Camp footwear

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Summer time on trips, the mantra is "wet shoes, dry shoes". Wet shoes go on every morning before travel, and come off once into camp. Dry shoes stay dry no matter what. Wet shoes are quality runners

“Wet shoes, dry shoes” absolutely. My “wet shoes” are often Chota Mukluks, but I have recently gone the other way on quality runners and started using them as my camp shoe unless conditions call for a true hiking boot or winter insulation.

For decades I bought cheap, lightweight sneakers (and cheap “dress” shoes too). My pricey footwear was limited to hiking or canoeing. Kinda the same for clothes as well; off the big-box shelf for everyday vs Gore-tex, capaline, merino wool and etc for the woods.

The problem with cheap lightweight sneakers is the wet-out issue. Just casually walking around in the dew will soak them, and a light rain dripping down a waterproof pant leg is akin standing in an ankle high puddle.

Then I found a pair of light, Gore-tex lined trail running shoes on sale at a hefty discount.

I’m sold for spring/summer/fall camp footwear and light hiking. They have an aggressive tread, a stiff enough sole and a bit of a heel. And one heel makes an annoying “chirp” almost every step – hence the hefty discount I suppose.

I can’t wait to wear them out and find some non-chirping ones in EEE width.

What is your in-camp footwear?
 
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People either love 'em or hate 'em, but I will confess to using Crocs. I even used them in the High Arctic (72 degrees N) in July/Aug as camp shoes with 2 pair of wool socks and a waterproof nylon sock over the wool socks.
Dave
 
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People either love 'em or hate 'em, but I will confess to using Crocs. I even used them in the High Arctic (72 degrees N) in July/Aug as camp shoes with 2 pair of wool socks and a waterproof nylon sock over the wool socks.
Dave

I too use Crocs. You do have to be careful on wet rocks, as the tread is nil.

In the spirit of confession I will admit that I am writing this wearing fuzzy lined Croc slippers. And that I occasionally wear them to the local country store in my overalls. I’m old; WTF do I care what people think.

Crocs are certainly cushioned comfortable, but dang are they slippery when wet. I thought they were originally designed as boating shoe for power and sail ???

In the spirit of further confession I’ll admit I bring three pairs of footwear on many trips.

Chotas or other watershoes for the wet. Trail Runners for dry around camp or light hiking. And flip flops.

Vibram-ish soled Teva Flip Flops. They pack flat and I typically use them between taking off the Mukluks and putting on the trail runners, so my feet have a chance to air out.

They are nice for middle of the night nature calls as well.
 
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I’m old; WTF do I care what people think.
Bravo!!!


I went through a pretty serious "ultralight" phase a few years ago, as my back deteriorated and I tried to get backpacking to be comfortable. Then I remembered canoes and kinda threw backpacking out the window... I still like a day hike, but no more heavy packs for me. Also need to mention that my canoeing is almost entirely here in LA or in the Adirondacks, and most of the backpacking was in the Smokies.

That said, I have carried much of the UL philosophy over to canoeing, though I tend to carry a little more when there are fewer portages. I try to keep it light and simple... in another thread we talked about shoes for canoeing and around the water. There, I mentioned watershoes, even in summer, if here in LA (cypress knees hurt your feets, and snakes are a constant threat), rubber boots anywhere if the water is cold, and barefoot if the weather is warm (except here, and mostly meaning in NY). If there were a lot more rocks to cut my feet, i'd probably go with watershoes.

Around camp then, to answer the question, I wear a pair of Merrill Moab Ventilators... good traction and support. They do get wet quickly, even in just a dew, but they are very quick to dry compared to leather footwear, and are warm almost all the time with a pair of good wool socks. I generally don't bother with flip flops or anything else aside from the watershoes/boots already mentioned.

