worthy deals you found.

Stay safe!

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Since I have several deadly water bottles I decided to figure out a way to reuse them in other ways and found these sites. Here are a few interesting options. Mine would be a mini bear vault for my trail snacks.

nalgene-lantern-175x353If you’ve recently opted to replace your #7 polycarbonate water bottles with metal or non-BPA plastic ones, you’re probably wondering what you can do with all those old bottles (especially the more memorable ones), beyond recycling them.

Here are two ideas to get the creative juices flowing:

  • For $19.95 you can buy a solar-powered LED LightCap200from SolLight and turn any standard water bottle into a weatherproof lantern for the backyard, treehouse, boat, or wherever, no batteries required. If you wanted to string a bunch of Nalgenes around your yard that could get pricey pretty quickly though.
  • I also came across this idea for using a bottle to store a first aid or emergency kit inside your car or to take along while traveling. Add a light cap and there’s no need for a flashlight. Obviously this idea can be extrapolated for storing other non-liquid, non-food items.

via: All Climbing & Trail space.com

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I have more visits per day about the new Scout uniform than any other post. Apparently allot of people are wondering which uniform to wear after August, and families in our troop seem in a panic. The new centennial uniform is to celebrate 100 years of Scouting. I’ll most likely get one to wear for outdoor use. The current one has been very uncomfortable for outdoor activities. I have seen other troops go climbing in them, that is their choice.

What allot of Scouters may not know is that any uniform from the early 1900’s to the current one coming soon, can be worn at any time at any scouting event. For example if you happen to have a uniform from, lets say 1957, it can be worn at any Scouting event, meeting, camp, COH, etc.

I have talked to my local scout store and they tell me that the new uniforms may not be in until around December any way. It’s defiantly a time for a change in uniforms, but it is not time to panic about buying the new one and mothballing the old one. The change is for Boy Scouts only at this time and not for the Cubs, Webelo, Venture or Sea Scouts.

That’s my opinion. What’s yours?


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Anti Monkey Butt


I guess the name says it all. The company claims “for all those butt busting activities”. This is an anti friction powder that is good for biking, hiking driving etc. It is suppose to remove moisture and reduse friction, well you get the point. I guess if you do not want to end up with monkey butt, try it out. If it works add it to your gear list.

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New Scout Uniforms

The BSA Centennial Uniform is on its way!

The word is out! New design for the BSA scout uniform comes out in August, 2008. The colors are pretty much the same so new uniform pieces can be transitioned as old ones are outgrown. A big difference is red shoulder loops and unit numbers are now forest green. The uniform is being promoted as more versatile and wearable in the field instead of just for meetings.
I do think the new BSA baseball-style cap is a big improvement. The switchbacks are staying around.

See BSAUniforms.org for details or this PDF file.

Scout On

Via: Boy Scout Trail

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