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Kendis
member (36)member
 
04/08/2021 04:08PM  
Hello,

My wife and I will be going to the BW in mid-May. Our previous trips have been between late-June to early-August. We have wet footed it all of our past trips and most of our local canoeing as well.

Last Fall we purchased waterproof boots to use in cooler weather closer to home. The boots come up to a little below the knee and are waterproof.

What is your opinion about wet foot versus dry in mid-May? I'm wondering if the water will be uncomfortably cold to sit with wet feet in the canoe for hours as the shoes and socks dry.

Thanks,
Kendis
 
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04/08/2021 04:12PM  
I've done both in May. Last year I wet footed in May, but the week before my trip I would have Used my Mucks. check the weather, if there's any chance of cold weather during your trip use the waterproof boots
tarnkt
distinguished member (371)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/08/2021 04:15PM  
I have always wet footed but only early June through late September.

I would decide based on the forecast before you head in. If it’s warm out wet feet wouldn’t be a problem, if it’s not I would get pretty uncomfortable.
mschi772
distinguished member(627)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/08/2021 04:43PM  
Went to Clearwater, Caribou, W Pike, Pine Lake area third week of May 2019. Did not wet foot and would not have advised it.
pswith5
distinguished member(3449)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/08/2021 04:49PM  
I wet foot in May all the time
04/08/2021 05:54PM  
My group wet-footed last May, entering May 19. Never a concern, never wished I had tall heavy boots. The weather was fairly benevolent; might be different if you're breaking ice.

PS: also entering mid-May this year and will be wet footing again.
04/08/2021 06:42PM  
Wait a month and see what the weather (and water temps) do between now and then. It sounds like you're setup for either option so you have what you need, just have to see what happens between now and then. Water might be 41 or it could be 60 by then.
04/08/2021 06:54PM  
I've used sealskinz lately but I've also used chota brookies and waders.
EddyTurn
senior member (98)senior membersenior member
 
04/08/2021 07:04PM  
Everyone's chemistry is different, and usually it much better works in younger people, but for average person it can be more than uncomfortable paddling for hours in cold weather with wet feet. Especially if one has to wade in freezing temperature for anything longer than few seconds. Waterproof socks could be worn for wet-footing in shoulder season for the whole day; a useful alternative is waterproof overshoes that are easy to put on/off when getting in and out of the boat or on a wet portage. In any scenario I find wool socks to be helpful.
dschult2
senior member (87)senior membersenior member
 
04/08/2021 08:17PM  
I'm heading in May 16th and will be wet footing. You should be fine, especially with this early ice out. The key is really high quality wool socks and a well draining shoe like a trail runner. I suggest Darn Tough.
Boppasteveg
senior member (98)senior membersenior member
 
04/09/2021 06:48AM  
I would think it depends more about the material your canoe is made from. Kevlar = wet foot regardless of water temp.
04/09/2021 07:23AM  
You’ll be fine wet footing. Wear wool socks if it’s cold. If you wear neoprene, wear a liner sock at least. But that’s an option.
04/09/2021 07:49AM  
nctry: "You’ll be fine wet footing. Wear wool socks if it’s cold. If you wear neoprene, wear a liner sock at least. But that’s an option."

I agree with the waterproof sock. Use a liner sock, but the waterproof sock will keep the cold water from making your feet uncomfortable. I've never been much of a fan of the waterproof boots. They tend to be heavy and uncomfortable.

You seem to already have both options though. You could just get some waterproof socks and try both options out at home and see for yourself which one is more comfortable. Not sure how much those socks cost but it is a pretty simple way to see which option is your preferred choice.
bapazian1
senior member (67)senior membersenior member
 
04/09/2021 08:35AM  
I wet foot the entire canoe season. For early trips a pair of neoprene boots like the NRS Boundary Boots are an excellent choice. They are knee high so are waterproof to that point. If you do go over the boot the neoprene insulates well when wet. I originally got these for sea kayaking on Lake Superior but found them very useful for early and late season bwca trips. I usually wear 2-3mm neoprene socks underneath. I find these far superior to muck boots as they are lighter, more comfortable, and perform well in the event of going over the boot. When the water and or air temperature warms a bit I switch to NRS ATB wetshoe with .5mm neoprene socks. Again these are marketed for kayaking but I find the hard sole does well on portage's and it's nice being able to comfortably walk right through the water on portage's without collecting debris like sandals or to a lesser degree trail runners are prone to collecting.

BearBurrito
distinguished member(907)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/09/2021 09:59AM  
bapazian1: "I wet foot the entire canoe season. For early trips a pair of neoprene boots like the NRS Boundary Boots are an excellent choice. They are knee high so are waterproof to that point. If you do go over the boot the neoprene insulates well when wet. I originally got these for sea kayaking on Lake Superior but found them very useful for early and late season bwca trips. I usually wear 2-3mm neoprene socks underneath. I find these far superior to muck boots as they are lighter, more comfortable, and perform well in the event of going over the boot. When the water and or air temperature warms a bit I switch to NRS ATB wetshoe with .5mm neoprene socks. Again these are marketed for kayaking but I find the hard sole does well on portage's and it's nice being able to comfortably walk right through the water on portage's without collecting debris like sandals or to a lesser degree trail runners are prone to collecting.


"


I as well wear the boundary boot during shoulder season
JohnMoore
Guest Paddler
 
04/09/2021 10:54AM  
Clearly a personal choice but if you are polling responses my wife and I wear waterproof boots in cold weather and wet foot in warm weather.
chessie
distinguished member (169)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/10/2021 10:20AM  
We have done either. Just be mindful that in early spring or late fall, if you are wet-footing and you get a spell of cool & rainy weather, you do place yourself at a bit greater risk for getting very chilled.
schweady
distinguished member(7318)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
04/10/2021 05:47PM  
We did neoprene socks and Keen sandals for the first time last September. Temps got down to the mid-20s and the water was cold but our feet were wet but warm. Portaging while wearing that combination is better than I originally anticipated, too.
tumblehome
distinguished member(1998)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/11/2021 07:44PM  
Boy am I confused. Does wet footing now mean that you get your feet wet? If so, that’s absurd.

How do you folks navigate muddy, wet, swampy portages?

I have a pair of rubber mud boots that I wear when I am getting in and out of the canoe and on portages. I keep the shoes for extended paddling times and in camp. You can buy a $15 pair or a $150 pair. The ones I have are about $90 and comfortable enough to wear all day.

Nobody should ever have wet feet in the BWCA. It is extremely uncomfortable, probably the worst thing you can do to yourself in the woods.

Keep yourself warm and dry all the time, all the time.

Tom
04/11/2021 10:27PM  
Yes, to me wet footing means water and mud go between your toes. Others seem to have some other definition. I think if you wear neoprene boots or socks, it’s not wet footing. I guess if you’re using like ankle high neoprene socks or something just for warmth I would say it’s still wet footing.

Anyway, in the summer I wear lightweight trail shoes that drain pretty well with darn tough socks and just get muddy. It’s fine. I just change in camp. The worst part is putting on cold, wet socks to start the day. Two minutes later, though, and it’s all good. If it’s cold, outside of summer, I will often wear Muck Wetlands and dry foot.

Dreamer
senior member (84)senior membersenior member
 
04/11/2021 10:41PM  
I wet foot in warm weather only. Nothing worse than wet feet in the cold. You can keep your dry shoes handy for long paddles, long portages, hiking, or camp. I would never recommend wet footing when the air temp is cool and the water at 40 degrees. Dry feet to me are a key to keeping yourself safe.

Are you really that desperate to shed pounds or comfort that you can't bring some boots? Those boots really aren't uncomfortable. Much better to bring them in my opinion...
tumblehome
distinguished member(1998)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/12/2021 07:03AM  
cycle003: "Yes, to me wet footing means water and mud go between your toes. Others seem to have some other definition.
"


Back in the day, wet footing meant that you loaded and unloaded the canoe before dragging it on shore, a practice more people need to do to care fro their canoes.

Agreed, you can get your feet wet in the hot summer months but there is no reason to step out of a canoe in cold water without a water-proof boot.

Unless you are using an aluminum canoe AKA lead sled, you aught to be wet footing to care for the canoe. There are very few sandy beaches in the BWCA where you can shoot right onto shore.

Keep you feet dry!

Tom
schweady
distinguished member(7318)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
04/12/2021 01:13PM  
Tom - On multiple occasions, I'm up to my knees in water when loading or unloading. No way I'm wearing anything that goes up that high just to keep my feet dry. As has been said, it matters little in the summer months - Darn Tough wool socks and closed-toe Keen sandals work great. My feet are wet. The socks and sandals are muddy or sandy, etc, but very rarely anything "between my toes." In the shoulder seasons, swapping the wool socks for neoprene ones results in the same wet feet, but they feel warmer and it's far more tolerable. They've even worn well over many portages so far, too.
EddyTurn
senior member (98)senior membersenior member
 
04/12/2021 01:29PM  
Dreamer: "Are you really that desperate to shed pounds or comfort that you can't bring some boots? Those boots really aren't uncomfortable. Much better to bring them in my opinion..."
It's not exactly about shedding a pound or two - common wisdom says that weight carried below the ankles shall be multiplied by 4 or 5 to be compared to weight carried on the shoulders. If you doubt this math try wearing ankle weights on a hiking trip. Accordingly, the difference between lightest wet-footing shoes and heavy-duty water sandals will be about 1.5lbs multiplied by 4, or at least 6lbs. It's like difference between wood and carbon paddles - may be it's less than a pound, but after you multiply it by 60 strokes/minute for few hours it becomes quite impressive.
Jakthund
member (23)member
 
04/12/2021 03:10PM  
As you can see, there are many opinions. None wrong as it is a personal choice and dependent on your preferences. I've tried pretty much every combination and I generally use my AlphaBurly's when it's cold and some wet foot combo when it's warm. I personally find the hunting boots worth the extra weight.
A good pair of hunting boots have arch support and nice vibram soles for traction. I've done mile long portages with them and did not find them too heavy. If I was going on a 10 mile hike, I would not wear them.
It's not just about getting in and out of the canoe. In the spring many of the portages are muddy and wet.
If using rubber boots, be very careful not to get water in them as they do not dry out easily.
There are many variables, in my opinion it comes down to:
- Weather - When it snows in May, I like my nice heavy boots
- Distance - If your not doing a ton of portaging, weight is less important
trailchief
distinguished member (213)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/12/2021 04:12PM  
I always wet foot and never had an issue. As stated above a good pair of wool socks will keep your feet warm even when wet. I have a pair of Lacrosse rubber boots that I just wouldn't consider wearing in the BW's. I feel like my feet would be just as wet from sweating. And I'm not sure how they would ever dry? Plus as stated above sometimes I am in to above my knees. I own my own kevlar canoe so I try to avoid rock contact when possible.
Northwoodsman
distinguished member(1591)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/12/2021 04:24PM  
In 2019 we went in Mid-May and we wore Muck Wetlands. We entered the Saturday of the fishing opener and just two days earlier the Gunflint areareceived 11" of snow, many lakes still had ice on them. Although the temps were in the 40's and 50's, I wouldn't have wanted to be putting on wet boots in the a.m. (30's) or walking through knee deep snow with wet feet either. We found them very comfortable for paddling and portaging in.
tumblehome
distinguished member(1998)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/12/2021 07:39PM  
trailchief: "I always wet foot and never had an issue. As stated above a good pair of wool socks will keep your feet warm even when wet."

But who wants to walk around in wet squishy socks???
Try walking around your house or yard in wet squishy socks and tell me it feels good.

Just keep your feet dry. Maybe I'm a wierdo that I like dry warm feet.

