TEST SERIES BY KARA STANLEY
April 25, 2011
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karguo (at) yahoo (dot) com
5' 10" (1.78 m)
175 lb (79.40 kg)
I backpacked for the first time in 2006 and am now hooked. I have hiked most of my life in the South on flat land or small hills. Since moving to Maine, my hikes have ranged from short coastal hikes to overnight backpacking trips in the mountains. I am working towards lighting the load and currently use a solo non free standing tent, canister stove, and purification tables to cut down on weigh. Most of my hikes are solo and range from an overnight trip to 4-5 nights on the trail.
Product Information & Specifications
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.wenger.ch/
MSRP: Not listed
Listed Weight: Not Listed
Measured Weight: 37.4 oz (1060 g)
Size reviewed: US 11 (UK 9, Eur 43)
Sizes available: 6-11, 1/2 sizes 6.5-9.5.
Color Reviewed: Charcoal
Other Color: Cool Grey
Description and Initial Impression
From the Manufacture's Website:
Upper - Nubuck, Rip Stop Nylon
Waterproofing - OutDry extreme waterproofing
Randing - Scratched rubber
Outsole/Midsole - Hypergrip articulating outsole with lightweight and cushing midsole
OutDry - A patented lamination process that sheds moisture, leaving the shoe dry and lightweight
HyperGrip - Allows each sole lug to move independently, maintaining contact with the ground always
|Hypergrip Articulating Outsole
|Rubberized Toe & Heal
The boots arrived with hang tags describing their OutDry waterproof lining for "Absolute Waterproofness." According to the hang tag, the OutDry is just below the upper to keep water out of the boot while allowing the sweat moisture to escape. The second hang tag describes the boots as having Nubuck Leather and Ripstop Nylon upper, overstuffed collar for comfort, and Hypergrip (R) articulating outsole. There is also warranty information, including the 36 month coverage period for defects in workmanship or materials.
The boots have four pairs of metal loops and one pair of hooks for lacing as well as a webbing loop on the tongue. There is a large web loop at the heel to assist pulling on the boots. The tongue is attached to the boot until the fourth metal lace-loop, about two inches (5 cm) below the top of the boot. The toe is covered with a rubberized panel that wraps around the toe and rises about an inch (2.5 cm) above the sole. The heel is also covered with the rubberized material to protect the boot from the extra wear the heel receives.
The color is a nice charcoal grey with dark navy Ripstop Nylon insets, which I think will hide wear, tear and dirt from winter hikes. The construction seems sturdy with no visible weaknesses.
Trying It Out
I tried on the boots and was happy to find they were wide enough for my feet, which are on the wide side of medium width. The laces are just long enough to tie a double knot, but not long enough to trip over. While walking around my house I found the boots to be somewhat stiffer than I am used to since I have not used waterproof leather and nylon boots before. I also tried the boots on with my thickest pair of wool skiing socks and still have plenty of room in the toe box.
I also took the boots on a hike the weekend after they arrived. The hike was 5.5 miles (8.9 km) with 1,700 ft (518 m) vertical rise. The weather was cool, about 30 F (-1 C) with light snow flurries during the start of the hike. The trail had a light covering of snow and some icy patches along with ankle-high drifts of snow at the top of the mountain. This trail was a steep climb, with some minor bouldering required in places. The boots performed well. My feet remained warm and dry despite being exposed to slushy mud, snow, and ice for several hours during the course of the hike. At the end of the hike I had no blisters even though I did not break them in before the hike. I did have some soreness on the tops of my feet after the hike, which I attribute to the lacing pattern and will try lacing them differently for future hikes. I also did not find the insole to provide much padding or support even with thick wool ski socks.
So far, I am really enjoying these boots. They kept my feet warm and dry during my first Maine snow hike and I am looking forward to hiking with them over the next several months. I did have some soreness in my feet after the hike, but this may just be part of breaking in the boots.
Thanks to Wenger and BackpackGearTest.org for the chance to test the Xpedition Boots! Check back in approximately 2 months (mid-January 2011) for my Field Report.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Currently I have had these boots out on two hikes:
|Boots in Snow
Hike One: a 5.5 mile (8.9 km) loop hike with a cumulative elevation gain and loss of approximately 3,4000 ft ( 1036 m). The temperature was around 30 F (-1 C) around the base of the mountain with a subzero (-18 C) wind chill at the top. The trail had a large rock scrambling section, part of which was iced over during this hike. The peak is a bald rock with friction pitches. There was a light covering of snow over trail as well as ice and dripping water. For this hike the boots were worn with thick wool ski socks.
Hike Two: This was about a 4 mile hike through the local woods without noticeable elevation gain or loss. The trail was packed snow with some off trail post holing thrown in for fun and testing purposes. For this hike I wore two pairs of hand-knit socks and my feet remained warm, though I could feel the cold of the snow through the boots when post holing.
