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DanC333
member (22)member
 
07/31/2020 06:06PM
So planning a trip for next year which will be our first trip to the BWCA. I am reading folks use crocs and other choices for in camp, but what are good choices for the trip to camp? I will likely wet foot in and out, looking at moderate length portages. We are looking at July as a possible timing, maybe mid to late June.
Thanks in advance for your help and suggestions
 
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Savage Voyageur
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07/31/2020 06:36PM
For wet footing get a good pair of water shoes, like keens. For portages and around camp I like a good pair of Merrel boots with wool socks.
 
DanC333
member (22)member
 
07/31/2020 07:01PM
So for longer portages, wet foot out, change to hikers, get the portage accomplished, then change, load up, and go? Makes sense, especially if you're talking 1/2 mile, or mile portages. Thanks
 
07/31/2020 09:11PM
Lots of people, like me, wear boots that drain water in the canoe and for portaging. I tried the shoe-switch thing early on and it got old fast. I wanted to step out of the canoe and get moving down the portage. I wear Chotas with 2 pairs of socks: a liner sock and a wool sock. My canoeing partner wears the same boots but with Chota's Caney Fork waterproof knee-high socks. There are lots of other options, and I am sure you will hear about them. Search this site for threads on boots and you will find a ton of information and opinions.
 
TipsyPaddler
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07/31/2020 09:13PM
DanC333: "Makes sense, especially if you're talking 1/2 mile, or mile portages. Thanks"

But I don’t think most portages are that long in the BWCA. I haven’t run a mathematical average but my guesstimate is closer to a short quarter mile or less.

I prefer to wear a good boot/shoe with wool socks while travelling and change into dry, comfy shoes when I get to camp. The rigamarole of switching from water shoes to boots and socks and then back again at each end of every portage sounds gosh darn tedious.

I wear Chota Light Portage Hikers with light to medium wool socks while travelling and then put on dry, comfy Crocs, Birks, or Lems (with or without socks depending on season, weather, temps and bugs) at the day’s camp site. A travel shoe/boot, a camp shoe/sandal and 3-4 pair of socks works great. More is just fashionista overkill in my opinion.

Edit: Ausable and I were typing at same time but kindred spirits on this topic.
 
07/31/2020 09:44PM
I use Chota lightweight Portage boots with medium weight wool socks and liner socks. I bring 3 pair of wool socks but keep one pair dry for camp and sleeping. I use a pair of Astral water shoes for day trips, fishing, and around camp. I also bring moccasin slippers for mornings. Sometimes both of my boots will be wet so dry socks and slippers in the morning is a good deal.
 
07/31/2020 11:05PM
DanC333: "So for longer portages, wet foot out, change to hikers, get the portage accomplished, then change, load up, and go? Makes sense, especially if you're talking 1/2 mile, or mile portages. Thanks"

I'm not sure I follow. Are you saying you are gonna change shoes at portage landings? What if the portage has a stream, flooded area or muddy section? Are you gonna change again to cross each wet section? I've never heard or seen this done and what a time consuming idea this would be. Just get a pair of wet shoes, ie Chota's, sandels, tennis shoes or what ever you feel comfortable in and wear them while canoeing and portaging and change out of them when you get to camp.
 
08/01/2020 05:35AM
minnmike: "DanC333: "So for longer portages, wet foot out, change to hikers, get the portage accomplished, then change, load up, and go? Makes sense, especially if you're talking 1/2 mile, or mile portages. Thanks"


I'm not sure I follow. Are you saying you are gonna change shoes at portage landings? What if the portage has a stream, flooded area or muddy section? Are you gonna change again to cross each wet section? I've never heard or seen this done and what a time consuming idea this would be. Just get a pair of wet shoes, ie Chota's, sandels, tennis shoes or what ever you feel comfortable in and wear them while canoeing and portaging and change out of them when you get to camp."


+1 Wear the wet shoes/boots to paddle/portage and save the dry shoes for camp.
 
DanC333
member (22)member
 
08/01/2020 06:18AM
Thanks for the advice and will search bots
 
DanC333
member (22)member
 
08/01/2020 06:22AM
Thanks everyone, I don't think I would have the discipline to change shoes at every Portage, I think I would have just said screw it and portages with whatever I was wearing. Like the idea of Portage shoes, boots, and camp shoes. Makes sense and doable.
 
DanC333
member (22)member
 
08/01/2020 06:35AM
Just looked at the Chotas, seems like a great answer. How are they for hiking exploring around camp walk to the falls etc after settled in for the day?
 
