Gear Guy

Picture of the Klamath     Photo: Courtesy, Keen

Q:

What boot should I wear for a bike-raft trip into the Grand Canyon?

What is a good hiking boot for a seven-day Grand Canyon rafting/hiking trip in September? We'll (my wife and I) be rafting four to six hours each day with time for side hikes, and then will be hiking out of the canyon on the last day (about 7.5 miles) carrying about 20-30 pound packs. We both already have Chacos so we're covered on the river sandal front.
-Chris
Springfield, IL

A:I'd probably go with a light backpacking boot. The terrain is pretty rugged, so maybe something a bit heftier than a dayhiking boot, although something like that may well work.

A good example of a boot that's about the right weight is the Keen Klamath ($150). They're a light backpacking boot with waterproof nubuck leather and waterproof/breathable liners (thunderstorms could be an issue). Lots of traction, very comfortable. They'll feel more like running shoes than boots.

I also like the Scarpa Kailash ($170) a lot. I've worn a pair for a couple of years and they're one of my favorite hiking boots. They have light, flexible leather uppers, toe bumpers for protection, Gore-Tex booties, a great fit. Available in both men's and women's sizes.

For something pretty tough but just a bit lighter, I'd suggest a pair of Oboz Sawtooth Mids ($135). They have fabric and leather uppers, a waterproof membrane, and a nylon shank for pretty good stability. I've been using a pair this summer and am very impressed by the traction they afford. Or take a look at the Merrell Chameleon 3 Ventilator Mids ($150). These are practically molded over your feet, offering a very low-profile, which is great when scrambling around rocks and gullies. But they still have leather uppers and and Gore-Tex XCR booties.

Have a great trip! It should be lovely then—warm, but not excessively hot.

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