BackpackGearTest
  Guest - Not logged in 

Reviews > Footwear > Winter Boots > Le Chameau Mens Chasseur Wool Lined Boot > Owner Review by Richard Lyon

Le Chameau Men's Chasseur Wool Lined Boot
Owner Review by Richard Lyon
May 7, 2018
logo

PERSONAL DETAILS and BACKPACKING BACKGROUND

Male, 71 years old
Height: 6' 4" (1.93 m)
Weight: 210 lb (93 kg)
Shoe size: Men's 13 US; 47 EUR
Email address: Montana DOT angler AT gmail DOT com
Home: Outside Bozeman, Montana USA, in the Bridger Mountains

I've been backpacking for nearly half a century, most often in the Rockies. I do at least one weeklong trip every summer, and often take three-day trips.  I'm usually camping in alpine terrain, at altitudes 5000 to 10000 ft (1500 - 3000 m).  I prefer base camp backpacking, a long hike in with day trips from camp.  Though always looking for ways to reduce my pack weight, I still tend to include my favorite camp conveniences. I always sleep in a floored tent and like hot meals. Winter trekking often focuses on downhill skiing or ski touring.

THE PRODUCT

These zip-up lined rubber boots are designed for hunting. I'm not a chasseur  (French for "hunter") and I'm here to report that  they have several other cold-weather uses. The pair I purchased is lined with shearling; the Chasseur boots are also available [at different prices] with a lining of leather or neoprene. A comparable Chasseur line for women does not include the wool-lined version.

boots
Manufacturer
: Le Chameau, lechameau.com
Year purchased: 2017
Weight listed, no size specified: 4.3 lb [1.9 kg] per pair
Weight measured, size 13 US [47 European]: 6.2 lb [2.8 kg] per pair
Height, measured from top of heel to cuff: 16.5 in [42 cm] Definitely over-the-calf.
Materials: Chamolux rubber [includes some Kevlar]; wool lining.
Color: Vert chameau [literally "camel green." I'd call it hunter green.]
Manufacturer's recommended temperature range: "Autumn/Winter/Spring (up to -5C [24 F])"
Features: Kevlar reinforcement to the front, natural wool lining, shock-absorbing and insulating, all-terrain outsole sole with reinforced shank.
MSRP: $369.00 US
Country of Manufacture: Morocco

zipper Ninety years after Le Chameau's founding in Normandy, France, each pair of its boots continues to be hand crafted "by a single bootmaker." While not made to order, fit is enhanced by a choice not only of foot length [in US sizes, with a conversion chart on the site] but in different calf circumferences. The wool-lined model I chose is available in three calf sizes – 41, 43, and 44 centimeters [16.1, 16.9, 17.3 inches]. As these boots are worn over trousers, the wearer measures his calf at the largest point while wearing socks and pants.  I wear the largest available model, 44.

These boots are taken on or off by opening a zipper – fully waterproof, with a storm guard underneath – that runs from just above the heel to the cuff on the outside of each boot. After zipping up the boot I fasten a small snap button at the top of the zipper to snug up the fit.

FIELD CONDITIONS

 I have worn these boots most frequently for everyday use in the country. At my home this means collecting or splitting wood, dog training and walks, mailbox trips [about half a mile/one kilometer from the front door], and other outdoor chores. As my home is heated primarily by wood and the dog needs at a minimum a couple of biological breaks each day, for me everyday use means use several times every day. This past winter in Montana was long, severe, and lately unpredictable [for example, thirty inches/76 cm of snow on April 13]. Temperatures have dropped below 0 F [-17 C] at least a dozen times, once below -20 F [-28 C]. I've had snow on the ground since early November. In the boots I've trudged through a blizzard or two, frequent snow flurries, blowing snow, and bright sunny days.

The boots have seen some backcountry use as well, on day hikes of between one and ten miles [2-16 km] on flat or moderately sloped terrain and with a pack weight of five to twenty pounds [2 to 9 kg]. The trails were either hardpacked snow or fresh snow from twelve to twenty inches [30 to 50 cm] deep. The weather and temperature conditions varied, though when it was at the colder or nastier end of the range described in the preceding paragraph I tended to stay home.

