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SourisMan
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10/15/2018 07:06AM
This is a PSA for old folks. I'm not trying to raise the old dryfoot/wetfoot debate.

I've been on nearly 40 Boundary Waters trips, and have dry footed every one. On a recent cool weather solo trip, I tried wet footing (sort of). I bought a $45 pair of comfortable rubber boots from Farm and Fleet. With those I was able to wade into the water at portages as opposed to my usual gymnastics routine, stretching from one slippery rock to the next. The boot worked great!

Some caveats....I had only 3 short, easy portages. I'm not sure the boots would work so well for longer ones. Also, this was an October trip. The boots would be too warm in the Summer.

The positives...
1. My feet stayed warm and dry
2. The boots were so comfy I even wore them around camp
3. As I said, getting in and out of the canoe at portages was SO much easier. That's a huge plus for a solo tripper at age 66.

If you haven't tried this approach, I'd definitely recommend it, particularly if your age is about the same as freeway speeds.
 
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10/15/2018 08:21AM
The one and only time we took an October trip, back in '04, so I guess we didn't quite qualify then as "seniors", my husband did the same thing. It is the only time I have ever seen him wear rubber boots on a trip. It worked pretty well, actually. Normally we always wet-foot. On that trip he would do the "wet-footing" (in the boots ) and help me out of the canoe in ways that kept my hiking boots dry, since I really needed the traction and support of my well-fitting hiking boots for portages.

He still has those boots and he wears them at our lake cottage when he is out on the beach area raking up weeds. It brings back memories. It was a very enjoyable trip, except that I wasn't crazy about the short days.
A1t2o
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10/15/2018 08:28AM
Senior or not, the issue I've always had with wet footing is sacrificing ankle support to have a lighter and drainable alternative. Most wet foot boots I have seen are thin and don't look like they provide much support at all. The ones that do are incredibly expensive and aren't useful for much of anything except canoeing.

Plus, how is it comfortable wearing wet boots all day? No matter how well draining they are, they are still going to take hours to dry out. My boots might not be meant to get wet but they take days to dry out when they get do get soaked. What do you even wear for socks? I don't see wool helping here, so do you wear a synthetic or does everyone go with either a waterproof sock or nothing? I can't see that being comfortable either.

I'm trying to wrap my head around it, but I just don't see how it would work well. Maybe wet footing just isn't for some people.
Savage Voyageur
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10/15/2018 08:56AM
Sourisman, Please post a link or picture or the boots you are referring to. It would help in the discussion. Thanks
10/15/2018 08:57AM
Always wet-footed in the spring and summer. Hiking boots and wool socks. Wool socks are not cold and clammy when they are wet, so it wasn't as uncomfortable as you might think. When I got to camp I had dry socks to change into and dry tennis shoes for around camp. Unless it was a very bright, sunny day, the boots and boot liners didn't dry out completely, but of course the socks would dry on a clothes line.

Putting them back on in the morning was not a pleasant experience. I don't remember it fondly. But I did it for 40 years, and I miss it now. Go figure. :-(

dex8425
member (29)member
 
10/15/2018 09:08AM
We just returned from a 45 mile sawbill lake loop yesterday. We did 22 portages, three over 200 rods, and my footwear of choice was Tingley overboots, over my regular trail runners. They're ugly as heck, but cheap, long enough to wet foot in, and comfortable because you're wearing your regular shoes/boots.

Half of the portages this weekend were literal creeks. There'd be no way you could do all 22 of those portages with normal shoes and have dry feet. My wife tried to keep her feet dry without boots and was very unsuccessful.

andym
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10/15/2018 11:02AM
Good point SourisMan. A few years ago, on a cold weather day trip we tried to dry foot and found it complex and difficult. Last week, we went to the Surplus store in Ely and had our pick of many different well insulated rubber and neoprene boots. We went with the ones on sale for $50 (down from $60) and we were back to wetfooting in the cold and snow except that our feet were warm and dry. They were also great for tromping around in the snow, wading across flooded areas on the trails around our cabin, and hiking the Kawishiwi Falls trail. Definitely a fan of this approach in cold weather. Our boots are some sort of off brand knockoffs so can’t do a link.

In the summer. I wear Chota Quetico Trekkers with their neoprene liners or wool socks. I sometimes wear Keen sandals and wool socks. I often do the latter sailing in California. I don’t feel uncomfortable with my feet, socks, and boots, wet. Yes, it is a tad annoying to put them on in the morning but I always just think that in a few minutes I am wading into the lake and would be wet then.
SourisMan
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10/15/2018 11:07AM
Savage Voyageur: "Sourisman, Please post a link or picture or the boots you are referring to. It would help in the discussion. Thanks"

Here's the link. The reviews on the Farm and Fleet site are not good at all, so I can't recommend these specific boots. I'll see how mine hold up over time. Maybe someone can recommend other options.

