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Review: Salomon Quest 4D GTX Hiking Boot

I’ve been wearing Salomon Quest 4D GTX Hiking Boots for more than 4 years now. My first pair is still going strong after those four years and last summer I came across a deal on a new pair that I couldn’t refuse so I purchased a second pair. I wear them exclusively when I am hiking, shooting, and daily in the winter. I have no way of knowing how many miles I have on the first pair, but it is a few hundred in hiking miles alone not to mention the daily winter wear. I know these boots inside and out and it’s long past time I wrote a review.

I won’t waste a lot of words giving you an overview of these boots. They are Goretex lined hiking boots. The same can be said for a lot of boots. Instead, I will focus in on what sets these boots apart for me and why I like them.

Longevity

There are really two forms of longevity when it comes to footwear. The first is obvious and has to do with how long a pair of boots can last. I have found these boots to be extremely durable as evidenced by my experiences above. These boots have hiked over Selkirk granite and dusty summer trails. They have spent time in snow, rain, and been submerged during creek crossings. They have been worn as work boots while felling trees for firewood. They’ve been through a lot and the soles are still attached (although I did have to use a bit of Shoe Goo last summer), the toe cap is still attached, they are still water-proof, and the support hasn’t broken down.

The other form of longevity is just as important. There is nothing worse than wearing out a pair of boots that you love only to find that you can’t buy them anymore. Fortunately, the Quest 4D GTX boots have been in continuous production for years. They are actually in their 3rd generation now and while there are small changes, the fit and important features have remained the same (at least through the first two generations that I have used).

Fit and Support

You can boil down the reasons I tried these boots in the first place to two things: fit and support.

The fit is perfect for me and everyone that I have turned onto these boots has found the same thing. I find them to be somewhat narrow through the heel and arch, not overly so, but narrow enough. The toe box is very generous. When laced, I find that the shape of the collar provides plenty of room for your ankle to articulate in the direct that it should articulate. My feet aren’t narrow or wide but I do have high arches. These boots accommodate me very well.

When it comes to support, I have never had a better boot. Wearing the Quest 4D Boots is like wearing ankle braces on the trail. This is accomplished a few ways. First, the ankle area is very sturdy and shaped so the foot can hinge forward and back but has plenty of support for side to side flex. Second, the way these lace is excellent. The first few lace loops are fixed. The first lace hook actually grips the lace aggressively so you can really lock in your heel and set the tension on the lower part of the boot. This is the first boot I have owned with this kind of locking hook and it might be the most important feature to me.

These boots have taught me the importance of locking in the heel for my long term comfort. They actually have a rigid plastic heel cup that works with the previously mentioned locking hooks to really immobilize and support your foot. This has been key to how well these boots support my ankles and prevent blisters. That same rigid plastic component runs all the into the arch for extra arch support. I have never sprained an ankle in these boots (if you know me, you know that is saying something). I have also never had an out of control hotspot or blister in these boots. Those are the functional benefits of good fit and solid support.

Water-Proof Performance

I swore off Gore-Tex boots before I tried these. Some water-proof boots that I have owned have left me with extra foot care problems like blisters from moisture build-up. That hasn’t been the case with these though I do still wish there was an identical, non-waterproof version.

Salomon does make a Quest 4D Boot without Gore-Tex in their military focused Forces line but it appears to have a different lace setup which has made me wary of trying them. If you have them, I would love to hear from you.

If you are stuck with water-proofing, at least it is well executed in these boots. My 4 year old Quest 4D Boots are still water-proof so the water-proofing has proven to be very durable. I also like that Salomon runs the waterproof membrane most of the way up the sides of the tongue, sort of like webbed duck feet. You have to submerge the boot all the way to the second lace hook before you have a chance of water ingress at the tongue which is handy during creek crossings.

Grip

I wear these boots hiking in conditions that vary from damp forest floors, to dusty summer trails, to miles of exposed granite, loose rock, and snow. These boots have an aggressive, long wearing sole that seems to grip wall across all those surfaces and in all directions. The soles on my 4 year old boots have been fairly long wearing and are still offering solid grip on the trail. The new boots seem to be somewhat more aggressive but it is hard to tell if that is because they are new or some change Salomon made to the sole.

