Backcountry footwear for the other three seasons
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David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Backcountry footwear for the other three seasons on 10/03/2010 13:00:47 MDT Print View

I wrote and article this morning that is a summation of all my thoughts on footwear for hiking in the "other" three seasons. Not the summer and then some definition, but spring, fall, and milder winter conditions (ie no skiing, mountaineering, or extreme cold). Ie what most of us do.

The text is not short, but will I hope be useful to some. It can be found here: http://bedrockandparadox.blogspot.com/2010/10/backcountry-footwear-for-other-three.html

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
examples on 10/03/2010 13:07:08 MDT Print View

Here are examples of what I'll have on my feet during the next 6-7 months of trips (when I'm not using plastic tele boots).

Fall and Spring, plenty of water, some snow, daytime temps between 20-50F:

LaSportiva Crossleathers (size 45)
Smartwool PhD Ultralight ski socks
NRS Hydroskin socks
Dirty Girl gaiters (modded with more heal velcro)


Winter, hiking and snowshoeing, daytime temps between -5 and 20F:

LaSportiva Fireblades (size 46)
Smartwool PhD Ultralight ski socks
Seal skinz socks
Smartwool trekking midweight or heavyweight crew sock
OR Rocky Mountain High Gaiters

Edited by DaveC on 10/03/2010 13:07:41 MDT.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: examples on 10/03/2010 14:28:47 MDT Print View

Thanks for that blog post David.
As colder hikes and wetter weather are approaching, it's nice to hear about what others are doing.

Just to clarify, you're wearing Smartwool PHDs over NRS without a liner inside the NRS?

And on the other, you're wearing PHDs over Seal Skinz, over a liner?

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: sock layering on 10/03/2010 14:30:46 MDT Print View

Ops, should have been mo' clear.

The Phd Ultralight sock is always my liner. Then either the Hydroskin or Seal Skinz, then the heavier wool sock, then shoe and gaiter.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: re: sock layering on 10/03/2010 14:37:23 MDT Print View

Thanks David.

One more question...why not the NRS in the colder conditions?

Do you feel 2 pairs of socks with Sealskinz in between are warmer than the neoprene with 1 sock?

Edited by xnomanx on 10/03/2010 14:46:47 MDT.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: sock layering on 10/03/2010 15:15:21 MDT Print View

"Do you feel 2 pairs of socks with Sealskinz in between are warmer than the neoprene with 1 sock?"

Yes, if you aren't getting your feet totally wet at regular intervals. By the time T-day rolls around out here, the dreaded hiking in snow and rain simultaneously combo becomes fairly infrequent, while there usually isn't quite enough snow to ski on. Thus, I'm hiking and/or snowshoeing, usually in conditions that are cold and fairly dry. Thus the Seal Skinz as VBL and water barrier come out.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
more opinions on 10/04/2010 10:16:58 MDT Print View

I'm already been remiss for not mentioning Ryan's and Will's work on this subject. Ryan's spring footwear article embraces similar principles (unsurprising given that we both live here in Montana), but he seems to need a good bit more insulation than I do for a given temp.

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/spring_footwear.html

Will winter footwear series from a few years ago is also worth seeking out (though I can't find it now!).

Heath Pitts
(heathpitts)

Locale: Nashville
GSMNP 65 daytime 35 nighttime on 10/05/2010 12:04:07 MDT Print View

David,

Most of the times that I get to go backpacking are in the TN and NC areas of the GSMNP. In April, we normally run into temps of 65 during the day down to 35 at night. We do have a fair amount of stream crossings on some of the trails.

Previously I was using a heavy timberland boot with an REI polypro liner sock and smartwool hiking socks. Now I use Salomon xa pro 3d shoes without goretex. Would you recommend just the thin merino socks with these temps and shoes or would you go with your recommendation of the PhD and Hydroskin?

Thanks in advance

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
65-35 temps on 10/05/2010 12:14:03 MDT Print View

Heath, that would depend on a number of things, chief of which is your own physiology. For the warm end of those temps (for me), the Hydroskin would be too hot, and I'd just hike in my usual summer Darn Tough running socks. On the colder side of things, and especially on those days in the Smokies when it never stops raining, the thin liner and Hydroskin setup would probably be a very convenient way to be able to not worry about dancing around streams and puddles to keep your feet dry.

