Winter boots for backpacking ?

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neil d
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Re: Winter boots for backpacking ?

Post by neil d » Tue Dec 03, 2019 1:39 pm

Good comments as usual. I recognize there are lots of combinations of conditions and equipment to account for. I also really like the MSR snowshoes and these are my only means of winter travel (aside from the occasional fatbike session). So I want something big enough to take a thick sock that I can walk in and then 'lounge' in.

WD, I understand that smart people probably hole up in their tents when it is cold, but my group is not that smart. We enjoy the ambience of the winter season, to the detriment of our extremities...

A trusted fellow is recommending the Columbia Bugaboots, anybody have any experience? 200g insulation, rated to -25F (yeah, right), and best of all only 25 oz per boot. Plus on sale for cyber-whatever!

Also, I'm really liking the idea of down booties, I'm gonna research those. Even if only for tent use. I sleep cold enough these days in deep shoulder season to justify 'em.








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rlown
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Re: Winter boots for backpacking ?

Post by rlown » Tue Dec 03, 2019 3:02 pm

I used something similar to these: https://www.outlandusa.com/p/western-mo ... RIQAvD_BwE

The down booties with the cordura and ensolite worked quite well at ~20 degrees for just tramping around the snow outside the tent. Didn't see the need to wear them to bed as the bag is good enough when retiring for the night.

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Harlen
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Re: Winter boots for backpacking ?

Post by Harlen » Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:02 pm

C9 wrote:
...Bread bags are the best shell layer...
WD, I think C9 is referring to the poor man's vapor barrier layer. When in desperate cold with crappy gear, we would put bread bags over our wool socks, which would then be in contact with the bad leather boot. This way, when moisture seeped through the boot, it would be kept separate from ones sock and foot.

I've just spent 4 hours wearing my old Sorels while heavy gardening on our muddy land. I was curious if I would get miserably warm in them [it's approximately 40+ out], and just wanted to see how they felt, not having used them for years. Not too hot at all, but my foot moves around in them a bit much, even when I tightened them to the limit. I guess I will be wearing another pair of wool socks on a winter snowshoe trip, so it's probably not an issue.

Lastly, I did research the Baffin boots, and they look and sound like the right boot, but for the wrong price. I think they ranged from the "Yoho" @$220; to the "Eiger" @$290. I think that's pre tax and shipping. I was searching the Baffin website. Their "Impact" boot [$280] seemed like the one I'd choose. It is designed to not require a gaiter, and has a "removable multi-layer inner boot system." A fancy way to describe the inner boot pack. I don't know what they weigh though?
Check out the review here from a guy that works in Antarctica:
5 star rating 06/02/19

A decade of stellar performance in the Antarctic- Review by David A. on 2 Jun 2019

I purchased my Baffin Impact Boots back in 2009, most importantly because you make them in my size (15) which is very hard to find. The Baffin Impact is a stellar performer all day long in the extreme cold (-100 multiple times) of McMurdo Station, Antarctica and out on the Ross Ice Shelf. I never worried about my feet. I get about three seasons out of a pair of liners as my heel wears out from all the walking. In all the years, I have experienced cold feet once or twice, and that was from excessive sweat exceeding the ability of the inserts to wick away the moisture. The rubber bottoms and leather uppers are still good condition, but the nylon has been caught on stuff over the years and needed repairs. I have ordered my fourth set of liners and intend to get a few more seasons out of them as you don't have any more 15's in stock. Baffin's multi layer cold weather boot design system is far and away the best cold weather boot ever made. Thank you very much Baffin!
Last edited by Harlen on Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:33 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Wandering Daisy
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Re: Winter boots for backpacking ?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Dec 03, 2019 5:09 pm

I would not necessarily equate winter in the Sierra with Antarctica. Several friends of mine have worked in Antarctica, including at the south pole itself! It is a very dry climate, mostly very cold. More similar to the mid-winter high northern Rocky Mountains and Canadian Rockies. A bit different from moderately cold but wetter conditions of the Sierra. The Baffin boots may be over-kill for the Sierra for the occasional winter snowshoe-backpacker. Harlen, if you do buy them, be sure to let us know how they work.

The photo below is what I wore in the winter in the Wind Rivers- VERY old school in 1973. It mostly hovered around 0 degree F daytime and -20-40F at night and dry. I am wearing the boxy toed Army surplus single layer leather 10th Mountain Division ski boots (smallest size was still very big for me!) I am not sure what the person behind me is wearing. Camp booties were about 1/2 inch thick stiff felt with double layer felt sole. I also took a pair of very light down booties for sleeping.

Even though my ski boots were single layer leather, I never had cold feet because we kept moving. In camp I immediately changed into dry socks and the felt booties. What I am getting at, even though these shoes are very outdated, is that you do not need a shoe warm to -40F while snow shoeing or skiing. Not sure I would want to haul all that weight on my feet every step. Personally, I would rather have a lighter walking boot worn with two pair wool socks, and then a light warm camp bootie. All a moot point for me because my winter camping days are over. I moved to California to avoid winter and backpack now on the coast. :)

But I will say that Harlen should be listened to rather than me, because he is currently our resident "snow man".

73_WinterCourseB_footwear.jpg
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Harlen
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Re: Winter boots for backpacking ?

Post by Harlen » Wed Dec 04, 2019 12:31 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:
But I will say that Harlen should be listened to rather than me, because he is currently our resident "snow man".
While I appreciate any sort of flattery, I am still pretty low down on the steep and icy slopes of the winter skills learning mountain.

Lightranger wrote a perceptive note awhile back:
John Dittli wrote:
I've done some backcountry skiing over the years.
The understatement inherent in this quote amuses me. :)
Lightranger obviously knows John Dittli's long and storied history in the snowy Sierra- his years as a snow surveyor, skier and winter photographer extraordinaire. I humbly point anyone in search of real winter knowledge to John.
I am not worthy to shovel snow off his porch! :nod:

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Harlen
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Re: Winter boots for backpacking ?

Post by Harlen » Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:30 am

WD wrote
The Baffin boots may be over-kill for the Sierra for the occasional winter snowshoe-backpacker. Harlen, if you do buy them, be sure to let us know how they work.
Not likely Nancy, I will be using the Sorels for snowshoeing. When I wrote that the Baffin Impact boots were "the wrong price," I meant too much for me! I am mostly skiing now, and our $ will be spent on the AT gear- if I find the right stuff on Craigslist.

Another great option for winter boots is to search out an affordable pair of serious mountaineering boots on Craigslist- and there are a couple Scarpas on there now for 1/4 price! and buy them for the dual purpose of winter snowshoeing, and cold weather climbing. People sometimes buy these great boots for one guided climb of Cotopaxi, Chimborazo, or Mt Kilimanjaro... or a trekking peak in Nepal, and then sell them (and all their other gear) when they return- especially if their climb goes bad! These are $700 -$1000 boots sold for as little as $250.

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maverick
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Re: Winter boots for backpacking ?

Post by maverick » Thu Dec 05, 2019 3:07 pm

When I wrote that the Baffin Impact boots were "the wrong price," I meant too much for me! I am mostly skiing now, and our $ will be spent on the AT gear- if I find the right stuff on Craigslist.
Or you can purchase new, thru me Harlen! :unibrow:
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, a HST member: http://reconn.org

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