08/01/2020 08:13AM
DanC333: "Just looked at the Chotas, seems like a great answer. How are they for hiking exploring around camp walk to the falls etc after settled in for the day?"
They are ok for all of that if you don't mind walking in wet boots. If I want dry feet while my boots are still wet, I put on a dry pair of liner socks and short SealSkin (waterproof) socks. That combo works well for rainy days in camp, too. Otherwise I wear old sneakers or Saloman water shoes in camp.
 
bhouse46
distinguished member(2684)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/01/2020 08:36AM
new balance makes an OTB boot excellent for wetfooting and portaging. Vent holes and canvas construction allow rapid draining. I have a pair of their 6" abyss boots made a few years ago and feel good about the support although sharp rocks can be felt. The drain and rapid dry features do not leave me with that wet squishy feeling and my feet do not slide around in the boot. They dry overnight so in the morning I have a dry boot, unlike the Chotas which are usually still wet. The tread is worn down some, but otherwise they have held up very well in six years use. I saw some available when I did a quick search on a popular mass market website.
Military style jungle boots are another option. And plenty of people wear Tevas. I like the ankle support and foot protection of a boot for safety.
I also have the Chotas and wear them once the water gets cold and with the socks when really cold.
Good quality merino wool hiking socks, nuf said.
 
08/01/2020 09:20AM
Ausable: "DanC333: "Just looked at the Chotas, seems like a great answer. How are they for hiking exploring around camp walk to the falls etc after settled in for the day?"
They are ok for all of that if you don't mind walking in wet boots. If I want dry feet while my boots are still wet, I put on a dry pair of liner socks and short SealSkin (waterproof) socks. That combo works well for rainy days in camp, too. Otherwise I wear old sneakers or Saloman water shoes in camp."


Chotas also market themselves for fly-fishing as they tend to be relatively fast-drying. I usually pull my padded sole inserts out, extend the tongues of the boots, and point everything toward the sun when I'm in camp. All of this will dry in a couple of hours (vs. my old hiking boots). Chotas are a good option (there are other good options too) with sealskin socks.
 
08/01/2020 10:29AM
DanC333: "Thanks everyone, I don't think I would have the discipline to change shoes at every Portage, I think I would have just said screw it and portages with whatever I was wearing. Like the idea of Portage shoes, boots, and camp shoes. Makes sense and doable. "

I just wear boots and take camp shoes; 3 pair of footwear is overkill and just adds bulk and weight. I take 3 pair socks - wet travel socks, camp socks, and sleep socks.
 
jillpine
distinguished member (490)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/01/2020 10:50AM
Hi, Dan,
It's not even a matter of discipline as much as it is practicality and also courtesy. Taking time to sit down, change out muck-laden boots, put on boots for dry land, and then back into muck boots is impractical in most situations. Carrying (instead of wearing) those muck boots is reason alone to reconsider this approach. Others are: time, pile up at portage, and more stuff, more weight.

Whatever style and brand you choose for your wet-foot / travel shoe, my advice is to wear it a lot and know it well before you go.

Agree with Boonie and others - two sets of shoes, three sets of socks. Shoe for travel, shoe for camp. Sock for travel (gross, wet, stinky, dirty), sock for camp (ideally, always dry), sock for sleeping (always dry).

What type of shoe you decide for travel will depend on time of year (water temp), route, personal preference. If I'm doing a two or three night trip in July or August, I just take my trusty old water sandals or sneakers. If it's ice-out or late September, I take lined Muck boots with neoprene. If it's a longer trip or shorter trip with known rough portages, I'll grab my boots (Merrell Moabs). in camp, it's crocs with a heel strap. IN shoulder season, I also use a down boot when sleeping.

Also one last thing - there is a good trip report by Straighthairedcurly from earlier this summer. Among many pieces of great info in there, there is some discussion about taking care of feet. I think this is overlooked and really important. At night, when you reach camp, take off those muck socks and rinse them out well. I even boil water for this and use a designated soaking collapsible bucket for foot soaking and sock rinsing. It feels so good and it helps keep your feet and foot gear in good shape. I take epsom salts for my foot soak. Epsom salts are also excellent in the first aid kit for soaking wounds while you're headed back for proper care.

Hope you have a great trip -
Beth
 
Blatz
distinguished member(1395)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/01/2020 12:49PM
Ultra light to light Smart wool socks and Keen Voyager Mid length boots are my go foot ware in warm weather wet footing
 
fishonfishoff
distinguished member(586)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/01/2020 01:38PM

If this is your first trip and on a budget, you could just use an old pair of tennis shoes or a cheap pair of boat shoes for your travel days. I used to save an old pair of tennis shoes for my "wet shoes" then bid them a fond farewell in the outfitters dumpster, at trips end. These cheap boat shoes have about 1 trip left in them before they get the same sendoff. "That trip will be in Maine this September."
 
08/01/2020 01:40PM
boonie: "I just wear boots and take camp shoes; 3 pair of footwear is overkill and just adds bulk and weight. I take 3 pair socks - wet travel socks, camp socks, and sleep socks. "

I'm here, too. I've used the NRS Workboot Wetshoe for our last several paddling trips. I wear them with a pair of Injinji liner socks and have had no issues with blisters/rubs while portaging with wet feet/boots. The Workboots provide good grip across portages and have good ankle support. They do not, however, dry completely overnight, and smell pretty funky at the end of a trip. I've heard some folks comment about thin soles, but I use SuperFeet inserts for arch support and haven't had that complaint. In camp I wear Teva sandals with wool socks; I also wear wool sleep socks.

