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What's the purpose of camp shoes?
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Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
What's the purpose of camp shoes? on 08/29/2012 15:35:57 MDT Print View

? Why do people pack in camp shoes.

I've never been able to figure this out.

Kenneth Jacobs
(f8less) - F

Locale: Midwest
Camp Shoes on 08/29/2012 15:41:49 MDT Print View

Mine are camp shoes/water crossing shoes, as my hiking shoes are waterproof. My camp shoes also let my feet breath more, can't absorb water and are far easier to pop on and off should I be going in and out of my tent. Additionally, they're FAR more comfortable than my hiking shoes and have little massaging nubs on the inside.

...almost forgot, they also give my feet time away from my days sweaty shoes and allow them to dry (especially if they're covered in mud).

Edited by f8less on 08/29/2012 15:46:02 MDT.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Camp shoes on 08/29/2012 15:43:44 MDT Print View

To wear when you cook, set up camp, get up to pee, etc. I usually don't bring any, but there are times when I am jealous of a fellow backpacker whose feet aren't in wet, smelly shoes in camp.

SOme people have more substantial camp shoes and trade them out for stream crossings too.

Edited by alexdrewreed on 08/29/2012 15:44:48 MDT.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: What's the purpose of camp shoes? on 08/29/2012 15:44:15 MDT Print View

Have you walked 10-12 hours in a day? having sandals or crocs to use around camp without having to put your hiking shoes/boots on has many purposes.

- lets your feet breathe and dry out

- lets your shoes/boots and socks dry out

- convenience of slip on shoes for getting water, going to privy, general camp activities.

- some people use crocs or water shoes for stream crossings to have grip but not get their hiking shoes soaked.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: What's the purpose of camp shoes? on 08/29/2012 16:00:16 MDT Print View

People like to bring them.

Erik Basil

Locale: Atzlan
it's for the toegasm on 08/29/2012 16:04:21 MDT Print View

With all the discussion of super light duty camp shoes, sometimes less substantial than a *sock*, on here lately, I wonder if the OP question is based in wonderment over what the benefit of a Tyvek sheet held on with dental floss is (other than establishment of internet cred).

Personally, my uses for a camp shoe are much as described above: shoes to wear (possibly all day) other than my hiking shoes/boots, shoes to put on quickly for midnight bathroom runs, shoes to wade in lakes and creeks for fishing, crossing or just actual wading, shoes to wear around camp and shoes to hike up trail to watch the sunrise in.

For quite a while, this list was satisfied by a set of Keen Newports but even I recognize those marvelous, beefy sandals as boat anchors, so I replaced them this season with Croc-off's of Keens that we found at Walmart. Made of croccy stuff with a velcro tab on the ankle but the general appearance of a Newport (including toe coverage), they weigh less than half of a Keen, have sufficient padding to walk on rocky trails, absorb no water, grip decently on wet rocks, grip great on dry rocks and feel great over bare or socked feet. They did all the stuff we formerly hauled the Keens for, but at far less weight (and less wet, btw), but they surely weigh some factor of ten more than some of the lesser items the more dedicated can enjoy.

Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
Re: What's the purpose of camp shoes? on 08/30/2012 01:25:16 MDT Print View

They're my luxury item. For me, I use a pair of rubber slippers ("flip-flops"). My current choice is the original Teva Mush, which weighs just over 5 oz.

I just enjoy getting out of my hiking shoes at the end of the day. As a long time marathoner, i realized long ago that I enjoy getting out of my running togs and shoes and getting cleaned up an into clean duds as quickly as possible after a race. For me, it gets me in the recovery mindset more quickly, which in turn helps me actually recover and reset.

Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Solomon on 08/30/2012 09:43:04 MDT Print View

Ah.. I have found that my ultralight trail runners dry QUICK (even when I am wearing them) so I just deal with it and swap out socks.

I take the socks off that I"m wearing and throw them on my pack. Then the new ones absorb 80% of the moisture. Then I swap again. Then these suck in the remaining moisture and an hour later I just swap socks again.

If it's a slow/shallow stream I will just take my shoes off and walk slow.

