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#39374 - 08/02/14 12:01 AM Re: Boots v. Trailrunners [Re: Akichow]
2Old4This Offline


Registered: 05/27/14
Posts: 51
Loc: Northern California
Originally Posted By: Akichow
This May, I found a boot that is the best of both worlds! I bet there are others!

http://www.sierratradingpost.com/salomon-conquest-gore-tex-hiking-boots-waterproof-for-women~p~7238y/?colorFamily=01



These are lightweight Salomons. No break in period whatsoever. Much lighter and flexible than traditional boots. Basically a trail runner that ends higher up your leg.

At the time I bought these, I was developing a numb big toe with my beloved Asolos. I had made an appointment with a podiatrist, but my $#@*&% HMO made me wait 3 weeks to get an appointment. In the meantime, thinking the problem might be impingement, I shopped around for a shoe with a big toe box and found out that Salomons are known for that. Further, I too have followed the boot v trail runners discussion, and these looked online like trailrunners in the shape of a boot, so that intrigued me as well.

Turns out, these new boots delivered on both fronts. No more toe numbness (the toe box is bigger than average). And they are super comfy and light. The only thing is that the sole is not quite as thickly protective as a traditional boot, so for a few hikes my feet were getting a little tired and feeling the terrain. But I figured I'd adapt and I did!

When I finally did see a podiatrist, I brought the new boots with me. He gave them a thumbs up for me (and confirmed the prior impingement issue). He did note that it is important for the sole of a boot to be rigid from the heel to the ball of the foot (the first 2/3 of the sole), meaning that you should not be able to twist or bend the boot/shoe in these places. (I think it is supposed to be flexible after that or you can become vulnerable to plantar fasciitis and achilles heel.) These boots passed that test even though they are so light and seem flexible.


I have bone spurs in my achilles and plantar fascia where they connect at my heels. First thing the podiatrist showed me was how to select a good pair of shoes, find ones with a stiff arch. This combined with custom orthotics and stretching exercises for my feet have me active again. He didn't mention anything about the toe area or heel itself. I have been wearing New Balance runners around town because they seem to design their shoes to consistently provide this support.

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#39377 - 08/02/14 05:50 AM Re: Boots v. Trailrunners [Re: Hobbes]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
You are "treading" on dangerous ground Hobbes. Do you, or have you ever, backpacked carrying a heavy load (over 15 pounds) without shoes or boots?

Not every hiker has perfectly conditioned feet. I've had three foot surgeries over the years and would never backpack in bare feet. There are very few people able to backpack in bare feet and not suffer for it.

About five years ago, my wife and I encountered a lady backpacking on the Paiute Pass trail in bare feet. She said she used flip-flops on rocky ground. She had been in the backcountry for 2 weeks. The mule packers called her "Little Foot", after seeing her tracks. She came from Laguna Beach, CA. and never wore shoes unless absolutely necessary...so you can figure it out.




Edited by Bob West (08/02/14 05:50 AM)

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#39395 - 08/02/14 11:08 PM Re: Boots v. Trailrunners [Re: Bob West]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7524
Loc: Fresno, CA
Bob W wrote:
> You are "treading" on dangerous ground Hobbes.

Bob, based on prior posts, I suspect Hobbes has done more backpacking than many of us. He's an ultralight packer, makes his own equipment, and hikes off-trail pretty often. In my mind, he's "an animal" in the hiking world.

We all can see that everyone has their own opinion about what are the best boots or flip-flops to hike in. You mention "Little Foot". A while back, there was also "Barefoot Ted", who hiked the Main Trail barefoot. It takes all kinds.

I am pretty sure the OP is enjoying reading the wide spectrum of opinions.

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#39410 - 08/03/14 11:15 PM Re: Boots v. Trail-runners [Re: Snacking Bear]
mattcav Offline


Registered: 05/06/14
Posts: 5
Loc: Carpinteria, CA
I like 'em for some people. I work in the outdoor industry and see both sides and uses.

Trail runners are attractive because of the weight savings, easier initial cost, cooler temp (for hot days), and what most people would consider a grippier sole. Boots are more supportive, longer lasting, and keep debris out better. Both work well.

If you're a heavier person, you may need a bit more support. A hybrid boot like the Salomon Quest 4d is an excellent choice for a lot of backpackers, hikers, and scramblers. The grip is also really good and it's relatively roomy to accomodate foot swelling and insoles. One thing I love about this boot is you can lace it lower like a trail runner but lace it higher in adverse conditions, descents, and injury situations. I've got a pair of these and love them - but they do run a bit hot.

