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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Bridgedale Endurance Trekker Socks > Test Report by Mark McLauchlin

Bridgedale Endurance Trekker
"enduring comfort"
Initial Report 16th December 2008
By Mark McLauchlin


Photo courtesy of Bridgedale


* Reviewer Information

Name: Mark McLauchlin
Age: 30
Gender: Male
Height: 1.76 m (5 9)
Weight: 80 kg (176 lb)
Email: mark at swanvalleyit.com.au
City: Perth, Western Australia

* Backpacking Background

I have been hiking since 2006 with most of my hiking consisting of day walks averaging 16 - 22 km (10 - 14 mi) and short overnight trips where possible. Most of my hiking is along the Bibbulmun Track and Coastal Plains Trail. I consider myself to be a light hiker with an average pack weight of 13 kg (29 lb), which I am working to reduce. I generally sleep in my tarp tent or huts that are often scattered along the various hiking trails.

* Product Information

Manufacturer: Bridgedale Outdoor Limited
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: www.bridgedale.com
Listed Weight: not listed
Measured Weight: 
Size: Large
Colour: Green
Colour Variants: Blue, Grey, Black, Gunmetal and Oatmeal.
Fibre Content: New Wool (41%), Nylon (37%), Endurofil (21%), Lycra (1%)
MSRP: not listed.


* Product Description
Bridgedale describe the Endurance Trekker socks as being; "Designed for any-season, Hiking, Trekking and Backpacking. For the regular, dedicated outdoor enthusiast, this style ensures dry, warm and comfortable feet - mile after mile.".

To touch, the socks feel very woollen, which is not surprising considering they are made from 41% Wool.  I would compare the feel to that of a good quality woollen jumper. The opening of the sock has an elastic composition to help keep them in place, this actually feels quite tight. The sock then has two main sections that contain extra support in the form elastic bands these are the arch and just above the heel. It seems like this extra support will help the socks remain in place and do not creep down and bunch up causing discomfort or blisters. From the top of the sock to the heel I measure 21 cm or 8 in of a slightly thinner material. I guess this could be to provide some extra cooling and ventilation which is a great idea. As this area is not subject to any load or potential wear I do not see this as an issue. From the heel down to the toe the material is thicker and provides extra padding underfoot which is exactly where I need it to be. The toe of the sock, which does have a seam,  provides great cushioning and should provide extra comfort on the downhill tracks that I am likely to be walking on. I do feel that perhaps the seam is a little protruding as is quite noticeable on the inside of the sock. The test will be to see if this causes any issues with my toes. The socks also have the brand and model name sewn in.

* Reading the Instructions
The instructions located on the reverse side of the packaging suggest the following for washing;
"For best results wash inside out. Wash dark colours separately. Do not bleach. Do not iron. Tumble Dry on LOW Heat. Do not dry clean."

These are both clear to read and understand.

* Trying it out

When pulling the socks up for the first time they felt a little tight around the top where the elastic is but once my feet were past this they felt quite comfortable. I was initially a little worried that the elastic might be irritating if too tight, then my brain kicked into work and I realised that I do not walk with my socks pulled up so there is no issue. I do however sleep with my socks up so it will be interesting to see how they work out.

I am happy with the feel of the socks on and can see they have the potential to provide great comfort both whilst hiking and sitting around the camp site. From my walk around the house with no shoes on I found the socks to stay in place and they did not shift around at all, which is a great start. The most effective way to take the socks is to scrunch from the top down and then pull off. As they are quite tight fitting this was a lot easier than just trying to pull with brute force.
 
First try
Perhaps my biggest concern with the socks at this stage is the amount of wear they seem to have shown after so few kilometres. The heel, which can be seen below, has suffered quite a lot of this premature wear. I will only be able to evaluate how well they survive after the results of the field trip are completed.

The image to the right shows the socks after their first wash, post a walk of approximately 11 km (7 miles). I was surprised to find they came out so twisted and out of shape as they were washed exactly as per the instructions in my front loading machine. This shape transformation does not appear to have impacted on the performance or functionality, however I do feel that there maybe issues with the short-term durability if this continues to worsen.


I remain positive in my testing of the Bridgedale socks after their first use as they did prevent blisters from forming and my feet did remain relatively cool despite the high ambient temperature (35 C or 63 F).

Heel wear
After first wash

Out in the field

* Summary
I am quite happy with the feel of these socks while out hiking the trails. I do have some concerns over the short-term durability of these socks as initial wear is of concern.

This concludes my Initial Report. The Field report should be completed by February. Please check back then for further information.

 


Field Report
14th February 2009


As far as my testing has gone, the Endurance Trekker socks have accompanied me on one day walk, two night walks, one of which included navigation through an old train tunnel, and two overnight hikes. My first outing was along the Heritage Trail in the John Forrest National Park which was a round trip of 17 Km (10.5 miles). Elevation ranged from 50 m (164 ft) to 260 m (853 ft). Temperature on the day was around 17C (63 F), with some precipitation.

The first overnight hike was along the Coastal Plains Trail in the Yanchep National Park where I camped in one of the three sided huts. I wore the socks during the night on this occasion to see what effect it would have on my overall body temperature. I tend to sleep cold so ensuring my feet are layered well has in the past proven to be a good strategy. The socks performed well and gave me back some confidence in their functionality. My feet were neither cold or overheated. The temperature wasn't too low during the night, I would estimate down to about 8 C (46 F). The day was a little different with the temperature being extremely high, sitting on around 35 C (95 F). During the days hike I could feel my feet swelling up and starting to develop warm spots. I persevered on as the length of this walk to the camp site is fairly short only 11 km (7 miles). When I arrived at camp my feet were a little sore however no blisters. The following day the temperatures were the same again, and a few kilometres away from my car I could feel that several blisters had formed. The next few days off trail were a little painful.

