Mar 18, 2010 at 10:08 am #1256633
Just wondering what people are using for fording creeks. I am looking for a light solution that does not include using hiking boots. I normally just wade barefoot, but my feet aren't as tough as they once were. I've tried the water socks and flip-flops, but they are heavier/bulkier than I would like.Mar 18, 2010 at 10:12 am #1587875
Chris WBPL Member
A lot of us hike in very breathable trail runners so we just cross water in those and keep right on going. They're mostly mesh and usually drain very fast.Mar 18, 2010 at 10:27 am #1587882
I use crocs for wading creeks and camp shoesMar 18, 2010 at 10:27 am #1587883
drowning in spamMember
I use racing flats…basically, really light sneakers. There's no way I'll ford a creek barefoot.Mar 18, 2010 at 10:38 am #1587886
The approach I take is whichever of these seems most attractive and efficient for the time available and conditions:
1. Just walk across in trail runners I'm wearing.
3. If it's too cold or too rough of a bottom, I remove shoes and socks, and put shoes back on for the crossing. Drain and sling shoes around to remove excess water before putting them back on.Mar 18, 2010 at 10:53 am #1587892
Adam RothermichBPL Member
@aroth87Locale: Missouri Ozarks
I just slosh right on through in my trailrunners. Nothing disrupts a hike like having to take off boots and socks, strap them to a pack, then dry your feet off and put them back on. My Salomon Tech Amphibs were the absolute best summer hiking shoes I had until my puppy decided to chew on one of them. It felt great on those 80* or more days to splash through a creek and have the breeze blow across your feet. My Inov8s still dry quickly plus they fit a little better than the Tech Amphibs and are more suitable during the rest of the year.
AdamMar 18, 2010 at 10:55 am #1587893
Jeremy GBPL Member
+1 on wading with the trail runners. Being that they are mesh, they dry out really fast.
This last weekend, I hiked in 35-45F weather in my mesh trail runners. Probably 30% of it was in wet snow or walking through icy, cold water. I was fine and my feet stayed mostly warm as long as I wasn't standing in the cold water and kept moving. I was just wearing a merino wool liner sock or a pair of smartwool socks depending on the day.Mar 18, 2010 at 10:55 am #1587895
Bob BankheadBPL Member
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
+1 Chris, but only when I think I have enough hiking time left for my shoes to dry out again before I stop for the night. Towards the end of the day, I'll put on my in-camp Crocs instead. That way my hiking shoes are DRY when I put them on again the next morning.
IMO, getting into cold, wet footware on a cold morning is a real demotivator and basically a lousy way to start the day. That and the prospect of a 2000 foot uphill in the shade makes me want to burrow back into my warm little nest and wait a bit – like until NOON.
Wandering BobMar 18, 2010 at 11:08 am #1587899
@lori999Locale: Central Valley
I'd go with "it depends."
Crocs have replaced my Tevas for late afternoon freezing water crossings when I am not wanting to be waking up to frozen shoes in the morning. Crocs absorb no water so do not get heavier when wet or freeze solid – any frost on them brushes off easily. They also provide more side and top coverage than the Tevas did.Mar 18, 2010 at 11:19 am #1587902
@jeff-kLocale: New York
Does the think merino wool liner sock help in regards to warmth and moisture management, when you are wearing a smartwool sock as well?
I always wear a SmartWool sock, but have never tried it with a liner. Am I missing out?Mar 18, 2010 at 11:21 am #1587903
Yup, just walk on through. I do try to roll up my pants though.Mar 18, 2010 at 11:22 am #1587905
@derekbLocale: Ottawa, Ontario
Pretty good consensus here on just wearing your trail runners. The only thing I'll add is that if you are hiking in colder weather, neoprene socks can help keep your feet warm if you plan to be in and out of water a lot. I do a lot of canoe tripping, and I use trail runners with neoprene socks lined with a thin liner sock to prevent friction blisters. They don't dry that well, and they don't smell great after a few days, but they do keep my feet warm even when I'm in and out of near-freezing water a lot. May not be what you need for your context, but works for me.Mar 18, 2010 at 11:28 am #1587909
in the winter time i think its foolish to get your shoes soaked in a knee high stream. I just pull up my merino bottoms up high(had to cut them at the base to do this), remove shoes, because i have an aarn pack(securing them to the pack can be easily done without removing the pack). i keep a bag just for this, and i tie them off on front of my balance pockets. When i get to the other side, my feet are freezing, but i use my shamwow that i dry my tarp with to dry them, once dry i reapply socks/shoes. Hopefully it is not a continual thing(such as inthe smokies in winter), if so i try to find another way across if possible to avoid the slowdown of constantly putting footware back on. I would like to find a tough VB plastic material that i could wear on my foot, but would be tough enough to leave on for stream crossings, yet remove the socks/liners so they do not get wet when i cross. As you guys know, when your foot is remotely damp, its hard to get socks back on. If i had a VB that was tough and waterproof, i could just wade across in it, secure it with a rubber band at the top, and when i got across just slip my socks easily over it. Something to think about.
