Friday, January 14, 2011

Boot "Camp" Part 2: Backpacking Boot

     This is part 2 of my boot series, you can find part 1: "Hiking Boot" hereAfter you read this post, do yourself a favor and read over my post on socks linked here, if you haven’t done so already.  It will complete the three-layer system I suggest for your feet.  

Backpacking Boot

     Backpacking boots, or sometimes called mountaineering boots are the real deal.  They can be extremely durable, and have the best ankle support of all the boot options.  They are ideal for multi-day excursions, in rough or rocky terrain with medium to heavy pack loads.  There are a few different options in what material you would like your boot to be (i.e. leather, synthetic), and if you prefer mid- or high-cut.  You also need to decide before choosing the ‘proper pair’ if you want them to be Gore-Tex lined, making the boot waterproof and a bit more pricey, or if you want them to be unlined allowing better breathability.  These types of boots take the most amount of time to break-in, so make it a point to wear them around for a few weeks before going into the bush.  These are also going to be the most expensive boot option, but tend to be worth the expense because they are built to last for years.

     Backpacking boots are my preferred choice of footwear for most of the year while in the bush, because I often backpack in rough terrain with a heavy pack.  My ankles are a bit week as well, so I wear a high-cut to reduce injury.  I am used to wearing a heavy boot, and the added weight has never been an issue in my experience.  When it comes to materials, I am a fan of a full-grain one piece leather boot, and I prefer a Gore-Tex liner.  Full-grain leather is the most durable option you have, though it is not as lightweight and breathable as some of the other materials.  I like a boot that is a tank and can take a beating, which full-grain can fully deliver.  Full-grain leather is a tried and true material that has been used on backpacking boots for years.  When it comes to my choice of Gore-Tex, again it’s personal preference.  I find I prefer a boot to be waterproof over better breathability.  When wearing proper socks, the lack of air is negated for the most part.

     Is there really a need for a backpacking boot for our city adventures?  My answer to that is; of course!  I choose to wear my backpacking boots from about October to April here in the apple.  Big, chunky boots are actually in style right now, which can be a benefit to those of us who value function over fashion.  I personally pay a bit of attention to current styles, because it allows me to blend into our urban environment without drawing attention.  Looking like your everyday, average commuter while being prepared, is ideal.  I wear my backpacking boots daily for a few reasons;  
  • First and foremost, they keep my feet warm during the cold months.  
  • Second, because of all the snow we've been receiving lately, waterproof boots allow me to get around town and trudge through street corners without getting my socks and feet all wet.  
  • Third reason is that I always have a pair of ‘broken in’ boots.  
  • And last but not least, by wearing them often I condition my legs, getting them used to walking and wearing a slightly heavier shoe.
     My 'broken in' backpacking boots are always placed next to my bug-out-bag.  They are the type of boot you should wear in the event that you need to 'bug-out'.  Every person in the family should have a good quality broken in pair stored next to their bags as well.  Ideally, they should be untied and ready to go at a moments notice.

Part 3: Winter Boots are next.  Look for that to be published over the next few days.


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