Cotopaxi Tarak 20L — Backpack Review

By Guest Blogger  

Aaron Mattix

The 20L Tarak hit a sweet spot both in size and price, but it was the glorious riot of color in the Del Dia option that sold me. The Del Dia series are composed of leftover remnants of fabric from other production runs, with the final combination being left up to the employee sewing it together.

The 20L Tarak hit a sweet spot both in size and price, but it was the glorious riot of color in the Del Dia option that sold me. The Del Dia series are composed of leftover remnants of fabric from other production runs, with the final combination being left up to the employee sewing it together.

As a neophyte to the world of ski touring, I had been re-purposing gear from my trail building and mountain biking collections — with less-than satisfactory results. My trail building pack was way too large for my slack-country missions, and the hydration pack that served me so well on local summer mountain bike laps was stuffed to overflowing with the extra layers and gear that ski touring necessitates even on short yo-yo laps.

Balancing the ethical, and the affordable in gear selection is just as much a crux as choosing between technical performance, and minimalism. The production ethics of the gear we use to go play outdoors highlights a First World moral problem: How does one enjoy the peace and tranquility of the outdoors if the gear you are relying on was created by exploited labor? Cotopaxi offers a solution to this dilemma by offering clothing and bags sustainably sourced at a price point for working class recreationalists.

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La Sportiva Tech Fittings — Overview

By Lou Dawson  

Readers asked me to detail the La Sportiva tech fittings. Here you go.

La Sportiva started their ski touring boot line around 2012 (has it been that long?). They’ve experimented with tech fittings since the fine day their first pair of ski touring shoes exited the injection mold. You could argue their S3 and S4 inserts, combined with the Trab TR2 binding, are the “Tech 2.0” that I ballyhoo more than is appropriate. Whatever the case, Sportiva tech fittings are not well documented. Perhaps the following will help.

Sportiva attempted to copy Dynafit fittings for their first effort,  circa 1012.

Sportiva attempted to use an aftermarket copy of Dynafit fittings for their first effort, circa 2012. These were the same fittings used by Garmont. During my testing the fittings had uneven performance. Some were fine, others did not release as smoothly as I like. Sportiva reportedly attempted to obtain fittings from Dynafit, but at the time Scarpa was the only licensee. These factors led to the Sportiva S3 fittings, covered below. For want of a better moniker, let’s call these originals the “S1” fitting, but they were really just an attempt to imitate the Dynafit OEM fittings. (The term OEM, as used here at WildSnow.com, mans Original Equipment Manufacturer).

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TNF Gloves CloseFit Gloves — Gore-Tex Infinium

By Lou Dawson  
The North Face -- CloseFit Glove

The North Face — CloseFit Glove

Heads up on something excellent from The North Face. For decades I’ve sought the ultimate “thin glove” for ski touring. Criteria: Tight and form-fitting on the hands, waterproof-breathable membrane. Purpose: General use during warmer days, with warm hands, and handling snowy things such as ski bindings and climbing skins. Apparently TNF read my mind. Out they come with the CloseFit, a thin, read that T-H-I-N glove that includes a ePTFE layer (engineered by Gore-tex under their Infinium brand-extension).

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