KAYLAND HUNTER USA BOOTS
TEST SERIES BY MIKE PEARL
September 27, 2011
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Woodstock, Vermont, USA
5' 9" (1.75 m)
155 lb (70.30 kg)
My backpacking experience began six years ago, after years of car camping. Most trips are for two or three days, some lasting a week. I hike with a group of two to four, with plans for a multi-day solo hike this summer. I pack a tent or tarp depending on availability of trail shelters. A average day is 12 miles (19 km). While aware of weight, it is not my primary concern. I strive for enjoyable outings with functional, reliable gear. I usually travel in woodland mountain terrain. I am a three-season camper, but enjoy hiking all year.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Year of Manufacture: 2011
Manufacturer's Website: www.Kayland.com
MSRP: Not Listed
Listed Weight: 31.75 oz (900 g), per boot
Measured Weight: 65 oz (1838 g), per pair
Size Tested: US Mens 9
Sizes Available: US Mens 8-14
Made in: Romania
Features: Upper: Oiled suede 2.8-3.0 mm water repellent with full rubber rand
Construction: Board lasted
Lining: eVent Cambrelle
Midsole: I.A.D.S Pro
Sole: Vibram FourÓ
Several of the above features are unique to Kayland. These as well as two others are listed and described on the company website.
-The Comfort Fit refers to a forefoot volume designed to accommodate natural foot swelling during long hikes.
-The eVent fabric lining is a proprietary and patented membrane designed to be breathable and waterproof. The company website states that eVent Fabrics lets sweat escape up to twice as fast as common waterproof/breathables.
-IADS Pro is a shock-absorption system. It helps with stability while walking and increasing forward thrust. This is a dual density foam polyurethane designed for professional use.
-The Track insole is designed with three zones each with specific a purpose. The forefoot to increase push off, the arch for flexibility and stability, and the arch and heel for overall support and torsional stability.
-Cocona Natural Technology is a moisture absorping, odor eliminating activated carbon material derived from coconut shells.
-LST Lacing System Technology is Kayland's ergonomic designed lacing systems which is unique to each model designed to providing foot binding as well as bending points on the upper while walking.
-Level of Ridigity, Kayland defines this as degree of resistance to bending and torsion given by the combination of materials used in the construction of the upper, outsole, midsole, and lasting board. The Hunter USA is measured as five on a scale of ten.
The Kayland Hunter USA boot is found in the summer collection, backpacking category on the company website.
The Kayland Hunter USA boots arrived in a standard cardboard shoe box. The box is made of 100% recycled paper. Attached to the boots is a hang tag with information about Kaylands guarantee against defects and Vibram. There is also a sticker in the box with information about eVent.
At first glance it's obvious the Hunter is a substantial boot. Upon removing them from the box it's obvious they are heavy. My first impression is that of a combat boot. Continuing to look them over I find the Hunter is a well constructed boot. The suede uppers are smooth and without blemishes. All stitches are even, tight and without any frays. The upper and the soles are tightly fitted and sealed without any evidence of excess glue. The Kayland logo is present on the tongue and lateral side of the boot. A metal tag with the eVent logo is also on the lateral side. The D-rings and hooks of the lacing system are secure and nicely finished. There are no rough spots on the D-rings or hooks outside or inside the boots. The sole has a fairly aggressive thread pattern with the Vibram logo at the arch. The Hunter appears to be a very sturdy boot.
After browsing the company website my initial impression was reinforced. The Hunter USA is currently in service with the US military special forces in Afghanistan.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
Information found in the packaging supply a brief explanation of eVent, Vibram and the Kayland guarantee. Kayland guarantees the product to be free from any defects in workmanship or materials.
TRYING IT OUT
I laced the Hunters up and my foot and ankle immediately felt very secure. These are the first over ankle hiking boots I have worn. The top of the boot is a full 2 in (5 cm) over the medial side of my ankle. I am not accustom to a boot with so much ankle support. The first few minutes of walking around the house the boots felt stiff and restrictive. The tongue of the boot created an unusual but not painful pressure on my shin. I am hoping a good trail pounding will break either the boots or me in.
Simple, put as many hiking/backpacking miles on the Kayland Hunter USA boots as possible. My foot runs wide in the toes and high in the arch. So I am looking to see how well the Comfort Fit, I.A.D.S Pro midsole and Track insole works with my foot. I will test the eVent for ability to breath and be waterproof in the muddy hills of the Green Mountains. A week long backpacking trip will check the materials and construction of the Hunter boots. My biggest question right now is will I be able to keep my usual pace with a heavier and higher boot.
The Kayland Hunter USA boot is a well designed and made boot. This is more boot than I have ever worn before. My foot feels comfortable and my ankle very well supported. The Hunter is a boot built for hiking heavy loads over rough terrain. I am eager to put some miles on these boots.
