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Lightweight Summer Camp Shoe Ideas
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christopher shive

Locale: Along the AT in PA
sprint aquatics on 10/17/2008 15:57:09 MDT Print View

I just received my sprint aquatics mesh shoes in the mail today. They weighed in at 1.9085 ounces (54.1 grams) for the pair. I think they'll be just durable and comfy enough for evening and morning use for a season. Other than the fact that they look like something my grandmother would wear, I think these are just the shoes I was looking for.

Tom Caldwell
(Coldspring) - F

Locale: Ozarks
Sprint Aquatics Retailers? on 10/17/2008 21:18:47 MDT Print View

I wonder why BPL, or somebody, doesn't order up a little supply of these and offer them? They're not as thick as hotcakes, but they might sell like them.

Dennis Park
(dpark) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
lite slippers on 11/21/2008 13:55:01 MST Print View

I'm new to this sport so please don't laugh too hard if this idea is ridiculous. I just like to think outside of the box. How about the slippers that hotels set out for guests. Not water tolerant but supper light and with a plastic or rubber sole to protect the bottoms of your feet. The terry cloth material would be an extra perk to sore feet.

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
Camp Shoes on 11/21/2008 14:09:31 MST Print View

There has been no mention of Sanuks. They are as light as anything else out there, or lighter, and they compress down flat to fit nicely into the pack. The top is fully enclosed and the fabric is cotton so it breathes allowing your feet to dry out after a long day on the trail. They are quite comfortable and now that they have been on the market for awhile, are beginning to show up with reasonable sale prices.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Camp Shoe Ideas (a solution) on 11/22/2008 12:50:42 MST Print View

Am I missing something?

I am going to suggest a very lightweight solution. Don't take camp-shoes.

Camp shoes are a hold over from "traditional" camping where you needed relief after hiking in big boots all day. This web-site is about backpacking LIGHT. If you've never gone on a trip without camp-shoes, I encourage you to give it a try.

I used to take camp shoes, I tried going without 'em, and it was absolutly fine. No it doesn't even cross my mind to take 'em...

Just a suggestion from experience.


John Whynot

Locale: Southeast Texas
Re: Camp Shoe Ideas (a solution) on 11/22/2008 13:19:38 MST Print View

I second Mike's suggestion -- after switching to trail runners, I've never found a need or desire for camp-shoes.

Camp shoes would just be one more thing to keep track of, and I like simplicity.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Lightweight Summer Camp Shoe Ideas on 11/22/2008 13:32:35 MST Print View

If you continue to wear boots and do not switch to trail runners, then cheap flipflops work. During my boot days, I'd take a pair of Crocs. But I saw the light.

Try trail runners. They will work. No more boots. No more camp shoes.

Of course, if they don't work out then go back to your boots and re-new your search for the perfect camp shoe.

shane sibert
(grinder) - F

Locale: P.N.W
shoes on 11/22/2008 14:51:48 MST Print View

Going lightweight is a matter of perspective relative to the individual’s perceived need at the time. Since going “Lightweight” is a vague term as everyone’s perception of lightweight is different.

I have taken water shoes with me when I know that I’ll need to cross hip deep streams or rivers, such as I did in Montana on the Nyack trail in Glacial Park. Water shoes were invaluable in crossing those streams and keeping my hiking boots dry. I would never consider crossing a stream such as previously mentioned without some sort of foot protection. There is glass, fishing hooks and lures and sharp rocks that can do serious damage and ruin a hiking trip, not to mention the excruciating pain that coincides with stubbing your toe on an underwater rock when your feet are freezing in the water.

Currently my choices of water shoes are made by Ahnu, and weighs 13oz.They have good non-slip traction and are built well.

Also, they can be a great backup shoe if your boots fail. On a 6 day 55 mile hike in Montana’s remote Bob Marshall Wilderness, my buddies' Montrail synthetic/leather hiking boot literally blew apart at the seams, all that was showing was the gore-tex liner sock. That sucked for him as the terrain was really rough. In this case, a backup shoe would have come in handy for hiking in if he had too.

