Q:

Which hiking boots will keep me dry during stre crossings?

I'm planning a short backpacking trip into the Smoky Mountains, and the trails have several creek crossings. Do you have any recommendations for a backpacking boot that is quick-drying but still has enough support? Sawyer Charleston, South Carolina

Dec 11, 2006
Outside
Outside Magazine
Scarpa Delta M3 boot

Delta M3 boot

A:

I recommend…boots. Just about any boot, so long as it’s comfortable, fits well, and offers the support you need. With all due respect, when did crossing streams become such a novelty? I’ve been hopping streams for more than thirt…I mean, for many years, and I’ve never sat at the trailhead and wondered if my boots were up to the task. We (meaning hikers) either find boulders to hop or a log crossing, or if push comes to shove we take the boots off and wade across. And once in a while my feet get wet.

Because no matter what you wear, those are going to be your options. Quality boots—by that I mean well made, all-leather boots or newer light hikers with waterproof inner booties—will easily keep you dry during the few seconds you splash through a stream. That is, until the water goes over the tops, which is the main risk. And when that happens, whether the boot dries a little slowly is almost immaterial because you also have wet socks with which to deal.

So I’d simply buy good hiking boots. Asolo’s Fugitive GTX boots ($170; www.asolo.com) are comfortable, supportive boots with leather-and-Cordura uppers and a Gore-Tex lining. Lowa’s Renegade GTX Mid boots ($180; www.lowaboots.com) are similar in weight and design and also have Gore-Tex, but all boot makers use a little different last so they might fit differently than the Asolo boots. And Scarpa’s Delta M3 boots ($190; www.scarpa.com) are an increasingly rare treasure: really well made with all leather uppers and no waterproof/breathable lining.

To help you across streams, pack in a pair of Outdoor Research Rocky Mountain Low Gaiters ($20; www.orgear.com). These fit atop the boot and around the ankle, keeping dirt, snow, and water out of the boots. They’re not waterproof, but the water-repellent coating will easily shed the wet from a five-step stream hop.

So go forth, hike, and worry not about a stream or three.

Get more advice from the Gear Guy as he picks this season’s top gifts in Away.com’s Holiday Gift Guide. You’ll probably find a few things to put on your own wish list, too.

Filed To: Hiking Boots

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