If your feet are really freezing on the other side, consider doing some bear grylls naked pushups or similar to warm the blood in your body. =P
in the summertime i just wade through with my mesh trail runners, no biggie. but that also depends on location, some places summer can change to freezing temps rapidly (mountains etc), so it depends. But 99% of the time i just wade through, they will dry fast.
i also agree with bbob bankhead, stepping into stiff frozen shoes is a terrible thing. avoid at all costs.Mar 18, 2010 at 12:47 pm #1587940
@martycLocale: Industrial Midwest
In colder weather I've found Crocs or, even lighter, shower slippers, to work fine. Trailrunners are not going to dry off in 20 degree weather unless it is very dry and sunny.
Bare feet are a bit risky unless you really know what the bottom of the creek is like. One sharp upturned twig…
It gets more complicated if there's snow on the ground as it will stick to wet feet. I use a pad that I toss on the ground and then stand on, on the far side of the creek, in order to change back into trail runners. If snow sticks to wet feet they stay very cold.
Marty CoopermanMar 18, 2010 at 2:00 pm #1587967
Now I regret starting the thread because I found out what a true wuss I am. I hate hiking in wet boots/shoes, especially if it can be avoided.Mar 18, 2010 at 2:05 pm #1587969
@davecLocale: The West Slope
"I use trail runners with neoprene socks lined with a thin liner sock to prevent friction blisters. They don't dry that well, and they don't smell great after a few days, but they do keep my feet warm even when I'm in and out of near-freezing water a lot. May not be what you need for your context, but works for me."
This is my system for most of my backpacking. Once you get your head 'round it hiking with damp feet isn't a big deal. Putting on frozen shoes in the morning and thawing them with your feet is a bit of a bummer, but it's backpacking so HTFU and get on with it.
Wading streams when it's well below freezing is a different thing altogether, and probably deserves its own thread.Mar 18, 2010 at 4:16 pm #1588009
Robert BleanBPL Member
@bleanLocale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
I do a lot of canoe tripping
Age-old debate in canoe country — do you wear something waterproof and try to keep your feet dry, or do you wear something that will dry quickly.
Some experienced people did one, some the other. Personally, I was of the latter persuasion.
— MVMar 18, 2010 at 4:21 pm #1588011
Ken T.BPL Member
Unless your feet are actually made of sugar, just get them wet. Mine are usually dry again in 20 minutes. I use Darn Tough 1/4 crews and Innov-8 Terroc 330's.Mar 18, 2010 at 4:41 pm #1588022
Robert BleanBPL Member
@bleanLocale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
If you want a precedent from a group that cares a lot about foot care, and which had a lot of men in a wet environment, consider the Army in Vietnam. They definitely went for drying quickly.
They issued Jungle Boots with mesh insoles. Those boots even had screened openings in the arch area. After going through water, you could see the guy ahead of you pumping water out those screened openings with every step. The water would squirt out an inch or two each step.
I wore mine later on for a summer canoeing in Ontario — sure my feet got wet at each end of each portage, but I never was uncomfortable (because they dried quickly).
— MVMar 18, 2010 at 4:43 pm #1588024
Steven ParisBPL Member
@saparisorLocale: Pacific Northwest
I did a search sometime ago for lightweight wading shoes and bookmarked this (and then forgot about it):
Vincere Sand Socks, basically thick lycra socks with some sort of gripping "sole" on the bottom. Check out the "Grip Socks/Boat Socks." I have never tried/seen/wore these and don't know how much they weigh.
The Grip socks come in black, but the sand socks come in an assortment of colors. Think how awesome it would be to stop at a creek and put on hot pink or blue lightning socks!Mar 18, 2010 at 5:03 pm #1588033
@jameslantzLocale: North Georgia
I think what we are seeing here is that in warmer conditions, quick drying footwear & socks works well. However, in cold conditions/snow, keeping the feet dry might be preferable.
As an example, last weekend I hiked on the AT from Davenport Gap to Hot Springs, a distance of 36 miles. When we started it was dry with temps in the 40's so I hiked in my mesh GoLite Comps & Smartwool crew socks. A few stream crossings got my feet wet but they were fairly dry in 10-15 minutes of continued hiking. After crossing Max Patch the next day, it began to sleet/snow which was beginning to accumulate by the time we reached our shelter at the end of day 2. The next morning I wore a dry pair of Smartwool socks under a pair of Sealskin waterproof socks with the same GoLite shoes & hiked comfortably in 6-8 inches of snow which changed to slush & mud below 3500'. Several creeks were crossed with near freezing water & my feet stayed dry & warm. Once the snow & ice were gone, the Sealskins were removed & I continued on with the the regular sock/shoe combo. This system works well for me. Your preferences may vary.Mar 18, 2010 at 8:37 pm #1588120
Marc EldridgeBPL Member
@meldLocale: The here and now.
I picked up a pair after I got back and wore them for a year after that. Great pair of dry fast boots.
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