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How do Goretex socks fit in a sock system?


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  • #3794707
    Michel S
    BPL Member

    @mossie23

    In the recent newsletters, Ryan mentioned the use of goretex socks in winter. I’m interested because I’m looking for ways to keep my feet warmer in winter. In the 2017 BPL article “Wet, Cold Feet When Backpacking How To Keep Your Feet Dry(er) and Warm(er) in Inclement Weather”, goretex socks were mentioned as a way to keep your feet dry and warm when in camp. But in the recent newsletters, it seemed as if goretex socks were also used during hiking, for warmth.

    The system mentioned was: Wool sock for warmth, goretex sock over that and than a WP/B shoe, to keep water out. My question is: What is the goretex sock doing there? If it is warmth, isn’t that already done by the wool sock? And if it is for waterproofing, isn’t the shoe doing that already? It seems to me like it’s just doubling the functions of the sock and the shoe. Or am I missing something, and is the goretex sock performing a unique function?

    #3794713
    Terran Terran
    BPL Member

    @terran

    Your feet sweat to maintain the tissue. To keep your skin from drying out. By keeping more moisture in, your feet sweat less, and there’s less heat transferred out. Not as drastic as a bread bag.
    I’m trying out a pair from Brynje. They’re not advertised as  Goretex  or waterproof, in fact they don’t say much at all. I feel they’re very similar. The same poly mix . A heavy, fine weave fabric, almost looks like a neoprene sock. Of course mesh lined. Over a wool sock, perhaps my warmest combination so far. Unfortunately we’re having gorgeous Colorado weather and I haven’t really tested them too hard. I notice my feet are a little softer. Not too soft. I’m kind of hoping the mesh will keep the wool from collapsing so much underfoot.. I think it compresses as you walk.

    #3794714
    Terran Terran
    BPL Member

    @terran

    #3794741
    Brian W
    BPL Member

    @empedocles

    Trying to sort this one out too. I ended up hiking in non-WP trail runners in the snow in Banff with wool socks, and my feet were cold the entire time.

    What should I have packed other than WP trail runners or boots for that one hiking day of unexpected snow?

    I wasn’t sure from the newsletter.

    #3794742
    Terran Terran
    BPL Member

    @terran

    For 1 day. Hothands toe warmers.

    #3794752
    Nick Gatel
    BPL Member

    @ngatel

    Locale: Southern California

    I wrote this on my blog over ten years ago. Still using the same stuff. I did wear out a pair of the Rocky Gore-tex socks, but found a couple more pair a while back. Last I checked no one was selling them.

    https://popupbackpacker.com/backpacking/gear/winter-footwear/

     

    #3794793
    Terran Terran
    BPL Member

    @terran

    To be clear, I don’t know how the Brynje socks would compare with the Rocky’s. I do find them warm. For some reason, Rocky stopped production.

    I make the commit about toe warmers after realizing that my socks, two pairs,  cost as much as my shoes, however I get a lot of use out of them.

    #3800227
    Michel S
    BPL Member

    @mossie23

    Thanks for the replies, and it’s great to see how others keep their feet warm. But I’m specifically trying to figure out what the WP/B sock is doing in a winter sock system with WP/B shoes. Waterproofing should be taken care of by the shoe, and warmth could just as well be provided by one thicker wool sock, or 2 thinner wool/synthetic socks layered (as Terran seems to do). Or do WP/B socks have properties that neither wool socks or WP/B shoes have?

    #3800228
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    They keep the socks from getting wet from sweat?

    Maybe you need waterproof socks to do that?

    If you read jack Stephenson from warmlite, on an arctic expedition – days of very cold – your sleeping bag will collect sweat that freezes inside the sleeping bag.  If you have a waterproof liner, it would prevent this.  Is this the idea behind wpb socks?

    A wpb jacket keeps rain outside, but that wouldn’t make sense for feet because you sweat has to go somewhere

    #3800244
    Michel S
    BPL Member

    @mossie23

    The WP/B sock goes over the insulating sock, so that’s different than the sleeping bag liner example you mentioned. I know how that works, and I don’t think that’s what the mentioned sock system is trying to achieve.

    From the December 6th newsletter: “Waterproof socks create a semi-permeable vapor barrier microclimate over your insulating (e.g., wool) sock”.

    VPB socks can help keep your feet dry when your shoes are wet, but the shoes are WP/B, so the shoes shouldn’t get wet. Maybe the WP/B sock is just there for backup in case the shoe fails? It would surprise me if that is the case. Or is it just that a WP/B sock is warmer for its weight than a second wool or synthetic sock layer?

    #3800245
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    yeah – I have the same questions

    #3800246
    Michel S
    BPL Member

    @mossie23

    Maybe the WP/B sock does a way better job at creating a warm microclimate than another normal sock would do? Almost like a VPB sock, but with the advantage that it’s still somewhat permeable, helping your insulating socks stay dry/drier.