The next overnight hike was out to my favourite place, Helena Hut on the Bibbulmun Track. This loop walk is 22 km (13.7 miles) and can be completed either in one day or the night can be spent at the campsite which consists of a shelter, toilet and fire ring. The shelter at this location is also a three sided hut. Temperatures again were high, I estimate approximately 30  (86 F). The testing of the socks on this trip ended after approximately 10 km (6 miles) where I had to remove them and attend to a few blisters with some tape. For the remainder of this walk I did not wear the Endurance Trekker socks.

The Endurance Trekker socks have performed a little less than satisfactory and fallen short my initial expectations. Two areas of concern I have; Firstly the durability is something I will continue to monitor carefully through out the Long Term Report. After my first walk, as discussed in the Initial Report, there was an amount of wear in several places, namely the heel and toe areas. Although this does not appear to be getting worse after several more trips I still have some reservations. Perhaps I will be proven wrong after the next few months. Other parts of the sock appear to be holding up well and show no signs or wear.

The second area of concern is that I feel perhaps the socks are too thick for the summer months here in Australia. From my observations I have found that the socks are not allowing my feet to breathe resulting in an increase in temperature and swelling of my feet, which have then lead to several blisters forming. I can eliminate my shoes from being an issue because I do not get these blisters with other hiking socks. Bridgedale market these socks as "Designed for any-season hiking, trekking and backpacking." but perhaps the higher than normal temperatures here are having an adverse affect?

Temperatures over the next few months will be starting to cool which will give me a chance to continue testing and perhaps have some better luck.

* Summary
At this point of the test series my initial comments regarding the short-term durability remain the same, however as stated they do not appear to be getting worse. I will continue to test the socks in more favourable weather to establish if there is a more suitable temperature range for these socks.
 


Long-Term Report
15th March 2009

my feet
Bridgedale Endurance Trekker socks with gatiers and top rolled down.

My final hike with the socks was a walk in the Helena National Park on a day where the temperature upon commencement was 27.5 C (77 F) and reached a low overnight of 7 C (44 F) with  a mighty cold and strong wind. This was a 22 km (13 miles) round trip on which I stayed the night at the half way point. The image above shows what the surface of the trail was like for the majority of the trip.

In the four weeks since posting my last report on the Bridgedale Endurance Trekker socks I have put to bed some of the concerns I have regarding these, and also reaffirmed another. The reaffirmation has in the fact that I believe these socks are not suited to warmer temperatures. When worn my feet become too warm and uncomfortable. They are however great for the cooler evening temperatures. As we progress into the cooler temperatures here in Australia I will continue to wear the socks and see how they perform.

I have found that for the socks to be comfortable I need to wear them with the top rolled over, otherwise the elastic is quite tight and becomes itchy on the skin after a prolonged period. The picture above also shows the top rolled over. This causes no concerns to me as there is a simple solution that works well. The fact the elastic is tight ensures the socks do not creep down.

As mentioned in my Field Report, blisters have been an issue which I strongly believe are due to the increased temperature of my feet and no other fault of the socks.

The socks have be great for repelling odour which I find an advantage as I generally wear socks to sleep at night so a little hygiene is important. Not to mention the fact being around smelly feet isn't pleasant.

Stains have not been an issue due the dark colour of the material. They have cleaned well in the washing machine and dirt seems to come out relatively easily. I have also not seen any ill effects from either hand or machine washing.

One famous bushie here in Australia is a gentleman by the name of Malcolm Douglas (Google it you will find him). He is a rough as they come and eats all sorts of things you would try to avoid unless in a survival situation. In one of Malcolm's recent documentaries he demonstrated a method for drying his socks out, I thought I have to try this out! On the above mentioned hike, after settling myself in camp for the night I recalled Malcolm's rather unique method and fast went to work. Firstly I washed my socks out in the available water supply from rain water tanks which have been collecting since early on in the year (as we haven't had rain in sometime), gave them a tight wring out and hung them over a nearby tree branch while I looked for a handful of rocks, yes rocks. Once I found some of suitable weight and size I dusted them off, grabbed my damp socks and began to fill them into the socks. The trick is to stop before they begin to pull the socks down with any considerable force, else you will stretch them. Now that was complete I began to swing them around my head like a circus clown until the spray being released appeared to stop. Remarkably this worked very well, the socks were drier and did not stretch in the process. There you have it, a bush dryer.

In general the socks have performed well and overcome my initial concerns regarding their long term durability. They are holding their shape well and show no signs of added wear. I will continue to wear the socks in the cooler seasons and see no reason why I would not recommend them.

sunrise
Sunrise view from campsite - Helena Hut, Bibbulmun Track, W.A.

This concludes my Long-Term Report and the test series for the Bridgedale Endurance Trekker socks.

Thank you to Bridgedale and BackpackGearTest.org for the privilege of testing the Endurance Trekker socks.

 

Read more reviews of Bridgedale gear
Read more gear reviews by Mark McLauchlin

Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Bridgedale Endurance Trekker Socks > Test Report by Mark McLauchlin



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