He contacted Montrail and they replaced the boot free of charge

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Camp Shoe Ideas (a solution) on 11/22/2008 15:27:40 MST Print View

I've crossed a lot of big streams and rivers. And I always wear shoes.

I have lightweight hikers on my feet, and I just cross in those, and let 'em get wet.No need to change, so it's faster. They dry out eventually. And if it's raining, they are wet already. No need for an extra set of shoes.

I also carry with me (on long trips) a repair kit with various glues and a needle sewing supplies, so I can fix my shoes.

Again, the lightest camp shoes are the pair you don't take.

shane sibert
(grinder) - F

Locale: P.N.W
camp shoes on 11/22/2008 16:09:40 MST Print View

Not all of us wear light weight running shoes on the trail. As it might work for you, it doesn't mean that it will work for evryone. I personally I'm not a fan of hiking in squesy, water logged hiking boots for several miles until dry as this can acclerate blisters and speed up the break down of the boot.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: camp shoes on 11/22/2008 16:26:50 MST Print View

> I'm not a fan of hiking in squesy, water logged hiking boots for several miles

But that's the whole point! UL walkers do NOT walk in 'hiking boots' at all. Wet or dry, they are too heavy and too clumsy.

> [wet boots] can accelerate blisters

Urban myth. We often have wet feet all day from crossing creeks and rivers. They do not give us blisters.


Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Camp Shoes on 11/22/2008 17:33:23 MST Print View

Camp shoes are one of those luxuries that some like to take and other (ultralighters) laugh at. At under two ounces (for the pair) it is not a very heavy luxury. A camera weighs more. The difference between closed cell and an inflatable is more. There are probably lots and lots of little "luxuries" out there that all but the most dedicated super ultra lighter takes. I personally applaud every effort to shave grams, but still carry a few luxuries. I find these slippers rather comfortable, even after a day of wearing light trail runners. I would prefer a different sole (and have considered replacing the sole) but in general I find them much more comfortable than any shoe.

shane sibert
(grinder) - F

Locale: P.N.W
camp shoes on 11/22/2008 18:05:41 MST Print View

I counter your counter point! That is why, on occasion I bring water shoes to ford waist deep streams so that my hiking boots don't get wet. I don't think that a more substanital light weight hiking boot is more clumsy, just a bit heavier then trail runners and the like. Again...not all wear ultra light trail runners.

Also,the common argument is that using trail runners has the advantage of keeping your feet cooler by using more breathable fabrics to aid in your feet breathing and keeping the feet dryer. If that is the case, why do you want to get the shoes soaked to the point of saturation...kinda defeats the purpose.

I beg to differ on what you refere to as an uban myth by my statemnet that went feet can accelerate blisters. When the feet(or any skin for that matter) becomes saturated (like siitting in a bathtube you prune up)the skin loses elasticity and this decrease it's abrasion resistance. Also, wet feet over the long term (long term would vary depending ont he individual) are more suceptible to foot fungus.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Camp SHOES on 11/22/2008 19:14:56 MST Print View


(wet feet in the photo)

Where do you do your hiking? I do a lot in alaska and the northern rockies. Both can be freekin' WET. A lot of the trails in the rockies are set up for horse traffic, so no bridges.

I've found that it doesn't bother me to have wet feet. The first stream I get to in the morning, I just tromp across and get my shoes wet early. I find if I do that, the rest of my hiking day is easy. I don't need to worry about keeping my feet dry. If I changed my shoes at each stream crossing, my travel would slow to a crawl. And - If it's warm and sunny, they dry off quick. If it's cold and rainy, my feet are wet anyway.

I hike in low top nylon trail runners (Montrail HARD rock). I do a lot of complicated off trail travel (no trails in alaska) if I keep my pack weight really low, I do a LOT better with light shoes in off trail 3rd and 4th class terrain.