Wrap Up

These are my go to boots for pretty much everything. They offer the support, grip, and sneaker like performance that I like for the shooting range or training courses. They have the fit, support, and durability I need for logging miles on the trail. They lock the heel and support my ankles better than any hiking boot I have ever owned. I like them so much that I keep a spare pair, broken in and ready to go.


A note on price… Premium boots are not cheap. These will typically cost around $230-$240 a pair. That hurt at first but using the same boots for 4 years stakes some of the sting out of paying up for them. BUT… You can shop around and save a ton. Salomon seams to roll out new colorways or even new generations of these boots with some frequency. If you can settle for last season’s color, you can save a lot of money. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are right around the corner too.

I have purchased my first pair for $240 at REI so I could try them on. I purchased my second pair for about $150 off retail because it was a discontinued colorway on Amazon. It is hard to pass on a $240 pair of boots for around $100 shipped.

Click Here: Salomon Quest 4D Boots on Amazon

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Hill People Gear Capture Flap – Now Available

The Hill People Gear (HPG) Capture Flap is now available to purchase on HillPeopleGear.com. This beaver-tail/tailgate accessory can be attached (via G-hooks) to all HPG packs (and many packs from other manufacturers) to add secure external storage for bulky items. The Capture Flap is laser cut with a PALS compatible grid for adding additional pouches. The back of the Capture Flap is lined with loop material for added hook backed pouches.

HillPeopleGear.com

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Teaser: Hill People Gear Designed Knife

Hill People Gear is teasing the potential release of a knife of their own design. This back-country traveller’s knife has very specific features included and omitted on the basis of the Hill brother’s backgrounds and experiences as outdoorsman. That is an approach to gear design that has worked out pretty well for them so far…

Here is what we know:

The knife will come with a kydex sheath that includes two snap loops. This will offer a wide variety of carry methods and it is always nice when a knife comes with a sheath that is actually functional.

Many of the design elements come from the Hill brother’s experiences in the outdoors along with some Kali training. The squared butt is specifically designed to work with a reverse grip in a nod to their edged weapon training. Much of the romance of bushcraft is exchanged for the pragmatism of modern back-country travel. The spine is NOT a squared, 90 degree spine as the Hill brothers find that feature to be more of a help than a hindrance in a cutting tool. The blade has a pronounced guard for safety. This is clearly not a “bushcraft” knife.

The handle slabs are made from G10 for toughness. Hill People Gear states that toughness will key because of the thinner section of handle material that run up into the guard area of the knife. You can also see that care has been taken to scallop the grip near the blade which can help with various grips like a pinch grip.

This knife will make use of 1/8″ thick blade stock from an undisclosed steel. It features a high saber primary grind with a 17 degree secondary edge. This is relatively thin stock compared to many knives on the market and a relatively fine edge. It is obviously made to cut.

Specs:

  • 8.25″ overall
  • 3.5″ cutting edge
  • 1/8″ thick blade
  • 5/8″ thick handle
  • 17 degree final edge

There is an excellent discussion of this knife already in progress on the Hill People Gear Owners Group on Facebook. They have already discussed the included and omitted features as well as the reasoning behind those decisions at length. If you use Hill People Gear products, I highly recommend the group as there is a lot of knowledge to be gleaned there.

Stay tuned for pricing and availability.

HillPeopleGear.com

Special Color Modified 10×12″ CenterZip Pouches from Tuff Possum Gear

We’ve told you about Tuff Possum Gear’s Modified 10×12″ CenterZip Pouches before (previous article). These handy pouches are designed to easily attach to the Hill People Gear Tarahumara pack to expand its capacity. Now Tuff Possum Gear is offering the pouch in two special colors: Multicam Black and Safety Orange.

The Multicam Black is notable because, well… everyone like Multicam Black and it looks great. The Safety Orange colorway is truly useful for those who want to not only add capacity to their Tarahumara, but also stand out more in the woods. If you are using the Tarahumara as a hunting pack, this would be an easy way to add some orange to your kit. Even if you aren’t hunting but you are using the pack in an area where you know hunters may be, this is a handy addition to a great pack.

