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Reviews > Footwear > Camp Shoes > Baffin Cush Base Camp Booties > Test Report by Gail Staisil

Baffin
Base Camp Booties
Test Series by: Gail Staisil, Marquette, Michigan

Page Contents:

Initial Report:author
January 9, 2012

Tester Information

Name: Gail Staisil
Age: 59
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 the last 20 years, 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.

Product Information

Manufacturer
Baffin
Website http://www.baffin.com
Model Base Camp Booties
Color 
Black (Also available in Navy, Expresso and Dusk) Other colors may be available on the website)
Size
Unisex XL - Also available in Youth Sizes (S-L) and Adult sizes (S-XXXL)
Manufacturer  Weight  NA
Tested Weight  12.6 oz (357 g) per pair
Model Year 2011
MSRP CDN 39.99

Initial Impressions and Product Description 

Baffin Base Camp Booties
The Baffin Base Camp Booties arrived with perfect workmanship. I received them in the requested color of black. They were encased in a simple black mesh bag that can be used for storage. 

The Base Camp Booties are the most extreme of the Cush Series of footware
offered by the manufacturer. The series consists of three types of insulated booties. These are the tallest of the bunch with the above ankle height being approximately 9.5 in (24 cm) from top to bottom.

As a winter camping advocate, my first impression was overwhelmingly positive. Not only did the Base Camp Booties look comfortable and warm but the insulation was very thick and the soles have a non-slip surface. Two toggles one of which would cinch the top edge and the other would custom fit the bootie to my ankle and heel. The manufacturer targets the booties for "occasional use outside as well as in".

Almost as soon as I received them I tried them on. The Unisex sizing was right on as the XL was equivalent to a Women's size 11. I normally wear a 10.5 or 11 US (42.5/43 EU) shoe.

 
Design and Technical Features
 
The external surface of the booties are fabricated with three different types of nylon material. The main body seems to be a soft light weight nylon and the bottom rand and heel area are designed with a heavier and stiffer type of nylon. Each bootie is topped with a wide insert of a third type of nylon that forms a casing to hold the drawstring to cinch off the top. The elasticized draw cord is drawn through a suede fabric patch that reinforces that immediate area where the drawcord comes through. This patch is on the lateral side of each casing. Grosgrain ribbon runs around the top of each heel and then turns 90 degrees or runs diagonally to the front center of each bootie. The ribbon is stitched on each edge and also forms a casing for an elasticized cord. That cord can be cinched by the means of a toggle on the front center
Balancing on the non-slip solesToggle with reinforced patch
I'm not sure what the insulation is but there is plenty of it. I would guess that it is a synthetic type rather than down as I can feel a big layer of bonded insulation between the outer and inner nylon. The insulation is further held in place by symmetrical rows of stitching on the surface over the top of each bootie.

The internal surface of the booties are also nylon except for the non-removable insoles that appears to be made out of a Sherpa-type fleece. The outside of each booties has a "Baffin Polar Proven" lettering and symbol in gray and red embroidery.
I haven't found any care instructions for the booties on either the website or catalog. Based on the materials used it seems that they might be easy to care for.
Non-slip soles
The slip resistant micro-grip soles have tons of raised grippers in the form of printed "Polar Proven" lettering. Reportedly they provide traction on any surface. I've already worn the booties on a four day trip with excellent results walking on snow. Additional findings during that trip will be in the field report.

I am way more than excited about testing the Baffin Base Camp Booties. I have always worn a similar type of bootie inside of my sleeping bag as well as walking in packed snow around camp. Can't wait to get further experience these in colder conditions.


 
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Field Report:
March 15, 2012

USA Locations and Conditions

During the field test period I have worn the Baffin Base Camp Booties during four trips. They included a three-day sledge trip, a four-day sledge trip and two different four-day hike-in rustic cabin trips. That totals 17 days in the field. I have also worn them extensively at home. Location of the backcountry trips were in Michigan and ranged from hilly deciduous forest to open non-deciduous communities. Elevation ranged from 600 ft (183 m) to almost 2000 ft (610 m).