When I did more backpacking, in camp it was nice to get out of the sweaty shoes you'd been in all day, and THEN I carried a pair of shower shoes/flip flops, just to air my feet, allow the other shoes to dry out, and give my feet a break. If I had been able to find anything lighter, i'd have used it. I tried sandels (too heavy) and pedicure slippers/flip flops (too flimsy, but they were crazy light), but found them both unsat.

I have a couple tanned cowhides, and will one day (soon) turn my hand to a pair of moccasins. I've read they dry quickly, are light, protect the foot, and are pretty ideal for canoeing. We'll see.
 
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When I did more backpacking, in camp it was nice to get out of the sweaty shoes you'd been in all day, and THEN I carried a pair of shower shoes/flip flops, just to air my feet, allow the other shoes to dry out, and give my feet a break.

I have a couple tanned cowhides, and will one day (soon) turn my hand to a pair of moccasins. I've read they dry quickly, are light, protect the foot, and are pretty ideal for canoeing. We'll see.

Full circle. In my backpacking days, largely in the Rockies, I packed moccasins as my boots-off change of footwear. Through the years I used both traditional mocs with no sole other than the leather and some with thin synthetic soles.

The sole-less version was acceptable for walking carefully around camp; it undoubtedly helped that my feet were barefoot toughened in those days, but even so I was attentive as to where I stepped. A leather bottom doesn’t offer much protection for the foot and wears out faster on rocky ground.

The ones with the thin soles were better if I wanted to walk down to the lake or stream to get water or fish off the bank and not be as cautious about every footfall.

If I had been able to find anything lighter, i'd have used it. I tried sandels (too heavy) and pedicure slippers/flip flops (too flimsy, but they were crazy light), but found them both unsat.

Teva makes some crazy lightweight flip flops. My sons both use Teva Mush flip flops as everyday summer wear. Just for funsies I grabbed a pair (size 11) and put them on the shop small-weight food scale – 4oz total weight for the pair.

http://www.teva.com/mens-original-m...001824_color=RBRS&start=1&cgid=men-flip-flops

It takes a big man to admit to wearing pedicure slippers.
 
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It takes a big man to admit to wearing pedicure slippers.

or an older one (I'm 48) who gives not a rat's tuckus what other people think when they see him! LOL

Five-fingers are the ones I won't be caught wearing...

Thanks for the moccasin and teva feedback.
 
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Mike.

I've been dealing with this very quandary for a few years. I am one of the leaders of an annual 10 day Algonquin trip, and after 4 years of doing this (and countless smaller personal trips) I have not found a combination that I like for camp footwear. I have tried Crocs, Chaco Sandals, and Slippers. I have come to the realization that I really need 2 pairs of camp shoes. One to swim in, and one for just wearing around. (I wear 8" OTB (New Balance) Ohdin's for my daytime boot) I bought a pair of Timerland Radler Trail Camp Shoes to try this year. and I'm going to either get a pair of lightweight Aqua socks type footwear or some new sandals for swimming. I really like my Chaco's but they are so darn heavy.

I really like the idea of wear lightweight trail shoes or sneakers as camp shoes. Much more comfortable. I may start looking for a pair.
 
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I do my best not to slide into the Imelda Marcos world of canoe tripping shoe wardrobes, but it's hard not to. I haven't found the one shoe to rule them all, for paddling or for around camp. Because I insist on wet footing put ins and take outs, my feet are soggy all day long. I squelch across the carries, and just resign myself to embracing whatever the trail and weather throws at us. Soggy leather boots in the autumn, and perpetually wet aqua type sandals in the summer work for me. I've tried to change foot wear at every carry, but that becomes a PITA. For around camp I tend to use a beat up pair of rubber-leather moc shoes. I can slip them off and on easily. However, when they're wet, they stay wet. And when they're wet, they stink. Maybe I shouldn't blame the shoes, but I figure if I start taking the blame for every little thing, there's no telling where that may lead; so I'll just nip that in the bud...it's the shoes' fault. My luxury clothing is having extra pairs of wool socks. The rest of my fashion statement clothing is strictly practical. I go in looking like a bum, and come out looking worse. Whatever. I swim a lot while canoe camping, and having toasty dry feet at bedtime is good. I really like Dave's idea of neoprene socks.
 