This concludes my initial report. Please check back in a couple month to how Field Testing goes. I would like to thank Kayland and BackPackGearTest.org for making this test series possible.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Burnt Mountain Trail at Boston Lot Lake, New Hampshire
Terrain is rough, rocky and rooted through mostly pine forest. Elevation ranged from 600 ft (180 m) to 1000 ft (300 m). The temperature was 67 F (19 C), skies were clear with light winds.
Look Out Cabin on the Appalachian Trail, Vermont
Day 1 - Temperature 67 F (19 C), sunny and windy, elevation 860 ft (260 m) to 2440 ft (740 m)
distance 7 mi (11 km), terrain is variable from even and flat to steep and rocky.
Day 2 - Temperature 40 - 60 F (4 - 15 C), cloudy and light winds, same trail in reverse.
Trail Maintenance, Appalachian Trail, Vermont
60 F (15.5 C) wet, intermittent showers, elevation range 775 - 1295 ft (236 - 395 m), trail rolls up and down through mixed hard and soft wood forest
Seven Days Backpacking Yellowstone National Park
Weather encountered; overnight lows around 40 F (4 C) and daytime highs ranged 50 - 85 F (10 - 29 C), one night of rain that began as marble size hail just after dinner. One full day of rain and a second with intermittent showers. The balance was partly sunny to clear and hot.
Terrain traveled; distance 80 mi (129 km), elevation range 7300 - 8000 ft (2225 - 2438 m), conditions varied greatly from dry hard packed trails to gravelly shoreline to knee deep snow pack to fjording waist deep streams.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
Burnt Mtn. Trail was my first hike wearing the Hunter boots. I wanted to go easy on my feet as I break in the boots. At the same time pay attention to only the boot, so I hiked without a pack. At the trail head I took note of the ease my foot slipped into the Hunter boots. The gusset on the tongue are very accommodating for such a tall boot. Most boots are snug on my big and/or small toes the first few times they are worn. My toes have had adequate room in the Hunters right out of the box. The forward motion generated by the three zone Track insole was very noticeable while walking on pavement and hard-pack at the trail head. On the first downhill I notice my foot sliding forward. I tightened the laces and the problem was resolved. However this caused the tongues to put an uncomfortable pressure on my shins. The two days prior to the hike had been rainy. So the streams were flowing and several sections were muddy. Perfect conditions for new boots. At the first stream and the three others I ignored the bridges or rocks for crossing. I walked and stood for a minute or so in each stream. The water was just below the top of the boots. My feet were 100% dry each time. Stepping out of the stream the water rolled right off the boot. Many sections of the trail were very uneven with roots and rocks. I never felt a loss of traction. I felt confident in each step because of the huge amount of ankle support. On the way back I was moving at a fast pace and at a junction lost the trail. The last 0.25 mi (0.4 km) I bushwhacked back to the car. Here the terrain was rock and fallen trees covered in a thick layer of pine needles. The Hunter boots excelled here. They were very stable and each step secure. Kicking or slipping on rocks hidden under the debris never fazed me. At the car I removed the Hunters my feet were hot but not sweaty. After a fast paced 5.5 mi (9 km) my feet felt
good. I do have two concerns though. My shins were tender where they meet the boot tongue. And I can feel the weight of the boots in my quads.
The first backpacking trip with the Hunter boots was to Look Out Cabin. My pack weighed 32 lb (42.5 kg). The added weight drew my attention to the arches of my feet. I have experienced pain with other boots as my arch is higher than average. Not once during or after the hike did I have any discomfort. The Hunter boots performance was comparable to the first hike. Except this time I couldn't tell if the leg fatigue was due to the boots or the pack. Nonetheless my pace was same as on past trips. The pressure on my shins from the boot tongues was not as noticeable. At the beginning of the hike the sensation was there but lessened as the day went on. Again the support and suitability in every step taken was exceptional. I did observe a downside to height of the boot. The limited flex in the ankle made setting up camp hard. I had to kneel on one or both knees to do any ground task.
On the trail maintenance hike the first leg was helping to maintain a 2.2 mi (3.5 km) of trail. My pack weight was 15 lb (6.8 kg), which included a small shovel, bow saw and machete. The days task included removing several large tree limbs, clearing water bars, and removing overgrown vegetation. Here again a higher cut boot was helpful, no threat of a twisted ankle. The Hunter boots were very good for switching gears between working and hiking. They are tough enough to give a 8 in (20 cm) limb a kick. While providing traction and flexibility to travel steep and off chamber trails.
The second leg, returning on the same trail was solid trekking. I continued back to the car without stopping. On the wettest, muddiest trail yet the Hunters never missed a step. There were two 6 in (15 cm) deep streams, a 100 ft (30 m) long mud bog, and two fields of waist tall wet grass to cross. The boots were really caked by the end. But my feet were pretty much dry, my socks being damp. I think the moisture was wicked in from the exposed area of my socks.
The Yellowstone trip was made of a team of two. We divided up the shared resource to even out pack weight. I began the week with a pack weight of 47 lb (21 kg). The trip ending with my pack weighing 27 lb (12 kg).
