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Location: Denver, CO
Joined: 10/07/2008
Posts: 34
Hunting in "backpacking" boots

Does anyone like to hunt in backpacking boots, as opposed to hunting boots?

I'm going hunting 3rd season in CO. I've got a pair of very warm and supportive Sorel winter boots that I will use if it is cold and snowing. But I am unsure of what to wear if the weather is moderate? I'm straying away from hunting boots for two personal reasons:

1.) I know how my feet sweat in insulated boots when hiking around. It could ruin my hunt if my feet cannot breathe and it is 50 degrees outside.

2.) I do not feel comfortable hiking in 8" or taller boots. Something about the way they rub my calf feels unnatural.

Because of this, I was thinking of wearing some rugged backpacking boots, such as those made by Asolo, Lowa, or Merrill. I'd have a couple pairs of socks to wear if my feet are cold.

Cost is also a factor for me, and I think I'd get more use out of backpacking boots outside of hunting season, unlike the hunting boots which would likely be packed away with the rest of my hunting gear during the offseason.

expatriate's picture
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Location: Arizona
Joined: 10/26/2002
Posts: 3207
Hunting in "backpacking" boots

Go with what's comfortable. I've hunted big game from Alabama to Alaska in Sorels, mukluks, chest waders, knee-high rubber boots, and both high and low-top hiking boots. There's no universal solution.

A lot depends on where you're going. If you're working steep sidehills or rocks, the extra ankle support is nice. If you're not, a lighter boot is super. I've read that every pound on your feet is worth five in your pack. If I can get away with it in mild terrain I'll hunt in low-top hikers because I can cover more ground faster and end the day with more energy -- that's especially true if you add a few thousand feet of altitude.

Another big factor is how much water you'll be around. IMO you can never go wrong with Gore-tex boots. Gore-tex will keep your feet dry, whether it's through streams, snow, rain, or deep grass after a heavy dew. It costs a bit more, but it's the best investment you can make -- at the end of the day, everything's a lot better if your feet are dry. And I'm not just talking about your comfort -- if you've ever had a hunting partner hang up wet socks in camp, you know what I mean.

WesternHunter's picture
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Joined: 05/05/2006
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Hunting in "backpacking" boots

I've hunted in Colorado most of my life and used to always wear a mid weight backpacking boot, such as Vasque Sundowners. Within the last 10 years or so I have invested in Danner Ft Lewis 200g insulated and more recently in temps down to 30°F I mostly use the 8" high Matterhorn 1998 gortex lined uninsulated boot (it's a very comfortable USMC combat type boot) and for rocky high country in colder weather I wear the older Meindel Denali 200g insulated boots also because the Meindel is a stiffer more supportive platform for steeper rockier terrain. I've always been comfortable with this combo and if the snow is real deep I carry high waterproof boot gators. I adjust the warmth of both boots by the type and weight of socks I wear.

As far as what's a hunting boot and what's a backpacking boot? I don't know because as far as Meindel is concerned, their boots sold throughout Europe are mostly marketed as backpacking and hiking boots over there, yet some of those same models are imported and sold here through Cabelas and marketed as a hunting boot. Think All marketing aside I say chose a boot based on the type of terrain you wil be hunting in.

BikerRN's picture
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Joined: 05/23/2011
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Boots

Boots are an obsession with me.

I have to have good quality, comfortable, well fitting, sturdy footwear no matter what I'm doing. I find that a lot of the country I hunt is is rough. Loose rock, cactus, and snakes with the only piece of flat ground being where I parked my truck, somewhere behind me and a climb or three to get to. For that reason I went with the Wildland Firefighter, commonly known as a "Smokejumper," boot.

Look at what you will be doing, as well as the terrain and weather conditions, and match your boots to that. Personal expirience has taught me that if my feet are miserable I'm miserable. I'd rather have more boot than I need than not enough boot.

WesternHunter's picture
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Smoke Jumper Boots

BikerRN wrote:
Boots are an obsession with me. I have to have good quality, comfortable, well fitting, sturdy footwear no matter what I'm doing. I find that a lot of the country I hunt is is rough. Loose rock, cactus, and snakes with the only piece of flat ground being where I parked my truck, somewhere behind me and a climb or three to get to. For that reason I went with the Wildland Firefighter, commonly known as a "Smokejumper," boot. Look at what you will be doing, as well as the terrain and weather conditions, and match your boots to that. Personal expirience has taught me that if my feet are miserable I'm miserable. I'd rather have more boot than I need than not enough boot.

