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Boots for Northern Tier


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#1 BurgeyBoi

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 10:16 PM

I just finished up Seabase, and my troop is going to northern tier next summer. I want to start thinking about gear, the most important being boots. I'm currently split between a pair of Chaco Outcross shoes, and a pair of Chota boots. I haven't yet decided on a model of either one yet, so any suggestions would be great. I've never used either one, but I have Chaco sandals, which are great for hiking other than that I can only use them for 2 campouts a year. The Chacos look like they will be more versatile after Northern Tier, but the Chotas may have more support. What do y'all recommend?


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#2 RememberSchiff

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 03:33 AM

@BurgeyBoi welcome to scouter.com


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#3 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 05:03 AM

I'm not familiar with either brand. I do know Northern Tier use to recommend jungle boots, and that was recommended to me for canoeing when I was up in Canada. Just do NOT get the ROTHCO jungle boots. Pay the extra money for ALTAMA boots. The first pair I had were Rothco, and the sole ripped off after a week when on a practice trip. The mud literally sucked the sole off.

 

And that's one reason why I don't wear slip on type shoes and and tennis type shoes for canoeing. I've seen a bunch of shoes over the years come off and get lost in mud.


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#4 Stosh

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 07:22 AM

Eagle94-A1 is so correct with this, it's scary.  It is exactly what I was going to respond.  I have a pair of military surplus jungle boots I have worn for multiple trips to BWCA and any canoeing and kayaking I still do today.  The boots are probably 40 years old, not have a lick of polish left, but they are still my got-to boots for water craft.

 

Not only do they lace up well above the ankles so they don't get sucked off in the mud, but the soles will take the beating of the rocks on the portages.  Stepping into unknown water with rocky bottoms invites the twisted ankles.  These boots handle it all.  The nylon mesh drains the water out nicely.

 

I have no idea on the name brands mentioned.  Mine were $20 at the military surplus store.  I have no idea what company was under contract to make them for the soldiers, but to this day, they are still being used.


Edited by Stosh, 12 July 2017 - 07:22 AM.

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#5 Sentinel947

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 07:25 AM

I recommend Altama as well. Jungle boots are perfect for canoeing.
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#6 CalicoPenn

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 09:04 AM

Chota boots are more suitable for wading while fly fishing/stream fishing over mostly pebbly/rocky surfaces - if you go with Chota, be careful that you don't buy boots with felt soles - those are strictly water shoes - meant for wading, not portaging.

 

The Chaco Outcross shoes are the right idea, but you're going to want ankle support so I'd skip those.

 

You can go with Jungle Boots - I know a lot of folks recommend them, but in my opinion, they're overkill - you aren't invading a small country. 

 

I would recommend a lightweight hiking boot with over the ankle support.  They don't take much time, if any, to break in, they are quick drying if you do end up having to wade, they'll provide more than ample support on the portage trails (if you are going to be creating new portage trails, then I'd go with the jungle boots but you're going to be portaging on well-established portage trails), and they're very comfortable.  I think Chaco, if you're set on that brand, makes lightweight hiking boots (boots - not shoes).  A couple of others I'd recommend would be Hi Tec and Merrell (my Merrell's are three years old and still going strong).

 

One more thing I would stay away from - waterproof boots.  They're going to sound very tempting since you'll be around so much water, but consider that if a boot is waterproof and preventing moisture from getting in, they'll also be preventing moisture from getting out - you could spend a day not stepping in to so much as a puddle and at the end of the day, your feet will be tender and wet from the sweat not being able to escape.  Stay with a lightweight, breathable boot. 


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#7 blw2

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 09:34 AM

I have a pair of chaco outcross, evo 2 I believe.

Nice light and airy shoes that drain well.  I like them.  Once wet, they'll stay wet a bit but so will pretty much anything except something like a flip flop or crocs.

 

My only regret is not looking more seriously at a half size up.  I ordered them from amazon in my normal shoe size.  They fit well enough, but find them on the snug end of things without a sock.  Last summer I wore them for most of the week at summer camp so I have a few miles in them!


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#8 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 09:54 AM

.I have no idea on the name brands mentioned.  Mine were $20 at the military surplus store.  I have no idea what company was under contract to make them for the soldiers, but to this day, they are still being used.