I have also logged some time in these boots wearing them around the ski slopes and town through mud and ice. I like wearing them because they are lighter then my snow boots but still provide good traction and warmth.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
|Boot with wet leather
The first hike I noticed some tightness across the top of my feet while hiking, but have not felt it since the break-in hike. To date I have not gotten any blisters from the boots. The weather conditions have been pretty icy this winter and I have found these boots to handle the ice quite well without traction devices. One thing that I love about these boots is that the sole is very flexible and grips the surface well.
I have only had the opportunity to test these boots in snowy or icy conditions and have found that my feet have stayed warm in them with just a pair of heavy wool socks. Their waterproofing technology has worked and my feel have stayed dry despite stepping in water and snow while hiking. Additionally, the attached tongue has kept snow and water out of the front of the boots, even when walking through knee-deep powder.
One thing that I have noticed is that the leather does become wet because the waterproof barrier is on the inside of the boot. This is more of an observation at this point as I have not noticed any negative outcomes at this point in testing. Once the boots have dried, any mud and dirt that is clinging to the leather is easily brushed off and the boots look almost like new.
I love these boots because:
* They keep my feet warm and dry even when hiking on frozen ground or in snow and ice.
* They provide great traction on friction planes as well as on icy ground and pavement.
* No blistering even during the first hike
No current cons with this boot.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I've completed three more hikes with these boots since the field report.
|The boots worn with snowshoes and gaiters
This hike was approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) with elevation gain of about 600 ft (183 m) near the Maine Coast. Part of this hike was an out and back up the mountain then an up then down loop on the side of the mountain. The temperature was about 30 F (-1 C), sunny and no wind. For this hike I wore snowshoes since there was about 2 - 3 F ( 0.6 - 0.9 m) snow cover. I had no trouble wearing these boots with snowshoes and winter gaiters. I wore a pair of wool snowboarding socks with the boots and my feet stayed warm despite the cold conditions and snow.
|Hiking on crusty spring snow
|The waterproofing works well
This was a loop hike with a distance of 6 miles (9.7 km) and 1,200 ft (366 m) elevation gain. Temperatures in the mid 40s, light breeze and sunny. The start of the loop hike was a steep hike on a mostly snow-free trail up the summit at 1385 ft (428 m). The next almost 4 miles (6.4 km) of the trail were snow covered. The snow was mostly hard-packed with a strong crust allowing me to walk on top of it, though I would break through and be up to my knees in snow (about 18 in/ 46 cm). The boots were worn with medium weight wool hiking socks and again my feet stayed warn despite hiking through snow for about 3 hours. I did not expect the trail to be snow covered so I did not wear gaiters, but my pants and these boots kept the majority of the snow out when I would break through the crust. My feet remind dry even though the outside of the boots because wet with melted snow and mud during the course of the hike.
|The boot after being submerged in water
This was an overnight backpacking trip on Maine's Bold Coast with a total mileage of 9.8 miles (15.8 km) and an elevation change of 200 ft. (61 m). The trail ranges from rock scrambling up sea cliffs to gently rolling forested hills. I carried a backpack weighing about 25 lbs (11.3 kg) for the trip. The temperatures were around 50 F (10 C) both days and weather was partly cloudy and breezy. I wore a pair of wool snowboarding socks both days and my feet stayed warm in the boots. The trail was muddy in many places. The outside of my boots were quite damp at the end of the first day of hiking through spring mud. They did dry some overnight in the vestibule of my tent, but were still damp in places when I put them back on 12 hours later. At one point a bridge had washed out requiring me to walk through water above the top of the boots. The waterproofing help up well and the boots were laced tight enough that a very small amount a water seeped in at the top. I found the boots to be just as comfortable carrying a backpack as hiking without any additional weight. I had no hot-spots or blisters during this hiking trip.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
|The boots still look good
These boots have held up well. There are some scratches it the leather from rock scrambling, but they are just superficial and have not affected the waterproof quality of the boots. On all of the hikes, the boots have been soaked with water, snow, or mud. I have not found this to affect the shape or fit of the boots. They dry within 12 to 24 hours depending on conditions. They are still as comfortable now as they were on the first hike. The waterproofing system is still keeping my feet warm and dry. I was surprised to find that these boots when worn with heavy wool socks keep my feet warm while hiking on/through snow for hours at a time. The traction on the boots is good for muddy trails, friction plains, and icy patches. When worn through snow, the tread would fill with snow which would have to be kicked out before stepping on rocks to prevent slipping.
Reasonable price point
Perform well in snow
None that I discovered
I love these boots and look forward to using them for my summer hiking and backpacking trips throughout New England. When these wear out, I would be open to purchasing another pair of Wenger boots.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.
Thank you to Backpack Gear Test and Wenger for allowing me to test these boots!
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