Application - SCARPA Rapid LT - David Wilkes
- After taking a few months off to focus on my training for the local Nordic ski patrol, I am eagerly looking for an item to get back into the swing of gear testing.
Please accept my application. My signed tester agreement is on file, I have read BackpackGearTest Survival Guide, version 0609, as well as the BackpackGearTest.org Bylaws, and I intend to meet or exceed all test and reporting requirements.
Name: David Wilkes
Location: Yakima Washington USA
Height: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
Weight: 175 lb (79 kg)
I started backpacking in 1995 when I moved to Washington State. Since then, I
have backpacked in all seasons and conditions and do most of my backpacking alone in the Washington Cascades. I prefer trips on rugged trails with plenty of elevation gain. My basic overnight pack is around 30 lbs (14 kg), not including consumables.
Product Relevant Information
A few years ago I started using trail runners and other lightweight footwear for hiking and backpacking (even my Vibrum Five Fingers). Since then I have hardly worn boots except for the rare trips that require boots (that leaves very little beyond deep snow and very cold). I have been using shoes and gators for snowshoeing and even got crampons that are compatible with soft soled shoes for trips like climbing Mt Adams. I really enjoy the improved distance and speed wearing trail runners gives me, and love the comfort.
I have found a few disadvantages to not wearing boots, such as debris getting into my shoes (using gators solves this), poor traction in mud and soft dirt (most trail runners just do not have the aggressive soles of most hiking boots), and sometimes they are not warm enough (a good sock system can greatly extend the temperature range). On the other hand the lightweight, comfort, and agility that shoes provide, for me, way outweigh the drawbacks. I also find shoes tend to breath better and dry out quicker.
I also enjoy minimalist running (I run barefoot or wearing Vibram Five fingers) so the low profile and 7mm drop of these shoes sounds like something I could appreciate for both walking and running. These shoes do not look like they have a very aggressive tread so I would be interested in seeing how they perform in mud and loose dirt, but the "sticky traction" sole is something that sounds good for those trips that need rock traction (such as rock hopping and scrambling in the talus).
I have wide feet so I like the idea that these have lacing that goes all the way down to the toes, it might allow me to adjust them for a more custom fit.
Since spring in Central Washington can be difficult for backpacking with rotten soft snow in the mountains, I tend to stick to the lower elevations; think rock, boulders, talus, dirt, mud and sage (not to mention more than a few snakes), where shoes can be a better choice than boots.
I am not entirely sure I understand what the manufacturer means by "Convertible heel pull loop" and assume "Packable heel design" suggests they may pack flat possibly making them suitable for carrying in my pack for conditions when I choose to wear boots (e.g. camp shoes and/or side trips).
I could not find anything in the description that says they are intended to be waterproof so I suspect they are not. Since I prefer my footwear to be able to breath and dry quickly I tend to avoid "waterproof" shoes anyway.
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Thank you for your consideration!