Winter boots for backpacking ?

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Tom_H
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Re: Winter boots for backpacking ?

Post by Tom_H » Mon Jan 14, 2019 6:36 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:14 am
...winter backpacking....was a lot of work and so unforgiving.
Truer words were never spoken. The environment can seem ultra-serene and more starkly silent than you could imagine, but the whole experience is one of extreme exertion and survival. Staying alive is of far greater concern than enjoying the beauty of nature. For me personally, these trips were of value in that they induced a realization about how much of our everyday stuff and activities are frivolous. It makes you think a lot about what is important in life and what is not. From that perspective, I am so glad I did these trips, but also glad I will never do one again.








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Satchel Buddah
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Re: Winter boots for backpacking ?

Post by Satchel Buddah » Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:56 pm

thank you all for all the advice! Indeed, Daisy, babysteps is what is on the menu! First night(s) out will have easy egress until I know what I am doing :). And Tom, your wise words are well heard.

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bobby49
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Re: Winter boots for backpacking ?

Post by bobby49 » Thu Jan 31, 2019 5:43 pm

We were doing a two-day ski traverse from Highway 4 and the Mount Reba turnoff going up to Highway 88 east of Carson Pass. One couple consisted of the guy that had skied with us a lot plus his lady. It turned out that it was her first time out in the winter, and it also turned out that this was their honeymoon! Crazy!

When we were about 60% of the way along, we realized that we had to alter our route. So, we ended up making it to Highway 88 in a blizzard. That gal learned her lessons the hard way. It was a wonder that she made it out with all of her toes.

Kids, this is only for trained professionals! Don't do this at home.

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Re: Winter boots for backpacking ?

Post by SSSdave » Thu Jan 31, 2019 6:17 pm

And then there are those long long long night hours when it is to cold to hold up a book outside one's winter sleeping bag.

Oh, you wake up and its the wee hours, and you fight that growing urge to p as it is so so cold out. Oh I wish I had brought a p-bottle! An hour later it is driving you nuts so out of the bag you go, struggle pushing into your stiff boots, take a few steps outside, and then bring back in a ridiculous amount of snow stuck on them thar boots that later in their isolation stuff bag melts when pushed into your sleeping bag so as not to freeze like a rock overnight but instead makes your sleeping bag damp. Oh I wish I'd brought a little brush to knock snow off my boots and clothing and sweep up all the flakes inside my tent now.

There are whole books on winter camping, best read before learning the more painful way or better take WD's training advice.

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Tom_H
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Re: Winter boots for backpacking ?

Post by Tom_H » Sat Feb 02, 2019 4:50 pm

I finally found the boots I used long ago. Unbelievably, they still make an almost identical pair. These are Chippewa. They have gusseted tongue, are waterproof, have lamb shearling wool fleece insulation all around the inside, tightly woven wool foot inserts, squared off toe to fit hinged swivel mountaineering bindings (but without the extension for 3-pins), grooved heel for cable part of binding, padded snow collars, and Vibram lug soles. They work well with that type binding; also with snowshoes, with crampons (but sole not stiff enough for ice climbing), with microspikes, or hiking on cold bare ground or compressed snow/ice. They are an amazing all-round winter expedition boot. I got mine through Sears in 1978; these are through Amazon. They come in two outer finish styles. To see the wool fleece insulation lining, go to first or second link below, scroll to third picture, zoom in on cuff.

https://www.amazon.com/Chippewa-Waterpr ... B001D1E5ZG
https://www.amazon.com/Chippewa-Mens-Go ... CTIC+25466

The boots are also available directly from Chippewa. (Note that Chippewa site does not have as many photos of the boots.)
https://www.chippewaboots.com/footwear/ ... ctic/25492
https://www.chippewaboots.com/footwear/ ... ctic/25466

Here is one other Chippewa boot insulated with thinsulate. I would consider this for hiking on dry ground in winter, and perhaps for hiking on shallow packed snow or ice with microspikes, but not for the other purposes described above.
https://www.amazon.com/Chippewa-Origina ... wa+6068TAN
https://www.amazon.com/Chippewa-6068BLK ... ppewa+6068
https://www.chippewaboots.com/footwear/ ... er/6068TAN

I cannot overstate how ideal the Arctic 50 Chippewa boot was for me. Still, this type of need is a fairly personal decision. I would recommend reading the reviews attached to the pages. There are many military mountaineering personnel, nordic mountaineering skiers, hunters, etc. who rave about them. There are a few negative reviews re delamination and separation of sole/upper. Those with attached photos make me think those people lathered Sno-Seal on the seams of Vibram layers and in the stitching, causing deterioration and delamination.

Remember to size them for use with two thick pair of expedition weight sox.

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Re: Winter boots for backpacking ?

