REPOST: OWNER REVIEW --Travis-- Merrell Chameleon II Stretch shoes
Thank you Edward for the very helpful edit. I've made the changes,
which are shown in the text version below.
I've also uploaded the report to the following URL: http://
tinyurl.com/gfsc2 . It looks ugly because the upload filter removed
some but not all of the CSS tags from within the body (I know only
stuff in the body is included, but I thought everything in there was
safe). At this hour of the night, I'm just too tired and frustrated
to manually code 'style="..."' for every relevant markup tag. I'm
guessing there will be a few more changes suggested, and I will try
to pretty things up when doing those changes. In the mean time, to
see how it was supposed to look, try this URL: http://tinyurl.com/hyz6v
Owner Review - Merrell Chameleon II Stretch shoes
June 26, 2006
Name: Travis Beals
Height: 6' 0" (1.83 m)
Weight: 190 lb (86 kg)
Shoe size: 9.5 US (9.0 UK, 43 EU)
Email address: trbeals (at) gmail (dot) com
Location: Berkeley, California, U.S.A.
Backpacking Background: I've been camping since I was a kid, and was
a Boy Scout for a while, but only really got into backpacking about
four years ago. I started with "traditional" pack weights of 40 lb
(18 kg) for a three-day trip, but have now pared down to 25 lb (18
kg) total weight, or about 14 lb (6 kg) base pack weight, putting me
in the light-to-ultralight range. My wife and I do several trips year-
round, ranging from overnighters to up to five days. We usually
backpack either in the Sierra Nevada range, but sometimes also do
snowshoe trips in the mountains of western Canada.
Manufacturer: Merrell, www.merrell.com
Weight (listed): 2 lb 3 oz (993 g)
Weight (as measured): 2 lb 2 oz (975 g)
MSRP: $99.95 US
Description: Merrell bills these shoes as being for "speedhiking" and
general outdoor recreation. The shoes have Vibram soles which wrap up
slightly at the edges, giving better traction on very uneven terrain.
The uppers are primarily Nubuck but have several large mesh panels
for ventilation and flexibility. The lacing system consists of an
elastic lace loop (threaded through eyelets in a crisscross pattern)
and a locking slider. The stretch of the laces allows the shoes to be
slipped on and off easily. The shoes are low-cut, providing no more
ankle support than a typical trail runner, but do feature a snug,
stretchy collar to keep out debris. As compared with the regular
Merrell Chameleon II, the Stretch version has more mesh and more
flexible soles and uppers.
Fit and feel:
My feet pose quite a challenge for most shoes, as they are wide (US
"E" width), and have very high arches. These shoes felt great in the
store, with only a few minor issues apparent at the time, which I had
expected to disappear with use. What I didn't realize is that these
shoes don't have the usual break-in period found in most other shoes,
and so those problems never went away. Most people probably won't
have the same issues I had, but keep this in mind when trying Merrell
shoes. On the positive side, even though my feet tend to sweat
heavily, the excellent ventilation in these shoes keeps them
I tested these shoes in a wide variety of conditions. While I
initially purchased them for dayhiking and ultralight backpacking, I
ended up using them as "everyday" shoes for four months in the winter
while visiting Calgary, Canada, since the other shoes I had brought
weren't up to the snow and ice. Considering it wasn't what they were
designed for, these shoes handled Canadian winter conditions very
well. This use comprised the bulk of the miles I put on these shoes.
I used these shoes for a lightweight overnight trip in Point Reyes
National Seashore, as well as a few dayhikes at the same location.
Tested terrain was easy to moderate dirt paths, sandy in places, with
occasional bushwhacking. The shoes handled all of this well, and the
elastic collars kept out the worst of the sand and dirt. The weather
was dry with no rain, and only a small amount of mud, which might
otherwise have posed a problem for the mesh. On the longest of my
Point Reyes dayhikes (10 mi / 16 km), the soles of my feet were quite
sore, although I didn't have any blisters.
More recently, I tested the shoes on two dayhikes on steep trails in
Mount Diablo State Park. These trails had many stretches with loose
dirt and gravel, and some short rocky bits. Ascent was no problem. On
the descent, the shoes did quite well on the solid rock, but only
average on the loose stuff, slipping and sliding in a few places.
During the descent, my feet would occasionally slide forward far
enough for my toes to touch the front of the shoes even though the
shoes fit snugly. This wasn't a serious problem, and may be an
unavoidable consequence of the stretchy nature of the laces and shoe
uppers. On the longer of the two dayhikes (14 mi / 23 km distance,
3400 ft / 1000 m net elevation gain), I did develop small blisters on
the back of my heels and on my right foot's smallest toe.
