Kahtoola, based in Flagstaff, Arizona, has a passion for innovation and quality outdoor gear. Their flexible KTS crampons, Step-in Snowshoe options and MICROspikes stretch-on traction products are trend setting designs that outperform other products in their category and are all backed by Kahtoola's Satisfaction Guarantee. See them at www.kahtoola.com or call 866 330 8030.
During the fringes of winter when temperatures hover around freezing and snow on the trail sometimes turns into cold water, it can be hard for a lightweight backpacker to keep her feet warm. Many swear by lightweight Gore-Tex shoes with wool socks for such conditions (see Will Rietveld's series on Lightweight Footwear Systems for Snow Travel ). On a recent four-day trek in the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania, I wore low top Gore-Tex XCR shoes with thin wool socks through shallow snow, mud and water to test if my feet, which get cold easily, would stay warm with this simple, light system. I also tested Gore-Tex socks - which I'd had great luck with inside mesh shoes - to see if the socks benefited a system based on waterproof/breathable shoes. I wore a different system on each foot every day and recorded my observations during the trip.