Aug 12, 2011 at 10:14 am #1277941
I am planning to do my first backpacking trip on a trail that has something like 30 water crossings. From what I've read (I have not seen it), most are knee height and some are waist height. It is possible to rock hop across some but I am convinced (by reading accounts), that it might just be easier to wade through. I am hoping to carry a total pack weight of 20 pounds or less (still working on my gear list). This is not counting what I wear on my body.
So … what footwear do I wear/bring? Before I knew about the water, I was just going to hike in low/mid hiking shoes. I have lots of footwear so choices aren't a problem. I could swap out to Tevas/Keens at each crossing but honestly that seems like it would get old really quick since I'd want my feet to dry before putting the shoes back on. So should I wear Tevas/Keens the entire hike and not carry any closed shoes?Aug 12, 2011 at 10:28 am #1768647
Wear your normal hiking shoes throughout the hike, but you may want to bring some lightweight sandals so you have something dry to wear in camp.Aug 12, 2011 at 10:45 am #1768658
One week from today I will be on a trip where we have 84 crossings in 28 miles on the first day. The most creek crossings in one day I have done previously is 21 and they were all knee to waist deep. I just wear my trail runners and hike on through.
You might pre-tape any blister prone areas with Leukotape P or Kinesio Tape. You might also look into using Hydropel on your feet. I would avoid open toe footwear because you are likely to stub your toe half a million times on that many crossings where you cant see the rocks underwater.Aug 12, 2011 at 11:17 am #1768673
Just wear my regular hiking shoes and socks? Isn't that just asking for an uncomfortable and possibly smelly scenario? I don't have experience so I'm asking but it just seems like I would not want to hike for 4 hours with squishy toes.Aug 12, 2011 at 11:21 am #1768675
Nico .BPL Member
@nickbLocale: Los Padres National Forest
There's a few hikes that I do regularly around home that have 30+ crossings each way. Some can be rock-hopped, most are in the knee deep range.
Like others, I just wear my trailrunners straight through it all. Pick a sock that won't do you wrong even if its wet (i like the injinji socks) and a trailrunner with lots of mesh (to allow for quick draining and drying). I haven't tried hydropel but it seems like a good idea if your feet are blister prone.
In camp, I usually just cruise around in my trailrunners still. They dry fast, so they're not too damp. If it's really cold, I'll bring some kind of seperate footwear for around camp (like down socks with outer shells) or if it's more of a leisure trip and not about covering lots of miles, I'll bring a cheap pair of flip flops for around camp.Aug 12, 2011 at 11:26 am #1768682
I assume your regular hiking shoes are what you're most comfortable hiking in, and that level of comfort shouldn't change much since water makes little difference. What does make a difference is the grit that gets in. I imagine that would be much worse in water sandals due to the big gaps in the fabric. I usually wear 2 pairs of liner socks when I hike, but when there's a lot of water and the associated grit, I wear thicker traditional socks to prevent the grit from grinding up my feet.
As far as squishy toes goes, it sounds like your feet are going to be wet and squishy anyway. I'll take wet and smelly over the increased chance of ankle injury due to loosely fitting water shoes or cuts. I learned that lesson the hard way back when I used to canoe almost every weekend…after one slip that resulted in a bad cut I wore properly fitting full coverage shoes on every trip thereafter.Aug 12, 2011 at 11:36 am #1768685
Please note that I wouldn't do this in traditional boots or any type of "waterproof" footwear. This is for breathable trail runner type footwear only.Aug 12, 2011 at 11:39 am #1768686
Sumi WadaBPL Member
@detroittigerfanLocale: Ann Arbor
Consider a trail shoe/runner with a mesh fabric body and wool socks.
I've hiked long creek hikes in my Sportiva Wildcats (obviously the non-gortex model.) Mesh fabric lets the water drain well; it's never been that "squishy" to me, just damp. The wool socks help.
I do take and really appreciate dry socks and camp shoes at the end of the day.
