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Winter Boots

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    • Winter Boots

      I searched the various threads and didn't see exactly what I was looking for, so hopefully I didn't miss something. I'm looking for recommendations for good, winter/snow rated hiking boots suitable for moderate to extreme winter conditions. My husband is set on getting full on mountaineering boots. I see the advantages and benefits of those but I just think they're going to be overkill for less strenuous trails. Am I wrong?
      “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” - T. S. Eliot
    • Ewok11 wrote:

      I searched the various threads and didn't see exactly what I was looking for, so hopefully I didn't miss something. I'm looking for recommendations for good, winter/snow rated hiking boots suitable for moderate to extreme winter conditions. My husband is set on getting full on mountaineering boots. I see the advantages and benefits of those but I just think they're going to be overkill for less strenuous trails. Am I wrong?


      What sort of terrain are you looking at doing? To some people extreme means zero degrees to others it means -40f.
      Mountaineering boots and plastic double boots frankly suck to hike in. They almost all have a full metal shank that keeps the boot rigid when you are using them with step in crampons which makes walking in them ungraceful at best. I use mine for ice climbing and for an occasional trip into the white mountains, but I wouldn't use them for more moderate terrain if I could avoid it.

      If you are looking for real mountaineering or extreme cold boots I'd recommend going directly to an outfitter that specializes in them. Fit is important and since they cost a sizeable amount of money, it's best to get hands on advice.
      If on the other hand you're just looking for a good winter boot, I'd consider something like "pac" boots, I have a pair made by Sorel, but here are lots of brands. I'd also recommmend asking the locals what they use.
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    • I live and hike in Maine year round. I usually hike in my regular hiking boots/shoes with gaiters and as long as I am moving my feet stay warm. I snowshoe in the same. If the snow is really deep...a foot or more I use my Sorrels (PAC boots) but do way less mileage but just enjoy the walk.
    • What Violet and Elf said. Sorel pac boots. You need double boots in deep winter, so that you can at least attempt to field-dry the felt inner boots.

      Plastic mountaineering boots are really for ice climbing, or at least stuff that's steep enough to require German crampon technique. Sorel pac boots work fine with strap-on crampons for hiking, even on fairly technical trails that need French technique. Both are heavy, but so are snowshoes and crampons.

      If you do decide you need plastic mountaineering boots, take them to a downhill ski shop to be fitted. You need a guy with a heat gun and the knowledge in how a hardshell boot is fitted to your foot. Expect bruised shins for many trips before you learn to walk in them.

      Speaking of which, get advice from a local outfitter about snowshoes and crampons. I don't know where in Alaska you're going. It could be anything from quite mild and pleasant (the Inside Passage) to brutal extreme winter, and I have no idea how local snow conditions run there. (I could tell you what I use in the Northeast, but the Northeast is surely different.)

      If you need crampons where you're going, you need an ice axe, and lessons in how to use one. You need an instructor to correct you and drill you on technique, because you don't have time to think about how to self-arrest when you're in an uncontrolled slide.
      I'm not lost. I know where I am. I'm right here.
    • For just a few inches of snow I've got a pair of Vasque Clarion boots I wear with knee high gaitors.
      The gaitors are to keep the bottom of my pant legs out of the snow and/or to keep the lower legs warmer.
      For anything more than that I've got a pair of Sorel Caribou boots with an extra pair of liners.
      I'll bring the extra liners on overnighters depending on conditions and forecast. That way I can be sure of starting the day with dry feet.
      Since I don't have real crampons I can't tell you how they fit on either of those boots.
    • Sound advice from all of you. There might very well be times when mountaineering boots would be required for actual mountain/glacier/ice terrain. I just don't want those to be my only winter boots. Right now, I'm just trucking around in my Gortex Merrells and they seem to be suitable with the few inches of snow on the ground here in the valley with gaiters if we're going off trail for any reason.

      I haven't had a chance to really study what the terrain is like outside of the valley, other than the basic information most anyone would know. We've been to a couple of local outfitters just to try stuff on and I wasn't impressed with the stores or employees, so we will keep looking.

      I've never been ice climbing before (other than a couple of years in WA State, I've always lived in the Southeast) but it's something my husband and I would both like to try.

      I've looked at Sorrels to have on hand just as snow boots for around town, out and about type wear.

      I was outside shoveling snow earlier today and after about an hour, I could feel my toes getting noticeably colder. I'm going to try upgrading socks first, since they're cheaper and who doesn't like warm socks, really.

      Thanks again everyone!!
      “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” - T. S. Eliot
    • So, in our walk Saturday I tried the bread bag trick for keeping feet warm, and it worked 1/2 way.
      My right foot was toasty but the left was cold and numb.
      You see, my left boot, Sorel Caribou, leaked like a sieve, got my sock soaking wet, and then the bag tore and my sock liner got wet.

      I'm kind of disappointed because the boots are low mileage, but they are almost 10 years old.
      So now the question becomes what boot do I get for use in the snow.
      I'm inclined to get the same thing so I'll have plenty of extra felt liners.
      I am open for suggestions though. The only thing is that I have to be able to use my snow shoes with whatever I get.
      So make me some suggestions!
    • LIhikers wrote:

      So, in our walk Saturday I tried the bread bag trick for keeping feet warm, and it worked 1/2 way.
      My right foot was toasty but the left was cold and numb.
      You see, my left boot, Sorel Caribou, leaked like a sieve, got my sock soaking wet, and then the bag tore and my sock liner got wet.

