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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Bridgedale Endurance Trekker Socks > Test Report by Larry Kirschner

Bridgedale Endurance Trekker Socks

TEST SERIES BY LARRY KIRSCHNER
Bridgedale Endurance Trekkers



INITIAL REPORT - November 7, 2008
FIELD REPORT - January 18, 2009
LONG TERM REPORT - March 16, 2009



TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Larry Kirschner
EMAIL: asklarry98 at hotmail dot com
AGE: 43
LOCATION: Columbus, OH
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 200 lb (90.70 kg)
SHOE SIZE: 10.5-11 US (depending on make/model)

I've been an intermittent camper/paddler since my teens, but now that my kids are avid Boy Scouts, I've caught the backpacking bug. I typically do 8-10 weekend hikes per year, and have spent time over the past 2 years backpacking at the Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico and canoeing the Atikaki wilderness in Manitoba. I like to travel "in comfort", so I used to pack heavy, but I've progressed down to medium weight, and continue to work toward going lighter and longer. With all of my investment into these ventures, I expect my wife and I will continue to trek long after the kids are gone…


INITIAL REPORT
November 7, 2008

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Bridgedale
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Country of Manufacture: China
Manufacturer's Website: www.bridgedale.com
Model: Endurance Trekkers
Size: L
MSRP: not listed

Listed weight: Not provided
Measured weight: 96 g/3.4 oz (per pair, size large)
Color: Gunmetal gray (Other colors available: blue, green, grey, black, oatmeal)


ITEM DESCRIPTION

The Bridgedale Endurance Trekker socks (the 'Trekkers' or 'socks') are midweight trekker seam hiking socks designed for all-season hiking and backpacking use. They are constructed from 41% new wool, 37% nylon/polyamide, 21% Endurofill (polypropylene) and 1% Lycra (elastane) and have a soft and springy feel. There are elastic bands on the socks located under the arch and above the heel along the length of the socks, although there are crosswise fibers supporting the heel. As shown in the photo, the coloring of the socks is helpful in making sure that the sock is positioned properly on the foot. There is a cuff at the top of the sock which also has an elastic component to help them stay. Additionally, the sock is constructed with a single seam at the toe which is sewn in tight to the fabric so that it does not stand out on the inside. The sock is marked clearly with the Bridgedale name in bright orange thread, and my socks came with a large 'L' on the bottom, which I presume indicates that I have size large socks.
trekker top and bottom

INSTRUCTIONS

Washing instructions for the socks are fairly simple: they are supposed to be washed inside out in warm water (40 C/ 105 F) and can be machine dried on the low setting. The socks are NOT to be dry-cleaned.

TRYING THEM OUT

My first impression of the Trekkers is that they appear to be good quality socks. They seem solidly made and I like the fact that the manufacturers have made a specific effort to make the toe seam as flush as possible

For the first test, I wore the Trekkers around the house just to see how they fit. When I put them on, I felt they were a little large, although I clearly fit in the middle of the size range for the large size socks. They seemed large because when I pulled them on, the heel markings were located above my heel. However, when I adjusted the socks so that the socks were positioned properly, I found that they did not slide up or down. Even without liner socks, the fabric of the socks was comfortable against my skin. Although there is elasticity, the socks don't pinch and don't feel tight. I was not able to feel the interior seam when I wiggled my toes around. When I wore the socks, I did not feel like my feet were heating up. They did not feel like they had a lot of padding on the socks, but they were certainly comfortable to wear.

I next wore the Trekkers over a pair of liners to an outdoor event at our local high school. This involved a 0.6 mile (1 km) walk each way, sitting for about 2 hours, and then walking home. It was quite cool (45 F/6 C) and it rained for the entire three hours I was outside. The socks did not get soaked as I was wearing my rainpants and waterproof shoes (the Zamberlan Crests), but they certainly got wet. Although most of my body was cold and wet by the time I got home, my feet were warm and dry. I took off my shoes and socks and examined the Trekkers. They were slightly damp, although most of the water had collected on the outer surface of the socks. I let them sit out inside overnight, and they were completely dry by the next morning.

EXPECTATIONS FOR THE BRIDGEDALE ENDURANCE TREKKERS

Overall, I wasn't sure what to expect, since I have no prior experience with Bridgedale products. So far, I would say that these socks match what I would expect from a good, solid pair of hiking socks. I'm looking forward to see what they are like on the trail.


TEST PLAN

For the Field test, I will wear the Endurance Trekkers for all of my hiking/backpacking activities over the next few months. I may also use them for general use through the winter, as I expect them to be warmer than my usual athletic socks.

THE STORY SO FAR:

Impressive:

  • Warm and Comfy
  • Seem to resist water and dry quickly
Concerns:
  • Do they have enough padding?
  • Will the elastic start to loosen over the course of the test?


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FIELD REPORT

January 18, 2009


FIELD CONDITIONS

I have worn the Endurance Trekkers for about 14 days during the course of the last 2 months, including a wide variety of conditions. The first time I wore them was on a weekend trip in November to the Clifton Gorge, located in Clifton, Ohio. I hiked about 7.5 miles (12 km) on the gorge trail carrying a day pack with food, water, a rain shell and an extra heavyweight fleece. The temperature started out around 40 F (4 C) and reached a high around 48 F (8 C) during the day. Next, I had a business trip in mid-December to Half Moon Bay, California, and was able to arrange an extra day of the trip, which I spent hiking up the beach and back, covering about 7 miles (11+ km) all together. The sunshine was nice, but it was a little cool, with temperatures that day near 60 F (15 C). I also wore the Trekkers on a weekend trip to Dayton, Ohio. I spent most of the weekend in a cabin, but did have time for a 3 mi (5 km) hike in about 2 inches of snow in temperatures around 30 F (-1 C). I have had two outings in January, both of which involved some cabin camping and some hiking. The first was a weekend at a Boy Scout camp in Newark, Ohio which included about 2-2.5 miles (3-4 km) of hiking. It was snowy and cold, with temperatures around 25 F (-4 C) most of the weekend. This past weekend, I was out again in Ray, OH. The temperatures were quite cold, with temperatures as low as 1 F (-17 C) and as high as 18 F (-8 C). This also involved a modest amount of hiking, probably in the range of 3-4 miles (5-6 km).

In addition to these outdoor experiences, I also wore the Trekkers to work a few times, usually wearing them over a pair of cotton athletic socks when the weather was cold (<25 F/-4 C). I also had the chance to wear the Trekkers to a football game (American football) I attended in Cincinnati, OH. This was a cool day with temperatures in the low 50's F (10-12 C) during the day. I spend about 4 -5 hours outdoor that day, including lots of walking around to get to the stadium.

FIELD EXPERIENCE

During the Field Report portion of the test, I have worn the Trekkers exclusively as oversocks, with a variety of other types of socks underneath. For all occasions where I have worn them hiking, I have worn them with a pair of synthetic hiking liners. The two pairs of socks have been worn with either a pair of low-rise trail shoes (Zamberlan Crest GT's) or with my regular hiking boots (Montrail Torre GTX's). For the times I have worn the socks when I wasn't on the trail, I have worn the Trekkers over cotton athletic socks, either with sneakers or with the Zamberlans.

In terms of comfort, I would rate the socks quite highly. They have retained their elasticity, and I have not had any trouble with bunching of the socks. They also have remained nice and soft. I can't say that I have worn the socks on any extensive backcountry hikes, but when I have worn them, they have provided ample cushioning for my feet. When I have worn them to work and spent a lot of time on my feet, I have found that the padding kept my feet from feeling a lot of strain.

It has been very cold here (at least for Ohio) so I have had plenty of time to think about how warm these socks keep my feet. They are rated to be fairly warm (4/5, where 5 is the warmest, according to the Bridgedale website). When wearing the socks when the temperatures were in the 40's and 50's F (>4 C), I found the socks comfortable without making my feet sweat. However, on my last few outings when the temperatures have been below freezing, I have found that my feet have been somewhat cold when wearing the Trekkers, particularly when the temperature was below 20 F (-6 C). It has not been bad when I am exerting myself, but my feet cooled quickly when at rest. In fairness, none the shoes/boots I have been wearing are made for sub-freezing temperatures so I would not say the socks are under-performing--they are just not made for temperatures that cold.

