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REPOST: Owner Review - Montrail Stratos XCR - Drew Davis

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  • drewnc2005
    Steve, I have addressed all of your edits and edit suggestions. I added a paragraph on durability (in lieu of your suggestion)and on breathability at the end.
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 28, 2006
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      Steve,

      I have addressed all of your edits and edit suggestions. I added a
      paragraph on durability (in lieu of your suggestion)and on
      breathability at the end. You will probably want to check those out.
      As far as I can tell, I think I fixed everything. Let me know if I
      need to do anything else.

      I also wanted to thank you for taking the time to edit this for me.
      I know I got ahead of myself earlier in the week and I hope you or
      anybody else took it personal. I am certainly grateful for the time
      you have volunteered to this organization and to my reviews in
      particular.

      Thanks,
      Drew

      Owner Review:

      Montrail Stratos XCR

      Biographical Information:



      Name: Drew Davis

      Age: 23

      Gender: Male

      Height: 6 Feet (1.83 Meters)

      Weight: 175 lbs (79 kg)

      Email address: drewnc2005@...

      City, State, Country: Pittsboro, NC, USA

      Date: 4-20-06



      Backpacking Background: I started backpacking at roughly five years
      old. I started with an old external framed pack, a heavy synthetic
      sleeping bag, and a military style pup tent. While my enthusiasm for
      backpacking has never changed, the old and heavy gear I took as a
      kid has. I now consider myself a lightweight backpacker. My base
      pack weight (tent/tarp, sleeping bag, and pack) is now 6 lb 1 oz
      (2.7 kg) – while not ultralight, I keep my 5 day pack weight under
      25 lb (11.3 kg) including food and 100 oz (3 L) of water.



      Product Information:

      Manufacturer: Montrail
      Year of purchase: 2005
      Website: http://www.montrail.com
      Listed weight: 17 oz (482 g) per shoe

      Weight upon arrival: 18 oz (510 g) per shoe

      MSRP: USD $140

      Size: US 10.5




      Product Description:

      A relatively lightweight trail shoe offering mid-ankle protection in
      a waterproof/breathable package. The shoes have a Gore-Tex XCR liner
      that serves as a barrier to heavy moisture and water yet is supposed
      to let one's foot breathe at the same time. There are welded rubber
      panels on each side of the shoe which aid in keeping one's foot
      locked in place while traversing on unstable ground. Couple this
      with a narrow heel cup and one has a tight yet comfortable fit in
      order to reduce slippage and blister causing friction.



      Product Review:

      I have used these shoes on numerous weekend excursions over the past
      nine months or so. I will highlight my experiences with these shoes
      on three such trips during this span in order to show their
      performance in several different environments.



      Trip 1: A two-day/one night backpacking trip in the Craggy Gardens
      area of the Black Mountains in North Carolina.



      Trip 2: A two-day/one night backpacking trip in the Uwharrie
      National Forest in central North Carolina.



      Trip 3: A two-day/one night backpacking trip in the Grayson
      Highlands of Southwest Virginia



      Trip 1: Craggy Gardens

      Conditions

      Craggy Gardens is an area near Mt. Mitchell (the highest peak East
      of the Mississippi) in western North Carolina. The maximum elevation
      during this backpacking trip was 5892 ft (1796 m) and the low point
      was around 4200 ft (1280 m). On this particular trip, we had a light
      mist and heavy fog to start the hike. To further clarify the
      situation, I was carrying around 22 lbs (9.9 kg) and the first 1.5-2
      miles (2.4-3.2 km) was a steady and rocky descent towards a
      waterfall. I highlight these details in order to accurately depict
      the activity in which the shoes were being tested.



      Performance

      Over the first leg of the hike, a steady downhill, I found the shoes
      to be surprisingly sticky with respect to grip. I was surprised
      because a light rain/mist had been falling and accumulating on the
      rocks for about an hour before we began our descent leaving the
      rocks very wet and slippery. I was moving at a 3.5 mi/hour (5.6
      km/hour) pace down these rocks and only had one instance where I
      relied on my trekking poles to catch me from slipping and falling.
      Initially, I was very happy with the performance of the shoes given
      the semi-treacherous conditions.