The shoes have seen a range of temperatures from roughly 5 F (-15 C)
to 90 F (32 C), and have kept my feet reasonably comfortable through
all of it. Elevations visited with these shoes range from sea level
to just under 4000 ft (1200 m). These shoes seem well-suited for
light to moderate trails dirt trails with a light pack, and are also
capable of handling a fair bit of scrambling in rocky conditions. I
usually use the shoes in dry conditions, but have occasionally
exposed them to rain, powdery snow, and packed snow. Although
breathability usually comes at the price of water resistance, after
applying a water-proofing treatment, these shoes were also able to
handle short exposures to water without soaking through.
Lack of durability is my biggest criticism of these shoes. The right
shoe has developed holes in the inner lining material in the heel
area (see picture, temporary URL http://tinyurl.com/zh6qe ), and the
left shoe shows signs of wear in the same place. This is after an
estimated 250 - 300 miles (400 - 500 kilometers) of use, most of it
on gentle terrain.
Review Summary: Although generally a good shoe, I was disappointed by
the amount of wear the Chameleon II Stretch showed after 8 months and
roughly 250 - 300 miles (400 - 500 kilometers). Unlike other shoes
that need "breaking in", these shoes are what-you-feel-is-what-you-
get. This is a good thing, but I found that minor fit issues I
noticed at the shoe store did not go away with wear.
Pros: Excellent breathability, collar keeps out dirt, easy to slip on
Cons: Poor durability, no wide sizes available, somewhat heavy for
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Hello Travis,
This looks pretty good textually. The OR appearance in the test folder
is not that desperate, though it's not a patch on your original.
There's a few style-based indents on some sections that need to come
out or to be made uniform, but other than that what's there will do
fine if you don't want to fiddle further, although perhaps you can fix
the title size (but even that's not crucial).
I'm not at all clear to me what the upload filter will and will not
handle in the way of styles, so I use them very circumspectly. Only
inline styles are accepted, as headers are stripped on upload, so all
style class statements are lost. I generally just use styles with DIV
tags. Using this method alignment works, fonts work and indents work,
that much I know. I'd not worry about the style-based boxes.
The only edit I have is a trifle:
### EDIT: 250 - 300 miles (400 - 500 kilometers)
250-300 mi (400-500 km) [for consistency].
When ready, please upload to
I looked more carefully at what you are trying to do. Ingenious!
Sadly, it looks to me like the upload script strips out most "class"
statements. Not sure why--I can try and ask Dave, our webmaster, if
you like. Upload in some other form for now. It's certainly a far
better method of creating boxes around text than using tables.
- Hi Ted,
I've gone ahead and uploaded the OR, reformatted to work around the current limitations
of the upload script. I took a look through the BGTWeb archive, and it seems there is an
ongoing discussion of whether to support CSS more fully, and how to do so. This is to
some extent a technical issue which I'm guessing belongs on BGTWeb and not here, but it
does potentially affect the overall look of the site. I've always thought it strange that BGT
does not enforce a standard HTML format for all reviews so as to have a consistent look.
This could easily be achieved with CSS and very simple semantic HTML tags. The question
is whether BGT wants an enforced consistent look. Perhaps people prefer to have the
freedom to format their reviews their own way, in which case there's not nearly as much to
gain from CSS.
For my next OR, I was thinking of doing a review of my MSR Dragonfly stove (and perhaps
a third OR of my SnowPeak Giga power stove, for comparison). The Dragonfly has been
reviewed quite a lot, but I want to focus on technical specs--in particular, quantitative
measurements of simmer performance, which is one of the stove's strengths. Simmer
performance would essentially be a measure of power output at the lowest setting at
which the stove stays lit and the flame stable. This measurement could be performed by
determining the rate of temperature increase of a fixed quantity of water being simmered
in a "standard pot", with some corrections made for heat loss from the pot. I could also
use a digital scale to measure fuel consumption at simmer, and at full power, thus
determining stove efficiency at both power settings.
Before I start playing with my stove, does this sound like a useful type of test? I've never
seen quantitative simmer measurements, but I would think they'd be useful to backcountry
gourmets who need good simmer capability.
--- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, "edwardripleyduggan" <erd@...> wrote:
> I looked more carefully at what you are trying to do. Ingenious!
> Sadly, it looks to me like the upload script strips out most "class"
> statements. Not sure why--I can try and ask Dave, our webmaster, if
> you like. Upload in some other form for now. It's certainly a far
> better method of creating boxes around text than using tables.
- Hi Travis,
Thanks for your thoughtful response. My comments follow.
