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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Oboz Bridger Hiking Boots > Test Report by Gail StaisilOBOZ Footwear
Bridger Hiking Boots
Test Series by: Gail Staisil, Marquette, Michigan
Initial Report - November 4, 2013
Field Report - February 10, 2014
November 4, 2013
Name: Gail Staisil
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Weight: 152 lb (69 kg)
Location: Marquette, Michigan USA
Email: woodswoman 2001 AT yahoo DOT comFor over two decades, backpacking has become a passion. I am a four-season backpacker and an off-trail navigator. Although I do take yearly trips to the American West or Southwest, the majority of my trips are in Michigan and Canada. My pack weight varies considerably but my base weight is below 18 lb (8 kg). I am primarily a tarp camper who averages more than 50 nights a year backpacking in a huge variety of weather conditions including relentless rain, wet snow and sub-zero temps.
Initial Impressions and Product Description
The Oboz Bridger Boots arrived in the requested size. Colors that will be available for Spring 2014 are Walnut and Rio Red which is a darker albeit bright shade of red. I was sent the latter. Preferably I am more into subtle colors for footwear so they really stand out on my size Women's 11 US (42.5 EU) feet. They seemed a bit wide initially but I was able to cinch them down with the lacing system quite nicely. The heel area fits snugly with no slippage. The toebox is nice and roomy.
Design and Technical Features
The Oboz Bridger Boots are mid-height footwear fabricated with all leather uppers. The 1.7 millimeters (0.07 in) thick leather feels soft. The toe area is protected by a wraparound toe cap made of embossed rubber. The inner and outer ankle areas are highly padded and reinforced with overlays of more leather. The heel area also has a wraparound heel counter that is finely embossed rubber.
The carbon outsoles have extremely aggressive lugs at 5 millimeters (0.20 in) deep. The lugs wrap up into the toe area of each boot.
The lacing system is comprised of webbed loops (6), eyelets (4) and hooks (2). The laces are lengthy enough to double tie the boots. Fully laced the top of the boots feel real stiff so I have worn them without lacing the top hooks. I often do this with new boots to eliminate any potential soreness. Normally after a few wearings I am ready to lace them all the way as that area usually breaks in a bit.
The tongue is gusseted and has an extra overlay down the center. At one point near the top, the laces thread through a loop created by stitching on the overlay.
The boots have a BDRY waterproof and breathable lining. The BFit Deluxe footbeds reportedly support the arches while adding cushioning notably in the ball of the foot and heel area of each one. The midsole is made of dual density EVA.
I've already begun field testing the Bridgers on several dayhikes through wet leaves, slick mud and rocks and roots for a total of 16 plus miles (26 kilometers) so far.
My feet were comfortable and didn't slide inside the boots even though I hiked on some steeply sloped benches cut into a hillside. The lugs collected some mud but not an unusual amount. The traction so far has been good. My feet were completely comfortable with no sore areas experienced. I even found a matching hat and jacket (previous test) in my closet to wear with them if I choose :) I am looking forward to testing them while backpacking and snowshoeing.
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February 10, 2014
USA Locations and Conditions
During the field test period I have worn the Oboz Bridger Boots for multi-day trips as well as for hiking and snowshoeing. Locations of all activities were in the state of Michigan and ranged from frozen lakeshore to boreal forest. Elevation ranged from above 600 ft (183 m) to almost 2000 ft (612 m).
Location of Trip #1: Hiawatha National Forest
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 14 mi (23 km)
Length of Trip: 2 days/1night
Pack Weight: Approx 26 lb (12 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy and sunny
Temperature Range: 21 F to 28 F (-6 to -2 C)
Location of Trip #2: Hiawatha National Forest
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 18 mi (29 km)
Length of Trip: 4 days, 3 nights
Sled Weight: Approximately 50 lb (23 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, scattered light snow
Precipitation: 0.10 in (0.25 cm)
Temperature Range: -18 F to 9 F (-28 C to -13 C)
Dayhikes and Snowshoeing
Type of Hike: Trail/off-trail
Distance: 3 mi - 8 mi (4.8 to 12.9 km)
Sky and Air Conditions: Heavy to light snow, cloudy, little sun
Temperature Range: -16 F to 28 F (-27 to -2 C)
The Oboz Bridger Boots have had a variety of conditions to deal with. When the boots arrived in early November, this area was already experiencing early winter. Rain, sleet and snow started the season and since then the boots have been worn in areas that have had from 150 to over 200 inches (3.81 to 5.08 m) of snow. Snow depth averages at least 3 ft (91 cm). Combine that with the bitter cold we have had for the last two months (many sub-zero days with significant wind chills). Ice is prevalent.
I first got to wear the Bridgers in early winter season conditions so I got to experience them on rock and mud. The traction held firmly and I avoided slipping. There was plenty of lateral support.
During the short overnight backpacking trip of 14 miles (22.5 km) the Bridgers performed well with a pack load of 26 lbs (11.8 kg). Since then I have worn the Bridger Boots mostly on packed snow trail conditions by combining them with my Kahtoola MicroSpikes. They have been a great combination as it allows me to get significant traction on hard and sometimes icy surfaces. The trails here wind around a lot and there are many areas with steep drops.
The Bridgers were also taken along on a recent three-day ski trip which I didn't include in the data. Although they were packed in for a distance of over 10 mi (16 km) each way, they were only used around camp on packed snow as I was on skis the rest of the time. The traction was great.
I guess I am most happy about the waterproof nature of these boots. Having wet feet in extreme conditions would be very serious. I have had warm, dry and happy feet on every trek. The boots are easy to lace and I usually lace them to the top for trail conditions and omit the top hooks if I am wearing them casually.
I always wear the boots with a pair of light-to-medium wool socks. It works well and the footbeds have been comfortable. I haven't felt the need to replace them with aftermarket ones like I often do with other footwear.
I have also found the Bridgers to be a great combination with my snowshoes. My feet have stayed warm with constant movement. My second extended trip was to a rustic cabin. I wore the Bridgers combined with snowshoes while hauling in my gear sled back and forth loaded with supplies. Even though the temps were extremely low (as stated above), my feet stayed warm.
Care and Durability
During the first few weeks of wear, the trails were a mess so the boots got dirty. This was soon taken care of by walking through wet vegetation. Right now they are rather clean due to the fact that I have been walking in clean snow for the last two months. There are no signs of deterioration of any of the materials including the stitching. As earlier stated, the waterproofness has not failed.
Right now I am completely happy with the fit, comfort, grip, waterproofness and durability of the Bridger Boots. I am even used to the bright color and I look forward to the next two months of testing in mid-to-late winter and early spring conditions.
Pros So Far
Cons So Far
Thanks to Oboz and BackpackGearTest for this opportunity to test the Bridger Boots. This concludes my Field Report. The Long Term Report will be appended to this report in approximately two months. Please check back then for more information.
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