KAYLAND HUNTER USA BOOTS
TEST SERIES BY PATRICK MCNEILLY
INITIAL REPORT - May 10, 2011
FIELD REPORT - July 19, 2011
LONG TERM REPORT - September 17, 2011
mcne4752 AT yahoo DOT com
Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA
5' 8" (1.73 m)
155 lb (70.30 kg)
18.5 in (47 cm)
34 in (86 cm)
I have been hiking for over 20 years but backpacking only since about 2002. Most of my backpacking is done as overnight trips and occasional weekend and weeklong trips. My typical pack weight is approximately 18 to 20 lb (8 to 9 kg) before food or water. Most of my backpacking is the three season variety in the mountains of Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. In addition to backpacking, I also fish, hunt, and enjoy orienteering. As a result, some of my backpacking equipment gets used in a number of different venues.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Year of Manufacture: 2011
Manufacturer's Website: www.kayland.com
MSRP: Not available
Size tested: 9.5 (US)
Listed Weight: 32 oz (900 g)
Measured Weight: Left 2 lb 0 oz (910 g)
Right 2 ln 1 oz (940 g)
Pair 4 lb 1 oz (1850 g)
Other features: eVENT liner
Vibram Foura sole
Oiled suede upper with rubber rand
Kayland's description of the Hunter USA boots is as follows, "A heavy-duty backpacking boot built to provide support and comfort on long-distance trips with heavy loads on rough terrain. A one-piece oiled suede upper with full rubber rand provides protection and ensures durability, while the eVent® Cambrelle® lining keeps you dry and lets the sweat out. The Hunter USA is currently in service with the US military special forces in Afghanistan."
The boots are 9 in (23 cm) tall and the main portion of the boot does appear to be one piece of leather which is very stiff and looks like suede or Nubuck (as opposed to smooth leather). The rand measure 1.25 in (3 cm) high and wraps all the way around the boot and meets at the instep. The boots have five sets of D-ring lacing loops on the bottom and five more sets of hooks on the top of the boot.
The boot's insoles are approximately 1/8 in (3 mm) thick and appear to be made of a felt-like material. The tops of the insoles are covered in a woven fabric. The insoles are stiffer than others I have encountered and do have a formed heel cup and a bit of an arch.
The boots have a soft padded leather collar at the top which is approximately 3 in (8 cm) high. This collar is very soft and does allow for some flexing of the ankle. This same type of leather appears to be used on the boot's tongue gussets and make them very flexible. First, it is padded and extends 1 in (2.5 cm) higher than the top of the boot and rests on the shin. The tongue also has a lacing loop on the front of it. I'm not totally clear why this is included, other than to possibly prevent the tongue from slipping down when the boot is laced up.
The eVENT liner appears to extend approximately 3/4 the way up the height of the boot. It does not seem to extend under the padded collar. The liner appears to be covered by a smooth mesh fabric and I can see seams in the fabric along the bottom of the boot and on each side of the tongue where the gussets end.
There were three things I noticed when I opened the Kayland box. First was that the boots were large, second was that they were pretty heavy, and third was that they had a definite odor to them. I'll discuss each of these in turn, plus a few other things.
These boots are larger than any other boot I have ever used for hiking or backpacking. They are a very solid boot and are taller than most other boots I have seen (other than boots for mountaineering or ice climbing). In the box, the laces were laced all the way to the top which gave the boots the appearance of having very large bottoms and a narrow top (think of Mickey Mouse feet). When I put them on, the boots looked a bit large and were taller than other boots but they didn't look all that strange.
The boots are pretty heavy. Kayland indicates that they are a 900 g (32 oz) boot and that is just what they come out to weigh. As I mentioned, the boots are very sturdy with all leather uppers and a full rubber rand. These features don't equate with light weight. I have a sleeping bag and shelter which when combined weigh only a little more than a pair of these boots. That being said, the manufacturer doesn't claim them to be ultralight and actually states that these boots are designed for carrying heavy loads over rough terrain. I may have to change my hiking style. The insoles included with the boots are fairly stiff but not nearly as stiff as an aftermarket insole.