Boots
SourisMan
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10/15/2018 11:12AM
A1t2o: "Senior or not, the issue I've always had with wet footing is sacrificing ankle support to have a lighter and drainable alternative. Most wet foot boots I have seen are thin and don't look like they provide much support at all. The ones that do are incredibly expensive and aren't useful for much of anything except canoeing.


Plus, how is it comfortable wearing wet boots all day? No matter how well draining they are, they are still going to take hours to dry out. My boots might not be meant to get wet but they take days to dry out when they get do get soaked. What do you even wear for socks? I don't see wool helping here, so do you wear a synthetic or does everyone go with either a waterproof sock or nothing? I can't see that being comfortable either.


I'm trying to wrap my head around it, but I just don't see how it would work well. Maybe wet footing just isn't for some people."


I probably wasn't clear. These are waterproof boots, so my feet stayed dry. I needed, therefor, to stay in water that didn't go over the tops. I planned to switch to camp shoes once in camp, but never bothered.

You're right about ankle support. These have none. They worked just fine for the short portages I had.
SourisMan
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10/15/2018 11:19AM
dex8425: "We just returned from a 45 mile sawbill lake loop yesterday. We did 22 portages, three over 200 rods, and my footwear of choice was Tingley overboots, over my regular trail runners. They're ugly as heck, but cheap, long enough to wet foot in, and comfortable because you're wearing your regular shoes/boots.

Half of the portages this weekend were literal creeks. There'd be no way you could do all 22 of those portages with normal shoes and have dry feet. My wife tried to keep her feet dry without boots and was very unsuccessful.


"


This sounds like a great option. I looked at Tingley's and was amazed at how light they are. I wished they had them in my size.
KarlBAndersen1
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10/15/2018 12:33PM
Chota Quetico Trekkers for me with wool socks.
We're in the Boundary Waters. It's wet there. Feet are going to get wet. So I wear shoes that drain well and offer a bit of support.
When I get where I'm going, I put on clean dry wool socks and feel like I'm at home. I always take three pair of wool socks and a pair of liners.

Not sure what being a "senior" has to do with the topic.
I'm 64.
I'll let you know when "senior" kicks in.
andym
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10/15/2018 12:47PM
I think my willingness to have my feet be wet goes down when the water is really cold. But my interest in trying never to step in the water doesn't increase. That's why we got the rubber/neoprene boots last week. If I was going to do an overnight trip then I might go for something like the Chota Mukluks that would still keep my feet warm even if water got in the top.
Michwall2
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10/15/2018 01:27PM
A1t2o: "Plus, how is it comfortable wearing wet boots all day? No matter how well draining they are, they are still going to take hours to dry out. My boots might not be meant to get wet but they take days to dry out when they get do get soaked. What do you even wear for socks? I don't see wool helping here, so do you wear a synthetic or does everyone go with either a waterproof sock or nothing? I can't see that being comfortable either.

I'm trying to wrap my head around it, but I just don't see how it would work well. Maybe wet footing just isn't for some people."


How do you keep the feet dry? There are several portages landings I can think of where it is all but impossible. Especially in low water conditions. Those rocks will not let the canoe in close enough to get out dry-foot. Many times I step out in water up to my knees.

I wear SmartWool in my Quetico Trekkers and I am comfortable throughout the day wet-footing. I think the socks hold a layer of water that I can warm and then it is not an issue. Dry socks at the end of travel and I am good to go. It gets tougher when it rains. Harder to keep the camp shoes and socks dry.
dex8425
member (29)member
 
10/15/2018 01:50PM
SourisMan: "dex8425: "We just returned from a 45 mile sawbill lake loop yesterday. We did 22 portages, three over 200 rods, and my footwear of choice was Tingley overboots, over my regular trail runners. They're ugly as heck, but cheap, long enough to wet foot in, and comfortable because you're wearing your regular shoes/boots.


Half of the portages this weekend were literal creeks. There'd be no way you could do all 22 of those portages with normal shoes and have dry feet. My wife tried to keep her feet dry without boots and was very unsuccessful.



"



This sounds like a great option. I looked at Tingley's and was amazed at how light they are. I wished they had them in my size."