The trail and the landscape seemed changed at almost regular intervals. Many trails in low areas were wet from snow melt and the ones through higher pass were covered with snow. We had very long stretches of standing water and mud to cross. We made five fjords of varying depth and distance. Twice we bushwhacked looking for the best location to cross. The terrain while bushwhacking was uneven ground through thick growth and many fallen trees. The Hunter boots handled every terrain type, I never felt unsure of footing. The ankle support was excellent and the tread never slipped.
The first two days of the trip were the wettest. We had rain the first night ending just before dawn. Then rain mid morning and ending late afternoon. My feet never became wet while wearing the Hunter boots. Not even the trails we started calling "creeks" could make my feet wet. Then to the opposite end of the spectrum the last two days were the hottest. It was clear, dry and sunny with temperatures around 85 F (29 C). The trails become dry, dusty and hard packed. My feet definitely felt hot inside the Hunters, but never moist. The eVent fabric performed as described by Kayland.
During the seven days I was in the Hunter boots more than I was not. While wearing the Hunter boots I envisioned little tanks on my feet. I steadily covered ground walking over and through anything in front of me. And the Hunters have held up as well as a tank. All parts from toe the heel and ankle to sole are intact and free of damage. I was quite rough on these boots and only thing that shows the wear is the dirt on them. There is not even a trace of odor thanks to the Cocona Natural Technology.
That's the upside of little tanks on my feet. The downside is that tanks are heavy and so are the Kayland Hunter boots. By the third day I was feeling the weight in the feet. The balls of both of my feet were very sore. I soaked them in the cold lake and stream waters at each camp we stayed. The Hunters do not allow much flex while walking. The boots cause my feet to move from heel to toe with a rocking motion. This is what I feel caused the pain in the ball of my feet.
I really like the Hunter boots for their stability, traction, protection, and the eVent lining. The only dislikes are the weight and stiffness of the Hunters. Because of this I would not choose the Kayland Hunter boot for long distance or multi-day hikes. I would turn to the Hunter boots for travel in very wet and/or rock strewn conditions or off trail travel.
The Kayland USA Hunter boots are thoughtfully designed and well made. They are comfortable, solid boots and perform great in severe conditions. The waterproofing and breathability are excellent. The lacing system and odor eliminating features are impressive. The weight and stiffness of the boots become negatives for me on for hikes longer than a couple of days.
This concludes my Field Report. Please check back in a couple of months for the Long-Term Report.
I would like to thank Kayland and BackPackGearTest.org for making this test series possible.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Day hike 8 mi (13 km) in the rain on Mt. Tom, Woodstock, Vermont
Elevation 700-1350 ft (213-411 m), temperature 70 F (21 C) and raining
Three days and two nights in Adirondack Park, New York
Camp - Heart Lake, elevation 2165 ft (660 m) temperature highs around 75 F (24 C), lows around 50 F (10 C) with light breezes and clear skies
Hike Day 2 - Mt Jo, elevation 2876 ft, 2.6 mi (4.2 km) round trip from camp to summit
Hike Day 3 - Marcy Dam, elevation 2362 ft, 4.2 mi (6.8 km) round trip from camp to Marcy Lake
A 10 mi (16 km) day on Burnt Mountain Trail at Boston Lot Lake, New Hampshire
Terrain is rough, rocky and rooted through mostly pine forest. Elevation ranged from 600-1000 ft (180-300 m). The temperature was 80 F (27 C) with clear sunny skies.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The Kayland Hunter Boots have maintained their previous level of performance. All terrain and every trail condition was handled very well. They have broken in nicely and my feet feel at home every time I lace them up. I am pleased with all features and function of these boots but two. The exceptions being there weight and stiffness. This is evident after longer hikes around the ten mile mark.
The application of the eVent Fabric and Cocona Natural Technology are well done. I never experienced wet or sweaty feet. I also give credit to the Comfort Fit, I.A.D.S Pro midsole and Track insole features for providing comfort and a carefree relax stride. These three features are also an advantage for my high arched and wide feet. I never felt any strain or pressure in these two areas which have been a problem with other boots.
The quality of materials and construction remain top notch. The only sign of wear is a rich patina courtesy of lots of mud.
These are one of the toughest pair of boots I have worn. The support and protection is excellent. The eVent fabrics waterproofing and ability to breath is amazing. The downside for me is to achieve this the heft of the boot becomes a negative. After 89.4 mi (144 km) in the Hunter boots I have a bit of a conflict. These boots are so solid I want them to be my go everywhere boots. The Hunter boots perform great in both hot and dry or wet conditions. But I cannot convince myself it is worth the extra weight. I will enjoy hiking in the Kayland Hunter USA boots on all but multi-day trips.
This concludes my Long-Term Report. I would like to thank Kayland and BackPackGearTest.org for making this test series possible.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.
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