When I pulled the boots out of the box they had a smell that I couldn't quite place. It is somewhat like rubber but not exactly. One thought I have is that it could be a combination of odors from the rubber rand and oils used to protect the outer leather. The odor was noticed by others in my household and I believe that my wife has banished them to the garage. I am hoping that is something that will not linger long.
The boots fit very well right out of the box. This is the second pair of Kayland boots I have tested and I had the same experience with the first pair, which are the same size. The toe box provides a very adequate amount of room without being too large. My heel fits well into the hell cup and I have not felt much movement in my heel. These boots feel like they may have a bit more arch support than some other boots which is something important for me. I have had to use supportive insoles in my other shoes due to some tendinitis issues but will definitely give these a try without insoles (at least for a while).
The boots are quite stiff and are in the mid-range of stiffness of Kayland boots (5 on a scale of 1 to 10). I have a hard time imagining what it is like walking in boots much stiffer. When I walked around with the boots on, I didn't find it as difficult as I thought which I believe has much to do with the boot's design. The boot's sole appears to notably curve upward in the front which helps in the stepping motion. Other shoes and boots have such a curvature but since these boots didn't flex much I took a little more notice of what made the walking easier.
I should mention a couple things about the boot's tongue itself. The gussets seems to be much easier to open up than some synthetic materials I have seen on other boots. The fact that the padded tongue extends above the top of the boot looked a little odd to me but is really nothing unusual and is more a factor of how high the boot is. Once I had the boot on it seemed normal.
This concludes my Initial Report on the Kayland Hunter USA boots. Please check back later for more information on this product.
I would like to thank Kayland and BackpackGeatTest.org for the opportunity to test these boots.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Work has kept me very busy over the last couple months. As a result, I have worn the Kayland USA Hunter Boots on five local day hikes all in the central Maryland area. I haven't had the chance to get out overnight with them. The trips ranged anywhere from 3 to 9 miles (5 to 15 km) per day and were at elevations of 300 to 1050 ft (91 to 320 m). The temperatures on these outing ranged from 60 F to 95 F (16 C to 35 C). I did encounter light to moderate rain on one hike but nothing involving heavy downpours.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
First things first, I have to say that the Kayland Hunter USA boots are very comfortable. This impressed me a great deal. They provide good arch support which was a concern for me. I have been wearing insoles in my shoes and boots for over a year but the Kaylands had such good support, I decided to try them with the factory insoles. I have not felt the need to take them out, for which I am very pleased. The padded collar is soft and much more comfortable than I might have expected.
The fit of the boots has worked out well. I had a little concern that the toes on my right foot might rub against the front of the boot but I have not had any problems with that. I did experience a blister on left foot just above the heel after my first hike in the boots. The boots were brand new and I may have been a little too anxious to wear them on a longer hike. After that, I wore them on a shorter hike then graduated to longer and longer ones. I have not had any other blisters since.
The full leather of the boots provides good ankle support and protection from rocks and abrasion. This along with the stiff soles make the boot fairly rigid but there is enough flex and ankle roll for hiking. I actually like this feel in a boot over rocky terrain. The soles seem to grip well and I have not had problems with slipping that I might attribute to the soles.
The boots are very sturdy and well built but there are two things that I have particularly noted about these boots over the past couple months. The first is that they are very heavy. I believe that they are probably the heaviest boots I have ever owned for hiking (or at least for a very long while). The weight has really been noticeable to me, especially at the end of a longer hike. I am not normally always looking for the lightest in footwear and often wear boots on the heavier side, these may just put me over the edge of what I like having on my feet.
The other noticeable thing about the Kaylands is that they are warm. Being a little taller than some other boots, I find that these are a little too much in warm weather. My feet tend to feel pretty warm in them but I have noted that they are not dripping with sweat. The eVent liner may play a role with that but it is difficult to say for sure.