I think they come in any size unless you have bigger feet than me. I have size 12.5 and reckon a size 13.5 would fit, but no more. The medium is pretty small, about right for a women's size 7.
A1t2o
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10/15/2018 03:45PM
Michwall2: "How do you keep the feet dry? There are several portages landings I can think of where it is all but impossible. Especially in low water conditions. Those rocks will not let the canoe in close enough to get out dry-foot. Many times I step out in water up to my knees."

In those cases, I just get out on the rocks. Usually though it doesn't take much to nose up to some point where I can get out then either hold the canoe for my buddy in the back to crawl forward on the gunwales or turn the canoe around to back in to the same point I got out at.

I've gone on 5 trips now and never had I needed to get out in the water if I didn't want to. Sure it can be easier but using stepping stones is not hard either.
WHendrix
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10/15/2018 06:28PM
A1t2o: "Michwall2: "How do you keep the feet dry? There are several portages landings I can think of where it is all but impossible. Especially in low water conditions. Those rocks will not let the canoe in close enough to get out dry-foot. Many times I step out in water up to my knees."


In those cases, I just get out on the rocks. Usually though it doesn't take much to nose up to some point where I can get out then either hold the canoe for my buddy in the back to crawl forward on the gunwales or turn the canoe around to back in to the same point I got out at.


I've gone on 5 trips now and never had I needed to get out in the water if I didn't want to. Sure it can be easier but using stepping stones is not hard either."


THIS is where the senior thing kicks in. I don't know about all of you other "senior" paddlers, but I am 75, and my balance is simply no longer adequate to be balancing on all of those slippery rocks. I wear NRS boundary socks inside of Abyss boots and have good traction and dry feet. You do NOT have to give up dry feet to wetfoot.

Bill
DuluthPak
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10/15/2018 06:42PM


My wife and I have been using these Chota Breathable Mukluks for almost ten years. A pair of thick SmartWool socks keeps our feet dry even when wet footing up to our knees. They have ample support for portaging. They breathe well even in the summer months. Love them. Unfortunately Chota doesn't make this particular boot anymore and I'll miss them when they're gone. Chota makes a few other options now.
Northwoodsman
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10/15/2018 07:12PM
Last year I purchased Chota Hippies and Chota Caney Fork Wading Boots. My wet footing days in September were over! Until this year. Last year I absolutely loved having dry feet every day. I won't put on wet socks or wet boots so this is really my only option. This year I ditched them at the last minute, literally 30 minutes before we pushed off. It was warm and even though the forecast was iffy all week I was willing to take the risk. I wore my Keen Newport H2O's and very thin Smartwool socks. Perfect. Feet stayed warm and didn't feel wet at all because the thin socks didn't hold water. I didn't even change out of them when we arrived and set up camp because they dried so quickly. Then it got chilly and the last two days I decided to do what I could to stay dry. My paddling partner had Chota Hippies and that allowed me to stay dry. He was in the bow and would hop out, while I steadied the canoe with my paddle he would unload the packs and then I would work my way to the front and get out on a rock. It was perfect until I was getting into the canoe after the last portage. I couldn't believe that I made it all day and that far only to slip off a rock getting in the canoe on the last paddling segment. Next year I will likely revert back to the Chota set-up.

Duluth Pak - those are perfect!
10/15/2018 07:40PM
Muck Wetlands work great. They have adequate ankle support and are comfortable to wear. Easy on and off as well. I've done portages over a mile with them.
moosewatcher
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10/15/2018 08:03PM
+1
SourisMan
distinguished member(578)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/15/2018 08:46PM
WHendrix: "A1t2o: "Michwall2: "How do you keep the feet dry? There are several portages landings I can think of where it is all but impossible. Especially in low water conditions. Those rocks will not let the canoe in close enough to get out dry-foot. Many times I step out in water up to my knees."



In those cases, I just get out on the rocks. Usually though it doesn't take much to nose up to some point where I can get out then either hold the canoe for my buddy in the back to crawl forward on the gunwales or turn the canoe around to back in to the same point I got out at.



I've gone on 5 trips now and never had I needed to get out in the water if I didn't want to. Sure it can be easier but using stepping stones is not hard either."



THIS is where the senior thing kicks in. I don't know about all of you other "senior" paddlers, but I am 75, and my balance is simply no longer adequate to be balancing on all of those slippery rocks. I wear NRS boundary socks inside of Abyss boots and have good traction and dry feet. You do NOT have to give up dry feet to wetfoot.


Bill"


Bill
Topic aside, just want to tip my hat to you for BW tripping at 75. The phrase "tough old bird" comes to mind. ;)
10/15/2018 10:03PM
SourisMan: "WHendrix: "A1t2o: "Michwall2: "How do you keep the feet dry? There are several portages landings I can think of where it is all but impossible. Especially in low water conditions. Those rocks will not let the canoe in close enough to get out dry-foot. Many times I step out in water up to my knees."



In those cases, I just get out on the rocks. Usually though it doesn't take much to nose up to some point where I can get out then either hold the canoe for my buddy in the back to crawl forward on the gunwales or turn the canoe around to back in to the same point I got out at.



I've gone on 5 trips now and never had I needed to get out in the water if I didn't want to. Sure it can be easier but using stepping stones is not hard either."




THIS is where the senior thing kicks in. I don't know about all of you other "senior" paddlers, but I am 75, and my balance is simply no longer adequate to be balancing on all of those slippery rocks. I wear NRS boundary socks inside of Abyss boots and have good traction and dry feet. You do NOT have to give up dry feet to wetfoot.



Bill"



Bill
Topic aside, just want to tip my hat to you for BW tripping at 75. The phrase "tough old bird" comes to mind. ;)"





Yes on the tough old bird... I would love to be able to try Bill's recommendation... Most reasonable approach. I've tried the Seal Skins and they don't make one trip for me. I've liked my Chota "socks" but I'm good at going deep... I can't believe a person can get adventurous and have dry feet with anything limited. I like the chotas because not if, but when I get wet I'm still warm... not to warm. and always wear sock liners or you almost have to cut them off. Haha... Muck Boots are far better then I imagined. But I always fill them also...
10/15/2018 10:19PM
SourisMan: "Savage Voyageur: "Sourisman, Please post a link or picture or the boots you are referring to. It would help in the discussion. Thanks"


Here's the link. The reviews on the Farm and Fleet site are not good at all, so I can't recommend these specific boots. I'll see how mine hold up over time. Maybe someone can recommend other options.


Boots "


I have these exact boots purchased 2 years ago at F&F on sale for $45. They served me well on several cold weather trips as well as volunteer work at a nature center. Last night I used Shoe Goo to try to repair a 1/2" fatigue crack where they bend about 5-6" up as I walk. Trip starting Wednesday. I guess I should have spent about $90 or so to buy Muck Boots.

For the record I will be 71 next month.
mjmkjun
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10/16/2018 04:11AM
Thanks for your posting SourisMan. It generated a good input of resourceful ways to keep feet out of cold water. Don't mind wetfooting in warm months but dislike that cold water shock. Cold feet is no good for those with circulation issues/diabetics and/or members of the over-the-hill gang.
schweady
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10/16/2018 09:31AM
Retirement brings more opportunities for shoulder season paddling. That means bringing my rubber boots vs going the usual socks and Keen sandals route of summer. A few tears back, I found a $0.00 solution when a pair of leaky neoprene waders was to be replaced: cut the boots off of the old waders. Work like a charm.
mooseplums
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10/17/2018 06:37AM
I have done wetfooting, tall rubber boots, chota hippies, but now I go a little different route. I bought a pair of Cabelas stocking foot wader pants. They go clear to the waist, and are breathable. My boots are Chota Caney Forks. There is no danger of filling them, and in wet weather I never need to carry rain pants.
They are great when I guide groups, because I usually help them load and unload thier canoes and I stand in the water while doing so.
I will never go back
10/17/2018 09:27AM
Michwall2: "I wear SmartWool in my Quetico Trekkers and I am comfortable throughout the day wet-footing. I think the socks hold a layer of water that I can warm and then it is not an issue. Dry socks at the end of travel and I am good to go. It gets tougher when it rains. Harder to keep the camp shoes and socks dry."

Regarding rain issues: a couple of years ago I bought SealSkinz socks just to use with my Quetico Trekkers around camp when it rains. I wear polypropylene liner socks under the SealSkinz (I also wear polypro liners under wool socks when wet-footing).

This is a great thread; lots of good info. I've never been able to rock-hop and stay dry consistently, so I've had to embrace the fact that I need to step into the water to find stable footing.
bwcasolo
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10/18/2018 05:40AM
andym: "I think my willingness to have my feet be wet goes down when the water is really cold. But my interest in trying never to step in the water doesn't increase. That's why we got the rubber/neoprene boots last week. If I was going to do an overnight trip then I might go for something like the Chota Mukluks that would still keep my feet warm even if water got in the top."which boot's are you talking about?
andym
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10/18/2018 07:27AM
The boots we bought are a lot like Mucks but with a zipper up the side. The zipper is backed by a rubber flap that keeps them waterproof. Bottoms are rubber, Hale way up the calf they become rubberized neoprene and have that as a lining. They are knockoffs we bought at the Ely Surplus and I don’t remember seeing a brand name. They had a lot of similar boots at a wide range of prices. I’d check for a name but we left them at our cabin for future cold wet trips. Not sure I’d get the zipper for a real trip but for going in and out of the cabin and keeping them off when inside it was nice.
Pinetree
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10/18/2018 08:52AM
SourisMan: "This is a PSA for old folks. I'm not trying to raise the old dryfoot/wetfoot debate.