The Solomons I have have a cool lacing system which locks the laces in so I can wear them loose. I'm swapping them for an pair of Inov-8 295s though so I will just keep the lacing loose.

carl becker
(carlbecker) - F

Locale: Northern Virginia
Re: What's the purpose of camp shoes? on 08/30/2012 10:27:48 MDT Print View

I don't know. I wear INOV-8 212's. I wear them through streams. Extra sock's at night. I rarely get up at night but when nature does call just slip them on.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Relief on 08/30/2012 10:40:13 MDT Print View

Camp shoes, as I see it, are mainly about relief for your feet after pounding all day in big heavy boots.

With trail runners, when I get to camp, I just loosen my laces, take out the insole, and I have a loose, floppy, comfortable camp shoe.

I usually also take off my socks, wash them and hang them out to dry. My feet feel just fine sans socks in my floppy shoes!

Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Re: Re: What's the purpose of camp shoes? on 08/30/2012 10:56:06 MDT Print View

Pee bottle... I have a large mouth nalgene bottle which I use for this purpose. I don't even have to get out of my hammock.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Relief on 08/30/2012 11:01:08 MDT Print View

Depends on your terrain. I hike on a lot of rocks and even with trailrunners my feet get beat up so taking them out of shoes and wearing sandals is a welcome change.

i started my Long trail hike without camp shoes and after a few days was jealous of folks who had them. (i'd like to thank the person who forgot theirs at a shelter for making the last 180mi much nicer)

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re: Re: What's the purpose of camp shoes? on 08/30/2012 11:16:47 MDT Print View

@ Kevin: Dude! My feet are too big to get in even a wide mouth Nalgene! ;-)

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Large mouth nalgene on 08/30/2012 12:03:46 MDT Print View

I use the extra-wide mouth myself.

Harald Hope

Locale: East Bay
poison oak too on 08/30/2012 13:01:22 MDT Print View

Aside from the uses people note above, changing shoes and pants after going through poison oak the second you get to camp makes it much less likely you will accidentally get some on your face or wherever. Keep in mind, poison oak is not something you are immune to, it's something you slowly over time and exposure lose resistance to. It's part of a set of things you do that majorly minimize the risk of serious poison oak issues.

Stream crossings, wandering around in streams, day hikes up streams, etc, as others noted, ie, having a nice day.

I tried my last trip without them and was just annoyed, I used trail runners, and won't go without camp shoes on any trip of any duration again, though I will keep my eye out for functional light ones.

I have some cheap chinese store sandals that are slip on, a bit lighter than other options. Added a strap to the heel, still need to test those in water but I think they should work ok.

Something tells me there is a set of people who do not do much winter wet stuff, where your socks do not in fact dry, and wetting out both pairs simply ends you up with two wet pairs of socks which may not dry for days. Sounds really fun and warm, no?

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: What's the purpose of camp shoes? on 08/30/2012 15:06:57 MDT Print View

It is unnecessary weight, just like extra changes of underwear, too many pairs of socks and the like. I could see loosening your shoes in camp for relaxation and easy on and off, but the idea of spending much time and money to get the lightest gear and then throwing in an extra pair of shoes to be worn for an hour or two is counterintuitive. I think I would get more out of that weight with a nicer sleeping pad, more fill in my sleeping bag, etc.

I have looked at lot of UL camp shoes over the years and haven't seem anything that was of much use and certainly none that I would wear to cross a rocky mountain stream, where the best traction and foot protection is needed---- I'm talking fast current, snowmelt cold and big rough boulders. The Vivo Barefoot Ultra Pure comes the closest to giving good foot protection at low weight. At $50, I'll wait for a screamin' deal to experiment with that model. I see they have an UL sandal too:

Michael Cheifetz
(mike_hefetz) - MLife

Locale: Israel
and if its cold? and if you need to be clean? on 08/30/2012 15:22:44 MDT Print View

im not a pro or XUL ninja - but IMO if its really cold/wet then you are compromising your feet if you have nothing to warm them up in camp and treat them well. that could be down booties - but you cant walk in these - so you get some covers (like say goosefeet) or if its not THAT cold you prob want thick socks and something to put over them when you go pee/p00p or sit around. Shoes can get REALLY muddy and wet and never dry during the night. and if temps are 20F and below that can mean really cold if you are in them all the time.