 

Early January Rustic Cabin Trip

Location: Hiawatha National Forest
Type of Trip: Trail and bushwhack including some lake travel
Distance: 17 mi (27 km)
Length of Trip: 4 days/3 nights
Pack Weight: Sledge approx. 60 lb (27 kg) including fresh consumables
Sky and Air Conditions: Mostly cloudy with snow
Precipitation: at least 14 in (36 cm) of new snow
Temperature Range: 17 F to 37 F (-8 C to 3 C)


January Sledge Trip
Tester comfortable at camp
Location: Lake Superior State Forest, Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Type of Trip: Bushwhack
Distance: Approx 17 mi (27 km)
Length of Trip: 3 days/2 nights
Sledge Weight: Approx. 45 lb (20.4 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Mostly cloudy with peeks of sun
Precipitation: Trace of snow
Temperature Range: -6 F to 27 F (-21 C to -3 C)


Early February Rustic Cabin Trip

Location: Hiawatha National Forest, Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail and bushwhack including some lake travel
Distance: Approx. 14 mi (22.5 km)
Length of Trip: 4 days/3 nights
Sledge Weight: Sledge approx. 60 lb (27 kg) including fresh consumables
Sky and Air Conditions: Mostly sunny and cloudy
Precipitation: Trace of snow
Temperature Range: 10 F to 39 F (-12 C to 4 C)


Late February SledgeTrip 

Location: Hiawatha National Forest, Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail and bushwhack
Distance: Approx. 15 mi (23 km)
Length of Trip: 4 days/3 nights
Sledge Weight: Sledge approx. 45 lb (20.4 kg) 
Sky and Air Conditions: Mostly cloudy with new snow
Precipitation:  Approx 6 in (15 cm) of snow 
Temperature Range: 9 F to 34 F (-13 C to 1 C) 
 


Performance in the Field
Tester relaxing at camp while wearing the Baffin Base Camp Booties
The Baffin Base Camp Booties really got a workout during the field test period. During my January sledge trip the Booties were worn all hours at camp as well as inside my sleeping bag during the night hours. The lowest temperature on this trip was -6 F (-21 C). My feet were comfortable the whole time!

What really strikes me about the booties is how well they fit. I have had other winter booties that simply didn't have enough shape to them so I felt like I had no lateral support when I walked on uneven snow surfaces. That resulted in my feet sometimes rotating to the side of the booties and consequently slipping or stumbling.

The Base Camp Booties have a wonderful fit system so they can be adjusted not only around the circumference but also to hug the heel on each foot. This allows an individualized fit.

The grippers on the soles of the booties are outstanding. I have never even come close to slipping on all kinds of snow and icy surfaces.  During my February sledge trip I had equal results. My feet stayed toasty with temps down to 9 F (-13 C)

During my two rustic cabin trips I wore the booties all hours other than those spent snowshoeing or skiing. This includes all inside hours plus all outside the cabin excursions to the outhouse, wood pile and more. During these trips the snow around the cabin was highly compacted and boilerplate icy. Even though I was naturally cautious I found them to grip exceedingly well. While my friends were having problems with their boots slipping in this area, I had no issues with my booties!

At home I have worn the booties inside my home especially during trips to my much cooler basement where I have my ski waxing station. I have also worn them outside to collect the mail and do some quick shoveling. All surfaces were snow covered for the latter.

I was initially concerned that the Sherpa lining inside the booties would ice up when faced with cold conditions. I had no issues with them during the sledge trips. During inside usage, the Sherpa lining is cozy and I haven't felt the need to remove the booties because my feet were too hot as the lining has stayed comfortably warm but not hot.

On all of my trips I stashed the booties in a silnylon bag inside my sledge while moving to the next camp site (or cabin). Even though they came with a mesh bag for storage I didn't want them to be exposed to the possibility of getting soaked from the elements. That said all my outside usage of the booties has resulted in my feet staying completely dry while at camp.

I haven't felt the need to clean the booties. There are no instructions to be found on the website or with the product. BGT's Administrator Kathy found out from the manufacturer that the instructions should be to hand wash with mild soap and water. Lay them flat to dry. I am thankful for the information as my inclination would have been to machine wash them like I have done with other brands. I feel this information should be added to a tag inside the booties by the manufacturer.

