Gear Guy

What is the best liner sock available?

I want to buy new liner socks to use for backpacking. Since my last purchase of these, many more choices of fabric type and combinations have become available. What have you found to be the best buy? Dennis Bender Hilton, New York

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I agree. Trying to buy liner socks nowadays is like trying to choose paint for a house. So many choices, but you can use only one.

Still, I have my clear favorites. One completely reliable liner sock is the Wigwam Coolmax Liner ($5). A great liner sock for winter or summer—wicks well, dries fast, and has good anti-blister characteristics. Another good sock is the Patagonia Capilene IV liner ($12), which blends Merino wool with Capilene. Merino is a good material for socks because it absorbs and holds a great deal of moisture, keeping it away from your skin. But, carrying a spare is a good thing as they are a little slow to dry. SmartWool makes a mostly-wool liner for $9.50. I love SmartWool socks, but in this case would suggest the liner might be best for cool-weather trips. Or, carry a spare.

For long trips, I’ve also had good luck with the Fox River X-Static sock ($8.50). These socks combine a polypropylene base fabric with specially treated nylon that inhibits the growth of fungi, bacteria, and other nasties. So, you’re feet smell sweeter longer, and won’t offend your tent partner.

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