 

ROTHCO makes imitation surplus gear. I'm told some of it is good. BUT the Rothco jungleboots are worthless.

 

ALTAMA makes the USGI version of the jungle boot. They are made to military specifications. While the jungle boots are not issue and Altama doesn't have a contract,they still make them. 28 years ago, the Altamas were $20 more than the Rothcos. And worth every penny. I had the Altamas 14 years, and lost them in a move. I did replace them.

 

When middle son took Kayaking at summer camp, we were able to get a pair of Altama jungle boots for him. SWMBO found them in a thrift store. 


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#9 Eagledad

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 10:14 AM

 

One more thing I would stay away from - waterproof boots.  They're going to sound very tempting since you'll be around so much water, but consider that if a boot is waterproof and preventing moisture from getting in, they'll also be preventing moisture from getting out - you could spend a day not stepping in to so much as a puddle and at the end of the day, your feet will be tender and wet from the sweat not being able to escape.  Stay with a lightweight, breathable boot. 

This is the same reason we prefer jungle boots over hiking boots. Jungle boots are typically designed to drain moisture out of the boot, most hiking boots do not and may or may not repel the moisture at all. I will say that cheaper the hiking boot the better for draining, but we have had scouts come home with their Walmart hiking boots being held together only by duct tape. 

 

Socks are just as important (if not more) for repelling the moisture away from the foot. Your feet will likely always be wet, but at least the skin will breath compared with cotton socks. I personally like Smartwool socks, but there are many brands of socks with materials designed specifically to push moisture away from the skin. They dry faster as well.

 

Barry


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#10 BurgeyBoi

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 01:57 AM

@Eagle94-A1 @Stosh @Sentinel947 @Eagledad I got a pair of jungle boots for free when I was a first year, because one of our former eagles is in the navy, and sent them to us. I just don't like how they feel. @CalicoPenn I mean the Chota portage boots. They can be found https://www.boundary...-footwear-shoes I've tried them on, and heard many good things about them. I'm hearing that the chaco ones will not be good. If I could get any help with which model is best, that would be amazing.


Edited by BurgeyBoi, 13 July 2017 - 01:58 AM.

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#11 Stosh

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 07:26 AM

First of all, welcome to the forum!

 

As noted, it is very important to do your research on any major purchase before one buy.  Yet be sure to take into consideration that what works for one doesn't work for everyone.

 

Yes, I have an old pair of jungle boots, I have used them for 40 years and at age 66 plan on not buying another pair in my lifetime.  I continue to kayak on a regular  basis and they continue to do the job.  Is there something out there after all these years of imp0roved technology?  Maybe, maybe not. 

 

What I pass along as advice is 40 years of experience with twisted ankles, cuts on the foot and trying to find a boot/shoe a 12"+ deep in the mud.  I watch others to see what they are doing and then try to avoid their mistakes.  While my jungle boots are a bit clunky and have a sole thicker than any other shoe I wear, it will not feel right when one first tries them out but it is not going to sway 40 years of experience anytime soon.

 

My wife has a fancy pair of water boots she wears when kayaking, but where she kayaks is far different than the BWCA.  They work for her, but I don't think she'd be happy in BWCA with them.

 

BWCA has a tendency to throw just about everything one knows about canoeing out the window.  Sandy beaches?  Yep, Sharp rocky beaches?  Yep.  Uneven ground on the portages?  Yep.  80# of canoe adding to the stress on the feet and ankles?  Yep. Mud that one will sink deep into?  Yep.  Trench foot from no ventilation to the feet?  Yep.  Blisters?  Yep.  All in all, I don't think there is anything on the market today that can handle it all.  Jungle boots and or jungle boot style footwear comes the closest and that's what I recommend to my boys.

 

My troop took a trek to Philmont back in 2000.  I needed a good hiking boot.  I talked to everyone except probably my mother on what to buy.  The SM mandated full leather hiking boot well worn in.  I talked with other hikers, sales clerks at sporting goods stores, other hikers until I was blue in the face.  I finally settled on a pair that did not fit the recommendation of the SM.  He was outspoken about my choice to the other boys.  One boy did not listen and picked the same pair I had purchased.  He and I were the only two in the contingent that didn't get blisters.  I got lucky, but I had done my research thoroughly.