And - I do LONG trips, here's a two week trip report from the WINDS:


If you've never NOT taken camp shoes, I encourage you to give it a try.

Also - I take luxury items, in the form of coffee and special oily chap stick (for my dry skin).

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: camp shoes on 11/22/2008 20:07:45 MST Print View

Hi Shane

> When the feet becomes saturated (you prune up) the skin loses elasticity
This verges on myth. A long-standing, wide-spread myth and very cherished myth, and one that is very stubborn, but still a myth. The makers of heavy leather boots love it of course.

Realise that under the thin surface layer of half-dry dead skin cells your skin is totally wet. Don't believe me? Try looking under a blister. That moisture or plasma is all through your body. That dry surface layer is maybe a fraction of a millimetre thick, compared to the several millimetres (plus) for the rest of your skin. It is there to buffer the nerve endings which nestle just below the surface and to keep out bugs and wogs.

> and this decrease it's abrasion resistance.
I don't abrade my feet when I have socks and shoes on. This does not seem relevant.

> Also, wet feet over the long term (long term would vary depending ont he individual) are more suceptible to foot fungus.
Actually, I have far LESS problems with tinea etc when I am walking than when I am at home. And on a hot day, walking through a cool creek is very pleasant.

River walking - my wife
A typical river walk here in Australia.

River walking - me
Another river walk. Actually, in this case it was raining and all of me was wet, not just my feet. No matter.


Edited by rcaffin on 11/22/2008 20:08:59 MST.

Jolly Green Giant
(regultr) - MLife

Re: Camp SHOES - Mike Clelland on 11/22/2008 20:21:18 MST Print View

I agree, wear lightweight joggers and you won't need "camp shoes". Needing them is, in my opinion, just an old way of thinking.

Mike -

Just wanted to say that I've really enjoyed all your illustrations over the years. I get a kick out of the detail in each one and I always find myself quite jealous that I can't hardly draw much of anything. Quite a great talent which makes reading even the old pages of the BPL magazine more fun. And yes, another reason I'll miss the magazine.

Mark Mendell
(mmendell) - M

Locale: Midwest
Re: Camp SHOES - Mike Clelland on 11/22/2008 20:48:26 MST Print View

here, here....

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Camp SHOES on 11/22/2008 20:58:41 MST Print View

This blister article makes interesting reading.

I find that damp feet is not a major factor for me. The most important thing is having a well-fitting footwear and sock system that avoids any hotspots. If you wear very rigid boots and carry a heavier load, you are asking for trouble. I would defy anyone to get blisters wearing Roger's shoe of choice (the dunlop KT26)... it is super-flexy and moulds to your foot over time. Very hard to develop hotspots if your shoe does not slide much and you aren't carrying a heavy load. It's all about the friction forces across the heel (and other parts) of your foot!

I like to have a camp shoe as a 'luxury' item. For me, a dry pair of socks is as good as a shower (well, almost!).

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
camp SHOES on 11/22/2008 21:00:47 MST Print View

Hey - thanks for the kind words, I love hearing that kinda thing. Really, I do my drawing alone in my cabin, and I have no idea what happens when I send 'em out. It's really nice to know people enjoy 'em.


Andrew Wolff

Locale: Chattanooga
Camp shoes without carrying camp shoes on 11/22/2008 21:23:22 MST Print View

Mike and Roger are quite right , wet feet will not hurt you. If you want to make your trail runners more comfortable at the end of the day try loosening the laces up, tucking the lace ends down over the top of the tongue and wearing your shoes like slip-ons. Now trail runners can dry pretty quick under the right conditions but wet shoes do indeed suck at the end of the day, so, if your shoes are wet at the end of the day put on your dry socks (you do carry one extra pair right?) and then slip a polyethylene bag over each foot (the kind you get for fruit and vegies at the supermarket) and then slip your shoes on for walking around camp. Warm dry feet, no weight penalty (those bags weigh nothing) and NO HEAVY BOOTS. I dare you to try it once.