Gear Guy

Q:

Has the Raichle line of boots been discontinued?

Raichle's Mountain Trekker backpacking boot is the best boot I have ever owned, and I would like to purchase another pair. However, I can't find anyone that carries them anymore. Could you help me out with information on where I could get a pair? Trevor Calgary, Alberta

A:I wore the Raichle Mountain Trekker ($215, as I recall) several times, and they were indeed a great boot. Excellent for all-around backpacking and off-trail use. One of the interesting features about the boot was its leather liner, which took a bit longer to break in than the more popular Cambrelle fabric liner, but yielded a near-custom fit.

Anyway, the good news is that the Mountain Trekker has been replaced by a boot called the Mountain Peak, which is basically an updated version of the Trekker with similar features—including a leather liner. No Gore-Tex bootie, either (although that's available in a different model). Price is about the same, too, maybe a little more.

The bad news is that Raichle has been going through some U.S. distribution changes and currently very few models of their boots are available in these parts. That situation may resolve itself—a Vermont store called Climb High (www.climbhigh.com) is the new distributor for Raichle and will be importing a full line very soon. Until then, the only alternative is to find a European dealer with a Web site that can sell you a pair, which might well be possible—do an Internet search for "Mt. Peak, Raichle" (not "Mountain Peak," though). Climb High should receive a big shipment around late July.

Several alternative boots with attributes similar to the Raichle include: Scarpa's SL M3 ($220; www.scarpa-us.com); Montrail's Moraine ($235; www.montrail.com); or Tecnica's Ascend Bio-Flex ($215; www.tecnicausa.com). Depending on how they fit, any of these might work very well for you. Otherwise, hang on for the July shipment of those Mountain Peaks!

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