As noted in my initial report, the socks do seem to be quite water resistant. Despite wearing them in the snow and rain, I have never really noted them to be wet to any extent when I have taken them off my feet. Also, they do not have any noticeable odor, despite wearing them for 2-3 days straight at a time.

WEAR AND TEAR

Although Bridgedale was gracious enough to send multiple pairs, I have exclusively worn one of the pairs, so that I could assess the sturdiness of these socks. I have probably washed the Trekkers 5 or 6 times so far. Although the instructions say to wash the socks inside-out, I have forgotten to invert them on some of their washing. In terms of general sturdiness, I give these socks high marks. I really cannot see any signs of wear on the socks yet. They have also held up very well with washing. In fact, the socks seem like they may have shrunk just a little bit, which actually makes them fit a little better than before.

FIELD IMPRESSIONS

To date, the Bridgedale Endurance Trekkers have shown themselves to be sturdy hiking oversocks. They have a good amount of padding and keep my feet comfortable when hiking. They are also fairly warm, at least until the temperature drops too low. They have held up admirably without significant signs of wear, both in terms of the fabric and the elastic. I will continue to monitor the status of these issues as I continue testing, but overall I would say I have been favorably impressed to date with the Bridgedale Endurance Trekker socks.


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LONG-TERM REPORT
March 16, 2009

FIELD CONDITIONS

My usage of the Trekkers has been someone limited over the last 2 months, as February was a dead month for me, at least in terms of hiking. I did get out on a 2-day/1-night trip in March on a short jaunt to Newark, Ohio. The weather was dry but cool on arrival, in the mid 30's F (2-4 C) when I hiked in to the cabin where I stayed. The next day started around the same temperature, but warmed up to around 50 F (10 C) during the afternoon. The hike to and from the cabin was about 0.3 mile (.5 km) each way, and I hiked about 2 miles (3.2 km) during the day, although I spent much of the day outside.


FIELD EXPERIENCE

Because I had been testing some new trail shoes, this was only the second time during the test where I wore the Trekkers with my usual hiking boots (Montrail Torre GTX's). Although I didn't hike a lot on this trip, I spent a lot of time outside on my feet. I was a little disappointed that my feet did not stay warmer, as the weather was not that cold outside. Other than that, I had no problems with the socks bunching or sagging. I felt that the padding and support for my feet were adequate.

With this last 2 day trip, I would estimate that I have worn the Trekkers for about 16 days in total, which is significantly longer than a typical backcountry trip for me (anywhere from 5-10 days). I have also washed the socks 5-6 times over the course of the test. The photo below shows two pairs of socks-the one pair which I wore during the course of this test, and the other one which I took out of the package but never actually wore. If I didn't know any better, it would be hard to tell them apart.

which socks were used on the test?

In fact, the pair at right is the pair that was worn during the test. The only thing I could really notice is that the heel has a little sag to it, as noted in the arrow in the photo below. (The "new" sock is fresh from the package, and the "old" was worn a lot)

a little sagging in the heel

SUMMARY

Overall, I found the Bridgedale Endurance Trekker Socks to be good quality mid-weight hiking socks. I did not feel that they were as warm as other socks I have used, so I would probably not bring them on a trip where cold weather was expected. They have adequate padding and held up very well during the course of the test. I am still a little disconcerted by the fact that the socks do not have quite the elasticity of other wool blend socks, although I never had any problems with them bunching or sagging when I wore them on the trail.

Things I liked about the Endurance Trekkers:
  • Excellent durability
  • Did not slip or bunch on my feet
  • Liked the color scheme with the different parts of sock delineated
Things I disliked about the Trekkers:
  • Were not as warm as expected
  • Would have liked a little more elastic feel

This concludes my report on the Bridgedale Endurance Trekker Socks. My thanks once again to Bridgedale for providing this equipment for testing, and to BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to participate in the evaluation process.


-larry kirschner

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