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  1. Rex

    New lightweight backpack from REI

    I went to the REI site and looked carefully at the pictures. Noted that it has many of the same features as the REI Trail 40 which I have carried for over 1000 miles on the VF and mountains of W Washington. It has suffered through a fully loaded drop of about 3 meters onto the tarmac from the...
  2. Rex

    Long pants and long sleeves in summer? Smart or big mistake?

    Like REI,Outdoor Research, Union Bay and Columbia climbing/hiking pants. ExOfficio also makes a convertible lightweight cargo pant that has a built in bug repellent. Have worn at least one of these on various Caminos. All dry very quickly and are SPF 50. On the first 500 miles of the VF I...
  3. Rex

    Any suggestions for a technical shirt with the performance of Merino but without the drawbacks?

    Outdoor Research SPF hoodies and quarter zip turtlenecks. Super lightweight but warm enough for all seasons except Winter. Line Dry quickly and don’t seem to retain smells. 960 miles into the VF and no issues so far. Bought all four of them on a 1/2 price sale at the OR outlet store just...
  4. Rex


    I carried an iPad Air on two Caminos and did some writing and Board duties, but left it home last year for the 1st half of the VF across France. I realized I could do everything I needed to do with my iPhone (assuming my thumbs will cooperate on that tiny keyboard). :>). And T-Mobile offers a...
  5. Rex

    Men's Pants - There Can Be Only One

    Also have used ExOfficio pants that have been treated with bug repellent. Great for hiking in areas where mosquitos might be a problem and very light weight/quick dry. These have zipper legs (but I do leave the bottoms at home unless I'm hiking in areas where mosquitos are a big nuisance); I...
  6. Rex

    Men's Pants - There Can Be Only One

    Union Bay (Active) pants or Outdoor Research Ferrosi (climbing pants that are lightweight, but very abrasion resistant)... carried both on the VF last June/July. Both dry very quickly, but OR pants have pockets I found to be less useful (no zippers or closures) than the Union Bay (which has...
  7. Rex

    Water shoes instead of sandals?

    In Hawaii, water shoes are everywhere now, especially in beachside resorts and towns. The design and comfort (and durability) have improved greatly over the past 20 years and now you see them in everyday wear, particularly among the Ironman athletes and surfers and snorkelers (coulda' just said...
  8. Rex

    Hoka Shoe Owners: Speedgoat 5 or the Bondi 8?

    Wore Speedgoat 4 GTX for first 150 miles of VF in June 2022. When a series of rainstorms hit, the shoes turned out to be NOT good at keeping my feet dry. Blisters followed. Shoes didn't dry well overnight. Gave them to a hostel keeper after a quick detour to Paris to purchase Salomon Ultra...
  9. Rex

    Salomon trail runners for 800K

    Wore a pair of Speedgoat 4 GTX Hokas for the first 150 miles of the via Francigena, but developed blisters on both of my 4th toes after the weather turned hot (my feet really swell in hot weather walking). Donated the Hokas to a motel worker who wore the same size as I do. Took a quick train...
  10. Rex


    Good to know. Just finished the first half of the VF and it worked great with the five or six exceptions I noted in my original comment. Will look at organic maps when I return to finish the VF in 2023 or 2024.
  11. Rex


    With my iPhone I just put the start and end points in the night before then left the app window open (don’t know if this works on Android) and when I awaken the phone in the morning the trail is there and I just hit start. I use Garmin to save my trails each day (diffferent app but one my...
  12. Rex


    Just used maps.me to navigate a straighter path across France than the “official” via Francigena route. Was also interested in following as close to the original route of Siguric as possible (excluding freeways/ major highways). Maps.me worked best when I put in my current location and the...
  13. Rex

    Trail Runner Brands That Work for wide feet

    Wore Topo Zero Drops for my last two 1/2 marathons... no toe problems and they were excellent shoes. First time I had not worn Nike Free for a distance event and was very pleasantly surprised by Topo's fit and feel.
  14. Rex

    DWR. Treating Rain Gear with Durable Water Repellant

    Sorry about the sticker shock of the price, but NikWax is the only thing we use. I'm not un-biased (we are friends of the retired CEO of NikWax), but it is simply the best rain-proofing product in the aftermarket space. We have used it for years on all of our outdoor running and work jackets...
  15. Rex

    Shoes for Camino Portuguese after recovering from ankle injury

    Having walked two caminos after healing from a break in my right fibula near the ankle, I can say that the preparation, i.e., extending your distances slowly (no more than 10% increase per week) and practicing good stretching techniques for your ankle each day should help you make it through...
  16. Rex

    Space Blanket: Noise?

    North Face sleeping bag liner. 15 oz and minimal bulk. Used for two camions and still looking like it can take one more trek. Nix the Mylar, which I’ve used after a few very cold marathons, to positive effect. Tried a Tyvek blanket ONCE — another bad solution as it wore out quickly and was...
  17. Rex

    Running shoes, not trail runners

    I wore Salomon XA Trail shoes, which are trail runners, but felt more like road shoes on the CF. Wore them for another year after the CF. Great shoes with good support in arch and padding around the lower ankle. The problem with most running shoes is lack of support/cushion after about...
  18. Rex

    Your favorite camino hat!

    Agreed. Have worn out one of those and am working on wearing out my second one. Outdoor Research is just a few miles from my home so I find some pretty good Camino gear at their outlet store in south Seattle. REI headquarters store in Seattle also has a great selection of sun hats of all...
  19. Rex

    Vasque boots

    Nice pun in the last line... :>)
  20. Rex

    Vasque boots

    After 60+ years of hiking, trail running and long distance running, and 20 years of hiking in Vasque boots, I was unpleasantly surprised that they hurt my feet on my first Camino. After about 10 days, I shipped them home (from Burgos, for EU50.00). I then limped into an athletic store store in...

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