A few of other things I thought might be interesting to include here. One is that the odor the boots had when they came out of the box is still there but doesn't seem to be as strong. The boots have a hook on the tongue which I am guessing helps prevent the tongue from slipping around. I'm not sure that it does very much but doesn't cause any problem either. The laces on the boots came laced in a way that the laces are inserted through the D-rings from the top. This lacing seems to help lock the laces during tying and kept them tight longer. This surprised me a bit since I have never laced my boots this way.
The Kayland Hunter USA boots feature a full leather upper, a waterproof eVent liner, and a stiff sole for carrying heavy loads over rough terrain. The boots provide good support and still allow for easy walking. They are a little taller than some other boots and can be overly warm, especially in hot weather. In addition, the boots are quite heavy which can be fatiguing on longer hikes.
Things I like:
1. Comfortable fit
2. Sturdy and well built
3. Good arch support
Things I don't like:
2. Too warm for hot weather
This concludes my Field Report. Please check back in about two months for more information in the Long-Term Report.
I would like to thank Kayland and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to tests these boots.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
During the long-term testing period, I took the Kayland boots along on four day hikes. These included hikes in Maryland near Washington, DC, and in the Ramapo Mountains of northern New Jersey as well as in the tidewater area of Virginia. I also used the boots on a weekend trip in Shenandoah National Park. These hikes ranged from 4 to 11 miles (6 to 18 km) per day and were all on maintained trails. The elevations were between 300 to 2700 ft (91 to 823 m). The temperatures ranged from 55 to 95 F (13 to 35 C) with generally clear weather but with some thundershower activity.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The Hunter USA boots continued to perform well during this period of the testing. They continue to provide good support and I have not encountered any more blisters, so I have to say the fit worked out fine. The summer has been warm and I can still say that the boots are not my favorite for hot weather. The last few weeks have been cooler and the boots are much more tolerable with temperatures around 60 F (16 C).
The uppers have held up well, even during use on some fairy rocky terrain. They show some scuff marks but remain in overall good condition. The soles show only a small bit of wear which seems somewhat surprising to me but I am quite pleased about that. I did get to wear the Kaylands during some heavy downpours and they certainly kept my feet dry. No complaints there. The soles gripped wet rock well and I felt pretty secure when walking across some bare rock areas in Virginia.
The manufacturer mentions that these boots are made for heavy loads on rocky terrain. I tend to like a stiffer boot and felt the boots performed well on rocks. I did try to make an effort and carry a somewhat heavier load on my weekend hike to assess whether the boots provide stability for that load. My pack weighed about 40 lb (18 kg). That is more than I would typically carry for a weekend trip. I felt that the boots provided good stability and support for this load. I didn't have any problems that I would attribute to the boot during the trip.
The lacing eyelets and hooks have held up well and the laces show little signs of wear. I feel that the lacing system allows me to adjust the snugness of the laces to suit my needs. I can keep the lower laces tighter if need be and they seem to stay that way. I can't say that I have particularly seen a great need for the hook on the boots tongue. It may help with keeping the tongue in place but I am not clear it is really doing that.
My biggest problem with the Kayland Hunter boots is their weight. They can feel heavy at the end of a long hike. There have been a couple of times when I needed to get them off my feet just because of the weight.
The Kayland Hunter USA boots have a full leather upper, a waterproof eVent liner, and a stiff sole. The boots provide good support and still allow for easy walking over rough terrain. They are a can be warm in hot weather but the eVent liner performed well in heavy rain. The boots are quite heavy which can be fatiguing on longer hikes.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.
My likes and dislikes have not changed since the Field Report. I will continue to use the Kayland Hunter USA boots and I am looking forward to try them in colder weather and snow.
This concludes my testing of the Kayland Hunter USA boots. I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to Kayland and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product.
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