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Fast and Light Winter Travel
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Ted Rosen
Neoprene socks? on 03/18/2011 17:11:11 MDT Print View

Has anyone used neoprene socks (with or without a thin liner sock) as a cushioned vapor barrier sock for winter conditions? Change to a wool sock while resting and invert the neoprene sock to dry.


Edited by trosen8231 on 03/18/2011 17:12:25 MDT.

David Lutz

Locale: Bay Area
Neoprene socks on 03/18/2011 18:16:33 MDT Print View

I started using SealSkinz this year and I've been very happy with them. I wear a thin Smartwool sock underneath.

Michael Martin
(MikeMartin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Neoprene socks? on 03/18/2011 23:12:34 MDT Print View

I've used a variety of VB socks in the winter with mixed success. I have to really hold back the exertion level or I can literally pour sweat out of the sock at the end of the day. The big problem for me with VB socks is that they are impossible to vent. Easily vented VB mitts and jackets, on the other hand, are a core part of my winter layer system.

Also, neoprene in particular would not be my first choice for a VB sock -- it swells with moisture and can create a tight fit in your boot, reducing blood circulation.

Roman Dial
(romandial) - F - M

Locale: packrafting NZ
Neoprene socks on 03/18/2011 23:58:34 MDT Print View

One climate's shoulder conditions are another's winter: I like neoprene socks for fall and spring when there's snow and water.

Neoprene socks were popular on winter-like Denali climbs in the 1980s, inside double climbing boots.

When I hike in neoprene socks I am using them with the intention that they will get wet. I also ski across summer icefields in AK with them; however, I have never used them near 0F temps. The are, for me, a near 0C foot system.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
VB socks on 03/19/2011 18:33:47 MDT Print View

Thermo ski boot liners are made of various sorts of closed cell foam with a light fabric liner. They are thus, to a certain extent, vapor barriers. The liner gets wet, but the foam cannot.

Not all liner fabrics in thermo liners are created equal. My Scarpa liners have a much thicker, softer liner fabric, which soaks up a fair bit of sweat. My Intuition liners have a very thin, insubstantial liner fabric, which soaks up very little sweat. I prefer the later for overnights, as they can be left out overnight and don't really freeze up much.

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Sleeping bag on 03/21/2011 03:25:57 MDT Print View

Beautiful photos and video, wish I could do that.

Re the sleeping bag - I think you could lose at least 100 grams and be warmer by switching to a WM bag or something of similar quality - their 10F bags are actually lighter than the REI bag.

Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
photos! on 03/21/2011 09:40:44 MDT Print View

Wonderful photos. Now I'll guess I will go back and read your text!

Dan Healy

Locale: Queensland
brilliant report! on 03/23/2011 17:41:50 MDT Print View

...fantastic report! There is nothing like racing to focus on kit and technique and this one is classic! Very interesting reading for a warm weather endurance racer - that level of cold is so alien and so intriguing!

Luc Mehl
(lucmehl) - F
Re: VB socks on 03/23/2011 20:50:04 MDT Print View

Regarding boots and VB socks...

I think we move too fast, produce too much sweat, for VB socks to work. We wore VB socks in leather boots the first year and all got horrible blisters and minor trenchfoot. None of us has touched VB socks since. I like being able to wring out water and dry my socks a bit sleeping with them at night.

I peeled the fabric off of one thermofit liner to compare water absorption. After a long day trip with no gaiter, the bare liner was 80 g lighter, ~50 g due to the removed fabric, and ~30 g due to water weight. I really like the idea of not carrying that water!

Intuition makes a bare mtneering liner, but can't make a bare ski liner. I'm not ready to take scissors to my new liners, but as soon as they lose that 'new shoe' smell, I'll strip them down.


David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
bare liners on 03/23/2011 21:27:31 MDT Print View

Luc, I'll be interested to hear if removing the lining fabric results in more friction, and possible problems. Might be able to deal with that (if it happens) with two thin socks.

Luc Mehl
(lucmehl) - F
Re: bare liners on 03/24/2011 14:28:35 MDT Print View

Friction hasn't been a problem for me, wearing a single pair of ski socks. I peeled the fabric layer off the top of my insoles and that has been fine too. I just want to get as much moisture out of the boot as possible.

Dwight G

Locale: Southcentral AK
Thanks! on 03/27/2011 18:56:25 MDT Print View

Incredible trip; well written, enticing photos.

Adam Andersen
Re: Ski gear on 04/22/2012 14:20:19 MDT Print View

Looks interesting, but the link is broken. I guess an updated one would be: