Tag Archives: merriwool merino wool blend

Getting Ready To Hike Again

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Last weekend the first Hudson Valley saw its first snow storm for the New Year. (I’m still leary after the summer mishap, misstep, or whatever you want to call it!) So for the time being, I’ll do what I normally do during these bleak winter days. I’ll start getting ready for the time when I can get back out into the woods.

What exactly does that mean? First, I’ll get on my stationary bike and just ride, ride and ride some more. Regardless of what is said, I find the stationary bike to be an excellent way to get ready for the many hikes that await me.

Next, I take inventory of what I have and what I need.  I find that this is the best time to make some decisions if I need to in order to get my gear straight.

First I start at my head and work my way down. For instance, I have a wool cap that will certainly come in handy during the winter, but also in the early spring when the air is still chilly, especially when you stop for a water break or lunch, it will be useful. Since I just got one of those just a few months ago, I won’t have to replace that.

Moving down, I will almost always wear a t-shirt and a flannel jacket in early to middle spring. Since I tend to run a little hot when I am hiking, this almost always makes it way back into my back at some point during the hike.

For my hands, I never have worn gloves. I sweat way to much and they become very uncomfortable  when I am using my trekking poles.

Now for my legs. If it is at all possible, I will wear shorts throughout the year. If it does prove to be to cold for shorts, a pair of sweatpants will do with the shorts underneath. This way I can take them on and off as needed. I’m pretty old school with my clothing. It’s usually cotton or nothing at all.

Now one place I have a drastic change is in my socks. For just under thirty years I have worn cotton socks. Obviously I think you can guess the number of blisters that I have gotten over the years. If not blisters, then definitely hot spots. I think that those are worse than actual blisters.

On a hike a couple of years ago my friend asked me why I didn’t wear Merino Wool socks. I told him flat out that I thought it was crazy to spend that much money on a pair of socks. What an idiot! From the first day of putting on a pair of wool socks I have been a believer. Not one hot spot, not one blister, the feeling is amazing! The only thing that I do every year is check them out for wear and tear. If I need new ones, I will buy them.

Also on my feet let’s take a look at my boots. I have always preferred a pair of heavier boots, even for day hiking. Right now I have a pair of Vasque St. Elias GTX hiking boots that I have now used for three seasons (2 pairs). I have to make a confession here. I thought that the heavier boot and the stiff ankle support would have prevented what happened to me last summer. I gambled and lost that bet! However, I will continue to use them because I love Vasque boots. They are comfortable, sturdy and come in wide sizes. Everything that I need and want in a boot.

I do use Trekking Poles but one of the Black Diamond poles that I use snapped during my fall last summer. They have been replaced and I am saving that for a review at a later time.

So after surviving a weekend with temperatures in the negative numbers and current ones in the high teens to low twenties, I am ready to keep preparing for that inevitable first beautiful day of spring (or winter) where I can just head out and hike!!!

Look for later  posts on my trekking poles and my daypack.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

100 Mile Review

“Life is better in hiking boots.”

-Anonymous

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Now that I have hiked just over 100 miles in my Vasque St. Elias GTX Boots and awesome Meriwool Merino Wool socks, it’s time to write a review. Let’s start off with the socks. Since I have three pairs of the socks, I can pretty much rotate them every time I go hiking. I am sure that this has saved on the wear and tear on each of the pairs. As I mentioned when I first got them, they are much better than any cotton sock. To this day they remain comfortable and well worth the extra money that they cost. Still no hot spots (I used to get them all the time with cotton socks!) or blisters!

I did have to do some research as to what would be the best way to wash them. What I do is I fill my kitchen sink with warm water and add some soft liquid soap.  After 15-20 minutes I rinse them in pretty cold water and squeeze out any excess water. The one things that many sites I looked at were very specific in saying that Merino Wool socks should not be wrung out as the wool could be compromised. Lay them on a flat surface to then let them dry.

Overall these socks have been a blessing. They have performed above my expectations and I fully expect that they will continue to do so.

Wearig an 12 W, the Vasque St. Elias GTX has also performed even better than I thought they would. With an exact fit, they provide the amount of ankle support that I need to be able to hike a short distance, or a hilly 10 miler that leave my legs rubbery! The best thing about these boots is you would think that a boot that offers so much support would be pretty heavy.  At 3 lbs. 1 ounce, the St. Elias has enough support to keep your feet and ankles protected, but light enough that you really don’t feel them.

Happy Hiking!

 

Wool Wins!

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Even though I have been hiking for a good part of my life (40 years), I have never considered wearing anything but cotton socks for my adventures. When the temperature started climbing earlier in the week and the usual hot spots reappeared, I figured that it might be time to try something new. For me the pattern is the same. As my feet sweat, they became soaked and it feels as though I am walking in a puddle of water. And this is when it isn’t raining!

As I could pretty much predict, as they became soaked from my sweat, they bunched up and it  just became very uncomfortable to hike.

So when I got home I did a little investigating, read several articles and ended up at Amazon looking for wool socks. Now I know that anyone reading this is probably thinking that I am a little late to the game on this one (and you’re right), but in the past I could never justify paying what they wanted for wool socks. What a mistake….

I settled on the MERIWOOl 3 pack Merino Wool Blend socks.

What an eye opener! Even as I slipped on them on for the first time yesterday, I knew that I had been missing something. Soft and comfortable, it literally felt like I was putting gloves on my feet. Yesterday’s 6 mile hike had rain, lots of sweat, and plenty of walking through wet grass and stepping in puddles, sometimes up to the top of my boot. I know that if I had been in my usual cotton socks, my feet would have been in agony. But they weren’t. These socks didn’t bunch up at the toes, really get wet from the rain, puddles or sweat and kept my feet comfortable the entire hike.

Needless to say I am now a believer. I will never, ever wear cotton socks hiking ever again. Ever…