So far the booties look almost as good as new. I have noticed a few spots around the perimeter that are slightly frayed or fuzzy but that seems normal. I have also noted a few of the printed grippers are flaking off but again I don't feel that it's a big concern at this point. 

So far the booties are exceeding my expectations and I couldn't be more happy!

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Long Term Report:
May 29, 2012

USA Locations and Conditions

During the long term test period I have worn the Baffin Base Camp Booties during three backpacking trips. The trips include two different two-day trips and a three-day trip. I have also continued to wear them at home when my feet are cold. Location of the backcountry trips were in Michigan and ranged from hilly deciduous forest to open non-deciduous communities. Elevation ranged from 600 ft (183 m) to almost 2000 ft (610 m).

 

April Backpacking Trip
Chapel Rock at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Location: Hiawatha National Forest
Type of Trip: Trail 
Distance: 15.5 mi (25 km)
Length of Trip: 2 days/1 night
Pack Weight: 20 lb (9 kg) without water 
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy and very windy
Precipitation: None
Temperature Range: 28 F (-2 C) to 44 F (7 C)


Late April Backpacking Trip

Location: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 11 mi (17.7 km)
Length of Trip: 2 days/1 night
Pack Weight: 20 lb (9 kg) without water
Sky and Air Conditions: Mostly sunny and windy 
Precipitation: None
Temperature Range:19 F (-7 C) to 49 F (9 C)


Late May Backpacking Trip

Location: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Type of Trip: Trail 
Distance: 31.2 mi (50 km)
Length of Trip: 3 days/2 nights
Pack Weight: 22 lb (10 kg) without water
Sky and Air Conditions: Sunny, windy and cloudy
Precipitation: Rain - 0.27 in (0.69 cm)
Temperature Range: 42 F to 78 F (6 C to 18 C)


Performance in the FieldMy feet are comfy on the shores of McKeever Lake

Most of the weather here has been below average the last few months. That said the Baffin Base Camp Booties were packed and happily used during all my backpacking trips this spring.

During the first two trips I wore the Base Camp Booties during the evening hours at camp as well as in my sleeping bag. I had to brush them off to rid them of surface dirt on the soles before I did the latter. During the third trip I didn't need to wear the booties in my sleeping bag as the low was only 42 F (6 C) but I did wear them all evening hours at camp. They picked up a bit of pine debris/sap but after I got home I hand washed them and was able to get the majority of it off with a bit of light scrubbing.

I continue to enjoy the easy-to-adjust fit of the booties. They are supportive and comfortable too. I have worn them both with and without socks, they are cozy either way with the Sherpa lining.

Although the grippers on the soles still have excellent grip, their function is less noticeable on grassy and dirt surfaces (compared to their performance on ice and snow). I ordinarily do not like to wear booties outside after the snow season but for purposes of this test I continued wearing them both in and outside my tent during the spring excursions. They haven't suffered any noticeable abuse from the latter except for picking up some pine tree debris. 
Getting ready for sleep inside my tent at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Although I haven't noticed any adverse effects I would prefer that the Sherpa lining was removable. Since that is the part of each bootie that likely would hold some smell they would be easier to clean more often.

I have washed the booties only twice. They were easy to hand wash with mild soap but they took a bit of time to dry in indoor conditions (two full days). 

Like I mentioned in the field report, some of the gripper letters are flaking off but it isn't enough to affect their grip as it is barely noticeable. As noted in the field report there are a few spots that are slightly frayed or fuzzy but it hasn't got worse. I think it might have been from the abrasive ice during some of my trips during the field period.
  
The Baffin Base Camp Booties are a winner in my books. I've already suggested them to many of my friends for both indoor and outdoor usage (during winter). I likely will put them away for the summer months but they will be a part of the extended winter seasons gear for sure.


Pros 
  • Comfortable
  • Great adjustment features
  • Great grippers to prevent slip
  • Cozy insoles
  • Warm
Cons 
  •  None really but it would be nice if the Sherpa lining was removable

Tester Remarks 

Thanks to Baffin and BackpackGearTest.org for this opportunity to test the Base Camp Booties. This report concludes the test series.
 
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