TZ
 
Blatz
distinguished member(1395)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/01/2020 01:58PM
DanC333: "So for longer portages, wet foot out, change to hikers, get the portage accomplished, then change, load up, and go? Makes sense, especially if you're talking 1/2 mile, or mile portages. Thanks" Lots of times your portage involves water during the portage. I did the change into hiking boots after you unload for a portage. You're always putting on socks over wet feet and it was a big pain after a short while. Tried it, didn't like it. I've wet footed with portages over a mile. I didn't have any issue with my feet. Smart wool socks and Keen Voyager boots felt very comfortable
 
DanC333
member (22)member
 
08/01/2020 03:31PM
Thanks everyone, great advice I wouldn't have remotely figured out on my own before I went. I think the 2 pair of shoes, 3 pair of socks makes a lot of sense. I will look up the thread you mentioned Beth, thank you.
Thanks again
Dan
 
kona
distinguished member (197)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/01/2020 05:29PM
For warm season I like the astral tr1 series. I have the mesh and they dry out quickly. With wool socks they’re comfy even wet. Super sticky rubber.
 
08/01/2020 08:39PM
If I am traveling (solo &/or moving daily): Other than maybe the first and last 10 days after/before ice out I wear Astral Brewers - and I add a cushioned insole and size up half a size.

Then those are also my camp shoes - dry, cushy wool socks inside goretex socks after removing the insoles and I am comfy.

Basecamping with the family? Then I bring a second pair of shoes that are camp shoes.
 
jillpine
distinguished member (490)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/01/2020 09:01PM
sns: "If I am traveling (solo &/or moving daily): Other than maybe the first and last 10 days after/before ice out I wear Astral Brewers - and I add a cushioned insole and size up half a size.


Then those are also my camp shoes - dry, cushy wool socks inside goretex socks after removing the insoles and I am comfy.


Basecamping with the family? Then I bring a second pair of shoes that are camp shoes."


That's a great idea. I have the TR1's and they're a bit large. Didn't even think about an insole. They are a great shoe...
 
mjmkjun
distinguished member(2654)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/02/2020 04:54AM
I can't warm up to crocs. They are clunky and clumsy and I need to be surefooted on the solos. I like to explore the area surrounding campsites so they don't work for me. Plus, bits and pieces of the forest floor get through those holes along the sides. Annoying.
OTB boots are my wet-footing boots during warm weather months and lightweight, tie-ups in camp. Currently, my camp shoes are Lems Boulder Boot Vegan. They are very comfortable and offer ankle support. Ultra-lightweight and packable. I am surprised they don't float into space when I take them off. Old sneakers work just fine too.
edit: another thumbs up on merino wool socks. they're worth the expense for happy feet!
 
08/02/2020 08:12AM
I used Salomon Tech amphibians for years as camp shoes but they have redesigned them now. they really look fantastic and have tightened up the mesh on the sides. Salomon puts out high quality and I don't think anyone would be disappointed with these especially at that price.

Salomon Tech Amphibian 4


 
08/02/2020 11:26AM
Lot’s of good options. I use Salomon Tech Amphib water shoes for portaging and Keens with the toes covered for camp. Wear wool socks with either or nothing with the keens

My first few trips I just used the TEVAs exclusively with thick wool socks. Did fine but you are taking a chance of getting stabbed by a stick or cut on a rock. Never had an issue but I could see it happening.

If it is your first trip and you aren’t putting on high miles. As someone mentioned old tennis shoes might work. I wore good hiking boots on my first trip. Hated it but it didn’t cost me anything.

T
 
08/02/2020 08:46PM
I'm not a fan. I prefer something that offers better grip and ties on securely.
 
08/05/2020 01:27PM
For wet footing I use Keen Arroyo sandals with wool socks. When at camp and done with going into the water for the day I'll change into dry socks and hikers. I'd rather have secure attachment to my foot for in camp although for Philmont crocs were perfect for in camp.
 
08/06/2020 11:36AM
Chota Hippies with 2.5mm neoprene socks. Very secure and comfy.
 
tomo
senior member (75)senior membersenior member
 
08/06/2020 01:01PM
old tennis shoes or trail runners for wet-footing, even into September, and a pair of astrals for around camp. 3 pairs of socks, as others have mentioned. I have been examining wet-foot shoes with better grip, and am curious about the Astral Rassler 2.0 and the Hiyak, but so far have stuck with old tennis shoes.
 
Bjfinnegan
 
08/06/2020 01:40PM
One of our guys used Keen Clearwaters this year that worked well. Seemed to fit slimmer than other closed toe sandal options and shed sand or debris fairly well.

Lacrosse Alphaburlys 18” have worked well for non-wet footing and avoiding changing shoes. Made for backcountry hunting with long hikes. Pricey but have been worth the investment IMO, both for cold and warm weather trips.
 
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