Another issue that i have most of my hikes is that im also travelling in a foreign country usually so i need something i can enter BnB or people's homes or a taxi or museum or whatnot - this many times doesnt feel right with a very muddy and smelly boot - so i use my camp shoes (these days crocs or five fingers if its warm) which also double for crossings for me


Harald Hope

Locale: East Bay
why? on 08/30/2012 15:48:53 MDT Print View

Dale, your logic doesn't follow at all. Sometimes here I think members really confuse what they like to do with some larger thing, or set of rules, that would dicate what other people might like, as an absolute. Probably the biggest reason that ul isn't really given much credit, or respect, outside of ul world. In the tech sector we call this 'fanboyism'.

Just as an example of the weird logic, say, my base weight is 13 pounds with shoes and some poison oak camp clothes (that is how you avoid it by the way, it's the best method I've found). Now, somehow, that 13 pounds is worse than the 30 say, baseweight one might carry using normal gear? Try to actually think through, the goal is NOT to have x pounds, it's to go lighter.
If you find that some totally arbitrary weight is good and 12 oz more is bad, then I'd say you have totally lost perspective on what backpacking should be all about, which is being out in nature and having a good experience, not meeting some made up weight so you can say you are ul or sul or whatever other nonsense people make up.

Let's see, I carry a water filter, I only use that about 5 to 10 minutes a day. Maybe 12, depends. I carry a cooking pot and stove, I only use those about 1 hour a day (I eat out of my pot). Let's see, what else? I carry rain gear, which I often don't use at all. I carry an extra water bottle, which usually doesn't get used. I carry a cup, that only gets used about 15 minutes a day. Compared to those, gear like camp shoes starts to look downright useful, given you might wear them 3 hours a day (keeping in mind, not everyone thinks hiking all day then stopping only to sleep is a particularly good way to spend time in nature).

hmm, what else?

You don't have to spend 50 bucks on shoes, you can, like me, spend 3 or 4 by going to chinatown and looking around.

I get sick of the shoes I'm wearing all day, my feet want to breath and just be more open, plus the poison oak issue, which is very significant. While I don't wish people to lose their resistance to poison oak, I do in a sense wish you for example could grasp that there are actual reasons to bring gear that you personally don't like, it would really make the forums a more welcoming place. Just learn to insert the words 'I prefer because of the style I like' into declarations about what is good or bad and you'll find the tone changes radically. Might also help open some minds that seem to be shut closed against any other type of backpacking than a sort that almost nobody in the real world actually does. I believe this is known as HYOH. Really would be nice to see bpl learn what that means.

Edited by hhope on 08/30/2012 16:10:36 MDT.

Erik Basil

Locale: Atzlan
HYOH, BYOB, Hakuna Matata, BYOS on 08/30/2012 16:09:03 MDT Print View

...not everyone thinks hiking all day then stopping only to sleep is a particularly good way to spend time in nature)."

Well, yeah. Those of us that punch out major mileage and use as much of our day to do so as we can (or that used to), might not have the same need or utility value to alternate footwear as those who spend more time at either a destination or otherwise. I think Andrew Skurka defines the extremes for these types as "Ultimate Hiker" and "Ultimate Camper", and there are surely degrees between the two concepts.

Being more Ultimate Camper these days, designing trips to include "off days" for peak-bagging, fishing, sleeping lazily past 7am, etc... I personally put a lot more utility value into a second set of shoes that I can get wet, cruise around in and such that I imagine the guys who hike all day in running shoes do. Heck, I carry a one-pound folding stool, a folding bucket, box kite and fishing rig that Ultimate Hikers might find no use (or time) for, at all.

So, it seems obvious to me that the answer to "what are camp shoes for?" is one that may be relative to the needs and desires of the persons hiking their own hike, hauling their own beer and wearing their own shoes.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Some examples on 08/30/2012 16:38:14 MDT Print View

Some examples I've seen or heard about:

Allows time away from your footwear so they can dry

Crossing streams to keep you footwear dry

Something quick to put on to take a pee

Alternate shoes - I have seen people hiking in Crocks because of a problem with their hiking shoes

Supplement hiking shoes in adverse conditions - my camp shoes are just light neoprene socks. I wear them as hiking socks when I have to walk through very cold and wet conditions.