I wear heavyweight socks with these boots, never more than one pair. Winter hiking pants are wool or nylon, over a lightweight merino base layer.

OBSERVATIONS

Fit: These boots fit me just about perfectly. There's very little room in the foot for movement either front to back or laterally, yet I've never felt a pinched toe. Fitting for the calf size greatly assists a snug fit, reducing to near zero movement at the calf and therefore at the ankles and shins. This feature distinguishes these boots from any other Wellington-type boots I've worn and, for me at least, make them suitable for hiking.

Arch support is terrific. For short walks I may not bother with the snap button, but cinching it truly gives a fit that's virtually custom-made.

Boot fit is of course highly idiosyncratic. Some boots just fit my feet better than others. However I truly believe that Le Chameau's sizing system, design, and over-trouser wear contribute to this great fit.

Ease of use: The zipper access was these boots' main attraction when I bought them. I've never before owned zip-up outdoor footwear. This feature is great. The boots go on or off in a trice and there are no laces to work loose, wear out, get wet, or catch on debris. The zipper is big and hasn't once caught anywhere short of the top. Combined with the sterling fit the zipper access makes these boots among the most comfortable winter boots I've ever worn.

zipper flapWarmth: These boots have kept my feet warm in temperatures down to -25 F [-32 C]. Yes, standing around in the snow at low temperatures has usually meant a chill or two, but nothing that didn't vanish almost immediately after a short walkaround. Really remarkable. Well, maybe not so remarkable considering three stout layers – hard rubber, shearling, and thick socks. The tight fit and trousers inside the boot help too, keeping out drifting or stepped-through snow and providing an impermeable barrier against the wind, rather like heavyweight knee-length gaiters. There's much standing or sitting around in hunting and I wasn't surprised to keep warm feet in boots made for this purpose. There's little chance of a draft's penetrating the zipper. What I've called a storm flap is in fact a pleated rubber piece that's sewn in and extends from top to bottom.

Sweating inside the boots hasn't been a problem either, thanks to the subfreezing temperatures in which I've worn them, usually walking through the snow. Rarely have I worn these boots when the mercury rose above Le Chameau's stated limit; when I have my feet do tend to get warm.

Chameau treadGrip: Here's a photo of the hard-rubber outsole. Note the depth of the lugs. They have kept my feet firmly on the ground not only in deep powder but also when hiking on hardpacked snow or worse, worse meaning icy patches. So-called black ice [which is invisible, not black] and icy surfaces under a dusting of snow are regular hazards, particularly in the freeze-and-thaw conditions that obtain for several weeks around here in the spring. I confess to considerable cowardice when it comes to walking when this threat exists, and since a serious knee injury a couple of years ago I probably take more care in seeking a safe foothold than I used to. The grip isn't as reliable as metal studs or hiking cleats, but it's very good in all but the iciest conditions.

Durability: After one very full winter these boots look as good and perform as well as the first time out of the box. All I've done in the way of maintenance has been to wipe away the bit of mud or debris that's stuck to the rubber, and to heed Le Chameau's advice to keep the boots away from direct heat. They dry nicely in my heated mudroom or car, with no need to place near a fire or heater. I've noticed no scrunching up of the shearling and no odor. I'd like to keep it that way, so I intend to inquire of Le Chameau if any postseason treatment is advisable. I may spray the zippers with a lubricant as preventive maintenance.

Shortcomings: I've discovered only two. One is the upper temperature limit, which I expect will rule these boots out for hiking in warmer weather. The other is that the heel doesn't pair well with hiking cleats or crampons.

Summary: The Le Chameau Wool-lined Chasseur are top-quality ultrawarm winter boots with, for me at least, an almost custom fit.

What I Like

Great fit.
Really warm
Easy to use

What I Don't

They don't seem to work well with traction aids



Read more reviews of Le Chameau gear
Read more gear reviews by Richard Lyon

Reviews > Footwear > Winter Boots > Le Chameau Mens Chasseur Wool Lined Boot > Owner Review by Richard Lyon



Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to BackpackGearTest.org. Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

If you are an avid backpacker, we are always looking for enthusiastic, quality reviewers. Apply here to be a gear tester.


All material on this site is the exclusive property of BackpackGearTest.org.
BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson