BPL’s Winter School omission

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    Eric Blumensaadt
    BPL Member


    Locale: Mojave Desert

    BPL’s Winter “School” has Vapor Barrier Layer (VBL) topics for hands and body EXCEPT for feet. So I’m wondering why that is. For years I have extolled the virtues and critical need for VBL socks (over thin synthetic liner socks) when wearing winter boots. My best recommendation is 3 mm closed cell neoprene divers booties and the best brand I’ve found is US Divers with factory seam sealing and left and right shaped socks to prevent bunching of material at the toes.

    Unless you are wearing “Mickey Mouse” military boots that have built in VBL protection for their felt insulation you absolutely must have a VBL for your insulated winter boots, whether or not they hav removable liners. Once boot insulation gets “sweat wet” boots become very cold.


    And IF your winter boots do have removable liners all the better so the liners can be stored in the foot of your sleeping bag overnight to stay warm. (You do have a size Long sleeping bag for storage of items like this and water containers, right?)

    On bitter cold mornings there are few things more uncomfortable than painfully cold toes while breaking camp. Those who have experienced this can relate. KEEP YOUT BOOTS/LINERS WARM OVERNIGHT.



    BPL Member


    Amen 🙏 also don’t forget down booties to keep the dogs warm. I always bring a bag or quilt that is rated for at least 10 degrees colder than I expect the temps to drop!

    Rodney Ackerman
    BPL Member


    Locale: Great Lakes

    Been there, done that. I recall the first time I put on frozen felt pacs. OUCH! And it hurt the whole 3-4 miles back to trailhead. I remember thinking I haven’t had feet this cold and hurting since I was a kid walking back home from the sledding hill where every step felt like pin prick jabs into the toes.

    Agree with Eric. VBL is very helpful in mitigating this pain. I haven’t used the diver socks yet only various types of bags: grocery, produce, etc.  as my winter hiking has been in a pause state while I have returned to working. Hopefully in another few months I can return to the woods.

    Happy Trails


    Tjaard Breeuwer
    BPL Member


    Locale: Minnesota, USA

    I am not quite in the ‘must keep boots warm and wear VBL socks’ like Eric.

    If you are using closed cell foam liners (Intution or Palau brands), you can get away with not doing either, as the only moisture is in the liner scrim.

    Still, personally, I use VBL socks (US Divers also) anyway, just to keep my feet warmer, especially in camp in the evening.

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