Backpacking Article I & II for Beginners

Backpacking and camping basics and other general trip planning discussion for the uninitiated. Use this forum to learn where to look for the information you need, and to ask questions, related to the beginner basics of backpacking and camping, including technique and best practices.
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AlmostThere
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Re: Backpacking Article I & II for Beginners

Post by AlmostThere » Sun May 18, 2014 6:11 pm

KrazyKolb wrote:I'm intrigued by his footwear suggestions. He makes the claim that "boots don’t help protect your ankles. Studies have shown that they could be the cause of some ankle related problems"

Is this commonly accepted, or is that just a suggestion because he's dealing with younger kids and doesn't want to spend a lot of money on gear that will be outgrown?
No, that's something true - boots really don't do much for ankles, unless you're talking about full boots that enclose the leg to above the ankle. The common hiking boots on the shelf at REI do pretty much nothing for ankle support.

In my case, they hurt them - full height boots bruised my ankles badly the times I've tried them. The mid height boots do absolutely nothing at all for ankle support. What protects your ankles is what's in the soles - the midsole, the last, etc. - not what's around the ankle.

Unless I absolutely need a full boot (aka winter), I use shoes, and have yet to sprain or damage my ankles. That's with hiking 500-800 miles per year, for the past few years - less before that, but only because I didn't go as often. I replace shoes each year due to wearing them out.








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maverick
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Re: Backpacking Article I & II for Beginners

Post by maverick » Mon May 19, 2014 12:33 pm

For some folks with very weak ankles it will offer some support, but it still
does not address the underlying issue which are the weak ankles. Just like some
people say they have bad lower backs and wear a belt instead of strengthening
the lower back and abdominal muscles. Wearing the belt or high/mid boots for
support, without addressing the issue, will only lead to weaker muscles and a
total reliance on these outside support features, and could lead to injury in
the long run. It is much better to build up strength and flexibility in the area, and
to use low top hiking shoes or trail running shoes on terrain that allows you
to use them safely. Have been using trail running shoes for decades on
cross-country routes, but this is with adequate strength training during the off
season.
Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, an HST member: http://reconn.org

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Re: Backpacking Article I & II for Beginners

Post by Burk504 » Fri May 29, 2015 2:56 pm

KrazyKolb wrote:I'm intrigued by his footwear suggestions. He makes the claim that "boots don’t help protect your ankles. Studies have shown that they could be the cause of some ankle related problems"

Is this commonly accepted, or is that just a suggestion because he's dealing with younger kids and doesn't want to spend a lot of money on gear that will be outgrown?
What about shoe selection when doing a non-technical summit like Mt Cotter? It's on my plans for this August and for this reason alone was going to bring my boots. My fear is that scree fields and lots of loose rock could be bad news for low top hikers. No?

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maverick
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Re: Backpacking Article I & II for Beginners

Post by maverick » Fri May 29, 2015 3:24 pm

My fear is that scree fields and lots of loose rock could be bad news for low top hikers. No?
Used my regular La Sportiva Ultra Raptors on the Minaret trip, did a lot of class 3-4, and some short 5 sections near Ritter Pass, and another location near Catherine Lake, they worked great for me. With that said, I do train year round so my feet, ankles, and calves can be strong enough to wear such footwear. Also knowing how to negotiate up/down a steep scree field or loose rock effectively by foot placement and technique is important, including knowing the limitations of your footwear.
Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, an HST member: http://reconn.org

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Re: Backpacking Article I & II for Beginners

Post by seanr » Fri May 29, 2015 4:49 pm

I concur with using low top trail shoes when possible and doing exercises that keep ankles strong and general fitness high. Look up proprioreception exercises. I used to occassionally sprain my ankle about a decade ago as I first transitioned into trail running, but that stopped with time on trail and various agility exercises. Time in class 2 terrain helps with agility and strength as well. I broke my ankle two years ago when I made a bad decision with a poorly balanced boulder, but would have done so regardless of footwear. The good news is I learned even more proprioreception, leg strength, and core exercises, and became more disciplined about doing them consistently. My ankle may never quite be 100% post-injury & surgery, but after rehab, training, and shedding a bit of weight, I now hike farther, with better balance, and with no ankle sprain or other issues like I had when I first became a trail running and endurance hiking enthusiast.

I actually wished I had worn trail runners on Shasta last weekend. I got nasty heel blisters wearing boots I hadn't worn for 2-3 years. Unless conditions are extremely cold, highly technical involving extensive crampon use, or I am at high risk of being out in wet cold overnight, trail runners and extra socks are my preferred footwear. Plus, I can usually pick up high quality pairs of La Sportiva, Montrail, etc. trail running shoes at Sierra Trading Post for $30-$50 per pair with online coupon deals.

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Re: Backpacking Article I & II for Beginners

Post by wildhiker » Tue May 17, 2016 11:25 am

I think a lot of footwear is personal preference. I always use lightweight mid-height full leather boots with a steel shank and "superfeet" insoles when hiking/backpacking in the Sierra. They provide enough stiffness for balancing on sharp rocks going through talus fields (or even many sierra trails that are full of rocks); help protect me from scuffing and banging the side of foot against the rocks; and I don't trust gore-tex liners to be truly waterproof, so I can use Nikwax periodically on the leather. But if I were hiking on easy dirt or duff trails, I would appreciate lighter shoes.
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