2018-2019 Fischer Travers Carbon
Size Tested: 27.5
Stated BSL (27.5): 296 mm
Stated Last: 100 mm
Stated Range of Motion: 80°
Stated Weight (26.5) : 980 g per boot
Blister’s Measured Weight per Boot:
• Shells, no liners: 890 & 896 grams
• Liners, no footbeds: 174 & 174 grams
• Shells + Liners: 1064 & 1070 grams
Test Locations: Northern NM backcountry; Glacier National Park, MT; Teton Pass & Togwotee Pass, WY
Skis Used: 186 cm Volkl BMT 109; 189 cm K2 Shreditor 112; 184 cm ON3P Steeple 102; 185 cm Kitten Factory Tours Lite
Bindings Used: G3 Ion, Marker Kingpin 13, Dynafit Speed Turn
Days Tested: 12
[Note: Our review was conducted on the 16/17 Travers Carbon, which was not changed for 17/18 or 18/19, apart from graphics.]
Lightweight touring boots are all the rage, and while Dynafit has typically dominated that market with their TLT series, Atomic jumped into the arena last year with the impressive Backland Carbon, and they are joined next season by Arc’teryx’s Procline and Fischer’s new Travers Carbon. We took an initial look at the Travers Carbon in our Flash Review, and now, after 12 days in the boot, in conditions ranging from blower pow to park jumps, we’ve got a pretty well-rounded sense of it.
The Travers Carbon stands out for several reasons, most notably the fact that it has no buckles. Instead, closure is handled by a unique brass bushing BOA system on the toe, and a single velcro powerstrap.
This closure system, combined with a thin, Grilamid shell, carbon sole plate, and minimalist liner make for a very light weight boot (1064 & 1070 grams per boot in a size 27.5). That’s lighter than the Atomic Backland, which comes in at 1167 & 1170 grams in a 27.5. And while we haven’t yet reviewed the new Dynafit TLT7, the Travers is competitive with its stated weight of 999 g, and beats out the new Arc’teryx Procline (stated weight of 1170 g per boot, size 27.5).
The Travers Carbon also features a best-in-class range of motion, at a stated 80°, and a built-in waterproof gaiter.
In other words, the Travers Carbon is designed to be an ultralight touring and ski mountaineering boot for long days in the backcountry.
Construction / Design
While the Dynafit TLT7, Arc’teryx Procline, and Atomic Backland Carbon all share futuristic styling with machined cutouts and space-age-looking components, the Travers Travers Carbon comes across as simple. All the closures and the walk mode are immediately obvious, and there’s no hidden cable routing or multi-purpose levers. While I don’t mind my ski boots looking like part of a space suit, there is something comforting about being able to easily see and understand every component of the boot, which could potentially make in-the-field fixes that much quicker and easier.
The Travers’ upper cuff is secured with a single velcro powerstrap, with a ratcheting buckle.
It’s very easy to micro-adjust this strap on the fly, and the buckle cinches it down securely. And I appreciate the fact that this top closure is fully independent from the walk mode. While most of the time I just leave the velcro buckled and flip the lever open to give myself some room while touring, there have been some situations (mostly steep side-hills) where I’ve locked the cuff while in walk mode to give my ankles a little extra support. This is an advantage the Travers has over Dynafit’s Ultralock buckle and walk mode combo system, since their functions are permanently linked—which is a problem Paul Forward notes in his review of the Dynafit Vulcan.
The most striking part of the Travers is its Boa closure system over the forefoot. While we’ve seen Boa system’s on ski boots before (generally on rando-race boots) Fischer uses an exclusive brass roller system to eliminate friction when tightening the lace.
I was immediately impressed by how well the Boa evenly cinched the shell around my foot. There are no pressure points or tight spots as you often get with traditional buckles. Instead, tightening the Travers Carbon feels more like tightening up a basketball shoe around your foot.
Furthermore, I have a very high instep, and I often have trouble with pressure points from buckles. But I haven’t had any such issues so far with the Boa.
I also appreciate how easy it is to micro adjust the pressure, and I’ve found myself backing out the knob a few clicks when touring.
The big question with this Boa toe is durability. The cable has a lot of extra length, so you can really open the boot up without stressing the knob, which eliminates one cause of failure I’ve seen in Boa systems before. And since the knob is on the outside of the foot, it doesn’t get as banged up when climbing or if you knock your skis together, but the real test will come this spring as I scramble around on rocks a whole lot more. I’ll report back if I have any issues.
The walk mode is actuated by a simple lever on the cuff that flips down to lock onto the lower. It’s impressively simple (there are no overlapping layers of plastic to line up) and solid. I’ve found minimal play (1-2mm) when cranking on the boots on a bench, but I have never noticed any play in the field.
It’s very easy to switch the walk mode lever, even when wearing thick gloves, and so far, I haven’t had any issues with it icing up.
Since the cuff and lower don’t overlap in the front or the heel, and the Boa system leaves a gap between the two halves of the lower, the Travers features a built-in waterproof gaiter that stretches from the shoe almost to the top of the cuff.
The upper edge of the gaiter has a grab tab so that it can be pulled up to fully fill the gap in the shell, and the inside of the gaiter has a velcro portion that mates with the liner and keeps it from sliding down.
So far I have had zero issues with water penetrating the gaiter.
The Travers Carbon features a carbon sole plate, and the rubber tread has cutouts that reveal it. The tread is aggressive, and it has held up well so far. But the real test will come this spring in the season of long, dry approaches and a lot of scrambling.
The sole is also impressively short: 296 mm in a 27.5, which edges out the Atomic Backland Carbon by 2 mm.
The one problem I found with this decreased sole length—and more specifically, with the smaller toe welt—was that it didn’t work with my Black Diamond Sabertooth crampons. The toe welt simply wasn’t big enough to engage. I took the boot around to several shops and found that I had a similar issue with other BD crampons, as well as crampons from Petzl. That’s pretty disappointing since this boot seems like a perfect mountaineering option, and not having the ability to affix spikes killed a lot of its potential. However, Black Diamond offers wider toe bails as an aftermarket part, and for $5 per boot, I was able to swap out the stock bail. This aftermarket bail locked onto the Travers’s toe perfectly, and it also works with my other touring boots. So if you’re planning on using these boots with automatic crampons, be ready to swap out your toe bail.
In his review of the Atomic Backland Carbon, Paul Forward compared the liner to a wrestling shoe. I’d say the Travers Carbon’s liner is an even more comfortable wrestling shoe. It’s very soft, and it bends incredibly easily while walking. The shell’s range of motion does not dramatically decrease when the liner is inserted.
It’s also worth noting that the Travers is very easy to put on and take off. Initially, the super soft liner threw me for a loop, but I found that when putting on the boot, you can simply put the boot in walk mode and fold the cuff of the shell back out of the way, and just put on the lower like a shoe. Then, when taking off the boots, I’ve found the opposite technique works well: I lock the cuff and pull out of the boot like a traditional ski boot.
Overall, the Fischer Travers Carbon is one of the easiest ski boots to put on and take off that I have ever used.
NEXT: Binding Compatibility, Fit, Etc.