I start the next day with dry socks and really don't notice the wet/damp shoes.Aug 12, 2011 at 11:49 am #1768693
Thanks for pointing that out. You really are specifically specifying trail runners and not just *any* shoes. Hmm. Won't the lack of ankle support, among other differences from a hiking shoe, be bad news? How do people hike (with a load) with train runners?Aug 12, 2011 at 12:14 pm #1768707
If you're asking me, I mean *any* shoes. Goretex leather boots will stay wet longer, but if I didn't have other comfortable footwear to hike in, I'd stick with those boots. Trail runners would dry faster, but with 30+ water crossings your shoes are not going to dry out.
Ultimately I'm saying that as far as your hiking goes, ignore the fact that there's water. Water is not a big deal as long as you have a way to keep your feet warm and dry at the end of the day, which also isn't a big deal if you crawl into your sleeping bag within minutes of finishing your hike at the end of the day.Aug 12, 2011 at 12:17 pm #1768709
David DrakeBPL Member
@daviddrakeLocale: North Idaho
>"How do people hike (with a load) with trail runners?"
Much more comfortably, in my experience. Of course, it helps to have a starting pack weight in the 15-25# range (or less). I remember how good it felt to take off my traditional full-leather goretex boots at the end of the day, and put on camp shoes. Now I feel just as good loosening the laces on my trail runners (if that) and putting on a dry pair of "sleeping socks" before bed. Plus, I can hike further, since I'm only moving ~1/3 the weight every step. I feel much more sure-footed, as well.
Re: stream crossings. I was skeptical too, but noticed first time wading through an icy stream with trail runners and light merino socks that my feet felt warm within minutes, with no noticeable "squishiness." Time for shoes and socks to get truly dry obviously depends on temperature and humidity (and number of crossings), but with dry socks to sleep in, I've never had discomfort or blister problems while hiking.Aug 12, 2011 at 12:23 pm #1768710
Sumi WadaBPL Member
@detroittigerfanLocale: Ann Arbor
I don't know that you can talk about "trail shoes" and "trail runners" generically. My Wildcats are much stiffer than my Montrails though they're both labeled "trail runners". I used to have some sort of Merrel trail shoes and I'm pretty sure that the Wildcats are more stable.
I just hiked in the Grand Canyon with trail runners. Boucher and Hermit trails which are pretty gnarly and prime ankle-twisting trails. I did have to think about foot placement a little more on the downhill but the uphills and scrambles were a DREAM. And a lot less foot fatigue over-all. (I used to wear "lightweight" Asolo boots.) Pack weight was 20lb at the trailhead, closer to 30lb on a dry-camp day. I doubt that I'll be going back to boots, except maybe in winter/snow conditions.Aug 12, 2011 at 12:56 pm #1768719
I was a long time holdout on trail runners and I had a sports related ankle injury in 2007 and soon after I started hiking again, I decided to try trail runners, thinking I might use them for my lightest loads in the summer. I haven't hiked in anything else since. I have hiked in non waterproof trail runners for 30 mile days and use them year round, in up to 19" inches of snow. It was the single best switch I have made. I did try and have a bad experience with minimalist footwear, but regular trail runners work GREAT for me.Aug 12, 2011 at 1:03 pm #1768721
What an amazing community. For someone new to backpacking in particular, you guys have been extremely patient and helpful. You totally gave me something to consider (changing shoes), which hadn't occurred to me before. Train runners it is!
P.S. What are camp shoes? Simply shoes you wear around camp?Aug 12, 2011 at 1:21 pm #1768732
David DrakeBPL Member
@daviddrakeLocale: North Idaho
>"I don't know that you can talk about 'trail shoes' and 'trail runners' generically."
Good point. I (mostly) quit wearing boots about two years ago–since then, I've worn out two pairs of Keen Ridgelines (light-ish, but fairly padded and have a shank-like stiffener in the sole) and have just about worn out my first pair of Inov8 Roclite 295s. The Inov8 are as minimal as I've worn, and I'll probably get another pair then maybe go lighter still.