Heath Pitts
(heathpitts)

Locale: Nashville
TY on 10/05/2010 13:10:36 MDT Print View

Thanks! Would the sealskins possibly be better for what I am looking to do?

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Seal skinz on 10/05/2010 13:47:20 MDT Print View

Seal skinz (or G-tex socks) will keep the water out, and give you a more versatile, quick drying system than g-tex shoes. Of course, if you have creek crossings deeper than 8" all is for naught.

I prefer Hydroskins to waterproof socks because they lessen the fuss factor, and where I hike knee deep creek crossings are pretty common. Others use waterproof socks with success.

Horses for courses.

Heath Pitts
(heathpitts)

Locale: Nashville
Seal skins on 10/05/2010 14:08:49 MDT Print View

I assume the hydroskins are less (if at all) breathable than the seal skins. Is that correct? I didn't see any on them being breathable at all on their site

Edited by heathpitts on 10/05/2010 14:09:44 MDT.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
breathable neoprene on 10/05/2010 14:31:57 MDT Print View

An interesting question, that. Neoprene isn't known for being breathable, but at the same time Hydroskin fabric is quite thin, and has a poly lining.

The best way of answering your question would be to say that, unless there's a lot of water around, wearing neoprene makes little sense.

Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
stream crossings in winter on 10/05/2010 15:03:39 MDT Print View

Stream crossings in winter are my biggest issue. Should you cross with dry-fast trail runners and no socks on then put goretex socks on over your wool socks when you get to the other side and hike on? Or should you put on crocs and cross then dry your feet off and put all your shoes/socks back on-this way your footwear is dry?

I would like a way to just walk through streams that aren't too high and not have to change your clothes so often. This can be tireing when there are repetitive crossings.

I would like to see an article specifically for frequent winter stream crossings.

What about a giant plastic sock thing with tough shoe material sides/bottom that was say 2 feet tall that you could just slip on over your whole footwear system and cinch tight against your thigh with a draw cord-up near the crotch. Could be 100% waterproof material down to the foot, then turn into kind of a slip-on lightweight tough sock/shoe at the bottom. You slip it on with your boot/shoe on, never having to take them off.


stream/river crosser system for winter

Of course these would double as camp shoes.

Some kind of lightweight rubber or sock like the vincere grip boat sock:

http://www.lookfly.com/uk/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/5e06319eda06f020e43594a9c230972d/g/r/grip_socks_black-water1.jpg

with plastic/waterproof material that ran up the leg attached to them, that way you don't have to take your setup on and off when the stream is high. Or just a simple thin rubber shoe thingy, like a mitton, but for a foot. Whatever is lighter.

Edited by isaac.mouser on 10/05/2010 15:23:13 MDT.

Kendall Clement
(socalpacker) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
RE: "Backcountry footwear for the other three seasons" on 10/05/2010 15:10:20 MDT Print View

This a very timely forum. I'm wanting to get out this winter and I had some of the same concerns.

David, are you referring to the Boundary sock that's 18" high as your choice?

Edited by socalpacker on 10/05/2010 15:11:22 MDT.

Heath Pitts
(heathpitts)

Locale: Nashville
Waders on 10/05/2010 15:23:58 MDT Print View

This is an interesting idea Isaac! They could also double as lightweight waders for the fly fishermen on the board. I guess it depends on the weight though

Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
materials on 10/05/2010 15:29:22 MDT Print View

the legging part could be made of cuben, somehow bonded to the rubber/whatever part.

Kendall Clement
(socalpacker) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
RE: "Backcountry footwear for the other three seasons" on 10/05/2010 15:34:02 MDT Print View

Ike,
I really like that. Maybe you could play around with it. Who knows? You might make a few bucks.

Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
heavy on 10/05/2010 15:42:37 MDT Print View

i dont think it would be all that much more weight when you consider what you already carry just deal with crossings in winter.

Heath Pitts
(heathpitts)

Locale: Nashville
Felt bottom on 10/05/2010 15:45:40 MDT Print View

This could also help with traction on slippery rocks if some sort of felt type sole was added to the bottom. Again, like boots worn with fishing waders

Edited by heathpitts on 10/05/2010 15:46:19 MDT.