Monday, January 23, 2017

mini review - merrell trail glove, platypus meta bottle, calories

The prevailing thinking for ultralight hikers is that every ounce you save on your feet is 5 pounds in your pack. And barefoot runners have the opinion that barefoot or barefoot shoes give the runner better warning to foot and ankle danger that hiking boots and traditional running shoes would mask until it was too late. Both might be true or false, however, I can report that depending on the road or trail surface barefoot can be painful.

In my case the trail was clear of most debris and soft.... until we got to the section of trail meant for cars. There were pebbles of coral rock everywhere but not enough to be level and distribute my weight evenly. Either a more rigid sole or gel insole would have been happier for my feel but I do not know if that would have invalidated the benefits described. But it is time for new shoes or insoles.

the zero drop heal of the barefoot shoe has helped my plantars fasciitis.

I purchase 2 Platypus Meta bottles(with filter) for about $25 each. They were meant to solve a technical problem of day hiking on the Florida Trail. First of all I did not want to carry a days worth of water. I wanted to carry 1L and that was it; with the plan to make more as I hiked. At the last minute I decided to carry two bottles and drink a 3rd en-route to the trail.

I filled the two bottles with filtered tap water before getting to the trail. Needless to say...

  • even though the bottle was meant to filter water it's so much heavier than a plain smartwater bottle.
  • the main seal is weak in that the first time I used it the bottle leaked and if I had been drinking processed water I might have been contaminated
  • the main seal is a single point of failure that could ruin your day
  • in retrospect the design of the bottle and filter suggests that the filter must be fully submerged to get the flow rates described in the product info. Once you get to the halfway point the filter is not submerged and the air in the bottle compresses more easily than a full bottle so processing water is slow and painful.

I was watching the wheel last night and one contestant was said to be sweating 1qt of water for every hour searching for water. Depending on the environment you might not be aware how much water you're expiring so always drink plenty of water.

By the time we left the trail we had walked 13 miles over 4.5 hours. That means that I should have consumed 2000 calories just to offset the hike when in fact I only ate about 500. And by the time the hike was over I was out of water (0.5 miles from the trailhead). The last 2 miles was hard. The temperature on the trail was in the mid to high 80s (F). Calorie and water shortage. (I had 1L in a cooler in the car so that made up some of the difference.)

what is lacking here is some trail discipline. during the hike we talked about hiking the AT and training for it. This was a good start especially for a summer 2017 section hike but what was missing from this loop was some technical discipline. One thing for certain is that we were never in danger. The main trail had an accessible canal with plenty of water. Although this canal was less desirable as a water source it was not unreasonable. 

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