If you have specific questions I'd be happy to help more.

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#39421 - 08/04/14 12:03 PM Re: Boots v. Trailrunners [Re: Hobbes]
Chicagocwright Offline


Registered: 09/05/12
Posts: 172
Loc: Alaska
The Salomon's pictured above are very similar to the Asolo's I have used for several years. The ones pictured below are retired but I have a new pair that are almost exactly the same. They are ready to go right out of the box and don't need any break-in time. First time I wore my new pair was on the Crow Pass hike.

I feel they are lightweight enough and I use them all kinds of hiking including pretty rough winter hikes using kahtoolas. I occasionally use trail runners for training for Mt. Marathon but I prefer the boots for almost anything.


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#39425 - 08/04/14 04:43 PM Boots v. Trailrunners [Re: Steve C]
Hobbes Offline


Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 124
Loc: The OC
Gee, I was in SF for a few days (walking in my Jesus 2.0 sandals, 'natch) and didn't realize this thread had continued to grow.

Here's my deal - every sport/activity has generational overlap. You see it everywhere - skiing, surfing, motorsports, etc. Old(er) schools can usually be readily identified by their tendency to stick to what worked during the era(s) they first became involved.

I use surfing as a frequent example, because besides fishing/camping/hiking, it's what I've done for decades. Most guys my age gave up long ago trying to either (a) compete with the kids; or (b) bother trying to keep in shape. The typical result is:
- they ride a bigger board (aka a "crutch")
- when lying on their stomachs, they pivot on their bellies like a rocking horse
- they look sort of foolish (and of course stand out because of their condition & over-sized boards)
- they bark in frustration at all and everyone who is paddling quickly around them, taking waves, and generally making their lives not so fun

My wife refers to these types as walrii ie plural of walrus in pig Latin. To make the picture complete, many times they have red faces and 'walrus' mustaches.

So what's the point? The point is that those who continue to pursue the "he-man" approach to backpacking are generally mocked and dismissed by the younger crowd who live & breath the trail. (We're called JMTers or 'day hikers'.) Within not-too-many-years, we'll all be gone from the scene, along with the memories, and the styles & approaches popular today will become the (new) standard.

How the "he-man" thing got going in the 60-70s is worthy of its own study. The early pioneers like Muir, Brewer, et al certainly weren't shlepping their own sh!t - that's what pack animals were/are for. Ditto for Sierra Club outings - who in their right mind would reduce themselves to a draft animal?

Besides, we evolved over 2m+ years not carrying anything. We (barefoot) walked, strolled & jogged 5-10-20 miles/day sans possessions. Bipeds cannot efficiently carry loads, which is why (obviously) we bred/developed domesticated pack/draft animals. Those who persist can end up crippled if they continue doing so. As for snow conditions, the good ol' IceMan had these for shoes:

http://www.iceman.it/en/clothing-equipment

My guess is it's tied in somehow to Clyde. Some NY marketing person realized if he could simultaneously promote the ideal & shame the weak, he'd have himself a nice little niche in which to exploit and jerk around an early generation of outdoorsy consumers.

The problem with this approach in the face of science is many-fold:
- down fill power is now 900, soon to approach 1000. 15 oz of 1000FP is 15,000 ci or around 20-25 degrees CLO. Add 5-6 oz of super-strength shell material, and a 20-25 bag will weigh in around 20 oz.
- synthetic materials research is driven by milspec requirements. Climashield, Dyneema, Kevlar (ie Ursack), etc, etc have all made their ways into other products like backpacking years after the troops used them as everyday equipment
- medical research. While the author of 'Born to Run' popularized the notion, it's this Harvard anthropologist who developed the initial research & theories:

http://www.barefootrunning.fas.harvard.edu/

The bottom line is clear: lose weight, walk/jog and carry light loads. You of course are free to disagree with this free advice, but you'll be spending more time debating on 'Net forums rather than actually getting out and hiking if you insist on ignoring the evidence.

PS For a demonstration of the generational effect, you can view it in action on these forums. Young(er) people who are actually walking the walk aren't debating the relative merits of this vs that; no, they're out there hiking and sharing their experiences via social media:

http://www.pcta.org/live/

If this doesn't make you want to get out there again right after you've gotten home, then you've successfully avoided the bug.