I'm going to have to start asking around if people like walking in wet squishy socks. I don't get this at all.

Tom
tumblehome
distinguished member(1998)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/12/2021 07:42PM  
schweady: "Tom - On multiple occasions, I'm up to my knees in water when loading or unloading.
"


Shweady, we're pals but if I was camping with you, I will get the canoe closer to land so that you are not up to your knees in water. A canoe only needs a few inches.
Only a few times in my life have I had my boots on and been past the tops in water and most of those times have been accidental.

Tom
lindylair
distinguished member(2500)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/12/2021 07:57PM  
I have a pair of off brand waterproof hunting type boots that are insulated. I have used them for years on early and late season trips and they work great. The problem is that they are only upper calf height and on occasion i misjudge the depth of the water i am getting into and go over the tops. But when that has happened I have squishy feet, but I have never gotten cold or uncomfortable in them. Insulated boots with good wool socks and you can be pretty darn comfortable in most conditions.

These happen to roll down far enough so that if you get a warm day they actually dry out pretty good. But perhaps the biggest benefit is on portages. They are comfortable, supportive and rugged enough for most portages and i no longer care what i run into on the trail...puddles, mudholes, etc I just slog right through them and don't have to try and skirt them on the side of the trail.

Although I wish they were 4 inches taller they are great and were a good value for me. I have looked at new ones but the cost is a lot for something that gets used 5-10 days a year, up to each individual I guess in that respect.

My buddy is a wet footer but on our cold water May trips i make sure to hop out first and do my best to keep his feet dry. Doesn't always work. Come mid summer, well that's a totally different story.
schweady
distinguished member(7318)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
04/13/2021 09:16AM  
tumblehome: "schweady: "Tom - On multiple occasions, I'm up to my knees in water when loading or unloading.
"



Shweady, we're pals but if I was camping with you, I will get the canoe closer to land so that you are not up to your knees in water. A canoe only needs a few inches.
Only a few times in my life have I had my boots on and been past the tops in water and most of those times have been accidental.


Tom"

:-) No problem. I'm sure we'd have a high old time. My only point was, if it happens once, it happened. So, the first time we hit any water, it's liberating to just go ahead and embrace it. Not gonna melt. It's never bothered me to squish along on those first few rods of a portage. They feel a bit drier after a while. Actually, when we reach camp, I'll usually set up tent and tarp and gravity filter and get other things organized a bit before switching to dry socks and camp shoes. And, yes, nothing feels better.

I started portaging with old tennis shoes, went to leather field boots lathered with Sno-Seal, tried dedicated draining boating shoes, and settled on Keens. Everyone's different and all of the 'which footwear is best?' threads mean less and less to me after 45 trips.
Jakthund
member (23)member
 
04/13/2021 09:46AM  
So Kendis, as you see you've struck a chord here and gotten many opinions.

Who wins?

Your decision must be "clear as BWCA mud". :-)

Have a great trip. I'll be up there the same time with some long time friends, heading to Insula on the 18th.
04/13/2021 10:13AM  
The main reason I don’t wear Mucks or other waterproof footwear in the summer is it’s too hot. As others have mentioned, my feet will not be dry portaging in neoprene in the summer.

Mucks feel great when it’s cold out, you’re standing in 40 degree water and don’t even notice.
EddyTurn
senior member (98)senior membersenior member
 
04/13/2021 11:03AM  
tumblehome: "trailchief: "I always wet foot and never had an issue. As stated above a good pair of wool socks will keep your feet warm even when wet."


But who wants to walk around in wet squishy socks???
Try walking around your house or yard in wet squishy socks and tell me it feels good.


Just keep your feet dry. Maybe I'm a wierdo that I like dry warm feet."


Well, who wants to walk around the house carrying a canoe? Nothing weird about keeping one's feet dry, but in a wilderness it's not always practical. I happened to easily wet-foot a muddy portage and had plenty of time relaxing at the put-in before those in my party who dry-footed it finally arrived exhausted by the experience.
Kendis
member (36)member
 
04/13/2021 11:33AM  
Jakthund: "So Kendis, as you see you've struck a chord here and gotten many opinions.


