Gone Hiking: Merrell Verterra Mid Waterproof Review

by Joslin Fritz
( December 6th, 2014 )

Women's Merrell Mid Waterproof Hiking ShoeFall outdoor activities in New England brought perfect conditions to test the newest hiking boot from Merrell, the Verterra Mid Waterproof. There were plenty of muddy trails to hike, damp conditions to meander and beautiful foliage to admire. Now sadly we’ve moved into

Here’s a closer look at the Merrell Verterra Mid-Waterproof boots.


  • Weight of women’s boots: 1 lb 6 oz

  • 4mm lug depth

  • Leather material and synthetic upper

  • Molded, nylon shank

  • Shoe membrane provides waterproof coverage yet breathability as well.

Verterra Merrell ShoeI took these boots to the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts for a long weekend and then for subsequent day hikes around Boston. When in the Berkshires, I wore thin, merino wool hiking socks and found the shoes slipped on easily and were fit true to size. As I began to hike, I put the boots to the test, stepping in puddles and thick mud covered by fallen leaves. My feet impressively stayed dry from both the outside elements and also my own feet perspiration.

I usually prefer a trail-hiking sneaker, something similar to a cross training shoe. I found myself appreciative of the ankle support given by the Verterra boot, as I definitely have a habit of rolling my ankles when out on the trail. The lugs gave excellent traction, and I had no worries of falling from the slippery surfaces. Merrell has a reputation for producing high quality hiking shoes, and the Verterra mid waterproof shoes are no exception. These boots are a welcome addition to my hiking gear. Merrell Verterra Shoe Mid-Waterproof

As with any shoe, there is a certain amount of breaking in that needs to occur, and I will freely admit that they felt more comfortable after a few long hikes than they did my during my first jaunt. Still, it felt like less time was necessary to break these boots in than others that I have had.

What I loved:

  • Stiff and strong ankle support.

  • Excellent in keeping my feet dry from puddles and mud, yet also breathable.

  • Good traction when hiking on difficult terrain

Not so much:

  • Like any hiking boot, a bit of use is necessary to break them in.

  • More color options

The Verterra Mid Waterproof boots can be bought for $150 here on the Merrell website.

Adventure On, 


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His Legacy Will Carry On: Martin Litton 1917-2014

by Joslin Fritz
( December 2nd, 2014 )

Martin Litton Photo by John BlausteinSome of you may not have ever heard of him. But if you’ve ever enjoyed a rafting trip down the Colorado river through the Grand Canyon, or walked in awe among some of the largest trees in the world in Redwoods National Park, you have Martin Litton to thank.

Martin grew up in Northern California and was an avid outdoor enthusiast from a very young age. He became involved in environmental projects in the 1950s, when he was first introduced to David Brower, founder of the Sierra Club. They fought fiercely to oppose the Echo Park Dam in Dinosaur National Monument in Utah, a fight in which they won in 1956. He then went on to fiercely oppose the Marble Canyon Dam construction on the Colorado river, a dam which would have flooded a good part of this magnificent wilderness.

An empassioned writer, he was the travel editor of Sunset Magazine between 1954-1968, and the author of The Life and Death of Lake Mead. He was featured in many notable articles and films as well, including The Old Man and the River and The Good Fight: The Martin Litton StoryHis legacy will not only carry on with his conservation efforts and words, but also his contribution to whitewater boating.

Martin Litton Photo Courtesy of John BlausteinLitton first floated the Colorado in 1955 with his wife, joining the ranks of only a few hundred that at that time had ever been down the Colorado. On his second trip down the Colorado he rowed a small, fiberglass boat, which moved through the water very differently than a large rubber raft. Through the years he perfected the design of the smaller boat, leading to the creation of the dory. He founded Grand Canyon Dories in 1971, which took passengers down the river in these smooth, low-to-the-water crafts, providing a different experience than running the river in larger, more cumbersome rubber rafts. He continued running these dories through the Colorado during the 1970s and 1980s, and still today, these dories remain the best way of experiencing the Colorado and Grand Canyon in all its’ splendor.

“What is wilderness? It’s mankind’s acknowledgment that there is a higher value, a higher purpose. It ceases to be wilderness when we’re here. But we are its stewards. It is vital to our souls. It is the source of much of our inspiration.” -Martin Litton 

Adventure On, 


Photos taken by John Blaustein.

Quote taken from OARS article.

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Tasc Performance Review: Full Zip Fleece Hoodie

by Joslin Fritz
( November 15th, 2014 )

Tasc Performance Escape Full Zip Fleece HoodieFirst there was polypropylene. Then, merino wool. Now… it’s bamboo.

Advances in technology allow use to continually improve our clothing and its’ uses in our active endeavors. In the case of bamboo, the inner “pilth” of this hard wooden plant is mixed with a variety of other materials, such as organic cotton or merino wool. The rayon fibers are used from the bamboo to make textiles, and the result is a softer, less likely to smell, stretchable article of clothing. I’ve had a bamboo/organic cotton blend t-shirt for a year and I’ve loved the feel of it against my skin. I was looking forward to testing out the Escape Full Zip Fleece Hoodie, which is made from Velu Performance Fleece, a material created by Tasc Performance.

The first thing I noticed in my testing was how warm it was. The 51% cotton/44% Viscose from Bamboo/5% Elastane hoodie was surprisingly thin for a hoodie, given the warmth it provided when worn as an additional layer or light jacket. The hidden, zippered pocket easily stored some cash and my license when I went out to run a quick errand. The hood provided ample coverage, and the loose, relaxed fit allowed me plenty of room to stretch and move about. The angled sleeve cuffs let me pull my hands up into the sleeves, and keep my hands warm during an evening jog.

Tasc Performance Full Zip Fleece HoodieThere are two deterrents to this hoodie for me that are easily fixable and will probably be updated in the near future. One, the only colors available are a black and hot pink combination. I don’t usually wear hot pink, and quite simply, it’s not my style. I would prefer a solid blue, black or green hoodie. Again, this is an easy fix. The other modification I would suggest is a thicker, more durable zipper. I found the zipper troublesome to connect, though once in place, it would work fine.

What I loved:

  • Very comfortable against the skin.

  • Can be worn in active outings or lounging at home.

  • Hand pockets and one zippered pocket very useful.

  • Longer sleeves provide good coverage when cold, but also can be rolled up easily.

  • Relaxed fit allow for easy layering.

Not so much:

  • Zipper is a bit flimsy and gets stuck often.

  • Only color options are black and hot pink.

The Escape Full Zip Fleece Hoodie can be bought for $108 here on the Tasc Performance website.


Adventure On, 


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