Edited by Hobbes (08/04/14 05:23 PM)

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#39439 - 08/05/14 08:55 AM Re: Boots v. Trailrunners [Re: Bee]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Hobbes,

Again, I am agnostic on footwear part of this. However, I do see more UL people in trouble than those who take a traditional approach. They tend not to have sufficient gear, and the right gear; and clothing when things go bad. Trailrunners, shorts and a poncho in wind driven rain don't work all that swell.

Once I hiked with a group of a dozen who you use this philosophy between all of them they did not have sufficient bandages to stop one person's heavy bleeding.

I take from all and incorporate them into a philosophy that make me and those I care about safe while hiking.

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#39446 - 08/05/14 02:19 PM Re: Boots v. Trailrunners [Re: wbtravis]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1029
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: wbtravis
Hobbes,

Again, I am agnostic on footwear part of this. However, I do see more UL people in trouble than those who take a traditional approach. They tend not to have sufficient gear, and the right gear; and clothing when things go bad. Trailrunners, shorts and a poncho in wind driven rain don't work all that swell.


It was rather interesting to watch the UL JMT hikers camping near us on this morning at 11,500 feet below Forester Pass this is July 20. Forecast was "sunny and dry all weekend."

forester_after_the_storm_pano

4 hours of rain and hail was the opener to this sunny and dry weekend. So much came down, I had to use the bear can lid to shovel it off the tent. Super windy that even our fully guy'd out tent felt somewhat challenged. We talked to a couple of UL hikers the day before on Kearsarge - they had abandoned the JMT in Mammoth because they had "caught some weather" and were back in for some smaller segment in the south because the forecast got better...

Not sure how they fared this stormy morning that followed, but it was again "some weather" for sure.

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#39451 - 08/05/14 07:34 PM Re: Boots v. Trailrunners [Re: Fishmonger]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
I think it is important to make sure we distinguish the group called "ultralight" from the group that we might call "unprepared".

They are generally two very different groups, although I see the two often thrown together.

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#39455 - 08/05/14 10:19 PM Re: Boots v. Trailrunners [Re: Ken]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1130
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: Ken
I think it is important to make sure we distinguish the group called "ultralight" from the group that we might call "unprepared".

They are generally two very different groups, although I see the two often thrown together.

The endless crap about ultralight hikers is pretty funny - images of an ultrastupid moron huddled in pouring rain under a poncho from the 99 cent store with no shelter, no warm clothes, no food, and one soggy match. Like an ultralight hiker wouldn't bring long pants or a decent shelter. Funny stuff. You just don't see ultralight hikers going back to a heavy pack, I wonder why that is...

Personally, as if anyone cares, I settled on New Balance trail runners, usually on sale at Big 5 in wide sizes. I go a size large, add a good insole, and don't try to get too many miles out of them. Where crampons are needed or general snow camping, I wear light Scarpa mountaineering boots. If I want more weight, I guess I could add ankle weights, but I don't.

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#39461 - 08/06/14 09:40 AM Re: Boots v. Trailrunners [Re: Ken]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Ken,

Are some of the UL crowd prepared...sure. However, most of the people I end up sharing something with are those who have made a determination it is best to go with less and depend on the kindness of others when things go wrong.

I do not determine whether they are hard core UL or just every day UL/Light. Most of my contacts with these people have been with those that are unprepared for conditions and the what can happens. On the whole, they do not have workable maps (less than Tom Harrison Cartography), sufficient first aid kits, clothes for conditions that can happen, unaware of the latest forecast and not all of the 10 essentials in their packs.

I go light, unless I am doing a forest service volunteer patrol. My day hike base pack weight is ~5 pounds.

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#39474 - 08/06/14 05:51 PM Re: Boots v. Trailrunners [Re: wbtravis]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1130
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: wbtravis
I do not determine whether they are hard core UL or just every day UL/Light. Most of my contacts with these people have been with those that are unprepared...

Now there's a new distinction for ya: "hard core UL" or "just every day UL/Light." What you're really describing is an unprepared mooch. I've seen hikers with 50 pounds of heavy gear rummaging through leftover food bins because they were counting on others. Not just supplementing their food, they were truly counting whatever people left behind, and they were upset that some PCT hikers wiped out the bins before them. Mooching saves money, which is a motivator regardless of how much weight is in someone's pack.

A map is the UL choice vs a GPS. I can't tell you how many times I've handed out an extra map that I printed, and none of them were to an "ultralight hiker." Poor navigation skills or bringing a bad map is usually because of inexperience or ignorance, not because someone is trying to save a 2-ounce map. A UL hiker might cut the borders off the map, but that's silly, not dangerous.