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When going lite in warm weather I wear keen sandle with the covered toe for paddling and carrys with no socks. You have to wear the keens without socks for a while previous to toughen up or they can chafe spots.When I get to camp,I go barefoot and dry the sandles as much as I can,then put them on with socks. If they are still wet i sometimes have to change and dry socks. warm dry feet are a blessing in camp. When going heavier,lightweight sneakers for camp.
Turtle
 
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I wear Keen water shoes for the wet and recently bought a moose hide moccasins for camp. Mostly because they are light and pack down small. Easy to put on and off as well.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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This is a subject that people spend too much time and money on.

In camp? When not canoeing? Just walking or sitting around in the woods? In warmer weather?

That sounds like my house and property. So it's simple. I wear the same footwear in camp as I do in my normal every day life.

Of course, I've spent time and money figuring out what to wear in my normal life.

For now, it's usually LL Bean Explorer sandals or old Clarks Falcon boat shoes.

If space and weight allowed, I might also bring my 6" Bean Boots on a canoe trip. An old guy in a canoe book in the 1970's said they were the perfect canoe shoes, because his father had told him so, and I've owned a pair ever since. I don't know that I'd call them the perfect or even my favorite canoe shoes, but they have been, by far, the most versatile footwear I've ever owned. I use them in all seasons for all reasons. I'm on my second pair (a free replacement) after almost 40 years.
 
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This is a subject that people spend too much time and money on.

In camp? When not canoeing? Just walking or sitting around in the woods? In warmer weather?

That sounds like my house and property. So it's simple. I wear the same footwear in camp as I do in my normal every day life.

Of course, I've spent time and money figuring out what to wear in my normal life.

For now, it's usually LL Bean Explorer sandals or old Clarks Falcon boat shoes.

If space and weight allowed, I might also bring my 6" Bean Boots on a canoe trip. An old guy in a canoe book in the 1970's said they were the perfect canoe shoes, because his father had told him so, and I've owned a pair ever since. I don't know that I'd call them the perfect or even my favorite canoe shoes, but they have been, by far, the most versatile footwear I've ever owned. I use them in all seasons for all reasons. I'm on my second pair (a free replacement) after almost 40 years.


Disagree. For one thing, I kneel in a canoe. I don't crab around the house on my knees. I hate Bean Boots. Not a whit of support and they make my feet hot. Anyhoo I do have a wardrobe of shoes. This trip in the Everglades it was Crocs and wetsuit booties. The latter for doing Everglades portages across mud flats. I would much rather pad around my house in something else. In Algonquin it might be supportive trail runners ( which would pull off in the Everglades). In the Arctic on river trips and no kneeling it might be muck boots.

I personally find hiking boots not an asset on portages as I tend to trip and stumble with their thick soles and have no ground feel. I find the same hiking boots a great asset for hiking on the Rockpile.

Today I get to wear my Crocs. There is good footing at the landing of Halfway Creek. And I don't anticipate getting out of the boat during the four hour loop trip. Glad to leave the stinky neoprene booties in the car.

As in all things canoeing the correct answer is "maybe"

Since Glenn is a fashionista he ought to be happy that Bean Boots are a hot trend and at Fashion Week in NYC

http://www.pressherald.com/news/Snowy_winter_helps_make_Bean_boots_chic_.html
 
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The One shortcomming of my Keens is poor traction on slippery rocks. The rubber seems too soft,otherwise the do it all in warm weather even on 5mi carrys. Ideas?
Turtle
 
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Everything is slippery on wet rocks except felt soles and they wouldn't last a trip. If somebody knows otherwise please share, my biggest fear caning is snapping an ankle on a portage.
 
