DARN TOUGH VERMONT MICRO CREW CUSHION SOCK
TEST SERIES BY MIKE WILKIE
December 01, 2007
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foreverwild1885 at yahoo dot com
Davenport, New York (USA)
5' 8" (1.73 m)
148 lb (67.10 kg)
Hiking for me started at an early age, as I was always an avid camper and Boy Scout. Living in the Catskill Region backpacking has become serious for me over the years. I camp, hike or multi-day backpack through the Catskill or Adirondack Wilderness every weekend. As a mid-weight packer I'm always prepared and use a tent for overnighters. Being an aspirant of the Catskill 3500 Club and Adirondack 46ers, peak-bagging is now my favorite outdoor activity. I will be climbing to mountain summits this winter equipped with snowshoes and crampons. My long-term goals are to complete long distance thru-hikes.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Cabot Hosiery Mills, Inc.
Year of Manufacture: n/a
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.darntough.com
Listed Weight: n/a oz (n/a g)
Measured Weight: 2.5 oz (71 g)
67% Merino Wool
4% Lycra® Spandex
"High density cushioning on foot bottom. Custom shrink treated Merino wool. Reinforced heel and toe. Elastic support at arch. Ring toe construction for a comfortable, invisible seam. Leg is non-cushioned, wide ribbed, ¾ height."
*Above details taken from the product page on darntough.com.
|Image courtesy of darntough.com.|
The Micro Crew Cushion Socks are part of the Darn Tough Vermont In-Country Series. There are four different styles in this series. These are the Hike/Trek socks made of mostly Merino Wool (67%) and features WICKIT DRY Technology.
The socks came in their cardboard display sleeve which was eye catching and professional. The display sleeve unfolded to retrieve the socks. My initial impressions were about how the sock looked. The olive color is stylish and sleek. There is an orange and tan strip at the top and the logo is in orange just below that. Just above the toe is Darn Tough written in the orange color as well.
On the back of the display sleeve is a picture pointing to and explaining the features of the socks. The features are as follows.
"Ultra High Density Knitting
Won't break down under pressure. Less bulk. More comfort.
Keeps sock in place. Provides extra lift and endurance.
Zero Friction Heel
Deep heel pocket reduces friction. No blisters.
Ribbed Ankle Support
No slipping. No bunching."
TRYING IT OUT
Trying the socks on for the first time was a good initial experience. They felt extremely comfortable and are a perfect fit. The construction seems to be built strong and as advertised, durable. I am interested in observing how well the cushioned foot bottoms help on long treks with a heavy pack weight.
During this test period I will be taking several 2-3 day camping trips. While on these trips I will be backpacking through the Catskill and Adirondack wilderness areas. On one of the trips I will be going to Mongaup Pond Campground in the Catskill Park. During this trip I will be working on my adopted trail segment doing maintenance for at least two full days, where these socks will really be put to the test. This trail maintenance will be on the Mongaup Hardenberg Trail to the first summit at an elevation of 2980 ft (911 m). I will also test the socks during an unplanned thru hike on a segment of the Finger Lake Trail near the end of August. The Finger Lake Trail is a portion of the North Country Trail that runs through the western part of New York State to the heart of the Catskill Mountains.
As stated in my bio, I backpack, camp or take hikes about every weekend. The Darn Tough Vermont Socks will be tested on and during all my adventures during this test period.
This concludes my Initial Report. The Field Report will be amended to this report in approximately two months from the date of this report. Please check back then for further information.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Field testing in the backcountry took place at the following areas.
At North/South Lake Campground for two nights in the northeastern region of the Catskill Park. The campground is at an elevation of 2100 ft (640 m) I hiked the North Point Loop to an elevation of 3000 ft (914 m). Weather was cool with temperature around 50 F (10.00 C) with heavy rain and thunder.
I camped at the Russell Brook Campground for three nights at an elevation of 1300 ft (396 m) in the southern region of the Catskills. The weather conditions were beautiful, sunny with temperatures of 38 F (3.33 C) in the morning a high of 80 F (26.67 C) by mid-day. I hiked the Mud Pond/Trout Pond Loop from elevations of 1900 ft (579 m) to 2600 ft (792 m). This was a short hike with a round trip distance of 4.7 miles (7.57 km).
Mongaup-Hardenburgh Trail from Mongaup Pond Campground to the first summit of Mongaup Mountain. This trip was for trail maintenance as a volunteer. Temperatures were around 70 F (21.11 C) with mostly sunny skies. The campground elevation is about 2200 ft (671 m) and 2989 ft (911 m) at the first summit. I camped at the campground for two nights.
I trekked to the summit of Hunter Mountain located in the Catskills. The weather conditions were wet, cool and very slippery. It rained heavy at times and visibility was poor at times due to fog and low cloud cover. Round trip distance was 6.1 miles (9.82 km) with a summit elevation of 4040 ft (1231 m). Trailhead started at Notch Lake (Stony Clove) with a long very steep ascent and descent on the return. This mountain is probably the most hiked in the Catskills.
Sugarloaf Mountain Loop with an added summit of Twin Mountain. Round trip distance was 9 miles (14.49 km). Weather was clear, cool and comfy with temperatures around 62 F (16.67 C). The first summit was Sugarloaf at an elevation of 3820 ft (1164 m) and the second summit was Twin with an elevation of 3640 F (1109 m). Trailhead started at Roaring Kill near Elka Park in the Catskills.
Plateau Mountain from Notch Lake to the Mink Hollow Lean-to with a round trip distance of 8.5 miles (13.69 km). The summit was at an elevation of 3840 ft (1170 m). Weather conditions were warm temperatures with thick heavy clouds at times. There was a very steep ascend in the beginning. The mountain is located between Hunter Mountain and Sugarloaf Mountain in the Catskills.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The Darn Tough Vermont Sock performed well during this portion of the test period. I wore the socks along with The North Face Adrenaline Gore-Tex XCR Mid Boots. I also had on a pair of Back Country breathable gaiters on the wet days in the field..