Post by neil d » Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:37 pm

I would like to resurrect this thread, because, 'tis the season.

I posted earlier that I was happy with my winter Merrells. I need to retract this statement! They are actually fine for snowshoeing during the day, but were severely lacking for overnight, non-aerobic conditions in snow.

What I want is a boot that is comfortable for several hours of snowshoeing, and that can then be worn around the campfire once the day's activities are done. Am I asking too much? I only do 1-2 night trips in the winter, so would like to avoid bringing two pairs of boots if at all possible.

I need to flip through the links folks have posted of their favorite boots. The Sorrels rise to the top again and again. I checked some out over the weekend. The thick, felt-ish liner seemed quite nice, and the shoe looks appropriately roomy for thick socks, but they are HEAVY! Maybe I just need to suck it up.

I'm enchanted by the idea of down booties around camp, but would certainly need an outer shell layer for our wet Sierra cement. I'm just not sure down would keep my feet warm if I was compressing the down by standing on it.

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Harlen
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Re: Winter boots for backpacking ?

Post by Harlen » Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:04 pm

Hey neil d,
I was all set to recommend Sorel's Caribou boots to you, as my experience with them has been much the same as TahoeJeff's. I bought mine at least 25 years ago, and they are still pretty solid. I researched many brands of the current winter boots, checked some gear reviews, etc., and have found nothing I like yet. When I looked into the tried and true Sorels, I found a lot of reviews in the vein you see quoted below:

Quality issues
These are a lost cause. Manufactured in China now but that's not the problem. Since being purchased they've downgraded all of the materials in these boots. Besides, their insulation is still only Felt. Want to stay warm? Buy Baffins. I struggled and struggled with this...lots of different boots. I need them extremely warm (I have Neuropathy). Look for their Polar Series (-148 degree rating) or their Titan Rubber boot from their Huntsman Series. The boot liners are unbelievably well built (8 layer). If you absolutely have to be kept warm by your boots...Baffin!


I guess I will research these Baffins now too, as I am looking to find a lighter weight winter snow-shoeing boot. (the old Sorel Caribous weigh at least 5lbs. They'd weigh ~9oz more, but I switched out the felt insoles with a homemade ensolite.)

Good luck neil d, and let us know if you find something to recommend. And what did you come up with Satchel Buddah? Thanks, Ian.

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c9h13no3
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Re: Winter boots for backpacking ?

Post by c9h13no3 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 12:23 am

I have zero experience with this (I always wear ski boots, and don't winter camp). So I'm mostly interested in what others say about this but....

1) My snow camping friends swear by down booties. Bread bags are the best shell layer, but most booties have a rubber sole.
2) Whenever I've read about extreme cold, it's either Army surplus bunny boots or a mountaineering boot with a super gaiter. But that might be more than you need.
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Re: Winter boots for backpacking ?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:15 am

The word "backpacking in winter" may be too broad. Winter conditions are drastically different mid-winter vs spring snow; just walking on snow can vary from snowshoes or skis needed to "sierra cement" needing traction devices, to conditions that are fine with light hikers with gaiters. Your shoes/boots must match the gear you plan to walk in; be it various kinds of snowshoes or skis.

I really liked my MSR snowshoes with the crampon-like spikes on the foot instep. I used a flexible sturdy hiking shoe/boot with gaiters and then brought down booties. I really did not spend much time standing around camp- pretty much walked, set up, then in the sleeping bag/tent to cook in the vestibule. If you want to stand around camp outside, you have to bring more.

The requirements of a boot to travel in, either with snowshoes or skis, are different than those used in camp. Skiing needs boots designed for specific skis. If seriously winter backpacking you will likely be better off with separate camp shoes. If in dry-cold conditions, where the temperature will never get above about 20-degrees F (lower the better), then camp shoes do not need to be waterproof. Light weight felt boots, down booties with a skid proof sole are fine. Do you remember those old kids "moon boots" popular in the 1980's? They would not stand up to the stress of snowshoeing, but would work for camp shoes, even in slightly damp conditions.

Bread bags over down booties? Sounds like a formula to fall down and crack your head. That also would create condensation inside the down booties, making them worthless over time. Wet feet are a big "no-no" in winter camping. In fact, just sweating in the winter is dangerous and breathability of all clothing and shoes is important when you are moving.

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Re: Winter boots for backpacking ?

Post by rlown » Tue Dec 03, 2019 1:17 pm

I had a pair of camp down booties when up above ellery lk on season decades ago. Granted is was below freezing and they had a closed-cell foam insert on the sole. Very comfortable to get out of the boots and into those booties. Moon boots sound heavy, but i get the drift.

As WD points out, boots depend on what you're doing skiing wise. Bindings and everything come into play.

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