Tuff Possum Gear on Etsy

Tactical Distributors Down Range Jacket 2.1

The new Down Range Jacket 2.1 is now available from Tactical Distributors. Available in hooded or non-hooded versions, this 600 fill power down insulated jacket packs a ton of features for the price (and weight).

From Tactical Distributors:

This is the latest upgraded version of the TD Down Range Jacket with all the bells & whistles…including a hood and 3 colorways. Last year when we introduced the Down Range 2.1 it sold out in a few weeks. You requested more colors and a hooded variant. We listened. Our coveted down fabric technology: Heat Sealed Baffling. This Technology eliminates shedding of down feathers. Featuring an array of innovative features. This newest version of the down jacket offers deep side pockets, additional breast pocket with com/music ports, and hidden dump pouches inside. Tactical Distributor’s set out to create a piece of perfection for the mid layer/outerwear world when designing our all new Down Range Jacket. We hope that you will enjoy making this piece part of your mid layer essentials that’ll keep you warm every time.

Features and Specs:

  • Hidden Side Pockets
  • Heat Sealed Baffling Technology
  • Lightweight (11oz in pouch)
  • Inside Stash Pockets
  • Zippered breast pocket w/ Sound Port
  • Packable pouch for easy storage
  • 600 Fill Down

Check out both versions TacticalDistributors.com:

TD Down Range Jacket 2.1

TD Down Range Hooded Jacket 2.1

Tom Brown Tracker #3 20th Anniversary Edition – TOPS Knives

TOPS Knives will celebrate their 20th year of operation in October of this year. It is only fitting that they release a special version of what is perhaps their most recognizable design…

The Tom Brown Tracker is one of the most iconic survival knife designs on the planet. It has also been one of the highest selling TOPS models in the 20 years that we’ve been in business. So it only makes sense that one of the TOPS’ 20th anniversary limited edition knives be a Tom Brown Tracker. We decided to use the Tracker #3 specifically. It has been upgraded from 154cm to S35Vn steel, Black Linen to Brown Burlap Micarta, and standard Kydex to custom quality burgundy leather. This is one that will definitely become a collector’s piece for many.

Pick up the Tracker #3 20th Anniversary Edition from a TOPS authorized dealer or directly from TOPS at www.topsknives.com/20th-anniversary-tracker

 

Specs:

Overall Length: 10.75”

Blade Length: 5.75”

Cutting Edge: 5.5”

Blade Thickness: 0.19”

Blade Steel: CPM S35VN

Blade Finish: Tumble Finish

Handle Material: Burlap Micarta

Knife Weight: 14.4oz

Weight w/ Sheath: 22.3oz

Sheath Material: Burgundy Leather

Sheath Clip: Belt Loops

MSRP: $400

Sneak Peek: Emergent Rescue Systems MED Pack by Zulu Nylon Gear

Emergent Rescue Systems is now accepting pre-orders for their new MED Pack. The new pack is their design and it is produced by Zulu Nylon Gear. The single strap sling bag design features a double zippered, clam shell opening with internal organization features for medical gear. The strap can be released quickly via a Cobra buckle. The exterior of the pack features a bungee lashing grid for securing bulky, lightweight items and a loop field for ID.

Pre-orders are open for this pack but you will need to contact Emergent Rescue Systems directly. Stay tuned for additional details.

EMRescueSystems.com

How to Add Retention to Your Mora Sheath

Mora knives are great. I think we all know that by now. Most of them cost between $9 and $15 but they offer performance and quality well beyond their price point. I like them… a lot. I like them enough that, while I own several expensive knives (even customs of my own design), I carry and use Mora knives most of the time. They are so lightweight, so inexpensive, and so capable that it is hard to justify the pack weight of other knives.

But… There is always a catch. The sheaths that come with Mora knives are actually mostly functional but don’t always offer enough retention for use during very vigorous activity or for carrying lose in your pack. This problem can result in a lost knife, ruined gear from a loose knife flopping around in your pack, or even injury. I highly recommend addressing the issue somehow, especially if you are going to carry a knife in your pack. Fortunately, it can be fixed easily and inexpensively.