      Since we got a late start, we only hiked about 2 hours on the first
      afternoon. Towards the end of this two hour hike, I did notice the
      shoes to begin to feel restrictive. In other words, they began to
      feel tight around the center "band" of my foot - the top portion of
      my foot extending from the arch and the arch itself. Speaking to the
      shoes' ability to keep out water, they were great. When I got inside
      my tarp and took my shoes off, my feet were completely dry
      regardless of the wet conditions. The XCR liner definitely did its
      job.



      The next day, everything had dried out and it was a very nice day. I
      was particularly interested to see how the boots would perform on
      this day given that I would be doing a steady uphill section - the
      type of hike that would typically give me blisters on the back of my
      heel. The first section was uphill and I had no issues at all
      regarding movement or slippage in the heel area. For me, this was a
      borderline miracle. I have been through several pairs of boots and
      shoes and have never been able to avoid a heel blister altogether.
      Nevertheless, I refrained from jumping for joy because the hike was
      by no means finished and I didn't want to get my hopes up.



      The hike went on over a relatively flat terrain with only minor
      uphill and downhill sections. By day's end, I had hiked around 12 mi
      (19.3 km) and was blister free. Needless to say, I was pleased with
      the Stratos' overall performance on this hike.



      Trip 2: Uwharrie National Forest

      Conditions

      This area is much lower in elevation and therefore had fewer ups and
      downs than the previous trip. The elevation at the trailhead was 553
      ft (172.4 m) with only an approximate 2,500 ft (779.3 m) change in
      elevation over roughly a 20 mi (32.2 km) loop. I encountered no rain
      or moisture at all on this trip making for an ideal hike.



      Performance

      Arriving late at the trailhead (again) meant only a 2.5 hour hike in
      on the first day. I covered roughly 7.5-8.5 mi (12-13.7 km) during
      that time. During the hike, I did loosen the laces through the
      middle "band" of my foot so that I would not encounter the same sort
      of pressure I felt from the previous trip(s). By now, I knew how to
      deal with the issue and it was no longer a real problem for me at
      all. While the shoes are narrow through this area, I feel that it
      helps in reducing slippage of my foot inside the shoe while hiking
      and thereby reducing blisters as well. It is important to mention
      that the shoes really only feel narrow through this region and leave
      me, for the most part, ample room in the toe box - an area I'll
      discuss later.



      On the second day, we finished up the remaining part of the 20 mi
      (32.2 km) loop. Again, I felt no discomfort while climbing and
      rubbed no blisters on my usually troublesome heels. I did, however,
      encounter a problem in the toebox. I seemed to rub a blister on the
      outside part of my fifth metatarsals (pinky toes) on both feet. By
      no means were the blisters horrible, but I did feel them and there
      was a marginal amount of discomfort involved. I'm not exactly sure
      what the problem was since I neither had that problem prior to that
      point nor have had it afterwards. My only guess is that perhaps I
      was lacing the shoes too tight towards the toes compensating for the
      slack I was giving the center of my foot. Honestly, I don't know.



      With respect to shedding water, the shoes held up great. I sloshed
      through various creek crossings and had no problem shedding the
      shallow water.



      Trip 3: Grayson Highlands

      Conditions

      This trip consisted of taking a loop that connected the Appalachian
      Trail to another blue-blazed trail called the Pine Mountain Trail.
      The loop was roughly 21 mi (33.8 km) and varied in elevation from
      low points of about 3500 ft (1067 m) to a high point of 5728 ft
      (1746 m). There were quite a few very rocky ups and downs which
      certainly gave me a chance to evaluate the issue of stability. Also,
      I came face to face with a severe thunderstorm that brought with it
      approximately 50 mi/hour (81 km/hour) wind gusts and small hail.
      This definitely put the XCR liner to the test.