This form fitting sock always hugged my foot with a snug and comfy fit. I didn't have any issues with the socks creeping down or bunching up near my toes. The neck of the socks never stretched out and never sagged down towards my ankles.
When out on the trails with the temperatures over 80 F (44.44 C) my feet were always comfortable. They never over heated and stayed cool and dry. I did not feel any hot spots nor did I see any signs of blistering. At the times when my feet would sweat it was unnoticeable at times, due to how well the socks wicked away the moisture.
When I was camped out at Russell Brook I decided to step my bare feet into the chilly brook. When I stepped out I immediately put the DTV Socks on my wet feet . The socks absorbed and wicked away the moisture quickly and my feet began to warm back up.
My hike up Hunter Mountain was chilly, wet, muddy and slippery. My feet stayed dry and warm during that entire trip. On the steep rock pounding ascents and descents the cushioned foot bottoms added that extra comfort.
After all washing and dryings the Darn Tough Vermont Sock always kept their form fitting shape. The socks seemed to wash well as I see no stains and they are odor free. There are no signs of wear and tear at this time. No thread pulls or stretching is detected.
I have only one complaint about the socks. When sitting around camp during the early chillier mornings my toes did get a little cold. The temperature was below 38 F (21.11 C) at that time. Once I was on the move or when the temperature rose and reached 45 F or (25.00 C) above my toes stayed nice and toasty.
Right now the Darn Tough Vermont Micro Crew Cushion Socks are my favorite mid-weight hiking socks. They are great for comfort and protection. They add that extra cushion on the foot bottoms when I am pounding on my feet all day.
As stated in the section above my toes did get a little cold on the chillier morning. So, as I continue with this test series and fall months are well upon us I will carry a more heavy weight pair socks in my pack. This would be only for those colder mornings and nights we can get up here in upstate New York.
The Darn Tough Vermont Socks were designed with strength to be durable. Merino Wool will always be blended in any socks I wear from now on. I will be purchasing Darn Tough Vermont Socks in the future and am looking forward in trying other styles and their heavier weight or winter socks
I will continue to wear the Darn Tough Vermont Socks every weekend on all my adventures into the backcountry. My further testing of the socks will resume while I summit at least one mountain a week of elevations over 3500 ft (1067 m) in the Catskill and Adirondack Wilderness areas.
I will perform any other tests to explain its quality for this final testing period. I will evaluate the socks and report of their performance over the four month test period.
This concludes my Field Report. The Long Term Report should be completed by 12-04-2007. Please check back then for further information.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Field testing in the backcountry took place at the following areas.
All of the following are located in the Blackhead Range in the Northern Catskills.
Black Dome Mountain - This was a short but strenuous hike to the summit of Black Dome. The weather, not surprisingly changed from beautiful sunny skies at the trailhead to cool, rainy temperatures on the summit. On this 5 mile (8.05 km) out and back hike the temps went from about 60 F (15.56 C) down to a cool, damp 50 F (10.00 C). There was an elevation change of 1780 ft (543 m). The elevation on the summit was 3980 ft (1214 m).
Blackhead Mountain - This was a strenuous 4.5 mile (7.3 km) loop hike with an elevation change of 1740 ft (531 m). The summit elevation was at 3940 ft (1201 m). Weather was a beautiful fall 60 F (15.56 C) day. No complaints with the conditions on this day.
Thomas Cole Mountain - Also known as Camels Hump. This moderate 5 mile (8.1 km) hike offered great views being that all the leaves at this time were on the ground. Came to some ice sheets on the trail, but was able to skirt around them without crampons. This was a brisk sunny day with high temperatures around 40 F (4.44 C). The low temperature at the trailhead before first light was around 20 F (-6.66 C). The highest elevation point on the Camels Hump was 3525 ft (1075 m). The elevation on the summit of Thomas Cole was at 3940 ft (1201 m).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
These socks performed unbelievably well in the field. I found the Micro Crew Socks are best to be used as three season socks. They are perfect for keeping my feet warm and dry on those cooler mornings and nights during the fall. I have also found that these Darn Tough socks help keep your feet cool and dry during those hot summer days.
I did test these socks out on the trails during the beginning weeks of winter and found that the socks are a little too light for the really cold days. However, they did keep my feet warm when on the move. I only found my toes to be affected by the cold when not maintaining any movement.
On my last trip out, on the way up to the summit of Black Dome, I was forced to change out of these socks. I had to replace the Darn Tough Vermont Socks for a heavier weight pair that would help when I taking lunch or view breaks. This trip the temperature was 20 F (-6.66 C) at the trailhead and had a definite wind chill factor on the summit.
These Darn Tough Vermont Socks are "Darn Tough". Over the four months of consistent use and washing they still retain their shape. The form fitting structure is still holding up and still hug my feet like they did when I first received them.
Besides the small amount of pilling from the washing and drying process they still look new. The colors are still bright and there are no stains or wear spots showing.
As for a midweight sock I have no complaints.
I will continue to wear the Darn Tough Vermont Micro Crew Socks for all of my spring, summer and fall adventures. I have yet to wear a more comfortable and durable sock. As of right now when the time comes for purchasing a new pair for myself or as a gift for fellow adventurers, Darn Tough Vermont will be the ones I go with.
Now that winter is here and temps are well into the teens and single digits, I will be investing in Darn Tough Vermont's heavier weight socks. I will not consider any other brand at this time.
The dog loves them too.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
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