 

Best of luck, take everything into consideration and when all is said and done.  Go with what YOU think is the best FOR YOU.


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#12 blw2

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 11:46 AM

yeah, trail runners or even sandals for me unless maybe for some reason I'm doing many miles with a severely overloaded pack &/or bushwhacking over some kind of completely unimproved rugged terrain that is not at all a trail....and even then I'm likely to choose just a more rugged style of trail runners, such as my Salomon XA pro's

    or unless climbing the Eiger.....but that aint gonna happen

light weight, breathe, and dry faster...and more comfortable too.


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#13 Sentinel947

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 04:44 PM

@BurgeyBoi: 

 

Beware some of the advise you get in this thread and other places. Northern Tier IS NOT backpacking. When I go backpacking, I wear nice lightweight running shoes. My friends and fellow troop leaders think I'm nuts.

 

That type of footwear is entirely inappropriate for Northern Tier. An experienced outdoorsman and canoeist can probably get away with it. Most folks going on your trip are not in that category. 

 

I have been to Northern Tier and armed with that Knowledge, I recommend the military style jungle boots. @Stosh ;s experience is similiar to mine. Lots of submerged sharp rocks..

 

That being said, if you don't want to use those, look for sturdy boots that:

 

1. Protect your ankles. I personally believe "Ankle support" is a bit of a myth to sell more boots, but with Portaging, walking through water up to your knees where you cannot see the bottom, tall boots that protect your ankles from rocks are important. 

 

2. Drains water. Your feet will get wet. Having water trapped in your shoes all day invites infection, skin peeling and blisters. Jungle boots help to a degree because they drain water, but the leather also holds in a fair amount of water where mesh or canvas vents would allow some water to evaporate. 

 

3. Quality materials. Northern Tier punishes boots. You and your Scouts will want boots that hold up. Be frugal, but don't be cheap. 

 

Best of luck to you and your Scouts, have a good time! 


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#14 blw2

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Posted 14 July 2017 - 09:11 AM

yeah, well....I'll give on that.  I haven't been to Northern Tier so my thoughts are more general....

but then again, as I said I'd look into different footwear if I were going to climb the eiger.  So perhaps for Northern Tier too.

I just know that generally when it comes to footwear, BSA advice (or that from a lot of scouters),  doesn't really mesh well with the reality of the rest of the world.....and in some cases actually cause injury.


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#15 walk in the woods

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Posted 14 July 2017 - 10:52 AM

I'll echo what others have said.  Ankle support for the seen and unseen hazards in the water.  The portages aren't exactly groomed hiking trails either.  I paid the weight price to carry a light pair of shoes for around camp so I could get my wet footgear off and dry/air my feet at the end of each day.  It was worth it to me.  I didn't buy special boots for the trip because I figured it would likely be my only trip up there, but, I did destroy a pair of Vasque hiking boots in the process.


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#16 Col. Flagg

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Posted 14 July 2017 - 12:28 PM

Pay the extra money for ALTAMA boots. 

 

+1000

 

Worth the money!!!


Edited by Col. Flagg, 14 July 2017 - 12:28 PM.

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#17 blw2

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 09:30 AM

I had to look up Altama, since I'm not familiar with the brand....

but of course now I see that I have seen them lots of times....

 

Their OTB maritime boots looked especially interesting to me... as a SCUBA diver.  Seems like that could make a great HD water shoe!


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#18 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 11:41 AM

Problem I had with neoprene dive boots is that I felt every single rock, bottle, etc. I used those one summer, when kayaking in the English Channel with a wetsuit. They kept the feet warm and provided some ankle support, but I felt everything on the soles of my feet.


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#19 Eagledad

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 01:54 PM

Problem I had with neoprene dive boots is that I felt every single rock, bottle, etc. I used those one summer, when kayaking in the English Channel with a wetsuit. They kept the feet warm and provided some ankle support, but I felt everything on the soles of my feet.

They also get really hot in the sun. The discussion has been mostly focused on the water and mud part of the treks, but the feet are also exposed to the hot sun during long paddles between portages. 

 

Barry


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#20 blw2

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 08:27 AM

yeah, but these aren't typical neoprene dive boots....

they look to be more of a canvas HD combat boot designed to fit in fins and also drain....


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