my winter gear rant
Got up and began the ritual. Gloves and jacket, Lite stove, heat water, make coffee, defrost boots, struggle with boots, curse boots, have cold toes and fingers from dealing with boots, drink now cold coffee, get out and move in an attempt to get circulation going, curse Paramo and their crappy zippers, curse boots, thank RBH and MSR, curse Goal Zero for small buttons, thank Apple for their great battery, hate Nokia for their battery that does not work in the cold, mildly indifferent to the OR nalgene insulators that work marginally, love my Western Mountaineering, but why oh why no pull tabs on the inside zipper, because in minus temps i am most definitely sleeping with gloves on, the panniers become open bags incapable of being closed, the wire on my Princeton tec light is rigid as steel but the light works brilliantly, my wool buff and my Reed Beanie are life savers, Mammutt gets it, as does Arcteryx and Patagonia and my Planet Bike blindly just keeps on flashing through every conceivable type of condition...
Here is the thing: if you are a gear manufacturer and you are making high end gear for the outdoor community, especially for winter, then that gear should work in those conditions. If it does not perform properly you should be called out on it so that people make informed decisions. From now on this is what I am going to do.
Paramo, I have taken your gear to Norway, England, Ireland, Scotland, Canada, NE Maine, and frigid AK. I actually think your eclectic style of gear does a good job, BUT, your zippers SUCK. This one simple design consideration makes the rest of my experience with your gear meaningless. It is the only thing I am constantly aware of and it will mean I never use your gear again.
45Nrth, you are so close, really, so very close with your Wolvhammer boots. For winter cyclists that start warm and end warm the boots are EXCELLENT with only minor design flaws that can be overcome in the relative warmth of your starting location. However, if you are winter touring, racing or expeditioning in cold conditions, those minor flaws become HUGE issues. The zippers will not work below freezing as the material and angle of the fabric becomes too rigid to close. The boots become bricks of ice overnight if you are unable to store them in your sleeping bag, something that is not as easy as it sounds. The lack of a removable boot liner is really just a killer. In the cold, with the material so firm, the inner boot design which works brilliantly when warm, makes it virtually impossible to get get an appropriately dressed foot into the shoe. the act of putting the bot on becomes an act of forced violence... The seams of the boot and the hard rand are beginning to come undone and the laces on both boots have broken. Don't get me wrong. The boots really are close and they do so very many things well, but these small flaws make me curse them every morning and spend hours dreaming of alternatives. Note: I know these are first gen boots and that as such there will be issues. I accept this and the risk that comes with it. However, that fact does not change my opinion that the issues I have are cold weather design flaws not first gen issues. That is my point with this rant...
Companies like Mammutt, Patagonia, Arcteryx, MSR, Princeton tec and RBH all get it. The details are there and the products just work.
please excuse my typos and grammatical mistakes. I am typing on an ipad mini