Who wins?


Your decision must be "clear as BWCA mud". :-)


Have a great trip. I'll be up there the same time with some long time friends, heading to Insula on the 18th."


Certainly many opinions on this thread, some strongly held. Thanks to everyone who responded. We will be going to Fall Lake and then up through Basswood on the 16th.

For now my wife and I have decided to continue using the Merrel Moab draining hiking boots we have used on past trips and purchase higher thickness/warmest wool socks to wear instead of the lightweight and midweight wool socks we've worn on our other trips.

We have had too many trailheads without gently sloped landings, and especially campsites where the landing is just a wet, sloping slab of rock to want to worry about staying dry.

Best of luck to the future knowledge seekers who find this thread in the future.
mschi772
distinguished member(627)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/13/2021 10:48PM  
tumblehome: "trailchief: "I always wet foot and never had an issue. As stated above a good pair of wool socks will keep your feet warm even when wet."


But who wants to walk around in wet squishy socks???
Try walking around your house or yard in wet squishy socks and tell me it feels good.


Just keep your feet dry. Maybe I'm a wierdo that I like dry warm feet.


I'm going to have to start asking around if people like walking in wet squishy socks. I don't get this at all.


Tom"


I wet foot in the warm season. I prefer it to the alternatives. I wear Astal Loyaks. I usually do not wear socks, but rarely I might wear socks. They drain and dry extremely fast--it isn't uncommon for them to be mostly dry by the end of a portage.

When the water is cold in the shoulder seasons, I wear Dry Shod boots to keep my feet warm and dry.
04/14/2021 01:50PM  
mschi772:

I usually do not wear socks..."


You lost me here. Uggh, I do not like that feeling.
mschi772
distinguished member(627)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/14/2021 10:24PM  
cycle003: "You lost me here. Uggh, I do not like that feeling."

Depends on the shoes. I doubt you'd find socklessess in Loyaks to be objectionable.
tumblehome
distinguished member(1998)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/15/2021 07:54AM  
Please be careful with quoting and editing.
I never wrote that I do not wear socks.

I always wear socks and my socks are always dry. If my socks get wet I put on new socks
Tom
04/15/2021 09:38AM  
tumblehome: "Please be careful with quoting and editing.
I never wrote that I do not wear socks.


I always wear socks and my socks are always dry. If my socks get wet I put on new socks
Tom"


Sorry about that. I fixed it. It was mschi772 who wrote it, and I inadvertently left you in the quote.
mgraber
distinguished member(1200)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/16/2021 01:37PM  
I just can't imagine dealing with wet feet for 6-12 hours a day or when the air temp could be at or near freezing, or breaking ice in the morning with wet feet or dealing with possible snow with wet feet. I guess it depends on the type of trip. If you are doing a super easy, travel for a few hours in late morning type trip, where you spend a lot of time lounging around camp, I suppose anything would work as the misery would be short lived. If you are out of camp at 6 and travel/explore/fish until at least 2 or 3, or you do a lot of day tripping, fishing, I can't imagine spending that amount of time with cold wet feet. I can tell you from experience that I no longer have much patience for the wet footers stopping to constantly change back and forth between wet and dry footwear during long days on the water, or the blisters from feet that have been soaked the entire day. Do you wet footers wear your wet socks on all-day day trips, or while fishing all day? If not, how do you stay dry when you stop for restroom breaks or lunch/ dinner breaks, or while portaging in to and back from other lakes? Maybe my perspective is different because we don't go to lounge at camp, we go to spend time paddling, portaging and fishing. Summer is an entirely different conversation.
Jakthund
member (23)member
 
04/17/2021 10:54AM  
PIctures sometimes speak louder than words. Hard for me to imagine wet footing on a trip like this one in May 1997.
 
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