> is whether BGT wants an enforced consistent look. Perhaps peopleprefer to have the
> freedom to format their reviews their own way, in which case there'snot nearly as much to
> gain from CSS.The last sentence sums it up. BGT, while it asks for a certain set of
standards for the textual content of reports, doesn't impose a format
on the way they are displayed. The new report writing software (due
some time in August) *will* create a de facto standard for those that
use it (though use will be optional), but even that generates--as of
when I last saw it--standard HTML. CSS may be used with it, but must
be manually applied inline.
At root is the fact that many BGT folks are not especially comfortable
with HTML. Many have learned the basics for the purpose of writing
reports solely. Also, BGT supports a diverse range of voices, and
something (IMHO) would be lost in the way of individual expression if
there was an enforced and consistent "look and feel."
> For my next OR, I was thinking of doing a review of my MSR Dragonflystove (and perhaps
> a third OR of my SnowPeak Giga power stove, for comparison). TheDragonfly has been
> reviewed quite a lot, but I want to focus on technical specs--inparticular, quantitative
> measurements of simmer performance, which is one of the stove'sstrengths. Simmer
> performance would essentially be a measure of power output at thelowest setting at
> which the stove stays lit and the flame stable. This measurementcould be performed by
> determining the rate of temperature increase of a fixed quantity ofwater being simmered
> in a "standard pot", with some corrections made for heat loss fromthe pot. I could also
> use a digital scale to measure fuel consumption at simmer, and atfull power, thus
> determining stove efficiency at both power settings.type of test? I've never
> Before I start playing with my stove, does this sound like a useful
> seen quantitative simmer measurements, but I would think they'd beuseful to backcountry
> gourmets who need good simmer capability.Provided that there is also serious coverage of the field use of the
stove, such measurements, should you want to undertake them, could
only add to the OR. Having said that, we tend to be slightly skeptical
of stove bench tests, as they are not always easy to extrapolate to
the real world (as witness all those unrealistic boil times in
Still, if you look at Roger Caffin's reports (he's a physicist and our
resident stove expert) you will see that he delves into this area. For
that matter, in the several reports I have prepared on headlamps, I
have made extensive use of bench tests (using a digital luxmeter) to
examine aspects of headlamps that simply can't be evaluated in the
field, e.g. effectiveness of voltage control, battery decay curves,
collimation diagrams etc.
Don't overlook my response to your stove query--it's down towards the
foot of my response, and I realize it could be overlooked.
The OR looks very good indeed. Nicely done. I think my only negative
comment would be that you might have set the column width a bit wide
at 730 px in your first DIV. We did a brief survey a while back and
found that a surprising number of folks still access at 800 x 600.
Since the BGT navigation bar is almost 200 px, that puts the minimum
width of your OR at about 930 px. I set my monitor down to 800 x 600,
and one does have to scroll left a bit to read your text. Not a big
One question. In your font-family declaration, why do you have the
Trebuchet font in quotes as below? I was curious.
- Hi Ted,
I looked at Roger Caffin's stove reports, and they are indeed very thorough and detailed--
he sounds very much like a physicist. He states in one of them that he doesn't believe boil
time specs are very meaningful, but that he does find ability to simmer important. As
reports of simmering capability are usually subjective, I'd like to see if I can come up with
a quantitative test. Ideally, the test would be simple enough to be reproducible by a typical
stove reviewer, but sophisticated enough to give a useful indication of simmer
performance. The biggest obstacle will be finding something that can serve as a standard
"pot", as the test would otherwise be dependent on the type of pot used. I'm thinking
about using a disposable foil pie plate, as that's something anyone could find at their
grocery store (the plates sometimes come with pies in them, but disposing of pie is
generally a pleasant task :-)
I'll keep that in mind about the 800x600 screen width with the next review. About your
font question--any time you refer to a font with spaces in its name (such as "Trebuchet
MS") for a font-family property, you need to enclose the name in quotes. In the case you
spotted in my OR, since everything is already inside the quotes of the style="..." attribute,
the quotation marks have to be escaped, and written as ".
--- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, "edwardripleyduggan" <erd@...> wrote:
> Don't overlook my response to your stove query--it's down towards the
> foot of my response, and I realize it could be overlooked.
> The OR looks very good indeed. Nicely done. I think my only negative
> comment would be that you might have set the column width a bit wide
> at 730 px in your first DIV. We did a brief survey a while back and
> found that a surprising number of folks still access at 800 x 600.
> Since the BGT navigation bar is almost 200 px, that puts the minimum
> width of your OR at about 930 px. I set my monitor down to 800 x 600,
> and one does have to scroll left a bit to read your text. Not a big
> deal, though.
> One question. In your font-family declaration, why do you have the
> Trebuchet font in quotes as below? I was curious.
> "Trebuchet MS",