I love the 295s–in the past four trips, I've had them in every condition I'm likely to hike in: doing high daily miles (for me), crossing several miles of snow, uphill and down, on muddy trails, very rocky trails and off-trail talus, scree and gravel, stream crossings, cheatgrass, and pavement and sidewalks around town. I've noticed that my gait has shifted more to the balls of my feet (have experienced some bruising to my arches if I don't, esp. on rocky trails). Great traction, wet or dry, due to lug soles and "sticky" rubber. Some soreness in the tendon running from big toes across top of foot, if I'm hiking 15 miles or more with significant elevation change, but nothing debilitating. I suspect this is a foot strength issue, as it started in the dominant foot, disappeared, then started in the other foot.
Weight carried as stated above: sometimes below 15#, and as much as 25#.Aug 12, 2011 at 3:02 pm #1768764
@richardcullipLocale: San Diego County
Like David Drake, I love my Innov8 Roclite 295's. I used them for the first time this Spring on a short (6 mile or so) weekend backpacking trip up the East San Gabriel River. This trail had many water crossing (10+) and I was very pleased to find out I could just walk thru the water with my shoes on. These lightweight trail runners drained quickly and my feet didn't complain (except while in the cold cold water). These shoes have a lugged sticky rubber sole that gave me great traction on both dry rock and wet stream bottom. That trip got me over my fear of getting wet feet while crossing a stream and now I don't hesitate to wet wade across a stream in my trail runners.Aug 12, 2011 at 3:21 pm #1768768
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
I, too, used to use mid-height boots, mostly because I found few stream crossings more than a couple of inches deep. Then this summer arrived, and there was a tremendous snowpack remaining in the mountains, so when the melt started in earnest, stream crossings that were normally a couple of inches deep had become crotch-deep torrents. When I started out on a recent trip (reported here), I had some new 195's that I wasn't too sure about. They do have an aggressive/grippy tread. I had intended to pull off shoes and socks for every wet crossing and keep them dry. Then I found out that it wasn't too practical. I was wasting far too much time with shoes and socks off, then shoes and socks on, etc. I tried to jump across a stream that appeared to be just a few inches deep. I missed and stepped in the water that was a foot deep. From then on, there was little motivation to try to keep anything dry. The good news about trail runner shoes is that they are squishy for a while, but then they dry out partly pretty quickly. I found that they would be more than half dry by the time I camped each evening, and they would be nearly dry by morning. Also, I hung up the wet socks on the edge of my shelter overnight, and they would be dry by morning. I wore dry socks into the sleeping bag.
I also found that a trekking pole or a pair of them, or a forest stick, or something will be helpful in keeping my balance when in deep water. It doesn't need to be the most expensive pole in the world, and it could be a wooden broomstick. Then, as you get farther along on your route, you can start whittling wood chips off your broomstick to feed a campfire.
–B.G.–Aug 12, 2011 at 3:23 pm #1768771
Ordering a pair thanks to your feedback/recommendation. Any advice on sizing? Is it TTS?Aug 12, 2011 at 3:27 pm #1768774
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
David, I had a pair of 195's that were a half-size too large for my feet, but I compensated with a thick pair of socks, and that made it right.
–B.G.–Aug 12, 2011 at 3:34 pm #1768778
Good advice. I have plenty of pairs of socks I can try. Or I may size half down if they are consistently 1/2 size too large.Aug 12, 2011 at 7:31 pm #1768839
Michael RayBPL Member
It seems most people recommend sizing up on Inov-8 shoes (or nearly any for that matter) since your feet will expand with all the hiking. FWIW, I'd normally wear a 7 in most everyday shoes and I use a pair of size 8 Roclite 315's with just a thin sock.Aug 12, 2011 at 9:41 pm #1768873
Oh wow, you have me confused now. I will just order multiple sizes from Zappos.Aug 13, 2011 at 6:33 am #1768924
Konrad .BPL Member
My Roclites 315's and Roclite 320's were both purchased 1/2 size larger than my normal shoe size. I normally wear a 9.5, but in Roclites, I bought size 10's based on other people's advice. Fit is awesome for me.Aug 13, 2011 at 8:11 am #1768935
John S.BPL Member
I like my Saucony Grid Excursion TR5 for water hikes.Aug 13, 2011 at 8:11 am #1768936
Use footwear with the most mesh, least padding, and thin socks, preferably polyester.
Mesh doesn't hold water and dries faster. Less padding and socks means less of the sponge-like water-holding effect.
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