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Late season boot issue
I have a pair of Crispi Legend Gore-Tex leather boots with 200g thinsulate that I wore this year for 10 days on late season elk hunts. Temps were in the teens to low 20s and I could not keep my feet warm. I never walked through water or got the boots wet, yet my feet and the inside of the boots were always damp. I assume from sweaty feet which obviously leads to cold feet. Since we were in the back country, there was no way for me to dry my boots, so they stayed damp inside all week. Is there a way to avoid or help this? Maybe anti-perspirant spray to the feet. I am wondering if part of the problem is that I used a wax waterproof conditioner (Granger’s) on my boots before the hunt and maybe this made it so that the Gore-Tex couldn’t breathe? Just wondering if anybody has any thoughts or suggestions.
Put bags on your feet. Then in your boots. Feet get wet but boots stay dry
I picked a up a cheap pair of solomon gtx with 200 grams a few years ago. They have turned out to be pretty decent boots. They are really light and reasonably breathable for an insulated boot.
Tandy Newberg gave a tip on one of his recent videos that is priceless.
Remove the insoles every night. Take a hand warmer and put it in the boot, then reinsert the insole about 1/3 of the way. Bingo.
Look for a mountaineering boot that has a removable bootie. It’s a boot shell and the insulation is removable.
The tricky part is the fit and stiffness level.
Then take the booties into your sleeping bag every night. Not on your feet but just laying in the bag.
Most climbing boot companies allow you to wear them in the house. and return them. Try Scarpa, LaSportiva, and many other brands.
Or search mountaineering boots used by hunters. Most of the high end hunting gear is tailored from climbing clothing and boots.
I have these also and are surprisingly comfortable. And the liner can be put in your bag at night to drive off.
And take 2 liners.
Take a second pair of wool socks in your pack and switch out mid-day. I will try to hang the damp socks in the sun to dry as much as possible before putting them back in the pack. Be surprised how fast they will dry even in cold if they are in the sun.
Open up your boots while taking a break and set them in the sun as well. Will pull some of the moisture out.
Switch to another dry pair of wool socks in the evening when you get back to camp.
Hang the damp socks from the day where they will dry. Might be a line outside. Depending on the tent setup, it may hold a lot of moisture at night. If you have a stove or gas lantern, that can be used to help dry socks.
Pull the insoles out at night and set up to dry somewhere. If you do have hand warmers, doing what WV suggested can help. Or set them near the camp fire to warm up - just be careful that they don’t get too close and burn!
Its all about the socks.
My feet sweat. I started wearing wear merino socks everyday, all day. My feet have never been so nice and dry wearing my Crispi Guide GTX.
I have also used spray anti perspirant for hunting WT in a tree stand. That works really good too.
X2 on the anti perspirant. I’ve used this foot powder for whitetail hunting. When I’m wearing my lacrosse insulated rubber boots. It definitely keeps your feet warmer.
I switch out socks at midday if my feet are getting sweaty
Assuming you’re wearing good merino socks. You could add a liner sock too that will help pull moisture out. Than, as stated above make sure you’re taking your boots off often, switching socks midday. Pull the insole out when you take your boots off and let everything breathe especially if the sun is shining. That’s a great tip from Newberg with the hand warmer.
1... Were you stationary hunting or always on the move?
Your feet will certainly get cold with only 200g if you are stationary in those temps(especially if in a treestand on cold metal).
2... What kind of wax? Breathability may be affected, but I use snoseal and have not had any issues.
I think the main issue is you simply need more insulation for those temps. Feet naturally sweat sure, and some more than others but if the boot is warm enough you will have warm wet feet instead of cold wet feet. If you are mostly on the move, at those temps I would look for at least 800grams of insulation. If you are going to be stationary you might need to look closer to 1800grams.
This is just my personal experience. My feet sweat a lot too. Warm or cold they sweat a lot. I think my standard "multi season boot"(I use it 40deg-90deg) is 400grams. A bit hot during high temps, but it keeps me warm in early morning hours/if it's a cooler archery season. I think 200grams is just to little, basically no insulation.
Heck, I ice fish with boots with 400 grams Thinsulate!
The socks are what will make or break you with boots. Good wool and switch out when they get damp and you can handle really cold temps...
Good tips switch socks and dry out with hand warmer at night or maybe just bring into sleeping bag with insert out. 200 grams is a little on the low side but probably ok. I believe you are correct in thinking it was the moisture. Boots need to breath to dry.
Agree socks are key, Sock liners help also IMO.
I’ve had good luck with Lethal foot powder. I’ve used them all and Lethal works best for me. That company has the contracts to disinfect and deodorizer locker rooms for professional athletics. Good products.
Get better socks and don't treat leather with wax.
I use baking soda and merino wool socks and my feet seem to approve
Thanks everyone for the replies. I wear good, high-quality wool socks and I even took my boots off and dried my socks by the fire midday. Fresh dry socks every morning. I think that once the boots were wet inside, they just never dried out. Handwarmers are a great idea and I will try that. Powder is another good option I haven't used for a while. Fire is a no-go as I've already burned through a $400 pair of boots by putting them too close to dry out.
We were on horses a good part of the day, so that didn't help my feet stay warm. I think I do need to go to more thinsulate, keep changing socks and try to dry the boots out at night. A boot with a removable liner is a great idea. I also think that the wax waterproofing made things a lot less breathable and exacerbated the problem. I hate being cold!
I wonder if your boots might have been laced up too tightly reducing some needed blood flow. Might try loosening the laces (as much as is safe) when getting on a horse for a while.
I'm not a horse guy, but I also wonder if sitting on a horse might also reduce blood flow to the legs and feet from the pressure on the inner part of the leg. Especially if you aren't an experienced horseman. From what I recall, the stirrups are to be set where you aren't just sitting like a sack of potatoes on the saddle. I'm pretty sure you're supposed to have a fair amount of your weight in the stirrups much of the time. The horse guys on here can correct me.
if you don't know what a vapor barrier liner sock is. look it up. i use stormsocks by seirus. i have also used neoprene socks as well. night and day difference once you get the right combination for your feet.
Many forget that air is a great insulator. Boots that fit snug may feel good, but are poor at keeping feet warm.
Pac boots were mentioned above with removable liners which sounds like a great idea, both for the extra insulation and the removable liners (bringing an extra pair or two to rotate). Anybody had any luck with these? Are they too big to hike around elk country in? They seem pretty heavy (6+lbs/pair).
When I horse packed in late season I wore a pair of Sorels with a removable felt liner, very similar to the ones Altitude Sick posted, but not as tall. Took the liners out at night to dry in the tent. Worked well. Another thing that helps is wearing a thin pair of Smartwool socks next to the skin, then a heavier pair over. The thin pair wicks moisture away from the skin.
If you are riding horses, you need a "low profile" boot like Altitude Sick's boot so it fits in the stirrup. Heavy pac boots sometimes won't fit unless it's an oversized stirrup.
Good wool socks and ArcticShield boot covers. You can add a dry chemical hand warmer pack inside at the toe for more heat.
First item I don when I get up the tree in my stand.
Do you set your boots on the side to dry? If you stand them up the cold damp air stays inside with little to no movement. Give this a try.
200 is not enough for late season.
Grabber makes a full length warming insole. They are good for about 6 hours. I'm old and have a lot of trouble keeping my feet warm. These do the trick.