Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Zamberlan - THE hiking/backpacking boots to buy this year

Well, folks, it just may be that Zamberlan is THE company to watch – and the boots to buy – this year. Certainly for many years Zamberlan has had a loyal following of people who appreciate quality workmanship and fine Italian leather in their hiking and backpacking boots, but in the past few years the company has gotten a large share of media attention.

In 2009, Backpacker magazine gave Zamberlan’s Lhasa GT RR hiking/backpacking boot a "best all around" rating, noting the Lhasa’s comfort and durability. And this year, Backpacker magazine’s coveted Editor’s Choice GOLD award was given to the Zamberlan 760 Steep hiking/backpacking boots. (Not to mention a great photo on the issue's cover! Check out their video review here). The 760 Steep is certainly a sight to behold. The beautiful red Nubuk leather upper looks great and feels soft. The vibram star Trek Sole package is extremely durable. Of course the boot is waterproof, sporting a GoreTex lining. And as for comfort, well, just listen to what Backpacker Magazine had to say about the 760 Steep in its April 2010 Editor’s Choice GOLD review: "Tackle the biggest terrain - under the heaviest loads - in this uncommonly comfortable boot. Got a big tripped planned? Spend a little extra on this boot. Your feet will thank us later”

A sister boot to the 760 Steep is Zamberlan’s 540 Rise, almost exactly the same but a bit lighter. The 540 Rise uses the same sole package and goretex lining as the Steep, but is also has some Cordura in the upper, helping to reduce the weight. The 540 rise is a little more subdued in its look – as it is more grey in color than red. Since the 760 Steep has limited availability for women in the United States, the 540 Rise for women is our recommendation for women hiker/backpackers. It comes in a great looking Kariboe/Dove color.

And let’s not forget Zamberlan’s 308 Trekker. Widely available for both men and women, the308 Trekker also got an Editor’s Choice award for comfort (to use their words: "Leather Lined Luxury") and durability in Backpacker magazine’s April 2010 issue. Here in Vermont, almost every customer whose put these boots on in our store has walked out with them.

At, we love working with the folks at Zamberlan. And we love that these boots are still made in Italy in the way fine quality leather boots have been made for centuries. Some things should never change.

So do you see what we mean? Zamberlan is the hiking boot company to watch. And if you have to only buy one pair this year, Zamblerlan’s boots – whether it be a 760 Steep, a 540 Rise, a 308 Trekker, the 965 Lhasa, or any other of their fine quality Italian Leather boots – are the ones to buy.

Find Zamberlan Boots at We're dedicated to our new "Focus on Service" program and providing the best customer service to each and every person we work with. And as always, ask us if you don’t see what you are looking for.

Happy Hiking!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Hiking and Backpacking with Kids - you can do it!

Just last week a mom visited our store and was so excited to have a local source of backpacks…for her 4-year old son. Turns out this former AT thru-hiker started taking her son backpacking at age two. Not only was she not carrying him, but he was carrying his own gear in a Deuter Junior backpack! She hadn’t been able to find any kids’ packs in our area and she found her son’s pack in Germany where she’s been buying a lot of gear that’s hard to find locally.

When it comes to hiking or backpacking with kids, its almost all about the gear. Just like us adults, kids get excited about new stuff - but particularly stuff that was made just for them! A backpack or sleeping bag - just like mom and dads, but made just for their size - what could be better? And with today's technology kids can get the experience and comfort - without all of the weight. And really that means whole families can get outside more often since mom and dad don't have to be the family sherpas!

About a year and a half ago we started our 5 & 7 year-olds backpacking with our own small-sized backpacks. Those packs wobbled, bumped around, and just plain old didn’t fit…no wonder why we end up carrying them after a mile or so. It was a different story when they went out 3 weeks ago with their new Fox 30 and Fox 40 backpacks…they carried their own Big Agnes sleeping bags and pads all three miles…uphill and in the snow on their Crescent Moon begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting kids’ snowshoes! Fit to a kid’s small frame—and easily adjustable to their torso size—these packs are great for taking the kids into the backcountry…or having them carry their own stuff around an airport on vacation. OK, it probably helped too that they were hauling Big Agnes’ lightweight gear and not my old (and heavy!) Coleman sleeping bag from when I was a kid.

At, we are excited to offer Deuter’s full line of children’s backpacks—not just the KangaKid and KidCarriers I, II, and III that Deuter is well known for around the globe. We’ve got the Deuter Junior, the Deuter Climber, and the Deuter Fox 30 and Fox 40. What a difference these packs make on little backs!

We also carry a full selection of kids’ sleeping bags from Deuter, Big Agnes, Sierra Designs, and Selk Bag. Check out our Kids and Family section to prepare for your next adventure in the outdoors with your kids!

Of course it's not totally about the gear. Your children will read you and your attitude, too. If you're psyched to get out there, your kids will be too! Give your kids a positive first experience that breeds future success. Make a fun hiking or backpacking plan and talk about it at the dinner table to build the excitement. Once your out there on the trail, keep ‘em comfortable, keep ‘em warm, and above all keep ‘em outside…and turn your kids on to the great outdoors!

Happy trails to you and your kids!