I've been on nearly 40 Boundary Waters trips, and have dry footed every one. On a recent cool weather solo trip, I tried wet footing (sort of). I bought a $45 pair of comfortable rubber boots from Farm and Fleet. With those I was able to wade into the water at portages as opposed to my usual gymnastics routine, stretching from one slippery rock to the next. The boot worked great!

Some caveats....I had only 3 short, easy portages. I'm not sure the boots would work so well for longer ones. Also, this was an October trip. The boots would be too warm in the Summer.

The positives...
1. My feet stayed warm and dry
2. The boots were so comfy I even wore them around camp
3. As I said, getting in and out of the canoe at portages was SO much easier. That's a huge plus for a solo tripper at age 66.

If you haven't tried this approach, I'd definitely recommend it, particularly if your age is about the same as freeway speeds. "


That is exactly used for 30 years
bwcasolo
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10/18/2018 04:47PM
during the off season's-spring , fall, i am looking for a knee high, warm, water-proof boot that i can portage with comfort and safety.
i have an old pair of chota knee high trekkers they do not make anymore that are wore out.
muck boot's feel so heavy and awkward.
i have tried them on, but not used them.
i know they get good reviews here.
bean boot's, well they leaked like a running faucet.
i have wore my hikers with neo's overboot, but they wore out.
i will look at cabela's, they seem to have a decent line.
i know there are other options with chota, but you are buying water proof liners, shoes, or boot's and it really add's up in the cost.
so basically there has to be a rubber, neoprene boot out there that doe's the job.
WHAT IS IT?
is it the muck boot i will end up with?
i don't know, what say you all?
hand me another beer.
andym
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10/18/2018 09:23PM
If you think the Muck boots are clunky then you could try the NRS Boundary Shoe which is really a boot. I was going to say the Chota Mukluks but those seem to have gone away.
mjmkjun
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10/19/2018 05:00AM
andym: "If you think the Muck boots are clunky then you could try the NRS Boundary Shoe which is really a boot. I was going to say the Chota Mukluks but those seem to have gone away."
Yep! I've posted this before, but go up two sizes on the NRS Boundary Boot. My foot size is 10-10.5 so ordered an 11 but it pressed against the toes too much. Got a 12 and can wear with thin socks. Does keep my feet dry, warm and comfortable portaging & in camp. I am 5'7" and the top is just below my knee cap. More streamlined than a Muck boot and a thinner sole.
bwcasolo
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10/19/2018 04:17PM
andym: "If you think the Muck boots are clunky then you could try the NRS Boundary Shoe which is really a boot. I was going to say the Chota Mukluks but those seem to have gone away."
hi andy, thanks, the moccasin type foot bed on these look really thin. i have looked at these before, but did not purchase due to what i thought would be not beefy enough of a foot bed.
trying on a pair of muckboots tomorrow.
TNTraveler
 
10/19/2018 05:49PM
New to the forum, but not to camping canoeing, along the lines of Mooseplums thinking, you can buy stocking foot hip waders, to me more comfortable than the waist ones, they are made from different materials from neoprene for when its cold outside, or different coated materials depending on what you want to pay, these are more comfortable and with a pair of felt sole wading shoes, they work great on slippery rocks, just watch out for wet grass and mud :D
10/19/2018 07:48PM
Yes, I'm also looking for new options for keeping my feet warm. I'm old, poor circulation, blood thinners, and my feet get COLD.

Mooseplums idea is interesting, but I just don't think I'd find anything that would be a reasonably good fit after looking at the sizing chart.

I got some of the Chota socks once, but they did not fit me well enough to be comfortable for wearing for any distance.

The NRS Boundary Shoe looked interesting, but I have the same reservation as bwcasolo. I need something with some serious support underneath.

I have looked at the NRS Workboot, but not sure how warm that would be if wet. I'm usually OK wet footing down into the mid-50's.

I'll probably have to try on some Muck boots and see if they're much different from the old Chota clunkers (not made anymore) that I have.
 
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