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Sorry,I meant the rubber seems too HARD-slippery.The tread works fine on the trail.I have water shoes with a softer sole that are better on rocks.I thought of maybe trying to wipe a solvent on the soles to gum them up a little?
or "tractionize" (sipe)them like they used to do to tires?
Turtle
 

Glenn MacGrady

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Disagree. For one thing, I kneel in a canoe. I don't crab around the house on my knees. I hate Bean Boots. Not a whit of support and they make my feet hot. Anyhoo I do have a wardrobe of shoes. This trip in the Everglades it was Crocs and wetsuit booties. The latter for doing Everglades portages across mud flats. I would much rather pad around my house in something else.

Did you read the topic or my post? The topic was stated as: "What is your in-camp footwear?"

My post clarified that I was responding about: "In camp? When not canoeing? Just walking or sitting around in the woods? In warmer weather?"

The topic is not about what to wear in the canoe. Or on a portage. Or in the house.

I responded to the topic.

What I wear in a canoe or on a portage is a more complex question than what I wear in camp. And it doesn't include my sacred Bean Boots.
 
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I once had a pair of 6" Bean Boots. I wasn't crazy about the heel, it seemed a tad high and narrow, and yes, the soles were a bit slippery. But gosh, they were comfortable. Eventually I treated the uppers for water proofing, and wore them year round. They felt like wearing a pair of leather socks on my feet. And then...they disappeared. I have no idea where they went. Probably the same place as my hammer, sunglasses, cell phone, tape measure, favourite shirt...
My stinky low rise wanna be Bean mocs are also my gardening shoes. As much as I love being barefoot, there are too many busy bees in my garden to make barefooting it trouble free. At campsites, I change back into my wet (Keen type) aqua things for swimming. I know, it sounds silly to wear footwear for jumping in a lake, but a couple summers ago we found a nice spoon with treble hook lurking in our campsite swimming spot. Sadly, I've also had to clean up broken glass in some places as well. That might not be the nastiest surprise in the back woods. My wife and I once found a nice secret spot one summer. A huge sloping slab of shield looked too inviting not to strip down, and take a skinny dipping leap into the deep quiet waters. The water was a bit cold though, so as I stood frozen in place mid leap and with ragged assed shorts falling, a lovely couple paddled from out of nowhere. We all agreed it was a nice day, sure, yup, uh huh..and then she said "It looks a little cold for swimming though, doesn't it?"
 

Glenn MacGrady

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Sorry, I post on a lot of forums on different subjects, and I sometimes get peeved when people start debating over what are clearly different topics -- oftentimes not even the OP's topic.

So, to broaden the topic, my complete array of canoe camping footwear is basically:

- In the canoe: As a kneeler on low seats, I use low volume shoes with flexible insteps. I have a variety of neoprene and neoprene+fabric water shoes, from low cut slip-ons to mukluk boots. I've only found one sandal, no longer on the market, that has sufficient instep flexibility.

- On the portage trail: I generally don't want to carry footwear just for portages. So, if I'm on a trip with portages of significant length or bumpiness, I'll choose one of my in-the-canoe water shoes having a thick and grippy sole and a higher top -- such as my NRS Attack Shoes (modified for increased instep flexibility).

- In camp (the topic): I wear the same things I wear outside around my own property at home. This could be sandals, moccasin-type boat shoes or, in wet and sloppy places during colder seasons, my Bean Boots.

So, most of the time I take two pairs of footwear: one for in the canoe and on the trail, usually neoprene; the other for in camp, usually sandals.

If I could take only one pair it would be the flexible sandals. I can adapt the sandals to different seasons and wetness conditions by using thin neoprene socks, Sealskinz socks and wool socks.
 
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Wow, youze guys are fancy. Whatever pair of sneakers are last years and no good for running, I use on the portage. In camp, whatever pair of shoes I don't wear normally anymore are used as camp shoes. Camp shoes are dry. Port shoes are wet. When they get too disgusting, i throw them all out and start again.
 
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