      I'm kind of disappointed because the boots are low mileage, but they are almost 10 years old.
      So now the question becomes what boot do I get for use in the snow.
      I'm inclined to get the same thing so I'll have plenty of extra felt liners.
      I am open for suggestions though. The only thing is that I have to be able to use my snow shoes with whatever I get.
      So make me some suggestions!


      You're not going to do much better than Sorel pac boots for the price. Beyond that, you start getting into hardshell mountaineering boots, which are about four times as expensive (and with which I have little experience).

      Your snowshoes have conventional strap-on bindings, right? (I'm thinking they must, since you're using pac boots with them now.) If they do, practically any boot will work. You need mountaineering boots for step-in snowshoe or crampon bindings, although a few hybrid bindings will work with GI Mickey Mouse boots. I don't have that kind of money, so I have strap-on crampons and conventional snowshoe bindings.

      You do use a double thickness of bags (two on each foot), right? One bag per foot always tears. With two, it seems that neither bag tears.

      You've already grasped the principle that whatever you get has to have a felt inner boot that you can try to field-dry if necessary. The all-of-a-piece insulated mountaineering boots that you sometimes see are built for rapid alpine ascents, not winter backpacking.
      I'm not lost. I know where I am. I'm right here.
    • A pac is a high-topped moccasin. So pac-boots are boots lined with high-topped moccasins. At least that's the way I learnt it.

      Once upon a time, I think Pac Boot was a Sorel trademark, but it's become generic.

      Mine are Sorel Caribou, so I think LIhikers is making a reasonable choice. ;) One drawback they have, in my mind, relative to some others, is that they just have four pairs of D rings rather than a full lacing system like what you'd see on a Hoffman boot. If you learn ladder lacing, though, you'll have no problem distributing the tension.
      I'm not lost. I know where I am. I'm right here.
    • AnotherKevin wrote:

      A pac is a high-topped moccasin. So pac-boots are boots lined with high-topped moccasins. At least that's the way I learnt it.

      Once upon a time, I think Pac Boot was a Sorel trademark, but it's become generic.

      Mine are Sorel Caribou, so I think LIhikers is making a reasonable choice. ;) One drawback they have, in my mind, relative to some others, is that they just have four pairs of D rings rather than a full lacing system like what you'd see on a Hoffman boot. If you learn ladder lacing, though, you'll have no problem distributing the tension.
      thanks Kevin, just wonderin' I had a pair of LL Bean Maine hunting boots years ago, and where the leather met the gum sloe used to cut into my ankle, love/hated those boots...no felt liner on the ones I had.
    • Here we are in fall of 2018 and I'm starting to think about winter.
      Since my feet grew by a size right after I bought my last pair of winter boots, Sorel Caribou, I'm thinking about winter boots again.
      Today I read a number of reviews of the Caribou boots that talked about cracking of the rubber, so I'm wondering about other brands.
      Does anyone have any info on pac boots they'd like to share?
    • LIhikers wrote:

      Here we are in fall of 2018 and I'm starting to think about winter.
      Since my feet grew by a size right after I bought my last pair of winter boots, Sorel Caribou, I'm thinking about winter boots again.
      Today I read a number of reviews of the Caribou boots that talked about cracking of the rubber, so I'm wondering about other brands.
      Does anyone have any info on pac boots they'd like to share?
      I don’t own the Caribou, but I’m on my second pair of Sorel Conquest boots and I have to say that the new pair I bought a year or two ago is markedly lower quality than the first pair I bought ten years ago.
      >>>Advertise here! Affordable rates and no long term contracts. Send a PM for more details!<<<
    • SarcasmTheElf wrote:

      LIhikers wrote:

      Here we are in fall of 2018 and I'm starting to think about winter.
      Since my feet grew by a size right after I bought my last pair of winter boots, Sorel Caribou, I'm thinking about winter boots again.
      Today I read a number of reviews of the Caribou boots that talked about cracking of the rubber, so I'm wondering about other brands.
      Does anyone have any info on pac boots they'd like to share?
      I don’t own the Caribou, but I’m on my second pair of Sorel Conquest boots and I have to say that the new pair I bought a year or two ago is markedly lower quality than the first pair I bought ten years ago.
      They probably figured out their quality was so good they loosing out (delaying) future sales. ;)
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • Astro wrote:

      SarcasmTheElf wrote:

      LIhikers wrote:

      Here we are in fall of 2018 and I'm starting to think about winter.
      Since my feet grew by a size right after I bought my last pair of winter boots, Sorel Caribou, I'm thinking about winter boots again.
      Today I read a number of reviews of the Caribou boots that talked about cracking of the rubber, so I'm wondering about other brands.
      Does anyone have any info on pac boots they'd like to share?
      I don’t own the Caribou, but I’m on my second pair of Sorel Conquest boots and I have to say that the new pair I bought a year or two ago is markedly lower quality than the first pair I bought ten years ago.

      They probably figured out their quality was so good they loosing out (de
      Maybe so, but the last thing I want is wet feet when it's cold out.