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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Oboz Bridger Hiking Boots > Test Report by Gail Staisil

OBOZ Footwear
Bridger Hiking Boots

Test Series by: Gail Staisil, Marquette, Michigan

Page Contents:

Initial Report - November 4, 2013
Field Report - February 10, 2014
Long Term Report - April 1, 2014
 
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Initial Report:
November 4, 2013
Author
 Tester Information

 Name: Gail Staisil
Age: 61
Gender: Female

 Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Weight: 152 lb (69 kg)
Location: Marquette, Michigan USA
Email: woodswoman 2001 AT yahoo DOT com

For 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.

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Product Information

Manufacturer
Oboz Footwear
Website
http://obozfootwear.com
Model
Women's Bridger Boots
Color

Rio Red
Size

Women's 11 US/ 42.5 EU (available in sizes 6-11 as well as Men's sizes)
Manufacturer Weight
16.2 oz (459 g) per boot for Women's Size 7 (37 EU)
Tested Weight
 20.5 oz (581 g) per boot for Women's Size 11 US (42.5 EU)
Model Year
Spring 2014 (will be available)
MSRP
$160.00 US

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Initial Impressions and Product Description 

OBOZ Bridger Boots
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.
 

Deep lugsBottom of BFit insertsThe 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. 
Tester wearing the Bridgers during a dayhike
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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Field Report:
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).
Tester wearing MicroSpikes with Bridgers
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  
Precipitation: None
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)

Trip Talk
 
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.


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Long Term Report:
April 1, 2014

USA Locations and Conditions

During the long term period I have worn the Oboz Bridger Boots for three multi-day trips (9 days) as well as for day hiking and snowshoeing. Locations of all activities were in the state of Michigan and ranged from frozen lakes to boreal forest. Elevation ranged fro
Rock River Wilderness Ice Cavesm above 600 ft (183 m) to almost 2000 ft (612 m).

Location of Trip #3: Hiawatha National Forest (3rd week of February) 
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance:
15 mi (24 km) 

Length of Trip: 3 days, 2 nights
Sled Weight: Approximately 50 lb (23 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, snow
Precipitation: 0.23 in (0.58 cm)
Temperature Range: 3 F to 17 F (-16 C to -8 C)

Location of Trip #4: Hiawatha National Forest (4th week of February)
Type of Trip: Trail/Bushwhack
Distance: 19 mi  (31 km)
Length of Trip: 4 days, 3 nights
Sled Weight: Approximately 55 lb (25 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions:  Cloudy
Precipitation: 0.15 in/0.38 cm (about 4-5 in/10-13 cm of light snow)
Temperature Range: -28 F to 11 F (-33 C to -12 C)Day hiking the ice around Presque Isle on Lake Superior

Location of Trip #5: Grand Island National Recreation Area (2nd week of March)
Type of Trip: Solo ski and snowshoe while pulling a sledge on ice-covered Lake Superior
Distance: 14 plus miles (22.5 km)
Length of Trip: 2 days/1 night
Sled Weight: Approximately 45 lb (20.4 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Super cloudy 
Precipitation:  None
Temperature Range: -5 F to 26 F (-21 C to -3 C)

Skiing, snowshoeing and hiking:
Locations: Marquette, Alger, Keweenaw and Houghton Counties, Michigan
Distance:
5 mi to 12 mi (8 km to 19 km)
Temperature:
Average temp has been 7.5 F (-14 C) this winter
 




Trip Talk


Snowshoeing Bruno's Run wearing gaiters over Bridgers
All of my multi-day trips involved pulling a gear sled. The first two trips were to a rustic cabin and the last was a winter camping trip to an island in Lake Superior. Conditions varied but the common factor was deep cold down to -28 F (-33 C). Significant snow cover of three to four feet (0.91 to 1.22 meters) was encountered in many areas. Sometimes a frozen crust or frozen lake was experienced while wearing the Bridgers with crampons.

What has surprised me the most about the Bridgers is that I have been able to wear them throughout the bitter cold w
inter. I am rarely just standing around but doing lots of activity. I often wear leg gaiters which cover part of the boots. My feet have remained warm. The only time that my feet were a bit cold was when I went snowshoeing with a friend and we took more breaks than usual. After resuming activity though, they warmed right up.

During my last sledge trip I skied the first 10 miles (16 km) on the first day and the next day I snowshoed out for 4 miles (6.5 km) wearing the Bridgers in below zero conditions (-18 C).
The Bridgers and snowshoes were also worn in camp due to very deep snow conditions on the island. On my other two extended trips I wore the Bridgers with either crampons or with snowshoes.

Ice walking with Bridgers
The Bridgers have been worn for a lot of day outings as well. These include trips to ice caves, ice hikes on Lake Superior, backcountry snowshoeing and hikes on packed snow trails. I have even worn them for snow shoveling which is a constant everyday type of activity here. For the latter the traction has been great while using a shovel or snow scoop. They have been comfortable for all activities and my feet have remained dry and therefore happy.

I have continued to wear the Bridgers with a pair of light-to-medium wool socks. It works well and the footbeds have remained comfortable. I always double tie the laces so that has likely kept them from untying.


Care and Durability

I have continued to wear the boots with no extra care. The conditions have been purely clean snow and ice during the long term period so they have remained dirt-free. The leather does have a "washed out" look to it but I haven't treated it with anything as it is still supple. The surface leather sometimes has some wet-out spots but there has been no leakage into the interior. These spots usually occur when I go from cold snow to slush spots. The stitching is still intact and the boots appear in great shape.
Pulling sledge while wearing Bridgers on a packed snow trail
 

 

Pros 

  • Comfortable
  • Waterproof
  • Adapt well with snowshoes or ice grippers
  • Durable
  • Lightweight

Cons 

  • None
 
Tester Remarks 

Thanks to Oboz and BackpackGearTest for this opportunity to test the Bridger Boots. This concludes my Long Term Report and the test series.       


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