It is often said that taking your work home from the office is a bad idea. And if that’s bad, then taking your work on vacation is a crime. In most cases, I would agree with that philosophy wholeheartedly.
But as of this last weekend, I stand guilty on all accounts. I didn’t just take work home, I took it way further than that. Work came with me to the stunningly isolated, breathtakingly vast, and wonderfully wild back-country of Yosemite National Park. This was the place where I was supposed to “get away from it all”. It was the best decision I could have made.
My work came along in the form of several pieces of running gear that made my three day backpacking venture to the 10,000 foot high point of Cloud’s Rest possible. The three items below not only survived the snow, mud, rocks, sweat and 30+ pounds of backpack weight; they took on the elements with tenacity and performed wonderfully.
Choosing the MVP award for this trip was easy; these shoes passed the ankle support test, blister test, traction test, and waterproof test with flying colors. Here’s why the Speedcross 3 shoes performed so well:
1) Light and stable. The Lightweight Muscle Dynamic Cushioning in the midsole uses a combination of compressed EVA and injected EVA foam to prevent arch collapse, while avoiding excessive weight. Additionally, the slightly higher profile of the shoe around the ankle provided just enough stability without the bulkiness of a traditional hiking boot.
2) Blister resistance. If you’ve ever been backpacking, you know that blisters and hotspots can be your greatest enemy. Thanks to the Sensifit cradling construction that securely wraps the foot, the moisture-reducing Ortholite Sockliner, and the padded heel collar, all of my moleskin and BandAids remained untouched and I had a grand total of ZERO blisters.
3) Excellent traction. The Salomon Contragrip technology proved perfectly capable of handling all sorts of terrain: mud, snow, hard packed dirt, rocks and sandy gravel. My concern before using the shoes was that the lugs would be uncomfortable on hard packed surfaces but the shoes were stable and pleasant to wear on all surfaces.
4) Dry feet. The ClimaShield coating and water-resistant textiles on the upper kept my feet completely dry through multiple creek crossings and trudges through melting snow.
The highlight of the buff is it’s versatility (there are so many prints too!). Moisture transfer properties, 95% UV sun protection, and it’s stretchy, customizable construction make it good for all of the following:
1) Headband. After 3 days of backpacking, nobody’s hair looks good. It was nice to keep everything on my head under control while going from sweating profusely to taking on windy patches.
2) Sweatband. The moisture-wicking materials kept the sweat at bay and out of my face.
3) Neck protection. Sunburn, stay away! The ample sun protection help me avoid dehydrating and painful sunburns.
As previously discussed, blisters are no one’s friend. These Smartwool socks kept my feet dry, comfortable, and free of irritation. The light amount of cushioning was ideal for my journey, and the anatomical fit kept the sock securely in place all day long.