Sep 2, 2012 at 5:02 am #1293614
My friends have invited me on (my first) snow shoeing trip in January. We'll be doing a 4 day hike in the mountains of Slovakia. Temperatures may get down to -13F. We will be doing 35 miles over four days while sleeping at (heated) mountain top hotels. I am a regular backpacker and can clear 20+ miles a day on the JMT, so the distance/altitude for me is ok, although I hear snowshoeing is going to be a bit more arduous than just hiking.
After reading the articles on this site, I've settled on the following sock/shoe combination:
Outdoor Research Cascadia Gaiter
New Balance 872 Off Road
Rocky Gore-Tex Sock (2nd layer)
Merino Sock (1st layer)
Toasty Feet Insole
When I hike, I have NB Minimus with smartwool, so I like the idea of breathable shoes with a goretex sock layer and below that a wicking layer. That said, none of the guides I have read had this, they always had a "Coolmax, Thermax, Outlast" layer next to the feet. If anybody can give me a recommendation on the feasibility of subsitituting the Merino for the coolmax, I'd much appreciate it.
AaronSep 2, 2012 at 2:54 pm #1908496
Sounds like a fun trip! Gaiters tend to be made for boots, and they allow some snow in the top of the shoe sometimes which has a chilling effect. If this happens often, it could keep your feet chilled. Try your shoe/gaiter combination and see how well it works. You might find the need to hold the gaiters to the shoes better.
My toes were sometimes uncomfortably cold snowshoeing 10-20F this winter with a similar shoe/sock combination. I was not using the toasty feet insoles though, just a thin reflective one. If your feet are often sweaty, you might find that they overwhelm the breathability of the GTX. In those temps, I think you'd be better off using a VBL sock and the GTX sock as the waterproofing layer. You'd likely want a very thick wool sock, such as a Wigwam ice sock. If I were doing the trip, this is what my foot gear list would be:
polypro liner sock
Wigwam ice sock
Rocky GoreTex sock sized up 2-3 sizes
Light trail runner sized up 2-3 sizes
It's important to size the shoe and GTX sock up so that you don't restrict blood circulation, as that's what keeps your toes warm.
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