In my experience, there are two easy ways to fix the retention issue. One is VERY inexpensive and one generally costs more than the Mora itself but still offers a good value. I’ll start with the more expensive way.

The Expensive Way – Replace the Sheath

There are a ton of kydex benders out there who would be more than happy to fold a sheath for you. The benefits of buying a kydex sheath are numerous. The most important benefit is that, if the sheath maker is worth their salt, the retention should be improved enough that you can carry the Mora without fear that it will come out of the sheath on its own. Additionally, you can choose your own belt attachment method (or no belt hardware at all), features, and color.

If you can, consider supporting a kydex bender that is local to you. If not…

You can spend a lot on a sheath but you don’t have to. Armory Plastics makes a great sheath for the Mora Companion (one of my favorite and most common Moras in the line right now) for around $20. It is made in the USA – the great state of Idaho to be specific. It comes with a very stout rotating belt clip that I like a lot, offers great retention, drains well thanks to a molded drain hole, and is available in orange or black (mine is orange): Armory Plastics Mora Companion Sheath on Amazon (affiliate link).

The Cheap Way – Ranger Bands

If you don’t want to drop the coin on an aftermarket sheath, you’re in luck. Most Mora sheaths can be rigged with a ranger band in order to retain the knife. The sheaths with a drop hook belt attachment can generally except a thin band near the top of the belt hook to create a retention strap (see image below). This includes models like the Pro (C, S, Robust), Craftline, and Companion series. You simply pull the band up and over the butt of the knife to release it and the band stays attached to the sheath.

I like to use Gearward Ranger Bands for this because they are the perfect size for this task and are very robust. You can make your own too.

The sheaths with more of a bucket-like design, like the venerable 510, require a wider band. Simply cut a band that is around 1.5 – 2″ wide and fit it around the top of the sheath so that it extends above the top of the opening. It will grip the Mora’s handle and add just a bit more retention. You will eventually cut it when inserting the knife back into the sheath, but it should continue gripping the knife even when cut.

As a bonus, ranger bands make a great firestarter in a pinch. They can be lit with a lighter and will burn long enough to buy you some time to ignite less than ideal tinder. You can probably cut a 2″ wide band into 4 smaller fire starters or just use the whole band to light especially poor tinder.

Hill People Gear V2 Original Kit Bag SAR Version

Search and Rescue professionals have been using chest harnesses and Hill People Gear Kit Bags to keep their vital gear close at hand for years. Now they can rely on a new SAR specific version of the Kit Bag – the V2 Original Kit Bag SAR Version.

The SAR Kit Bag was designed with input from instructors at Randall’s Adventure and Training. It features 500D nylon construction in the internationally recognized red. It is based on the V2 Original Kit Bag and retains all of the features. It also adds a loop field on the front for patches, ID, or organizing small gear and a diagonal PALS webbing field (2 rows, 3 columns) for mounting knives, radios, or other tools.

HillPeopleGear.com

Note: The new V2 Original Kit Bag SAR Version is sold out at Hill People Gear but it is currently in stock at 5col Survival Supply.

SEREPICK OSS Tool Set

If you are a lock bypass nerd like me, you likely remember the SEREPICK OSS Tool Set that we previewed here on the pages of JTT. I have good news and bad news. I’ll start with the bad news… The initial run of 100 OSS Tool Sets sold out almost immediately. Poof. Gone.

The good news is two-fold. You can see images and specs of the kit at SEREPICK.com now and SEREPICK tells me that they will offer subsequent runs of the OSS Tool Sets based on demand. I would think that selling 100 units in the blink of an eye shows sufficient demand for another run.

The OSS Tool Kit includes several items. The tool itself has two different rakes (Bogota and City Rake), a long reach hook, and stainless saw blade. The tension wrench is included and the entire kit nests inside a rubber carrier that can be easily concealed.

The best way to get one of these hot ticket items is to keep your eyes on SEREPICK’s Instagram feed. They often announce the availability of limited runs there first.

SEREPICK.com

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