    #3800252
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    The theory is with VPB clothing, the sweat stays next to your skin and creates high humidity.  This stops any more sweating.

    Maybe WPB socks do the same thing

    #3800253
    Brad W
    BPL Member

    @rocko99

    And it traps heat while exerting.  Wet wool socks-no matter how thick, can still be cold when snow is constantly on top of your boot.

    #3800262
    Michel S
    BPL Member

    @mossie23

    I doubt that’s how VPB is intended. As far as I know, sweating has only one function: Thermoregulation by evaporation. It doesn’t stop if the environment is saturated with water. People still sweat in high humidity environments, although evaporation becomes slower. And sweating is, to my knowledge, also not for keeping feet moisturized, as Terran suggested above.

    If I understand it correctly, VPB is used to prevent sweat from getting into outer layers where it can freeze. But by the time VPB becomes an option, the temperatures are so low, I assume you won’t sweat that much anyway. And if you do, you’ll need to adjust your exertion level or insulating layers.

    #3800263
    Michel S
    BPL Member

    @mossie23

    Maybe I’m misunderstanding you, but I think the idea of any winter shoe/sock system is that your insulating layer should stay close to dry. If it gets seriously wet, I suspect the WP/B layer will get wet as well. Or at least significantly moist. In which case you will feel the cold snow on your shoes just as well.

    #3800264
    Brad W
    BPL Member

    @rocko99

    Have you tried a vapor barriers on your feet? I have many times. Wearing wool socks and non-waterproof shoes/boots in snow-adding a vapor barrier-plastic grocery bag on the outside of your sock-can take you from absolutely miserable to quasi-comfortable within 10-20 minutes. Not applicable in static situations. FWIW I use the thicker, more durable bags they charge you 10c for in CA.

    #3800265
    Michel S
    BPL Member

    @mossie23

    No, I haven’t. I’m new to winter hiking, but I’m curious to learn. I understand how VPB is supposed to work, and am not surprised it helps you turn a miserable situation into a bearable one in no time. But the sock system proposed in the newsletter doesn’t use VPB, it uses WP/B. And that’s what I don’t understand.

    #3800266
    Bob Shuff
    BPL Member

    @slbear

    Locale: SoCal

    Also learning after the shop in Julian, CA said waterproof socks were hugely popular among PCT hikers – big snow year!  I get that they keep your feet dry/warmer from wet hiking shoes, either in camp or hiking. I don’t quite get the stream crossing use case because I would think your feet and the inside of the socks would get wet.  I’ll try them this year if we get more rain and snow in SoCal (which I’m waiting and hoping for)

    #3800270
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    “As far as I know, sweating has only one function: Thermoregulation by evaporation.”

    What I’ve read – insensible perspiration occurs all the time, but if it’s 100% humidity, it will stop

    I’ve tried VBL a little but it was heavier than not using VBL without improved warmth.  But that was down to 20 F or maybe 15 F.  I think it has to be colder than that.  I made a jacket and pants with “fuzzy stuff” from  warmlite.

    And my sleeping bag has never had water freeze inside – again, down to 15 F for a few days.  VBL would be good if it was colder and more days.

    #3800273
    Michel S
    BPL Member

    @mossie23

    A quick internet search seems to suggest that at high humidity evaporation stops instead of sweating. Hence the clammy feeling. (For one source: https://buythermopro.com/how-does-high-humidity-impact-sweating/). At some point though there won’t be enough body fluids anymore to produce sweat, but that’s not relevant to the scenarios we’re discussing.

    I would appreciate it if we could limit the discussion to the role of WP/B in a winter sock system. I know VPB is another option, but that’s not what my question is about.

     

    #3800274
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    sorry : )

    the only reason I mentioned VBL is I think that might be the reason people use Goretex socks

    #3800275
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    one more thing and then I’ll stop.  (This may affect goretex socks effectiveness)

    https://www.warmlite.com/vapor-barrier/

    “If humidity next to your skin reaches 100% (meaning it can’t hold any more water vapor), evaporation stops, chilling stops, and water taken from skin not sweat (insensible sweat), stops.”

    “During World War II, US cold weather troops used Vapor Barrier socks to cure frostbite and trench foot. We started promoting use of Vapor Barrier socks (baggies, bread bags, etc.) in 1957, then gloves and shirts, and in sleeping bags in 1967.”

    Stephenson seems pretty reliable, but he is selling stuff so maybe this isn’t totally valid.

    #3800284
    DWR D
    BPL Member

    @dwr-2

    “water taken from skin not sweat (insensible sweat), stops”

    Please… what is “water ‘taken’ from skin” ??? I don’t understand what that means…

    #3800294
    Terran Terran
    BPL Member

    @terran

    Our bodies are a leaky bag of water. It keeps our skin moist. Think of a cotton bag. The cotton swells when wet and will hold water or repel it. If you’ve ever seasoned a cotton tent, you wet it. The same with your skin. If it’s dry, you’ll leak moisture. If you keep wicking the moisture away, you’ll leak more.

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