      Performance

      The first day of the trip consisted of about a 1200 ft (366 m) climb
      over about 2.5 mi (4 km) and then a short descent before I called it
      a day. I had no issues with slippage during the climb, no hotspots,
      and certainly no discomfort. The next day, I hiked the remainder of
      the loop. The weather was excellent most of the morning until around
      lunch. I was on a ridgeline when the "bottom fell out." The wind was
      howling and the rain was pouring. After several minutes, it began to
      hail and I was miserable. Rain was pouring in through the tops of my
      boots as I had no gaiters or rain pants on. I only had about 1.5 mi
      (2.4 km) to the next shelter and decided to push on instead of
      setting up a tarp to wait it out. To make a long story short,
      everything I owned was completely saturated. I finally reached the
      shelter and waited the storm out for about an hour and a half.
      Needless to say, my shoes did not dry and were sopping wet when I
      decided to continue hiking. In fact, "not dry" is probably an
      understatement - they were absolutely soaked. Fortunately, all of
      the water inside my shoes and socks did not cause a blister the
      remaining 5-6 mi (8-9.6 km) of the hike. I cannot say exactly how
      long my shoes took to dry as I had another pair of shoes once I got
      back to the car.



      Summary

      Durability

      So far, I have not noticed any structural failure in the boots.
      Specifically, I have seen no problems with respect to stitching, toe
      rand/sole delamination, eyelet failure, or tread. In terms of
      durability, the boots have exceeded my expectations. After eight
      months use, I would have expected to see more wear than I see at
      present. Frankly, the only wear worth mentioning is that they are
      dirty.



      Breathability

      Breathability is one of those issues that I think is very important
      in my shoes yet pay little attention to once I'm actually hiking.
      However, I have noticed on several trips how my feet do get quite
      hot by the end of the day. I know this simply because I feel so much
      relief when I finally take my shoes off. In other shoes I've worn,
      particularly non-waterproof shoes, I do not encounter the same
      problem of heat release when I take my shoes off. Fortunately,
      though these shoes do seem to be warmer than others I've worn, they
      have yet to cause any major blister problems which was a main reason
      why I valued breathability to begin with. So even though they are
      not extremely breathable, I have not seemed to suffer as a result.
      In fact, the trade-off to have the XCR liner has been worth the lack
      of breathability thus far.



      General Comments

      After 8 months of fairly heavy use, I am pleased with the Montrail
      Stratos XCRs. As I mentioned before, I have had a terrible time
      trying to find a pair of trail shoes or boots that would not rub me
      wrong and give me terrible blisters. I was looking for something
      that would not only be comfortable and lightweight, but also provide
      sufficient protection from water and moisture. So far, these fit the
      bill.
    • nazdarovye
      Drew - Great job on the edits—I don t see anything to correct in your repost, and am approving it for upload. Please post the HTML version of your review,
      Message 2 of 3 , May 2, 2006
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        Drew -

        Great job on the edits—I don't see anything to correct in your repost,
        and am approving it for upload.

        Please post the HTML version of your review, including any pictures,
        to the Test area of the site. You'll find the Test area at the very
        end of the list of categories for reviews after you log in to
        backpackgeartest.org, or you can click this link:

        http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/OWNER%20REVIEWS/

        Review the test version in your browser to make sure it looks good and
        all links work as expected. If you have trouble with or questions
        about posting, I encourage you to ask questions at our companion
        Yahoo! support group at:

        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BGTFileUploadHelp/

        Once everything is ready to go, you may upload your final HTML report
        on BGT at:

        Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Montrail Stratos XCR Boots

        Log in to BGT, then navigate that that folder. Click "Upload Report,"
        be sure to select the "Owner Review" button, and follow the
        instructions to upload your HTML file and pictures (if any).

        Thanks for your report!

        - Steve
        BGT Edit Moderator
      • nazdarovye
        PS - and sorry for the cut and paste typo on your name (I deleted that message but it may have come through anyway). Great job on the review - looking forward
        Message 3 of 3 , May 2, 2006
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          PS - and sorry for the cut and paste typo on your name (I deleted that
          message but it may have come through anyway).

          Great job on the review - looking forward to seeing more.

          - Steve
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