Same thing with not knowing the weather forecast, no weight saving there, that's just a stupid mistake, the kind anyone can make. And if you're in the woods for more than a few days, the forecast is probably too old to be useful anyway.

I'm clearly defending ultralight hiking here, but only if people do so with adequate knowledge and the extra skills required. It's about careful planning and alternative gear that performs the same function as "traditional" gear. It's not about "going without" or making bad decisions or mooching.


Edited by SierraNevada (08/06/14 09:19 PM)

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#39478 - 08/06/14 09:55 PM Re: Boots v. Trailrunners [Re: SierraNevada]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1553
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
So, Snacking Bear, how's this discussion working for you so far?
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Wherever you go, there you are.
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#39484 - 08/06/14 11:08 PM Re: Boots v. Trailrunners [Re: saltydog]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 476
Loc: Saugus, CA
I drew my own conclusions about 53 posts back.

I feel like a spectator at the gladiatorial games. Not to say that I'm not enjoying the spectacle.

Salty, I think I owe you an apology. You called this one from post #2
_________________________
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#39489 - 08/07/14 06:53 AM Re: Boots v. Trailrunners [Re: Snacking Bear]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1130
Loc: NorCal
Salty did warn you, Snacking Bear. eek Seen it happen many times on various forums.

Unfortunately, some people lump all UL hikers into one group of unprepared morons making bad decisions about everything.

Others get defensive about it (myself included) because many UL hikers spend a lot of time and money trying to find the optimal balance between weight, function, and safety. I guess I should not get defensive about it.

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#39494 - 08/07/14 08:39 AM Re: Boots v. Trailrunners [Re: SierraNevada]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Originally Posted By: SierraNevada
Originally Posted By: wbtravis
I do not determine whether they are hard core UL or just every day UL/Light. Most of my contacts with these people have been with those that are unprepared...

Now there's a new distinction for ya: "hard core UL" or "just every day UL/Light." What you're really describing is an unprepared mooch. I've seen hikers with 50 pounds of heavy gear rummaging through leftover food bins because they were counting on others. Not just supplementing their food, they were truly counting whatever people left behind, and they were upset that some PCT hikers wiped out the bins before them. Mooching saves money, which is a motivator regardless of how much weight is in someone's pack.

A map is the UL choice vs a GPS. I can't tell you how many times I've handed out an extra map that I printed, and none of them were to an "ultralight hiker." Poor navigation skills or bringing a bad map is usually because of inexperience or ignorance, not because someone is trying to save a 2-ounce map. A UL hiker might cut the borders off the map, but that's silly, not dangerous.

Same thing with not knowing the weather forecast, no weight saving there, that's just a stupid mistake, the kind anyone can make. And if you're in the woods for more than a few days, the forecast is probably too old to be useful anyway.

I'm clearly defending ultralight hiking here, but only if people do so with adequate knowledge and the extra skills required. It's about careful planning and alternative gear that performs the same function as "traditional" gear. It's not about "going without" or making bad decisions or mooching.


All I have said in my travels as a hiker and as volunteer most of my contacts are with those have embraced light. The trailrunners, the small packs, the substandard this and that. An example of this my first aid kit has been used over more over the years taking care of people who embrace this philosophy than myself.

A map is the UL choice. It was my choice too for most trip until I made the decision to carry it all the time so I could accurately give coordinates to SAR or other first responders just in case. Since I am not a UL hiker a few extra ounces ain't a big deal.

Hard core, UL/Light is a distinction without a difference. They all embrace light uber alles. They do it for the most part with a deficient skill set. More skill can mean a lower pack weight...they go directly to the lower pack weight with out getting the requisite skills...and I'm talking about trailwalkers who have been doing this stuff for 20 years.

As for mooching, this is another area I have more UL people doing. Again, this is my experience. YMMV.

I have the skill set and the money to buy 900 fill power jackets, trailrunners, silnylon packs and I know how to count to 3 or 4...the minimum number of various medicines or sheets of toilet paper. After much thought, I have decided this philosophy is not for me. I value safety and comfort more than light. This is not to say I do not borrow liberally from this type of hiking.

The biggest problem is when things go sideways. They neither have the skills, gear or clothing to cope with the situation. I see it in all four seasons.


Edited by wbtravis (08/07/14 09:46 AM)

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#39498 - 08/07/14 09:32 AM Re: Boots v. Trailrunners [Re: SierraNevada]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 476
Loc: Saugus, CA
Originally Posted By: SierraNevada
Salty did warn you, Snacking Bear. eek Seen it happen many times on various forums.


