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creek fording strategies

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creek fording strategies

Postby paul » Sun Aug 23, 2009 10:01 am

On my last trip I had my first creek ford after about a week. Wearing trail running shoes, I just ploughed through, then changed to dry socks on the other side and kept going. the result - the shoes held enough water to soak my dry socks pretty quick and then I got blisters (small but troublesome) - after having had no foot problems up to that point. So I'm re-thinking my fording strategy, nad looking for input on what everyone else does. I know I could carry Crocs or water shoes, but I'm looking for lighter options. For those who have had success just ploughing through in trail runners without stopping or changing socks, what kind of socks do you wear?



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Re: creek fording strategies

Postby The Other Tom » Sun Aug 23, 2009 6:04 pm

Can't get much lighter than Crocs. I have a pair but haven't tried them for water crossings. I'm afraid they'd be too slippery, but I'd like to hear from those who have used them.
What about barefoot ?
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Re: creek fording strategies

Postby balzaccom » Sun Aug 23, 2009 6:29 pm

I have some croc knock-off that actually include a bungie cord lace to hold them on your feet. I love them for this kind of thing, and they weigh about 10 oz. And we love wearing them around camp--they keep your feet more or less clean, but are a very light and easy-on-your-feet alternative to hiking boots.
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Re: creek fording strategies

Postby rlown » Sun Aug 23, 2009 6:37 pm

a barefoot crossing is really hard on your feet if you mess up and stub something. I had good luck with Teva sandals, though they're heavier than river shoe slip-ons (usually carry those anyway for the wader shoes as they're light). I did try using a spare pair of wooly socks once. Good grip on slippery rocks, but still the stub factor there, depending on the depth.

First thing we do regardless if we make it to the other side, is to dry our feet. make sure they're really dry before the boots go back on. My feet are blister prone anyway, but wetness is my enemy.
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Re: creek fording strategies

Postby gary c. » Sun Aug 23, 2009 7:42 pm

I found some water shoes at WalMart a couple years ago that have been great. They look like tennis shoes but have bungy laces and soles that are made out of some kind of foam like materiel (kind of like flip-flops only much stiffer) and wiegh only a couple oz each. I carbiner them to my pack by the heel loops. They were marked down for end of the season clearence from something like $14 to $4. I bought a pair each for the wife and I but they are about worn out. I will gladly pay full price for a couple more pair if I ever see them again.
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Re: creek fording strategies

Postby maverick » Sun Aug 23, 2009 8:05 pm

I carry tevas when I know I'll be doing a lot of crossings, but I have also used the old
insole in the sock trick also and then put on a spare pair of socks on the other side.
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Re: creek fording strategies

Postby fishmonger » Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:56 am

The Other Tom wrote:Can't get much lighter than Crocs. I have a pair but haven't tried them for water crossings. I'm afraid they'd be too slippery, but I'd like to hear from those who have used them.
What about barefoot ?



much lighter than crocks, pack much better and are tough enough for more than one Muir Trail with a lot of wet crossings (I think we used them about 20 times this July)

http://www.sprintaquatics.com/prodinfo.asp?number=901

weight? For my size 11 100 grams, or 3.5 oz for the pair.

I used to go barefoot, but these made even the roughest crossings quite comfortable. They are great backup shoes, too, even though I doubt they'd last more than 10 miles.
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Re: creek fording strategies

Postby ERIC » Mon Aug 24, 2009 8:09 am

Nottinz clogs are supposedly lighter than Crocs, and are pretty much the same animal. I know that's not the answer you were looking for, but figured I throw that out there since it is a weight savings over Crocs.

Perhaps some sort of neoprene bootie/sock is what you're after? Kind of like a wetsuit sock?

I recently purchased a pair of Vibram FiveFingers (cue the laughter). While slightly heavier than Crocs (funny looking and more expensive, too), I figure they're a better option for traction in the water and in case I should ever need to hike in them. They sure are comfortable.


EDIT: I also found these:

http://firstrespondernetwork.com/items/ ... detail.htm

http://firstrespondernetwork.com/items/ ... detail.htm
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Re: creek fording strategies

Postby markskor » Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:15 pm

+1 on the low cut tennis shoe idea...I buy the cheapest (and lightest) "swap meet" specials I can find.
While they usually only last one season or so... at ~$10.00 - who cares.
Worn sans socks, they are good for fishing too as I am constantly in and out of the water.
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Re: creek fording strategies

Postby cvr » Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:27 pm

I use my Reef (the classic Smoothy model) flip flops for river crossings. Living at the beach, I basically were flip flops all the time other than at work, so maybe they feel more natural to me than they may for others. They are my camp shoe of choice, so the fact that they can be used for double duty is nice.

The Reef Smoothys are relativley sturdy, they dry quickly, they don't gain much if any weight when wet and they weigh only 8oz when dry in size 10. A newer pair with a new sole is surprisingly grippy. I just take it slow and with the help of a walking stick, I have never had a problem.
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Re: creek fording strategies

Postby oldranger » Mon Aug 24, 2009 6:40 pm

I used the crocs expeditions this season. They don't have holes in the front of the toes and have velcro straps to secure the heel to your foot. Worked great at fords and I also use it as a wading shoe when fishing. The velcro holds the shoe to your foot even in sucky mud. When done fishing the, rinse off the shoe, shake it a little and since it doesn't absorb water it is ready to be a camp shoe (it also doesn't get heavier after using it to ford).

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Re: creek fording strategies

Postby giantbrookie » Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:17 pm

Interesting discussion. On most of my earlier trips, I either simply sloshed in the boots, then drained them and wrung the socks out afterwards (obviously not entirely satisfactory) or tried it barefoot. I suspended the latter habit when a friend of mine bashed his toes up real bad on a rough crossing (an Edyth Lake from Cherry Lake trip as I recall). After years I have begun to tire of the seriously horrid odor from the damp boots plus multiday funky foot--enough to chase every living thing out of the backcountry except mosquitoes. Yes, I am seriously considering packing something light to put on my feet for crossings. On a recent dayhike when I thought I'd do some wading to fish (shallow shoreline around a lake), and I took some Tevas in my dayhike but never pulled them out of my pack because I ended up falling into the lake and getting wet anyway before I could use them.
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