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Mountain Pack Boots keep my feet warm and they have
great traction on snow or ice. photo: Hamilton
Northern Outfitters Mountain Pack Boots
by Mark Hamilton
Maybe it has something to do with the depressing regularity with which I sustained frostbite on my hands and feet in my youth. Whatever. All I know is that I have to wear mittens in temperatures below 30ºF (-1ºC), and my feet can get painfully cold at 20ºF (-7ºC). Insulated hiking boots and really good socks can forestall painful feet, but as the temperature drops further or the duration of exposure lengthens my feet become even more susceptible to the cold.
In the March 2007 edition of The Fan Hitch, I told you about my mittens from Sterling Glove. Now I want to introduce you to my Mountain Pack Boots. As was the case with my Klondike mittens, this is my second pair of these boots. When I wore out my first pair after many years and lots of use, I was so satisfied with those boots that I wouldn't even consider buying a different boot from another source.
My Mountain Pack Boots have always kept my feet warm, a feature I really like. I also appreciate that they are lightweight, and the way their soles always surprise me with how much traction they supply on snow or ice. The bootlaces and snow cuffs feature quick release sliders so you never have a frozen knot to untie. That's nice too. Both the boot shell and boot liner have ankle stays that help with stability and maybe even help to protect the ankles. Another benefit of the ankle stays is that the boots stand up all by themselves. If you leave the boot and snow cuff laces loose, you can just step right into them. That's especially handy when you have to go outside right now.
Wearing Mountain Pack Boots you'll be about an inch (a few centimeters) taller than you are in your stocking feet. There is a thick sole underneath your foot. On top of this molded sole is a thick thermal insole and my somewhat older model of these boots also has a moisture control screen on top of that. As I look at the Northern Outfitter website today, I see they have revised the Mountain Pack Boot since I bought my last pair, and the current model no longer comes with the moisture control screens. If you buy these boots see you can also buy a pair of the screens as I think it is a nice feature for mushers and well worth having.
Boot liner is thick and soft. It rests on a thermal inner sole
and a moisture control screen. photo: Hamilton
The Northern Outfitters' Mountain Pack Boot is rated for -20ºF (-29ºC) and sells for US$150. Northern Outfitters, 4627 Roosevelt Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32210 USA; 1-800-944-9276; http://www.northernoutfitters.com/
Is there a useful product you'd like to tell everyone about? Email your experience to email@example.com or snail-mail it to Mark Hamilton, 55 Town Line Road, Harwinton, CT 06791, USA.