I've never seen such a tangential dichotomy... From specifics of prehistoric podiatry to the quasi-meta topic of UL adventuring.

I have been treated to quite the tour!
_________________________
@jjoshuagregory (Twitter & Instagram) for landscape and mountain photo spamming...

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#39503 - 08/07/14 10:54 AM Re: Boots v. Trailrunners [Re: wbtravis]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
"It was my choice too for most trip until I made the decision to carry it all the time so I could accurately give coordinates to SAR or other first responders just in case. "

Sounds to me like a serious deficiency in map reading knowledge.
Most experts I know can get you within 100 feet. Better take some classes, and shore up this deficiency.

I don't believe in trying to make up in deficient basic knowledge with technology. You'll get burned by a dead battery.

You keep harping on first aid kits. MY experience is that people have first aid kits, but are deficient in knowledge of how to use them. People don't get training. For someone like yourself, out on trails in semi-official capacities, who has repeated first aid incidents, I'd consider Wilderness EMT the lowest level of training. Where did you get your certification? Is it current?
If not, why do you go out with this deficiency in preparation?

But a much better way of approaching this is the following: "judge not, lest ye be judged". Lotta uninformed judgement coming from you, WB. This philosophy does NOT negate your experience, which is certainly valid, but it does speak against smearing every person you've never met.

Your memory may not be long enough, but I distinctly remember under-prepared and under-geared people LONG before there was ever an ultralight movement.

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#39512 - 08/07/14 05:06 PM Re: Boots v. Trailrunners [Re: wbtravis]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Both Bob R. and Steve C. are Light(even UL at times) trekkers for the valid reasons of aging joints (sorry guys). They want to remain active for as long as possible, so taking the weight off the joints is the one area of relief that makes a difference.

I would never, never place either of them in any sort bad light. In fact, I have learned so many useful tips from them about streamlining my outdoor experience. One of those tips was that a stove is actually optional in summer (sorry Jim the Stovie) so that on short trips, I now actually bring "cold" meals, and leave home the stove, utensils, & cooking gear.

In Winter, the stove is an essential tool of survival in the mountains (to melt snow for water) so I would never leave it home.

There. I have now brought stoves into this crazy thread!
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The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#39524 - 08/08/14 02:41 AM Re: Boots v. Trailrunners [Re: Bee]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 591
Loc: Manchester, NH
Ah, the hiking boot vs. trail runner debates, or should I say wars? Each side makes its case, and then things slowly deteriorate into fighting and bloodshed. Just like the never-ending religious struggles between Christianity vs. Muslins, Tea Party nutjobs vs. the Rest-of-Us, etc. It's the nature of our species. Give us a cause/belief, any cause/belief, and some of us will try to kill the other over it. The contentiousness in the world today reminds me of the movie "Ghostbusters" where a type of energy enveloped NYC, causing everyone to argue/be disagreeable with everyone else.

On the "what to wear on my feet" topic - I've climbed Mt Lassen several times. It's a relatively easy, short dayhike, with alot of 'bang for the buck'. For those familiar with it, you know that not far from the actual summit the ground levels out, and enters a volcanic field of rather nasty, sharp, rubble as it gains the last bit of elevation. It's fresh - the last eruption was in the early 1900's and has weathered little. A slip/fall is going to draw blood or worse. In any case - one day I'm sitting on the summit (on a small pad) when a woman and her 3 teenage children appear, all in good spirits and quite animated. After making sure the kids all have food to munch on, the mom starts visiting with me and the other hikers. I couldn't help but notice that she and her children were barefoot, and no one was the worse for wear. As offhandedly as I could I commented on that, and she laughed, saying she had been drawn to a lifestyle many years ago, pre-motherhood, and hadn't worn shoes in many years, and had raised her children the same way. Said both she and her kids loved going barefoot, and lived at lower elevation nearby, the winters were mild and they never needed shoes/boots due to the cold. I've seen the occasional barefoot hiker over the years, but never on such sharp, volcanic rock.

As for stoves - I never carry a stove on 3-season dayhikes or short backpacks. I carry food which doesn't require heat. When doing a snow/glacier climb requiring an overnight (or two) I do carry a stove to melt snow/ice for water. As soon as there's liquid in the pan, it's filtered and more snow added. The combined weight of filter, stove and enough fuel to melt is less than a stove and enough fuel to bring the water to a boil. This year I noticed the snow rangers on Shasta use the same method. Much more efficient in terms of weight.

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