I tend to agree with you about the Logger type or Wildlands Firefighter type boots.  For most of the hilly and mountainous terrain they are a great designed boot.  I own a couple pair of those type boots, but since I have no need for burn resistant outsoles or flame resistant stiching I can't justify Whites, Nicks, or Westcos.  Mine are the less expenisve type logger boots from Carolina Boot, one pair is the purist version, all black leather, unlined, made in USA.  The other is a gortex non-insulated pair made overseas.  Both have the same thick lug pattern sole, tall heel, but the USA pair is Vibram, and the imported pair is Carolina's own rubber composite.  They're not the best upland bird huntig boot on farm type land or grassland, but they work fine for that too. Better for rugged terrain, woodlands, and biggame hunting.

bigbob's picture
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Joined: 02/21/2013
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boots

I think the most important thing, like some guys mentioned above, is having comfortable feet. Comfortable feet means you can cover more ground and increase your chances of success. Find the right boots for you. Everyone is different.

WesternHunter's picture
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Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2368
boots

The biggest thing as you say is comfort and support.  It all depends on the type of hunting you're doing.  If I could find those older Palladium Patuga canvas boot/sneaker (actual military ones) or those older Scorpion canvas desert boots, that would be awsome for early dove hunts or warmer pronghorn hunts.  I used to love those canvas boots for warm milder weather hunts.  Haven't been able to find either of those in longer than 7 or 8 years.  They were more like a heavy canvas sneaker with a robust sturdy lug outsole. Palladium still offers a similar boot, but they whimpified them to be more of a hipster shoe now.

 

Retired2hunt's picture
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Location: Colorado Springs, CO & Fort Myers, FL
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Link to those boots

Here is a web site that sells the Scorpion boots - http://armynavylinks.com/ridge/ridgescorpion.htm eBay is your best bet for real Palladium Patuga boots.

WesternHunter's picture
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Thanks for the link

Retired2hunt wrote:

Here is a web site that sells the Scorpion boots - http://armynavylinks.com/ridge/ridgescorpion.htm eBay is your best bet for real Palladium Patuga boots.

Awsome!!  Thanks for the link.  Didn't know that Ridge was making the Scorpions these days.  I think Magnum or Hi-Tech used to.  Yeah the genuine Palladiums were still available in Europe until a couple years ago.  I think here, until three or four years ago it was Orvis who was selling the last remaining stocks of the originals Foreign Legion boots from Palladium.  That French  company has shifted genre and market base, and scaled down the new version of the originals.  I'll have to replace my old Palladium Patuga boots with a new pair of Scorpions.  Great boots for warm, hot, dry weather hunting.  Perfect for walking dove fields with.

BikerRN's picture
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Boots

Back to one of my three favorite topics, footwear.

Since my previous post I've made a change. I was using the Wildland Firefighter Boot but was encouraged by a friend, along with some changes physiologically to my knee, that prompted me to try light mountaineering boots for my recent desert coues hunt with hunter25.

Tough terrain, no trails to speak of, and dry conditions led me to try a pair of La Sportiva Karakorums. They are as stiff as my fire fighter boots but a lot lighter. The rubber rand is great for protecting the foot/boot from rock and cactus. The only thing they aren't is waterproof but for desert hunting that's OK. I bought some Nikwax for using these boots in the little snow we get around here. Heck, my fire fighter boots aren't waterproof either.

I've not known a Gore Tex boot to stay waterproof throughout the life of the boot but that may just be me. I'm constantly treating my boots and taking care of them so it's not that big of a deal to me. Wool Socks and judicious applications of waterproofing treatment have served me well over the years. If I need more waterproofing it's time for Muck Boots.

Throughout this thread one constant has been stressed, and I will touch on it again, comfort. Find boots that are comfortable for you, the terrain you hunt, in the conditions you face. I wore a pair of lightweight desert combat boots in this same terrain and trashed them, as well as having miserable feet, inside ten days. My feet told me at the end of that time, "Never again!" I was miserable and my feet hurt for a month afterwards.

So you could say I hunt in backpacking boots instead of hunting boots.

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